The holiday anti-shopping list: Things parents do not need

The Pediatric Insider

© 2014 Roy Benaroch, MD

Have money to burn and nothing useful to spend it on? Perhaps you, or someone you know, has a baby. With the holidays looming, it’s time to spend some cash on this year’s anti-shopping list of things no one needs!

#1: The Infant Helmet


The Thudguard, The Jolly Jumper, The Oopsie—I don’t know how you could choose just one! Probably best to have Junior wear all three, all the time. As long as there’s gravity, there are falls!


#2: Bottle sterilizers

download bottle sterilizer

Look: baby’s mouths aren’t sterile, mom’s boobs aren’t sterile. The world isn’t sterile. And that water in the sink? Heart surgeons wash their hands in it before they cut people open. Use tap water to wash your bottles or breasts—you don’t need to sterilize them.


#3: Nursery water

Hm. Water that’s virtually free, already fortified with fluoride, constantly monitored for safety and mineral content, and easily available in almost every room of your house; versus water that’s unregulated, contains whatever might be in there, and comes in environment-destroying plastic jugs you have to pay for and lug around. Just use tap water, please!


#4: Amber teething necklaces

A cord around Junior’s neck that could strangle him. Made of little beans that could choke him. That either (a) slowly releases the unstudied and unregulated chemical succinic acid into his body constantly, or (b) releases absolutely nothing and is entirely a sham. Or you could just go with, you know, a chewie ring or an occasional dose of Tylenol for teething—which, most of the time, doesn’t seem to bother babies at all.


#5: The Wee Block or Peepee Teepee

download wee block2

These little cup-shaped devices are supposed to be placed over a little boy’s weiner prior to diaper changes, so you don’t get whizzed upon. Seriously. It’s a real thing, and it comes in a bunch of colors, but oddly not in different sizes (no bragging, dads!) Some have little phrases on them like “lil’ sprinkler” or “tinkle tinkle little star” or “to pee or not to pee?” Ha! Shakespeare!

#6: Formula mixers

These come in handheld versions for six bucks, up through hyper-cool tabletop premium mixers for $160 (“Say goodbye to the time and hassle of manually preparing baby’s bottles, and say goodbye to 160 dollars!”) . Put formula into a K-cup, and then come talk to me.


#7: Ultraviolet pacifier and nipple sanitizer

binky sterilizer

OK, I admit violet is cool. So ultraviolet, that’s got to be ultracool. But you still don’t have to sterilize binkies, pacifiers, nipples, breasts, fingers, or anything else that goes into a baby’s mouth. Because, you see, it’s already not sterile in there. Clean, yes. Sterile? No.


#8: The Bumbo Floor Seat

If your baby’s too young to sit up on his own, he’s probably… too young to sit up on his own. Sure, you can make him do it, with the help of this thing—but it restricts movement and can hurt his motor development. Still, it does come in nice colors.


#9: Walkers

Walkers” delay motor development and can cause injuries and death—the AAP has called for them to be banned since 2001. Trust me, this is the only walker that’s safe to be around your baby.


#10: Mr. Milker

breast fed man

The “#1 breast feeding device for men” – as you can see in the picture, you CAN be a cowboy, and breastfeed too! Still, hopalong, you might want to adjust the hold on that baby in your right hand. Giddyup!


OK, now, before you all get all mad at me in the comments for making fun—I know, you bought that amber teething thing for your child and it’s great and he hasn’t been strangled even once, and you like convenience of making infant formula from K-cups, and blah blah how insulting I’m never visiting this blog again… I apologize in advance to everyone for everything I’ve ever done. That should about cover it. Happy holidays!


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11 Comments on “The holiday anti-shopping list: Things parents do not need”

  1. Tara Haelle Says:

    I have only one comment: THIS IS AWESOME!


  2. LIz Ditz Says:

    Thank you very much for the walker advice. One of my friends was just talking about getting one for her grandson, and I didn’t have the resources to say why not.


  3. Emily Says:

    Formula in a K-Cup would be genius.


  4. miloumartel Says:

    haha Love this list! Thanks for the laugh!


  5. Disorientata Says:

    Ahah great post!! Happy holidays!


  6. e canfield Says:

    But, but, but, my naturopathic pediatrician says fluoride is bad! (Actually, I do know one from a local stitch and gab; I ignore any & all advice she offers and she gives me the same looks you’d have given me if I’d celebrated my pregnancy with 6 rum-and-cokes.)


  7. Excellent article–humorous and so true. I’ve had so many conversations with my patients’ parents about some of these. Just discovered your blog, and I’ll be following.


  8. Katherine Hensley Says:

    Ahhhhh, the baby helmet – helicopter parenting at its finest.


  9. Dr K Says:

    LOVE IT!!!


  10. Demi Says:

    In relation to sterilizing, in the UK we’re told to sterilize bottles/pacifiers/teething rings etc for the first 6 months. There can be milk residues in the bottles or on the teats that can breed harmful bacteria, and we’re told to make up formula with cooled boiled tap water, you know, so it’s sterile. I understand the world is not sterile, but does that mean we shouldn’t bother trying to minimize the risk to our new born? I was under the impression that babies can get sickness and diarrhea from improperly sterilized bottles/pacifiers. Is that incorrect? Is there really no benefit to sterilizing bottles for new borns? Is there research on this showing no benefit? I’d like to see it if there is. UNICEF and the UK NHS recommend sterilizing baby equipment to reduce the risk to your baby.


  11. Dr. Roy Says:

    Demi, I’m not familiar with UK guidelines. In the post I was referring to babies in the US, I’m sorry that wasn’t made more clear. In many parts of the world water is not clean and does need to be boiled.

    RE: cleanliness of bottles, nipples — you do need to get the crud and residue off of them. A sterilizer won’t do that. A bottle brush or a dishwasher will do a better job.


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