Baby Must Haves

Wondering what baby must haves you really need? Turns out not too many. Forget about silly luxuries like wipe warmers and baby music, my kids survived, no, thrived, without the basics. Turns out, you really don’t need any of those things you registered for, after all. Baby must haves? Snort.

1. Bibs. I’m not sure why, probably pure laziness, but I can count on one hand the number of times my children donned protective gear while eating. And, they were not clean eaters. They just wore a lot of horribly stained clothes.

2. Changing Table. We owned a changing table with Lily, but I never used it. Instead, we changed diapers on the kitchen counter. I set up the diapers and wipes in a kitchen cabinet and slapped a towel on the perfectly tall counter. It was convenient and much easier than schlepping up the stairs every half hour. Who has the energy for that?

3. Diaper Pail. The Diaper Genie? What a crock! We registered for one, but the second I discovered that it required specially designed liners it was outta there. Who wants wrapped up shit sitting in a nursery, anyway? Whether you can smell it or not is besides the point- it’s nasty! A plastic wastebasket and whole bunch of plastic grocery bags did the trick perfectly, thank you very much.

4. Baby Bath. Why mess with a big plastic thing when you can just stick them in the sink? With my second two, I just lined the kitchen sink with a towel and plopped them right in. Clearly, I tried to climb the stairs as little as possible.

5. Baby Laundry Detergent. Tide free is the same thing, at half the price.

6. Diaper Bag. Pre-children, I once mistook a diaper bag for a laptop carrier. The changing pad made a nice little computer wrapper and all of the compartments were perfect for storing my pens and sunglasses. Once I had children, though, I simply bought over-sized bags and threw all of my crap in them. Having a mom car was bad enough, I refused to sacrifice my choice in bags.

7. Burp Cloths. When I thought of it, I would occasionally grab a dishtowel and throw it over my shoulder, but most times I would simply walk around with a perma-stain on my shoulder.

8. Bottle Warmers. We bottle fed the kids and simply never thought to warm the water for our poor winter babies. It was an extra step and middle of the night feedings were hard enough. It horrified both of our mothers, and in retrospect, I can see why.

9. Baby Shoes. You know their feet will never touch the ground, right?

10. Blankets. We were given and bought countless blankets for each baby, but you aren’t supposed to put blankets in cribs anyway, so what’s the point?

I think it’s safe to say that all you really need is diapers, wipes, and a way to feed the baby and clothe the baby. Everything else is really unnecessary. Plus a whole lot of love, of course. And a strong gag reflex always helps.

About the writer


What started as an innocent on-line baby book to chronicle Jill Smokler’s stay-at-home days with her children, quickly transformed into a vibrant community of parents, brought together by a common theme: Parenting doesn’t have to be perfect. Welcome to Scary Mommy!


Alaina Kamer 3 years ago

Wow. Agree with you. And blankets? Umm yes! We put them with her in the carseat. And if we are in a cold resteraunt, you'll want them. In your diaper bag! Sheesh didn't agree with this lady at all

Carla Mack 3 years ago

Yeah.. I use/used all of those all the time too. Maybe they aren't 'necessary', but they sure do make life easier!

Carla Mack 3 years ago

Seriously??! You may not "need" this stuff, but it sure made life easier. Diapers on the same counter you prepare food? umm… no thanks.

Nikki 3 years ago

Seriously? I use ALL of these items and religiously at that, the diaper genie is amazing and seals in the smell and small so you can keep it next to the changing table. And maybe it’s different for every baby, but my daughter hates cold milk so our bottle warmer is a lifesaver because we just keep the water in it and it heats up super fast.

Nikki Rae Mack 3 years ago

Seriously? I use ALL of these items and religiously at that, the diaper genie is amazing and seals in the smell and small so you can keep it next to the changing table. And maybe it's different for every baby, but my daughter hates cold milk so our bottle warmer is a lifesaver because we just keep the water in it and it heats up super fast.

Zipporah Bird 3 years ago

I never used bibs, either, but I make gorgeous ones for baby showers. Because I can make them in no time and they cost almost nothing.

Venassa 3 years ago

I used bibs like a boss for the first few months of real food. Now that she’s 16 months, bibs are rare, but I will throw them on her when she’s eating something like spaghetti. I also used burp clothes a ton.
And oddly enough, the baby detergent was cheaper than regular anytime I bought it. I loved the smell, so I used it for the first 8 months or so. The rest of the stuff – I had most of it, didn’t use most of it.

Observacious 3 years ago

So true, although I quickly became a fan of blankets, at least the thin swaddling/receiving type ones. Those come cheap for three to a pack and can be used for anything: blanket, bib, burp cloth, playmat, rag to clean up spills, nursing cover, sunshade, alternate outfit when you have a diaper blow out in a restaurant and realize you forgot to bring an extra outfit. Anything.

Christa 5 years ago

:) I am 23 weeks with our first and have been surfing the web for just such a list! Too funny! We live in the tiniest sardine can of a home and I am determined to keep our baby registery to the bare minimum. Everyone that asks me what I am needing is quite horrified when they ask me, “So what do you still need?” and I reply, “diapers and wipes”. They look at me like I have three horns and one eye. What can I say? I am the oldest of eight kids and we made do on the bare necessities and lots of love. And then I worked in a daycare and I have a fairly good idea of what qualifies as necessary and what falls in the money-draining categories. So thank you for assuring me that I am not an insane, stingy Momma.

Ja’Lee 6 years ago

Oh how I do love this post. Im a Proud new mommy of a gorgeous two month baby boy named Kasen who I adore. But what I dont adore? Is all of the shit mothers these days think you need for a child. That 150 dollar diaper bag that my son threw up all over? Pointless. 50 $ wipe warmer? Fell off the dresser and the lid broke off. Piece of shit. Disposable changing pads, those stupid Dr. Browns bottles with all of the pieces you have to wash, a Plug in take along in the car bottle warmer, and the 280 baby monitor with the camera that has never even been opened because thanks to my mother Kasen is never in a room by himself, let alone his crib at night, Its all money wasting crap.

Luschka 6 years ago

We use a gazillion burp cloths a day, but not for burping – for drool! My daughter seems to have been teething since the beginning of time, and she has a constant stream of drool running down her chin. The muslin (burp cloth) is my life saver. Lol. For the rest, pretty much agree with you! The only other thing I bought and never used is a steriliser.
.-= Luschka´s last blog ..Kid Friendly Food – Jelly Pinwheels =-.

Pua 6 years ago

I can’t remember a single time I used a burp cloth (although I received about two dozen at my baby shower), only just started using a bib during lunches out, and only used a diaper bag maybe for four months. It was too much of a pain in the butt so I just bought a big bag.
.-= Pua´s last blog ..Lunchtime ponderings =-.

Amanda Lickers 6 years ago

When my son was about 6 months old we went to a friends babyshower . He would projectile spit up everywhere so i would always have a back up shirt. So, after comming back from changing my shirt after one big bottle, i walked in on the new grandmother to be ( dads side ) saying to all of her friends ”What is WRONG with these new young mothers these days?? Hasn’t anyone ever told that girl what bibs are for?”.. yes because this young mother is going to keep a bib strapped around a 6 month old for the entire day, oh & because you know when they spit up it never lands anywhere but the bib right?.. i love your blog

Heather 6 years ago

A sleep nest sounds like an awesome invention. Sorry you didn’t think of it first. I’d love to win it though! Thanks for “paying it forward”!

Joanna 6 years ago

I, too, went to my daughter’s first pediatrician appointment without my diaper bag. Pretty silly seeing as how I spent MONTHS of my pregnancy searching for the perfect diaper bag and filled it up and rearranged all of its contents no less than 10 times before she was born.

I was so concerned about getting out of the house with clothes on and attempting to run a brush through my hair that it never even crossed my mind.


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