A new mom needs a lot of stuff to make postpartum life easier. There are plenty of arguments on the internet about what's useful and what isn't, though. For example, some moms swear by wipes warmers, while others consider them a waste of money. Still, certain things people buy new moms are a total waste no matter how you slice it. People mean well, of course, and it's normal to get excited about a new baby and, as a result, want to shower said baby and his or her mom with all sorts of cool and unnecessary things. I suggest people stop and think about what the mom really needs, though. There are plenty of resources online that specifically outline absolute necessities, so there's no need to go rogue and deviate from an already established list of must-haves.
By now we all know babies don't need fancy bed sheets and blankets, expensive furniture or drapery. Of course, if the parents want those things and can afford those things, then it doesn't really matter what the baby actually needs; it's about what the parents want for their baby. I get that. However, some things truly are a waste of money and I'm the type of person who hates wasting money on unnecessary things. I'm a practical individual. You know, the kind that wants people to give her gift cards so she can buy the stuff she actually wants.
As a new mom, I didn't know exactly what my baby needed (or what I needed, really). When I received all sorts of cute new stuff for the baby, I was thrilled. Then a few weeks postpartum I realized how wasteful some of the stuff I got really was. I ended up donating or re-selling some of the things I received, but I almost cried thinking about all of the money that could have gone toward diapers and wipes. I know this makes me seem ungrateful, but if you aren't financially fortunate, you live for practically rather than luxury. And as a recently laid-off new mom, I couldn't afford luxury. I just needed the absolute necessities and survival skills, which meant ditching the following:
Yes, they are adorable. Yes, I wanted to buy them all because they fit into the palm of my hand and it's like playing dress-up with a doll (except it's a live doll who hates socks). Yes, I wanted the cute baby shoes. But let's be honest here: babies do not need shoes. I received newborn and crib shoes and my child never wore either one of them. Seriously, not a single time. Why? Because they're not necessary.
Which is nothing to say of the baby high heels someone gifted me. No, I'm not joking.
Expensive Baby Clothes
Just like shoes, these are a waste. For my baby shower, even though I did not register for any clothes, I received so many adorable little outfits for my daughter. OMG were they cute. I came home, ripped off all the tags, threw them in the wash so they are ready for the baby's arrival. Guess what happened to them? Yep, they hung in the closet unworn and untouched, collecting dust and my sad stares while my daughter practically lived in onesies and sleep-and-plays for the first six months of her life. I knew better with my second kid. Everything went back to the store right away. Thank god for store credit.
Nothing adds insult to injury like someone gifting you a postpartum girdle/belt. Those things are pure evil, if you ask me. I remember buying one for myself and thinking, "I need this because how else will my stomach not just permanently hang down to my knees?" and then I remember putting it on and literally cursing the gods. I'm in pain everywhere, bleeding from everywhere, leaking from everywhere, and now I have something that is restricting my breathing and squishing all of my insides to top it all off. No thanks. I bet a man invented those things, because they are the epitome of oppression.
Hold on to your stones for a second and hear me out. My daughter had a very sensitive bottom, so her skin was irritated by anything and everything. So, when I found a diaper that worked for her and didn't bother her skin, I stuck with that brand. It didn't matter if it was more expensive than some other brands, all that mattered is that I didn't have to deal with irritation and rashes.
So when someone gifted me boxes of diapers that I realized irritated my daughters skin, I was upset because that was just a waste of money and diapers. I donated them, of course, but I really could have used a free box of diapers myself. While diapers seem like a great gift to give, I would recommend a gift card instead.
Anything Not On The Registry
Dear non-parents, please listen: many pregnant women agonize over their registries. They research the "best" products, they scour the internet for reviews, they harass store employees for opinions and instructions, they "do their research," and they carefully select each item to put on the registry. You don't get to decide that their choices aren't good enough. Do not go off the registry, people, because it's there for a reason. If you absolutely must buy something that is not on the registry, please bring a gift receipt.
Baby scrapbooks, jewelry boxes, picture frames, stuffed animals, cutesy blankets and towels, engraved spoons, jewelry, and the likes are all items that seem adorable and cute, but are wasteful and useless. Also, and I'm not even kidding, some of those things give new moms unnecessary anxiety. Like baby scrapbooks, for example. Girl, I can hardly find enough time to take a shower, so I don't have time to complete a baby book. That's why it just sits there, eating at my soul, telling me I'm a neglectful mom.
To be fair, I did receive some beautiful picture frames I kept and loved and still have to this day. So I guess some keepsakes aren't wasteful if they make the new mom happy. But, like, make that a side gift, not the gift.
Anything Without A Gift Receipt
Gift receipts are available in (I'm assuming) every store these days. Please, people, even if you are 100 percent certain the mom will absolutely love whatever it is you are gifting her, bring a gift receipt. I've honestly returned items that I really loved because I needed formula more than the adorable little outfit. So, please remember: gift receipts are essential.
A Gym Membership
Just go away. Far, far away. We are no longer friends, or cousins.