Baby Items You Don’t Need

It’s so hard to believe that my baby isn’t a baby anymore, he’s a toddler!  This past weekend I was putting away the last of the baby stuff.  It  got me thinking about all the baby stuff out there.  It would be easy to drop a few grand on baby stuff. My list contains items from my experience as a mom and my knowledge as a pediatric physical therapist.

Baby Items You DON'T NEED - Pink Oatmeal
Photo Credit: Rosy Cheeks Photography

This post contains affiliate links.  Products I recommend are only those that I love or personally use.

My list was developed from a lot of questions from friends and family.  Many of them thought that you had to buy some of these items  or weren’t sure if they should even be using them and had a lot of questions about them.  Most people have some of these items.  I totally get it, we need to put down our baby every once in a while!  I had a few of them too, baby equipment isn’t necessarily a bad thing it’s the overuse of equipment that we want to stay away from. I actually used a laundry basket, diaper box, or my favorite, the play yard, when I needed a few minutes.  I’m hoping that moms will find some of the information useful when selecting or deciding how they want to use their products or limiting the amount they decide to use. I’ve added links to all the posts that go into detail about the different items and give great alternatives or other ways to utilize the product.

Baby Items You Don’t Need

Baby Walkers –  When I refer to a baby walker I’m meaning the type that a baby sits in, not the type that is pushed while the baby walks.  I really like those.  I think the terminology gets super confusing, for me at least! The walkers baby sit in are dangerous and studies have actually shown that they can delay motor development.  Canada has actually made them illegal because of the dangers. You can read more in my post about the dangers of baby walkers.

Baby Jumpers – We had one from a friend.  I’ll admit when I put my son in it he thought it was pretty fun.  Unfortunately, the positioning wasn’t optimal especially if used for long periods of time.  Moderation is key.  I have a more detailed post on this in my post about baby jumpers and get some good alternatives for when you need a minute.

Baby Shoes – I’ll admit I was guilty of wanting to buy baby shoes.  I quickly learned they are cute for a picture or two but that’s about it. Plus, in my case he was always pulling them off. In reality, barefoot is actually best for your baby, even when they are learning to walk.  I always try to compare it to walking on a balance beam.  I’d much rather be barefoot than with my shoes on. If you want to learn more about what you really need to know about baby shoes here.

The Bumbo Seat – I was torn on this and ended up putting one on my registry.  In my experience it was only usable for a few weeks in short bouts. For some it works better and in moderation and at the right time.  The cost versus time used wasn’t worth it for me. Read more about my Bumbo seat experience and when they are appropriate for a baby.

The Exersaucer – I found my laundry basket or diaper box were better options and far less money. In moderation, people have used these without issue when their baby’s were strong enough to maintain good positioning.  It is no doubt a safe way to contain your baby when you are busy. There is always the danger of too much time spent in these. Mama OT has an excellent post on Exersaucers: The good, the bad, and the better with great suggestions on different ways to use one and alternatives.

Baby Carriers With Improper Support – These baby carriers are often referred to as “crotch danglers” by avid baby wearers.  Baby carriers are fabulous for your baby when you select a carrier that provides appropriate positioning for your baby.  You can read about positioning considerations in this post.

In summary, moderation is key when it comes to baby equipment.  If there is a product that works for you just be careful not to overuse it or pass baby from product to product with little floor time or time to explore their environment.  You may find that you don’t need much of this baby equipment you thought you needed!

What baby products worked for you and what baby product(s) would have been better off left on the shelf?  Did any of these items surprise you?

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40 thoughts on “Baby Items You Don’t Need”

  1. I agree that travel systems are a waste of money but I think if you are going to save money there are a lot of not $700 dollars strollers that you can still love.

    When I think unnecessary items I think wipe warmers or bed sets with bumpers and giant comforters, give me some crib sheets and sleep sacks.

    Also, while I agree that the exersaucer isn’t the greatest invention, if you are trying to get pasta off the stove safely with two kids under 3, 15 minutes here or there isn’t going to hurt anyone. My kids all walked at 10 months so I am pretty sure it didn’t hinder their development.

    1. I agree with you there are plenty. I just wanted to share the one that I had because I could personally speak to that stroller. The goal of the post was to pass along information on different products and realize they may not need them or as many of them as they thought. Also to share links to much more detailed information on each product so moms can decide how they want to utilize different items. Thanks for reading.

      1. I’m so sorry it came across as that. By no means was that the intention. The intention was to make it short and as consise as possible which may have come across with the the wrong tone.

  2. Completely agree with you on the baby carriers, I hate seeing legs dangling when they could be tucked round in a far more natural position. I have a Connecta Integra which I love and still carry my 18 month old (although he prefers to walk now on shorter trips).

    We had a bumbo when he was little and although it did only last a couple of months, we found that it was great for introducing him to family meals.
    Great post, thanks 🙂

    1. I had a Bumbo too which you probably saw from the link in the post! For some people it works great in moderation but for the cost it was one of those items I didn’t feel necessary. There is a lot of debate on this one! Thanks for reading!

  3. I didn’t agree with this article and I’ll tell you why.
    As much as I am sure you are probably right about some of the dangers of many baby items, I can’t imagine that they are as bad as you have made them out to be here.
    Putting a baby in any of the above items for too long would probably be a bad idea but to write off these items and things you don’t need is ridiculous. Reason being: of course we don’t NEED any of them. Babies were raised for thousands f years without anything really. And they survived. But they survive now as well, and any baby item aside from food and soap is pretty much a convenience rather than a necessity.
    That being said, I am a mother of twin babies and if I didn’t have most of the above mentions items I would have needed medication a long time ago. I don’t even need someplace to put baby for a minute to myself as much as I need it for a minute to tend to the other baby.

    1. You are right! I’m not disagreeing moms need a break, I’m with you. I was hoping to pass along information on all of the different products so moms had more knowledge on each product and great alternatives. The links in each product give detailed information on each product to help parents make educated decisions on what they use and how often they use it and if they really want to use it.

    2. So are you saying that mothers who need medication aren’t as good of a mother as you are? And FYI, not all babies have survived. There will always be products made for babies that pose risks; unfortunately sometimes babies get hurt before those risks are identified

  4. As a working mom of multiples I have to disagree with several things on this list. The travel system was a must and so was the jumper and exasaucer.

  5. I agree with you on all items mentioned above….for shoes, we live in a very hot place, but he will wear it only when necessary. …for travel system, I have one but do not use the car seat in the car, different car seat….for all other items, I can understand why mothers would use it…..I am fortunate that I do not have to use these items, I have created a very laid back home environment and everything can wait while attending to my baby….

  6. Thank you for this post. I agree there are many things parents need and a lot of things that parents don’t really need. Many items are for convenience which are always nice to have around. As a mom with a toddler with developmental delays, working with OTs and PTs, I know how bad some these items are for development. However, most parents are (unknowingly) completely unaware of the potential dangers. There wasn’t any info on baby sites/books that I read about these items, as well as conditions like hip dysplasia. My DD just got out of a full body spica cast to correct hip dysplasia. LO was born with dysplasia, but as I learned about the condition, 4 items listed on this list can directly cause hip dysplasia in babies who were born with healthy hips. Thank you for posts like this. This is important stuff. I read several negative comments and that makes me sad that some parents are ignorant of the facts that some common baby convenience items are not totally and completely safe. (it’s kinda like fast food: you know the dangers (or maybe you don’t) but you eat the French fries anyway.)

    1. You are correct. I feel many of these products are not needed in my opinion and linked to posts that go into detail as to why I feel that way with alternative suggestions. Every parent can make their decisions based on their situation and needs. Thank you for reading.

  7. I agree with most of these..
    BUMBO: waste of money and used for a week
    JUMPER: my daughter LOVED it and we got great value out of it, (but i got it second hand for free) i didn’t really use it when i needed to get things done though.. we always played in it together.
    SIT IN WALKERS not necessary and probably more trouble than they’re worth
    BASSINETTE: unnecessary and a waste of $
    BEDDING except for the fitted sheet -largely useless until they’re 2 and you’re putting them into a bed -doonas, cot bumpers, pillows, air wraps, flat sheets etc..
    BOUNCERS: My daughter really didn’t like hers, so it got used maybe twice.. it wasn’t fancy though and didn’t do the whole music, vibrations etc etc thing
    SHOES yep.. totally useless, and impossible to keep on!
    HIGHCHAIR i hated it as much as my daughter did! as soon as she could sit straight on her own -about 6 months we got one that clamps onto the table so she could eat with us and she was miles happier!

  8. None of these are necessary. Because they are marketed to parents the way they are, parents feel as though they need these to survive. While I am not the mom of multiples I did have 3 kids under the age of 4. We did not have any of these in our home. Was it hard sometimes…yes. We survived. I cringe when people think these are a must for a registry.

    1. Yes I agree many of my friends and family thought many of these were a must when a simple laundry basket or play yard work great in times when you need a break. The marketing is fabulous for these companies! Thanks for reading!

  9. I am a mother of two young boys , 20 months apart, so I definitely understand the need to be able to walk away for a moment. However I found your article interesting and educational. I own and use a jumper and exercising and a walker. I was under the impression they were good for baby to learn how to use his legs. I will be eliminating 2 and drastically reducing the amount of time he spends in the third. Sorry you have gotten so much grief for this article. Thanks for posting! God bless!

  10. I actually enjoyed reading this. I am a mother of two and when others ask, I believe there is certainly a LOT of baby items that we don’t “need”. Of course majority of items are solely for convenience. Readers should simply read and consider that items were helpful for some and not necessary for others.

    People often think I was crazy, but personally we never even owned a baby monitor, out house is small and noises are easily heard, therefore I could put my opinion that a monitor is not a “need.” However I admit and understand that for others it may be.

    I think the overall point is we spend a heck of a lot of money on baby gear, use it briefly, and then see mountains of items for super cheap at consignment sales. What a waste!

    Buy/register/use whatever you want, but know there are a TON of items you “do not need.”

  11. I am sorry for youthat you got negative comments. You are Spot On! The more you hold and carry your child, the better for them. I have looked at equipment and thought that a child could go hour uponhourand not be held. Me: I WORE my babies, as Dr. Sears recommended.The time is short. Enjoy, cuddle, carry, hold….

  12. What is the difference between having a travel system or a stroller (like the vista) that has a car seat adapter? Both accomplish the same goal – putting wheels on the car seat….

    1. They give you the option to use the bassinet which results in a position change for your baby plus a little more room to move. I never actually had the adapter for my vista but I can see why people would for short trips, but still have the option for the bassinet when it would be for longer trips.

  13. Great article! As a first time mom it was good to read the pros and cons of these items from an OT view. Some people have commented these items saved them time and therefore worth buying into the hype of the product. But in the long run, when they have to start taking their children to specialist it won’t be saving them time on something that could have potentially been prevented. I want what is developmentally best for my little one from the start. Thank you!

  14. I think people are misunderstanding your article. It’s based on your opinion after being a mother. I valued your insights and experience. My little girl is due in January. I like having as much information as possible, so thank you for your article.

  15. I agree that some are pointless but each kid is different. One of our kids wouldn’t sleep in the crib but the other would. Toys my first son wouldn’t play with and the play pen he didn’t want to be in. My second child loves his jumper. So it really depends one the child.

  16. I thought this post was wonderfully written and sensible! I’m expecting my first child and I’ve just come back to see if there were links to anything else you had written.

    I too was expecting to read about -I really don’t know- how you don’t need a nappy changing table – or more obvious things. For you to be so brave and talk about how ‘travel systems’ (‘what you really need is a travel system’ falls out of many a mouth in my direction, the expectant new mum who has no space/money and likes the idea of a sling) are not really needed and encourage babies to spend so much time in a car seat unnecessarily, is very refreshing.

    Are you American? I don’t normally comment, but I read some constructive criticism in the posts and I just wanted to share some utter thanks for your sensible tone and solidarity. So much stuff of the internet these days is nonsense and either like : something out of ‘overheard in waitrose’ (generic posh supermarket) or ‘overheard in asda’ (generic cheap and not ecologically conscious supermarket).

    Thanks for the tip about the laundry basket, and also, let’s face it people, jumpers and walker things are for a few mins emergencies every now and again… Who has the space?

    Looking forward to reading more of your common sense and basically basic truths that are presented in a conscientious, informative, loving manner.

    Thanks again, Sarah in Britain.

  17. My personal preference is I do use a baby jumper or jolly jumper as its called here. But it’s only for about 15 mins a day if my daughter is awake when it’s time to feed up the animals. She can see me and all of what I’m doing without being out in the harsh Australian sun. She loves her time in the jolly jumper. And I never started her in it until she started pulling her self up. I think all things are in moderation. Most of the time my little one runs havic all around my living room.

  18. I agree with everything but the stroller/travel system remarks. I adored my infant car seat that could click into it’s base in the car, in the stroller, and allow my baby to finish napping back at home. The position was perfect to help with reflux as my baby’s head was elevated just right. I took a look at the stroller you recommend and I have to admit I never knew you could spend nearly a thousand dollars just on a stroller! Wouldn’t you rather start a college fund? Granted I have never splurged on an expensive stoller but really, how much better can it actually be?

  19. baby carrier is the most genious thing ever invented !
    u r either using it all wrong or u r not the type for it.
    but saying its useless?!? Well that’s just wrong!

  20. Reading your post has made me reassured that when I bought baby items I didn’t get dupped into buying things I didn’t need. I had a walker but the type where you push along and I also had a carrier but I always got ones won’t good support the carrier was so helpful. But I didn’t get any of the other stuff and my boys are now 5 and 1 independent and full of intelligence and awareness of their surroundings. My advice only buy the essential s no matter what others say. If it doesn’t feel right it a not for you.

  21. So, I completely enjoyed reading your list. However, I disagree with most of it. I feel that my son’s Johnny Jump Up Jumper and his saucer and walker are what led to him walking at 9 months. And baby shoes, if not introduced at a young enough age will become such a problem later. He went barefoot until he was 11 months. I figured 2 months of walking without shoes was good… Learning balance and whatnot. Only, when he started daycare at 11, they will not allow a walker to go barefoot. He quit walking. It took weeks to get him to walk in shoes.

    Overall I understand your reasoning and respect your parenting style.

    While I can disagree… Every parent is right in the choices made for their own child.

  22. I agree with a lot of the ideas as not needed, I think so many more thing are not needed before these. Example baby wipe warmer and bottle warmer. The Bumbo is a nice idea but my son had terrible acid reflex and every time I put him in he would baby spit up due to the pressure in his tummy. He was crawling at 5 months and walking at 9 month. So then never wanting to go back in these items. But I loved the saucer it gave me time to shower without hauling out the heavy pack and play yard. I think with anything development delay only occurs when things are over done, but in moderation it is fine. As my child crawled and walk early and used all these things for short periods of time as needed. The other thing I feel shouldn’t be on the list travel system. This has been a life savers for me – for our many airport travels, trips to the store during nap time or teething moments where an outside walk was needed for some rest. Of course if awake he was up and in the cart but so many situations where it could be used well.

  23. Baby shoes for looks? Yes, totally useless!! Baby shoes for warmth during my insane winters? A must! But hey, bulky baby winter boots are still adorable!

  24. Thank u for this post. I knew baby walkers where bad but I didn’t realize exasaucer and jumpers where not good for there body as well. I used a jumperoo around 7 months old for my son a few times back in 2008 now with the new baby I was planning on an exasaucer that turns into a walk behind toy and a jumperoo again…but now I will not be making those purchases and will invest in more on the floor toys! Thanks for the article I appericated the mommy aspect and the physical therapist aspect!

  25. Jesica Greenberg

    My son first experienced the Johnny jumper in his baby class at MyGym & he absolutely loved it so I purchased one for him to use. He only used it a few times at home. He liked it in his class because he interacted with the other babies.

    I’m happy you wrote about the Bumboo seat. I was on the fence about buying one. I definitely wanted to buy it. I actually did on two separate occasions but my bf made me return it, which after reading this I’m happy I did.

    My son also was hit or miss with the jumper/saucer. He liked it in the beginning then he absolutely hated it the older & more interactive he became. He would fight me when I tried sitting him in it. Now that he is a year old he is okay with sitting in it for short periods of time. If I’m busy with laundry or the dishes. He just has to be nearby watching me.

    I believe wipey warmers are by far the dumbest baby item I’ve ever seen.

    Also I’m not a fan of the big high chairs. My son has one that attaches to the table I believe I purchased it for $25 max. The only issue is when he spills or has a diaper blowout. It is cloth where he sits & it’s kind of a challenge to disassemble it to throw it in the washer. Then he has no high chair when it’s being cleaned. Also you definitely need a proper table to attach it too. He bumps/scraps his knees getting into the chair so he has bruises on his legs now. He is a little guy with medium sized legs. Definitely not chunky legs but there is still not enough of a gap between the table & his legs when he initially sits down. So we had to purchase a second high chair. It was roughly the same cost & it attaches to a table chair & it has 3 different levels of adjustment. His legs don’t scrap the table anymore but now he can barely reach the table. That’s just an issue with the table chair we have though. I also do not like this chair because we had to use up one of the table chairs. So now I have to use a metal fold out chair for myself. A plus though is it is defiantly easy to clean & attach to different chairs.

    Baby swings are a must by the way! I purchased 2. And I ended up returning the most expensive one that had multiple features with lights & sounds & a cord to connect you phone/head phone jack into to play music directly from your phone or youtube videos…. It was unnecessary.

    I know I’ve spent countless amounts of money on purchasing ridiculous baby items but I have one happy baby.

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