Non Essential Baby Items: Things You Don’t Need To Buy

Baby items you don't need to buy

What baby items do I not need? Things you may regret buying

It is easy to get overwhelmed by the number of baby items on the market. Clever marketing tactics convince you that you need to buy them all, to the point where you don’t know what is essential and what is not. It helps to be aware of unnecessary baby products that you do not need to buy.

Having a baby is expensive enough. You have enough things to buy for your baby and throughout their childhood, without buying waste of money baby items. When you spend your hard earned cash on things you don’t use, they take up space and clutter your home. Then you regret buying them.

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Here is a list of possibly the most unnecessary baby products (some bordering on useless) on the market. I also explain why you don’t need them, and why you might decide to buy them anyway.

1. Baby wipe warmer

A baby wipe warmer, such as the hiccapop Wipe Warmer and Baby Wet Wipes Dispenser, makes nappy changing a more pleasant experience for your baby. Your baby has a warm wipe every time, so they don’t have the feeling of a cold wet wipe.

This is fine, but what will you do when you are out and about and you have to use a cold wipe? This could come as a bit of a shock to your baby if they are not used to it.

I used baby wipes straight out of the packet, along with other cold wet things like flannels and cotton pads, without drama. Therefore I think a baby wipe warmer is an unnecessary purchase. But if you do feel your baby is sensitive to cold wipes, then give it a go. 

2. Baby bottle warmer

A baby bottle warmer, such as the Philips Avent Fast Baby Bottle Warmer, warms baby milk and keeps it warm for up an hour. Simply add the water and bottle/food to the warmer, turn it on, and warm the milk. 

Sounds great right? Unfortunately a common complaint with bottle warmers is that they take too long to heat up the milk. (This is absolutely no fun with a hungry screaming baby.) And they can take a really long time to heat up frozen breast milk if they give you the option to do so. 

In my opinion, a bottle warmer is basically a glorified kettle and I never used one. I warmed baby bottles in a jug of hot water and achieved the same effect.

However, looking at product reviews lots of people seem to love their bottle warmers. So it’s really up to you if you want to spend the money.

3. Small baby bottles

You will generally find you can buy two different sized baby bottles for bottle feeding. Small bottles (5 fl oz/150ml) and large bottles (9 fl oz/260ml). The small bottles seem more appropriate for tiny newborns who feed little and often, and only take 1 – 2 fl oz at a time. 

However this amount will quickly increase. By 2 weeks your baby will take up to 3 fl oz, and at 8 weeks they will be making their way up to 6 fl oz. So you won’t need the small bottles for long, and will soon replace them with larger bottles.

You will get many more months of use out of the larger bottles than the small ones. You don’t have to spend your money on the 5 fl oz bottles. Just use the 9 fl oz bottles with slow flow teats from birth. 

4. Scratch mitts

Scratch mitts are tiny cotton ‘mittens’ you put on your baby’s hands. This stops them scratching at their faces with their sharp little fingernails. To be fair they serve their purpose, that is for the whole 5 seconds they stay on your baby’s hands! 

That is the problem – they don’t stay on very well. And they are so tiny they get lost easily. They may go in the washing machine never to be seen again. 

An alternative is to use sleepsuits with built-in scratch mitts that fold over the hands, which can’t come off. Make sure you keep your baby’s fingernails short. They grow quite quickly, so check if they need to be trimmed at least once a week.

Cutting those tiny fingernails and toenails was a fairly nerve wracking experience for me! I found the small baby scissors, nail clippers and nail files in the Tommee Tippee Baby Healthcare and Grooming Kit easier to use than the standard sized adult ones.

5. Baby shoes

Yes, baby shoes are irresistibly cute. But they cost a bomb and are completely unnecessary. What does a baby who can’t walk need shoes for? You’ll soon get bored with the hassle of taking them on and off for nappy changes. 

On top of this, shoes are not good for the development of your baby’s little feet. Their feet and toes should be able to move naturally without restriction.

Even when infants start pulling themselves up onto their feet they still don’t need shoes. Think about getting your baby’s first pair of shoes when you are ready for them to walk outside.

6. Lots of clothes in newborn size

Think carefully about stocking up on lots of baby clothes in newborn/first size. Babies grow very quickly and newborn size generally fits babies up to 9 lbs. After this you will need to move up to clothes in size 0-3 months (up to 12 lbs). If you have a baby that weighs 7-8 lbs, you won’t get many weeks of wear out of first size baby clothes.

Consider buying more clothes in size 0-3 months than in newborn size. Otherwise you may find you are left with piles of unworn brand new clothes. Size 0-3 months may look like they swamp your baby at first, but you will get more use out of them and better value for money.

7. Bath thermometer

If you are worried about getting the bath water temperature right for your baby (it should be around 37 degrees C), you can test it with a baby bath thermometer. Choose from designs such as floating rubber ducks, penguins, frogs, seals, elephants and more. 

Of course you don’t really need a bath thermometer. You can test the temperature of the water with your elbow or wrist. The water should not feel too hot or too cold. 

But if you are really not sure, you can invest in a bath thermometer to give you peace of mind. What about this cute giraffe baby safe floating bath thermometer?

8. Baby food blender

What is the difference between a baby food blender and an ordinary blender? Not much really. It’s basically a miniature version of a regular sized food blender. You can get the same results with an ordinary blender or a handheld stick blender. So there’s no need to go out and buy a special baby food blender just for weaning purposes. 

However, if you don’t already have a blender and you know you will only use it for baby food, there are some useful gadgets on the market if you want to spend the money. For example, the Tommee Tippee Quick-Cook Baby Food Maker quickly steams and blends fruit, vegetables, meat and fish for all stages of weaning. 

9. Nappy disposal system/nappy bin

Nappy bins are a type of nappy disposal system to help keep your home hygienically free from the odours and germs of nappies. They store multiple used nappies at a time, and range from cheap and basic to more expensive and fancy systems. The securely fitting lid keeps smells from escaping, keeps nappies secure and cannot be easily accessed by children or pets.

Some nappy bins are rather expensive, at around £60-£70. Consider if the extra money spent on a nappy bin is worth it. You may also have to buy refill cassettes/disposable liners, although you can use your own bin bags in some nappy bins.

You don’t actually need to buy a separate nappy bin, because you can put used disposable nappies in your usual indoor bin. Just empty it regularly and transfer the contents to the outside bin.

However, if your living arrangements mean you can’t get to your outside bin regularly, you may find a nappy bin useful. The Tommee Tippee Twist and Click Advanced Nappy Bin seems like a reasonably priced option.

Also, you need some sort of nappy bucket if you use reusable cloth nappies, such as the Bambino Mio Nappy bucket. (Or a normal bucket with a lid will do.) This allows you to hygienically store dirty nappies until you’re ready to wash them. 

10. Cot bedding set

Colour-coordinated cot and Moses basket bedding sets may look cute and stylish in the nursery, but they are expensive. In addition to this, cot bumpers, quilts and pillows are suffocation hazards and unnecessary.

All you really need are flat or fitted cot sheets to go over the mattress, and a flat sheet and cellular blanket to go over your baby. Alternatively you can use baby sleeping bags instead of top sheets and blankets. A waterproof mattress protector is immensely useful in the event of accidents.

11. Top and tail bowl

A top and tail bowl is a bowl divided into two sections for keeping your baby clean in between baths. As the name suggests, one section is for your baby’s top end, and the other is for the bottom end. The idea is to keep the water for washing your baby’s face separate from the water for washing your baby’s bottom. 

A top and tail bowl may be useful in the early days, before you give your newborn their first bath. But you don’t really need one and it could end up becoming something that’s never used. An ordinary bowl of warm water will suffice. As long as you don’t wash your baby’s face with water that has come into contact with cotton wool used to clean their bottom, it’s fine! 

12. Baby changing unit

A baby changing unit is basically a set of draws, shelves or something similar for storing baby changing essentials. It also has a space on the top for a changing mat for changing your baby at a convenient height. Such units are a stylish addition to your nursery, but can come with a hefty price tag.

You don’t need a baby changing unit. An ordinary changing mat at a fraction of the price will do. A changing unit is useful if you find kneeling or bending over to be a problem. Or you might just be more comfortable changing nappies standing up. 

An alternative is to buy a cot top changer with raised sides so your baby can’t roll off. This fits at a convenient height across the top of your baby’s cot, or on the top of a set of bedroom drawers. But once your baby starts to roll around you may feel safer doing nappy changes on the floor. 

13. Nappy caddy organiser

A nappy caddy organiser is a type of bag with storage compartments for keeping nappy changing essentials and other baby items neatly organised. You can buy portable ones with handles for carrying around the house. Or you could buy a hanging organiser to hang over the door in the nursery or elsewhere in the house. 

You may find a nappy caddy useful if you want to be super organised, but you don’t need to buy one. Just use a simple storage box. And when you leave the house, take your baby changing bag with all of your nappy changing equipment in it.

14. Nappy cream applicator/baby bum brush

A nappy cream applicator, such as Dr. Talbots Silicone Diaper Cream Brush, keeps your hands clean when applying cream to your baby’s bottom. The brush also supposedly helps apply nappy rash cream thicker and faster.

You may find this tool useful if you are averse to touching your baby’s bottom, or if your hands aren’t clean when you are out and about. It also prevents you getting cream over your hands and stuck under your fingernails. (This could be a problem if you have long nails or have them professionally done.) But you could always wash your hands after and keep your nails fairly short! 

15. Pee pee wee teepee

I only just found out this was even a thing. Pee pee wee teepees are little cloth wigwams for baby boys. You pop one on during nappy changes to avoid getting sprinkled on. Customer reviews suggest they don’t always stay on very well. You could of course just throw a baby wipe or flannel over it instead if you’re that worried. 

Unnecessary baby products

People can have divided opinions about what makes an unnecessary baby product. One person’s biggest waste of money could be somebody else’s best investment they ever made! 

Some non-essential baby items are nice to have and can make life easier. But if you choose not to buy any of them, you could be saving yourself a lot of money. So if you are on a budget and only looking to buy the essentials, don’t waste your money.

Things you don’t actually need for your baby include:

  • Baby wipe warmer
  • Baby bottle warmer
  • Small baby bottles
  • Scratch mitts
  • Baby shoes
  • Lots of clothes in newborn size
  • Bath thermometer
  • Baby food blender
  • Nappy disposal system/nappy bin
  • Cot bedding set
  • Top and tail bowl
  • Baby changing unit
  • Nappy caddy organiser
  • Nappy cream applicator/baby bum brush
  • Pee pee wee teepee

More information you may find useful:

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