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11 Baby and toddler products you’ll never need

A lap around the baby store for a few baby essentials can quickly derail into a shopping spree when you’re heavily pregnant. It’s just that everything seems adorable, and necessary, right? Not quite. There are oodles of products you’ll consider buying for your baby or toddler, but we’re hoping to save you a bundle with this handy list of items you’ll never really need.

1

Baby shoes and booties

Baby boots

Now, these boots are on the list despite the fact that I have purchased (and will continue to purchase) loads of shoes and booties for my babies and my friends’ babies. I know they may not get worn and if they do find their way onto some tiny toes, they may not stay there for long. Until your little one can walk, hard-soled shoes, especially, are too firm and restrict movement for infants, but even soft, comfortable booties can become a nuisance as they often fall off and get lost. Socks are the cheaper, more practical, yet far less adorable option. (Cheeky Little Soles, $50)

2

Cot mobile

Cot mobile

When I was pregnant with my first baby, a cot mobile was one of the first things I rushed out and bought — before I’d even bought a cot. It had music, sounds, movement, projection effects — all the bells and whistles. It even had a remote control. I thought it was amazing, until my baby arrived and I soon realised that the cot is the last place you want to stimulate or over-excite your little one with sights and sounds. We used the cot mobile precisely three times and it’s lived in the hall closet ever since. (Chicco, $150)

3

Bath thermometer

Bath thermometer

Just dip your elbow in; if it stings a little, the water’s too hot. Save yourself the $35 or, better still, redeploy these funds into a forehead thermometer to keep track of fevers for years to come. (Avent, $35)

4

Baby-sized towels

Baby towels

I’ve bought and barely used enough baby towels to know that they’re a waste of money. More often than not, they’re too thin and, within a few months, they’re too small. Even toddlers are better off with a regular family towel than a kiddie-sized one, as the extra fabric allows you to bundle them up and dry off their hair. (Babu, $53)

Pram shopping: What kind of stroller do you need? >>

5

Wipe warmer

Wipe warmer

A gadget designed to pre-warm wipes before they land on your baby’s tush — is this really a problem that parents complain about? Maybe in much cooler climates overseas, this might be an issue worth contemplating, but in Australia you can be pretty confident that, even during the chilliest winter months, your baby’s privates will be able to cope with room temperature wipes. (Prince Lionheart, $50)

6

Bassinet or Moses basket

Bassinet

A bassinet or Moses basket can be useful, but they’re also seriously expensive: Once you factor in the cost of the bassinet, the mattress and sheets, you won’t have much change from $250. It’s a lot of cash to pony up for a product you’ll use for four or five months at best. You can skip the bassinet stage and pop your baby straight into their cot, or use your pram in bassinet mode; the latter also allows for easy transport if you need to move bub to a different room for middle-of-the-night feeds. You may also be able to do what I did and borrow a bassinet from a generous friend or relative. (Fisher Price, $229)

7

Bassinet sheets

Bassinet sheets

Although they look super sweet, tiny fitted sheets for your bassinet mattress have precisely no use as soon as your baby outgrows their miniature sleeping arrangements. You will likely have oodles of baby blankets, cloth nappies and muslin wraps, so use these instead and save some cash. (Little Bamboo,$35)

8

Nappy stacker

Nappy stacker

Designed to be convenient nappy holders that look cute, too, nappy stackers are another fairly redundant product. They usually only hold 30-40 nappies each — a week’s worth of nappies at best, a few days at worst — so you’ll waste precious minutes restocking it on a regular basis. Just designate a discreet drawer for nappies and be done with it. (Living Textiles, $35)

9

Toddler harness

Toddler harness

I confess: I bought one of these. It was an adorable monkey backpack/harness and I thought it would be the perfect way to rein in my adventurous 2-year-old. She hated it, screamed, flailed about and generally drew a lot of attention to herself, which made me abandon the toddler harness after just two goes. I’ve chatted with friends and none of them have had success either — but that doesn’t change how adorable they are. (Playette, $27)

10

Specific bottle equipment

Bottle warmer

Bottle warmer, steriliser, bottle drying rack, bottle brushes: Well, that last one is handy, but the rest of these bits and pieces can be left at the store, rather than cluttering up your kitchen. You can warm bottles by placing them in a bowl of hot water (this is an effective way to heat baby food rather than microwaving, too). You can sterilise bottles in a pot of water on the stove and you can dry bottles on the kitchen bench. (Medela, $129)

11

Nappy bag

Nappy bag

Some mums love a nappy bag; it’s an easy, organised “grab and go” bag full of everything they need for their baby or toddler when out and about. For others, like me, nappy bags are more of a nuisance than a help, because they just create one more “thing to do”. You have to update them regularly with new nappies, new wipes and new changes of clothing, and then you have to clean them when you get home. I find it’s easy enough to grab what I need and toss it in my handbag before I head out. Each to their own, but I’d recommend you navigate your first few weeks of parenthood without one before you invest. (OiOi, $159)

More baby tips

Controlled crying: How to make it work
Finding your rhythm with your new baby
How to avoid post-pregnancy body pressures

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