Your baby doesn't need any of the following items. But be honest with yourself: these items aren't for the baby. They're for you. Yes, this money would probably be better off in a college fund, but sometimes you need a treat too. Here are 10 things you don't need in the order you'll probably be buying them.
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Muslin swaddling blankets.
They're beautiful. They're breathable. You don't yet know if your baby will even want to be swaddled. But you'll buy them anyway because your peanut will look gorgeous in his instagram debut. If your blankets are collecting dust after the baby's through swaddling, check out our list of upcycle ideas.
A nursing pillow.
Any pillow is a nursing pillow. Your baby has not yet developed an opinion about pillow shape or fill level. Regular pillows can be more easily washed than many nursing pillow with permanently-attached covers. But nursing pillows like this one give you a little hug each time you use them. Can standard pillows do that?
A baby monitor.
A watched pot never boils. Does a watched baby never sleep? One great way for you and baby to sleep through the night is to stop listening to your baby all night. You'll learn to sleep through unimportant noises, and baby, having a slightly slower response time from you, may start soothing herself sooner. But face it: you're going to check that the baby is still breathing hundreds of times in those first months. A monitor like the Dropcam reassures without constant interruption. You can access the Dropcam from your phone, so parents who are away from the house can still check in on their little ones.
Note: Dropcam was recently purchased by Nest, so if you own both devices you can control temperature and video monitoring from a single app. Then again, you will have done a small share in ushering in the robot rebellion.
These seem horribly impractical, because your baby will be erupting all hours of the day and night. But thanks to the magic of OxiClean, they can be easily washed. They'll match any other piece of baby clothing you might be gifted, making it easier to dress baby for photo ops with aunties, uncles, and grandparents. Any brand will do, but Disney offers impressively thick and cuddly ones.
Babies don't need tiny shoes. But you probably do, if for nothing else than keeping baby's claws off of your favorite sweater. Babies do not have to wear fancy shoes, but if you want to have hordes of strangers compliment your baby, our money goes on Sperrys. Baby shoes can be as expensive as their adult counterparts, so set price alerts on camelcamelcamel and buy a few sizes when your favorites go on sale.
If you're not ready to buy shoes yet but want warm footwear on your kiddo, we have yet to see a baby escape these double-snap booties from Zutano. The closures adjust as baby gets bigger, meaning you can get 6 months to a year of use out of them.
A wipe dispenser.
Many large packages of wipes come with their own plastic dispensers. But you almost always need two hands to open them. This one from Oxo only needs one finger to open. Think about how many times you could use an extra hand while changing the baby.
Once you're ready to leave the house with baby, you'll have to leave your awesome wipe dispenser behind. Travel wipe packages are huge, taking up valuable real estate in the diaper bag. Lighten your load with these slim and cute wipe wallets from Uber Mom.
A manual breast pump.
We've already covered why you don't need to buy your own pump, but if you're less-than-thrilled with the milking machine you got through your insurance, or think you may need to do a lot of pumping, you might consider a manual pump. This inexpensive handheld Lansinoh pump is a great value, based on mobility, volume, and comfort.
Movement: If you have time to pump, it will be because you aren't holding the baby and didn't need to sit still. But most electric pumps require you to be sitting, or at least tethered to a pack you carry around. The handheld pump will let you move freely during that precious "me" time. It is also much more convenient on long car trips and in other places where outlets are hard to come by.
Volume: The sound of the Medela will haunt your dreams for years to come. The Lansinoh handheld is whisper-quiet.
Comfort: Despite multiple trips for different flanges and a visit to a lactation consultant, you might never get comfortable with your electric pump. The handheld version lets you pump at your pace, keeping things much more comfortable.
These earthworms from Begin Again are fun to hold, manipulate, and chew. But so are coffee stirrers from Starbucks. Your baby doesn't know the difference, but you do. The earthworm will give you a better photo opp than those green plastic spill savers.
An activity mat.
A diaper box will be equally stimulating. But don't underestimate the value of a clean, laundry-free space on the floor. Slide that mat over to the window and you'll have a great amateur photography studio for early photos of baby. We love this one from Mamas and Papas, but at the price point are tempted to make our own with scrap fabric and polyfill.
A one-handed baby gate.
There are plenty of baby gates that do not cost $100. There are plenty of people who never use baby gates. But if you are going to use one, you are going to open it thousands of times. You are going to be opening it while carrying that second coffee you so desperately need. You really want one-handed access. The Munchkin Loft aluminum gate is excellent: it is sturdy, truly one-handed, and coordinates with industrial and modern decor far better than the ubiquitous flimsy white gates.
And when you don't need it as a gate anymore, it can store a balloon drop for kiddo.