Wondering what you’ll really need for the baby? Check out this list of baby items you don’t need for your registry—and what to get instead.
You’ve seen them.
Piles of unworn baby clothes. That near-mint but dusty glider taking up too much space in a nursery. Baby items moms swore they needed but used once or twice.
And with many newborn shopping lists, it’s easy to feel unsure what’s a must, and what isn’t.
As a first-time mom, I felt the pressure to get every item, all before my son even arrived. And certainly, many of these items were necessary. I needed the car seat to take him home as well as a set of clothes to dress him in.
But I also didn’t want to spend a ton of money on baby items I wouldn’t even use, or those I’d buy and regret later on. Plus, we lived in a one-bedroom apartment—not exactly conducive for baby gear galore.
10 baby items you don’t need for your registry
If you’re on the fence on a few items, you might want to hold off on buying them for your baby.
Three kids later, I’ve figured out which baby items were not that important. Some I’ve been able to avoid completely, while others I bought and wished I hadn’t. I also realized that other, more multi-use items could meet the same needs.
So, which baby items do you not really need? Take a look at my top 10 picks:
1. Car mirror
Because your baby is rear-facing, a car mirror would allow you to see him in your rearview mirror. You’d see if he was asleep, acting fussy, or chewing on a toy.
The problem? Car mirrors are dangerous. All those times you’re checking on him means fewer opportunities to keep your eyes on the road.
You’ll know when he’s upset because you’ll hear him cry. Instead, stay safe and focus on driving. If you’re concerned about him, pull over, get out of the car and check.
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Mobiles seem to be a mainstay in every picture of a nursery room. They hang above cribs and promise entertainment for hours. They promise to soothe your baby to sleep with its figurines and lulling music.
The reality? The mobile I bought for my eldest didn’t soothe him to sleep at all. It would entertain him for a grand total of 10 minutes at most. And the same happened with my twins.
Babies don’t need much to be entertained. A mobile won’t always put your baby to sleep and can be more of a distraction.
An alternative? Get a white noise machine (or simply use your fan or heater) to soothe and block outside noise.
3. Bottle warmer
I can see the allure of a bottle warmer. Breastfed babies aren’t used to cold milk, especially since breastmilk is room temperature or even warm. Or you might prepare formula ahead of time and store it in the fridge, ready to go.
A bottle warmer would then quickly and safely reheat the milk or formula that had been stored in the fridge.
That said, you can get away without a bottle warmer. Babies are highly adaptable and, given the opportunity, can learn to adjust to changes.
If the milk is truly cold, warm the milk using warm water:
- Pour very warm (but not boiling) water into a bowl.
- Place the bottle of milk or milk storage bag into the bowl.
- Take it out when it has reached the temperature you want (about a few minutes or so).
- Test the temperature by dripping some milk onto your hand (don’t dip your finger into the milk).
4. Wipes warmer
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Another comfort item, a wipes warmer keeps your wipes warm instead of cold. A baby might find it unpleasant to feel a cold, wet wipe during diaper changes.
I’m not a fan of going out of our way to coddle for a slight discomfort. Your baby will cry during diaper changes, regardless of a cold wipe. More than likely, he was already crying even before you changed his diaper.
And as with the bottle warmer, babies will adjust to wipes that aren’t warmed. A better alternative is to focus on preventing diaper rashes in the first place. A good cream like this one and keeping his diaper area dry are best practices.
5. Baby food maker
I’m a big supporter of making your own baby food, but you don’t need a baby food maker to do so. If you have a blender or a food processor in your kitchen, you’re good to go.
I relied on our blender to prepare baby food for all three kids. I’d make them in batches, then pour and freeze them into food containers like these.
6. Splat mat
If you love your clean carpet as much as I did, you might be tempted to cover it with a splat mat. It’s supposed to keep your floor clean of any food your baby or toddler throws. Images of kids with noodles and spaghetti sauce all over their hair might convince you to get one.
Thing is, you don’t have to give him free reign on noodles and spaghetti sauce. Once my kids graduated from purees to table food, I spoon fed their meals. Later, they learned to use utensils. They didn’t grab spaghetti with their hands and throw it on the floor.
And if you’d like him to use his hands to eat, stick to food that isn’t so messy. Diced carrots and pieces of bread will help him practice feeding himself without the mess.
Perhaps the biggest help is realizing that there will be messes at some point. It may not be huge splats of spaghetti sauce, but expect kids to be messier than adults. Come prepared with a good carpet cleaning spray and rag.
7. Play mat
Another one of the baby items you don’t really need is a play mat. Like any form of entertainment, it’s nice… but not necessary.
Instead, place your baby on thick blankets on the floor and surrounded him with toys he can play with. Better yet, make faces and coo right back at him.
8. Baby walker
I’ve heard mixed feelings about baby walkers and decided not to get one for my kids. It seemed like a good idea at first. You place your baby in one of these, and they can use their feet to glide on the floor to get anywhere they want.
But baby walkers give babies the false impression of walking. I wanted my kids to learn what it feels like to balance and fall as they learned to walk.
9. Glider or rocker
If you’re hesitating on getting a glider, you probably don’t need one.
A glider can help you nurse more comfortable or hold a sleeping baby in your arms for a long time. But after I brought my babies home, I realized I didn’t need a glider to do either of those.
I could nurse anywhere so long as I had a comfortable nursing pillow. I also didn’t want to rock my babies to sleep and preferred setting them to sleep on their own.
10. Fancy clothes
You’ll either receive fancy baby clothes as gifts, or feel tempted to buy those cute outfits yourself. But fancy clothes are pretty cumbersome to put on and remove from your baby. He’ll probably also feel more comfortable wearing regular onesies, pants, and shorts.
For many of the fancy clothes I received as gifts, I exchanged them for more practical ones that were put to more use. Still want fancy clothes? Buy them for special occasions or family photos.
This list of baby items isn’t a knock on anyone who bought or wants one. I’m sure some of my essentials are unnecessary to others.
But compared to other more pressing baby items, these items are more like the cherry on top. They’re nice to have, but not necessary—especially if you’re already on the fence about them.
Instead, save your money and space and get something else. Better yet, buy as you go along. You’ll be a better judge of what’s necessary once you meet your baby.
Do that, and you just might avoid that dusty glider taking up too much space.
Get more tips:
- Baby Things to Buy Before Birth (Make Sure You Have These!)
- 9 Things to Do Before the Baby Is Born
- Come Prepared: Your Hospital Bag Essentials with a Free Printable!
- The Ultimate Newborn Shopping List
- Everything I Wish Someone Had Told Me when I Was Pregnant
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