I’ve never cleaned out more closets than I have in the past year. I feel like the subject of binging and purging on baby gear has seen more than its fair share of my attention in the blogosphere, but I can’t help it—it’s a never-ending cycle. Our “keep” and “donate” bins see a lot of action around here.
After 11 months of constant oversight of what comes in and out of our front door, I can say I’ve come across a few items that probably didn’t need to be part of our baby-rearing repertoire. Although some parents swear by these products, they didn’t do much in our house other than collect a nice layer of dust. Here are the five baby things I think we could have lived without:
- Bottle warmer. I was overzealous and over prepared when it came to baby gear, which meant I registered for every bottle-feeding and nursing gadget known to man. As it turns out, Bea nursed exclusively for many months, and even when she made the switch to formula, room temperature and cold bottles never bothered her a bit. The warmer never even came out of its box.
- Highchair. You know, the behemoth baby seat with wheels, a 300-pound weight limit and a bigger footprint than a kitchen table? That’s the one I’m talking about. And that’s the one that is currently sitting in our attic. After a couple of months of countless kitchen traffic jams, we switched to a phil&teds lobster seat at our counter and an Ingenuity 2-in-1 seat on one of our kitchen chairs. We absolutely love them! I do think the big highchair will come in handy with company or at Bea’s birthday party when she needs ample space for cake smashing, but there just wasn’t room for it in our day-to-day lives. It definitely would’ve been smarter for us to pick a smaller, cheaper chair from the get-go.
- Cloth diapers. This one makes me a little sad, but I’d be fooling myself if I tried to justify this investment even a little. We wanted to be cloth diaper-ers and bask in all of the promises of money savings, environmentally friendliness and happy-baby-hiney glory. We wanted it bad—just not bad enough to fully commit to the toilet sprayer and extra laundry. Therefore we tried to do both, and that ultimately meant disposables won out big time. (I did hang on to a very small collection of barely-used covers and inserts just in case we get a hankering to try again!)
- Newborn shoes. Tiny footwear lands at the top of most “never buy for baby” lists, and I heeded the warnings: I didn’t buy a single pair of shoes for Bea before she was 4 months old. That doesn’t mean I wasn’t excited when I received a small truckload of oh-so-teensy kicks from friends and family—after all, they are irresistibly adorable. Sadly, Bea didn’t wear a single pair … for longer than five minutes, at least. It was warm, they didn’t stay on her feet, and she didn’t particularly like them, which is why there’s now a box of barely-worn baby shoes in my attic and a spot on this list.
- Video monitor. I know, I know … so many parents love these things; we just never could get on board. We have one that we spent lots of time fidgeting with before Bea’s arrival, only to tuck it into a drawer until we were ready to move her from our room into hers. She’s been in her nursery for many months now, and we never got around to digging it out. Truthfully, all the cords make me nervous and look a little, ahem, aesthetically unappealing. More importantly, though, we’ve been really happy with our small, inexpensive noise-only monitor and haven’t felt the need for any additional backup.
Although we definitely didn’t get our money’s worth out of these items with Bea, babies are finicky and I’m fickle, so there’s a chance that a handful of them could make a comeback in the McKinley household under the right circumstances. For now, though, I’d steer my mommy friends toward other baby buys.