Despite there being an entire industry dedicated to convincing first-time parents otherwise, your baby has a pretty short list of needs: Food, nappies, shelter, and love. Whatever you decide to add from there is your choice, but don’t get swept up in the baby product industry hype and stress your budget and yourself out by buying fancy gadgets you probably won’t use. Take a step back and honestly consider if any of the following are really necessary for your baby’s overall wellbeing.
Thermometers for bath water
You know the ones. They’re designed to monitor when the water temperature is too hot, tend to be brightly coloured or fashioned into something cute (like a rubber ducky), and often conveniently stick to the edge of the tub. But they’re a redundant purchase because YOU already come fully equipped with your own temperature tester! Just use your elbow: Dip it in the water and you should be able to feel if it’s the right temperature (you’re aiming for not hot, but slightly warm).
If you’re blessed with a boy baby for the first time, it won’t take long for you to discover that being peed on is a simple fact of life. Luckily, enterprising manufacturers have crafted cone-shaped cloths with cute names like “Pee-pee Teepee” or “Wee-wee Tent” to pop over your boy’s bits when he’s nappy-free, protecting you from wayward streams. Newsflash: Your baby will try to grab it the second you put it on him, and then you’ll be wrestling both to get his hose cone back and to get his nappy on his bare bottom. Save your pennies and use a face cloth if you are worried. It won’t take long before you figure out the best technique to change a nappy as fast as possible without accidents.
Baby knee pads
For almost the entire existence of humanity, babies have been managing to learn to crawl without the assistance of protective ware for their knees. Crawling is a pretty low-impact activity, so perhaps hold off on the knee pads until they’re old enough for roller blades and skateboards. Baby kneepads go firmly into the cute but useless category (unless, of course, you can find ones with little cleaning cloths attached and set your baby to work polishing the floor!).
Chic matching cot bedding sets
There’s a whole niche of the baby product market dedicated to the nesting instinct, and we totally get it: Those cot sets are super cute. And they are also super expensive. But realistically, they are purely for looks, and you’ll find that pretty, fluffy, over-stuffed cot quilt is impractical and hard to clean (not to mention dangerous, so your baby won’t be able to sleep with it anyway). Save your budget and head to your local op shop or auction site, where you can bag yourself a bargain secondhand bedding set. Your baby won’t notice the difference. Or skip the matchy-matchy altogether and use a more practical option, like a fitted sheet and swaddle.
Speaking of super cute non-essentials, this one might seem a little controversial. Yes, little tiny baby shoes are exceptionally cute. But is your newborn already walking? Assuming the answer is no, then those shoes are purely decorative. Cute but useless! Why not opt for socks to keep your little one’s toes warm, or how about sweet hand-knitted booties? They’re a fraction of the price and you can get them in all different colours. Save the baby shoes for when they’re actually needed.