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Top 10 Baby Products You Don't Need

By michellehorton |

We know there are lists on top of lists on top of lists for pregnant women registering for gifts. You need a crib. You need onesies. You need a play mat. I remember standing in the aisles with my registering gun in hand, feeling utterly overwhelmed. How can I possibly need so much stuff?

Well, you don’t.

Everyone has different needs and different experiences, so one person’s useless baby product might be another’s must-have. But after talking to other moms, these are the most popular baby products that you should skip buying:

1. A changing table. Just get one of those detachable changing pads and nail it down to the top of the dresser. Who needs another piece of furniture? Especially one that will be utterly useless in a couple of years — if not sooner.

2. Baby bath robes. You know those cute little short robes that tie around their waist? You. Will. Never. Use. These.

3. Wipe Warmers. Now I know there are some hardcore wipe warming fans out there…I just don’t know why. If the wipe is a little too chilly, rub it in your hands for a couple of seconds. Even so, I’ve never heard any complaints.

4. Bottle Sterilizers. I wish someone would have told me to stop wasting my time sterilizing bottles every night. Unless you have a problem with your water supply, hot water and soap — even without a dishwasher — will work perfectly well. We’re not living in the 1800s. Invest in a $4 bottle brush and pocket the other $40 you’d spend on a sterilizer.

5. Bottle Warmers. Granted I never had to bottle-feed in the middle of the night, but just heat up a pot of water or run it under the faucet. At the very least, hold out on buying this until you tell yourself Man I really wish I had a bottle warmer! Otherwise it’s one more baby product taking up space.

6. Bedding Sets. Sure it’s nice to have a matchy-matchy set, but when bumpers are considered a SIDS risk and comforters are a no-no, you just spent a heck of a lot of money on something you’re only using half of. And while we’re at it…

7. Diaper Stackers. You know those things that are supposed to hang and hold diapers? They usually come with that expensive bedding set? Just throw up some shelving or get a cute basket and call it a day. Has anyone actually used these?

8. Pee Pee Teepee. Find out why I found these utterly useless — along with 9 more ridiculous baby items – over at Family Style.

9. A Fancy Shamncy High Chair. When there are perfectly lovely $20 IKEA high chairs or — better yet — clip-on high chairs, why spend so much on a bulky, awkward, often-ugly high chair? (Win the new Phil + Teds clip-on Lobster high chair — my favorite! — here.)

10. Shopping Cart Covers. Unless you live somewhere that keeps grocery carts out in the freezing cold for a majority of the year, save yourself the money and the hassle. After a month or so, you won’t even bother with the contraption.

Weigh in — what baby products did you find completely useless?

**UPDATE: With so many commenters saying that they can’t live without their shopping cart cover, what else are we missing on this list? What else did you find “useless”? Spill it!

Also check out:

*Top 10 Most Ridiculous Baby Items
*7 Baby Products that Parents Don’t Know They Need
*WIN AN ENTIRE BABY ROOM FROM SKIP HOP! (What?!)

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About michellehorton

michellehorton

michellehorton

Michelle Horton is the founder of Early Mama, an award-winning site that proves young motherhood doesn’t have to define or limit us. When not writing, she’s typically pretending to be a superhero in her 4-year-old son’s imaginative play. Read bio and latest posts → Read Michelle's latest posts →

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42 thoughts on “Top 10 Baby Products You Don't Need

  1. Rebecca Orr says:

    The only one I disagree with is the shopping cart cover. I bought mine for my son so that he could play with the toys that came attached to it while we were shopping to help distract him. I didn’t buy it because the cart was going to possibly be to cold {or too warm in our Walmart!!}. I also bought it because honestly, I don’t want my son gumming the cart handle and getting someones nasty germs in his mouth…because we all know that the person who used that cart last probably didn’t wash after using the restroom or has a cold…or god-knows-what else! Anyway…that is just my opinion! {oh…I guess I could have used a wipe to swipe the handle clean…but I guess I like making everything harder then it should be by trying to get a cover attached to a cart seat while holding a 6 month old!}

  2. michellehorton says:

    @Rebecca: I actually did have a shopping car cover and truly did love it for a couple of months for the same reason. But for the amount of time I used it (and other women I talked to used it), it just doesn’t seem to justify the buy. When my son was a small infant we just used the car seat, and then when he got to be about 14 months we just stopped wrangling with the cover, and it now sits in my car completely unused. Maybe it would be better to borrow it from someone? Because I did like it while I used it.

  3. Katy E says:

    I loved my changing table-dresser combo simply because we had a hard time finding a dresser deep enough to accommodate a changing pad. We also intend to have more than 2 children so we’ll get our money’s worth out of it before passing it on.

    As for the matching bedding/crib bumpers, I used the bumper pads up until he started using them to climb and I got quite a bit of use out of the quilt as in, I’d lay it on the floor and let him roll around on it. Now the quilt is on his toddler bed.

    The rest I agree wholeheartedly on. I would add that I’d ditch the carrier/carseat/stroller system and get a nice convertible carseat and a nice, structured umbrella-type stroller and a baby sling/wrap. It’s so much easier to slip baby in the moby wrap than lug around a baby carrier. Also, those systems are expensive and the strollers that they come with are not the most maneuverable or functional when you have a tiny car.

  4. wisdomandpeace says:

    I agree with everything but the grocery cart cover–my little guy is 16 months and I would still never put him in a germy shopping cart without one.

  5. michellehorton says:

    @Katy E: I agree a changing table/dresser is useful because it can also function as a dresser. But an extra changing table in addition to a dresser just seems unnecessary!

    @WisdomandPeace: You’re not alone — a lot of moms love them. Like I said before, I did like my cover for the short time I used it.

  6. ldancer says:

    Agree with all but the changing table. The height and depth of the changing table are essential features. No way could my knees or back take bending over or kneeling to change my baby, especially when she was a newborn and I was weak, and now that she’s 15 months old, she wiggles and climbs all over the place while we try to change her; no way would the top of a dresser be safe for her, or big enough. Plus we can keep her current clothes and her wipes and diapers all organized on the shelves of the changing table.

  7. Alison (@SassyMomChicago) says:

    I agree 100% with this list, even the shopping cart cover. We invested in a dresser that serves as a changing table until we are completely diaper free. Definitely no need for a stand alone changing table. The shopping cart cover I purchased 2 for some reason but eventually stopped using with #1. #2 never saw it (poor baby) because I would always forget to bring it in the store. I just invest in anti bacterial wipes (most Targets have these available complimentary) and pretty much give the cart a bath! Great list!

    http://www.sassymomsinthecity.com/

  8. Elain Ponce De Leon says:

    I used my shopping cart cover ALL the time with baby #1 & #2. You don’t know where the cart has been or who last used it. I would definitely use again for baby #3. But with complimentary antibacterial wipes available at the stores now, I can see why it can be on the “don’t need” list.

    Also the matching diaper stacker. I used mine and have mine hanging with diapers already for baby #3 who’s due any day now. It’s a nice, out of the way place to store diapers in the bedroom. I like it.

  9. Emma says:

    For me so far, and my boy is 15 months old, the most useless things have been a bassinet, a crib and a pram. Wish i could go back and save all that money! I definitely don’t fit the mold here because I also find my change table very useful.

  10. Laura says:

    I love my freestanding changing table, maybe too much. Sometimes it’s still easier to change my 3 year old on it and he still loves it. In the end, we will get 7 years out of it between 2 kids.

    I also love my diaper stacker. I have other stuff stored in baskets under the changing table so this is just extra storage. Totally worth it.

    Agree on everything else and would add travel systems. Bulky and heavy. Infant seat plus Snap n Go for 9 months worked fine, then a jogging stroller or cheap umbrella stroller. I had no idea what I wanted/needed until he was older anyway.

  11. Nicole says:

    Those little peepee teepees are so crazy! We had two boys, and we just bought a huge supply of the cloth diapers that don’t have seams in the middle, just simple white cloths. They work for covering up the lil’ guy and keeping from getting a hair full of pee. They’re also perfect as burp cloths, or a quick washrag to clean up a spill. Once the kids are older, they become capes and blankies for dollies too! ;)

    Now, we lived in Tucson, AZ, and the cart cover was a GODSEND to protect sensitive skin from burning hot shopping carts left out in the sun on those 110 degree days.

    I also loved my changing table, because it had sooo much great storage underneath for all the diapers and everything else we needed. I’m very short, so it was the right height for me too. Once the kids outgrew it, we used it storage for toys until we had enough money to buy nicer bookcases. :)

    The stroller/carseat combo was also an essential when I had an 18 month old and a newborn. It’s all fine and well to want to just carry your baby in the front carrier, but it makes it awfully hard to tend to the toddler when she needs comfort or help too. The double stroller was my best friend! Also, when my first was a baby (I have three kids,) if he fell asleep in the car, I could just gently unlock the carseat and move it quietly to the stroller, keeping him fast asleep. If I tried to take him out of the seat, he’d wake up and all heck would break loose!!!

  12. Annie Pryor says:

    I ALWAYS use my shopping cart cover because of GERMS. Grocery carts are filthy and the covers protect your kids from those germs. I just keep in in the car all the time. I use it every week and wash it twice a year. (The germs die sitting in the car for a week).

  13. michellehorton says:

    @Emma: YES on the bassinet. My baby used it for maybe a week and then co-slept, but that’s circumstantial. And I also agree on the pram. Cute if you have the extra money, but definitely not necessary. I’ve actually never used a pram — only a travel system (new car seat with a hand-me-down snap ‘n go) and I can’t imagine a more convenient situation. I think that the snap ‘n go travel systems are much more convenient than the giant, expensive travel systems. Especially since the travel system strollers aren’t as great as other strollers on the market.

    @everyone: Now you’re scaring me into using a car seat cover.

  14. Rachel says:

    I love my wipes warmer, but mainly because I use cloth wipes. Its just easier to keep them wet in the warmer than it is to wet a wipe every time I plan to use one. I would have never had one for disposable wipes.

  15. MamaKazoola says:

    Agree, except for the cart cover. I’m not even a germ freak, shopping carts are gross and NEVER cleaned. They are also hard and sometimes sharp. I still use mine and my daughter is 3:)
    Also I used my pram attachment inside for the baby to sleep in for the first couple months, it also worked like a travel bed when we went to Grandmas, however I have also been known to use an empty drawer with a newborn:)

  16. Brandi says:

    Agree on most – disagree the most on the cart cover…although the first time we put our son in a cart, we just used a blanket…then we were given a cart cover which was great with the toys to keep him occupied…besides the fact that we got if for free as a gift – it wasn’t newly purchased by the couple who gave it to us – they bought it at a children’s second-hand store…and there was only a period of time that we used it, ending about the time he was 18 months old and started wanting to walk instead of ride some of the time.
    Also partially disagree on the bottle warmer – partially because it depends on the type. We only occasionally used bottles, and found a travel-car warmer to be completely useless, but the warmer that really came in use was (again a gift) basically a pot that you kept water in and it just heated it up faster than using a pot on the stove. Also, this warmer was designed not only to heat up bottles, but also baby food jars – so something that lasted quite a while for usage.

  17. michellehorton says:

    @Brandi: Do you have a name for that bottler warmer? That does sound interesting.

    @Rachel: That makes sense. I’ve used cloth wipes and I stopped because they were just too cold to store them.

  18. Tracy says:

    I disagree on the shopping cart cover. I have a 2 & 4 year old and I still use mine, not only in the shopping cart, but in restaurant high chairs & playground baby swings. I don’t want all those nasty germs touching my kids.

  19. michellehorton says:

    Ok, ok you have all convinced me! A shopping cart is not useless. So what should we replace it with then? A bassinet? (Because so many women I know just use pack-n-plays or travel cribs.) What else are we missing?

  20. heather says:

    good to know i can sell my (very useless) shopping cart cover. received it as a gift. tried it once, felt awfully silly. this list seems pretty spot on. except i use my changing table all the time. bought it off craigslist for $20 too. :)

  21. Veronika Schrank says:

    Baby Bullet – the newest thing for moms! Really, do we need a baby bullet when fork or a food processor will do just fine. I laugh everytime I see the commercial.

  22. Tiphanie says:

    I have my diaper stacker filled with diapers hung next to my changing table dresser combo we’ve had for 7+ years. I agree comforter is totally useless, but i used the rest of my bedding crib set. I agree on diaper warmer and bottle warmer never used it. Must have for me is a bf cover. I love my pack and play, swing, bouncer, and playmats. I had too many blankets. I hardly used baby bibs.

  23. michellehorton says:

    @Tiphanie: Yes! Baby blankets! While they are useful to a degree (laying them out for tummy time, and of course swaddle blankets for the early weeks), I think we can all agree we have too, too many baby blankets. And more than baby bibs, did anyone else find burp clothes to be totally overrated?

  24. Sue says:

    Wow,I had never heard of a cart cover, and my baby survived :-) And, sorry, but germs don’t die on dirty cloths left in cars, they grow. Using an unwashed cart cover would be as germy as the cart itself!

  25. Gillian says:

    I think cart covers are useless. Yes, shopping carts are unsanitary, but so is the sand at the playground! And babies eat that!
    I had a bassinet, a pack n play, and a playpen. At most, only the pack n play was remotely useful, and that was only because it took me a while to figure out how to lower the crib.

  26. angie says:

    The wipe warmer has come in handy but not to warm wipes, just to store my cloth ones.
    Hundreds of burp rags. You do laundry every other day anyway, you only need a few. Bottles. I didn’t need them because I have perfectly good boobs and stay home. And neither kid took one. Play yard. We go somewhere, the baby sleeps with me.

  27. Melissa says:

    I live in a condo, and couldn’t go a day without my changing table. Not only have I changed almost every single diaper for both of my boys on it and still do for the 1yo, but it houses all the diapers, wipes, onesies, bibs, burp cloths, and quick change clothes. If I didn’t have it in such a small living space, there would be no organized area for all of these items. In my house, this was a necessity. I just didn’t want to have to go upstairs, down the hall and into his bedroom for every change, especially now that the 1yo is impossible to change and puts up a good fight, and often times, the 3yo is napping next door during at least one change.

  28. Patricia says:

    We used the cute little baby robes and the diaper stacker! They were not really needed so much as they were just cute to have :)

    The quilt that came with his bedding set was used for cuddling in the rocking chair but we never used the bumpers. I put them on when I was pregnant just to see how they looked but I knew I wasn’t going to risk using them so they came right off. Oh, and I loved our changing table! Everything else we didn’t have so I can’t really comment on them :)

  29. Christina says:

    There are so many things on your list that I used, where do I start? #1 Changing Table – We bought a pad and added our own railing to a dresser that was a good height for me and used it for our first 2 kids, it spent time as just a dresser (9 years) before the next 2 nad now it is just a dresser again (we never removed the railing). #2 Bathrobe – Got one as a gift with child #3 and used it during his first winter. It kept most of him covered as I put special lotion on for his skin problems. #3,#4 & #5 never used and quite agree with Why Bother. #6 & #7 Bedding & Diaper Stacker – I made my own bumpers, crib skirt and diaper stacker in a primary color print and I used them for all 4 kids. I loved the diaper stacker expecially because our baby space has been limited and I could kang it on the wall over the diaper pail. #8 PeePee TeePees – What? Use a cloth diaper they are so useful for so many things. #9 High Chair – I bought a nice wooden one from a garage sale ($25 and I had it 20 years) used it throught the toddler years pulled directly up to the table for all kids. I also had a very early clip on one for visiting and dining out. It was really great too. #10 Cart Cover – I bought a used one for child #4 because he kept trying to eat the cart. Used it for a few months and passed it on to someone else.

  30. Andra says:

    I love having a changing table! I’m too tall to use the top of a dresser or a playpen changing station, it hurts my back. I cloth diaper so it’s handier to have everything i need within my reach. I don’t just take a diaper off on the sofa and throw it away and reach for another one. And i love my wipe warmer too! I use cloth wipes and when kept in the warmer, they are so luxurious, soft, and warm compared to those crappy disposable ones. I don’t even like the big name brand wipes anymore, they are utterly useless in comparison. And i never even had a crib for my last two babies. They just slept with me. It’s so much easier to just sit up and nurse and go right back to sleep. With my oldest, we bottle fed and put him in a crib. It was miserable!

  31. amanda says:

    I use my changing table daily. I also love my cart cover which I also use as a highchair cover for resturants (the ones in there are NASTY). I also use a wipewarmer. I had the same opinion as you with my first, what a waste of time, money, space, and she never cared about wipes straight out of the package. My little boy is completely different. The best way to get him to scream bloody murder is to put a cold diaper wipe on his boy parts!! The warmer has saved me a lot of headaches and him a lot of tears!

    However, a peepee teepee is just ridiculous. I can just see it floating on top of a baby boy geyser. LOL

  32. Heather says:

    Some of these I agree with, but I’ve used a lot of the others and loved them too!

    Wipe warmer – I didn’t buy it, my MIL did once she came over and realized I didn’t have one. Once I had it, I couldn’t imagine being without it! My daughter seemed to really appreciate it and so did my freezing cold hands!

    Diaper Stacker – LOVE them! The dresser/changing table combo I have has the perfect spot on the side to hang it from. Stylish way to keep diapers stored without taking up valuable dresser space (inside or on top). And they’re not expensive at all – sometimes cheaper than a basket and they take up far less room!

    Baby Bath Robe – Ok, I loved putting my daughter into hers! It was adorable! I’m a robe connoisseur though and have about 20 robes myself.

    Shopping Cart Cover – We’ve used it EVERY time we shopped from the time she was about 5 months old (old enough to sit up in a cart) and are still using it at age 3.5! It’s soft, keeps us germ free, and I’m proud to say, my daughter has only had a handful of colds or fevers in her 3.5 years – I attribute a lot of it to good hygiene obviously (she loves to wash her hands) and as a stay at home mom, she’s not exposed to a lot – so when we do go out, I try to be careful. So the other half, I applaud these for keeping her from getting sick. After studies showing how much E. Coli are on shopping carts, I think I’ll spend the extra few seconds it takes to throw on a cart cover to protect my child.

    I agree with the rest – even the baby bedding. Spend the money on a painted mural on the wall instead!

  33. gal says:

    I have used my shopping cart cover with all 4 of my little ones so far, and will use it for my fifth very soon! In response to someone who said that the germs on a cart are no worse than what is in the sand at a park, that is not correct. Germs outside get rinsed by rain and heated and dried by sun and air. Few germs survive and multiply in that environment. Any germs that transfer from a cart to the cart cover will likely dry out and die within a few days. Carts are constantly touched by thousands of people after people, both grownups and children, who may have picked their noses, or coughed/sneezed on their hands or the cart, or gone to the bathroom without washing hands,etc. I have seen kids throw up in shopping carts and pee their pants sitting in shopping carts. Poopy diapers leak on carts. Packages of meat are tossed in shopping carts. Cart covers are a great invention :)

  34. Jessica M says:

    I agree with some of the list, but I used many others. I bought a changing table with baby 2. I have used it a lot. It’s a nice cabinet style so would look okay used as a regular shelf and cabinet. My bedding set was/is actually used. They aren’t totally useless. Over about 9 months old, you can use the comforter depending on development of baby. When you switch to toddler mode or whole new toddler bed, the bedding from crib will still fit so can be used to about age 5 or 6. My daughter’s is modern circles so it’s even made in a teen bedding as well. I have used the diaper stacker as well. We’ve been using it since day one and still do. It can hold much more than a basket and looks more organized…PeePee TeePee? I wouldn’t use them, but I would have totally used the similar peep covers that are a little better made with my son. They would be really convenient for a boy…Our high chair isn’t what one would call “fancy” or I don’t think so. It’s a Fisher-Price Healthy Care that was only $95 when we bought it on sale 5 years ago. It has been used a lot for each of our kids and my little brother that I baby sat. I think it’s better than a cheapy one because I can use it other than the kitchen table,and it’s much more comfy than the solid plastic/wood ones. Last , but not least, I love my cart/high chair cover. With my son, I used to forget it, but it was a pain to put on anyway. I think those $50 + ones are ridiculous because they are bulky and don’t always fit. I have recent;y bought one for my 21 month old. It’s not the expensive one. It’s a practical, well-priced soft cover for both carts and high chairs made by Infantino with a cute modern pattern. I will definitely use it when we go out to eat or don’t take stroller to store. (Before now, I have taken her in her infant seat or stroller). The pubic high chairs can be absolutely disgusting with food stuck to them or all sticky and who knows what else. Same thing with carts..who knows what someone’s been handling before they touched it.

  35. Leslie says:

    I was a nanny for a baby boy who couldn’t *stand* the cool temperature of regular baby wipes. His parents bought him a warmer & it worked very well…I know a lot of babies who would really appreciate this one!!
    Also, I’ve used the hanging diaper stackers, and I think they’re pretty swell! They hold a lot of diapers at one time in a manner that is very small-space friendly! Plus, they’re cute and able to be washed (normally).

  36. Rose says:

    I like the wipes warmer I don’t use store bought wipes I buy disposable wash cloths ( 320 count $6 at amazon) and use my own mix for cleaning my sons bottom. So even if it’s not plugged in its always being used, and I only paid $15 dollars for mine. It’s a lot cheeper because you can cut the wash clothes in half and get double the wipe out of them they are softer and the mix I use is cheep to make and gentle on babies skin.

  37. Tara says:

    I worked at a hospital, and we had a little 9 month old come in who couldnt swallow….well she had herpes allllll over her throat and tongue and lips….everything! Her mom said she sucks on everything and the doc. Decided it was from a shopping cart, her mom said those were her favorite…..ishhhh. I wash my cart with those anti wipes AND use a cover

  38. BMommy says:

    A Shopping cart cover is one of my most used baby items & after 4yrs I am still using it for #2. Mine has a pocket for toys, sippy cup, snacks or my cell phone & walet if I want to ditch my purse. Hooks to attach toys, it’s padded for babies or for tired toddlers. You don’t have to worry about broken or icky straps. I don’t have to worry if the seat is clean or spend 10 min cleaning it. It rolls up into a bag with a handle for carrying

  39. jessica says:

    big fancy strollers…i had a 500 stroller..it had every thing..but it was like 50 lbs and took up my whole trunk…i used it once.. the restof the time i used a jeep stoller..folds up small like a unbrellia stroller but the seats recline..weighs maybe 5 lbs..cost me 50 bucks..

  40. Jennifer says:

    I agree with all except the wipe warmer and the cart cover thing. For the wipe warmer every baby loves having warm wipes on there tush and seriously what new mom has time to hold down a squirmy baby while also rubbing a wipe in between your hands to warm it up – thats just not possible – wipe warmers are amazing.

    as for the cart cover every person should own these. I have walked through stores and seen moms or dads letting their little kids suck on the handle or had accidents in teh cart and just quickly clean it up. those carts are subjected to germs 24/7 they sit outside where birds can poop on them, their touched by people who are sick and cough in there hands and touch the cart. there full of germs and a cart cover is a little more protection.

  41. Holli says:

    I used our cart cover all the time in restaraunt high chairs because most of them are filthy and/or the straps are broken. I rarely used it on the carts themselves unless I couldn’t get one from inside and it was submitted to extreme weather OR the store was out of wipes.

  42. Candi says:

    I only agree with you 50%. I have a dresser/changing table combo which I find super useful. I also use my shopping cart/high chair cover all the time with the way weather is up here in MN/ND you never know if your going to have a wet/cold cart to plop you little one into on your shopping runs or if you will get a clean/well working high chair when you really need to sit down to eat at a restaurant. I also used my diaper stacker quite often. Mine hangs off my dresser/changing table combo and saves me so much room in my baby’s tiny apartment bedroom. As for the wipe warmers my son was preemie and had problems going bathroom in his first few months. Warm wet ones where what the doctor said would help and boy did it ever.

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