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10 Useless Baby Registry Items

Photograph by Twenty20

Shopping for the baby? Years ago (during my first pregnancy), I had so many friends tell me to "buy, buy, buy." I even remember one of my friends telling me that I needed to register for more stuff before my baby shower.

Instead, I opted to say "bye, bye, bye" to all the pressure around registering for this, that and the next thing. It's a baby, I remember thinking. I got freakishly vigilant about not asking for items that I truly didn't think I'd need. You may think I'm a grump. I like to think I'm a cash-saving machine. (If my husband ever reads that line, I predict he'll fall over in his chair, laughing and pointing, and say I'm delusional—I'm calling it right now.)

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It's easy to get caught up in the whole baby registry thing (especially if it's your first pregnancy) but in the name of practical motherhood, I encourage you: Resist, resist, resist. Despite the endless array of fresh and cool stuff out there for newborns and tots (and there IS amazing stuff out there!), I opted to buckle down, get practical and be honest with myself regarding what I was actually going to use, and what was going to be an absolute waste of time, money and energy.

For kicks, here's my personal top 10 list of useless baby registry items:

1. The wipe-warmer contraption

Trust me, the baby will be just fine with room-temperature wipes cleaning up his or her butt. It's a baby. It's a butt. It needs to be wiped with something that's damp and cleansing. (Do you require heated toilet paper to wipe your own ass?)

2. Bottle sanitizer

There's not really a major difference between 'sterilizing' bottles in a fancy-schmancy pod thing and simply cleaning the bottles in hot water and soap.

OK, I did fall for registering for this one, but I ended up not using it (even once) after my pediatric surgeon husband alerted me to the fact that there's not really a major difference between "sterilizing" bottles in a fancy-schmancy pod thing and simply cleaning the bottles in hot water and soap. Why waste time doing an extra step (sterilizing) if there's no significant benefit? (Yes, both my babies were healthy and no afflictions whatsoever because of "unsterilized" bottles.)

3. Newborn mittens (to prevent newborns from scratching themselves)

Newsflash: You can also put baby socks over their hands to accomplish the same thing.

4. Shoes

No baby needs shoes before they start walking. Fact. Ask a doctor.

5. Baby bathrobe

Hooded towels? Useful. Bathrobes? Useless. There's no purpose or upside to drying a baby off after a bath, putting a robe on him and then changing him into pajamas. (Unless you're doing some kind of cutesy after-bath photoshoot to send cards to friends and family. Then a bathrobe might come in handy.)

6. Baby-food maker

This was one decision that required me to dig deep and be honest with myself. Would I actually use it? So I asked myself a few questions and answered them honestly. Some moms find joy growing their own food in their backyard. I do not. Some moms find the prepackaged baby foods disgusting. I do not. I was not into the thought of spending time and energy to make baby food (when I had options to buy perfectly well-made baby food from the store) so that was that. No baby-food maker for me. Besides, a blender pretty much accomplishes the same thing (at least mine did when inspiration called).

7. A stroller "hold on" handle

Have you seen these? It's a small contraption that hangs on a stroller so that a walking toddler can hold on when they want to try their walking legs. Believe it or not, a toddler can also hold on to (wait for it) the side of the stroller.

8. Stuffed animals

They will quickly and inexplicably seem to reproduce to become a few dozen.

Trust me, you will have no shortage of stuffed animals once that baby is born. One or two might arrive as gifts early on, and they will quickly and inexplicably seem to reproduce to become a few dozen before your very eyes.

9. A pram

Romantic and nostalgic in appearance, but completely pointless and unwanted once your baby starts to sit up.

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10. The pricey stroller

Five years ago, I bought a $100 stroller. About a year after that, after much hemming and hawing, I bought another $100 double stroller. Two kids later, both strollers are still kickin' and rollin' pretty nicely. Put that extra $300 you would've spent for a top-of-the-line trendy stroller in a bank account with your kid's name on it. College will be here before we all know it.

What baby registry items are or were a waste of time and money for you?

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