Since most checklists focus on all the stuff you supposedly need for your baby, I want to focus here on some stuff you do NOT need – at least as far as our experience goes. Although granted, the judgement of what’s overrated, in the end, always down to the individual, I nevertheless wanted to share our experiences, as some of these can be found on baby or parenting checklists and we found them to be non-essential at best and recommend that you save your money and rather invest it elsewhere, like in diapers for example. Every family is different, so take this post as our experience that might be helpful for you, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that some of this wouldn’t work for you nonetheless.
What you don’t need (as far as I am concerned), although it is often suggested, is a white noise machine to help calm your baby. If you’ve got a laptop or smartphone, YouTube is full of white noise videos that can be multiple hours in length of things like a vacuum cleaner sound aka white noise. White noise is soothing for babies since they were exposed to constant “noise” in the womb, like your heartbeat and the pulsating of the umbilical cord.
Pacifiers would also fall into the no-need-to-buy category. You seem to get a ton of these as presents for your newborn, and so it is quite unlikely you will end up without a pacifier or two in your household. However, who is to say you will actually need them? For most babies, this is an acquired habit that you later need to train them to drop. So why not simply make do with the pacifiers you get from friends and family along the way, without investing in a pacifier collection yourself? Plus, some breastfed babies could get confused when confronted with a pacifier, due to the different sensations from similar motions. Our baby refuses pacifiers flat out. At first I was a little sad, as babies do look quite cute sucking on them but, well, she looks incredibly cute anyway (I know, parental bias), so that’s okay.
Maybe this one is debatable, but I do not think it necessary to invest in specific nursing pajamas when you are breastfeeding. Like any maternity-related clothing, the price is jacked up compared to normal night gowns or PJs and if you think about it: in what way is a nursing pajama set superior to a normal, loose-fit T-shirt? The truth is, it isn’t. It’s not like you need to ensure minimal boob exposure when you are at home, feeding your baby in your own bed. The only time when there might be a slight justification would be in the hospital, but even then, if you simply wear a large, loosely-fitting shirt, you will barely show anything and you anyhow have a baby covering you up. Plus, you will most likely only be there for a couple of nights.
You also do NOT need baby shoes. I’d list this under gadgets, despite them being a clothing item, as they are really just an aesthetic gadget if your baby can’t walk, BUT you will get bombarded with cute tiny shoes as soon as you enter any baby-themed store. Let’s get real though: your baby is not walking, not crawling and otherwise not doing anything that would remotely require shoes, so why bother him or her with the restriction they impose on the feet? Let the toes wiggle freely! Not even going on a stroller walk or car ride will require shoes, as your baby will have a blanket or socks to keep it warm and to be honest, we grown-ups merely got used to wearing shoes, but being without them is definitely the more comfortable choice for your little one. If you can’t resist the urge to buy a pair for your munchkin, get some that s/he can also use when old enough to walk. Although when they learn to walk, they should do so at home and without shoes, as they will get a more natural feel for it and it is better for their feet.
Lastly, I wanted to mention stuffed toys: while you no doubt want your kid to have stuffed animals, there is actually no need for you to buy them for your baby. Why? Because you can more or less count on friends and family doing this job for you. People love buying those cute, fluffy kiddy companions and it is not like a baby needs a million of those anyways, so I recommend holding off with buying them and simply sit back and relax, as your nursery will soon fill up with them, without any action on your part.
While you certainly will find it helpful to have a great information resource around to quickly inquire about “Why is my baby always crying for 2 hours every evening without being hungry” or “is it normal, if…” and “when do babies start…”, most likely your go-to source will not be a book about baby development. At least I find myself consulting the wonderful Ovia app and sometimes google. While just trusting random google sources might indeed not the best mode to sail the sea of parenthood, there are great websites and apps out there that do indeed provide valuable information that can support you along the way. Don’t get me wrong, there are truly wonderfully written books out there that explain everything you could possibly want to know about your baby’s development, but 9 times out of 10, your first thought will probably be “I will google this real quick”. Just make sure to check an actually credible sources.
Honorary mention: The wipe warmer was already mentioned in my baby care post, but I wanted to repeat it here, because it is really not necessary to have one. I mean, how cold can wipes get in a normal household?! Same goes for a baby bath tub thermometer. The uselessness of this reveals itself when you think about how often you use a bath tub thermometer in your own bubble bath. Since the answer is probably “never”, this also answers how often you will use it to check the temperature of the baby bath with it.