Wednesday, May 21, 2014

The worst baby products out there.

I recently wrote a post about the best baby gadgets on the market so I figured I would do a follow-up post on the products that I think, are the worst products out there.  Now please be advised that like my post about the best baby products, this list is my personal opinion.  You may have some of these products and love them, however when I had my daughter these were products I either never used (even though I had them) or I used them but found that they were more hassle then they were worth and that there where simpler, cheaper options for me to utilize. I feel that a lot of times mom and mom-to-be's are bombarded with all of these different products it's hard to figure out what we need and what we don't.  Especially since we so often rack ourselves with mom guilt and want to "get it right" the first time. I hope this list is very helpful and helps inform you all in your search for the products you need and don't need.  So here is my list of the worst baby products on the market. However, if you disagree with my assessments, all of these items can be purchased from

1) Diaper cakes: Okay, now I now these aren't actual "products" but a collection of products put into a  "cute" display for use as a shower gift.  I will admit I have seen some very cute versions of the traditional diaper cake, however the majority of the ones I've seen are pretty...blah. My biggest issue with this item is that it is rarely personalized.  Unless you go out an purchase several items from the mommy-to-be's registry and then make them into a cute cake, there is actually very little in these cakes that is useful.  I received two of these at my shower, and while I was grateful for the thought, I didn't really use any of the items.  The bottles were cheap and I received a full set of the bottles I registered for, so the ones in the cake weren't needed.  The diapers where also very thin and super small, I kept them and used them for 'emergency situations' but I still only used two or three before my daughter moved out.  None of the teethers were packaged so I didn't know if they were BPA free and didn't want to use them. I ended up donating a lot of the items in the cake because I didn't want them to go to waste.  Additionally, you have to think about what the mom is asking for.  For baby #2 we are planning on cloth diapering, so a diaper cake with disposable diapers wouldn't be useful at all. Once again, if you get items from the registry and make your own cake, then it would be useful, otherwise, stick to the registry.

2) Baby nail clippers: You can see my story as to why I HATE these things, on my best baby products post along with a great alternative.  But basically, I don't like these because baby nails are SO ridiculously small, and babies are SO ridiculously squirmy that it is virtually impossible to cut your baby's nails without also cutting her skin! OUCH!

3) Baby mirror: Now there is a caveat to this product. I do think that they are very useful IF you buy the right one. This was an afterthought for me at the store while I was getting the rest of the items off my registry.  I was already spending a lot of money and didn't want to go broke so I bought a simple mirror that had a simple strap which you clipped in-between the back seat and trunk area (if that makes sense) so whenever I would accelerate (no matter how slow) the damn mirror would fall down flat and be of no use for the entire trip.  I've seen some really good ones, but they strap to the headrest, and research has shown that the safest place for baby is in the center of the back seat.  So if there isn't a headrest in the center, finding a good mirror is very difficult.

4) Baby sink baths: To me these are really dumb. When your baby is too small to be in the sink (or still has the cord stump on) you can just lay him down on some towels next to the sink and sponge bathe him.  Once the baby is bigger and doesn't have the cord stump, there are plenty of baby baths or bath seats that go into the tub and later convert as your baby grows to hole a larger baby.  Sink baths are only good in the sink and you baby will grow out of them quickly. I do see how it can be convenient for space, however a lot of in tub baby baths collapse down for easy storage. I'm just a big fan of finding products that last through multiple baby stages, reducing cost, clutter, and my environmental foot print. The bath seat I got for my first child lasted from birth (or cord stump falling off) until she was seven months old and could independently sit in the tub.

5) Bassinets: This is also a personal preference but I don't see the need for bassinets any more. I have seen so many registries where the mom asks for a bassinet and a pack-in-play, and for me that is just redundant.  Most pack in plays come with a bassinet feature that is an insert that goes into the pack-n-play and raises the baby up to make taking him out easier.  So to have both a bassinet and pack-n-play is very redundant, especially if your goal is to save space.  In my view a pack-n-play is much better because once they baby grows out of the bassinet stage you can take the insert out and just use the crib. Additionally, since the pack-n-play folds so you can transport it anywhere you and baby go. We are still using ours 3 1/2 years later for when our daughter goes to grandma's house for sleepovers or for when my sister visits from NY with my nephew.

6) Bottle sterilizer: I had one of these with my first and used it for a total of five times...maybe.  It was also very redundant. First of all, the bottles are only sterile when the lid is closed, the second you open the container the all of the contents are no longer sterile.  So it's actually pretty pointless.  Also, many dishwashers have a sterilization feature if you want to sterilize them.  After a while I would just   do a deal clean of the bottles in the dishwasher at the end of the week (hand washing the rest of the time) and sterilize them then.  That was easy enough, way more cost effective, and didn't take up any additional space.  My advice, skip the sterilizer and use the dishwasher if you're really worried about it.

7) Baby brush: Okay, there is a difference between a brush and comb.  If your baby has a lot of hair (like mine did) a comb works wonderfully in combing knots after a bath and in the morning.  Baby brushes don't really do any de-tangling because of the density of the bristles.  So you end up just pushing the hair around and making it full of static.  If your baby's hair isn't super long, you can just finger comb the hair and be done with it.  In my opinion a brush really isn't necessary until their hair is SUPER long, and even then a comb is probably better.

8) Baby carrier: Ok, this one also need clarification.  I think baby carrying is great, it is the TYPE of carrier that is important.  I think that slings and wraps are really great, and super easy.  However, with my first I purchase a carrier like the one pictured above, and is SUCKED!  It was SO big and bulky and very hard to get on.  It took me about 3 minutes to get it on WITH my husbands help. I was never able to get it on and the baby secured by myself, so I never used it when I was alone.  Also once you finally get the damn thing on getting the baby in is a hole other story.  You need like six hands to get the baby in! You literally had to hold the baby by the arm pit with ONE HAND and then open the carrier with the other and slide the baby in while holding the thing open.  Now this may be easy when your baby is older and has some head control...that is if you weren't holding him with one hand and he's like a million pounds! Over all this is just a bad setup and way to difficult, especially for a first time mom. Go with the sling.

9) Pacifier clips: Okay, so there are a few reasons I don't like these pacifier clips. Like a lot of these products I think it's an unnecessary expense. If a pacifier falls on the floor wash it off with water, a boogies wipe, regular wipe, hell after your first child you'll probably pop that thing in your mouth to clean it off (I've seen it). Germs aren't that big of a deal as long as your child isn't immune compromised, or going through medical treatments that can effect their immune system (i.e., chemo). So in my opinion a little dirt never hurt anyone. Also there is no guarantee that your child will like the type of pacifiers that go with the clip you have.  We went through several different types of pacifiers until we found one our little liked, so the one you end up with may not fit the clip you have.  And finally, the most important reason why I don't like the pacifier clips is that they are a choking hazard.  Think about it, this thing is clipped on your baby's clothes, or car seat and it isn't a far stretch of the imagination to think that while baby is moving, wiggling, and falling asleep it would be relatively easy for the ribbon to get wedged around/across the baby's neck. This is not something I want to risk. So I just throw the pacifier in the diaper bag and when it falls wash it off.  Sometimes old school is best.

10) Pacifier pouch: This is basically the same thing as the pacifier clip, except there is not choking hazard (so definitely an improvement).  However, in my opinion, unnecessary.  I had one of these with my first.  It was so cute and matched the diaper holder I had and was color coordinated with the diaper bag...I was very stylish (ha).  The main purpose of this item is to help keep the pacifier in a secure place so it is easy to find when baby has a meltdown so you can easily pop the sucker in and avoid all those mean glances by non-parents.  I tried this for a while, about a month or so, and it just didn't work.  It was very cumbersome and really more of a pain then it was worth.  I found myself struggling to quickly unzip the damn zipper when my little started crying.  This resulted in the zipper getting stuck and it taking me even longer to get the pacifier out.  I also had a hard time figuring out the best place to put it.  I first had it on the outside of the diaper bag, but then I had to go into the basket of the stroller (often times digging under shopping bags, jackets, and blankets) to get to it.  Then I put it on the stroller so I had easy access to it, but then when the stroller was in the back of my car I couldn't access the pacifier when she was crying in the car. I then tried to have a pacifier in the front of the car, and then one in the pouch in the stroller and that was just redundant and ended up with me loosing a lot of pacifiers.  So eventually what I did was I just picked a small pocket in the diaper bag and put pacifier (without the pouch) in there. This way I didn't have to deal with any zippers to get to the thing. I also tried to position the bag so that the pocket was easily accessible to make the digging less.  I guess this could be an effective piece if you were able to find out a system that worked for you, however I never got the hang of it.

11) Bottle warmer: I had one of these as well and I didn't use it long. First of all only certain types of bottles will fit, unless you get the warmer that corresponds to your bottle brand.  This wouldn't be an issue if you liked the steamer that went with the brand of bottle you picked...I did not.  Also it takes a while to set up the warmer and get the water warm, which is very hard when your baby is hungry NOW.  Now if you are formula feeding you can warm it in the microwave or use bottled water at room temperature.  If you are breastfeeding (DO NOT MICROWAVE BREAST MILK) you can microwave water for a minute or two and place the storage bag in the water to warm it.  You can also do this with the formula as well.  Doing this still takes less time then the warmer.  All-in-all this isn't a BAD product, its just the time required for set up, and the fact that you need to get corresponding equipment makes it a little inefficient to use.

12) Baby shoes: Okay, I really don't get these. Yes, it completes the outfit, and yes they look cute, but they are totally pointless!  Babies don't walk so they don't need hard bottomed shoes. If you really want something on your baby's feet then put socks on! They will keep his feet warm and look cute too.  They even have socks that have shoes designs on them so it LOOKS like your little one is wearing shoes to complete an outfit.  Also, babies grow so fast your little one will probably wear those shoes once or twice before they grow out of them.  Socks on the other hand, can stretch and last a while.

13) Shopping cart cover: These are completely unnecessary. Yes, the patterns can be cute but they are truly pointless.  Germs really aren't that big of a deal (unless your child falls into one of the categories discussed earlier in the post) and exposure to germs can actually HELP your child by exposing him to various non-threatening illnesses that allow your baby's immune system to build antigens and basically exercise. If we continue to shelter our kids from these harmless germs their immune systems will not get the proper practice it needs to fight off bigger bugs.  Furthermore, this is just one more step you have to do and one more thing you have to carry before you do your normal routine.  If you are truly concerned with germs  many grocery stores and retail stores offer disinfecting wipes right by the front door, use those.  I never used this with my little and she rarely gets sick and when she does it's only for a day or so...because her immune system got practice.  I have also watched other moms struggle to get this cover on while wrangling their little one, and it adds and extra few minutes onto their routine. Now this may not seem like much, but as a mom, every second counts!

14) Pacifier with germ lid: Now I have the same germ issue with this as I have mentioned above and with the pacifier clip above as well.  However, my real issue with this is the cover itself.  I received on of these (in a diaper cake) and never used it.  I originally thought it was a great idea and was planning on using it.  But as I cleaned it the first time to get it ready for my daughter I noticed that the germ lid was SUPER SENSITIVE.  I would barely tap it with my finger, brush against it really, and the thing would SNAP shut. Like snap shut super fast!  I was really concerned with my little one getting her finger, nose, or lips stuck in it.  I decided to do an experiment and I help the pacifier with one hand and then put my pinkie finger next to the pacifier nipple and lightly tapped the cover.  Not only did is snap shut ridiculously fast, but it hurt so bad! It actually left a red mark on my pinkie and was pretty difficult to open once it had shut. During one experiment I had my finger too close to the hinge and got my skin caught in it and my husband hand to open the lid because I couldn't pry it open.  After that this was a no go.  I didn't even donate it (I donate everything) because I didn't want to risk another child getting hurt.  I threw this sucker out so fast!  Of everything on this list, this is the one thing that I will say is not based on the person, this is a horrible item and you should avoid it at all costs!

Well, that is my list!  I hope this was helpful in explaining why these items are a no-go in my opinion, and also provided you with some alternative ideas and strategies if you decide you really want one of them.  Like I said before, parenting is a personal thing and the products you choose are just as personal.  There are very few items that are an absolute "no" so this is not a definite list, but more of a guideline from a mom who has used them and did not have a good experience.  If you guys have any other products you think should be on this list let me know what they are and why. You can also check out my best baby products post to see items I highly recommend.  

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