27 October 2011
13 Baby Items You Don’t NEED to Buy
By: Laura Trotta (BEng(Enviro), MSc (Enviro Chemistry))
The welcome of a new addition to the family is typically accompanied by an influx of items into the household. Fuelled with the excitement of becoming parents and information from advertisers who outline all the ‘must have’ baby products, it’s understandable why many first time parents go a little overboard when shopping for baby.
Add the inundation of presents from a baby shower and again after bub arrives, it’s not surprising many families move to a larger house to accommodate baby, or more accurately, all the stuff that accompanies their arrival.
The truth that marketers and retailers don’t want you to know is that babies don’t need
all this stuff. Here are some common items that you can easily do without and alternatives that will take some pressure off our environment and your family budget and prevent your home being taken over by baby clutter:
1. Baby Bath – laundry sink works just fine
– place baby into a cot from birth to minimise risk of SIDS[i]
3. Baby Monitor – unless you live in a mansion you will hear your baby cry
4. Disposable Nappies and Wipes
– switch to cloth to save over 5300 disposable nappies[ii]
and 15,900 disposable wipes[iii]
per child going to landfill and save yourself over $3600 in the process
5. Nappy Bags and Nappy Disposal Systems – if you do use disposables, reuse freezer bags from your supermarket shop for soiled nappies only
6. Commercial Baby Food – vegetables, fruits and soon afterwards, family food (and a stick blender) are easy to prepare and are healthier for your baby
7. Bottles, Infant Formula and Steriliser – breast feed if mother has successfully been able to establish feeding
8. Sippy Cups – babies from six months can easily been taught to drink from a regular cup
9. Baby Play Centre and toys, toys and more toys – read and sing to your baby or wear your baby instead if you need to get other things done. Supervised, daily tummy time when awake is beneficial for your baby’s development.
10. Baby Exercise Jumper
and Baby Walker
– not recommended due to developmental and safety concerns.[iv],[v]
You are your baby’s best toy.
11. Baby DVDs – ditch the TV until your baby is well past two years and your child’s brain and language development will thank you for it. Read books to your child instead and encourage free play.
12. Baby Shoes
– until your baby is up and walking opt for growsuits with feet enclosed or socks to keep feet warm. Hard soled shoes can impair baby’s foot development.[vi]
13. Baby Body Products – newborn skin is super sensitive and doesn’t need to be bathed in lotions and potions. To minimise eczema and other skin conditions, use water or unscented certified organic bath and body products suitable for newborns and don’t bath your baby every day (top to toe washes are fine).
So, if you are expecting a baby in the near future, reconsider the purchase of the above items and save yourself thousands of dollars, a home cluttered with items you’ll soon want to offload and unnecessary environmental impact. If you discover you do want or need some of these items, ask your friends whose children are past the infant stage if they have any baby items they want to pass on. You may just find your friends are more than happy for you to take these objects off their hands for free!
About the author:
Laura Trotta (BEng (Enviro), MSc (Enviro Chem)) is an eco mum, environmental engineer and founder of Sustainababy
. She lives in regional South Australia with her husband Paul and son Matthew.