6 Things That New Mothers and Infants Can Live Without

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When our son was born healthy but early, I wasn't prepared. So my cousin Karen, mother of two, welcomed us home from the hospital with three huge bags of bottles, diapers, wipes and a rainbow of terrycloth onesies, which were Ben's fashion trademark during his first three months on earth.

Within a few weeks, however, my house became crowded with baby stuff -– bottle warmers, bouncies, jungle gym mats and baby swings that crowded our already crowded house. I figure the shelf life for each item was two to three months before Ben outgrew the need or desire to use it. Some, I used twice before deciding they weren't worth the space they took up. Consider these unnecessary items:

Wipe warmer ($20-$25): A wipe warmer is a heated, plastic container that keeps diaper wipes toasty. It appeals to our desire to give baby every comfort but really is an over-the-top luxury that no one needs. Some wipes tear when you pull them through the dispensing hole. And if your baby gets used to a warm wipe on his bottom at home, good luck changing a diaper when you're away from the house and he has to endure the horror of a room-temp wipe.

Baby detergent: You don't need an expensive baby detergent (77 cents per fluid ounce) to protect baby's delicate skin. Instead, buy any brand-name detergent marked "free and clear," (23 cents per ounce) meaning it lacks perfumes and dyes that can irritate new skin.

Bassinet ($35 to $300): It's a frilly and a pretty place to keep a newborn when showing him off to relatives or keeping him near you at night during his first month. But, a bassinet won't hold a growing baby for long. So, don't shell out big bucks on this short-time sleeping solution. Instead, invest in a great crib, which will be your baby's sleeping place for years.

Baby food processor ($100 to $150): You can prepare baby food in any blender or mini-processor on your counter. Some baby food processors contain a heating mechanism that steams or warms baby food, which you can easily do on your range or in your microwave, so long as you check the temp before feeding it to junior.

Expensive bedding ($79 to $250): Don't waste money on fancy crib bedding for a newborn. Bumpers and quilts are hazards to newborns who can easily get tangled or trapped in them. Whatever bedding you chose will likely become soiled with spit up and other bodily excretions that come from infants. The only thing you need is a fitted sheet and snug, terrycloth sleepers that keep baby warm and safe at night.

Baby bathtub ($20 to $50): You're washing and wiping your baby all day long, so you don't need to bathe your baby every day. In fact, most experts say washing baby more than three times a week can dry out their sensitive skin. Sponge baths are recommended until the umbilical cord falls off. After that, you can bathe baby in a sink just as well as a baby tub. Warning: Never leave baby alone -– even for a second -– during bath time.
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