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Here is a pattern I have seen in many new parents I have known regarding all the equipment they need for their new child:

  1. All of the sudden all of the conversations about babies and baby stuff which you previously tuned out become interesting to you. You start to pick up on the fact that there is enormous amount of options when it comes to anything baby related (strollers, bottles, clothes, food, etc). And everybody seems to have an opinion.
  2. You dutifully march off to Baby's R Us or some similar store to register for your upcoming baby. You are bombarded with such a wide array of baby stuff that you quickly lose sight of reality and begin to register for things which you didn't even know existed a couple of hours earlier and now you must have it for your new baby
  3. Sometime in the future after the baby has arrived and you reflect on all of the crazy stuff you bought and tried for your baby you realize most of it was not really necessary.

Is all of the crazy stuff which people purchase for their job as new parents really necessary? Are they really making our jobs as parents easier or are they just wasting our money?

The problem is, for almost every item which my wife and I found that we didn't need there is another couple out there that actually found it useful. For example: the wipe warmer. When I first encountered this item long before I was a parent myself, it seemed crazy. Then, when I became a parent I still thought it was unnecessary and a little crazy yet I own one. Among people I have discussed this item with, the opinions seem very divided.

The prevailing attitude seems to be that people should just buy all the best stuff for their kids because their kids deserve the best right?

asked 23 Sep '09, 17:49

Luke%20Foust's gravatar image

Luke Foust
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Yes there are many items I wish I didn't have. I also have the wipes warmer that we ditched after the first week because my son cried regardless of whether the wipes were warm or cold. I have the giant travel system stroller taking up room in my basement because I replaced it with a smaller umbrella stroller. I could go on and on about the things that clutter my house. Oh if I only knew then what I know now...

Unfortunately, many first time parents are insecure and retailers prey on that. Their first priority is to make money and then MAYBE they focus on helping make parents' lives easier. I sometimes wish I could have a do over but I know that I would make other mistakes. It is just the way life is.

Try to remember when you are walking down the aisles of Babies R' Us that you don't NEED 80% of this stuff. Stick to the basics and then go from there.

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answered 24 Sep '09, 16:02

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superstarBJR
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We had better luck with our wipe warmer for our son. We got it primarily for when he needed a change overnight. The theory being that a warmed wipe would be less likely to wake all the way up than a cool one. In practice, that didn't make much difference but the wipe warmer turned out to be a great night light and dispenser all the same.

(25 Sep '09, 15:33) Rob Allen

Can you raise a perfectly healthy and functional child without most of it? Yes of course.

For the most part the baby gear is to make your life easier and your purchases should reflect that. Take diaper disposal for example. If you go with disposable diapers (instead of cloth) you could just throw away the dirty ones in an ordinary trash bin. Once, in the words of Bill Cosby, "God puts odor in the poo poo" that trash bin will get rather disgusting in a hurry. So at your baby store of choice diaper disposal dohickeys which make that less of problem.

Some things are necessary, for example, car seats. Most hospitals in the US will not allow you to leave with the baby if you do not have a properly installed car seat. You cannot walk out carrying your infant and hop on the bus.

For a guide on what is most likely useless, and what is worth your time, find the most current copy of Baby Bargains. It helped us to cut the list down to the "good stuff."

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answered 23 Sep '09, 18:06

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Rob Allen
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The power of marketing and retail continues to grow and with it the number of products that are deemed No.1 Best sellers and "must haves"

We chose not to become part of that consciously. I think that when you are about to become a parent you will have an urge to do your best....this can be confused with having or buying the best.

This is something that you and your partner will have to figure out and then do whatever feels right for you both. This means being able to stand confidently amongst the more seasoned parents around you who will all have their own versions of what is and what is not needed. Enjoy the process as yourselves without giving in to the constant bombardments.

We did not purchase all the bits and bobs that were thrown in our face. Sensible brands helped us make good choices. I have not hesitation in recommending the brand below.

http://www.babybjorn.com/en/American/

Best of luck

EDIT: Also as my other half just pointed out, you can also buy / accumulate the products as you need them, and not before. For example it should be ok to wipe babies with cold babywipes for the first few times, before deciding to purchase a warmer, which at the same time becomes another piece to carry around with you.

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answered 23 Sep '09, 20:20

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Emi
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edited 21 Feb '10, 23:58

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Scott ♦♦
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I also recommend Baby Bargains, I found it very helpful in choosing brands and getting what we really needed. I found the whole process of buying for a baby overwhelming, there is so much stuff out there. I don't think it is necessary to have all that "stuff" either.

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answered 24 Sep '09, 15:28

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Michelle
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I tend to take a caveman approach to parenting sometimes. Humans have raised babies successfully for hundreds of thousands of years. For 99% of that time, they did not have diaper stackers or wipe warmers. Modern conveniences may have simplified some things about raising babies, but they haven't changed the biological process itself. My family has been successful at borrowing from our friends whose babies are a year older than ours, at shopping at second hand and consignment stores, at trading items online via Craigslist or Freecycle, and at really evaluating whether we need particular items.

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answered 09 Nov '09, 14:50

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Scottie T
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Absolutely! 1st kid, we spent a total of $55 for all non-diaper items. As you said: Craigslist, friends, and yard sales.

(09 Nov '09, 15:11) Dinah

If you are really uncertain about which items to get or put on your registry, you can talk to your parents and to other parents of young children. Ask them what works and what doesn't.

There's also a question on here about what makes good gifts for showers. The answers there are all from moms (and a few dads) who found the items they list useful.

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answered 23 Sep '09, 19:36

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mkcoehoorn
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Both of us were raised without a lot of money and without much specialized baby stuff. An argument could be made that those who are used to doing without have an easier time improvising when it comes to baby stuff too or you could argue that a lot of that stuff simply isn't needed. Either way though, it's possible to raise a healthy child without all the excess baby-specific stuff.

Analogy: we spend a lot of time in the kitchen. Before we got really good kitchen knives we still cooked every night but it sure is easier now. Before we got a food processor, the dicing still got done but we do enjoy the effort it saves. We thought a garlic press would save us a lot of time because we mince a lot of garlic by hand. A lot of people love them but We found that as often as not, the hassle of cleaning it outweighs its utility.

You will find someone with the same tale for any kitchen tool or gadget you can imagine: some will like it, some will find it useful, some will find it indispensable, and others won't use it or like it. If we bought every slightly useful kitchen gadget though, we'd have no room left in our cabinets for food.

If you didn't think it was an essential baby item before you were a parent, you'll be able to do without. Some of them you will find useful though. Moderation is the key to practicality and that will mean something different for each of us.

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answered 09 Nov '09, 14:04

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Dinah
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Asked: 23 Sep '09, 17:49

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Last updated: 21 Feb '10, 23:58

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