The Best and Worst Baby Buys

By on

This post by Julia Scott comes from partner site Mint

I gave bad advice. I’ll admit it. Back in 2011, before my daughter Lucy was born, it was easy to dismiss popular baby gear as money traps, even recommendations from veteran moms.

While friends shared their truly “essential” baby items, I smiled politely and inwardly scoffed. Ha! There’s no way I’ll buy all that stuff.

Fast forward a year and guess what my house is filled with?

Stuff. Lots and lots of baby stuff. Uh, I mean educational toys and other baby essentials.

So folks, I’m fessing up. Here’s a scorecard of where I messed up, and where I was on target.

Baby perfume

What I said: Spritz Burberry Baby Touch eau de toilette on your infant and she won’t scare friends and family away with her dirty diapers. Amazon sells a 3.3 ounce bottle for $31.90.

Scorecard: Wrong. I mocked expensive baby perfume, but I was wrong about the potential for cloth diapers to stink.

I thought a diaper sprayer and a soapy bucket would eliminate all odors, but when you walk into our bathroom, there is no mistaking the stench. It could definitely use a little spritz.

However, I’m in the market for something cheaper than Burberry.

Extra car seat base

What I said: We would be jetting around so frequently with the baby we’d need to snap her safely into both cars.

Scorecard: Wrong. Lucy was a big baby and put on the pounds quickly, so squeezing her in and out of the Mini became such a chore that we stuck to our bigger car whenever she came with us.

Infrared baby monitors

What I said: You can figure out from a standard baby monitor – or even your own ears – if your infant is asleep, safe and sound.

Scorecard: Right…mostly. Our audio-only baby monitor served us just fine. We learned to differentiate our baby’s cries, from escalating screams for help, to quieting fusses that were the precursor to sleep.

However, last week at a friend’s house I played with her wireless infrared video monitor and it was awesome!

My husband and I ignored the conversation and stared, awestruck, at our baby sleeping upstairs. You can even zoom in on the baby.

Baby food processors

What I said: If you already have a food processor, no need to spend money on a pint-sized one. If you don’t own a food processor, buy a real one that you can use for years.

Scorecard: Right, with one caveat. I made Lucy’s baby food with our plain old (very old) Oster blender, saving us $438 per year. But I purchased small plastic containers to freeze the food in baby-sized portions.

The containers cost about $20 – a hidden cost of making your own baby food. Lucy started eating adult food (with minor exceptions) at 10 months, so I’m glad I didn’t invest in a specialized baby blender.

Hopefully, I’ll get more use out of the containers with baby No. 2.

Glider chair with footrest

What I said: I couldn’t believe how many glider chairs were for sale on Craigslist. Brand new ones start at $250 and I have seen them priced in catalogs for upwards of $600.

With the plethora of used listings on the Internet, I was able to wait until I found a quality one for just $35.

Scorecard: Wrong. The used baby glider I paid $35 for turned out to be uncomfortable. When you’re nursing a baby 12 times a day for 40 minutes each time, that’s eight hours a day of discomfort!

We padded the chair with several pillows and blankets, which helped make it more comfortable, but I advise against buying a cheap glider.

And now I either have to buy a new glider, or take mine to a seamstress for new cushions.

Christmas presents

What I said (from a post on raising an anti-consumerist): My own savvy-spending sense dictates that an infant who cannot recognize its own thumb has no need for presents – unless you count an empty box or a wooden spoon as a present.

Scorecard: Wrong. There were five presents under the Christmas tree for Lucy. I just couldn’t resist. Her joy is my joy. If you’re a parent, you know exactly what I mean.

Sign up for our free newsletter

Like this article? Sign up for our newsletter and we'll send you a regular digest of our newest stories, full of money saving tips and advice, free! We'll also email you a PDF of Stacy Johnson's "205 Ways to Save Money" as soon as you've subscribed. It's full of great tips that'll help you save a ton of extra cash. It doesn't cost a dime, so why wait? Click here to sign up now.

Check out our hottest deals!

We're always adding new deals and coupons that'll save you big bucks. See the deals to the right and hundreds more in our Deals section.

Click here to explore 1,239 more deals!

Comments & discussion

We welcome your opinions, but let’s keep it civil. Like many businesses, we reserve the right to refuse service to anyone. In our case, that means those who communicate by name-calling, racism, using words designed to hurt others or generally acting like an uninformed bully. Also, comments that include links to email addresses or commercial websites typically aren't posted. This isn't a place to advertise your business.