The Washington Post

Shopping for baby: The pressure to buy needless stuff

There are two rituals for most new parents:

The first happens during pregnancy and involves repeated treks to big-box baby stores to register for and buy all sorts of products that expected parents have been convinced are necessary.

The second is to spend the first year of the first child’s life paying off the big-box baby store and tripping over the plastic flotsam of useless baby goods.

Most families come to learn that, really, children will survive without much stuff. But it is a lesson that oftentimes has to be learned as it’s hard to not try to be as prepared as possible for the new member of a family.

Did you buy too much for your first child? (Matt McClain/for The Washington Post)

The survey also discovered the troubling fact that new mothers, especially now, are worried about their family’s financial situation but feel tremendous pressure to keep buying brand-name product for their babies.

“Three-quarters of moms surveyed have recently cut back on dining out, clothing for themselves, and entertainment. Only 13 percent have taken the same savings measures for their impending or new baby.”

The survey of about 2000 expectant and new mothers was conducted by Kelton research firm in affiliation with PBM Products, which makes store brand infant formula.

“This study sheds light on what moms are going through from both an emotional and economic standpoint,” said Sandra Gordon, author of the tenth edition of Consumer Reports Best Baby Products (2009), in a commentary accompanying the report.

“Moms are so intent on absorbing as much baby-related information as possible, and making the right purchasing decisions, that it can be easy to overlook inexpensive options that are just as safe and effective for their baby.”

Or, I might add, what very few things are needed at all.

What baby products did you find most unnecessary? If you had a do-over, which products would you have skipped?

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