Five Common Mistakes When Buying Baby Products

In the market for baby products? Read this first! Baby & Toddler Expert Robbie M. lists the top 5 mistakes new parents make when shopping for baby products.

A woman kissing her baby. She has a backpack, diaper bag, and baby carrier on her shoulder.

Photo by Christopher Luther

Despite seeming fairly simple, buying baby products can be quite stressful. It’s one thing to buy things for yourself; it’s another to buy things for your tiny newborn who relies on you for everything. As is common in most other purchasing decisions, many people are most afraid of making mistakes, e.g., buying the incorrect item for a specific use, paying too much, or not getting something of quality. The same worry of making mistakes when building our baby registry when my wife was pregnant plagued us, resulting in additional hours of research and self-doubt. Now, on the other side of these purchases, I’ve been able to understand some of the common mistakes that most expecting parents make when picking out or buying baby products. Below are five common mistakes made when shopping for your baby

1. Not Talking With Parents Who Have Had Kids Recently

A mom holds a baby as her other child grabs some food off of a table.

Photo by Hillshire Farms

Remember the days in school when you consulted with your friends about which classes to take and with which teacher or professor? A few conversations could save you a semester of suffering—and shopping for baby gear can be very similar.

Reach out to people you know, respect, and trust who have had kids recently and ask them about what baby gear they own. You can learn from them very quickly about what worked well and more importantly, what didn’t. Your friends and family have seen the ups and downs, so make sure you reach out to them and take notes on the gear they especially loved and any parent hacks they’ve discovered along the way.

Another great question to ask your friends and family with kids is: what gear have they purchased or received that they didn’t use? This can help you avoid buying things that already remain in the box. People have been parents for thousands of years; make sure you utilize the compounding knowledge around you that continues to grow every year to make the best baby-buying decisions for you and your family. Plus, you’ll find most of your friends and family with kids will love talking about their favorite and least favorite baby gear (guilty as charged).

2. Not Choosing an Item That Matches Your Lifestyle

A man has a baby in a carrier on his chest while walking through a forested area.

Photo by Derek Owens

To me, not choosing an item that matches your lifestyle is the biggest mistake that anyone could make when shopping for their baby. I’m sure you will quickly lose count of all the baby items that your friends or family tell you that you have to get for your baby. However, it’s really important to take into consideration why that item may have been a good fit for them and to ask yourself if that would hold true for you.

At the end of the day, all of these items that you’re buying are simply to help make the transition from not having a baby to now having a baby, as smooth as possible. Everyone has their own lives and lifestyles; some are introverted while others are more extroverted, some are outdoorsy while others prefer the indoors, and some are savers while others are spenders. It’s important that your baby gear follows suit with your lifestyle and helps enable you to continue to live the same way with your little one in tow.

As mentioned above, one of the best ways to avoid making this mistake is to talk with other parents who live similar lives to you and your family, as they will likely provide many valuable insights into gear that worked for them.

Working with a Curated Baby & Toddler Expert is another great way to get some external help with matching baby gear to your lifestyle, as our Experts are trained and educated on the latest and greatest baby gear across all categories.

3. Buying Items That You Don’t End Up Using

A babys bedroom with several pieces of furniture including a crib, bookshelf, changing table, chair, and footrest.

Photo by Collov Home Design

Luckily, my wife and I do not buy items that we don’t end up using too often, however it was always disappointing to go to our baby stash and find a shirt that still had the tags on it or a baby toy that our son had already outgrown.

One way to avoid this, in regards to clothing, is to have a limited amount of baby clothes on your registry. You’ll find that many people will give you baby clothes they found that were “too cute” and you will find yourself with plenty of clothes. Worst case, you can always pick up a couple more items that you find your baby needs more of as you live life with your little one.

Another reason you may not end up using an item is because it’s not age appropriate for your child, so you store it somewhere in your home and forget about it. A good way to prevent this is to have an organized and labeled storage system for your child’s baby gear and clothes. Placing unopened items and queueing up the next age group of clothes and toys will allow you to remember to pull those items out while you store the items that are too little or no longer fit your baby.

Finally, making sure that the items you pick out to purchase or add to your registry match your family’s lifestyle will make it more likely that you’ll end up using them. Clothes that you find ugly, toys that appear too simple, or a stroller that may not be able to handle the terrain you want to throw at it are all good examples of how a misfit in lifestyle may result in an item not being used.

4. Assuming Expensive Is Best

A baby laying on a blanket as his parent hands him a pacifier.

Photo by Alex Bodini

In many cases, we as a society tend to view things with a higher price point as something that is of higher quality. Expensive cars, houses, and even strollers can be seen as having more intrinsic value to match their higher price tags. However, do not take this mindset into shopping for your future baby.

Top-tier baby items like car seats or strollers tend to have more features and are typically made out of nicer, plusher materials. However, they are not quantitatively better or safer than an upper to middle-tier car seat or stroller. It’s important to note that the baby industry is incredibly highly regulated to ensure all of our little ones are kept safe, so generally speaking, most items on the market sold by reputable retailers are safe for use with your child.

My general recommendation for parents who are shopping for their kiddos is to compare the additional features and materials used on high-end items to those of the middle or lower-cost items and understand if the additions are worth the upcharge. For some, the leather handle, extra light weight, and additional convenience that some features add might be worth the additional price tag.

5. Buying Cheap Items That Won’t Last a Long Time

A baby stacking blocks.

Photo by Markus Spiske

The other side of the coin for my previous point is that buying the cheapest baby items is not the best decision either. Typically, bottom-tier items are made from cheaper materials, which can result in a lack of comfort or a shorter lifespan. As great as a $20 umbrella stroller may seem, having that same stroller break on you miles from the parking lot at a zoo with a crying child, suddenly makes the price of the stroller less worth the savings.

Buying something of a higher quality for a little more money will allow you to rely on the gear to be there for you when you need it the most. Some cheap items may end up being more expensive due to the number of repeat purchases needed to ensure you always have what you need, making a more expensive item at times more cost-effective in the long run.

A great example of this is diapers. Buying the absolutely bare minimum diapers may save you money in the short term, but they may have less absorption or be more prone to breaking, requiring them to be changed more frequently and ultimately equaling the price of a more expensive diaper, which can be changed less.

Final Thoughts

Sometimes the hardest part of shopping for baby products or starting your baby registry is just starting. My recommendation is to jump in and begin your search for whatever baby gear you’re looking to buy for your child, build a general understanding of features at various price points for items, and decide which items match up with your family’s lifestyle. Consult with family members and friends who have recently had kids about what’s worked well for them and the things they haven’t found useful.

Another great resource is working with a Curated Baby & Toddler Expert. Our Experts have kids and years of parenting experience and understand exactly where you’re at in the process. We’ll take the time to get to know you and help you find those items that are a perfect fit for you and your family, and hopefully take some of the stress out of this process Reach out to me or one of our other Baby & Toddler Experts to get started on your baby product search or registry creation today!

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Written By
Robbie M
Robbie M
Baby & Toddler Expert
Since being promoted to Dad in 2020, I have leveraged my engineering background to do plenty of research on baby products to ensure we had the best fit for our kiddo. Living in Minnesota, we face both hot summers and freezing cold winters, and after more hours than I'd like to admit of researching b...
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