Don’t buy these things (or spend as little money as possible on them), or you’ll be kicking yourself later!
Ok, so they’re cute and most kids like one or two fuzzy friends in their beds. But for some reason, adults are just drawn to buy these things for babies and they are hardly ever, ever played with as babies or toddlers.
Bottle/diaper wipe warmer
I agree that babies totally hate the cold wipes. But they are going to have to get used to them sometime. Pampering them with warm wipes is only going to make it harder. Plus, it means you only have one place you can change them that is nice. For bottles, just microwave the bottle quickly and SHAKE IT! You don’t get “hot spots” that burn unless you forget the shaking part. Or forget the heat altogether. You’ll be thankful you did, later.
They are cute, and you may even catch your baby looking at it. But in general, it appeals to mom’s decorative desires, not usefulness. Plus, for safety, they should be taken off by about six or seven months old.
Diaper Champ/Diaper Genie
Now you have two things that get poopy! If the diaper smells, putting them in a special canister is not going to help anything for long =) Moreover, do you really want to buy something that requires special trash bags? (the Genie). This is the craziest thing. We’ve had three children in diapers at a time for several years now, and by far and away the best strategy is to put an outside trash can (empty or bagged) close to a window and throw or drop your dirty diapers out there immediately. No smell, no hassle.
If you want an intermediate, effective option, hang a plastic grocery bag on the changing table and use that. (Or get one ready by your knees if you are changing on the floor). Grocery bags are free, crunchable, tie-able, and great for either dealing with a huge mess right away or storing a couple wet ones at a time until you’re ready to throw it out. We kept these in our car, diaper bag, etc., for all our diaper/trash needs.
Baby Soaps, shampoos, lotions, toothpastes, laundry detergent
Except for a bottle or two of Johnson & Johnson in the first couple months of bathing your newborn, there is no need for all this special goop. It is all just advertising. Moreover, you want your child to get used to the products you normally use unless they have severe allergies. And you want their skin to toughen up a bit so they are healthy. Dreft is unnecessary, and so is baby oil, powders, and bubble bath (just get some Suave, VO5, or whatever 99c. shampoo is on sale and rustle around the bathwater so it foams). Kid’s toothpastes aren’t any safer either–they just have sweetener, sparkles, and/or cartoons.
The only exception to kids products that I have found is diaper rash cream. Desitin/Balmex is ok, but even then, Aquaphor is the best for serious rashes and that’s not a kids’ product.
Until they are walking, they are just for decoration. And decoration that you will be picking up everywhere when they kick them off like all babies do! Imagine how much money you will spend on shoes (even Walmart, at $6.99-$9.99 ea) for a year, and then imagine yourself flushing that down a toilet! (Or, more likely, dropping it in some store in the mall). That’s what’s going to happen. Booties and socks are debatably better, but bare feet or pants with “footies” are still the hands-down best options.
Anyone who has ever tried to get a baby into or out of a real snowsuit absolutely knows what I’m talking about. Not only do they hate it, but they are too big and poofy. Then try getting them into a carseat!! No way. Trust me. They have good intent, but settle for a normal size coverup (with footies and a hood) and then pile on the blankets instead. At least you can cocoon them up or take them off.
Snowsuits for toddler are just as silly since they can’t walk while they’re in them =) Settle for a good jacket and some water resistant sports pants over or under skinnier sweatpants.
Any toy that sings a song or makes noises!! (DAD READ THIS AND SAID, “AMEN!”)
Think twice (or three times, four times, or more) before you buy ANYTHING that sings or makes sounds. It will be your child’s favorite toy for sure, but it will likely drive you crazy by the time the first day is over. With our babies and toddlers, we had a strategy where they were allowed to use their noisy toys, but they had to play with them privately in their cribs or room, where we all couldn’t hear them repeat a trillion times. This worked well because it limited the number of noisy toys, but then they also got to like having a little roomtime because that’s where their special noisemakers were.
Nursery furniture with open areas/shelves/buckets
It looks practical and stylish in catalogs, but your crawler or walker will very likely get into them, more than once. Even under the best supervision, your buckets and baskets will probably turn into a mish-mash of stored stuff as you (or someone else) throws odds and ends in there, or picks them up after a spill. If you’re going to do baskets, make sure they’re up high!