Walk into a baby store and it’s like you’ve found a wormhole into a whole new universe; one where things are either bright, rhyme or scare you with warnings about baby safety. The question is: Which baby products do you trust and which are lying straight to your face? Here is a list of 10 that you can probably leave off your shopping list:
1. Pacifier wipes
Let’s start light. Pacifier wipes seem like a perfectly practical purchase, right? No! Not even close. You might wipe your baby’s dummy the first time, or even the first 10 times, that he spits it onto the floor. You will, however, eventually grow tired. By the time the dummy hits the ground for the thousandth time (so within a week), you won’t even try to feign concern as you rinse or lick it clean.
2. Bottle steriliser
Germs are bad. Your baby is good. You don’t want your good baby to have bad germs. So far, so good. However, rather than fumbling around with a steam steriliser (no matter how fast and easy to operate), you can just save the cash and wash bottles, pacifiers and various other baby items with dishwashing detergent and water or — if you really want to go to town — stick them in a pot of boiling water for a few minutes.
This is a contentious one because there are loads of parents who love the Bumbo. Equally (if not even more so), however, there are tons of parents who are still dealing with Bumbo-related heartbreak and disappointment because their babies would rather raise hell than sit in one. There are also those babies whose adorable, chunky baby thighs prevent them from being able to get into one and those who use it and then grew out of it in about a minute and a half. Plus, it kind of looks like a potty.
4. Diaper Genie
Since we’re getting all contentious, I may as well throw this one out there. While I was pregnant, I ran my eye over one of these bad boys and whispered, “Soon you’ll be mine.” However, before I could act on my impulse, a mummy friend stopped me in my tracks. She pointed out that the Diaper Genie was no better at concealing smells than other nappy pails, had approximately zero use once it finished its nappy-disposal job, required special bags and produced “a plastic poo-filled sausage that had to be dealt with regularly”. I saw the wisdom of her words and got an Ubbi Diaper Pail instead, but I think a well-sealed regular bin would do the job just as well.
I still don’t understand why so many baby stores sell these. The moment you learn about SIDS (and for every terrified, paranoid minute thereafter), it’s lights out for these little death traps. I am yet to find an expert parenting or medical site that has anything good to say about bumpers.
6. Wipe warmer
Yes, you’ve probably heard this one about a million times already and for that I am sorry, but no “don’t buy this for your baby“ list would be complete without a wipe warmer mention. I applaud parents who aspire to deliver optimal butt-wiping temperatures to their baby, but it’s really not necessary. Your baby will be just fine with room-temperature wipes.
7. Onesie extenders
Don’t know what these are? Let me enlighten you. They are rectangular pieces of cloth with snaps on either end, which you can attach to the bottom of onesies to extend them. There will never come a time when you wish you had these — not in a world where bigger onesies exist.
8. Bottle warmer
Ugh. Just run your bottles under warm water already!
9. Formula mixer
While I never entered the realm of formula feeding, I’ve heard enough formula-feeding pals jeer at formula mixers to figure out that they are completely unnecessary — not to mention very expensive. If you cannot find the time or energy to ration out the formula, add water and give the bottle a few shakes; you probably need to invest your money in a babysitter instead of one of these, so you can have a nap.
10. Baby care timer
Confession: I actually used an Itzbeen Pocket Nanny and was ready to exchange wedding vows with it when my baby was a few weeks old. It kept me sane. However, there are loads of phone apps that do the same job without adding to the landfill or to the environmental cost of producing one. You don’t really need a separate device.