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Forever Amber: UK influncer

The baby equipment we didn’t use

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n my last post I talked at (very great) length about all of the baby products we’ve been finding most useful lately, so today I thought it might be interesting to take a look back at some of the products we didn’t end up using, even although we were sure we’d love them. 

Now, before I go any further with that, I’ll just quickly caveat this post by pointing out I’m in no way claiming that these products aren’t any good, or that they won’t be useful to anyone – they may not have worked for us, but obviously all babies are different, so that doesn’t for a second mean they won’t work for yours. And, with that out of the way, here are some of the baby products we didn’t really use…

tiny baby feet

The carry-cot attachment for the pram

Our pram – sorry, ‘travel system’ – came with both a stroller attachment, and a carry-cot attachment. Naturally, then, for the first few months of Max’s life, we didn’t use either of them, preferring to simply clip his car seat into the wheel base (almost) every time we went out, instead. GAH.

I was actually quite sad about this, because, on the few occasions we DID use the carry-cot, I thoroughly enjoyed pushing Max around in it. The thing is, though, because we live in a tiny village, which doesn’t really lend itself to walking much, we tend to drive pretty much everywhere (Yes, we are terrible people, we know…), and, once we reached our destination, it was always just SO much easier to quickly transfer the car seat onto the wheel base, than to faff around trying to get a sleeping baby out of his car seat and into his pram without waking him. And, Lord knows,  if there’s one thing I can’t stand, it’s faffing

We DID use the stroller attachment once he was old enough for it, so the travel system wasn’t completely wasted, but I could probably count on one hand the number of times we used that carry-cot, and I’d alternate between feeling mildly jealous of all the other mums I’d see pushing their babies around in beautiful prams, and very relieved that I hadn’t attempted to make the switch. Anything for an easy life, you know?

Speaking of prams, though, because we didn’t really use the carry cot much, it meant we also didn’t have much need for… 

Pramsuits

Pramsuits, for the uninitiated, are those little fuzzy all-in one suits you put your baby in to keep him warm when he’s in the pram. Because Max was born in the icy depths of winter, I had quite a few of these lined up for him, and, I’m not gonna lie here, I couldn’t WAIT to dress him in them: especially the ‘Little Lamb’ suit my mum bought him when I was about 5 minutes pregnant. Like, if I’d made a list of ‘Reasons to Have a Baby’ (And I actually DID make just such a list, now I think of it…), it would’ve read: 

01. Getting to dress the baby in a pram suit designed to make him look like a lamb.

02. Ummmm… ?

So, I was looking forward to this whole ‘pram suit’ business, basically. 

BUT. 

Well, I mean, see above, really. Max’s car seat had a foot-muff attachment which was basically just a giant sleeping bag which you zipped the baby into, like so:

foot muff for car seat

 

This was warm enough for him to be able to just wear his regular clothes underneath, without the need of any extra insulation – especially given that we weren’t really spending long periods of time outdoors (Most of our early excursions were to places like malls or, well, garden centres, all of which were hotter than the surface of the sun…), so it wasn’t until Max was almost a year old that I finally got to realise my dream of dressing him like a lamb:

M&S novelty lamb pramsuit

(This wasn’t the original lamb suit my mum bought when I was still pregnant, needless to say: that one didn’t actually fit him until the middle of the summer, and then he’d grown out of it by the next winter, so, yeah, it just wasn’t meant to be, really. Thankfully, though, this story does have a happy ending, as my little cousin had a baby in January, and in Canada, so the lamb suit went off to her, and we all lived happily ever after, dressing our children like lambs at every possible opportunity.)

Related:

Our ultimate list of toddler essentials

A bottle warmer

Yes, we totally bought a bottle warmer, thinking we’d plug it into the car, or use it in garden centres restaurants to warm up bottles on the go. It’s still in its box to this day, as far as I’m aware. I’m not really sure WHY we didn’t ever use it, really, but it probably had something to do with the fact that, every time we left the house in those first few months, we were both laden down like pack mules, and stressed out of our minds, so I’m guessing that bottle warmer just felt like one piece of equipment too many? Or something? 

Related:

Things I wish we’d done differently in our first year of parenting

Movement monitor

One of the baby products I was really surprised we didn’t use was a movement monitor – one of those little gadgets that clips onto the baby’s nappy, and alerts you with a sound if senses the baby isn’t breathing. We’d had one of these recommended to us by friends, and, as I’d (correctly) guessed that I’d come home from hospital absolutely consumed with anxiety about the possibility of something going horribly wrong while he slept, I was 100% sure it would be inconstant use. 

I’m tempted to say it was just down to our ineptitude as new parents, but, then again
Again, though, that thing is still in its box to this day. We did INTEND to use it, but, honestly, for the first few nights after Max was born we seemed to be changing him constantly – both his nappies, and his clothes. This was partly due to his reflux, which meant he’d frequently throw up and soak himself, but it was also due to the fact that his nappies just kept on leaking. To this day, I have absolutely no idea why or how this happened: I’m tempted to say it was just down to our ineptitude as new parents, but, then again, changing a nappy isn’t exactly complicated, and it’s not something either of us ever struggled with, so, thinking about it now, I wonder if the nappies were possibly the wrong size, or just not a great fit for him, or something? 

Whatever the reason, though, as I said, we seemed to be constantly changing him, and that was hard enough in our sleep-deprived state without us having to think about removing and replacing the movement sensor every single time, too. (Also, I’ll just admit here that I was so completely overwhelmed by everything in those first few days that the thought of having to read the instructions on the thing and figure out how it worked was just totally beyond me. I’m not proud…) So we kept on promising ourselves that we’d start using the movement sensor soon, and we just never seemed to get around to it. This didn’t stop us buying a SECOND movement sensor – this one a mat designed to go underneath the baby’s mattress – and not using it either, though. I just… I have no idea what we were thinking, I really don’t. 

Related:

Decorating mistakes we made with our baby’s nursery

Slings / baby carriers

I realise this admission is going to alienate most of my fellow parents, all of whom seem to swear by slings and baby carriers, but I guess there has to be SOMEONE in the world who doesn’t get on with slings, and, well, it looks like that person is going to have to be me

When Max was small, we tried a couple of different carriers, and we also had one of those fabric slings that you wrap around your body, and which are totally incomprehensible to me, I mean, seriously. I’m sure people are going to tell me I obviously just didn’t try enough of the things (I know a lot of parents recommend finding a local sling library to find the one that works best for you…), and they’re probably right about that, but, to be totally honest, while the baby carriers we tried all did the job perfectly well, I just didn’t ever find them particularly useful. 

For me, the main benefit of using a sling would be to allow me to be hands-free, so I could do all of the things that were impossible (Or at least much more difficult) while carrying a baby around with you. What I found, though, was that, while he was strapped to me, I still couldn’t do many of those things: yes, I could walk around, rather than being stuck to the couch all the time, but I couldn’t easily bend down to unload the washing machine/dishwasher, say, and I couldn’t really sit at my desk and work, either. I also found it a bit of a faff getting Max in and out of the various carriers we tried, and, well, you how I feel about faffing, right? Right.

In fairness, Terry DID use and like the baby carrier, so, as with everything else on this list, it’s purely a personal preference – and at least one of us got some use out of the things!

Related: 

8 of our favourite books to read with a one year old

Playpen

Finally, our number one waste of both money and space: the playpen

We got this once Max was old enough to start sitting and standing on his own, and we had great hopes of it. Our main hope was that, if we put it in our home office, and filled it up with toys, Max would consent to play inside it for long enough for us to be able to answer some emails, or do a little bit of work. Well, all I can say to that is HAHA, NOPE

Max absolutely refused to play in it unless one of us was in it with him.
Even although the playpen was in the same room as both of us (It actually took up so much space that it was almost touching the back of my desk chair) Max absolutely refused to play in it unless one of us was in it with him. Any time we tried to get him to play in it alone, he’d just stand at the side crying for us, and reaching out to try to grab me – which, of course, was heartbreaking, and totally impossible to resist. 

Once I got into the thing with him, he’d happily settle down and play with his toys, but, for Max, the best thing about the playpen was standing outside it, repeatedly opening and closing the gate of the thing – which obviously completely defeated the purpose of having it in the first place. I mean, we could just have set up the section with the gate on it, really – at least that way it wouldn’t have taken up the entire office. 

We persevered with the playpen for a good few months, always hoping that Max would eventually reach a point where he’d be happy to be inside it. That point never came, though (And, even now, there’s still approximately zero chance of Max remaining in the same place for more than a few minutes at a time…), so we finally decided to cut our losses, reclaim our office floor, and sell the thing on Gumtree – which was where we’d found it in the first place. 

Of course, the playpen was almost immediately replaced with the play kitchen – which he thankfully DOES use – so, when I say, “reclaim the office floor” I obviously mean, “not really, though.” Still, we’ll get the space back some day, I’m sure: just not any time soon…

What were your worst baby product purchases? 

6 baby products we didn't use, even although we were sure we would

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14 Comments
  • Lea Stewart
    May 1, 2019

    Amber how things have changed I bought an Icandy and the maxi cosy car seat (The Icandy was thee worst buy ever tho that’s a different story). Though I rarely used the car seat except for car journeys as the advice was not to keep babies in for long periods of time due to airway obstruction. So I used to transfer into cot part which was faffy and stressful. I am anxious anxious anxious was probably over cautious and reading stuff which had happened due to car seats. I had only just managed to part with the breathing sensor mat, the midwife made me as was in a state of frenzy once it went off and I started running through crying forgetting Ellis was in the living room in her bouncy chair. I lay awake watching that light sensor off the ceiling for weeks 😳. Even the jumperoo’s came with a health warning as impinges on their feet shape and position especially if feet don’t touch the ground. I did get great use of the cot part which was good and I am still the anxious mother I have always been. The above is rare tho when I read something and it’s only happened even once it’s once enough for me. Xxxx

    • Amber
      May 1, 2019

      Oh, he was never in it for long periods of time – we couldn’t ever leave the house for that long 😂

  • Frida
    May 1, 2019

    I can say the worst baby product I bought was the sling… not worst per se, but I found it totally unuseful to me. Too hard to get the baby in and out. He seemed to enjoy it, and twice he did get asleep while he was in it, yes, but then I totally woke him up unsuccessfully trying to get him out of that trap! Not to talk about the backache. Ouch. Too bad it didn’t work to me. I always preferred to hold him in my arms and/or in the stroller (and he enjoyed it a lot!) And same here, my husband did found useful a body carrier (which was lend to us by a cousin, still in pristine condition so I guess they didn’t find much use of it either) but he used it now and then and for just a couple of months. The stroller, instead, the second stroller we got when my son was 6 months old, was used so much that it’s still in use now that he just turned 4 😂 (obviosly we carry it in the car and gey it out just when we know there’s a lot of walking involved and he will surely get tired at some point). The first pram.. MEH. I hated it, I hated all the equipment it came with, plus it was too big for our car! Pure hate for that thing.
    And another one was the bottle warmer. Not sure why did I end up buying that thing either, since I was breastfeeding and my son never saw a bottle of milk 😅 but I thought it could be useful when he started eating solid things. I used it once to warm up his soup, it took so long I never used it again and got a 7€ thermos instead, which was super useful and less stressful.
    As for the baby alarm… luckily I never got one, nor I felt the urge to buy it, fearing I would never use it I kept my money (and actually spent it in tons of cute baby clothes 😅)

    • Alice
      May 1, 2019

      Oh yes, I forgot, never got a bottle warmer but got a pump and stuff for sterilising….. my daughter never took a drop of my expressed milk, completely flat out refused a bottle until she was 18 months and well onto solids and drinks from a cup.

      So glad I didn’t actually buy much in advance, it’s so easy to end up with stuff you don’t actually need

  • Brenda
    May 1, 2019

    Seeing as my kids are almost adults, I can’t exactly remember what worked and what didn’t for us — but I just wanted to comment on the first photo of Max’s tiny toes against Terry’s thumb! Oh, my heart!!! Can you believe he was ever that small??? So sweet!

    • Amber
      May 1, 2019

      I know, he looks so tiny!

  • Alice
    May 1, 2019

    As you say, many people swear by slings……… 🙂 It’s probably the best thing I got, still use it now when my 2.5 year old needs a nap out or we need to walk somewhere faster than toddler pace.

    Most useless thing – a baby box for her to sleep in. She never slept in it. so now it’s just a box that we use to store stuff. Also the mattress and sheets that went with the box.

    Second most useless thing: car seat. I don’t drive, she spent most of her time with me and not my partner, so she probably went in it a total of about 5 times? She screamed so much in it we were not tempted to try more. And she grew out of it before she was one.

    • Amber
      May 1, 2019

      Yeah, we were given a baby box as part of a Scottish government initiative: we did use some of the stuff in it, but not the box itself, other than for storing things in for a while!

      • Alice
        May 3, 2019

        I fell for the con (the evidence for the boxes themselves as opposed to the social support that comes with them in Finland is not great) and bought one. She always woke up within seconds of being placed in it, ended up sleeping in our bed.

        At least I only bought a box instead of spending a fortune on a fancy crib I suppose.

  • Julie
    May 2, 2019

    For us the most unused products were velcro swaddles. Our little fella HATED to be swaddled. He wants full access to his hands at all times! So they are washed, folded, and ready to be passed on to a baby that will get some use out of them.

  • yeah we didn’t get that much use out of our play pen either. We used the pram and sling a lot though. I laughed at your comments on the nappies leaking. That kept happening to us too! I think it was a combination of us not putting the nappies on quite right and maybe the sizing was off. Anyway, thankfully the nappy leaks rarely happen these days.

  • MumFounded
    May 11, 2019

    I second pram suits! I found out after we’d bought several that they cant be worn in the car as they get too hot, and it’s such a fuss putting them on at the destination, we never bothered. If you walk everywhere, I can see them being worth buying though.

  • MotherGeek
    May 11, 2019

    Our eldest never needed a bottle warmer, but we’d never have survived without it the 2nd time around. Our daughter threw up everything which wasnt body temperature or hotter, and at 2am, the bottle warmer was £6 well spent haha!

  • Sally
    May 19, 2019

    I’ve just crowd-sourced a post about this and a number of other things came up too. I’ve bought a pram suit, so I’m hoping our little one can use it, but if not I’ve only got the one. They are super cute though! Glad the lamb suit went to a good home.

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The baby equipment we didn’t use