My top 10 irritatingly useless baby purchases

Before giving birth i did what most expectant mums do – scour the internet in a frenzy finding lists of ‘what to buy a new baby’. It was a stressful time, there were so many lists and each was slightly different to the last. How were you meant to know which one to trust?

So I did what any normal person would do in such a situation and compiled my own all singing, all dancing super spreadsheet, amalgamating every item on every list. I then colour coded the cells for what i has already bought, ordered or still needed to get. Yes i did do that. I really, really did.

When i emerged from the hysterical, hormone induced fog and realised that retail outlets do not all immediately shut down following the birth of your child, i came to see that it is possible and even recommendable to buy things as and when you need them. There is very little that you do actually need and quite a lot that you really rather don’t. In particular: –

1, A teeny tiny pair of flip flops for a 6 month old – I did buy these. I am very, very ashamed of myself. Guess what – 6 month olds do not walk and even if they did cute flip flops are certainly not the ideal choice of footwear to learn in.


2, A top and tail bowl – Unless i am missing something isn’t this just a plastic bowl? I was supposed to use it along with the copious amounts of cotton wool balls i bought for fear anything else would burn our baby’s bum off. Until someone said ‘Why don’t you just use wipes?’ –  Why didn’t I just use wipes?

3, Baby cook books – Might as well have just fed them chicken nuggets from the word go.

4, Baby towels: –
Sensible me: Um don’t you already got towels?!
Pregnant me: I do yes but…but…but they don’t have a cute duck hood!
Sensible me: Do you imagine our baby will flip out if it has towels without a cute duck hood?
Pregnant me: CERTAINLY YES!
Fetus: She is right I will got bat shit crazy if you dare dry me in anything other than duck hooded towels!

5, Baby oil – only useful if you need to grease up a baby in order to squeeze them into or out of a small space. I guess there is always the possibility that this may happen, but as yet it hasn’t.

6, A Bumbo – It made my babies angry. They were not pleased with the different view point, they just arched their backs and tried to flip out of it in a rage. Maybe it would have been best to be a tad patient and wait a couple of weeks for them to sit up of their own accord.

7, Ewan the dream sheep – He promised sleep, he did not deliver it. I now hate Ewan. I also hate everyone on Amazon that convinced me to spend 30 sodding quid on him. I wish I bought a nice juicy leg of lamb instead. Plus is it just me or does he look proper shifty?


8, A baby bath thermometer – I guess it could be useful if you believe your internal temperature gauge to be so inept that you might boil your newborn alive.

9, A nasal aspirator – Ok maybe smaller babies are fine with having snot sucked from their nostrils, but once they have control of their arms? Oh I’d rather not go back there thank you very much *shudders*

10, A Hypnobirthing book – Unfortunately the image of my cervix opening like a flower was well and truly stamped on by the image of lovely pain numbing drugs coursing through my veins.

Oh and as a side note, once you’ve dipped your toe in the water it feels a shame not to go the whole hog. I can highly recommend you try a shot of post birth morphine if you think you might enjoy feeling like a Care Bear prancing around in the clouds.

Did i miss anything?



P.S. I have a new book OUT NOW! You can nab it on Amazon here or in your lovely local bookshop :)


80 thoughts on “My top 10 irritatingly useless baby purchases

  1. Beth (Twinderelmo)

    The route of all my ridiculous baby purchases – baby magazines
    Mother & Baby convinced me that id be a horrific mother who neglected my child if I didn’t have a cot top changer, a pink lining change bag and gro egg thermometer. In my panic and vulnerability as a first time I listened to said baby bible. However at 4am for the 904th wake up I would happily have changed him on a window ledge not said ridiculous cot top changer. My bag got filthy because after a week of caring I definitely did not qualify as a yummy mummy and exploding formula cartons never make for a clean bag. And that bloody egg just makes you paranoid and stand fanning the room before your previous baby goes in there as it’s 0.1 degrees too hot.
    With babies 2&3 it serves as a nice nightlight & I’ll aww a bit when it’s glowing bright red. And just open the landing window a bit.

    1. hurrahforgin

      Lol I luckily didn’t get any of those bits, I never understood the gro egg though as I’m sure most baby monitors also show the temp anyway. Paranoid new mums are a marketers dream though ;)

  2. cariemay

    My top and tail bowl has almost always been used to store the bath toys! In the small period of time before I moved on to wipes I mostly just used the little plastic dishes that the hospital gave us, or just bathed the baby! But I’m going to have to come to the defence of hooded towels, the hood means you can hook it around the baby and slightly lessens the chances of picking up just a towel while your wiggly baby lies on the change mat and giggles at you!

  3. chloebridge

    Haha, baby flip flops! I’d never actually seen such a thing. Baby shoes in general are pretty high up on my useless baby items list. Dream Sheeps, etc didn’t work for Arlo and Rory either – bloody wish they had.

      1. isabeeee

        My little cute face who is six months is yet to like any shoe of any sort. He seems to think they are some type of food!!
        But he loved his bimbo chair. He were well used till he learnt to sit unsupported.

    1. sarahb

      Baby wellies, what a joke, but I at some point in my pre baby state felt they where essential. Never let my tiny baby out from under the rain cover. My daughter now puts them on her teddy. And as the teddy in my washing machine is testament to they are not waterproof!

    1. missprint

      …and they leave lots of stringy fluff on little ones’ bits that you need to tweezer and scrape off with your finger nails. Kind to baby’s skin, my a*** haha

  4. Richmond Mummy

    Hahaha great post, had me laughing and nodding along! I too bought the top and tail bowl (why?!) and copious amounts of cotton wool (until I wised up to just using wipes) and also a bottle warmer #pointless – could have just stood the bottle in a jug of hot water, which I did mostly and it was a lot less faff than the bottle warmer!

  5. Rachel B

    Baby bibs! I bought some and was given loads for both children resulting in piles and piles of them! I hardly used them at all! Likewise muslins! I still don’t really ‘get’ muslins apart from the fact I turned one into a temporary sling when I thought 5 year old had broken her elbow!

  6. Aileen

    I have to say I bought a thermometer and still use it now (my “baby” just turned 2) but my internal thermometer is utterly useless. Honestly I have no concept of temperature at all. It doesnt help that her dad and I will quite often wear shorts in the middle of winter as we don’t really feel the cold! Other than that I am quite proud of how little utterly useless crap I didnt buy. I did get a bottle warmer from someone and to this day still don’t know how to work the thing. I did also buy a cook book which is laughable as I never cook, but had this vision of me being the perfect housewife/mother! :)

  7. Eline @ Pasta & Patchwork

    Oh my, I’m guilty of a few of these panicked, hormonal purchases as well… Ditto the spreadsheet, too! We also had baby flip-flops, although some other sod bought those as a gift. Another truly useless thing was the baby food maker. You know, those incredibly expensive, space-consuming things that steam as well as puree food for you. I’d hazard a guess that most people have a cheapo bamboo steam basket and stick blender sat in their kitchen already somewhere.

  8. Not A Frumpy Mum

    I love this, and I must confess I also had a spreadsheet. We bought everything we thought we would vaguely need, just in case!
    My worst buy was the bottle warmer. It was never used, apart from one night at about 4am my sleep deprived little self decided this was the perfect time to put it to bloody use. No, it wasn’t. I couldn’t figure out how to work the damn thing so I ended up sticking the bottle in hot water. I think the bottle warmer is still under the changing unit where it has been ever since that night!
    Baby flip flops are cute though ;-)

  9. Suddenly Mummy (@suddenly_mummy)

    I’m giggling at this because, as a foster carer with no birth children, my first baby came with 90 minutes notice – no time at all to make spreadsheets! Consequently I hardly bought any random, useless baby stuff. Four babies in and I’ve never even owned one of those massive bags apparently designed to encourage mums to carry around their body weight in assorted baby items. No, from day one I’ve just use a fairly capacious handbag. If it doesn’t fit in there, we’re not taking it! I will say though, that my ebay bumbo purchase has never been regretted – have used it with the handy tray as first weaning chair for all my little ones.

  10. butwhymummywhy

    Pahah! Love this. I’ll add a baby bath to the list (we have a tiny bathroom, so it had no where to go and what’s wrong with an actual real bath anyway! -ridiculous!) xx

  11. josandelson

    A Moses basket. He spent a grand total of half an hour of his life in it. It did have another use but turned out to be the most expensive laundry basket I’ve ever bought. Thanks for bringing back the memories Katie XJo

  12. Lauren | Belle du Brighton

    mwahahah! I do love our snot sucker though, gloriously icky! I wrote a post a bit like this with the glorious ‘wipe warmer’ and ‘ipotty’ featured (I didn’t buy, obviously!) but I was amazed at the ridiculous stuff people will spend on. When 2nd baby comes it’s getting the basics at best haha! Also, flip flops? blame post baby fuzzy-brain…

  13. Complicated Gorgeousness

    I was like this with my first. My the time Gabe came he was bathed in the sink and slept in a drawer haha – but oh I love the flip flops and wanna buy some for our holidays. Did you really have a spreadsheet xx

  14. Abby Boid

    This is so spot on and very funny. Yep – that sheep is scary. We nearly sent our first into shock after relying on a baby thermometer rather than our own actual skin. Seriously cold bath!

  15. Tattooed_Mummy (@tattooed_mummy)

    mwahahahahahh love these (though I did need a baby bath thermometer as I have a genetic condition that affects my nerves- so yeah I fail big time at not scalding kids) and I too bought teeny shoes that were worn once, in bed, for a photo. I did use a baby recipe book but I assume ‘just leave out the salt and cook normal food’ would have worked too (though a much shorter read!)

    I cannot believe you didn’t love your top and tail bowl!

  16. PhotoPuddle

    This post is just brilliant. All this is so so true. I actually used wipes from the beginning though to be honest. I didn’t realise you weren’t meant to. Both my children’s bottoms have survived to tell the tale though!

  17. brummymummyof2

    I HAVE THOSE BLOODY FLIP FLOPS IN PINK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! She never wore them. In my head it was going to be cute? In reality? Looked horrific. Wouldn’t fit round her toes. Bah. Stupid bloody things xxx

  18. Kate @ Did That Just Happen?

    First off, I’m not sure what you were using instead of wipes… I don’t know what a top and tail bowl is! And second – now that mine is 15, I sit back and laugh at my friends having kids and all they are buying for them… I’m like you are nuts – you’ll never use that!

  19. mytravelmonkey

    Ha ha ha! I got a snot sucker, and a top and tail bowl, too. Did they recommend those in some birthing class? My son sat in the bumbo for about 2 minutes and never went it again. I also brought special baby cloths and bit my mum’s head off when she suggested I just used a flannel. We might as well have chucked £10 notes into the wind. x

  20. tobygoesbananas

    I think I did pretty well at not buying useless crap – although I have to admit we have (and still use) a bath thermometer because I had no idea how warm the water should be! We love the snot sucker too – and surprisingly Toby is perfectly willing to have his snot sucked but will not let you near him with a tissue to wipe his nose! Also, they may be highly impractical and never worn but those flip flops /are/ cute!

  21. Mummy Glitzer

    Moses basket was a pointless expense for us, my child just would not sleep in one and spent much of his first months in bed with us! I cannot believe you bought tiny flip flops! Ha ha! Top and tail bowl was never used, likewise hooded towels though they ARE cute. We were given a bottle warmer which was never used. The Bumbo was good for us but I’d have hated to pay full price for it since it was used for such a short period of time.

  22. Emma

    Ridonkulous! And I never learned either. I convinced myself that my life would be incomplete without a designer baby bag…which I never used and gave to my sister. I also bought my five month old daughter a black leather skirt….seriously.

  23. Zoe Corkhill (Mama Geek)

    Fantastic list! Most of these things – utterly useless. In our house Ewan the Dream Sheep is held in high esteem though, Lydia adores him! She has one in her cot, and takes the small snuggly versions everywhere as her comfort blanket.

    Those flip flops are hilarious, they’re the most useless piece of footwear in the world. We used olive oil instead of baby oil :-)

    We were fairly immune to buying too much useless stuff as my bible was an amazing book that listed “what you needed, what was nice to have, and what you didn’t need”

  24. ilovemummymost

    I deffo bought the cotton wool and baby oil and still have some/most of it left 6 years later. And we had a nasal aspirator for no. 2 who was permanently snotty but it was so useless that hubby took to sucking it out without one. ewwwwwwww yuk. My 6 and 3 yr old love the bumbo now to squeeze themselves or dolls into…still trying to get rid of the darned thing!!xx

  25. mamavsteacher

    I very much enjoyed this… I was just talking about this last night with a friend who is expecting her second. My most useless purchase was a Groswaddle for an August baby who turned out to be pretty much too long for it from the start!

  26. stressymummy1

    Ah yes the top and tail bowl?? We had baby converse which were ridiculous as they fit for about a week and each baby hated them anyway. I have bought many ridiculous things; wipe warmer, baby ray bans, what was I thinking??

  27. Neil Walker

    Had seven out of ten of these, and agree with most of them. The Bumbo however, was a fantastic thing – kept Grace in one place in the middle of the kitchen floor as we went about the cooking, cleaning etc. Still use the top and tail bowl at ten months (use wipes too!). Would add in the electric bottle warmer…

  28. kiddyreviews

    This was hilarious! I agreed with every point, especially the bloody bumbo and those stupid flip flops I’ve just bought that he takes off and just chews on.

  29. Sceptical Mum

    When I had mine our house purchase had stalled so ended up starting our family living in someone else’s spare room. Not ideal but meant we never bought any useless baby crap as we had no space – a blessing in disguise perhaps. God knows what you did with those flip flops. My son was given some for his second birthday and I can barely get them near his feet without hitting me in the face!

  30. ToddlerSlave

    ha! I didn’t buy any tiny shoes but I got gifted LOTS of the useless bastards! Tiny useless Uggs, Tiny useless trainers, Tiny useless elf shoes, Tiny useless Boots…none of which stayed on Boo’s feet! The only things she wore were a pair of knitted booties that fitted like socks and stayed on!
    I have to disagree on the Bumbo- Boo was in her’s until she was 18months! Was one of our top purchases!
    But bought SO SO much crap it’s just ridiculous isn’t it?! And I was exactly the same- I had absolutely no concept that things could be bought AFTER the baby is born! Who knew?! Will try and remember that for this one!! Xxx

  31. Katie @mummydaddyme

    Ha ha so so funny, especially the baby oil. We got given so much baby oil in all these silly little pamper baby packages which we never even touched. Although I have to disagree with you about Ewan- he was our saviour. We still love him now except we don’t have the batteries in it. ;)

  32. Kerrie McGiveron

    Too true. I too have fallen for all of this crap at one time or another, however, now we are on our third baby we are a bit used to all this. However, I bought Rosie a medicine-dummy thingy that was entirely useless. So maybe we never learn!!! ;)

  33. MrsShilts

    Fab list! My Little Mr didn’t wear any shoes until he was about 8 months old and he’d started to pull himself up on things. Totally defending Ewan though, we love him! Works on the toddler and the husband, he’s brilliant!

  34. Notmyyearoff

    Hehe I still have a pair of baby shoes that didn’t even come out of their box. I just move them about every so often when I’m putting stuff away. And the top and tail bowl just ended up storing nappies and wipes. I thought I was the only person on earth that thought that was weird. I may also have about 10 odd baby towels that people gave us as presents and I used ALL of them!!

  35. Amy Ransom

    Bloody funny. That is all. Had the flip flops in pink. Sucking out snot… Hilarious. And Ewan? Crikey, how would that angry purple face help any kid sleep?!

  36. Donna

    I’ve always wondered about baby flip flops too. Tbh, any baby shoes. Babies don’t need shoes! We loved the Bumbo but I think they really do depend on the baby – LP used it a lot longer than LM as he just wanted to stretch his legs and slide over the back. I nearly bought a Ewen but didn’t and LM now sleeps by himself. Glad I didn’t waste the money!x

  37. Meriannen

    Hahhah this post was amazing, you made me giggle so many times! I wish all the pregnant mums out there would find out about your list and therefore start having a better look at their own “must-have-before-the-baby-is-born” – lists! xxx

  38. Emma T (@ETusty)

    Much chuckling here.

    Thankfully lots of my mum friends recommended what not to buy, so the only rubbish things were a bottle warmer/flask thing (mine drank milk any temperature it arrived). We used a bath thermometer because both my OH and I are useless when it comes to checking with elbows (bargain at £2.99 from Tesco), and a bumbo which N quite liked. Oh and the room thermometer I used was a free one with a grobag or the like.

    I do know someone who was convinced at the baby show to buy a Ewan. It was useless and she hated it too – but still gives them as baby shower gifts to other people!

  39. lifewithmunchers

    Yes, Yes, Yes to all 10! Ok, I didn’t get the sheep, but that was out of fear that he is almost life sized! The Bumbo was my biggest waste of a pressie. DID NOT LIKE IT!!!

    1. Aileen

      I much prefer your baby essentials to the ones that are in half the baby magazines. I would change gin for wine and add boxsets of tv programmes to watch whilst your darling child will not sleep between the hours of 1am and 6am!

  40. Honest Mum

    Hilarious and yes to all the above bar the Bumbo which my first child ADORED (second not so much)…. I actually remember spotting the craziest of items in a baby catalogue after having my first child-things like magnifiers on the end of baby scissors to see baby fingernails better and two mirrors for your car so you can drive and see your kids in the back (I nearly flipping bought that shizz too)-my calmer husband talked sense into me! Loved this post x

  41. Rachel - 3yearsandhome

    This made me laugh and thank the lord that I had both boys in Switzerland … the land of practicality and no nonsense. I’ve never heard of top and tail bowls. What the hell??? Some genius must have made a bloody mint from that idea.

  42. suzanne3childrenandit

    I’m ashamed to admit that I did in fact own a few of these…..namely the top and tail bowl. As you say, a glorified washing up bowl! I have to disagree on the baby towels though, nothing cuter than a baby wrapped in a towel with a duck hood. Come on, don’t deny me that!

  43. franglaisemummy

    Having had our first daughter in France I didn’t have a clue what topping and tailing was. Erm, I still don’t as everyone expected me to know with daughter number 2, born here. I just bathed the same French way I was taught to with daughter one in France. I’m sure they’re both scarred for life now. Bumbos can be good though – daughter one loved it, daughter two hated it. And snot suckers are great – the satisfaction of getting it out, ooh! Maybe I’m a tad OCD at times…. Yet another fab blog post lovely xx

  44. Boo

    haha this is brilliant. Love the Ewan the dream sheep one. I would add any baby shoes what so ever up until 5-6 months. AND do baby nasal aspirators actually work coz the one which came in the Tommee Tippee kit certainly doesn’t!!!

  45. Mummy Tries

    Very funny post :-) definitely agree with most of this list! Adding the word baby to a product is like adding the word wedding, gives the manufacturer carte blanche to triple the price!!

  46. mummystodolist

    Love this! Made me giggle knowingly. Our second child arrived three weeks ago and the top and tail bowl is once again sitting unused in a cupboard. Still slightly wary of burning the wee sprog’s delicate poopy cheeks with wipes so the compromise is Water Wipes! Agree that Ewan the Sheep looks shifty!

  47. Del

    Zo-li baby nail trimmer. Recommended by a couple of friends. Meant to grind the nails down safely and without irritation. FANTASTIC! No accidental cuts on baby’s tiny fingers! The problem was it was so slow to use that by the time you got done with digit number 10, number 1 had regrown and the baby had woke up from a full nap. Time to bust out the baby nail scissors , get it done in 5 minutes, and then take a precious nap yourself.

  48. notjustamum

    Thankfully I managed to inherit lots of baby stuff from my sisters so didn’t have to buy a great deal – and the things I did buy I got cheap versions of. Muslins = just an expensive cloth: I got a few packs of three for £1 from a pound shop. I would swear by room and bath thermometers as the bath / room would feel boiling or freezing depending on whether I’d just been outside. We also liked the bimbo but I’m glad I didn’t have to pay for it. The hooded towels were also useful as you can hold the baby with one hand, then hang the hood on their head, then wrap it round them: it’s much harder to hang a normal towel on a baby’s head or shoulders. I manged to see the top and tail bowl for what it was and didn’t see the point. I did buy and get given lots of cotton wool, lotion and oil. My son is now 2 and I still have lots of it, but I try to get rid of it by giving full bottles to other expectant mothers as presents!

  49. Sian Smith

    I find that hanging Ewan by his tail next to the crib makes him look a little like he’s been hung up for slaughter – that’s what he reminds my sleep deprived mind of anyway…

    Also: Wipe Warmer?!?!?

  50. kaylamills

    Omg I bought all sorts of shite to name but a few
    Baby shoes
    Baby sun glasses
    Bottle warmer
    Hats of various shapes and designs
    Fancy dress outfits
    Huge expensive pram that would not fit in my boot unless dismantled
    Blanket wrap things
    Heartbeat bear thing
    I actually worry about my sanity back then

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  52. Aiste

    My top and tail bowl quickly became a drinking bowl for the cat! She loved it, for some bizarre reason! but the huded towels rock! I stick one now on my 20 month old as he runs off away from the bathroom. Only way to ensure at least some drying is undertaken!


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