Expecting and overwhelmed by the list of “baby essentials” you think you have to buy? Read this before you head out to shop or create your registry–it’s possible you and yours can get by just fine without buying these 10 things.
1. Booties and Shoes
Your newborn can’t really move much, let alone walk anywhere, so shoes are pretty unnecessary. And here’s a secret: though they are adorable, those tiny kicks rarely stay on babies’ feet. If you’re concerned about your little one having cold toes, select some booties with snaps (we like these fleece ones) so you’re not forever retrieving a kicked-off bootie.
2. Crib Bumpers
Yes, they are cute, and a great idea in theory: who doesn’t want to cushion their baby from knocking into cold, hard crib walls? But pillow crib bumpers have proven themselves such a suffocation threat that they have been banned in one state (and a second is considering following suit). And the American Academy of Pediatrics advises against the use of all bumpers, even the new mesh versions. So stay safe and scratch them from your list.
3. Newborn-Sized Clothes
It’s very easy to be seduced by newborn-sized clothes–they are so little, what could be cuter!–but these tiny threads only fit babies up to seven pounds. Given the average American newborn tips the scales at about 7.5 pounds on his birthday, it’s quite possible your baby will outgrow those newborn onesies before he’s even born! Stick with clothes sized 0-3 months, which fit babies up through 12 pounds.
4. Newborn Diapers
These aren’t a complete don’t buy, more like a don’t overbuy. Although purchasing disposable diapers in the huge economy-sized packs is a generally good way to save money, that’s not necessarily the case with the newborn-sized ones. They fit infants up to 10 pounds, which your little one could be pretty close to at birth. So just keep that in mind when buying. If your doctor is predicting a big baby, the 240-quantity super pack of newborn diapers might not be such a bargain after all.
5. A Changing Table
Some moms swear by them, but if you’re space- (or cash-) poor, a changing table is an easy choice for a big-ticket baby item to bypass. A great thing about babies is that you aren’t tied to one room when it comes to diapering. Get a couple of changing pads and you can change your little one on the bed, the couch, even the floor–no special table necessary.
6. Baby Blankets
Yes, it’s true: you don’t need to buy your baby blankets. Your neighbors, relatives, friends, and colleagues will handle this category for you, showering you in a wealth of cozy (some homemade) covers for your little one. Unless there is a specific swaddling blanket you want, don’t register for any. Trust us, you’ll get plenty anyway.
7. A Bassinet
These tiny nests are cozy, but blink and your baby will be too big for her bassinet. Given the cost–many approach $100 and some are significantly more–this is one item you might want to skip. Two other things to think about if you’re on the fence about purchasing a bassinet: after three months (max) you’ll have to find a place to store the bulky thing, and there are no guarantees that your babe will sleep in it anyway.
8. Baby Food and Baby Food Maker
Store-baby food has convenience in its corner, but guess what: it’s not hard to mash or blend up some whole foods, which is why more and more moms are making their own purees and finger foods and eschewing those tiny jars. Pass on the baby-food maker as well and just toss your little one’s food in your blender for the same results. You’ll save money and you’ll be able to control what your baby is eating.
9. Infant Bathtub
Here’s another infant-sized product you can easily get by without (remember, Â your baby will be a newborn for just three short months.) Even at the rate of a bath a week–which is as often as experts recommend you bathe a newborn–that’s still just 12 uses for an infant bathtub. You’d be better off buying a full-sized baby bathtub with a sling for newborn use.
10. Too Much of Anything
Babies are finicky creatures, and no two–even across siblings–seem to share the same preferences for pacifiers or bottle nipples. Sensitivities to diaper creams, lotions, soaps, or nipple cream tend to rear their ugly heads just after you’ve bought a gallon of the offender. And the diapers that work great for your friend’s baby might leak horribly on yours. So be prepared to have some trial-and-error for what your baby likes and what works for him, and don’t buy stock in a baby product until you’ve tried out–and adored–the sample size version.