So it’s no wonder six out of ten new parents confess to having bought baby items they never use after their little ones are born.
From prenatal MP3 players (seriously – strap it to your bump and share your proclivities for prog rock with your unborn child) to bathrobes for newborns, there is a host of “must-have” baby gear out there that in the cold light of ‘no sleep till dawn’ turns out to be a waste of precious cash.
So what other baby bits do Mums and Dads say turned out to be next to useless? Here’s my tally of the top 10:
1. Scratch mitts
They look so teeny-tiny when you buy them but are flappy as oven gloves on your real-life newborn.
These things never stay on – even if you resort to sealing them around their weeny wrists with a hair scrunchie. Most Mums and Dads ditch them within days and turn to baby socks as protection from scratchy nails instead.
2. Newborn-sized clothes
Few new parents could resist those itsy-bitsy babygrows made in that heart-tuggingly small newborn size.
The truth is, you have no idea how fast an infant grows until you’ve stocked up on drawers-full of the smallest clothes – only to find them bursting out of the arms and legs within a handful of weeks.
Every seasoned parent will tell you to avoid the tiny outfits and plump for togs a size or two too big instead. But if you’re expecting your first, you’ll take not a blind bit of notice, of course.
3. Changing tables
They seem a great idea for the first few weeks, when baby lies still and perhaps even dozes off while nappy-change is afoot.
Then you realise how useless the things are for a real live wriggly tot who, the second you lift your hand to grab a nappy, is flipping themselves headfirst over the edge. Change your baby on a towel, on your bed. It’s easier and cheaper.
4. Tiny baby bibs
Your baby won’t be eating solids until they’re around six months old, by which time those mini baby bibs will barely reach their armpits. And if it’s milk and baby sick you’re trying to stop from spilling, a big old square of muslin is always your best bet.
5. Baby bath thermometer
So paranoid are new parents these days, with all the vivid health warnings, that we come to believe we can’t be trusted to know if water is hot or not.
Trust us – while a room temperature gauge can be a useful gadget, a thermometer for the bath is a gizmo too far. Use the tried and trusted method of popping your elbow in the water. Feel hot? It is. Add more cold.
6. Designer baby shoes
That miniscule pair of baby Uggs and those Dior Baby Mary-Janes look adorable. But is spending £50-plus on a pair such a great idea?
First up, your baby doesn’t need shoes until they’re close to walking – bare toes are always best for tiny ones. Secondly, they’ll last five minutes before you need to buy the next size. Thirdly, they’ll be booted off those kicky little legs and into a puddle the minute you leave the house.
7. Nappy wipes warmer
Yes, really. This gadget warms your wet wipes to “give a better clean”. If you’ve got any sense, you’ll be using warm water and cotton wool (cheaper, quicker, simpler). And if you’re on the move, you’ll have scrunched three half opened packs of wet wipes into your fit-to-bursting changing bag and lugging this monster around will be the last thing on your mind.
8. Pee Pee Tee Pee
Yep, this does exist – a little ‘tent’ for baby boys to stop the arc of wee hitting you in the face when you whip off their nappy.
The reality is, you’ll never get to it in time. And squeamishness will be out of the window by the time your baby’s pooed up the bedroom wall.
9. Expensive baby lotions and potions
They look glorious and smell gorgeous. But delicate baby skin is far better served with plain old water, petroleum jelly and maybe a swipe of light olive oil. Fancy lotions can irritate new skin, cost a fortune and last five minutes. And babies smell lovely as they are.
10. Baby towels
Another too cute to resist item, these mini-sized towels – especially the ones with the doggy ears and fluffy hoods – seem practical enough. But it won’t be long before you can barely stretch the things around their chubby tums. Buy a bigger towel. It will last much longer and you can bundle your baby up cosily against the cold.
P.S. I can say all this now, of course – we bought numbers 1, 2, 3, 9 and 10 :-0