Probably Unnecessary Gadgets for New Parents

I was reading about the Itzbeen Baby Care Timer over at Free Range Kids and it got me thinking about how many gadgets parents are encouraged to buy for their new babies that they probably don’t need.

I mean, I agree that there are situations where a parent might need a timer like the Itzbeen for a special needs or premature baby, but for your average, healthy baby at home I just can’t see it. I have no doubt that such things are priceless to parents who have genuine medical concerns for their baby or possibly for daycare situations.

But even with my youngest baby I knew when to feed her, and she’s quiet about that. Diaper changing is also easy to figure out… not sure when you last changed the diaper? Take a look! If it’s wet or soiled it’s definitely time for a change.

Similarly there are many other gadgets parents are encouraged to buy or put on their baby shower lists that just make me say “What a waste!”

Video baby monitors

Cute, but do you really need to watch your baby sleep? There may be few things more precious than a sleeping baby, but for most purposes a regular, audio only baby monitor or just listening for baby should be quite enough.

Wipe warmers

In most climates I just can’t see this one. So long as you aren’t keeping the house really cold the wipe temperature is probably just fine.

Another interesting point I saw on the reviews for one wipe warmer is the possibility of infection. Warm, moist environments certainly are great places for germs to breed.

The Zaky

This is a fancy sleep positioner. Nothing more. It’s supposed to feel like the mother holding the baby.

WhyCry Baby Crying Analyzer

I just don’t get it. Pay attention to your baby and you can generally figure out why they’re crying pretty quickly. Hungry, wet diaper, sick, just needs held… especially in the early days there aren’t a lot of needs to go through before you get to the right one if it’s not immediately obvious.

Padded crib bumpers

Yes, they look cute. Then you have to remove them by the time they might do some good, and there are some indications that they aren’t perfectly safe.

Baby helmets and knee pads

Babies are going to bump their heads and scrape their knees as they learn to explore their world. It’s a part of life, and mostly not a bad thing.

I had the necessary kind of helmet for my son (he had craniosynostosis, the helmet was to reshape his head), so I can tell you some of the big problems with using any kind of helmet.

First of all, they’re hot. They make baby’s head sweat, especially in summer. That will quickly make the helmet stink too, even if you clean it out every day.

Second, the day will come when the helmet must come off. Baby outgrows it. Then baby learns what it really means to bump one’s head. Believe me, my son was utterly shocked at how awful it felt the first time he bumped his head without his DOC-Band helmet on. He had no idea.

I suppose helmets might help if baby is always on tile floors or something, but that’s not the case for most babies.

Knee pads I’m almost in sympathy with after watching my youngest learn to crawl, but not quite. Our carpet here is pretty rough, and her knees had a hard time of it. Know how we handled it?

Long pants! No more carpet scraping her knees. Simple and we already owned them.

Now when they’re learning to ride a tricycle, skate, etc., helmets and knee pads are an entirely different story!

Baby Einstein

You know, there’s a reason why they’re offering money back if you are disappointed that they aren’t educational after all. They were talked up as being really good for babies. Yet television watching in general is considered to be bad for vocabulary development in children under two.

Yes, I was given some. My kids have watched them, just a little. But they’re entertainment, nothing more. You don’t need them, and if you want to expose your baby to classical music you can probably buy plenty of high quality classical music off iTunes and play it on your computer. Just don’t expect that to make baby a genius either.

Walking Wings

So your baby can learn to walk with your help.

You know, I kind of figured that most babies will learn to walk eventually anyhow. This is the exact phase my youngest is going through, and yes, she gets frustrated. Frustration within reason is GOOD for children. It helps with emotional development. Life does not throw everything at you easily.

On the other hand, if your child has a definite disability, then yes, this might be good. But not for the average baby who will learn to walk on his or her own in time.

4 replies on “Probably Unnecessary Gadgets for New Parents”

  1. Hannah says:

    What can I tell you. All of my babies survived learning how to walk on stone/tile floors. And one even managed to learn how to climb up and down stairs–no babygate.

  2. Whozat says:

    Agreed, mostly. Although, we did consider “walking wings” – not so much for baby’s sake, as for our own. She never crawled, and took forever to cruise, and about 3 months of “assisted walking” is hell on a 40-year-old Mama’s back!

  3. Rob says:

    I thought it was pretty ironic that when I followed the Amazon link for the “walking wings” there was a combo deal to buy the walking wings, baby knee pads and baby helmets. I guess if you’re the kind of parent who thinks your kid can’t handle learning to walk on their own, you’ll probably also be the type who would want to protect your kid from bumps and knee scrapes.

  4. Stephanie says:

    Hannah, true enough that you can even get by without baby gates if you choose. I have a fair number of them, but a big use is to give my baby a chance to roam fairly freely while my older kids can use their small toys without worrying about her. My baby is the most orally focused of my children, and even with that help I pull an awful lot of small toy pieces from her mouth.

    Whozat, in that case I probably wouldn’t have blamed you for the walking wings. Saving one’s back sounds like a pretty good reason. Too bad there’s no way to save my sanity some day for the stunts my kids pull.

    So true, Rob. It says a lot about who buys these things.

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