The birth of a baby is one of life’s great celebrations. Family and friends gather to shower the parents-to-be and baby with love, support and gifts. As a matter of fact, a lot of gifts. And the new parents are going to need all the help they can get. Having a baby is also one of life’s most expensive life events.
All the cute stuffed animals and plush blankets aside, baby care products are big business. The U.S. baby care product market will reach $66 billion by 2017.
According to a USDA report, an average middle class family will spend $12,000 on a baby’s first year. And there’s no wonder why. On top of all the diapers, medical expenses, formula, and basic necessities, new parents tend to go overboard with their spending. Usually, by purchasing expensive items that are marketed as necessities for their little one. They want their baby to have everything they need. And they do mean everything.
Here are 12 baby products that new parents blow their money on.
1. Pricey cribs and bedding
New parents will spend months picking the perfect color, theme and furniture for a nursery. But baby furniture can be grossly overpriced, while being painfully plain. We’re looking at you Pottery Barn Kids and the $1000 Harper Crib.
2. Baby food maker
We don’t blame Magic Bullet for trying. The Baby Bullet By Magic Bullet is one of the most popular baby food processors on the market. But, the food processor you already have will work just fine.
3. The Woombie
Seriously, what is this?
The $34 Woombie is the latest craze in obsessive swaddling products. It claims to be safer than swaddling in a traditional blanket. But, while the Woombie may make swaddling easier, were skeptical about the safety claim. Swaddling has been part of baby care for ages.
If you’re having trouble swaddling your baby with a blanket, there are cheaper alternatives. Get two SwaddlePods from Amazon for $15.
4. Bath thermometer
Everyone has a built in thermometer. It’s called their finger.
As genius as the MOBI TempTub Bath Thermometer seems, combining a rubber ducky with a thermometer to ensure your babies bath is not too hot, defies common sense.
5. Baby timer
The Itzbeen Pocket Nanny Baby Care Timer, priced at $20, keeps track of your baby’s feeding and sleeping times. However, there are plenty of baby timer apps, that does the exact same thing for a fraction of the cost. No to mention, it’s one less thing to keep track of and carry around.
6. Stroller Dashboard
The Text Hook is made for those with an “active lifestyle.” At $50 a pop, it hooks to your stroller so you can easily place your smartphone on it. But, there are times when you should put your smartphone away and pay attention to your child. For instance, that text can wait as you are maneuvering your child through a crowd.
7. Strollers and car seats out of a sci-fi movie
When traveling with a baby, whether to the grocery store or across the county, new parents want to make sure their baby will be safe and comfortable. Baby safety products are usually where new parents spend the most money on a single item, next to the furniture.
Parents should be concerned with their baby’s safety. Take precautions to baby-proof your home and purchase a good quality car seat and stroller. But know when a product is overpriced and not much better than a cheaper option.
The Quinny Moodd Stroller System, priced at $700, doesn’t offer much more than $200 alternative. And, the $200 alternative converts from a stroller to a car seat. Two birds, one stone, and $500 cheaper.
8. Baby Wipe Warmer
This Prince Lionheart White Premium Wipes Warmer seems like it would be a cool addition to the nursery. But, baby wipe warmers are counter productive and can actually cost you to waste more money. Diaper wipe warmers can actually dry out the wipes. That leaves you with useless wipes and additional trips to the store.
9. Designer diaper bags
Today’s moms may prefer chicer looking diaper bags over the bulky counterparts. But, fancy diapers bags, like this $418 Kate Spade New York “Stevie” Diaper Bag, are a money trap.
New moms are attempting to justify the price by claiming the diaper bag can double as their purse. It’s not long before, realizing how much a baby needs on the go, a new mom’s are carrying both a diaper bag and their own purse.
10. Designer baby clothes
This is the hard part.
Everyone goes crazy for baby clothes. From onesies to entire outfits, new parents will make sure their new baby is dressed to the nines in name brands.
Now just imagine your irresistibly cute baby having an “accident” in that $30 Ralph Lauren bodysuit. Babies are messy and have little control over their body functions. Not to mention they can’t tell Ralph Lauren from Baby’s R Us. So they will, as babies do, have messy accidents in really nice clothes.
Keep the nice clothes to social functions and purchase a financially conscious wardrobe for everyday wear.
11. Any baby shoe
We all know baby shoes are adorable. Anything in a mini-me portion tends to be irresistible. However, the price tags are inexcusable and rival the cost of shoes for a full-grown person. These TOMS Skull-Print Shoes are $55. Your baby will grow out of these in a month. Stick to a variety of socks. Or, who doesn’t love a barefoot baby?
12. Awkward travel products
Stop it. Your child is not luggage. Leave the GoGo Babyz Kidz Travel Mate at the store and spare yourself getting awkward looks at the airport.
Leave the spoiling up to friends and family at the baby shower or gender reveal party. However, leading up to the birth and on a day-to-day basis afterward, help keep new parents in check by giving sound financial advice. This will help new parents spend their money wisely and save the rest.
For example, you know a new parent who wants that crazy expensive stroller. Recommend a more cost effective alternative, and tell the new parents to put the difference saved in a savings account or college fund. Those savings really do start to add up.
Eighteen years is a long time. And friends don’t let friends start off a baby’s life on the wrong financial foot.
Destiny is a staff writer and social media manager for MyBankTracker.com. Her columns focus on money management and consumer spending.