In addition to all the many others, one thing new mums or parents hope for is that the baby products they buy absolutely do what it says on the tin! It’s one thing figuring out what exact products to buy out of the myriad, it’s another to see it actually work for your baby and give you peace of mind. Because if it doesn’t that’s just sad: the time wasted, the money down the drain and worst of all – the space it just takes up in your home.
I don’t think there are any new parents whose houses remain the same after having a baby – no matter how you try.
I recall once after we had popped into a baby store to pick up some large ticket items – the boot of the car was stuffed, and some products at the back seat slightly obstructed the windshield. It was a good thing the house was just under five minutes because we couldn’t have driven that way for much longer. When we got home, I said to the husband “well I hope this kid really likes these gadgets and takes to them”. His response “Of course he had better, what choice does he have. He should be thankful he got all this. You know how many kids don’t have this choice”? I know, spoken like a true African parent. But the reality is that some products will not work for your kids and there’s nothing you can do about that!
A few days ago, I could literally feel the excitement of a new mum as she praised a baby purchase that she hasn’t been able to live without. I frowned, and then couldn’t restrain my itchy fingers as I responded to her saying that product did nothing for me! I wanted to love it, so much but I didn’t.
And that led me to think about all the baby products we didn’t buy and those we bought that sadly didn’t work for us. Here they are, from the big ones to the little ones:
1. Baby carrier
One of the items I looked forward to the most was using the baby carrier and casually strapping the baby in my front for the first few months and then at my back as he grew older. And so, we invested in what was supposed to be one of the best carriers out there – the Baby Bjorn Carrier One. A few of my friends got exactly the same one too. But it’s been mixed reports. Some love it, Some didn’t. For us, it wasn’t meant to be. Maybe the fact that we were home mostly reduced how much we could use it anyway. A couple of times we tried to use it while travelling, but let’s just say even Tee flung it away after complaining that his back really hurt. So yeah in 10months, we definitely haven’t used it up to 10 times.
2. Prep Machine
So there’s an interesting story behind this one. On every baby list and website, the Tommie Tippie prep machine is pretty much a 5-star rated product. Everyone says it’s the game changer and one of their best buys. So, it was one of the first items I ordered – especially when I saw it at 50% off. I thought, why not? And then, we were at the only antenatal class we attended when the midwife asked if anyone had bought it. Like good students, my husband and I said we had! Shortly after we wished we hadn’t been too forward when the midwife said something to the effect of it not being absolutely necessary or even recommended.
But that wasn’t why I returned it. First, I thought it was jumping the gun buying it when I wasn’t certain at what point my baby would or if at all have to take formula. And secondly I didn’t quite see the need! Yes, it makes the baby food to the correct temperature in 2 mins, which is very helpful at night, but if we boiled water and put in my flask earlier in the day, night feeds would also be easier. I just didn’t want to accumulate stuff. So yeah, that’s how I ended up not having that. All my mum friends swear by it and say I missed out, but oh well…
3. Boppy Nursing Pillow
Now, this Chicco nursing pillow another of those “you gotta have!”. And so I bought this. It would be unfair to say I didn’t use it because all through our 6 days stay in the hospital, it was very useful for baby feeding, especially when I wanted to lie down. Tee would prop it up in some way and we would put the little one on it to feed easily. But then once we got home, it just seemed less useful. Or perhaps I couldn’t be bothered to grab it anytime I needed to breastfeed. That said, I think it’s a brilliant product, especially as it frees up your hands while breastfeeding and provides support. Also when a baby starts to sit up, it provides good support too.
4. Nappy Disposal Bin System
After a ton of research, I was still on the fence about this nappy disposal system. I’d watched the videos and made everyone around me watch them too. On paper (and video!) it seemed perfect – a nappy bin that traps bacteria and smell. Because new babies get through so many wet and smelly diapers, the argument was you shouldn’t use regular bins. My mum didn’t agree one bit. But at my baby shower, one of my friends mentioned that it was the absolute best thing! She definitely sold it to us such that a friend who had no baby considered buying it for the future in case it was discontinued or something like that! And so I bought the Tommie Tippie Sangenic bin. Again it’s supposed to be such a fab product. But it’s still very manual, and you have to physically turn and twist the bin and also use your hands to open it. In this jet age, I’d have expected some sort of automation. But maybe that’s just me being lazy. In fairness, it does hold a lot of nappies and it doesn’t smell at all! Some people complain about having to buy the refill bags – I however think those last quite a bit so could be worth it.
I guess it didn’t work for us as much as I’d have loved because we bought only one but we ended up changing diapers in two places, which meant we used a regular bin as well. Also we didn’t really have a problem taking the bins out of the house. But I guess if that’s quite a task, then getting these bins to avoid unbearable odour would be necessary.
Okay now to the smaller products:
5. Baby Wipes Warmer
Now this one just seemed hilarious to me, but in retrospect, I may have bought it as in all fairness our son did flinch in the initial weeks every time we had to use a wet wipe on him. My mum then suggested warming up the wipes manually by running it for a few seconds using warm water. And I mean, using myself as an example – even as an adult, I dislike when facial wipes are cold and I often play around with it a bit till it gets a bit warmer. So yeah, wipe warmers can be pretty essential especially if you live in the temperate regions too.
6. Bath and Room Thermometer
On most baby lists you’re bound to see three kinds of thermometers: body thermometer, bath water thermometer and room thermometer. The first is undeniably useful. It can be tricky to know a little baby’s temperature especially if they’re feeling poorly. Thankfully our mini baby kit had a thermometer that worked quite well. The other two I was very much on the fence about, and maybe that’s just because I know myself oh too well. Was I really going to use a bath thermometer every time to test the bath water for baby? Plus on a lot of forums, many mums revealed the secret of simply using your elbow! I did that for a couple of days and didn’t even need the elbow test again. As for the room thermometer, it’s necessary to ensure that the temperature of the room is fine for the baby. Although you’re unlikely to get one for every room in your house, it’s usually recommended for the room baby sleeps – when it might be difficult to notice a change in temperature. The one we considered – the Gro Room Thermometer, had a night light attached to it, which is quite handy so you don’t have to use the full beam while baby sleeps at night. But again, it all seemed like one of those things you use for a few days and then never again. So I didn’t bother.
7. Sophie the Giraffe Teething Toy
I know a couple of mums that have said they wished they invented Sophie the Giraffe seeing how popular it is and how babies love it. Now I can’t say if it’s just one of those baby products mommas love to jump on. But I succumbed, and I bought it. And based on a few photos he has with it, you may think our son loved it. But compared to how other kids cling to or cry for it every time, he couldn’t be bothered. Again maybe because he had really no troubles and was hardly cranky when teething. So he didn’t quite take to it. As a matter of fact, we tried to make him like it, giving it to him often just so we could get some value from the £12 price of the product.
8. Pacifiers / Dummies
A few days after I gave birth, I began to wonder whether I couldn’t hear other babies cry because they had pacifiers. And although I knew I wasn’t such a fan, it was at this point I considered using one of the ones we had been gifted. I know it’s not a legitimate comparison but I thought I’d be rather uncomfortable if I had something stuck in my mouth most of the time. And I know many babies love their pacifiers and mums too! Also the argument is that it prevents kids from sucking their fingers. However, I just couldn’t bring myself to use it and our baby didn’t show signs of sucking so. That said, I did try it when he was much older say 4-6 months but he just didn’t know what to do with it – and flung it away!
At the end of the day, I really do believe babies do not need that much. But first-time parents often fall into the trap of trying it all. Try as we might though, some products won’t just work – and that’s okay!
What baby products didn’t work for you?
pS: what do you think of those “baby on board” car stickers? whether as a parent or Not. Yay or Nay?