11th July 2016

The eight baby “must-haves” you’ll never use (and what you should really be buying instead)

You’re impatient, bored and vulnerable, an advertiser’s dream. But you don’t actually need to buy everything before they’ve even been born… By Isabel Mohan

You don’t need: a changing bag

Instead get: a rucksack

After wasting several evenings (um, definitely evenings, definitely not whole working days…) of my life hunting online for a stylish changing bag, I eventually found one I didn’t hate, and dutifully filled it with nappies and wipes and teeny weeny ickle wickle vests. I then used it precisely twice.

Changing bags generally look twee, and they’re pretty cumbersome. Rucksacks look cooler, hold more stuff and you probably have one already. Plus, if you ever plan to carry your baby in a sling, a changing bag isn’t just annoying, it’s plain unusable.

You don’t need: a Moses basket for naps

Instead get: a stretchy wrap sling

People who think a baby will be “spoilt” if its held too much are very silly indeed. Were you also spoiling it by reluctantly agreeing to carry the clingy little parasite in your womb for nine months?

There’s a reason your newborn wakes up every time you plonk it in a basket because you want to “get things done”; it’s cold and empty in there! Instead, bung he or she in a cosy stretchy wrap (the Close Caboo was my sling of choice for the first three months) and go about your business while they nap like a dream. But bear in mind the only business you need to go about when you’ve just had a baby is all six seasons of Pretty Little Liars.

You don’t need: a travel cot

Instead get: a Sleepyhead

Until our baby was eight months old, we never used the travel cot gathering dust in the loft. Instead, if we went away, we just took the Sleepyhead we were kindly gifted, knowing that he could then sleep safely anywhere in a familiar cocoon. 

Sure, you’ll need a travel cot in the future, but they’re definitely surplus to requirements for newborns who don’t do much in the way of sleeping anyway, let alone in a big shiny prison that smells of camping.

You don’t need: overpriced breastfeeding clothes

Instead get: nice pyjamas

If you’re planning to breastfeed, you’ll gradually suss out how to make your

wardrobe work around that hungry newborn, whether it’s by wearing stretchy vests under t-shirts, wrap dresses over crop-tops or, please don’t do this, taking scissors to your best silk blouse.

In the early days, you won’t be going out much anyway. So, instead of buying up JoJo’s entire range of peephole tunics, treat yourself to some nice button down PJs and relish in being a slob.

You don’t need: parenting books

Instead get: the Wonder Weeks app and a Netflix and/or Amazon Prime subscription

In those early days, it’s all about being kind to yourself – and, of course, kind to your baby. Don’t start fretting that you haven’t genned up on the latest parenting “techniques”- you’ll be so overwhelmed by it all that you won’t have the focus to read a book anyway. The Baby Whisperer can wait.

Just get the Wonder Weeks app to quickly find out why your baby is behaving like a total douchebag, and succumb to binging on box sets. You might feel chained to the sofa now, but three months later when feeds are over in five minutes and long naps are few and far between, you’ll hanker for those early blurry days and nights.

You don’t need: a dedicated baby bath

Instead get: in the water yourself

Baby baths, even the foldable ones, take up valuable space in the smallest room in the house and are a pain to fill and empty. There’s no reason at all why your baby can’t use the main bath from day one, and sharing a bath with your newborn is the loveliest bonding experience.

They’ll feel safe and secure in your arms and – bonus! – when you’re struggling to fit showers into your day, you’ll stink a bit less too.

You don’t need: a baby monitor

Instead get: loads of extra media storage  

It’s going to be at least a couple of months before your baby sleeps anywhere other than a few inches from you, so you don’t need to shell out for a baby monitor just yet – wait for a hand me down or really good deal.

In the mean time, if you’re simply gagging to spend money in Currys, why not buy a shared external hard drive or similar so that, when you inevitably photograph and film every second of your baby’s day, you have somewhere to back it all up. My friend who left her phone on the roof of her car and lost every picture she’d taken for the first six months of her daughter’s life wishes she’d thought of this.

You don’t need: scratch mitts, baby shoes, booties…

Instead get: tons of socks, leggings and tights

They might look cute, but soon you’ll be cursing the piles of tiny things that need to be paired up. Your baby doesn’t need scratch mitts – just use sleepsuits with fold-down sleeves, or put socks on their hands, or just trim their flipping nails already.

Shoes are also entirely unnecessary until he or she is mobile – they don’t stay on. Mind you, nor do socks – you will need some, but tights or leggings with feet are a much less maddening option. Some people swear by Sock-Ons, little elastic devices that hold socks in place, but to me these are just more tiny things that will inevitably end up scattered around the house.


@mushmums @isabel_m_rene

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