Must-have baby products

If you don’t buy these must-have baby products, you’re obviously a horrible parent. At least that’s what many of these baby companies want you to believe, taking you on this massive guilt trip. You do want what’s best for your child, don’t you? Don’t buy into the marketing or the so-called Cult of Mom. Some items might be useful, but others are little more than marked-up hype and clever product positioning. Don’t waste your money.

Velcro Swaddle Blankets for Dummies

Guilty as charged. Before Adalynn showed up, I was naturally overwhelmed with all the different must-have baby products on store shelves. I was nowhere near confident in my skills as a father, so I sought out the most dummy-proof solutions for the myriad of challenges that would await me.

We were told that swaddling a newborn can provide comfort and help the little one sleep. I also felt that I wouldn’t be skillful enough to do a proper swaddle, so we bought a few of these “dummy” swaddle blankets with Velcro flaps. And they were a total waste of money. She outgrew them far too quickly and we ended up not using them all that much at all.

What to get instead: The far more versatile and cost-effective solution is to get a couple packs of large muslin swaddle blankets. These flat sheets will last a lot longer and they can be used for all sorts of other purposes. The caveat is, yes, you will need to learn how to do a proper swaddle.

Baby Brezza Formula Pro

I’m not going to get into the heated debate about why breastfeeding is preferred. Many mothers (and families) ultimately opt to formula feed their babies for any number of reasons and that’s okay too. Just don’t go spend upwards of $200 on an all-in-one formula machine like the one from Baby Brezza.

You could say this is the Keurig of the baby formula world. It might be convenient, but it’s terribly expensive and ultimately unnecessary. Don’t be fooled into thinking this belongs on your list of must-have baby products, because that money could be spent more wisely elsewhere.

What to get instead: I recognize that preparing a bottle can take a little time. Instead of a Baby Brezza, get a hot water dispenser, a reusable plastic tub, and a no contact infrared thermometer. These items will prove useful when the baby no longer needs a bottle. The thermometer is useful for checking the temperature of the bath water too.

Baby Wipes Warmer

Oh, a room temperature baby wipe on baby’s bottom is so shocking! Realistically, it’s not a big deal and the little one probably won’t even notice. There’s not much of a point in investing in a dedicated baby wipes warmer, because the wipe only makes contact with baby’s skin for a couple seconds at a time. You’ll get a lot more efficient with diaper changes in no time.

What to get instead: Especially if your baby’s skin is a little on the sensitive side, the chemicals contained in baby wipes can be irritating anyhow. What we did (and still do) instead is have a small plastic tub on hand that we fill with lukewarm water before each diaper change. We either rinse the baby wipe in there or we use a cotton washcloth. Surprise! This means the resulting wipe (or washcloth) is warm.

Specialized Diaper Caddy

As much as you might want to keep the change table as organized as possible, diaper caddies are really just specially marketed and placed in the baby products section to sucker you into buying them. Realistically, most of them aren’t much different than the TV remote caddy you might find at the local dollar store or in the other section of the supermarket.

What to get instead: If you can find a nice diaper caddy on the cheap, then by all means, go for it. Keeping organized is a good thing. Otherwise, a better solution would be to consider upcycling and repurposing something you might already have around the house. Even a couple of small and simple baskets from the dollar store might do.

Compact Shopping Cart Cover

Here’s another “must-have” that we were guilty of buying. Let’s be honest. The seat in shopping carts and in restaurant high chairs probably isn’t the most sanitary thing in the world, seeing how so many other kids have sat in it (and possibly did more than that in there too). A shopping cart cover makes logical sense, but it’s not nearly as practical as it might seem.

I found that we ended up wasting so much time trying to figure out how to adapt the cover to different carts and high chairs, only to have it only loosely draped over the seat anyhow. It’s a nice idea that doesn’t work very well in the real world.

What to get instead: Keep a couple of cheap flannel receiving blankets in the car (or in your bag) and use these to cover up most of the seat if you’re feeling a little germophobic. Give the surfaces a quick cleaning with a baby wipe and you’re good to go.

Do You Suffer from Parent’s Remorse?

We all make mistakes. We all buy things that we really don’t need and in few segments is this more pronounced than with baby products. Maybe you really do like your Baby Brezza and you see the value of it. All the more power to you. I’ve been mocked for my praise of the Diaper Genie, which some parents think are a waste of money, so I completely understand.

What I will say is this. Take advantage of free baby starter kits, hand-me-downs, and any other opportunities to save a little extra money on baby things. The little one outgrows so much of this stuff so quickly anyhow.