8 Things Your Newborn Does Not Need

14 October 2010


I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, ignore those lists in magazines and websites that tell you what you need for your new baby. (No, obviously not THIS website). Many of those lists are sponsored and include things that you honestly don't have to own and are a complete waste of money.

Unless you are rolling in cash and want to own every last baby accessory on the planet, here are some items that you can do without, and that will save you money both in the long AND the short term…

1. Changing table

changing-table-with-tower-aNo, seriously, you don’t need to fork out over £50 on a specialised baby changing station complete with wipe holders and all sorts. All your child needs is a soft surface that’s wipe clean. All you need is a surface that is ideally the same height as you so you don’t put your back out (or hurt your knees).

There is nothing wrong with the floor, although that did make me creak getting up and down, but if you really can’t cope with that, then why not pop out a word on Freecycle for either an unused changing station or an old desk. Yes, an old desk.

We used a pine desk that was just perfect. Right height for me, the drawers stored everything and baby was just fine. You can’t wander off and leave them unattended though…

Saving: Anything from £60 upwards

2. Disposables

RealNappiesLoll288I know that sometimes these are helpful, like if your baby wees a lot at night and keeps you up changing nappies, but on the whole they are more expensive and they are one big environmental horror.

The world is shifting towards re-usable nappies and you can find SO many different varieties out there that there is bound to be a solution that saves you money and isn’t too fiddly. You can look at savings of up to £30 a week by using the right nappies, and washing solutions.

Saving: £20 upwards

3. Nursing bra

bravadobra_dplusHonestly, these should come with a label that says, “pointless”. You will spend more time faffing over fiddly buttons or pop-off edges than you would if you just lifted your old bra up, or shifted it to the side. If you can’t stand that idea then consider a sports bra or a jersey knit underwire bra instead.

Saving: £10 upwards

4. Baby Wipes

using-cloth-baby-wipes-instead-of-disposablesYou don’t need to invest in baby wipes at all for the first four to six months of your child’s life. For the first few months it isn’t a good idea to use them anyway. Good old fashioned water and cotton wool are more than enough for baby’s bum, and don’t contain any potentially harmful or chemical substances for that exceptionally delicate skin.

You also won’t need a top and tails bowl. Just a bowl of warm water and some cotton wool. Ta da! You can even make your own wipes using wet washcloths in a ziplock bag (for when you go out) or you can follow this online recipe for organic and lush homemade wipes.

Saving: £2 a week (or more!)

5. Nursing Pillow

Waste of time! If you had a tricky pregnancy and invested in one of those awesome sausage pillows then use that, it’s perfect. If not just use your own pillows. Experiment with lounge and sleeping pillows until you find the ones that work best for you.

Saving: £25 upwards

6. Special baby towel with ears

mullinsI know, I know, it’s cute. But honestly I only found myself wrestling with it to try and find the ears while also holding a slippery baby. And that towel ended up getting really worn through a lot faster than the normal, thick and yummy towels that I use. Children do not need special towels.

A normal towel is thick and lush and big enough to wrap them up snug as bugs in rugs.

Saving: £10 upwards unless you have to buy new towels.

7. Nappy Pail/Bin1247696152

A normal bin will do nicely and doesn’t take up as much space. Just whisk your dirty nappy contents into the loo and your dirty nappy into a plastic laundry bag. If you use disposables you can easily take it to the bin when you’re done.

Saving: £20 upwards

8. The Insane

grobag-egg-tempature-room-readerYou will also not need baby wipe warmers, a shopping trolley cover, a climate controlled stroller, a gliding nursing chair, a bullet-proof stroller, a Grobag Egg (everyone I know who had one had it fail within a month), and a foetal heart machine.

These gadgets actually exist and I have to raise my hand to having bought at least two of them. The best way to save money before embarking on your baby shopping adventure is to chat to all your mommy friends and you’ll soon see how little you actually need to get started. Save your cash for the real essentials.

TOPICS:   Nursery Furniture   Baby Gear   Money


  • Emma K.
    My thoughts, having a new baby here: 1. Changing station - I actually disagree, this is the one thing I couldn't do without. I was given mine by my sister, and it's great for my partner who has a bad back. Admittedly, I didn't buy it, but it's great. 3. Nursing bras - I am not a good judge as I didn't breast fee, but I do think they're kind of pointless. 5. Nursing pillow - I used the sausage pillow all the time, was great. 7. Nappy bin - Again, I was given by my sis, I probably wouldn't have bought it. But it is pretty great, it keeps our main room smell free and we're not running in and outside with nappies all day.
  • kassy
    totally agree with the nursing bra being pretty pointless. I have been breastfeeding constantly for over 4 years and shifting your usual bras to the side is far less fiddly!
  • cake
    Actually I disagree about the bras, but I think it depends on the person. I bought mine while I was abroad in the US, and they were so much cheaper than here in the UK. My bra size did go up (as most womens do, especially if feeding) so I would have had to buy a new bra anyway. I found the tabs very useful, and much better than bunching the bra over to the side or whatever. Agree with everything else. We did get a changing table, but it was secondhand on Ebay for 25 quid. It's one that's a dresser as well, with a foldover bit for changing. I think my number one item for a list like this is one of those 600+ SUV pushchair systems every new mum seems to spring for. They're huge, but only actually fit the baby until 8 months or so when almost everyone gives up and gets a simpler, smaller pushchair.
  • Luschka O.
    Wow - this is the FIRST TIME I have heard anyone else say nursing bras are nice, but totally not essential! I still breastfeed my one year old, and sometimes I wear a nursing bra because it's black and seamless and comfy, but other times, and honestly most times I wear my pretty frill feminine I'm-still-a-woman bras! oh,and those sausage pillows rock, baby or no baby!
  • ben
    I feel obliged to say that most of the above is rubbish: 1) The changing table is one of the most useful things we bought as its much better than doing it on the floor which you've already pointed out. Yes you can use freecycle, but you can also pretty much apply that to anything else in your house. 2) Do you really want to be messing around with washing nappies a week after you've had a baby especially when the baby poos 6-8 times a day? I agree with the environmental factor and do intend to switch to reuseable, but its just not practical in the early months. 3) My wife finds these to be really good. 4) I haven't tried, but I can't see how a bit of cotton wool and water can easily cleanup a 'poo explosion'. We don't seem to have a problem with chemicals/rash on our baby's bum. Its super smooth. 5) Agree 6) Possibly, but square towels are much easier to use. 7) Possibly, but a decent pedal bin (which is what we use) is going to cost similar amounts anyway. 8) We have a groegg and it works absolutely fine. Admittedly though, a standard room thermometer works just as well. Rant over.
  • vicky
    I totally agree with the baby wipes. We used cotton wool pads and warm water for at least the first 4 months and it worked perfectly fine, and is much kinder on their sensitive little bottoms.
  • Tamsin O.
    Oooh, I never knew I would spark such debate. @ Ben I had a baby who's bum never touched wipes or disposables until she was a year old. Then we only gave her disposables at night and wipes on travel. Yes, I think that it is practical in the early months and easy. I'll admit that, yes, a changing table can be bought cheaply but I really don't think it qualifies as an "essential". You can use other surfaces if you can't afford one and that was my motivation for saying they were not essential really. However, I DO agree that most people who have them adore them. So I shall now go quietly *grin*
  • SlayerKat
    Oh lots of debate. Love the bit about using washable nappies. I agree! (but then I do run a local real nappy network tee hee) Disagree about the nursing bras. Think they are a necessity. I've breastfeed 3 children over for a combined duration of 4 years and could not imagine using normal bras all that time. I think nursing bras are actually better for your boobs whilst breastfeeding - underwired bras are definitely a no no as they can cause blocked ducts and pain during breastfeeding. One thing I would add to that list is a baby bath. Waste of money. Bath with your baby in the big bath - it's good for bonding and job done! ;)
  • Sharon
    Enell bras are nice because they have an easy access front hook and eye closure. They are super comfy and the straps do not dig in at all (what a blessing). Plus they have a criss cross posture panel in the back. You can get them on sale at: www.onesweetone.com
  • Jessica
    I think this list isn't totally practical. 1. Changing table - Yeah, you can use any high surface, which I am all for. But also these days you can buy ones that are dressers or become desks. Going down to the floor and back up constantly in those first days would have been a killer! 2. Agree...that's why I use cloth nappies! Also, you can save about 100 a year by not drying them, but hanging them to dry. 3. What?!? As someone else said, my boobs became HUGE. I would have to buy larger bras anyway. And, given that I use underwrite (not for nursing bras though) the times I did wear a normal bra and move it to feed, I found it really uncomfortable. But, I am also one of those mums who bought some nursing tanks as well and loved them. Made it so much easier to feed in public. 4. How many wipes do you use to spend 2 a week on them? I go through a pack maybe every couple weeks. But, I realize like everything else on this list, reusable wipes are a personal decision. 5. Didn't use one and didn't miss it. 6. Sure you can use a regular towel, but it is so much easier to get an older, wet, wiggling baby out of the bath when you just have to throw a towel over their head and it stays. Oh, and mine doesn't have ears on it! 7 & 8. Totally agree. Problem with these types of list is they are so personal to people. Everyone is different. I have a Bugaboo Cameleon. Many people think they are overpriced. My feet are my main mode of transportation, so I find mine completely invaluable. And 1 year in, I am no where near ready to switch to something smaller. But, I think grobags and sterilizers are pointless!
  • debadwolff
    don't agree with nursing bras and nursing pillows: always breastfed with the nursing bras and the clips were so easy to undo and do up, much quicker than normal bras. also the nursing pillow. i unfortunately get terrible back pain from pregnancy and for about 3-4 months after birth. I only used when when feeding my fourth child and it saved that terrible sharp pain in the centre of my back whilst feeding and i was able to get more comfortable and have a hand free when feeding the little 'un :)
  • Jonathan
    Hmmm, either someone's calculator or their knowledge of basic physics is playing up here. #2: Disposables: "You can look at savings of up to £30 a week". We use branded disposables such as Huggies, always going for the store offers, and work it out to be never more than 16p/nappy. Taking 6 changes a day, call it £1 a day, £7 a week. You mention SAVINGS of £30 a week. Assuming the oft-quoted 50% saving, you're starting from a nappy cost of about £60 a week so you're talking about someone with > 8 children here. Hardly the model family! On top of which, many people forget the environmental cost of detergents, heating water, tumble-drying in the winter etc. Just sayin' #4: Wet wipes vs cotton wool and bowl of warm water. OK, let's take some "posh" branded wipes. Huggies baby wipes natural aloe care x64 at £2.44 each, buy 1 get 2 free in Sainsbury, works out at 1.2pence per wipe. We only need 1 unless things are particularly grim, so let's say 1.5 per change, x 6 changes per day is 10.8p per day * 7 days = 75p/week. Again, you've got to be looking at at least 4 children to spend £2 a week on wipes. As for the savings, yes, a lump of cotton wool might work out less than 1.2p. Then you've got to run all the cold water through the pipe into a bowl to get the warm water, and the hot in the pipe now gets cold again. Then you have to rinse the bowl. Again there can't be much in it. The other points are fair enough, but I'm always sceptical of some of the "how much it costs to raise a child" lists.
  • Lynley O.
    For health reasons, you should wear an underwire bra whewn you are breastfeeding. Go for a soft bra. But yes, any will do. The maternity bras I bought because my breasts grew so big were way more comfy than the nursing bra I bought for breast feeding. Just push to one side. It is apersonal thing though and you really won't know what works until you're htere. And the last thing you want to do when baby is a week old is bra shopping! We got a changing table from Ikea that becomes a chest of drawers and I LOVE it. Only cost £65 and did I mention how much I love it? And yet - I barely used it as a changing table! Both hubs and I changed son on the sofa 99% of the time. Was just much easier.

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