1. Bath thermometer
My mum laughed out loud when I showed her the fancy bath thermometer which I bought in a feverish, last-minute dash around the shops shortly before the birth of my third child. Having successfully raised two small humans prior to that - neither of whom ever suffered from hypothermia or scalds during bath time - she wasn’t sure why I’d caved to all the silly hype around the endless piles of stuff that new parents are persuaded to buy.
“What’s wrong with dipping your elbow in the bath water to check the temperature like we did in the old days,” she smirked? “Nobody profits from that,” I muttered bitterly. She was right. of course. My bath thermometer now languishes in the bathroom gathering dust. Save your money. Use your elbows. They're free.
2. Baby wipe warmer
Need we even cover this? It seems a crying shame that someone, somewhere applied their wisdom and intellect to the question of how to heat baby wipes, as opposed to working out something useful like how to rid the world of poverty or hunger. Nobody actually buys wipe warmers, right? And if they do, where were they keeping their baby wipes anyway? In the freezer?!
I’d be worried that any baby whose bottom is deemed so precious as to warrant the purchase of a wipe warmer is going to turn into one hell of a demanding toddler, too. “What’s that, dear? You can’t go to nursery today because they won’t cave to your demands that they pre-heat the toilet seat for you and then hand you a gently-warmed wipe? How remiss of those nasty teachers. Why don’t you just stay at home today and let me cater for your every whim instead… shall I peel you a temperature-controlled grape, poppet?”
3. Nappy bin
I have never understood these contraptions. Here’s what we do with soiled nappies in our house. Pop them in a scented nappy bag, tie it shut so that the nasty niffs remain trapped inside, and then hot-foot it to the outside dustbin - strategically positioned just outside the back door - to dispose of the offending article. Yes, I suppose there are times and circumstances where this isn’t possible. Like if you live in the North Pole perhaps, but surely the only thing worse than popping a bag full of poop in your kitchen bin until such time as you can get it emptied, is storing an entire vat full of dirty nappies in your baby’s bedroom. Shudder. Am I missing something here? Granted, it's a different story if you use washable nappies but for those of who don't, isn't the nappy bin a bit like reinventing the wheel?
4. Stretch mark cream
Show me an array of expensive stretch mark creams strategically marketed to gullible mothers on the basis of some flimsy, overblown promises that you'll have the taut, tanned abs of Heidi Klum moments after you give birth, and I’ll show you my tummy as evidence that it's all damned lies. Yes I tried pretty much all of them, and yes, my tummy still looks as if I've been mauled by a very angry tiger.
Stretch marks are partly hereditary in so far as whether you get them depends on your skin type, not to mention the size and position of your baby. With my fair skin I could have smothered myself in margarine and lay prone wrapped in cling film for the whole nine months if I’d been so inclined, but there was no way I was ever going to get away with birthing three kids (including an almost 10lb-er) without some lasting evidence of the fact that a whole lot of s-t-r-e-t-c-h-i-n-g was involved. So ditch the creams, save your money, and wear your Mama stripes with pride.
5. Change table
I 'get' that using a changing table is all about looking after your back when you're changing an average of a trillion nappies in 24 hours. But I virtually broke my back when my firstborn worked out how to roll over in the middle of a nappy-change whilst lying on the changing table. I swear I could hear strains of 'I believe I can fly...' as I lunged through the air trying to catch the poor soul by the scruff of his neck.
Nowadays, I sit cross-legged on the floor for nappy changies, with my baby lying on a changing mat on the floor in front of me. Granted, it means we have no need for carefully co-ordinated nursery furniture hand-hewn from rare, sustainable Bolivian timber, but it also means I don’t have to worry about the baby crawling off the changing table while I’m reaching for the baby wipe warmer or trying to slam-dunk the dirty nappy into the pong-making nappy bin…
How about you? What were the items of baby gear you bought but never needed? Or did you actually find the wipe warmer indispensable...?!