10 ‘Essential’ Baby Items to Skip (updated 2023)

10 ‘Essential’ Baby Items to Skip

Non-Essential Baby Gear

Parenthood is a journey that is incredibly joyful – but can also be completely overwhelming at the same time. From essential baby gear to knowing how to change a diaper, first-time parents have much to learn! Many new parents create a checklist of baby stuff that they believe they need – but a lot of the ‘essential’ baby gear that people swear by is just marketing hype. 

Instead of an ‘essential baby gear’ list, we’ve got you covered with a list of all the things you don’t need when it comes to newborns – go ahead and remove these items from your registries now (and thank us later)! Plus, we’ve included a couple items that really will make all the difference in those hazy, exhausting first couple months.

The ‘Don’t Need It’ List  

1. Wipe Warmers

Wipe warmers are unnecessary and can cause health and safety issues. The warm, wet environment can encourage the growth of bacteria and fungi to grow, leading to the development of severe diaper rash. Alternatively (depending on the brand), wipe warmers can dry out wipes, which can harm your baby’s delicate skin.

2. Swaddle Blankets

Swaddle blankets, while beautiful and very popular, are often difficult to wrap when it is 3am and your little warrior has fought their way out of it for the 6th time in 2 hours. Velcro swaddle wraps and swaddling sacks are genius inventions which make turning your little one into an adorable burrito much faster and easier. If you absolutely need colour-coordinating swaddles, start with three and see how much use you get out of them before buying 10+. Who knows, your little one may hate being swaddled anyways!.

3. Bottle Warmers

A bottle warmer, while convenient if you’re heating bottles every day, is totally unnecessary if you only need it occasionally. Instead of a bottle warmer, boil water, put it in a mug, let it cool a bit, and place a bottle with milk in it. This is a fuss-free, save-more approach which results in you having significantly less counter-clutter! 

4. Changing Tables

If you want to save some space in the nursery (and a headache later when your little explorer starts pulling everything out), you can ditch the changing table completely. What you need on your newborn checklist instead is a changing pad that you can put on top the dresser – after all, you will always need somewhere to put their clothes! You can get a padded one with raised edges or you can opt for a flat, foldable one that you can take on-the-go.  

5. Bath Toys with Holes

Newborns won’t get much enjoyment out of bath toys until about 6 months, when they’ve developed more hand-eye coordination and better head control. Once they’re engaging with toys though, make sure to skip bath toys with holes. Holes mean that water can stay trapped in the toy, which becomes a breeding ground for mold, no matter how often they’re cleaned. Babies may develop eye infections or allergic reactions to water squirted from one of these bath toys and, if ingested, it may cause vomiting or diarrhea. Trust us, the last thing you need is a baby with an eye infection! Choose bath toys that are designed without holes instead and be extra cautious in the pool (this Mama has personally found mold in duckies at the pool and It. Was. So. Gross.). 

6. Baby Food Processors

Whether you call it a baby food processor, a baby food maker, or a baby blender, the bottom line is that you don’t need it. Most kitchens may already have a hand-held blender which will work perfectly for your baby food. 

7. Moses Baskets

Moses baskets fall under the classification of bassinets for Health Canada standards and should only be used to sleep your little one if it meets all the safety requirements for bassinets including having properly labelled weight and/or age limits, a sturdy bottom, breathable sides, and a firm, snug mattress that doesn’t have any gaps between the edge of the mattress and the sides of the bassinet. Most Moses baskets have mattresses that are too soft, and one was recently recalled by Health Canada as it was deemed unstable and could easily tip over. Safety comes first with newborn sleep, so unless you’re buying a Moses basket specifically for the ‘Gram, and not for sleep, you can skip this one!

8. Baby Nests

Speaking of Instagram, baby nests from brands like Snuggle Me and Dock-a-Tot are superstars in baby photoshoots. As photo props or a spot to put your baby on the floor, baby nests are fine (although unnecessary). However, many parents nap or overnight sleep their children in baby nests, which is unsafe (and against Health Canada recommendations). Even more dangerous is if they’re left unattended on raised surfaces in their baby nests, such as a parent’s bed or on the couch. Sleeping your baby flat on their back in a crib or bassinet with a tight fitted sheet is the safest option. 

9. Baby Shoes

Baby shoes are cute. Tiny little loafers, miniature high-tops, itty-bitty boots – all extremely cute. No argument here. But your baby does not need expensive shoes that they will outgrow in a month. Until they’re learning to walk outside, save some money and opt for footies or fuzzy socks.  

10. Diaper Genies

Unfortunately, there is nothing magical about a Diaper Genie. They create a lot of unnecessary plastic waste, don’t do much to contain the smell, and the plastic poop sausages it creates are prone to breaking open under the slightest stress as they’re very heavy. If you’re doing disposables, a plain old garbage pail with a lid and a bag will do the job just as well, if not better, and if you’re doing cloth diapers, then a large reusable wet bag is all you need.  

The Essential Baby Gear You Truly Need

So, what should you add to your registry? There are true new-Mom lifesavers out there worth investing in, we promise! Anything that frees up your hands or your time is golden – here are a couple of our favourites.  

An Electrical Breast Pump

Breast pumps have come a long way baby. Electric breast pumps can help with milk supply, engorgement, feeding issues (for example, if your little one is too weak to suck at first, you can still feed them breastmilk with the help of a pump), and give a breastfeeding Mama some freedom – whether that means working away from baby or having a night off while keeping supply up. The Ameda Mya Joy Breast Pump is our favourite pump – quiet, super-efficient, and created by a brand that has been trusted by hospitals for decades.  

A Hands-Free Pumping Bra

Motherhood means multitasking. If you’re using a double breast pump, you can free up both your hands with the PumpEase Hands Free Pumping Bra. Hands-free pumping bras hold the breast pump flanges against the breast so that moms can use their hands to do other things (and the list of things to do is endless, we know!). The PumpEase is the original hands-free pumping bra and is designed to be used with any pump on the market.  

A High-Quality Diapering Salve

Your sweet little baby’s perfect little butt is probably going to get rashy, for one reason or another. Some babies only have the occasional flare up, while others are constantly red and irritated. A high-quality diaper salve like Dimpleskins Bum Bum Balm can provide relief and healing to your little one’s painful tush. Made with 100% non-toxic, safe natural ingredients, Bum Bum Balm is also zinc-free, which means it’s safe to use with cloth diapers! It comes in two sizes, a larger one for home and a smaller one for the diaper bag.  

Prioritize Useful, Time-Saving Baby Gear

Don’t buy a bunch of stuff for your baby that you don’t need. Focus instead on the things that make your life easier and more comfortable. Most importantly, don’t buy items that are unsafe or use items in ways that they were not intended to be used – no matter how many ‘essential baby gear’ lists they show up on.