13 Baby Products That Are a Waste of Money

Here's a list of baby gear you can do without.

My husband and I had our second child last winter. We are procrastinators by nature and never had a chance to get our baby gear out of storage before my daughter was born. Five months later, a lot of that gear is still hidden somewhere in the garage and we’ve realized how much of it is unnecessary.

Sure, you need a lot of stuff when you have a baby but there’s also a lot of stuff you DON’T need. As my 3-year-old son’s toys continue to take over the entire house, I find myself wanting to unload as much as I can. So in the spirit of paring down, saving money and stopping the madness, here’s a list of 13 baby items you can do without.

1. Diaper Genie – The idea of keeping a dirty diaper (compacted or not) in my kid’s room for an extended period of time has never appealed to me. We throw all the dirty diapers into the trash, which we take out daily. The really stinky ones go straight to the outside garbage.

2. Wee Block –The sales pitch: “Just cover baby before diapering, and let the soft, absorbent dome catch your little guy’s geysers.” When I got this as a gift for my son, appropriately dubbed Lil’ Squirt, I thought it was cute. Maybe it was me, but we still had accidents and it was just another thing I had to constantly wash.

3. Bottle sanitizer –Save yourself some kitchen counter space and toss the bottle pieces into a pot of boiling water or the dishwasher.

4. Bottle warmer – If you’re willing to wait a few extra minutes (the bottle warmer is supposed to be faster), that same pot of boiling water can be used to warm your baby’s milk.

5. Wipe warmer – Save the electricity and space you’ll need to use this contraption by holding the wipes in your hands for a few seconds instead.

6. Baby powder – It smells great but as far as I can tell, it serves no purpose. Plus the talc in the powders can be dangerous if inhaled.

7. Diaper caddy –I’m not the most organized person which could explain why I have no use for this. When I need to change my daughter anyplace other than her changing table, I just grab what I need. If I’m going out, I already have everything in the diaper bag.

8. Receiving blankets –They’re too big to be used as burp cloths and too small to swaddle my baby. I already have blankets and changing pads so I’m not sure what to do with these except stack them in my daughter’s dresser.

9. Hand mittens – I needed these because my son scratched his face but they never stayed on for more than 30 seconds. The better alternative: Long sleeve shirts (like the ones your baby wears in the hospital) with sleeves that fold over your baby’s hands.

10. Baby food processor – If you already have a food processor, you really don’t need another one just for your baby.

11. Video baby monitor – We got a fancy, expensive video monitor when my son was born. The picture quality wasn’t great and we quickly realized that all we needed was to hear him. It turns out the sound on a much cheaper analog baby monitor is just as clear.

12. Baby Einstein DVDs – It’s no surprise that watching these DVDs won’t turn your baby into a genius. She won’t become a connoisseur of classical music or fine art either. Disney admitted as much when the company offered refunds on the videos and DVDs. Instead, try reading, singing, talking and playing with your baby. When you both need a TV break (television is NOT the enemy in my house), give Yo Gabba Gabba a try. My kids love it (in moderation, of course).

13. Shopping cart coverAs germ-laden as shopping carts are, there’s no evidence that a cover will protect your kid from getting sick. If you’re worried about germs, like most of us are, wash your baby’s hands often and use a baby wipe to clean your cart.

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Originally Published in Reader's Digest