Last Updated: November 9, 2023
All you really need when you come home from the hospital, with a new baby, is: a bed, boobs or a bottle, and some diapers. That pretty much sums it up from a minimalist perspective. Of course, as you know, you will need more than just that to keep yourself and your baby comfortable and happy as you start your new life as a little family. But there really are a ton of items that you simply don’t need. So here’s what NOT to put on baby registry lists.
And a quick caveat on this list: We are all different humans with different experiences and preferences, and all babies are different! And a lot of baby products were invented by someone who needed or just enjoyed the item! What might be a nice to have for one person, is a total waste of money for someone else. So with an open-mind, here are the items you probably don’t need, with no judgement if you do.
The biggest takeaway being that these items are most often the unnecessary items that you don’t need in advance on your baby registry. And if you DO end up getting any of these items as the need arises, that’s easy to do.
27 Baby Items You Don’t Need: What to Skip!
As a first-time parent it can be hard to know where to start. What are unnecessary baby items and what will you actually need? I’ve covered all the essentials in my minimalist baby registry checklist. So here’s the items you can skip!
1. Changing Table
When it comes to useless baby items, this one tops the charts. Yes, it can be nice to have a higher surface for baby changing. But skip the glorified shelving/cart and go straight to a sturdy dresser that you can use for more than a year of diapering.
Instead Use: Sturdy dresser (IKEA $199+)
2. Diaper Caddy Cart
As adorable as some of the Pinterest images are of wheeled diaper caddy carts, in most cases a cart is overkill. Just use a small organization bin. We just used a dresser drawer organizer. It perfectly fit diapers, wipes, rash cream, and hand sanitizer and any other little things. Tip: If you live in a two story house, have one diaper supply bin upstairs and one downstairs next to your changing mats.
Instead Use: Drawer organizer or small basket (IKEA $1-5)
3. Diaper Pail
When it comes to diapering essentials, a diaper pail is one of the biggest unnecessary items. This is just a glorified tall garbage can that you will only use for a couple years. And spoiler alert: they still stink! Use this opportunity to buy that mod garbage can you’ve been wanting. Instead of an $60 hunk of plastic, get a $35 metal trash can that has a lid and liner bin that will last for years! Use it for diapers now and a regular trash can in the future. If you think about the average of 10 newborn diapers per day… You’re going to be emptying your smelly diaper garbage pretty frequently anyway in the first year. So you may as well have a small and usable can!
Instead Use: Simplehuman 1.6 Gallon Step Trash Can (Amazon $35)
4. Wipe Warmer
A wipe warmer is one of those items that is a bit more dependent on you, your baby, and where you live. If you have a baby in winter and live somewhere cold, a wipe warmer might be useful to you. Especially for those night time changes when you’re hoping to get baby back to sleep and not be startled fully awake with an ice cold wipe. However, you can also just warm the wipe up with your body (hands or chest) first. And if you’re out and about with your baby, you won’t have a wipe warmer anyway! And sometimes it’s the temperament of your baby that will confirm you you want a wipe warmer. That said, more often than not, you will not need a wipe warmer!
Instead Use: warm the wipe up with your body heat first!
5. Changing Pad Covers
There are so many cute options and beautiful prints for changing pad covers. But spoiler alert: they’re not super practical! One diaper change and they are instantly dirty and now you have more laundry to do! So get one cute one if you want to have your nursery look cute. But in the day-to-day baby life basic changing pads are all you need.
After a few months, you’re going to be a pro and diapering mid-air or on the bare ground sometimes. So don’t worry about having the fanciest expensive ergonomic changing pads and designer covers. Get a basic $20 Summer Infant Changing Pad which you can wipe clean. And if really want liners, snag a 3 pack of Bamboo Waterproof Changing Pad Liners – also works for on-the-go changes and are easier to clean.
Instead use: Summer Infant changing pad (Amazon $20)
6. Diaper Cream Applicator Tool
You do not need a diaper cream plastic applicator tool. Just clean your baby, then use your fingers to apply the diaper cream and then go wash your hands!
Instead use: your finger!
7. Pillow & Crib Blankets
Safe sleep for infants is no pillow or blankets until age one! You will probably receive lots of cute blankets and stuffed animal items which you can use for decoration and play in the first year. But unless you really have your eye on a specific blanket, you don’t need to register for these items. If you’re worried about your baby being cold, try a wearable blanket sleep sack. The vest style keeps them warm at night since they don’t use blankets yet. It’s on our list of baby sleep essentials!
The one blanket we did register for was the Aden + Anais Dream Blanket. These blankets are great for around the house or travel as baby starts to roll and crawl. Giving them a space to do that, depending on your house. It also makes a great crib blanket after the first 18 months.
Instead use: Wearable blanket sleep sack (Amazon $25)
8. Crib Bumpers
This is another item that is not recommended for safe sleep. But stores still sell them! Yes when your baby starts rolling and moving there will be times they have an arm out of the crib slats. Usually if they are uncomfortable or get stuck, they will let you know by squawking about it! Crib bumpers were designed with good intentions, but can create an unsafe sleep environment.
9. Crib Mobile
This is another one that is an unnecessary item and not specifically a safe sleep item. You don’t want something dangling over your baby that could be reachable or fall. At the same time, babies love to look at stuff. But when our baby was in the crib we wanted him to sleep, not be mesmerized and awake by a mobile. So either put the cute mobile over your changing area, or save it for daytime play. Either way, you don’t need a mobile on your registry.
By default, not every baby and every home needs a humidifier. This really depends on where you live and what season it is. I’d save this item for a buy it if and when you need it. If your 3 month old is congested and it’s really dry in your house you might find you want one. And then it’s typically easy to just head to the store or order one. But you also might find you got one since you put it on your registry and you never use it. So this is a wait and see item.
However, I would definitely recommend an air purifier! We ended up putting one in our babies room after a bad wildfire season here in the Pacific Northwest. And it was comforting to know that at least the air was being cleaned and recirculated while he was sleeping.
11. Wildly expensive sleep devices!
Please don’t feel like you have to buy super expensive items for you baby to rest! Items like the $300 Owlet smart sock or the $1,500 Snoo bassinet that you will use 4 months. While I appreciate that sleep items are being created for specific family needs, I also fear that it’s normalizing paying huge amounts of money to buy whatever the latest smart bassinet or sleep device is. Which is both unaffordable and unnecessary for most families! Getting off my soap box… It could work for your family and it might not. But guess what? You don’t know what kind of sleeper you’re going to have and as soon as you think you have something figured out they change anyway.
12. Baby shoes
Baby shoes are pretty darn cute. But your baby doesn’t need shoes and shouldn’t wear structured shoes as they’re beginning to walk and put weight on their feet anyway. However if you have a winter baby you will need to make sure your baby’s feet stay warm! As mentioned in my Newborn Essential Clothing post, we love the Hanna Andersson Best Ever First Socks: $2-8 for a 2-pack. Perfect thick socks to keep a winter baby happy! They stay on baby feet and are soft terry material inside. We also used fleece booties as “shoes” for going out and baby wearing. Luvable Friends and Zutano are two fleece booties options. The first real shoes your baby will need are early walkers around 9-12 months.
Instead use: Fleece Booties (Amazon $10)
13. Baby hangers
Another baby item that falls into the category of cute overload. Baby hangers are super cute. But you don’t need them and you probably won’t use them. I received a pack of adorable wooden baby hangers (IKEA $5). I hung up one baby outfit and admired how cute it was. And that has been the extent of our hanger use. Most new parents just don’t have the time, need or desire to hang up baby clothes. You’ll be lucky if the clean clothes get folded at all. Ha!
14. Baby laundry detergent
Another baby product marketing win. You do not need baby laundry detergent (Dreft etc). Yes, babies have sensitive skin and respiratory systems. So this is a great time to switch all of your laundry to a more natural detergent that is unscented and stop using scented dryer sheets. I recommend All Free & Clear detergent. Why? First, you’re not going to be doing only baby laundry unless it’s really filthy. Most of it will get mixed in with all of your laundry. Second, babies are sensitive so they’re not just going to be smelling their own laundry. If you’re snuggling them all day in your super strong laundry smelling outfit, why waste the time on baby specific detergent just for them?
Instead use: All Free & Clear or similar fragrance free (Target $4)
15. Baby mittens
I always see these popup on baby registries. Like you’re going to need a bulk pack of 200 baby mittens! You don’t need mittens for your baby’s hands. The idea is great, but they end up being useless baby items! Yes, your baby will scratch themselves. No, it’s not possible to keep mittens on a baby. They’re like cats. Instead keep your baby’s nails filed or trimmed. And second, try the cuffed sleeve onesies that have little mitts that flip over their wrist. Great for newborns and helps with baby scratching their face on accident, and to flip over while we you’re out on fall and winter walks.
Instead use: Mitten-Cuff Onesies (Amazon $8)
16. Stretchy car seat covers
You’ve probably seen pictures of the car seat covers that stretch and go all the way around and over a car seat when it’s out of the car. While this seems handy and like a good idea so your baby will sleep or be protected from the elements while you’re out and about it’s really not necessary. And also poses more risk IMO than reward. Babies need airflow and also babies sleep through anything if they’re in sleep mode. Instead use a muslin blanket (Aiden and Anais make great ones and is one of our most used baby items). Drape it over the car seat, angle it how you want, tuck it in to the back if you need. Plenty of air flow and baby has a little shade or privacy.
Instead use: Muslin swaddle blankets 4 pack (Amazon $38)
17. Hiking baby carrier
Ok this might be an unpopular opinion to some folks. But hear me out. Most families are not doing such epic hikes that they will need a dedicated hiking carrier. By the time your baby fits in one, they want to do some of the hiking anyway. I know we all have these grand visions of being these strong parents who take their kids on epic adventures. But for most of us, you can be a strong mom taking your baby on an epic 3 mile hike in a regular babywearing carrier! Which also tops our list for gear for traveling with your baby.
So unless your weekend hikes [with baby] look like 10+ milers with massive elevation gain you can probably skip the hiking carrier. Most families manage fine with a regular babywearing carrier like the Lillebaby Complete etc. Wait til you actually use a babywearing carrier and find it no longer meets your hiking needs, before you get a $300 hiking pack. Then guess what, REI is just a quick trip away! ;)
Instead use: Lillebaby Complete Carrier, Ergo, or Tula etc. (Amazon $100)
18. The $400 highchair
Just like the spendy sleep devices, the $400 Norwegian highchair is well-designed and pretty cool looking. But you don’t need them to raise a well-adjusted baby. Your one year old is gonna throw food on the floor from their $400 highchair or their $20 booster seat. :)
Many families can skip the highchair altogether and go straight to a booster. But really this is an item to wait and see on as it really depends on your situation. We ended up getting a Fisher Price Space Saver High Chair that converts to a booster later. What’s great about this chair, is it fits onto your existing dining chairs. And with the reclining feature with buckles, your baby can use it at a few months old. This is the only way we didn’t have takeout every single night of our baby’s first year.
Instead use: booster or reclining high chair
19. Nursing Cover Ups
This one depends on your comfort level nursing in public and how distracted your baby gets (sometimes they are very distracted eaters and need a cover!). But a muslin blanket works great as a makeshift cover if you need it and can even be used as a burp cloth.
I found some areas while traveling in the south to be more “covered up” and people were uncomfortable when I started breastfeeding in public. This was very different than being in Portland. And probably also because I am friends with other moms, so it didn’t feel weird to just feed your baby at a restaurant table. I of course have the right to feed my child wherever and whenever, but while traveling and having people get up from the table and move to a different table (they either were uncomfortable or were trying to give me privacy?!*) I realized that it was much easier to just use a muslin blanket while I nursed. *And no I didn’t want to spend my short time visiting talking about a mother’s need to feed their child. It didn’t need to be a thing. ;)
Instead use: Muslin swaddle blankets 4 pack (Amazon $38)
20. Nursing shirts
When it comes to breastfeeding essentials, you don’t know what you’ll need until you’re doing it! So nursing shirts are another item you may or may not need. So don’t register for them and after you start nursing, if you feel like you need some dedicated nursing shirts, find some that work for you. It’s a personal preference. Many women find that just wearing regular casual shirts and tanks are more comfortable and then lifting the edge of your shirt up for breastfeeding. And the same for nursing bras. A low impact bra is enough for some breast sizes.
21. Wearable breast pump
If you’re in the USA your insurance will provide a breast pump. Which is enough for most women. There are some really cool advances in breast pumps that you can get wearable ones now. That said, most won’t need this and you won’t know your breastfeeding experience anyway until the baby comes. So don’t buy a $500 wearable breast pump (until/if you do need it!) If you’re planning to exclusively breast feed and aren’t returning to work immediately, you’re not going to need this. Yes, it’s super cool, but most can do with the insurance provided pump.
If you’re pumping, bottle feeding or some combination of that you will need to clean your breast pump parts and bottles. Usually hot water and soap is enough. You can also sterilize with many dishwashers or follow the instructions from your breast pump maker and do it with a pot of boiling water. Dedicated sterilizer products aren’t needed for most families.
23. Bottle warmer
Bottle warmers also fall into the category of unnecessary baby items. There are easy ways to warm bottles and most babies will drink it without being warmed anyway. But just like the wipe warmer, if this ends up being something you wish you had. You can go buy one. But a bottle warmer is really not a necessary item to register for to start out with.
24. Baby food machines and accessories
By the time your baby starts eating solids (aka pureed food instead of milk), you will have a lot of options of how to go about that. And you really don’t need a dedicated machine for baby foods that you will only use for a short time. If anything, save that money toward a new fancy blender that you can use for ages – like a Blendtec or Vitamix! You can buy baby food and you can easily make your own with a regular blender. We did both. I found my blender to be more than adequate for making baby food. And then I would pour extra into ice cube trays and freeze to have individual servings for later.
25. Random “health” items: Nose Frida or Boogy Wipes
Many baby items in the health category fall under the area of “if you need it, then go do a Target drive up order and give it a try”. Nose Frida or Frida anything (some people love this product line. I never had the need of the extra expense, but you do you!) is one of these items. Just remember to take the Bulb Syringe nasal aspirator from your hospital room (yep, you’re paying for it either way). We barely used the bulb variety, so never tried the Frida version. Boogy Wipes is another similar item. Regular tissues, washcloths, and lotion worked as needed for us. And kitschy items like bath thermometers are also an item to skip. But here are our favorite baby bath essentials.
26. Baby toys or stuffed animals
You’ll likely be gifted a ridiculous amount of toys and stuffed animals. Kind of like baby clothes, it’s hard to resist buying some items as gifts. So unless you have something very specific that you know you want (like a baby subscription box like Lovevery or Panda Crate), skip the toys and stuffies for your baby registry! However, as a caveat to this – similar to clothing – if you’re trying to convey a design style to your gift givers, you might add a couple toys or clothing items to your registry just to show you’re going more for the greens and yellow and not bright pink for your girl etc.
We mostly waited to see what things baby would be interested in next versus buying toys way ahead of time. In the first few months they love: high contrast cards, books, and rattles.
27. Baby proofing items
You won’t need baby proofing items until your baby is on the move. Yes, that happens quickly, but you usually don’t know what you’ll need until you need it! But if you need more items on your registry for gifting there are of course some basics depending on your house. For example, if you know you’ll need a baby gate at the top of a staircase and you need to add some bigger items to your registry for gift givers (wow, what a great problem to have, right?!). Then it might make sense to add it to your registry in hopes that someone buys it for you. Otherwise, I’d skip the baby-proofing items until you need it!
What Not to Put on Your Baby Registry
In summary, here are the top 27 things to NOT put on your registry.
- changing table
- diaper caddy cart
- diaper pail
- wipe warmer
- changing pad covers
- diaper cream application tool
- pillow or crib blankets
- crib bumpers
- crib mobile
- wildly expensive sleep devices – $1500 bassinets or $300 smart socks
- Baby shoes
- baby hangers
- baby laundry detergent
- baby mittens
- stretchy carseat covers
- hiking carrier
- the $400 highchair
- Nursing coverups
- nursing shirts
- wearable breast pump
- bottle warmer
- baby food machines and accessories
- Random “health” items
- baby toys & stuffed animals
- baby proofing items
I hope this helps you narrow down your registry and if you need any ideas of what items you SHOULD put on your baby registry, check out my minimalist baby registry checklist post and my post on when to start buying baby stuff. And remember at the end of the day (just kidding with a newborn you don’t know if it’s day or night!), most of these “extra” type products were invented to fill a need. To soothe the anxiety and the unknown of being a first-time parent. So if getting a $12 bath thermometer helps you feel confident bathing your infant and lowers your stress level? Get the thermometer! You’ll do great!
Download the Minimalist Baby Registry Checklist Spreadsheet
This post is part of my Minimalist Baby Registry checklist series. You can download the spreadsheet for a “Pay what you want” price. Consider your checklist spreadsheet a planner for everything you need and a baby budget! While your Amazon registry is your shareable list with friends and family for gifting.