5 Things I Refuse to Buy for My Baby

won't be buying for my baby

won't be buying for my babyOver the last few days, my wife and I have gotten in on a little baby registry action at Babies R Us and Target. In general, it’s been exciting to whip out the scanner like a six shooter and scan whatever suits my fancy (it’s harder to delete items at Babies R Us, though, so I didn’t let things get too out of hand). But there’s a part of me that wonders if I’m ready for the financial impact of this baby.

Last month I wrote about our debt situation, and more recently I wrote about the awesome things we’re going to do about it. In the end, of course, it will all be worth it 🙂 That I know without a doubt. Definitely don’t get me wrong there.

But I’m glad we’re in the frugal mindset we’re in right now, because according to Babies R Us and Co, your baby won’t be happy unless you buy every product on their shelves. And there are some pretty stupid things on their shelves. (For those of you who actually use any of these products, don’t be offended. I’m not judging you. Also, it’s OK for you to disagree. We can still be friends.)

Baby Wipes Warmer

When I saw this, actually laughed out loud. Are we really that afraid to allow our children to experience any sort of discomfort? Man, if so, I can’t wait to see what sort of generation of pansies we’re raising right now. I also wouldn’t look forward to my child ever having any need for a diaper change in a public place, because I’m pretty darn sure that baby is going to be pissed when his butt gets cleaned with ice cold wipes. Unless, of course, we’re crazy enough to keep it on hand at all times, along with a mini-generator. Seriously, I wouldn’t put it past some people. Teach your kids to be tough. Give them those ice cold wipes.


I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but buying shoes for an infant is akin to buying shoes for a mermaid. They can’t walk, people. And if I remember correctly, that’s what shoes are for. And I know those $20 two-inch long pair of Timberland hiking boots you bought last week are totes adorbs. But guess what? Your child has already outgrown them. Oh, and if you do happen to go as far as buying your baby these high heels, I may have to retract that statement about us remaining friends.

Baby Towels/Washcloths

This one I’m actually being overruled on, but I still have my opinion and my opinion will be heard! Seriously, though. Those cutesy $15 towels/washcloths are just as good as the ones you already have in your house. I know they don’t have cookie monster or a whale on them, but trust me. Your child really doesn’t give a crap. Sure, the baby version of these products are softer than what you have at home. But I can’t for the life of me picture George Washington being put out because his mom didn’t bathe and dry him using washcloths and towels made of bamboo or Turkish cotton.

Pee-Pee Teepee

I can’t help but giggle inside when I hear pee-pee teepee, partially because I’m still immature, but also because it’s absolutely ridiculous. One thing I’ve learned from watching my 13 nieces and nephews grow up is that every child is born with Tourettes. They’re constantly making the most random (and sometimes) violent movements, sometimes for no reason at all. I guarantee you no pee-pee teepee is going to keep that pee from getting in your mouth. If you do happen to have an infant who becomes paralyzed whenever you change his diaper, just throw a baby wipe over the area. That way you don’t even have to wash it afterward.

Expensive Baby Bedding

As soon as you get that baby home from the hospital, you’ll read or hear from someone else that those bumpers meant to keep your baby from whacking his or her noggin on the crib slats can actually suffocate them. Boom, it’s in the garbage. Then you hear that having a blanket in the crib is also a suffocation hazard. Let’s just put that on the rocking chair, shall we? Then you’ve got this annoying blanket pushing your head forward every time you sit in the chair. All you have left is the fitted bed sheet, which will likely get destroyed with urine and feces. There goes the cute factor.

This list could actually go on and on, but I’m sure you have better things to do today. The more I experience in this whole baby preparation business, though, the more I realize that these companies are really really good at convincing parents-to-be to buy unnecessary things. It doesn’t help that being an overprotective parent is becoming less and less crazy and more the norm. If you’re in debt like us, you simply can’t afford to get caught up in all the superfluous and grossly overpriced junk that isn’t going to contribute anything toward your baby’s health or happiness.

What ridiculous baby products have you seen? Are there any things you think I really should buy for my baby?


35 thoughts on “5 Things I Refuse to Buy for My Baby

  1. I was in your shoes just a couple of years ago my friend. There is so much useless crap out there for babies it’s unbelievable. My son can walk and I still don’t like getting him shoes. I figure if Frodo Baggins can go through his entire life without shoes, I’m sure my boy can. My wife slightly disagrees.

    Congrats and best of luck with the baby. We were worried about finances as well before the baby (I think every new parent is), but I’ve noticed the budget kind of adjusts over time. We get less things for us and more things for the baby and keep looking for deals along the way, so it kind of balances out. Kind of.

  2. So I actually have those towels. 🙂 I just like them, because they have a hood.
    What I never ever would have bought is a pacifier with a fever thermometer inside. I have a normal one for the ears. I guess that’s enough. 🙂

  3. This is one where you have to get on the same page with your spouse and talk through debated issues calmly. The tendency to get emotional over little baby things is key to the industry being so profitable, IMHO.

    Someone gave us a wipes warmer and we used it 0.01% of the time our first kid was an infant and the second one didn’t even get a trial run because we couldn’t find it. It was annoying, required changing in the same location, and didn’t really work well anyway.

    When your kid gets to crawling and walking age (and this applies more to colder climates and houses with thermostat dictators like me) I’d get one pair of leather-soled socks. They are easy to put on, they keep the feet protected, they are washable(!) and buying only one pair means less to keep track of.

    We were gifted DOZENS of receiving blankets and our kids outgrew their limited functionality within weeks. One awesome gift was a little towel with a corner piece sown in for a head cover since kids lose heat quickly. It also makes it easy to hang on a hook or on the top of a crib post. But guess what, even with my limited abilities I could stitch a piece of towel to the corner another piece of towel. So if no one gifts you a kid towel, I’d say make one for the blog-ability of the project.

    Having a daughter means no need for a peepee teepee, because gravity and an internal urethra team up to keep your mouth peepee freefree. We have used the wet wipe trick with our son and it’s 100% effective.

    We bought our crib and changing table through online classifieds with bedding and the mattress ingeniously still had the original plastic packaging on it for ultimate urine protection. We borrowed a bassinet that we used for our kids for months until they got too big for it and then it got passed to another sibling in my wife’s family until that baby outgrew it. The point is, newborns are up every few hours to eat and it’s great to have them as close as possible during that time. My dad literally slept in a drawer lined with blankets as a bassinet and my grandparents said it was the best use of the drawer possible.

    I do, however, suggest some form of white-noise generator, even if it’s just a small fan. I don’t care if the kids need it; I need it. Pam wanted to be a dedicated stay-at-home mom and for me to be the full-time provider, even if that means I am pulling in side hustles. For our dynamic, that means I need to sleep through a lot of infant feedings and fall back asleep after I grab our toddler a sippy cup full of milk at 3AM. Maybe I’m the baby who needs it, but the noisemaker gets me through 60-80 hours of working consciousness in my busiest weeks.

    1. Great tips, man. We were looking at breastfeeding covers and carseat covers last night and my wife kept saying, I can make this stuff. Why pay for it? I’m sure there’s a lot more of this stuff we can make too. And fortunately we’ve already received some gifts from some good friends of ours: a bassinet, a bouncy whatever you call it thing, and a baby bath.

      Thanks for the white-noise idea. I have a feeling I’ll probably need it too.

  4. I fought the hard battle but lost on the baby wipe warmer. I agree with you on the rest. We also refused to buy a diaper pail. It’s like 10x more expensive than a regular garbage pail and the bags are of course special bags that are outrageously expensive.

  5. Congrats on having a baby on the way! We have a month old little girl. I agree with you on all of the above. Someone did buy us the “baby guard/crib liner” stuff. It was worthless, just got in the way. How anyone would even consider buying shoes for a baby under a year old is beyond me.
    -Regarding finances, we have somehow actually invested more this year, despite the added costs of a baby. Time management has been crucial. We were never really TV watchers. Now, I don’t even bother trying to catch a football game now and then.

    1. Thanks! And that’s awesome that you’ve been able to turn up the investments. We didn’t use to be TV watchers, but since my wife’s been pregnant, she doesn’t really feel like doing much else. I’m really hoping we can change that going forward, though.

  6. I think a lot of so-called “for baby” items are actually for the parents. When you are sleep-deprived and stricken every moment with the thought that you, and you alone, are responsible for keeping a small human being alive, you will pay any price for an extra half-hour of sleep. I’ve never used a baby-wipe-warmer, but if someone came to my house at 2am a week after baby was born and told me it would make my kid go back to sleep in the middle of the night (rather than giving said baby’s bum the equivalent of a cold shower to wake them up) I can’t promise you I wouldn’t pay up.

    Same thing with the diaper champ/genie/whatever. It’s better than a trash can because it HOLDS IN THE STINK longer and that means you don’t have to take the trash out every ten seconds or so your house isn’t so stinky that no one every wants to come visit you because your house smells like baby urine/poo.

    Same logic applies for all the little baby swing/bouncer/jumper things they are making. Do babies need or desire any fancy equipment like this? No way. But I know a recent mom who just bought one of these things that costs hundreds of dollars (new) in hopes that it would give her a moment’s peace. I haven’t heard yet if it worked, but I get where people are coming from. Does that hundreds-of-dollars device actually work better, or does it have more of a placebo effect on parents that calms them and removes subconscious anxiety from baby that helps them chill out? I have no idea.

    I think my take-home is that sleep-deprived parents will do crazy things. No need to buy crap before you even get to that point, though.

  7. Hah! Yeah, I think a lot of the baby-stuff marketing is intended to prey on new/concerned parents who just want to do the right thing. My sister (who has 3 kids) says that all you need to bring baby home is a carseat and diapers. She’s joking (sort of), but her point is that you won’t really know what you need/want until you actually have the baby. I plan to take her advice (and yours!) when we have kids!

    1. lol just add a onesie to that list of hers and I think it’s perfect 🙂 I think the biggest challenge is to make sure both spouses are on the same page. My wife has different ideas than I do about this kind of stuff, so there will definitely have to be compromises about it all.

  8. “buying shoes for an infant is akin to buying shoes for a mermaid” greatest ever quote!

    In the UK the wipe warmer is most commonly cited as a waste of money. We also have something called a ‘top and tail bowl’ basically a bowl to put water to clean the babies face and bum. Just use two normal bowls – there is no need to buy a special one!

    That said I don’t yet have children and I bet I am seduced into buying hopeless crap.

  9. A changing table. Yeah, a dresser is nice, but a changing table is a waste. Diapers can be changed on a bed, the floor, a lap, etc.
    Also, toddler beds are useless. A twin mattress on the floor, or on the box springs, works just fine. Then, when toddler grows, just stick the bed frame on.

    1. While my brother and his wife were living with my parents, one of the boys just slept on a few blankets–that’s all they had but it worked! I’ll definitely take your word for it on the changing table. We’ll probably be just fine without it.

  10. I recommend letting relatives and friends buy the crazy-expensive kiddie shoes! An in-law of an in-law has nieces and nephews and he figures it’s his job as uncle to spoil the kids with brand name stuff. He says that they can wear everything else walmart and have one awesome brand name thing for Christmas and one for their birthday, that come from him. He was buying toddler vans, and knew that it was extremely luxurious, but that’s how he chooses to spoil them. 🙂

  11. Congratulations! I think you’re going to have to be the one who needs to do more of the compromising though. I’ve had 2 children and there are some things that Moms just have God-given gut feelings about. Let me explain why you buy baby washcloths. They are much thinner and that is what is necessary when you are cleaning a baby’s face. You can gently clean around the nose, mouth and eyes without smothering it with a large thicker cloth. The smaller thinner towels with a hood are made to wrap around and dry a baby much better than a large thick blanket that doesn’t conform to the baby’s body to dry them well.
    You’ll need some cloth diapers to put on your shoulder when you’re burping the baby. They almost always spit up something on you. Receiving blankets are necessary for swaddling. That means wrapping them tightly where it almost feels womb-like and calms a fussy baby. Google swaddling. It’s a magical thing and almost instantly calms them.
    Get a bouncy thing to put the baby in and you’ll write me a thank you note later.
    You’re questioning a changing table? As that baby gets older it will wiggle away from you on a bed, couch or floor. When they are put on a changing table, they get to know that is where this business takes place. You can get away without one at first, but you’re going to need one later. I had one at the beginning and I’m so glad I did. It saves your back too.
    I got a wipes warmer with the second child and it did make middle-of-the-night changes much calmer. No screaming from a cold slap on the groin. 😉
    You must have a baby monitor and a thermometer.

    You are definitely right about shoes and fancy bedding. Not necessary at all. If you live in a cold climate, make sure that baby’s feet are well covered with thick socks and blanket when you take them out, though.
    I wish you and your wife all the best! This is one of the most wonderful and tiring times of your life and you’ll be amazed at all the love that you’ll feel from God.

    1. Julie, I appreciate your insight! I think that for a lot of things, experience itself will help us know what’s right for us and what isn’t. And it’s a good thing my wife is overruling me on the washcloths. Sounds like it might be a good idea after all! I’ll wait until I see it though. I’m not afraid to admit I’m that stubborn 🙂

  12. I would buy the towel with the hood because its easier to keep baby covered with the little hoodie. But baby wash cloths no way. What you totally do new to buy a pack and play with bassinet. Put it in your room and your set you could even skip the crib all together. I never owned one.

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