I have a few friends who are pregnant and I’m trying really hard not to be too pushy on what they buy for their babies. I was looking over the baby gift registry for one of the girls at BabiesRUs and attempted to give her my recommendations (again, without being pushy). After glancing at the must-have list that BabiesRUs provides new parents I decided it was time to make my own list of must-NOT baby registry items.
10 Things You Can Leave OFF Your Baby Registry
- Disposable diapers. What? Don’t babies need diapers? Yes, but did you know that disposable diapers are full of toxins and chemicals? Your baby is going to be in diapers almost 24 hrs a day for the first 2-4 years of their life. Modern cloth diapers have come a long way since we were kids. They come in fun colors and prints and are just as easy to use as disposable diapers. What about the poop? As a parent I promise you that you will touch poop – even with disposable diapers. Put the poop where it belongs – in the toilet! Cloth diapers are eco-friendly, healthy for your baby, and will save you a TON of money. I promise you cloth diapering is not as hard as you think; just ask my doubting husband who is now a cloth diaper advocate himself.
- Formula. Women are made with an amazing ability to feed our children naturally. Breastfeeding is one of the best things you can do for your children. Mothers milk is full of nutrition that will not only help your baby but will help you as well. Mothers who breastfeed are less likely to get breast cancer. Breastfeeding isn’t always easy and no, not every mother is capable of successfully breastfeeding. However, I think that our society and our medical professionals make it too easy for us to give up on breastfeeding. Don’t buy the formula to have as a back up – your baby won’t starve. Work with a lactation consultant or breastfeeding specialist before, during, and after birth to ensure that you and your baby obtain the support you need.
- Baby Bjorn (and other forward facing baby carriers). *Note: Since writing this originally there have been several forward facing carriers that have been introduced that are much more ergonomical. I love the fact that parents want to wear their babies. It is one of the easiest and most comfortable ways to carry your baby. Baby wearing should however mimic the natural way that we carry our babies. The problems with Baby Bjorn and other similar carriers is that they aren’t ergonomically correct. Look at the picture below to see the difference in the way a baby sits in a Bjorn-like carrier versus a soft-structured carrier (like Ergo or Onya Baby). There are many different types and styles of baby carriers that are safe, comfortable, and easy to use. Wrap slings, ring slings, pouch slings, mei tais and soft structured carriers are a better option. One of the newer lines that offers six different positions (including forward facing) is the lillebaby line.
- Strollers. OK – this one is optional but I have to tell you that ours just got dusty sitting in the garage. I’m not a big shopper so I don’t go to the mall often. When we do go out places where a stroller might be helpful we ended up wearing our kids instead. Traveling was so much easier with our baby carrier because it was one (two actually) less thing we had to lug around. We did end up using our umbrella style stroller a lot when they got older. Even today we use our $19.99 cheapie stroller for my toddler at Disney and other places where we will be walking a lot. Jogging strollers? If you are an athlete/runner and you really want to take your baby along with you then by all means invest in a good stroller. When (if) I run, I want to be alone and leave the little one home with daddy.
- Anything Johnson & Johnson’s brand! Baby wash, baby moisturizer, and bubble bath are very useful (and needed) BUT please don’t buy Johnson & Johnson. Their products are full of unnecessary ingredients, artificial fragrances, and artificial colors that a baby doesn’t need. Many of these ingredients are considered toxic and may make your sensitive baby’s skin worse! Don’t be fooled by their natural or organic lines either – they aren’t exactly natural or organic! Instead look for products from Earth Mama Angel Baby, EcoStore USA, Episencial, Tot Logic, and Dolphin Organics. These brands may even be found locally. To find out more about what ingredients are in your baby products visit the Environmental Working Groups Skin Deep Database.
- Baby tubs. Yes, you need to bathe your baby every few days but those bulky plastic baby tubs are cumbersome and awkward. We mostly washed our baby in a sink when they were little and in the tub as they got older. The newer wash pods or tummy tubs would be a better option than the traditional baby tubs.
- Bulb nose suckers. This picture was circulated on Facebook last week from a Huffington Post article about those nasty nose suckers that you leave the hospital with. While we rarely used ours I’m afraid to open it up and see what is on the inside. I think I still have the same one my son used (and he’s almost 10 yrs old). The newer nose aspirators like Nose Frida or Nasopure are much safer and more effective.
- Bottles. For starters you probably won’t need bottles for the first few weeks if you are able to successfully breastfeed (see #2 above). If you do have to return to work (or plan on leaving the baby for a few hours) you will need a few bottles but don’t go overboard on buying one certain brand or style until you know if your baby will even accept them. When shopping for bottles consider glass or BPA-free bottles and make sure that you get a nipple that most mimics the mothers breast.
- Pacifiers. This is another item that babies don’t NEED. Neither of my children even accepted them when offered. Pacifiers can cause nipple confusion to breastfed babies and aren’t necessary. My son was a thumb sucker (and yes, he sucked his thumb for a long time) but my daughter didn’t take a paci or her thumb. If you decide to try a pacifier to calm a cranky baby be sure you get one that is BPA and phthalate-free.
- Crib. If you really want to cut back your expenses and go the natural route a crib might be optional. Co-sleeping has become very popular and many parents find that they and their babies get a better night sleep when they share a bed. A cosleeper or bassinet might be more useful than a crib. While both of my children slept in a crib, we also spent several nights a week with our baby by our side. It’s not uncommon for my toddler to find her way into our bed even now.
Alright, so some of these items are optional and the majority of us will end up getting a crib for our nursery. I just wish that the big retailers would start looking at baby registries from a different, modern, and eco-friendly perspective. If you have questions about any of these suggestions please leave them in the comments section below. You can read all about our cloth diapering, baby wearing, and natural parenting journey in my archives. Just click the links in this article for more tips.
What about you? What one product did you find completely useless after having a baby? Don’t agree? That’s OK too – that’s part of what makes us all unique!Disclosure: Some of the links in their article may be affiliate links. No company or brand sponsored this post or asked to be included. These are all products that I love dearly and used with my kids.