Useless Usables

I've had two babies, and with both of their arrivals came a lot of "stuff." A lot of stuff I needed...stuff that I had to have in order to care for and raise a baby. One would think after the 6 years I had to get used to the first kid, I'd have learned a thing or two about what I needed when the second one came around. Nope. The pricey lesson was: junk gets shinier and the packaging gets spiffier, but in the end it is still the same junk you bought before.

Let me enumerate some of the best examples of useless usables so you might save yourself the same follies (starting with most useless first):

1. Wipes Warmer: I bought this for the second child because I felt guilty the first one didn't have one. The point of this contraption is self-evident by it's name, but the actual execution of the thing is lacking. First off...yes, the wipe is warm for the first .2 seconds, but the moment it's completely out of the warmer it's cold. Second, many of these warmers cause your wipes to go drier than the Sahara Dessert, thus rendering whole packages of wipes unusable. And lastly...I can't think of a 3rd reason because the first two were reason enough not to buy.

2. iCrib Sound System: I bought this for the second baby because I liked the idea of playing customized playlists. This purchase was in conjunction with the Symphonic Ultra Deluxe Brain Boosting Mobile, and the pull string musical hippo that was already attached to his crib. There was no auto-shutoff for the iPod so the battery died every-day, and I always forgot to charge the battery so the thing sat on the edge of the crib (making sheet changes almost impossible) for the better part of a year. I just recently took it off...if anyone wants a free iCrib let me know.

3. Shopping cart cover: This is just another cumbersome thing you have to carry with you (and most of them come in the most hideous fabrics/patterns). If your concern is germs, most shopping centers have a anti-bacterial wipe you can cleanse your cart with if it really bugs you. If you must cover your shopping cart, though, just use your sling, or a blanket, or anything but this useless piece of fabric.

4. Baby bathtub: What a gigantic waste of plastic! And I bought two, one for each! They both got too big to be washed in the tub for longer than a few weeks. By the time they were both 2 months old, half of baby was submerged in a pitiful amount of dirty water, and the other half was freezing cold. Rinsing was a pain. I abandoned both tubs after several washes and went right back to my mom's old standby - the sink. The baby tub sat in our unused guest shower gathering mildew before I finally threw it out to sit in a landfill for a gazillion, billion years *ashamed of myself*.

5. The bath thermometer is another ridiculous purchase. Put hand into water...if it's cold, add more hot water. If it burns off your skin...DON'T PUT YOUR KID IN, and seek medical attention.

6. Pee-Pee TeePee: Okay, I'll admit these are really, really cute. Diaper changes don't take that long, and it's pretty easy to just place a wipe over Junior's wee-bits while you get on with business.

7. Diaper pail: Our diaper pail is the thing that diapers get placed on top of. If you put a dirty diaper in one (I've tried both popular brands, Dekkor gets points for having bio-degradable liners), it's only a matter of hours before it stinks up the room, floor, and house. There is a reason for modern indoor plumbing, and it's the same reason why excrement should not be wrapped in permeable plastic and forgotten about for days on end.

8. Sleep positioner: Okay, this thing just turned out to be plain dangerous. I remember walking in to check on my infant, and he'd managed to wiggle in such a way this thing was pressed up against his face. Sure it was made out of a NASA space aged material that was supposed to be "breathable." It still freaked me out. Just keep the crib empty (forget the cute little bumper, too).

9. Video/Baby Monitor - We paid something like $200 for a top of the line infant video monitoring camera ($50 extra because it came with color). The colors were bad and looked like it was in black and white, anyway. Unless you live in a 6,000 sq ft house, or your kids sleep on a separate floor, the likeliness of you being unable to even hear your baby is low, especially if they are sleeping in the room next to yours. I found it particularly distracting trying to sleep when I could hear every snarffle, snuffle, and sigh coming from the next room, too. Alas, ours ended up on Craigslist, but fetched a decent resale price. I hate to say it, but if you really need a video monitor go to Costco or Walmart and get a camera surveillance pack. Same thing, less moolah.

10. Infant carseat: We bought an infant carseat both times because it was nice to be able to snap-and-go from the car to the stroller. In the long run, though, I wish I'd just bought a top of the line convertible car-seat. They last from infant to toddler, and really it was more often I was transferring our youngster from the carseat to the sling or his full recline cot anyway.


  1. I agree with a lot of this. I returned my wipes warmer, never bought in to the shopping cart covers and never got a sleep positioner. One other thing I realized is you don't need an expensive fancy stroller right off the bat. A snap n go and your infant seat is all you need for the first 8 months or so. Then you could even just get a Umbrella or a Maclaren Volo and be good. Why spend $800?

  2. I also agree with most of this - especially the baby bathtub. What a waste that was! He hated it and the sink worked so much better! I do confess that I loved my infant seat though, especially so that I didn't have to wake him up if he fell asleep. The ability to just move the car seat to the snap n go was truly fabulous. Probably it depends on if your kid is a good sleeper or not.