Bringing home your bundle of love for the first time is typically a time filled with abundant joy. But if you've never had a baby before, you'll quickly learn there are a few things that can completely frustrate new moms.

While it can be a good thing to have many baby product options, it can also be overwhelming. It’s difficult to wade through all that is available and determine which products are necessary, which make our lives easier, and which are a complete waste of money.

Of course, everyone has different ideas about what’s vital and helpful or not, but I hope to open your eyes to a few items, offer some useful suggestions, and help you navigate the abundance of baby products.

Things to watch out for

* Fancy clothes that are not easily washed or require dry cleaning can be a hassle that you just don’t have time to deal with. Even if you have a wedding or special event to attend, and are excited to show off your new baby, chances are baby is going to spit up or have a diaper explosion that can ruin the new outfit. Buy an affordable, yet cute dress and save yourself some stress.

* Anything with teeny tiny buttons may look beautiful, but those buttons are completely impractical and will be your nemesis. They may be fine for special family photos but for everyday wear, stick to something more convenient like a zippered sleeper.

* Footed sleepers may become a frustration for you if your baby has long legs, a long torso, or big feet. Don’t stock up until you know how things are going to fit. You may need to have more onsies and pants to pair with socks for your future basketball player.

* Noise making toys are no doubt a favorite of most children, but they can easily send a sleep deprived mama into a frenzy. Limit the number of those toys and include creative toys such as this Tree Top Adventure.

Things that are not necessary

Beware of things that are marketed to make your life easier, but actually add one more thing to wash, store, and keep track of. Think practically and don’t feel like you need every baby gadget.

* Bottle warmers: Hot water from the tap or in a pan on the stove does the trick.

* Baby food maker: A blender or food processor works just as well.

* Baby wipes warmer: These have been known to breed bacteria and if baby is a little sensitive, just hold the wipe in your hand for a second to warm it up.

* Baby shoes: They do not stay on and are easily lost. I loved little leather shoes like these Robeez that kept socks on as my daughter started crawling and also worked as her first shoes when she started walking.

* Changing table: Limited space and limited use can make this unnecessary. Consider putting a changing pad on top of a dresser. For the first several months I just kept the changing pad on the floor since that’s where we always were anyway.

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Things that are not safe

* Baby coats are too bulky to be worn safely in car seats. When going outside, blankets work well to keep baby warm. If you are going to have baby in a carrier, try a full body bunting.

* Baby bedding: While it’s easy to buy the whole set of baby bedding, most of it is not necessary. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that cribs be clear of anything that could pose a risk of suffocation. Baby simply needs a tight fitting sheet and a sleep sack to sleep comfortably and safely.

Hopefully you feel more equipped to buy the things that you truly need and those that will actually make your life easier. Happy shopping!



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Annie Wiesman

Annie Wiesman is the co-author of “Education Begins at Birth: A Parent’s Guide to Preparing Infants, Toddlers, and Preschoolers for Kindergarten.” She is a former kindergarten teacher turned stay-at-home mom who enjoys traveling, hiking in the mountains, and creating memories together with her husband and little girl.

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