Inspired by a couple of recent board threads on what baby gear you really used, I thought I’d share what we found to be worth it. I’m a huge proponent of buying used baby gear, especially the big stuff like swings, exersaucers, and jumperoos that you need early on but quickly outgrow. Then if something doesn’t work out, you can always resell it at the same price so you don’t have to worry too much about wasting money. That’s what I did with a lot of our baby gear (like the Puj tub which didn’t work out for us).
Of course everyone is different and everyone has different needs, but this is what worked and didn’t work for us!
Bumbo – Yes but only if purchased used. I bought a used bumbo for $10, lent it to a friend when Charlie outgrew it, and now I have it back for Olive. So for the price, it was definitely worth it! Charlie loved sitting in his Bumbo and the newfound independence it afforded him. He was able to sit up for months before he could actually do it on his own, which came in handy when it came to playing with certain toys like his music table. The Bumbo can also work as a high chair in the early months. And some of our cutest Charlie pics are of him in the Bumbo! However the Bumbo is not great for chubby-legged babies, and I’ve heard that the Prince Lionheart Bebepod is much better.
Exersaucer – Yes. I felt like I constantly had to entertain Charlie whenever I was with him, which could get quite exhausting. The exersaucer proved to be a godsend because he could play in it for at least 20 minutes at a time. Many moms debate whether to get an exersaucer or a jumperoo because they take up so much space. If I had to choose based on what Charlie liked best, I’d go with the exersaucer.
Jumperoo – Could have lived without it. We had the popular Rainforest Jumperoo, and that thing is a monstrosity — something to consider if space is a constraint. While Charlie did like his jumperoo, he didn’t love it as much as his exersaucer. For the space it took up in our apartment, I didn’t feel it was worth how much time he spent in it. Some babies absolutely love jumperoos though, so it really depends on the baby. We didn’t have a doorway jumperoo, but that’s another option for the space restricted.
Bouncer – Yes. We used our bouncer every day of Charlie’s life until he outgrew it around the 5 month mark. We didn’t use the vibrating function so much as a place for him to sit every day and play with his toys. It also provided a safe place for him to hang out when we had to go to the bathroom. And now Olive uses the bouncer everyday!
Swing – Could have lived without it. A lot of parents tell you that they couldn’t have survived without a swing because most babies will sleep soundly in a swing, and you gotta do what you gotta go to survive those early months. Some moms on the other hand will tell you that their babies hated swings and to see if you can try one out before buying it. We were pretty diligent about putting Charlie to sleep in his crib so we didn’t use the swing that much except as a toy (Charlie loved the rotating lights mobile on it).
Wipes Warmer – Could have lived without it. This is the number one thing that people will tell you is a waste of money. But my mom would have a heart attack if she saw me wiping a newborn’s butt with cold wipes! This definitely falls into the unnecessary column, but we still use ours and have always liked having warm wipes.
Bottle Warmer – Yes. This is probably the number two thing that people will tell you is unnecessary. If we were mixing formula with room temperature water, I wouldn’t bother with a warmer. But since Charlie was mostly bottle fed pumped breast milk that was refrigerated, a warmer was very convenient. Running a bottle under warm water took much longer, and you never knew when it was warm enough. We also figured out what settings to use on our bottle warmer so that it maintained the perfect temperature until Charlie got out of the bath to a nice bottle waiting for him. So for us, I think it was a necessity, especially since we still use it for Olive.
Infant Car Seat – Yes. We opted to buy an infant car seat vs. a convertible car seat and it really worked out for us because we used it with a stroller frame. That enabled us to postpone making a decision on our stroller until we better knew what our needs would be. It was also very convenient to be able to pop the car seat out of the frame without disturbing a sleeping Charlie.
Baby Scale – No. Although it was fun to track Charlie and Olive’s weight gain, this was a completely unnecessary purchase. Olive was a preemie but gained weight so quickly that there was no need for us to moniter her weight.
Bassinet – No. I bought a bassinet so I could carry Charlie from room to room when he was sleeping, but I never used it and ended up selling it.
Pack n Play – Yes but not as a bassinet, playard or for travel. It was an excellent and affordable crib to keep at Grandma’s house though.
Baby Food Maker – No. I bought a Beaba because we didn’t have a food processor, but it makes such small quantities that I would steam everything in a separate pot. That defeats the purpose of the Beaba since it’s supposed to save you time by allowing you to steam and puree in one machine. If we had a food processor, I definitely wouldn’t have purchased a Beaba because it’s something you use for such a short period of time. But at least baby food makers do have a high resale value.
Baby Monitor – Yes. Many people will tell you that a baby monitor is an unnecessary purchase, and I believe that it is for some people. For worriers like me, and people who sleep train, I don’t know how you survive without a video monitor! A video monitor enables me to see if Charlie is just settling down so I don’t go into his room too quickly and unnecessarily wake him up. Video monitors also have high resale values.
Diaper Pail – No. Newborn baby poop doesn’t really smell. But once babies start eating real solids, most diaper pails can’t contain the smell. Plus diaper pails hold so many diapers and the older your child gets, the less diapers you change. That means it takes a long time to fill your diaper pail which means it will be extra stinky.
Changing Table – No. Most people don’t use changing tables nowadays and opt for the changing pad on top of the dresser action. We did the same.
Bottle Sterilizer – No. I sterilized bottles for the first month of Charlie and Olive’s life, but I think sterilizing before first use or just running them through the dishwasher is more than fine. I hadn’t been planning on sterilizing Olive’s bottles, but the only reason I did was because she was a preemie.
Newborn Mittens – No. Onesies with special sleeves that cover hands are more effective. Or if you prefer, you can use socks!
Baby Shoes – No. I didn’t buy Charlie any shoes until he started walking because shoes are expensive and it’s easier for babies to learn how to walk on bare feet. Up until Charlie started walking, he wore slipper socks or soft soled shoes from Target when we were outdoors.
Newborn Sized Clothes – Yes, but not too many. It’s really amazing how fast your baby grows the first 6 months. You tend to stay home a lot in those early months as well, so you really need very few clothes in newborn, 3 months and 6 month sizes… especially dressy clothes. Footed sleepers are the easiest things for your baby to live in.
Crib Bumpers – No with a caveat. The American Academy of Pediatrics just came out against crib bumpers. We didn’t have the fluffy traditional bumpers, but we did have breathable bumpers once Charlie started rolling over. He’d get his arms and legs caught in the slats and the breathable bumpers prevented that without us having to worry about SIDS.
Moby – No. I bought a Moby because it was one of the most highly rated baby wraps. Turns out that I’m not really a wrap person, and it was so complicated to use that I didn’t have the patience for it. Don’t get me wrong – some moms swear by the Moby/baby carriers. But I would try them out in person first (or buy used), to make sure that they work for you and your lifestyle.
Bath Thermometer – No. This was a completely useless purchase since ours broke after a couple of months. But Mr. Bee loves to take boiling hot baths, so we did find it useful to make sure the water wasn’t too hot. Still a pretty unnecessary purchase.
Receiving Blankets – No. My mom bought us a bunch so we did use them, but they certainly weren’t necessary. Big swaddling blankets like the Aden & Anais muslin blankets were much more useful.
What baby gear did you find to be worth it? What baby gear was a waste?