“How can one tiny baby possibly need all of this stuff?” It’s a question new parents usually ask themselves as they stock up with countless purchases to accommodate the arrival of their bundle of joy. Baby gear galore is marketed to inexperienced moms- and dads-to-be who simply want what’s best for their newborn — and if told an item is a ‘must-have,’ many add it to the nursery, which may already be overflowing with items that will end up being of little to no use. Let us help take some of the clutter out of baby’s homecoming. Here are 10 things that you DON’T need to buy for your new baby to welcome him into the world.
1. Baby Wipe Warmer
Whether your green diaper changing regimen includes reusable cloth wipes, or moistened biodegradable wipes, a baby wipe warmer needn’t be on your list of purchases. If you’re worried about giving baby a chill, simply warm up the wipe between the palms of your hands before swiping it across his bottom. You may also opt to wrap baby in a cozy towel during diaper changes to keep him warm overall.
2. Diaper Pail
Imagine all of the large and clunky plastic diaper pails that will end up in a landfill once baby outgrows the diapering stage. Not to mention all of the plastic trash bag liners that go inside the diaper pail. Since there’s really no way to re-use a diaper pail after its intended purpose, make due without one. Take soiled diapers outside to your trashcan regularly to avoid household odors. If you still deem the stink collector a must-have, thoroughly wash and disinfect it when you’re finished with it, and research donating it to a shelter, daycare or Goodwill. You may also look into foregoing diapers entirely with the Elimination Communication method.
3. Changing Table
You don’t need to buy a separate piece of furniture dubbed a “changing table” to accommodate your baby during diaper changes. It’s easy to convert any dresser into a changing table by placing a changing pad that includes a safety strap on its level surface. You can also buy changing pads that will turn any nook in your home into an instant changing station. Just remember to never leave baby unattended during a diaper change.
5. Baby Laundry Detergent
Many companies now offer specialized baby laundry detergents, often at a higher price point. Unless your pediatrician recommends otherwise, you can typically use the same eco-friendly, non-toxic, dye- and fragrance-free, hypoallergenic detergent you’ve been using for your entire household to wash baby’s clothing and cloth diapers as well.
If you’re planning on co-sleeping with your baby, buy a co-sleeper instead of a crib. Our baby ended up sleeping with us through infancy and then went straight into a ‘big girl’ bed. Her crib simply took up space and went unused. Discuss your sleeping arrangements beforehand, because a crib may not be something you need, even though it tops the list of newborn purchases!
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6. Toys/Videos/Stuffed Animals
The ultimate toy for a newborn? Your face and voice — which serve as the ultimate discovery zone and stimulating entertainment session for a newborn. Most new parents assume they need to find the latest and greatest educational toys and videos to turn their newborn into a genius, but the best way to engage and bond with your baby is to interact with him in an animated fashion. Read him The New York Times out loud over breakfast, sing to him, and involve him in your day-to-day activities by narrating what you’re doing. Of course, green toys are great for older babies, but during the newborn stage, they come in a distant second to your TLC.
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7. Fluffy Blankets
Blankets are by far one of the most popular baby gifts, but few are actually safe and appropriate for wrapping up baby. The soft, cushy factor that adults love about baby blankets pose a risk to sleeping babies due to their fluffy texture and their risk of overheating. Instead, opt for thin receiving blankets and swaddling blankets, like the one seen at the top of this post, and layer them over baby’s pajamas or clothing as the base for keeping them toasty.
Babies have no real need for shoes until they start to stand, toddle and walk — then you can go crazy buying adorable kicks. But when they are tiny newborns, slip their cute little toes into socks to keep their feet warm. Hard-soled, restrictive shoes may actually impair the proper development of baby’s feet… so letting your little one walk in bare feet or soft-soled shoes or socks is healthier.
9. Fancy Designer Clothes
A few keepsake items of fancy clothing which may be handed down for generations are always fun to buy for a new baby. But resist the urge to go on an expensive shopping spree buying baby designer clothes that she’ll outgrow so quickly, and that will no doubt be subject to drool, spit-up, and diaper blowouts!
10. A Bigger House
You may look around your current living space and wonder where you’ll fit your baby and all his accouterments, but rest assured that he will fit into your abode seamlessly, because he takes up so little space! And now that you’ve read this, you’ll eliminate extra stuff, opening up even more room for baby in your home.