Who among us hasn’t cursed our baby monitors? The unreliability, the irritating static, the inadvertent eavesdropping on neighbors’ conversations, the refusal to play nicely with our cordless phones and other electronics?
We use our phone as a baby monitor, but only because our kids are now old enough to call to us when they need us. When they were babies, our monitor was our lifeline, so having one we could rely on would have been a great relief.
With that in mind, I decided a review of the Philips Digital Baby Monitor SCD589 was worth including here. Before I say anything else, though, I have to talk about the price: about $200. Initially that was a dealbreaker, but when I thought about how much I relied upon my monitor, how crucial its functionality was, and how much baby gear I’ve since figured out is unnecessary (way more than $200-worth), I decided it was a reasonable purchase, at least for those who can afford it or with extremely generous grandparents.
I was sent a model for review a while back and the functionality is, indeed, unmatched by anything I’ve ever used. The sound is crystal-clear, the units can be used as monitors and talk-back speakers, there are built-in lullabies, a night light, and even a temperature gauge. The killer feature, though, is the DECT technology that guarantees zero interference and privacy. I’ll defer to AJ on the details, as he wrote an incredibly detailed review on Thingamababy, but if you’re in the market and the price doesn’t put it out of range (oh my God, I just made a baby monitor pun), it’s worth a look and a listen.
Win it! Readers with kids ages 0-2 (or who are expecting) are invited to jump in the running by answering this question:
What piece of baby gear should NO parent ever buy?
Answer in the comments, or track back from your own blogs. I’ll choose a winner at random tomorrow (Friday, January 19) at 1pm PST.
Tags: Baby, Baby gear, Baby monitors, Parenting, Toddler
Elizabeth Wagner says
Wipes warmer, hands down. Our friends’ kid has one and now screams bloody muder when they use cold or room-temp wipes. Plus it melted the paint off their very expensive changing table.
I was going to say wipes warmer, but Elizabeth beat me to it.
Diaper stacker would be my #2 most useless product. It looks cute in the nursery, at least until the baby actually arrives. Are you really going to waste precious time restocking it when you could be sleeping?
I have to concur with the wipes warmer – isn’t a moist, wet environment perfect for bacterial growth? I’ll throw in crib bumper for the waste of money/dangerous reason.
Ashley Whipple says
Kudos to Elizabeth on the wipe warmer. That was my first thought as well. The problems we had with it though is that it dried all the wipes out super fast.
My second biggest waste was to buy toys that hang off of the infant car seat carry bar. According to manufacturer’s instructions that carry bar should be pushed down behind the seat while in the car, so what is the point? Not only useless but potentially dangerous since a shocking amount of people don’t read their car seat manuals.
Number three on the list of useless things is a baby robe. When you get them out of the bath you want all your little shivering baby to be covered and robes only go about mid-calf. Yeah for hoody towels!
Great contest, hopefully some expecting parents can read this and save a few bucks.
Digital ear thermometers. They expensive, and they don’t really work. Most pediatricians recommend the traditional invasive methods of getting temperatures. The one we got (I know… I know…) didn’t even get OUR temperatures right. Oh well, wasted $25.
The peepee tepee. I think you’d waste more time putting this on the kid than just changing the ding dangity diaper.
Somehow I managed to raise my 1st daughter with a minimal amount of gadgets and gear (we received it all but found it useless and gave it away on craigslist). But we did absolutely love the spine compressing door jumpy thing.
i say a diaper genie. expensive, you have to keep buying refills, bad for the environment, can be tricky to use, and they still smell.
Hands down, I think the answer is a used car seat. I know they’re expensive, but unless you know for absolute certain that it’s never been involved in a crash, why take a chance?
When kids get older, the similar answer is a bicycle/skateboarding/etc. helmet, because you can’t always tell by looking that the helmet has been worn in a crash and is now not able to properly protect your child’s head.
There are better ways to save money than on safety equipment.
My first thought was the wipe warmer as well. All reasons stated above.
So my second would be back of the seat mirrors. You know, the ones that you strap to the backseat so you can see your infant’s face in the mirror. Dangerous in an accident and impossible to position correctly!
wipes warmer, for sure. so dumb. diaper stacker is also right up there with the most useless.
i like my diaper disposal thingie (i have the decor, not the genie). the refills aren’t that expensive and it helps to minimize the poo smell in our little house.
We found a high chair totally useless. It takes up so much room, is expensive, and so hard to keep clean. All of the food just seems to get caught under the cushions. A booster seat, even the cheapo ones, work much better. While eating dinner everyone is around the table, rather then having the baby out in lala land. It is easier to clean. Just wipe it down and occasionally throw it is the shower. Plus you can use them a lot longer. My son, now three just barely graduated from his booster seat, which he started using at five months old. Once they are to big to use the tray you just slide the kid up to the table and they are high enough to reach the table. Hate high chairs, they seem pretty useless, especially if you have space constraints.
How about the little neck-roll u-shaped pillow thingy for newborns? I was so fretful about the angle of his head in the car seat that I tried that with my first kiddo and it always squipped out from under his chin within 5 seconds.
I also agree that the peepee teepee is a waste of parenting dollars. A pee cloth (an ordinary baby wash cloth) was all we used as a shield for our son. I also agree that bumper pads are expensive and dangerous, though if you tie them around the bottom of the crib you can hide all the junk you accumulate for the baby when the crib skirt doesn’t go to the ground. I would have to say that the most useless and messy piece of baby equipment (I got as a shower gift) is the fisher price royal potty. (check it out) It has songs for sitting on it and songs for “evidence” of using it. I couldn’t imagine using it for our son or letting it take up precious real estate in our small home.
A changing table. Since you can get a new changing pad for about $30 that anchors to a regular dresser or chest of drawers (we got a nice chest of drawers off Craig’s List for about $80), who needs a $400 changing table??
I’m torn between Silk Diaper bags and Burp Cloths, but I’ll go with the latter….when my son had 3-d burps, he never seemed to hit the 4 inch wide cloth. A twice folded cloth diaper is much more effective, and so much more absorbant! Watery spitup just rolled off a burp cloth…
a used travel system stroller! We couldn’t/didn’t want to use the car seat (after being educated on used car seats), and the stroller takes up the -entire- (no joke) trunk. We like our little $10 umbrella stroller, its easy to pack along and light to push if I end up carrying my little one who no longer wants to be in a stroller.
Wipe or Bottle warmers. Better to let kids be used to cool or room temperaure wipes and milk.
Ha! The peepee teepee cracked me up. I didn’t receive any of those since I have a girl, so I’ll go with the “white noise cd.” It sounded like a motor boat was idling in the bedroom. Better to just crank some Bob Marley or something. I’d also like to add: humongous Peg Perego high chair throne which is so huge that the baby just throws food on her lap and is impossible to clean. The tiny bibs for 3 month olds (just buy the big ones that you can use for longer) and the fancy dresses for 3 month olds (uncomfotable, soiled in 3 minutes, where are we going all dressed up anyway?)
Worst baby item:
Diaper Genie – way expensive and still smells
Wipe Warmer – my mom has one and baby loves getting changed there and then comes home to cold wipes.
Baby Robes – looks cute but way impractical
Bottle warmer – do you really have 10 or 15 minutes to properly warm a cold bottle when the baby is screaming hungry?
Best baby items (because I like to see the glass half full)
baby bottle immersion blender – works fabulous and no clumps!
Baby sleep sacks – so you don’t have to mess w/ blankets and baby stays warm
Exersaucers – keeps baby occupied safely for HOURS!!
A good baby monitor (which I could really use cause I’m using the (crappy) one from first dd (age 4) for second dd (age 4 months).
Jim R says
A basonet. Just let the baby sleep in its own crib in its own room as soon as you get home from the hospital. You both will sleep better.
While agree wholeheartedly with the wipes warmer, the changing table, and the reverse auto mirrors, I think our biggest baby bust was the little infant baths. They always seem precariously perched, our son shivered because we could never keep it full enough with warm water to cover his essentials, and he outgrew it in a matter of weeks. We much prefer the get in the bath with the baby method. Both my husband and I spent quality bonding time with our son by simply getting in and holding him in the bath while we sponged, sang and splashed away until he was old enough to sit by himself. Baby baths- useless!
Dee Dee says
I have to say that the wipes warmer definitely takes the cake as the most useless baby gadget.
I totally agree with the wipes warmer. We were going to get one because it was suggested by a lot of people – why do people recommend useless stuff… ugh. We’re glad we didn’t get one as our son loved the cold wipes. I guess they were more soothing.
My second choice is probably debatable, but I would have to say one of those gigantic 40+ pound stroller systems. After I went back to work, my wife was still at home with lifting restrictions. She wasn’t supposed to lift anything over 20 lbs and the darned things wouldn’t fit in our station wagon (I can’t imagine what people with cars do). A gigantic car seat would have forced her to stay home.
Instead, they should buy an infant car seat carrier. Kolcraft makes a universal one that works with most car seats. We used one from Graco that worked for their infant seats. They are smaller, lighter, and have a lot of storage space underneath. Now we have moved on to a Maclaren stroller which is also folds up very compactly for easy storage.
Oh man all the ideas I had are taken (and I need a new monitor mine is awful). The wipe warmer is huge waist of energy, the Burp clothes are a joke (we uses dish towels so that post spit stage we had a use for them) I would have to say the only thing I can think of that has not been mentioned are the blankets made specifically to go over the car seat. I got one and it was a huge pain to get it to fit and left big gaps open for cold air to get it. Using regular baby blankets tucked over and under little legs is so much easier. And a good use of the millions of blankets that people give you.
I first thought of those baby seats that hang off the edge of the table. A friend gave one to us, and it was a horrible accident waiting to happen. We tried it once or twice and had to catch the 6 mo. old both times because even though it has a harness and is supposed to lock onto the table, an average kid can easily subvert both safety features.
moe berg says
bottle warmer. unless you want to make your own cheese out of the curdled, solidified formula that inevitably ends up sizzling on that crappy heating coil and caking in every crevice. in that case, buy one immediately.
I have to agree on the pee pee teepees-USELESS! If you can even get them on a squirming baby in the first place, he is likely to just pee the little thingy off with his crazy sprinkler.
And I also agree on the reverse baby mirror. It was fun for a day until I realized that EVERY single time I moved the car seat out of or into the car, the mirror got knocked out of place and had to be readjusted. I never even bother with it anymore.
Well, a lot of good things have already been said- and I’m happy that we avoided most of them. The least functional item that we purchased that hasn’t been mentioned was a FOLDING baby bathtub, for compact storage. Of course the 2 pieces of plastic did not fit together well, and the thing leaked all over the place. Thank goodness for an easy return policy!
We got a gift of a bottle warmer that plugs into a car cigarette lighter, which was never used. Had a hard time writing a sincere thank you note for that one!
I didn’t read any other responses…I would say an ear thermometer. They aren’t accurate until a child is about 3, even then they are difficult to use correctly and it’s too easy to hurt the baby/child.
reluctant housewife says
Those shopping cart covers…I have one and used it twice. Putting them on the cart was a major hassle. And what are you supposed to do after every shopping trip – wash them?
Don’t buy them.
My choices for the biggest wastes of money:
-Wipe warmers (popular choice)
-Giant, expensive stroller system
-Lots of cute outfits for little babies. When they are 0-6 months they don’t do much and dresses are especially silly. If you must go shopping for a baby, buy in the 12 months + range. At least the kid will get some use out of it. (If only I had listened to my own advice)
-Those silly flannel burp cloths. They seem to be water-repellant and the ick would just slide off. It still gives me the shivers.
And my favorite baby items:
-Mighty Tite. I am sure some people can clamp down the car seat enough to make it safe, but I can’t and I love the Mighty Tite.
– Mitten clips. Not just for mittens. They cost a couple bucks for two and you can use them for everything. A dishtowel becomes a bib. A toy can be attached to the stroller. Hats can be attached to the back of coats. The possibilities are endless, and they are short enough to not be a strangulation hazard.
-Dish towels. For burp cloths and later for bibs.
-Extra crib sheets. Nothing worse then running out of sheets with a sick baby. Plus, you can make it work in the port-a-crib in a pinch.
Wipes. We change in the bathroom and use washcloths and warm water while at home. Works better and you can get washclothes for $5/dozen.
Knee pads for crawling have to be the silliest thing I’ve seen for the overprotective parent in my frequent travels to Babies R Us. Perhaps when they grow out of the crawling knee pads they can upgrade to the “Chess Helmet”. You never know, those bishops are awfully pointy!
Also seen in the useless section…pacifier dryers. Yes, a neato (hip, made to match your nursery) contraption that will dry your little one’s pacifier for the next use so their, um mouth, won’t get uh wet. Makes perfect sense…right?
This thing: http://www.amazon.com/Flying-Falcon-Infant-Seat-Carrier/dp/B000EFOQMO
I don’t think any explanation is needed. How ridiculous! Buy a sling, or a strollerm but not this!
I’d go with those rolling walkers that allow babies that can’t really walk yet to run all over the place, capsize, run off cliffs, etc.
2 most worthless items we had were the wipes warmer and a little mini fridge (could hold 6 cans of pop.) The fridge was pointless because even if it was used, as marketed, to keep bottles cold in the baby’s room overnight, it made so much noise the baby would never sleep.
Nothing has given me more help and pleasure with both my boys (Ben now age 4 and Isaac 1 year) than our backpack. The one we have has folding legs so that we can stand it up when its not on our back. Over the years I have attached all manner of buttons, toys, mp3 players, gps and bottle holders to it that it now has a fairly “moded” look.
I love this thing, total love. With Ben we used it every chance for as long as I could stand it. It was when his feet where kicking the back of my knees that the end game for him and the back pack was called. When Isaac came around I could not wait for him to fit safely inside.
This thing has been everywhere from Disney to Nasa to the Badlands of South Dakota to all up and down the Historic Gorge Trails.
I will shed some tears when it is time to put it away once and for all.
Dawn and Ben and The Back Pack
Dad and Ben in the woods
Bibs! While there are a lot of cute bibs out there, we find them useless. We have probably gotten at least 20 of them. We do not dress our son with a bib each day (although I know people who do because of excessive drooling and/or spit up). We’ve ended up giving a lot of them away without even using them once.
Also, big strollers or strollers in general. I prefer to use a sling. It’s so much easier to shop and you get a bit of a work out too. 🙂
I also find expensive clothes just silly. I can see an outfit or two, but our child is dressed very stylish in clothes I have found on Target clearance, borrowed from friends, and found at garage sales (often name brands very cheap!).
There’s a clear plastic cylinder you can buy to test your baby’s toys (and other objects) to see if they’re too small and a choking hazard. It is exactly the same size as the cardboard tube from a roll of toilet paper. What a waste of money.
According to my midwife you don’t need anything but a sling, diapers, wipes, a car seat, baby shampoo, and 4-6 gowns, hats, and receiving blankets. She’s probably right. Those are the bare bones essentials, the rest is just extra stuff. I know a lot of people will disagree but really, if you’re on a tight budget, you could start with just her list and add extra stuff if/when you need it.
…and this is what you get for reading parent hacks while feeding your 1 year old a snack and trying to get your 4 year old to write the letter N such that it does not look Picassoesque.
Appologies on the above post.
What item should a parent never buy….
A Lego Mindstorm …ok go with me on this… The buyer though the kids would learn a little about robotics while doing cool projects like a motion sensor baby cam, a play pen ball tosser…oh the hair brained ideas that poor unknowing sap had when buying it….
Yea, it was me. No excuse for it really, but I have learned…and the robot kit awaits.
Marketing Mommy says
Gosh, now all of my suggestions are taken too! I have to agree that high chairs are a waste of money and space. We immediately sold ours and switched to a $20 booster which we’re still using 2 years later. Ditto for the Diaper Genie (although I like the Diaper Champ). I also hated the reverse baby mirror and rarely used the bottle warmer (although it is nice to warm up refrigerated breast milk for a winter baby).
I did, however, LOVE my Bundle Me car seat cover and have loaned it out to many friends since my daughter outgrew it.
So the only new addition I can add to the worthless pile: disposable changing pad covers. I never found a use for them.
I agree about the wipes warmer. I didn’t want a baby who couldn’t handle cool wipes – way too tought to go anywhere!
For me, the thing I needed least were disposable diapers and wipes. Cloth diapers and wipes with a spray bottle are great and easy for us. And we still have a bunch of hospital diapers lying around that we’ve never needed.
The thing I couldn’t live without is the Ergo Baby Carrier.
Brian (dad to 3) says
Apparently we made a lot of wise choices since we didn’t buy most of the stuff listed above.
I’d say clothes (especially shoes) need to be kept to a minimum while the child is growing by leaps and bounds (while the term “month” is in the size). Otherwise, it’s just a big waste of money.
Worst purchase: Baby Einstien videos. They are bad for your kid.
Best purchase: Parents of invention sling. I LOVE this sling… it’s simple, easy to use and comfy.
The most useless was probably the wipe warmer. We did use a bottle warmer though and absolutely loved it. We got a baby monitor similar to the one above. Unfortunately we had to have a friend in Europe by it from amazon.co.uk and ship it to us because the one above wasn’t released yet.
STL Mom says
Wow, I had never even heard of the peepee teepee – the things you learn by reading Parent Hacks!
My main advice would be to buy very little before your child is born, because you need different things for different kids. My son spat up and used a ton of bibs, my daughter didn’t. My daughter didn’t like being rocked but loved the swing, while my son was the reverse. Neither of my kids liked the backpack much, and I found it uncomfortable. My kids both used a crib, but I know parents who went Montessori-style and put a mattress on the floor of a child-proofed room.
So try things out before you buy, and buy used or borrow whenever possible, in case it doesn’t work out.
Asha, don’t put me in the pool for the baby monitor. My kids are old enough that I really don’t want to hear what they’re doing…
Strollers that cost more than $100. I’ve seen some posh strollers that cost nearly $1k and it boggles my mind, truly.
That, plus if you’re buying Ralph Lauren onesies, you have way too much money to burn.
One thing my wife taught me early on is 80% of what you need for the first few years can be had at Baby Consignment Shops.
We have a few in the Portland OR area that make buying baby items such as clothes, shoes, toys, strollers, slings and books something that does not require either mail order or going into a retail establishment.
Pretty much everything that your kid will grow out of in less than a year can be found at consignment shops cheap and in better shape than you might imagine used being. I was very skepticle at first, my wife had a child previous to our marriage but I was a first time dad so for my kids only the best…caviar in baby jars and the newst of geek toys only..yeah well I got over that fast once I saw the treasure trove of consignment shops. I can not begin to count up all the money we saved on things I would have bought at the big box stores that would have been tossed aside in a few months or a week.
This is not to say I did not buy a shizzle load of new stuff for the kids, I am not that smart:)-
So if you hear of something that might or might not fit your baby needs, try to find it at a consignment shop first if are set on trying the item out.
kelly jeanie says
Big fat frilly bumper pads. Cute, yes, but I couldn’t bear to use them, they just seem dangerous. We ended up with thin, mesh bumper pads that worked great. I also have to concur with the baby robe, I coveted one but didn’t want to pay full price. I did find one at a rummage sale for squee cheap, but then never used it anyway.
Now see, we now have one of those seats that hangs off the table and we love it. I definitely wouldn’t use it for a tiny baby, but for my toddler it works great in our kitchen instead of the high chair.
Toys that make annoying noises but have no off button.
My other pet peeve: toys that “start over” every time you push the button. My daughter has a Wiggles guitar and she learned very early on that hitting a button on it many times in quick succession is guaranteed to push Mommy’s buttons!
Allen Knutson says
I too had never heard of PP-TPs. I see on-line that you can buy Xmas themed ones!
Honestly, if your boy is prone to do this, it’s pretty clear proof that he can and wants to control his bladder. Hold him over the toilet for a few seconds each time you change him, and you may be surprised how readily he takes to peeing in it.
Those bouncy things you’re supposed to harness your kid in and stick in a door frame. Are they even for sale anymore?
Amanda Anderson says
My vote definitely goes to hooded baby towels. The ones we got were actually a cotton-POLY blend and were (1) essentially non-absorbent and (2) thin and chilly.
Equally useless at bathtime was the baby robe. Get the kid out of the bath, dry, and into a diaper asap. What, is he supposed to wear it for lounging?
Deborah Graff says
The BebeSounds fetal music device that lets you “direct our specially selected music through your womb to your baby.” Because:
A. BebeSounds claims it can do everything from “increase your child’s IQ” to help your child “interact better.” Come on!!
B. Aren’t we always reading that the womb is as loud as a vacuum cleaner? How can a baby listen to music over all that noise?
C. I think it comes naturally to most parents-to-be to talk and sing to their unborn children. Isn’t that a nicer (and cheaper) thing to do than hooking up “fetal speakers” to your stomach and piping in music?
Baby bathtub. We didn’t get one, never needed it — used the sink, and then upgraded to a plastic tote, that will get reused for storage when she graduates to the big tub.
Diaper pail deodorizing discs! I had big hopes that a little disc the size of a quarter would knock out the fumes wafting out of the diaper champ.
Things to not buy? If it’s a boy, the PeePee TeePee. 🙂 It’s a cute idea, but, really, it just redirects the pee back onto the baby. It’s not absorbant.
Really, though, I prefer nothing. If he’s going to pee, I’d rather he get an arc going onto a diaper. I can usually save the clothes from getting wet that way. 🙂
Jessica Spears says
No one should EVER buy the bebe sounds heart monitor. It does NOT work — just revel in those doctors visits when they use a real doppler that you get to listen intently as your babies heart blissfully does its thump thump. :] Make those moments special.
Matt the Cool Dad says
While I agree with uselessness of the wipe warmers, folding bathtubs, heavy strollers, baby robes, and peepee deflectors, I really have to disagree with some of the other “useless” items.
Bibs and wipes…are you serious? And disposable bibs are fantastic for eating out. Also, I must say that we use 2 Diaper Genies and they do not smell when you empty them and spray a little Lysol in them. I certainly wouldn’t want to just put them in the garbage!
We also use the shopping cart/high chair thing when we go out to eat or shop – there are too many germs on shopping carts. We love our changing table, high chair, reverse car mirror, and bassinet (although only for 5 months).
Some other great items:
– Baby Bjorn carrier, expensive but the best
– Bundle me
– Sony baby monitors (although the DECT above looks even better)
– Diaper Dude diaper bag (in camo of course)
– Playtex insulator sippy cups
– LED nightlights (not those dim green ones) no bulb to replace and they don’t get hot
– Inglesina Zippy stroller, lightweight and easy to push and fold
– Travel Potty Chair, folds up and uses 1 gallon ziploc bags
– Britax car seats
– Honda Odyssey to haul everybody around
Any “nice” baby clothes size 0-3 months. Even though my son was only 5.5 lbs. when he came home from the hospital, he grew out of his size 0-3 month clothes before he had a chance to wear most of them. At the beginning you spend so much time recovering and *trying* to sleep that the baby rarely has a need for actual “going out” clothes. Just buy plenty of sleep-n-play body suits http://www.amazon.com/Carters-Terry-Footed-Sleep-N-Play-Newborn/dp/B000IWMMBK/sr=1-4/qid=1169153439/ref=sr_1_4/002-6508798-0128843?ie=UTF8&s=baby-products
Heather Musil says
Baby bathtub (unless, of course, you don’t have a sink).
I’ll go one further than the wipe warmer and throw out the wipes themselves. Paper wipes are horrible. They never get a bottom clean, unless you use a whole gob of them. And even so, the chemicals they leave behind always make me wonder. I made flannel-terry cloth wipes and have never looked back. I only need to use one for each change, then I throw them with the diapers (also cloth).
Must have: One of those LED fobs that they make for your keys. Works great for just enough light to see at night, without being bright and waking everyone up. Ring slips around your finger pretty well too, so it’s always close if need be.
I’m going to have to say:
-baby shoes! Babies don’t need to wear shoes until they start walking.
-crib bumpers (the only time it was in the crib was before the baby was born!)
-baby towels (too small and thin, we use regular towels)
We all own not one but two wipe warmers. They are called HANDS. Just hold the wipe in your hand for a few seconds and it gets the chill off nicely.
As far as “never buys”: Newborn (NB) sized baby outfits. We got one and it fit her better than her other clothes, so we BOUGHT two. Which she grew out of pretty much before we were home from the store.
Name brand clothes. At a baby shower a few years ago, two moms were trading cash for used Patagonia infant clothes. UGH!
I hate to be the dissenting opinion on the wipes warmer comments above.
Have one, have it on a solid wood (pine) changing table from IKEA, and has been there for the last 1.5 years. My wife buys a cleaning “solution” from here: http://www.sunshinediapers.com/WebStore/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=6&products_id=30 and we use cloth wipes, similar to SWN’s comments just above. We also use cloth diapers, so it’s just as easy. Lots better for the environment. And my son doesn’t seem to mind wipes cold or warm. He just likes his butt clean. 😉
Those things that fit over the faucet in the bathtub that are supposed to protect your kid from falling and hitting his head. We got one that looked like a rubber ducky and it did nothing but attract my son, causing him to stand up and walk in the tub to get to it, which he wouldn’t have otherwise done, which resulted in a lot of slips and falls. The ones that don’t look like toys serve their purpose I guess, but the ones that look like toys are a terrible idea!
I found the “Swaddlers” diapers to be pretty useless, although I know other moms who swear by them. When we were in the hospital, we used size 1 dipes (granted, my son was 8 lb. 4 oz. at birth). I could have put him in the Swaddlers for all of one week or so, and even then, they would have leaked. I can see the need for preemies or tiny kiddos, but not for most babies.
Bottle Dry Rack – really worthless and takes up space. A paper towel or kitchen towel is perfectly fine for drying bottles when you need to hand wash them.
Slumber bear, without a doubt. It had the desired effect of calming our little one exactly 2 times, and yet cost us a bundle.
I have to agree with everyone on the wipe warmer thing, we both thought it was a bad idea. We never could decide on a high chair so ended up not getting one and using a booster seat, what a space saver. I also thought those small flannel receiving blankets were worthless, too small to swaddle our son who wouldn’t sleep unless wrapped up like a burrito. I had to have my Mom go to the fabric store and buy flannel so I could sew up 36 inch squares to wrap him in. We also received a tub seat which was the stupidest thing ever, if the kid is big enough to sit up in the tub why put him in a seat? Tiny baby sized wash clothes were a waste too, just use a regular one. We also never used a bassinet, I figured the grandparents paid all this money for the crib we should probably use it from the start. The second time around we will use so much less stuff…
Sean LaFianza says
I must say, and this is a personal pet peeve… don’t buy the huge wheeled off road strollers if you’re only going to use it at the mall… we have one and use it in the woods on hikes, and it’s awesome, but it’s too big and cumbersome in a congested area… i’ve had my feet ran over a couple times by these oversized monsters.
With that said… we got a wipes warmer from freecycle and we love it… we cloth diaper and use cloth wipes so we use it as our only wipes container… maybe that’s why it’s more useful in our case.
This question isn’t as obvious as it at first looks. I’ve been advising my friends against the wipe warmer (my daughter didn’t care), but now I’ve got a friend whose kid loves it. For me, the types of things that I think no parent should ever waste their money on tends toward the patently absurd — say, a Santa suit for holiday photos — or else the obviously dangerous, but that kind of thing is getting harder to find. We loved our infant tub, couldn’t live without the changing table, alwyas used the hooded towels, and the doorway bouncy chair provided her with an hour or more of entertainment while I could finally get something done. I’d love to be able to give the monitor to my best friend who is expecting in June, but I’m afraid that short of this: http://www.inthetreetop.com/detail.aspx?ID=1429
I can’t really come up with something that NO parent should buy under any circumstances.
Well, I highly doubt my humble offerings will win, what with the wipes warmer idea being taken and all. 😉
But, here’s what I found useless:
Infant socks! Footed rompers are much better, not only do the socks fall off at each cricket-like rub of your child’s feet, but every pair will be a singleton by the end of the first wash–you thought adult socks were hard to keep track of!
Also agree with those mini-bibs.
A few of my favorites are a good ring sling, the uber-awesome Ultimate Crib Sheet http://www.amazon.com/Basic-Comfort-43002-Ultimate-Sheet/dp/B00003XAKP and bigger waffle knit baby blankets–they make effective, secure swaddling a breeze, and a well swaddled baby sleeps more safely and peacefully.
BOPPY PILLOW!!I just couldnt stand it!Ok..if you’re a woman who has just given birth via C Section then you might have a use for a Boppy but for new moms breastfeeding is already a task in itself and this can make it worst.It just set the baby too high,uncomfortable position to feed.I dont think it helped the baby to sit straight either :s Whats with the price,the cover alone is like 10$.My grand mother laughed at me when I explained what it was meant for..now I too laugh over useless baby gear thats flooding the market.
Matthew Evans says
Definitely the BebeSounds Prenatal Heart Listener was one of the products you DON’T need as a new parent. The idea sounds good, but it doesn’t compare to hearing your baby’s heartbeat at the doctor’s office. That is unless your baby’s heartbeat sounds like static.
Save the money for college tuition….
Hmmm, I can’t say anything’s been a waste of money, as we used the “wait ’till you need it to buy it” philosophy. Sometimes we give in and buy clothes because they’re cute, but he has enough hand-me-downs and he really doesn’t need that many clothes.
A wipe warmer has always seemed rediculous to me. But I never put money out for one, so I don’t feel it’s fair for me to say.
I just have to say that I’m mystified by the abuse directed toward wipes warmers. I agree they’re not strictly necessary, but ours has been in continual use for over three years (two kids so far) and I love it. My favorite thing about it is it looks nicer on the changing table than a plastic box of wipes, and its weight means I can pull a wipe out easily without lifting the entire wipes box.
Amanda Y says
Diaper Genie-or any disposal system. Too complicated and a pain in the rear! Plastic grocery bags for the stinky ones work wonderfully.
Liz P says
The diaper genie was the stupidest thing we asked for. It fills up too fast, the diapers still smell, and it’s a royal pain in the neck to empty. We just take poopy diapers straight to the outside garbage now and throw the others in the closest waste basket.
Oh, but I LOVE our huge stroller, even if it takes up my entire trunk.
Um, those plastic “baby food organizers”? That spin around? Last time I had a kid, we just used a shelf. Now I don’t know, everything got so fancy in the last three and a half years!
I think everything I’ve thought of is already taken but I’ll add my vote in for the wipes warmer, bottle warmer, boppy pillow (My Breast Friend pillows work much better to actually hold the baby at the level of your breast), ear thermometer and infant socks which my daughter could kick off from birth).
I will add this little gem – the bumper bonnet. We didn’t actually buy one but a friend sent me the link after it had her in hysterics.
A daddy diaper bag. You will never have it with you when you need it. He can just take yours and stash it somewhere. What a waste of money!
I have to agree with the giant stroller. An umbrella stroller takes up half my trunk — a huge stroller would eat the rest. And then where would I put the bag of NEW baby goods I feel compelled to buy at Target each week?
I agree with the PP’s – a travel system/stroller. That thing got used only a few times before I realized how heavy it was, and I immediately went out and bought a lighter stroller.
I think the most useless thing I tried for my son was the online net nanny. Not the one that monitors your children’s internet usage, but the one where you keep track of all feedings, diapers, etc. While it did keep a very good and easy to reference log of my son’s eating habits, diapering habits, and even what medicines he took, when, and how much, I found it ridiculous to run to my computer at 3 am to document that I changed a poopy diaper, there was no out of diaper accident, and that shortly after he nursed at the right breast for 15 minutes before sleeping again. If I waited until morning, I couldnt convince the online blog that he woke AND went back to sleep four hours previously, and was now up and ready to go again. My son screamed for me to pick him up when I left him for the multiple, though short times I was at the computer, and soon it seemed that’s all I did – feed and change my baby, then document it oline. Far easier and cheaper to remember it or jot something down on paper.
I haven’t got anything new to add to the “useless” category; I was the third sister to have kids, and anything useless didn’t get handed down.
However, I did find a different use for the disposable diaper-change pads: they fit perfectly in the car seat under our newly potty-trained daughter as we left on a long trip. Luckily, we only needed it once; however, with nowhere to wash a carseat cover, the plastic backing was good for the peace of mind.
Anything from the One Step Ahead catalogue. Okay, maybe not literally true, but that whole catalogue is designed to prey on your fears and it is designated as the “1,000 ways to kill your baby” catalog in my household.
Baby swaddler. I got one that would wrap my baby up, like a blanket but it was baby shaped and velcro-ed around the side. Well she pulled her arms out after about 1 minute. Blankets work much better.
My vote goes to the pacifier dryer (lol) and the noisy bottle fridge 🙂 I agree with those backpacks for carrying kids being a good idea.
Stupidest thing to buy for a newborn- short sleeved onsies. Babies need to be warm. Buy longsleeved. Another dumb thing to buy for a baby- those hair barretts for girls. They’ll choke if they put it in their mouths. We LOVE our wipes warmer. We cloth diaper, too, though. Seems like cloth diaper people like them, disposable people don’t.
I know some people love them, but a Baby Bjorn for me was a waste of money. If I lived in a city and was always getting in and out of cabs or trains or buses this would be a useful item. But I live in the suburbs, go everywhere in a car, and my car has a stroller in the trunk. Strapping that Bjorn on and off was just too much trouble for me. On top of that, I live in a place where the summers are very, very hot, and a Bjorn just makes baby and parent that much more uncomfortable. And if your baby happens to be really big and heavy, carrying him on your chest in that Bjorn will kill your back.
All the items that sprang to mind (wipes warmer, peepee teepee, Diaper Genie, bottle warmer, Bumper Bonnet) have been mentioned. So I’ll add the Podee Self Feeding Bottle System.
Note to Trisha: the baby swaddler to buy is the Miracle Blanket. It rules. If you’re only swaddling for the first month or so, a regular blanket works fine, especially if it’s a “waffle” blanket with a bit of stretch. But the Miracle Blanket can really hold a baby. It’s like a little straightjacket. In a good way.
More useless things (most of the other things on my list have already been mentioned):
Sleep positioners. Just swaddle that baby! (Of course I’m not talking about the wedge kind a pediatrician might recommend to prop up a baby with bad GERD.)
Diaper bag, whether a mommy version or daddy one. The one we had was fairly expensive, but not really practical and looked worn in just a few months. We replaced it with a small bike messenger bag – unisex, indestructible, and has all the space and pockets you need. And we like having the option of wearing it across our bodies (much more comfy than a shoulder bag style). A year later it still looks brand new. I bet it would last if we had another kid, and I am looking forward to using it for other purposes post-diapers.
Infant car seat. They grow out of them so quickly (some babies are too long for them in less than 6 months), and then you have to buy the convertible kind anyway, which will hold a 5-lb baby. They are bulky to carry (we found using a baby bjorn or sling worked very well) and babies who spend a lot of time in them are at risk of getting flattened heads. The recent news from Consumer Reports about them is pretty scary, too. As my BIL the engineer says, their design creates more opportunities for user error and mechanical failure. I’m glad we didn’t waste our money on one.
RookieMom Heather says
Special bags for throwing out diapers is my vote… cuz wipes warmers is more than taken!
I don’t need your monitor though, I have one and here’s what I think of it: http://blog.rookiemoms.com/the-great-baby-monitor-experiment-day-20/
I disagree about the Baby Einstein DVDs, the wipes (!), the highchair, and the diaper champ.
I agree about the wipes warmer (but understand its appeal), Boppy pillow (Brest Friend is better), and bibs.
“Snack Traps” and the Gerber version of spill-proof snack cups. These little gems help my child enjoy a Cheerio winter in the back seat. The Gerber snack holder has a sweet spot he can depress to release all the treats to gravity at once while the trademarked Snack Trap prefers a slow, slightly tickertape shower of snack foods throughout the car.
Save yourself $4 and just scatter a box of Goldfish all over the back seat of your vehicle. That way your kids will learn to forage.
Other top despised items:
-The Diaper Champ- I thought the parents who wrote negative reviews on these hadn’t installed the bags correctly. About a month ago, the stink bomb went off. Suddenly the Champ seemed to release an entire year’s worth of odors. Our son’s room now smells like an unclean ape exhibit at a disreputable zoo. The Diaper Champ people put a cloth and foam pad (not present in their newest design) in to keep the stink inside the poo pail. Well, after a year of stench stopping, it turns on everyone and joins the enemy. Now the Diaper Champ smells worse than any single payload, and it is headed directly for the landfill. Do Not Pass Go. Do Not Collect $200.
-Slings: ring slings and other fabric slings. I purchased sling after sling (usually at $40 or more a pop) to try and fulfill my Earth mother dreams. Ha. Many people, including my husband, use slings to great satisfaction. I must not be properly built for these things. It took me hundreds of dollars before I could accept this reality.
-Nuby Sport Sippy Cups: Ever notice your child biting the spout of these? Well, it’s because that is the only way to get the liquid out. How do I know? Baby & I had the flu and I desperately wanted to lay on the couch and drink grape juice over cream carpet. Though I am generally trustworthy in such matters, there was a chance an open cup could fall into tiny hands, so I opted for the spill-proof Nuby. Drink-proof should also be added to the list of value added features.
I am going to disagree with the masses and say that a wipes warmer is a major parent hack. When I was changing diapers in January in the middle of the night, warm wipes helped ease us through. I used room-temp wipes in the day, but at night, it saved us 30 minutes off each changing. We stopped in the summer, and didn’t resume this winter, but you couldn’t take them from me last year. Worth it for me.
I disagree about the tiny onesies. My babies were born at the end of July, and they mostly lived in onesies (or just t-shirts and diapers) and then swaddled in lightweight blankets for their first month or so. Maybe it’s a weather thing?
But the special diaper disposal bags? Definitely unnecessary. We use plain old grocery bags when we’re out. I made a little pouch for them that works much better than those little bag dispensers they sell with the special diaper baggies.
I have twins, and I’ll add the Maxi Mom carrier (http://www.doubleblessings.com/Detail.bok?no=250) to the list of unnecessary items. I did sometimes carry them both together in a Moby wrap or in slings when they were tiny, but can’t see how this carrier would be at all comfortable. But then I’ve never tried it, so who knows…
E's Mommy says
I agree with no heavy strollers. I recommend against umbrella strollers that don’t have a basket and don’t recline. We got one of those and it was too much carrying all the stuff and pushing the stroller. He couldn’t sleep in it either since it didn’t recline.
I agree with everybody on the wipe warmers, diaper genies, etc etc…
But I’m SHOCKED… that’s right – SHOCKED that nobody has mentioned $300+ matching crib sheet sets (with crib bumpers, diaper stackers, and quilts you can’t put in cribs)… people end up spending hundreds of dollars on stuff that’s either useless, dangerous, or will be peed and pooped on!!!
We love our wipes warmer, but since our kid loves having her diaper changed, she’d probably go for a cold hand-warmed wipe just as well. She’ll take what she can get.
I wouldn’t know what to do without my Boppy which has saved my back when BFing and enabled us to get some rest when on my chest in the rocker was the only place she would sleep (arm prop, keeps kid from sliding out of lap)
Also, the diaper champ works great for us with the regular trash bag usage and all (versus the high maintenance diaper genie with the special bags…seriously?). I love that I can put the poopy diapers to bed without revisiting their smell the next day.
We have just about every gadget/baby item there is (first child of two only children) and truly use/have used most of them, if only for a little while when they applied (else we took them back to the store). As for useless items, though, I think the white noise CDs/machines must be on my list. Not when one can download free sound clips off the internet and loop them on the laptop.
Likewise the sleep positioner. She just never slept well on it. I thought it seemed totally worthless. Maybe it works for some people.
Also, I found the Johnson & Johnson lavendar scented baby massage gel to be completely gross feeling and totally unnecessary. I happen to dig the scent and feel of regular baby lotion, which we use by the gallon. Umm, maybe I need an intervention.
I would have to add, too, that instead of the baby book, I have used a very handy gift box in the closet as a receptacle for all sentimental items I don’t want to lose. Sort of corrals them until I have a moment to organize them somehow.
I’d have to say bibs, if no one’s mentioned them yet. Our son wasn’t a particularly messy eater, and he quickly learned to pull them off, whether they were fastened with Velcro, snaps, or anything else.
How about those baby burp pads, made specifically to fit over your shoulder and absorb all that yummy spit up? I don’t see why a perfectly good hand towel wouldn’t do the trick.
My pet peeve quickly became the onesies and jumpers for infants that pull over the head and snap at the crotch. First, it was a struggle to get my daughter in them. Second, on two occasions, poop had squirted up her back, nearly to her neck. Trying to get those over her head without creating a further mess was an exercise in futility. They ended up making good bibs, after some quick work with the scissors.
My pet peeve is sneakers and jeans for a 3 month old–or any age up till about 18 months+ when they’re standing/walking a lot. How can a little body possibly be comfy in all that elastic/denim bunched up around their diaper and behind little chubby knees? And sneakers or any hard soled shoe–everyone knows (or should) that soft soles or barefoot is best. I have always dressed my 18 mo. old daughter in (mostly) 2nd hand stretchy cotton stuff. I figure, the more comfy she is, the happier. So far, so good!
Jen (yup, another one) says
Clearly, it’s a matter of taste. I’d have to say the pacifier WASHER (a little gizmo to keep in your diaper bag containing water and detergent and a compartment you stick the pacifier into) seems truly absurd to me. Whatever happened to “you have to eat a peck of dirt”? But I am sure someone out there loves it.
Takes all kinds, I guess!
Probably the bottle warmer (first baby never took a bottle, hopefully upcoming baby might take one or two!) or the Tiny Diner placemat that suctions to the table and catches crumbs in a tray… she figured out how to get that thing up and off immediately!
What no parent should buy are crib bumpers. Sure, they look great in the nursery, but they’re not cheap (at least the ones that you’d want to have in the nursery) and they increase the risk of SIDS. They’re def. not worth it.
LOL – some of these are really funny. As a proud father of 2 girls under 2, I’d have to say anything that claims all over the packaging to be, “easy-to-assemble”, “a time-saver”, “odor-free”, “something your baby will love” – isn’t. 🙂
And while I’m thinking about it, who’s the one getting paid real money to ask a baby if they love something or not? 🙂
I think that the most useless piece of equipment that I asked for and received was the Snuggle Nest. The small, quilt covered plastic thing that you can put into bed between you and your partner so as to prevent you from rolling over and squishing the baby. I used it once. It’s a good idea in theory, but not in practice. Second worst, diaper genie. Doesn’t contain smells and I could never get it to cut the bag off cleanly (I may have lost a part for the top of it though). 3rd worst, those pre-made swaddle blankets with velcro–the junky ones that I asked for and received didn’t do the job. Give me the good old waffle blanket swaddle any day!
Best thing I received: the full-sized co-sleeper, that you attach to the bed to keep baby within arm’s reach. After baby started rolling over, I converted it to a crib. That’s what I still use, and baby is almost 15 months old. Saved me the cost of a full sized crib, and soon, we’ll transition to a regular bed (with safety rails!)
Andrew Dorman says
As first-time parents, we were bombarded and bewildered by all of the “must-have” baby products that were on offer. However, even we were able to see what a waste of money the wedge-style sleep positioners were. A rolled-up towel did the job just as well and our baby didn’t outgrow it in a matter of weeks.
Most useless things:
– cover for the changing pad. Why buy something you have to take off and throw in the washer every time there’s a little accident? Just wipe off the plastic or whatever it is the changing pad is made of and spray with Clorox Anywhere spray.
– a crib quilt. Sure, they’re cute, but you don’t use it, except for decoration.
– the million little receiving blankets you get that aren’t stretchy and are too small to swaddle even most newborns.
– baby shoes- they’re too much trouble!
i saw this apron on tv – for new dads – everything you need to change a diaper set-up. it had googles, tongs, totally stupid stuff. it looked like the biggest waste of money ever.
Mami Delux says
well… my pediatrician told me (and then I confirmed it thgough different sources) that there is no need to sterilize bottles anymore, so why buy the bottle sterilizer?
They are huge (even the microwavable ones) and the bottles only last sterlized after three hours of you washing them.
Wipes Warmers are a good choice for what NOT to buy, but then again it is sort of a gadget, I mean it is not in the MUST BUY list, as the bottle sterilizer is… I think parents should be told that the dishwasher does the trick and that they can spend their money on a nice bottle of wine! lord knows we do need that!!! 🙂
I saw the “Flying Falcon” above, and I actually have something similar from Fisher-Price that was discontinued shortly after my daughter was born. It looks like the same thing — it’s just a car seat with a shoulder strap instead of the horizontal plastic handle on the top of most infant car seats. It’s much easier than twisting your arm to carry the other kind. I got asked about it all the time with both of my kids.
Adding votes for the classics:
Wipe warmer, check; diaper stacker, check; Bebesounds monitor, check;
Original answer (and I mean this honestly) no parent should ever buy a $200 monitor. I read AJ’s review, and while the gadget geek in me loves it, I can’t possibly justify spending that much money on it. We did get the Angel Care monitor, and were comforted ourselves by the reassuring ticks of our daughter’s movements. Other than that type of feature (which is missing from this monitor) – I just can’t see it. There are much better places to splurge. Get a more cozy stroller or baby carrier (front or back) if you plan on going for long walks, or save the money for babysitting to give yourselves some well-deserved time out!
(Note, the gadget-geek in me would not turn down the monitor if randomly chosen to receive it, of course – grin)
Joel Lyman says
Basonette! It’s just a crib that is only used short-term. Get your baby used to a crib, and they will learn to love it!
I’m 4 months pregnant so I don’t have the experience to really know what works or doesn’t work yet, but in my search for all the stuff that our baby will need, I came across this gem:
I really hope our baby will be able to tell the difference between my hands and “muppet” hands!
Mami Delux says
it only occured to me after I posted that a very appropriate advice for what NOT to buy is a cheap monitor.
We bought one at a garage sale in our neighbourhood and it was useless. We could hear our neighbour’s kids better than our own, as well as their conversations…… the wrecked thing also it interfered with our WiFi ..
so spend your money smartly, INVEST in a good baby monitor 🙂
A rainguard for your stroller (http://www.combistrollers.com/ProductDetails.aspx?productID=564). This makes absolutely no sense….by the time you get your baby in the stroller and put the rainguard over the stroller (all while it is pouring down rain), your baby is already soaked! And how does your baby breathe in there? Makes more sense to just stay inside when it’s raining to me….
1. Wipe warmer.
2. Any stroller that doubles as a tank and is the only thing that fits in an elevator.
Cathy White says
So all the good ones are taken, but I definitely want to throw my hat in the ring and possibly win that awesome baby monitor, since mine sucks the high hard one.
Good rule of thumb with baby crap is to never buy anything until you need it. Anticipating what you’re going to need is not going to work out. I have a closet full of useless crap that either I, or somebody else, was sure I would need. I don’t even know what the hell is in there, and I don’t plan on opening up that closet until I move.
My one worthless thing was a little baby bouncy thing with a screen over it that sounds so great before you have a baby but turned out to be useless for me. I had these grand ideas of putting the baby down and zipping her up to protect her from mosquitos, but the kid wouldn’t be put down. So I didn’t use it. When I had the second kid, she would allow me to put her down in it, but I then found out that it heated up in there like a popcorn popper. It just would not do.
Sigh. So much wasted money and space.
What is turning out to be a HUGE waste of money for us is the nice crib we bought our son. He never sleeps in it! He is also a climber, so in no time he will be out of it anyway! We got a nice used crib for free for our daughter, and that one works perfectly fine.
I also agree with the HUGE strollers, HATE ours. Bucket baby car seats, waste of money after about 2 months, just go for the convertable seat. Wipe warmers, bottle warmers, the CAR BOTTLE Warmer! Changing tables, totally useless, get a dresser and attach the changing pad, we usually change our kids on the floor anyway. Disposable diapers! We switched our kids to cloth at ages 1 and 2 and we save so much money, the house no longer smells like poo, and we are saving all that trash. Sleep positioners are a waste, as are those swaddle things, car seat toys, the millions of baby blankets, shoes….I feel like I can go on forever!
I need this monitor!
Haven’t read all the comments. My vote: portable crib. Maybe we just don’t travel enough… I think we used ours once. And even then we didn’t need it.
They simply slap on a cute picture of baby and tell you it’s good for your baby but do not say why. Some other brands advertise that fluoride has been added, but isn’t that already in your tap water?