So many baby items are pushed and stressed as totally necessary. I’ve compiled a list of 5 baby must-haves that were actually must-not’s to save you some serious time and money.
When it came to planning for the arrival of our baby boy, deciding which baby items we wanted to use or that we felt we needed was a stressful task.
Where do you start? What do you really need?
First of all, you need a registry. Take my advice and go with an Amazon Registry. It’s way less hassle and easier for everyone, especially distant family and friends.
Read about how I learned this the hard way in The Ugly Truth About Baby Registries.
Or just take my word for it and do the smart thing by setting up your Amazon Registry real quick. It’s okay. I’ll wait here. This post will be right where you left it.
Welcome Back! Glad you did the smart thing! (You were wiser than me!)
Back to 5 Baby Must-Haves That Were Actually Must-Not’s
The idea that I would decide I didn’t need a particular item and exclude it from my baby registry or return it if I received it only to regret it later was a serious issue for my type-A personality.
I hunted for baby “must-have” lists, ranging from urban glamour to the mid-western minimalist.
What were other moms out there were doing?
I wanted to know what they originally thought they needed and what they ended up actually using in the long run.
It All Depends On YOU, Mama!
My discovery was that the list of needed items varied greatly depending on lifestyle, values, and personality.
Great, just great.
But it ended up being a good thing after all because it taught me something about planning baby items. It made me stop and analyze my parenting style and how I planned on using baby items. This is what I learned about my parenting style when it comes to baby items:
- I’m not the super minimalist-mama, but I don’t like having “stuff” everywhere, either. Multi-purpose speaks loudly
- Items that can be stored away easily are a really big deal for me
- I prefer organic items, but I’m not an activist
- Cute matters… functionality matters even more
- If I don’t need it, I don’t want to keep it for “just-in-case”. My limited amount of storage space can’t afford it
- I’ll pay extra if it ticks every box, otherwise I’m looking for the deal
In a nut-shell, I’m the functional, no-nonsense mama who prefers clean, cute and organized. The rest of this article is based off this premise, so this list will be most helpful if you’re mama style is similar.
Coming up next is the list of baby items that I thought I needed and ended up exasperated and rolling my eyes, wishing I hadn’t wasted my energy… 5 baby must-haves that were actually must-not’s.
5 Baby Must-Haves That Were Actually Must-Not’s
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#1: Receiving Blankets
What a serious waste of time. Receiving blankets are those flannel things they sell everywhere. They’re not badly priced so your first inclination is to grab a bunch.
I put a few packs on my registry and ended up with several packs of receiving blankets.
To date (and my son is 8 months old), I’ve used a total of zero receiving blankets.
What’s worse is that I pulled them all out of the packaging and washed them all in my type-A prep, so now I can’t return them.
Receiving blankets are useless for a few reasons.
First, they are too small to really wrap a baby up well. Second, they’re stuffy and don’t breathe well. If you live in a really cold area, I can see justifying maybe one or two. Honestly, there are a lot of better, multi-functional options out there.
Finally, they’re awfully lint-producing and fuzzy. I’d grab one and try to use it just so it wasn’t wasted only to find I couldn’t bring myself to do it for fear that the fuzz would end up in my baby’s eyes or mouth.
I now have a drawer-full of neatly folded receiving blankets that will sit there until I can think of something creative to do with them.
I found muslin blankets to be a much better option. They’re quite a bit larger so you can wrap baby up nicely. They’re airy and breathable, and virtually fuzz-less. They also make great nursing covers and drape nicely over a baby carrier or stroller for shade. And, let’s just be honest, they’re way cuter.
Word of advice: Don’t even bother with receiving blankets.
2020 Update: My son is now 19 months old and I still have not used a single receiving blanket up to this point.
5 baby must-haves that were actually must-not’s
#2: Patterned Socks
They’re just so cute! They are so tiny and you can so easily imagine baby’s itty-bitty feet in them! All those shapes, patterns and color combos are just too tempting to pass up!
The truth of it all is that your baby’s feet are going to grow way faster than you think–that’s what I discovered, anyway. I ended up with so many patterned socks it was unreal.
I carefully cut all those plastic connectors off and put them dutifully in the garbage to avoid any choking hazards. It took forever. And all that effort was wasted because not only did I not have enough time for baby to wear them all before his feet outgrew them, the color combos were unrealistic and hardly matched my baby’s outfits.
You may be different, but I like my baby’s socks to match his outfits. Most of my baby’s shirts had a pattern going on, then I’d pair it with some pants, and then I’d rummage through all those pairs of socks to find a matching set.
I’d end up opting for solids or simple colors every time. All those other pairs of socks wound up falling out onto the floor during my search, so then I had to stoop down and pick up uselessly patterned socks and shove them back into the bin.
In the long run, making the effort to sort the socks and put them away wasn’t worth my time.
I found that solids worked so much better–they match multiple outfits and are way easier to maintain.
Another word of advice: The taller socks don’t fall off as easily. The shorter socks have a tendency to come right off baby’s feet during all the wiggling and kicking.
#3: Boon Grass Twig
This one makes me sad. I love the Boon Grass counter top drying rack. It’s really useful and I love having a designated spot to put Kai’s dishes and toys once they’re washed. Getting the Boon Grass rack was a no-brainer and the twig was easily lumped in. It’s just so cute!
And so useless.
I wanted to like it–I really did, but after months of trying to justify it, I couldn’t do it. The idea of having the twig is to hang pacifiers, bottle nipples and other, smaller items from the branches.
Sounds great and inventive, right?
The reality is that there isn’t anything the twig offers that you can’t get out of the Boon Grass rack itself. Boon Grass has little “grass blades” that keep the baby items suspended, allowing them to air dry. The twig is the exact same concept, only more limited on what it can hold.
It’s really just a super cute up-sell.
If you can’t resist, it’s not a terrible thing to have around. Just bear in mind you could probably save the expense and use the money for more baby hangers (you’ll probably need more of those).
#4: Newborn Mittens
These things are adorable, and the proposed purpose is super useful. I fell in love with the idea, I’ve seen them on babies everywhere, so I just had to have a pair–or ten.
I used the baby mittens on Kai for about 2 weeks. After that, he outgrew them. They went from an adorable and protective item to a source of complete frustration.
I was forever searching for the “lost mitten”.
I ended up using only 2 pairs out of the many I’d purchased and received as gifts.
Yes, they help keep baby from scratching his face. Babies have a natural flailing reflex and they tend to rub their arms and hands on their faces and heads. While that is the reason we put mittens on babies, it’s also the reason the mittens are constantly coming off.
As baby gets bigger and stronger, the mittens come off after just one pr two passes over the face.
They do serve a purpose, but I promise you don’t need as many as you think you do. You need 1 pair of baby mittens.
Okay, maybe 2, so that WHEN you lose one, you have a backup pair, because you will lose one.
HACK: If baby is particularly prone to flailing and scratching his face, use a pair of socks over his hands. The socks go up baby’s arms and stay in place better. Use a larger pair of socks that aren’t tight on baby’s arms. It’s not as attractive as those darling mittens, but at least baby will be able to keep them on.
#5: Heavy-Weight Sleep Sacks
The concept of sleep sacks is to provide extra warmth to your baby without the hazard of them smothering. If this is your first baby, be prepared for your baby’s pediatrician to ask you how and where your baby is sleeping at every appointment, making sure you aren’t putting blankets on your baby during the night.
I’m not going to give a recommendation about that particular subject. My belief is that you’re the mama, you decide what your baby needs and what works best. How you choose to keep your baby warm is between you and your pediatrician
If you prefer to use methods other than blankets, the idea of a sleep sack may appeal to you. Essentially, a sleep sack is a wearable blanket, zipping up and enclosing baby snugly inside.
Most have arm holes for baby’s arms to be free and open. The concept behind this is to lower the risk of smothering or SIDS–Sudden Infant Death Syndrome.
Something to consider is that a baby overheating can also raise the risk of SIDS, which makes me scratch my head when I think about the thick, heavy sleep sacks on the market.
As far as my son goes, Kai tends to grow rather warm while he sleeps–especially his feet. I’ve checked on him to find his feet sweating from being enclosed in footed pajamas–even lightweight ones. For that reason, I never once used the heavy-weight sleep sacks–and here’s why.
You Have to Double Up
Most of them have no sleeves, which means baby’s arms will grow quite cold in the night without a long-sleeved onesie or pajamas under the sleep sack. Combining that with a heavy-weight sleep sack is going to make things hot and uncomfortable for baby.
I used the light-weight, muslin or 100% cotton sleep sacks over a cotton, long-sleeved onesie in the beginning. Now, Kai doesn’t really prefer sleep sacks at all.
If you’re planning on using sleep sacks, start with the lightweight options first.
Another bit of advice: start with only one and see how you like it. You may decide to forego sleep sacks completely.
That’s My List of 5 Baby Must-Haves That Were Actually Must-Not’s
I hope this list saves you some frustration, time, effort and money in the long run. Keep in mind there is no one-list-fits-all when it comes to baby items. Every mama is going to make small changes as she goes.
But if you’re like me, you may find that having these suggestions to draw from will give some peace of mind and another perspective to help you out.
Much support to you, Mama!