New Parents: This is What You DON’T Need

5cab90d03be871363a95d41c940f8082Two of my good friends are currently pregnant. So as a responsible A-type mother, I did what all born list-makers and spreadsheet lovers do and edited my most recent version of The List and jauntily sent it off to them via email.

What is The List I can hear you asking? It’s a spreadsheet that’s been passed down for centuries (okay, maybe 5 years) of all the things you need to buy once a little person enters your life. The List differs, depending on its source.

And when you first get The List you happily head off to Baby City with it tucked under your arm and proceed to buy the biggest bunch of unnecessary rubbish the planet has ever seen. You have no idea what is useful and what is not and the fear of being without something at the most crucial time scares you into buying ALL THE THINGS.

I have no idea why, because it’s not like the shops are going anywhere. If you suddenly need a lift wedge or mosquito net, you can just hop in your car and go and buy one. You’re having a baby, not losing the ability to talk, drive or think (okay, maybe the last one for a while, but your mind will return I promise).

Anyway, while I was editing The List and writing comments such as YOU DON’T NEED THIS and BIGGEST WASTE OF MONEY, it came to me that it would be a good idea to compile a list of all the things I DIDN’T find useful. It’s all pretty subjective and I’m sure some parents may disagree with me, but here they are:

  1.  Tiny linen complete with mini duvet, mini undersheet, mini pillow and some kind of frill. Do you think your newborn baby is going to come home from the hospital and nestle under its own tiny duvet? No, it won’t. It will be in swaddling blankets and then later in a sleepy-sac, so the only time you’ll use that duvet is once that baby is a toddler and just about to move into a proper big bed (which has its own different sized linen).
  2. Beautiful and minuscule tiny shoes. You know the kind? They make everyone round the baby shower table go “aaaaah” and they look so gorgeous, but they sit in the cupboard for a whole year and by the time your baby actually starts walking, they will never ever fit.
  3. Bowls. I saw this on the The List and was like: “Bowls! I must have 2 x new ceramic bowls for my baby’s bedroom, IMMEDIATELY”. I did not even know what they were for, but this baby business was a whole new world and who knew what liquids would be needed to be stowed in said bowls. It turns out they were for storing warm water for cleaning the newborn baby but really, your popcorn bowl will do, as will a big mug or any other kitchen utensil.
  4. Schlehen Elixir (and all other “new mother” tonics): This stuff is supposed to encourage breast milk production and give you energy. What rubbish. In those early days you will cling to any advice you get given, so you dutifully mix this up and believe that it will magically solve all your problems (although I was not the world’s best breastfeeder so don’t take any advice from me).
  5. Sleeping wedges: While I liked the one that raises the baby’s head, all others are a waste of time. You can just use rolled up blankets or towels when they are very tiny (if you want to keep them on their side). Which leads me to my next point…
  6. Blankets: While blankets are lovely and snuggly and very useful if you have a Winter baby, you do not need more than 2 or 3. But everyone gives you a blanket, so you land up with about 8. A good place for spare baby things is the wonderful Grace Factory, which will shortly be getting a whole batch from me.
  7. Woolite Sensitive to wash baby’s clothes in: With my first child I dutifully washed all her clothes beforehand so they wouldn’t harm her newborn skin. With the second, I basically tore off the labels from his new clothes and put them on, straight from the shop. Sorry Ben, but you seem fine.

What things did you find useful as a parent? And what things DIDN’T you? Would love to hear your thoughts.

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8 thoughts on “New Parents: This is What You DON’T Need

  1. Oh gosh, there are so many useless things you buy as a new parent. Here are my top 3…

    1. An expensive pram (read: Stokke).
    2. Tiny baby clothes, onesies are the only tiny baby clothes worth buying.
    3. Those ridiculous “post pregnancy panties” with “invisible tummy control”. They promise to help you regain your pre pregnancy tummy – it’ll never happen, that flat tummy is gone, FOREVER.

    The 2 most used baby items in our house:

    1. Baby Bjourn carrier, they’re expensive but SO worth the money!
    2. A second hand old school clip-on feeding chair that my mother-in-law bought us (after we’d spent a fortune on a feeding chair our Ben refused to sit in!).

  2. Agreed – all those tiny dungarees you get given! All they wear for the first 6 months are onesies anyway. Haha, and SO with you on the magical “post pregnancy panties” – what a crock;)

  3. I got plenty of all those and I agree! The other useless item is a gazillion baby albums. One…that’s how many you MIGHT need. Also bibs. I see other people use them quite successfully but my daughter would just start howling if you put one on her and not stop till you take it off.

  4. Useful – onesies and not just any type it has to be the ones that you can snap open all the way down. Don’t know about you but pulling something down that wiggly neck and head was not my most fave thing in the world to do.

    Mittens especially in the beginning when you can’t cut their nails. Otherwise there will be loads and loads of scratches on both mama and baby.

    Hats and socks if winter babies.

    Formula dispenser (those types where you can put pre-measured portions of formula in to use when out and about)

    diaper bag (practicality is key and the fanciest and most expensive bag is not always the most comfortable) try test driving before you shell out the cash

    My friend did a similar list for me and hubby and I had a good laugh going through the list. I should share it to give others a good laugh too. And I agree the shop is not going away. Do you really need that high chair now and a wooden cot and a camp cot at the same time. And what is a donot???

    Many things can wait until the end of the first month by which time you will know better what you need- breast pads, the breastfeeding cover, (despite your good intentions you just might not be able to breast feed) fancier baby clothes, breast feeding pillow- I tried a few and I find them all uncomfortable. A normal soft pillow worked best for me and except you are sure you are having a teeny tiny baby skip the new born size 0 diaper. There’s a reason most hospitals stock size 1!!!

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