Ridiculous Baby Items

by Katy on May 12, 2010 · 52 comments

There are countless ridiculous things that new parents are encouraged to buy for their precious new babies. I’ve already written about the insanity of expensive strollers, so this opinion should take no one by surprise.

I even took to my Twitter account and asked my followers for their two cents. Wipes warmer were hands down, (or butt down, in this case) the most popular unnecessary baby item. And here I need to confess that I actually asked for and then was given a wipes warmer for my second son. I quickly realized how useless this item was, not to mention how my wipes were constantly getting dried out. I quickly stopped using it.

Other unnecessary baby items were:

  • Changing table. (I always just used a dresser with a pad on top)
  • Diaper Genie.
  • Individual plastic bags for each individual disposable diaper.
  • Home fetal heart rate moniter.

The ridiculousness is never ending, as manufacturers continue to invent new and crazy must have items for parents to be. And it’s not just the cheap and plastic stuff that’s over the top, because the Waldorfy manufacturers are just as happy to sell you stuff, stuff, and more stuff. (As long as it’s wooden.)

Are there ridiculous baby items that arrived at your home from well meaning baby shower-ers? Please share your favorite least favorite items in the comments section below.

Katy Wolk-Stanley

“Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without”

P.S. Sorry if today’s blog post is cranky, but that’s how I’m feeling today.

{ 51 comments… read them below or add one }

Tami May 12, 2010 at 8:58 pm

My favorite unnecessary $25 item was the webbing harness to help your baby learn to walk because it’s so darn tough to lean over and walk behind a child who is holding on to your index fingers. Most babies aren’t in this phase very long, and the idea of buckling in a kid who wanted to try walking and unbuckling her so she isn’t trailing straps when she wants to crawl sounds so insane because those desires come in 10 second increments right after each other.


Hiptobeme May 12, 2010 at 11:22 pm

I always laugh at people who spend a bunch of money on those trendy soft baby shoes, especially before walking age. It’s all about the parent, and it’s silly in my opinion.


Megan May 12, 2010 at 11:34 pm

I actually find my wipes warmer very useful. I use cloth wipes though and it does a great job of keeping them wet and handy. I do agree they become sort of pointless with sposie wipes, I dint really care that they are warm, that’s a plus, I just like them to stay wet.


Jodi May 13, 2010 at 8:05 pm

I second this. It’s just the thing for cloth wipes and saves running and running the water to get it to warm up.


atsquared May 16, 2010 at 5:31 am

I agree. I know you can keep a bottle of water or wipes solution and a stack of wipes nearby, but when you have a newborn dripping with poop (I know you can all identify with that description!) it is really handy to have the warmer filled with warm, wet wipes. And because I refill it every other day or so, the wipes stay fresh.


Kate May 13, 2010 at 3:59 am

I actually loved Robeez (and the Target knockoffs) because they kept the socks on. In New Hampshire in the winter, that’s important. The thing I hate is the little headbands so people can tell that your bald baby is a girl. Please.


Jessica May 13, 2010 at 4:37 am

I second the changing table – I just used a pad on the floor (no worries about the baby falling off!). Also I encourage parents-to-be to think long and hard about a highchair.

We have a very small house and the full size highchair with a tray I had with my first daughter took up so much room and was hard to clean. With daughter number 2 I got a chair from IKEA that just pulls right up to the table (no tray – sort of like a restaurant). She loved being a part of the meal and I loved the fact it took up less room and was a breeze to clean.


Carla May 13, 2010 at 5:12 am

Uhm… so what is that rubber ducky thing up there? I have no idea what it is or what it is supposed to do.


Beth D. May 13, 2010 at 8:27 am

That would be a plastic dispenser of plastic bags to wrap up used plastic diapers in.


magdalena May 13, 2010 at 3:12 pm

That would explain the warning. I wondered why a rubber duckie had to have a warning.


Carla May 14, 2010 at 8:39 am

No kidding?

Carla trails sadly away, muttering to herself… insanity…


Rebecca May 13, 2010 at 6:02 am

I actually used my changing table, a lot! With a c section, I had 3 total, it was weeks if not months before I could get down on the floor. We wanted a dresser, preferably used, that would work at changing table height, but were unable to find one.

I never had a full size high chair, I thing the one we got was from First steps or something. It attached to a regular dining chair, and had a tray that could be removed. I liked it because it didn’t take up any extra room, and when it got filthy, I put it in the shower and hosed it off. It also was about 25$ or something.


Cindy May 13, 2010 at 6:13 am

My girls were born ten years apart (yes, we planned it that way 🙂 For our oldest daughter -we purchased a used crib and bought a new crib mattress – we later sold it. When our youngest daughter was born – I tried to “borrow” as many things as I could. Our friends let us borrow their crib and dressing table. Which worked out great. We did that with a number of things. Then when our daughter out grew them – we passed them along. With the second child…I was older and hopefully wiser…and realized that my babies…didn’t stay babies very long!

One baby item that I declared useless is the infant towel with the built in hood – I don’t think I ever used it…..grabbed a “normal” towel instead.


Nancy from Mass May 13, 2010 at 6:59 am

The most useless thing I’ve seen? How about the “in the car bottle warmer” that plugs into the cigarette lighter. Seriously, how often is that really used?! We used a free high chair…the old metal kind! I just recovered the seat and it worked like a charm. As my son got older, the tray came off and the chair was pulled up to the table. Loved that high chair!


Brian May 13, 2010 at 7:29 am

We are doing without any of these things. However, there are days, about twice a month, when I walk into the house and wish we’d opted for the diaper genie instead of the kitchen can.


Laura May 13, 2010 at 8:40 am

I received a baby feeder when our son was born. Yes, you put baby food into a bottle like contraption, then either propped up your baby and let them suck out the food or gave it to them like another bottle. This was supposed to be easier and less messy than spoon feeding a baby. Lazier is more like it.


Kim May 13, 2010 at 8:46 am

I think fabric grocery cart covers are pretty ridiculous. If you are very worried about the germs on the cart handle (the same germs that probably help build your child’s immune system) then take a cleansing wipe and wipe off the handle. Most larger stores have a canister of them right by the cart area. You could even keep your own supply with you, if needed. The people that thought this up, feeding into many parent’s germ paranoia, must be raking in the bucks right now.


WilliamB May 13, 2010 at 4:26 pm

Good one! I wouldn’t want that at all – I have enough to carry with reusable bags, old produce bags to reuse, coupons, list, probably a drink for me. If I had a kid with me there’d be a kid, some sort of food or beverage or entertainment (or some of each?) as well. I don’t understand why someome would want to carry, then arrange, this item as well.


Heather May 17, 2010 at 12:30 pm

Actually I do find this one handy. Because it is basically a bag, it can corral toys, spilled snacks and his sippy cup while I focus on shopping -stuff stays in the cart.I am so NOT a germaphobe, but I also have a friend who is a microbiologist, and even she is uncomfortable with the level of germs on carts – those things are never washed. Not to mention that my kid liked to lick the handlebar of the cart- eeeww.


Renee Clark May 13, 2010 at 9:38 am

Our first baby had a hard time gaining weight and we had at least weekly weight checks at the doctor’s for a long time. My father in-law bought us an infant scale for at home from Babies-R-Us. First the thing wasn’t accurate to the pound and was NEVER intended to weigh to the ounce. Second we were stressed out enough without having that darn thing in the house!


Lisa May 13, 2010 at 9:39 am

Thank goodness I’m out of the baby having stage of life! That being said, we stopped by a local government office where we volunteer. There were baby gizmos and doodads of all sorts crowding the office because the lady’s #1 grandson was visiting. Today we received news that #2 grandson is in the process of being born! YEAH! But I wonder where they will manage to fit his stuff when he goes to the office for grandma time????


Shannon May 13, 2010 at 9:42 am

This is so funny to me because I am now packing up baby gear for my yard sale this Saturday. I think the two things I am packing up that never got used were a video baby monitor (that never got used; was given to us by a couple with no children, lol) and the walker (hand me down from my nephew) also never used.


Andrea May 13, 2010 at 10:53 am

All childproofing items (except outlet covers)–they were outsmarted by my twin toddlers within days of installation. Drool bibs. Any clothes that weren’t nightgowns for the first month, at least. Little pewter boxes for first haircut and first tooth (how are supposed to remember which tooth was first when if falls out SIX years after it grew in? Plus eww). Leaded crystal teddy bear lapel pins. …etc. As my midwife used to say, “All babies need is lots and lots of love,” and as I like to add, “and two boobs and a sling.” But I do love that wooden wooly waldorfy stuff.


Angela May 13, 2010 at 11:09 am

I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry at the last baby shower I attended. Laugh at the ridiculousness, or cry at the waste, the plastic, the headed-to-the-landfill quality, etc.

They received not just one, but two of the ridiculous butt warmers. How, oh how, did babies ever survive a cold, wet wipe? Geez. There were several other items that I literally didn’t know what they were, and had to ask someone nearby. I don’t even remember what they were, that’s how unnecessary and useless they were.

The saddest part of all to me was that one of our gifts was one of my favorite illustrated books, and it was THE ONE AND ONLY book gift at the shower where there were over 30 guests, and the parents are big readers. Books were my very favorite thing when I was little, and I suspect I AND my mother could have done without the gadgets. One of my favorite photos is of her smiling as she bathes me in a bowl when I’m five weeks old. I’m positive it was just a kitchen/cooking bowl, and not a fancy item “necessary for baby.”


Kristin @ klingtocash May 14, 2010 at 9:22 am

It amazes me how few people give books for showers and kids birthdays. Books are always one of the first things I think of.


Heather May 17, 2010 at 12:32 pm

I had a book shower. I wouldn’t let them throw me one otherwise. It was awesome! Lots of titles I wouldn’t have known about otherwise – plus people were really connected to the stories that they gave me.


Tyrina June 6, 2011 at 1:32 pm

I asked for a book instead of a card at my shower. :o)


Jessica May 13, 2010 at 1:52 pm

Me again – In response to Angela – So sad that you only got one book!!! For my baby shower, my mother and mother-in-law had a baby bookworm theme. Everyone was supposed to bring one favorite children’s book (some brought other gifts as well). I ended up with two entire shelves of great books (amazingly there were no repeats.)

If anyone here is planning on throwing someone a shower, consider doing the baby bookworm!


Jessica May 13, 2010 at 2:00 pm

Oh and the best was my childhood neighbor who gave me a whole basket of books her children and grandchildren loved -tied with a bow. Perfect!


Marianne May 14, 2010 at 9:39 am

so doing this for future shower gifts


WilliamB May 13, 2010 at 4:28 pm

The tradition in my neighborhood is book showers. It started with one mother-to-be who was known not to like girly stuff, so we had a book shower instead. It was such a hit – many of the books came with stories of why the giver picked that one – that we’ve never gone back to the typical shower.


Kristin @ klingtocash May 14, 2010 at 9:23 am

I love that idea!


Angela May 14, 2010 at 5:04 pm

Love baby book showers, and all the other book gift ideas too!


magdalena May 13, 2010 at 3:20 pm

The diaper genie went back to the rummage sale from whence it came. And we just saved $20+ on a booster seat by using the London, Ontario phonebook. I could get fancy and cover it and sew ties on it to make it more stable, but telling the toddler to please sit still works, too. It’s not as if we ever leave her there alone. As for smelly trash cans – get a covered pail to hold just diapers and keep it in the bathroom. It’s what we did with diaper pails, after all. To bag smelly diapers, just use those cheap biodegradable dog clean up sacks. If I can’t get a dirty diaper out of the house fast enough, that’s what I do.

PS Katy, I love a good cranky post. It makes me feel more normaller myself.


Viki May 13, 2010 at 5:37 pm

Like Andrea above, all I really needed, at least with my second child, was “two boobs and a sling”. No crib (she slept with us), changing table (pad on my bed or the floor), swings, strollers, bouncy chairs, bottles, diaper genie (we used cloth)…. I did buy a box of wipes, mainly to have the plastic box to keep my cloth wipes in once it was empty. I did have one of those highchair things that you attached to a kitchen chair, and it got a lot of use with both my kids. I just wish I would have known how little I really needed with baby #1 – would have saved a ton of money!


Tara Morrison May 13, 2010 at 6:57 pm

Baby Spa I have yet to see one in person but I have seen them advertised. It looks like a whirpool for an infant. I guess its for after a stressful day of nursing and pooping!
The other thing that I love to look at is the One Step Ahead catalog, on the one hand I hate to get junk mail but on the other hand I get hours of laughter for free!. Baby knee pads, baby food organizer, cooling plates, toddler hot dog slicer just to name a few!


namastemama May 13, 2010 at 7:15 pm

I guess I’m a boobs and sling girl. The most ridiculous item is the car seat/stroller contraption and of course the matching pack’n play. I once watched as a woman put her baby in one, overloaded with baby crap, and got her other child. I don’t understand how you can push a stroller and shop or keep up with other children. While I put my baby in the sling, held #1s hand, grabbed my bag and was out the door. I had my kids buckled and ready to leave before she even got to her car. Then of course she has to break down the stroller and put it in the vehicle. I timed all this while #1 was asking me why we weren’t leaving. Then you need the big SUV to cart all this baby junk.
I know of 2 families that the men drove to FL with all the baby junk and the women and children flew. OMG!
Also, once in Babies R Us, I watched a mom2b and what I’m guessing were the grandmas discuss the merits of the highchair color and fabric. R U joking? How about pea green and piss yellow? Because that’s what color it will be after it’s used for a while.
I once saw a pack n play go up in about 3 hours with at least 6 grownups help and of course I open my mouth and say “our kid just sleeps with us”. You would of thought the world was going to end.
Sippy cups are #3 useless in my book. Especially when I see 5 year olds using them. I’m always yelling after waiters to bring my children’s drinks in regular cups and they are 5 and 9! I always tell people that babies are cheap and easy. Most look at me cross-eyed. Seriously, a baby needs food, shelter, love and a clean bottom oh, and by law, a car seat.


Jodi May 13, 2010 at 8:08 pm

Hear, hear!!!! When my first child was due, one of my friends from college gave me the best advice ever: that all my baby really wanted was me. That we needed some clothes, cloth diapers, someplace for them to sleep, a carrier of some sort, and a car seat. It’s lasted me well for a couple of kids.


terilyn May 14, 2010 at 1:32 pm

Love your comment! I don’t understand baby carriers with those covers at all. What is wrong with just using a sling to carry the kid yourself? Why do they need all the plastic contraptions? Sling, swing, blankets, baby clothes, rocking chair, diapers….. just simple stuff. My oldest is 30, and he seemed to make it without a lot of stuff. I do admit that I liked the swing. It isn’t a necessary thing, but it helps to calm baby when you are busy cleaning, cooking, and caring for other children, so that you can’t hold him all the time.


Jodi May 13, 2010 at 8:10 pm

Most ridiculous item, not given to me but spotted at Target: the portable UV pacifier sterilizer. Sheesh. Well-made pacifiers usually land nipple-side up and, if not, can just get rinsed off.


Dana May 13, 2010 at 10:12 pm

We’ve actually used the little blue bags that the dirty disposable diapers go in. Not diapers that are just wet, but the diapers that are oozing with goo. Keeps them from stinkin’ up the entire house. We are foster parents and are not allowed, by law, to use cloth diapers so into the trash they must go–and sometimes they’re there for a day or so. Those scented bags are a lifesaver sometimes!

One of the strangest things, I think, are the potties that play music, or whatever, when the child sits on them. Are they going to expect that when they’re in high school? 😉 In fact, I dislike all toys that make a tinny-sounding noise and require batteries. Whatever happened to using your imagination?



WilliamB May 14, 2010 at 1:52 am

Why aren’t foster parents allowed to use cloth diapers?


Beth D. May 14, 2010 at 4:59 am

Probably some subsidy to the plastics council or something…..


Dana May 14, 2010 at 9:37 pm

I think it has to do with transferring of germs. We’re also supposed to wear gloves when we change diapers. :-/


Carla May 14, 2010 at 8:44 am

A cold wet wipe for a baby’s sweet bottom is unnecessary. Use wash rags and warm them at the sink before applying to said bottom. Problem solved. Waste minimalized.


Kristin @ klingtocash May 14, 2010 at 9:28 am

I’m so thankful for this post and all the comments. My husband and I are considering having children and your advise is great. I’ll have to do something like this on my blog if we ever do get pregnant.

Love the blog, Katy. Thanks!


Karen B May 14, 2010 at 11:57 am

This blog and the comments were very helpful! We are expecting our first child any day now. I have been working on buying nothing new for awhile now. While I haven’t made it to where I want to be, I think I am doing fairly well with it. I have been going to yardsales, 2nd time around baby sales, and using eBay, Craig’s List, etc. to get most of our stuff. We have made the decision to breastfeed (good Lord willing) and use cloth diapers. My sister had her first child last year and we are going to swap things as we go. She is pregnant again so hopefully we will save lots of money working together.

I loved the idea about the book shower! I am going to pass that on to my friends and family. I think that I will also put a link to this blog on my Facebook page and let my friends and family know that gently used items are great baby gifts for us!!!

I appreciate all of you who have taken the time to note what is not worth having!


Pat May 14, 2010 at 3:36 pm

I went to a baby shower last year and the mother-to-be got something called a “boppy” which, from what I could gather, holds your baby so you don’t have to. Weirdest thing ever. What’s wrong with holding your baby?


Nancy from Mass May 14, 2010 at 5:10 pm

I used my boppy pillow when my son was first born. I had a c-sect and it was easier to hold him for nursing. (I could only nurse for 3 weeks, I never made enough milk) I then passed it onto a friend and she used it for her 3 kids while nursing. They actually are handy.


Courtney May 23, 2010 at 7:31 am

My husband and I are pretty granola and totally on the “minimal stuff for baby” bandwagon, but I admit that I have gotten TONS of use out of our Boppy. NOT something I ever would have considered buying myself, but we got one as a gift and decided to try it out. It supports our heavy daughter while nursing MUCH better than a regular bed pillow, and now that she’s sitting alone, it’s great to put it around behind her so that she doesn’t crack her head if she tips over.


Ashley May 14, 2010 at 6:19 pm

I’m loving reading all these comments! So funny! I was at Target cutting through one of the baby aisles and came across a firefighter and princess rubber ducks that had a temperature sensor it’s bottom that would turn white if the water in the bath was too hot. Come on! Does someone really need to pay $6 for something to tell you if water is too hot? Use your hand/wrist!


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