4 parenting products I wish I hadn’t bothered to buy — and what I should have bought instead

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When you’re expecting your first child, it’s perfectly understandable to want to be equipped with everything you need to make their life – and therefore yours – more comfortable.

But that can mean we end up overspending. A study by Ergobaby UK found that parents in the UK spend an average of £10,000 on baby preparation and first year costs.

90% of parents surveyed admitted to spending too much money on baby items, with an average of £5,567 wasted in total.

From strollers, car seats and cribs to clothing, baby monitors and diapers, bringing a child into the world doesn’t come cheap. As a first-time mom, I definitely fell into the trap of buying things that I didn’t necessarily need when our daughter was born.

I thought they would improve our lives – but honestly, they didn’t. And I ended up wasting money in the process. So, whether you’re an expectant parent currently planning your nursery or a parent currently harboring regret about buying a new baby, here are some of the things I wish I hadn’t bothered to: buy – and what I would have liked to buy instead.

Regret n°1: mobile bed

I don’t know what possessed me to buy a mobile for our baby’s bed. Maybe it’s because it’s one of the things you usually associate with a toddler’s nursery, or maybe it’s because I had seen a lot of cute ones on Instagram.

Anyway, we bought one – it was wooden with cute little sea creatures and probably cost us around £50 – and we barely used it. Our little one, who was around 2-3 months old when we got him (can’t quite remember as that period was a blur of lack of sleep), was absolutely thrilled with the mobile.

But rather than soothing her, as I thought, it turned her on. Every time she was placed in her bed, even if she was a little sleepy, she would time it and kick her legs fiercely like an Irish dancer (which is exactly what you want when you’re desperate for your child to drift off ).

There wouldn’t be a moment when she would tire of it or tire of it – it was *the most stimulating object* in the world – so in the end I had to remove it from my sight. i know i am the worst.

What I should have bought instead: blackout blinds

My biggest regret – and I still haven’t bought them (What is wrong with me?) – is that I didn’t install blackout blinds in our daughter’s room.

I honestly believe it would have saved me hours of trying to get her to sleep on those long summer nights, in addition to getting her back down early in the morning when it was light outside at 5am. It would also have done me a great favor during those many naps during the day when I would have closed the curtains, but the afternoon sun would be so strong that the room would remain piercingly bright.

I know it would have made a difference as we have since been on holiday in Croatia and the hotel had amazing blackout curtains. And guess what? She slept until 9 am a few mornings.

If you are looking for blackout blinds, these those from Argos (from £8) have been rated by Expert Reviews as the best roller blinds, while Mumsnet recommends the Gro Anywhere blackout blinds (£19.26) from John Lewis for a more temporary solution (not to mention travel).

Regret n°2: bedside bed

Bedside bassinets can be quite expensive given that they aren’t really used that much – unless you’ve had a caesarean and can benefit from easy access, or plan to have lots of babies (in which case, you won’t!).

The bedside bed we purchased wasn’t as expensive as some of them can be like from Aldi, but it was still an expense we could have saved ourselves because from the tender age of About three months old, our daughter decided she hated this crib with a passion and just didn’t want to sleep in it.

From then on it had two main uses: a place to put it while I was getting dressed and a place to store all the clean laundry when I took it upstairs. Come to think of it, she would have happily slept in her Moses basket for those first few months (especially since that’s where she spent most of her day sleeping). And after about three/four months, she still ended up sharing her bed.

What I should have bought instead: a cot

We ended up buying a cot – this one from All Kids (£259) – but not until our daughter is about seven months old. In hindsight, we could have bought the cot much earlier, put it in our room for a bit for her to sleep in (when she outgrew the moses basket), and then moved it to her own room when she was ready.

If you want to try a bedside bed, I highly recommend it rent one instead via Baboodle because you’ll probably be using it for a few months before moving on to something bigger, like a crib. For an example of rental costs, you could rent the Chicco Next To Me bedside crib for £21 (per month) for six months and then send it back without having to clutter up your attic (or shed, garage or wherever you keep all your baby’s things).

We opted for the Verona cot from Tutti Bambini, but there are many options.

We opted for the Verona cot from Tutti Bambini, but there are many options.

We opted for the Verona cot from Tutti Bambini, but there are many options.

Regret #3: electric nasal aspirator

Apologies in advance as things are about to get a little rough. We bought an electric nasal aspirator brat thinking it would be better than the textbooks and honestly it wasn’t all that.

We spent £30 on it and found it didn’t really remove much mucus. Also the noise seemed to scare our daughter so she wasn’t a fan at all.

What I should have bought instead: a manual nasal aspirator

Yes, it’s disgusting, but the manual works so much better and was much cheaper too. We have this Snufflebabe Nasal Aspirator (£8.99) and it was so helpful when she was really congested with a bad cold.

I admit, it’s super disgusting. When you suck on either end, you can literally hear the snot gurgling as it exits your baby’s nose and enters the device. But there’s something oddly satisfying about it at the same time.

If you’re not looking for snot suckers (just), saline drops (£7.99 for a 3 pack) can also be a boon for moving that pesky mucus.

Snufflebabe Nasal Aspirator.  Gross but... is it worth it?

Snufflebabe Nasal Aspirator. Gross but… is it worth it?

Snufflebabe Nasal Aspirator. Gross but… is it worth it?

Regret n°4: pillow on the stomach

When my daughter was a month old, I remember reading and hearing so much advice about the importance of tummy time that I worried that I hadn’t done enough of it. (If you’re a parent-to-be and currently think WTF is tummy time, it’s basically when you put your baby on their tummy while they’re awake to help them build muscle.)

A pillow for tummy time was definitely a “new parent scare” purchase that I didn’t really need. I could have simply rolled a towel under his chest, placed stimulating toys nearby, and it would have had a similar effect.

What I should have bought instead: a white noise machine

So, there really wasn’t anything belly-related that I would have liked to buy. But a game-changing new parent purchase was a white noise machine — and I’m sure many parents will agree.

I ended up buying a white noise machine, but not until our little one was about four or five months old – which was a bad decision considering she’s Phone light sleep.

So far, we had managed to tiptoe around the place – and hurt each other if we breathed heavily. When she was about three months old, we discovered Spotify’s white noise playlist, which we played all night on a speaker, and it was like magic. You could turn over in bed, the frame would creak, but she wouldn’t wake up. Happiness.

Lots of friends had portable white noise machines they carried around with them, so in the end I gave in and bought one – this Dreamegg (£39.99)to be precise – and it’s one of the best purchases I’ve made as a new parent. Great for stroller naps, great for daytime naps so you can carry on with jobs downstairs, great for nighttime slumbers. I love it.

It also has a small built-in night light and 10 other background noises like shhh, vacuum cleaner and running water if you want to switch things up. It’s so awesome that we still use it now.

Did you buy something for your new baby that, in hindsight, you definitely didn’t need? Join the conversation by tweeting us @HPUKParents.

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