8 Totally Unnecessary Gifts for Expecting Moms
Preparing for the arrival of a new baby can be exciting, scary, and expensive. Companies often exploit the emotions of expecting parents to try and sell products that moms do not really need.
On top of the dozens of items that you do need, there are plenty of items that you can do without. Instead of spending your entire savings on new baby gear, you may want to think twice before purchasing any of these totally unnecessary products.
1. At Home Fetal Monitor
A fetal heart rate monitor is a prime example of a product that expecting moms do not need. These devices are designed so that you can listen to your baby’s heartbeat. While it can be reassuring to know that your baby has a healthy heartbeat, these devices can also lead to unnecessary worry.
Without medical training, you may have difficulty picking up the sound of the heartbeat. Babies frequently move around in the womb. If the baby shifts their position, the at home fetal monitor may not find the heartbeat. Mothers may become scared that the baby is no longer breathing or that something is seriously wrong.
Besides not hearing the heartbeat, it is very easy for mothers to mistake other internal sounds for the heartbeat. Instead of listening to the baby’s heart, you may be listening to your own stomach as it digests your last meal.
The bottom line is that these devices are not meant for home use. Detailed instruction manuals do not replace the proper medical training that is needed to find the heartbeat of the baby or to assess whether there is a health emergency.
2. Pregnancy Headphones and Vaginal Speakers
The makers of pregnancy headphones and vaginal speakers claim that babies can hear sounds in the womb starting at 20 weeks.
They also claim the sounds that the baby hears can become part of their memory starting at 30 weeks. However, these claims are not entirely accurate or beneficial.
These devices connect to iPods and other music players, allowing a mom to play music or messages to her baby while it still grows inside the womb.
Medical research indicates that babies do start to hear sounds at around 18 weeks and may even respond to sounds after 25 weeks. However, you do not need to amplify sounds for the baby to hear. In fact, placing speakers directly on the abdomen or near the vagina for long periods may cause permanent damage to the baby’s hearing. However, more evidence is needed to confirm this.
Doctors recommend that expecting moms talk to their baby. They also encourage moms to listen to soothing music. These sounds can be heard at normal levels and do not require any special equipment.
3. Belly Support Bands
As the belly grows the extra weight can cause back pain, ligament pain, and joint pain. Belly support bands are supposed to help manage these issues. You may also see these products marketed as pregnancy bands or maternity bands. They are elastic bands that fit around your waist to provide extra support.
Belly bands are another example where a manufacturer uses a real problem to market a product that contains no scientific backing. If you experience back pain during pregnancy, your doctor will likely recommend that you take it easy. In fact, if you ask your OBGYN about the belly band, there is a good chance that they will advise against wearing one.
If you really need to wear one, your doctor might advice that you wear it for short periods at a time because clinicians have concerns that wearing a belly band may hinder blood circulation.
4. Anti-Stretch Mark Belly Creams
Stretch marks are a natural part of pregnancy. As the belly expands, the skin on the stomach stretches faster than the body can handle. The resulting stretch marks are just one of many issues that new moms want to address after the baby is born.
To help fight stretch marks, many moms try using anti-stretch mark belly creams. These creams help moisturize the skin as it expands. However, there are no medical studies to indicate that any cream can help prevent or erase stretch marks.
While there is a lack of medical research, many women still claim that these creams have helped them deal with their stretch marks. Doctors will quickly point out that these women are likely mistaking the body’s natural healing process for a positive effect from the cream.
Belly creams can help moisturize the skin, yet they may not provide any real benefits in helping to reduce stretch marks. Instead of wasting money on these creams you should wait and watch as the marks slowly fade with time.
5. Nursing Chair
After the baby arrives, new moms can expect to spend a lot of time sitting while nursing the baby. Nursing chairs are intended to make this process easier. These chairs are basically rockers with padding and a higher price tag.
Why do people think nursing chairs are useful? There are several recommended positions for nursing and almost all of them require the mom to sit up in a chair. However, newborns do not always immediately start nursing.
If they are overly fussy, babies will not start sucking until they calm down. Rocking in a chair can help soothe the baby, calming the baby down enough so that the mom can nurse.
A nursing chair can be useful, yet it is totally unnecessary. You can sit in any comfortable chair and nurse. You do not even need the chair to rock. Gently soothing the baby with a calm voice while offering skin-on-skin contact can be just as helpful for getting a baby ready to nurse.
6. Baby Wipes Warmer
Baby wipes are a necessity for new moms. You may use several wipes every time that you change a diaper. A baby wipes warmer is built to warm these wipes. You place a package of wipes inside a plastic compartment that warms the entire package.
Some moms claim that their babies do not like the feeling of cold wipes on their bottoms. However, most babies dislike the entire process of getting their diaper changed. Warming the wipes will not make a difference in this area.
Unless you keep your wipes outside in the cold air, they are not going to be too cold for your baby. The wipes will most likely be stored at room temperature. They are already the perfect temp for cleaning your baby after he or she soils a diaper and may help prevent diaper rashes.
A warmer wipe has no real benefits and one major drawback. The baby wipes warmer dries out the wipes and makes them useless for cleaning. Instead of wasting money on a warmer you can take the money that you save and purchase several more packages of wipes.
7. Fancy Crib and Nursery Décor
Buying fancy décor and furniture for your nursery has no impact on the health or wellbeing of your new baby. Babies do not care about the color of their nursery or whether their crib is outfitted with designer sheets. These items are simply marketed to parents that want to create the picture perfect baby room.
You can find expensive cribs with changing tables attached to the side and other fancy cribs designed to take your money. You do not need any special features in a crib.
Within a couple years, your baby will outgrow the crib, leaving you with a costly piece of furniture that serves no purpose. You simply need a crib that meets the current safety requirements.
Nursery décor can also be a waste of money. Stencils and other wall art can help create a cute room for your baby. However, you need to remember that your baby will not know the difference between an expensive decoration and a homemade creation.
8. Baby Perfumes and Fragrances
Baby perfumes and fragrances are the most unnecessary products for new mothers. A baby perfume is exactly what it sounds like. It is a perfume that you spray near the baby to create a pleasant scent. You can make your baby smell like lavender, roses, or any other fragrance.
There is no need to mask the smell of a newborn. Many people love the smell of newborns. There is even scientific research to explain why babies smell so good.
The scent of a newborn may be a biological factor to help new mothers experience more joy when caring for their babies. The refreshing scent can help facilitate mother-baby bonding and promote lactation.
Mothers should enjoy this scent while it lasts. Before long, a fresh-scented baby becomes a dirty toddler and then a smelly teenager.
Conclusion – Do Not Waste Your Money
Before buying a product marketed to expecting moms, you should also talk to your doctor, especially if the product claims to offer any health benefits. You do not want to buy something with good intentions only to find out that it in some way harmed your baby.
In the end, expecting moms do not need a lot of the stuff in the baby aisle. Instead of spending hundreds of dollars on unnecessary items, focus on purchasing the products that you will need.
Alfirevic Z, Stampalija T, Dowswell T. Fetal and umbilical Doppler ultrasound in high-risk pregnancies. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2017, Issue 6. Art. No.: CD007529. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD007529.pub4. Read the article.
Lundström JN, Mathe A, Schaal B, Frasnelli J, Nitzsche K, Gerber J, Hummel T. Maternal status regulates cortical responses to the body odor of newborns. Front Psychol. 2013 Sep 5;4:597. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2013.00597. Read the article.
Pierson LL. Hazards of noise exposure on fetal hearing. Semin Perinatol. 1996 Feb;20(1):21-9. Read the article.
Hartikainen-Sorri AL, Kirkinen P, Sorri M, Anttonen H, Tuimala R. No effect of experimental noise exposure on human pregnancy. Obstet Gynecol. 1991 Apr;77(4):611-5. PubMed PMID: 2002987. Read the article.