8 Baby Products that Aren’t Worth the Hype
We all make mistakes, it’s a simple fact of life. But it’s important to learn from them, change how we do things in the future, and move on. As I’m approaching my due date with baby girl (baby #2) I’ve been doing a lot of reflecting on the “newborn stage” with LB (Little Bear). I was pretty clueless when we first came home from the hospital and although labor and delivery went smoothly, I was treated for pre-eclampsia during my hospital stay. The medicine they used to treat it put me in a heavy fog and as my doctor told me “You won’t realize how awful [the medicine] makes you feel until you are off of it.” And he was 100% correct. I came home still in a slight daze and then with a newborn baby to take care of, it was terrifying. The first day I had a major panic attack and I still don’t know how we all survived, but thank God, we did!
As I’ve pondered those first days and months at home with a newborn, I’ve been thinking about the baby products that I loved and made life way easier (see my post on the Top #10 Baby Products) and those that I either hated, didn’t really love (or even like), or just didn’t use. Registering for life with a baby is hard and as always, you get a ton of different opinions on EVERYTHING! People are so helpful that they gladly offer you their wisdom (and sometimes, a horror story), that will leave you completely confused as to what baby products you actually need. For me, I stressed over what we needed for LB for months and guess what? You don’t really NEED much at all, most of what people register for is simply things that make life easier over the first few months. So here’s what made my list of baby products that aren’t worth the hype (and money!).
- Boppy Pregnancy Pillow – When you’re pregnant and uncomfortable, you are desperate for a good night’s sleep and with baby #1 I gave in to buying an expensive pregnancy pillow that ultimately didn’t help much. Reason being, the way it’s stuffed and the scratchy velcro placement makes it only good for sleeping in one direction. Which is okay for some people, but with both my pregnancies, I was only able to sleep on one side comfortably (baby #1 my right side, and baby #2 my left side). Or if you’re like me and get stiff or leg cramps from staying in one position too long, you’ll want to move around a little and this pillow doesn’t allow you to roll to your other side and sleep without moving the entire pillow around. I have seen some other pregnancy pillows that look like they might work a lot better, so if you’re desperate like I was, consider one of those instead. For me, a pillow wedged under my belly and between my knees seems to be working just fine for baby #2.
- Boppy Pillow – I hate to pick on this company because these Boppy pillows are so cute I just HAD to have one with baby #1, but for nursing this didn’t work at all (for me). I wrapped it around my waist to prop up the baby while I was nursing, but it didn’t provide enough support and wasn’t thick enough to get baby even close to my boobs. I ended up using a much thicker pillow in order to save my back. Not sure if it was the extra weight that I was carrying up top, but my back hurt all the time and it was always hard to get comfy while nursing. My girlfriend (who nursed her twins) recommended the Brest Friend nursing pillow and I wish I would’ve gotten one of those instead. However, if you cover the Boppy pillow with a swaddle or blanket and set baby in it, it still comes in handy during the newborn stage so it wasn’t a complete waste of money. Also, I’ve heard it’s good for little kids to hold a newborn baby, so we might get more use out of it this time.
- Rock N’Play – I know what you’re thinking…people swear by this thing, and truthfully, I was one of them. It was the only way LB would sleep, and the incline is supposed to help with reflux. However, when LB was born he had a cephalohematoma on his head (a giant bump or “unicorn horn” as my mom called it), and favored one side of his head. Because of this and because the rock n’play limits a baby’s head movement, LB started to develop torticollis (where the neck muscles contract making him favor one side of his head even more and limiting movement, which led to a flat spot on one side of his head). We ended up taking him to a great chiropractor who massaged his neck muscles and gently worked on his range of motion, and then when we transitioned to a flat crib his head did eventually rounded out. All this being said, and having heard the same scenario from medical professionals, I would still consider using a rock n’play to avoid the extreme sleep deprivation of life with a newborn, except for the fact that the transition from the Rock N’Play to the crib was a NIGHTMARE! LB went from sleeping at an incline to sleeping flat and from rocking to sleep to being set in a stationary crib. It took us months to get him used to sleeping in a crib, and I have heard the same story from so many other moms about the transition from a rock n play to a crib being hard. So, with baby #2 I found a rocking bassinet sleeper that is flat and portable (just like the rock n play). I’m hoping this will make life easier when we finally make the transition to the crib between 4 to 6 months.
- Angelcare Baby Bathtub – This was the #1 recommended baby bathtub at the time (and is still one of the top choices), but I hated this thing. The incline was way to steep for a newborn and LB slid right down the “non-slip” grip. It didn’t fit in or on any of our sinks (including the kitchen sink), and was very low to the ground when set in the bathtub or walk-in shower. I had to get on my hands and knees and bend over to bathe a newborn and everything about it didn’t work for me. So, I’m looking into a better, more ergonomic baby bathtub (like this one) for baby #2. Any product that makes stressful bath time less intimidating, is invaluable, and I am ready to learn from my poor product choice and find something better for us this time around.
- Medela Hands-Free Breast Pump – At the advice from another mom, I upgraded from the free breast pump that insurance covers to this one that is compact and completely portable. What I didn’t know at the time is that she breast fed and pumped (plus supplemented with formula) for between 1 and 3 months with both of her children and had issues the entire time…now I’m wondering if this pump was part of the problem. I exclusively nursed for 14 months with LB and let me tell you, he was a chunky baby. However, when I pumped, it would take me 30-60 minutes to get between 1 and 4 ounces of milk. So, either I didn’t respond well to the pump (which is very possible) or else this pump didn’t work properly. Around 9 months, I finally realized that if I plugged the unused tube with my finger, instead of placing it in the “holder” I got much better suction than before. This makes me think it wasn’t sealing properly or didn’t have enough “suction power” the entire time I had been trying to pump. Because I was able to pump such little amounts, I didn’t have a back-up supply and was unable to be away from LB for more than a couple hours at a time for almost 14 months (it did improve after he started eating solid foods at six months, but was still very demanding). With baby #2, I will be getting the tried and true Medela plug-in breast pump, the same one my SIL used to pump for over a year with her first and is still going strong with their second at 3 months old. I will also be meeting with a lactation consultant this time around to talk over any issues that I’m having so I don’t struggle in silence, the way I did with LB.
- Bottle Sanitizer – A friend of mine gave me a bottle sanitizer that she didn’t ever use, and well…neither did I. I’m sure they are nice, but I either boiled bottle parts in water on the stove (the old fashioned way) or else I put them in the dishwasher. For me, the sanitizer was just another bulky product that took up too much space on my countertop.
- Bumbo Baby Seat – Okay let me start by saying, we didn’t have one of these…and yes, we survived! People tried to give us one over and over again and I kept saying “Thanks, but no thanks!” I did a ton of research on these and decided it wasn’t the right choice for us and our baby. We just didn’t need it and although babies I know that had these were sitting up way before LB, he was still walking by 9 months old and hitting all his milestones just fine. The baby Bumbo is on my list because it’s one of those products that just wasn’t necessary.
- Teething Bead Necklaces – I didn’t want LB to get used to the idea of sucking or pulling on my jewelry…the teething bead necklace we were given ended up just being a chew toy and not a piece of jewelry that I ever wore. First, it wasn’t really my style and I wanted to teach LB not to pull on my jewelry (necklaces, earrings, bracelets, etc.) and not put them in his mouth from day one. Also, when he was playing with them as a toy, he would put the necklace over his head, and as a paranoid parent I didn’t like the idea of him putting things around his neck.
Just remember, like all things “baby related”, each kid is so completely different. This is what worked best for us, but it might be different for someone else. I do hope my list can help you narrow down the options for what you will need for your little one, and keep you from making the same mistakes I did. If you have any feedback or other suggestions, I’d love to hear them as well!
Disclaimer: All opinions are entirely my own, and I am NOT being compensated or endorsed in any way for these products – I simply added the links so that you could see and have a better idea of what specific products I was talking about.