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My Top 10 Pointless Parenting Purchases!

We’ve all been there.. you’ve bought something which you thought would be useful but it’s spent most of its time gathering dust in a cupboard somewhere! This is never truer than those impulsive buys you make when you’re expecting your first child. You buy anything and everything to ensure that you are prepared for all eventualities; you even buy 2 or 3 of the same thing just to be on the safe side... but then you find yourself with a surplus of unopened things that you end up throwing out or giving away!

Having just recently gone through the process of clearing out our most recent collection of clutter, I thought it would be a good idea to list out our most unnecessary purchases to date in the hope that it might help any first time mums to avoid making the same mistake!

In no particular order...

01 – A bathwater thermometer
We purchased one of those little rubber duck thermometers for the bath which at the time we thought was a brilliant invention.. It was more of an impulse buy from the supermarket, but a pointless one nevertheless. The duck has a temperature sensitive bottom which reveals the word “HOT” if the water it is floating on is, as you guessed, hot. The problem is though that even just lukewarm water will cause the duck to reveal the word “HOT” giving no real indication of how hot the water actually is. In fact, you would end up bathing your poor child in cold water just to appease the duck! This purchase has just become an overpriced rubber duck for Lily to play with – no comparison to the tried and tested ‘elbow dip’ method.

02 – A mouth thermometer
Whilst we are on the topic of thermometers, I thought I would mention those cheap little digital thermometers that you pop in your mouth or under your armpit for a minute or so. We struggled with one of these for far too long before eventually spending £35 on a Braun Thermoscan ear thermometer and we’ve never looked back. I wish we would have purchased one from day 1 as it would have saved us a lot of hassle. There’s nothing more frustrating than struggling to get an accurate reading with a cheap little thermometer when your child is upset and getting themselves more and more worked up!

03 – Newborn nappies
I’m not sure about everyone else, but for us, we always tend to stock up on consumables such as nappies, wipes etc. Generally it is cheaper to buy in bulk and great for peace of mind knowing that you have another pack of wipes etc on standby. Our mistake came though when we were a little over zealous on the nappy buying when Lily was a newborn; she soon grew out of those teeny tiny newborn nappies and we quickly found ourselves with at least 3 unopened packs leftover when she moved up a size! James gave some to his sister and even took a pack to work to give to a colleague who was expecting. So maybe be careful when stocking up on nappies when your little one is still a newborn as they will probably soon outgrow them!

04 – Newborn clothes
Again on the topic of newborn babies and the speed at which they first grow, be careful with buying clothes! Itss hard not to fall into the trap of buying them umpteen different outfits because they’re cute or because they’re on offer, believe me I know haha. With the best will in the world, you will probably never get through them all before your baby grows out of them. Be honest, your baby will spend at least the first few weeks of its life wearing various sleepsuits and vests, and less so those fancy little dresses, jeggings or jumpers you bought. By the time Lily had grown out of her newborn clothes, we found ourselves sorting through her clothes drawers and pulling out brand new clothes which still had their tags on and saying “I completely forgot about this outfit!”

05 – Cot mobile
I’m sure most parents will be torn on this one, and they should be too otherwise there wouldn’t be a market for them. But for me, this was just a novelty and more of decoration than anything else. We had various cot mobiles from light up ones, to singing ones to just plain old spinning ones. None of them seemed to entertain Lily very much nor grab her attention for longer than a minute or so! Maybe it was just my daughter but we always found these to be a disappointment and rather a waste of money! When you picture a cot you tend to also picture a cot mobile, almost as if the two should go hand in hand but that's not really been the case in our experience. Maybe our next baby will be a bit more interested in them...who knows!

06 – Electric bottle / food warmer
We started off by warming our milk up by sitting it in boiling water for a minute or so, but we thought this little device would give consistent results and provide us with hassle-free bottle warming. Sadly that wasn’t the case and we always found that the milk was barely warm when it has finished its cycle (the bottle was burning hot from the steam but the milk itself was barely warm – and certainly not to Lily’s standards!). Even by increasing the cycle we never found that it provided consistent enough results to warrant using, after a couple of months of frustration yet determination, it became more hassle than it was worth in the end so it was packed back into its box and never to be used again. £35 down the drain!

07 – Electric steam steriliser
This was another pricey mistake. We bought this from the offset hoping that it would again be a hassle-free solution to sterilising everything we needed. It didn’t really offer a great deal more to your typical microwave steriliser, we just figured it was a preferential choice. In the end though, it suffered the same fate as the bottle / food warmer and found its way back into the box never to be used again. The trouble we found with the electric one was that the hotplate used to create the steam (where the water sat and boiled) would seemingly over-boil the water each time, always leaving a funny residue behind and actually eventually causing the steriliser itself to start to brown and smell burnt. The daily cleaning and scrubbing soon became tiresome so we sensibly made the switch to a microwave steriliser and haven’t looked back since. £40 down the drain!

08 - AVENT Breast Milk Containers
We got absolutely loads of these and we're still finding them in cupboards and drawers to this day haha. They are advertised as being breast milk storage containers but disappointingly they don't store liquids very well! On more occasions than I can remember we suffered from huge leaks when transporting these anywhere. We had countless moments where we were out for the day, pulled out the cool bag and found that our containers of milk were swimming in their own contents at the bottom of the bag. All that time spent pumping completely wasted and quite literally down the drain. It was very frustrating and when we have another child, I'll defo be searching elsewhere for a more reliable alternative.

09 - Changing Table
We spent a small fortune on a lovely changing table in Lily's nursery but unfortunately... we never actually used it as a changing table. This probably doesn't apply to everybody as I know a fair few mums who use their changing tables religiously but we literally only used ours to change Lily on a handful of times. Realistically we just pulled out a changing mat for convenience. The table was used to store all of Lily's bits and pieces such as nappies, wipes, creams, thermometer, Calpol etc but nothing that a set of small drawers or cupboards couldn't have done at a fraction of the cost. For us it was just essentially a glorified storage unit!

10 - Stroller Parasol
To me, this is one of those products which is great in principle but kinda terrible in practice. Unless you are stationary or walking in a perfectly straight line, you will find yourself continuously adjusting the parasol to keep the sun out of your little one's eyes. Each time you turn a corner, cross the road, or do just about anything other than stand still, you'll be likely to find yourself pushing the pram with one hand and adjusting the parasol with the other. We bought ourselves a netted sunshade for the pram which fitted just like a rain cover. It was a breathable mesh material which keeps the sun completely off your little one and keeps the pram nice and cool on those (rare) hot summer days - much better than those fiddly parasols!

What are your own top pointless purchases? Did I miss any?

1 comment

  1. I definitely agree with you! There are so many pointless things but unless you've had kids, you don't realise that you don't need them. I tried explaining to my friends who is due soon with her first but she still wanted to get everything as she felt she needed to have it all lol

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