So What Do You Really Need When Baby Comes?

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OK, so we’ve got a post that names 11 useless baby products. What are the things that parents actually do find useful when they have a baby?

Consumer Reports has a checklist of baby essentials, and for the most part, I agree with everything on the list. Minor squabble: Do you really need hooded towels? Regular towels are just fine. Note that many items parents assume are essential are actually listed as optional by CR—including a baby monitor, a sling or strap-on soft carrier, and a bouncy seat. (We have all of these things, and while you probably don’t need them, I can say that we’ve gotten plenty of use out of them.)

Also very helpful from CR: “8 Ways to Save Big on Baby Stuff”, including tips on coupons, promotions, and discounters. Because now that you know what you need, it’s nice to get your gear at a good price.

More essential baby “gear” that’s arguably more important than a good stroller: health insurance for your family, and life insurance and a will for the parents. Kiplinger offers tips on making these big decisions.

When it comes to toys for babies, try to control yourself. To a baby—a person who has just been introduced to this world—everything is new, and everything is a potential plaything. I totally identify with this mom’s story, about how her son likes playing with lint and dustballs much more than any educational toy.

Hand-me-down toys, clothes, and other kid gear are also quite wonderful.