Timeline of Parenting Products You DON’T Need


Did you know that if you follow the standard, “What I need for my baby” list for the next 21 years, then your child could cost you over $200,000 (that’s $9,500 per year, or $800 per month), even without being privately educated. The marketing clout of the baby industry has got a lot to answer for.

The reality is that most of the items we are told we should buy for our babies are unnecessary. This timeline will expose the common (and not-so-common) culprits. If you’re new to starting a family, it will hopefully give you the advantage that many second-time parents enjoy.

Jump to…

Pregnancy 1 Week Month 1 Month 2 Month 3 Month 4
Month 5 Month 6 Month 8 Month 11 12 Months 18 Months
2 Years 3 Years




Maternity clothes: There’s no reason why you cannot wear your normal clothes instead of purchasing ‘maternity wear’ often at inflated prices. Items such as wrap-around dresses, smock tops, tunic tops, dresses and long tops made from stretchy material or anything with an elasticated waistband can be staple items throughout your pregnancy. Trousers can be left undone under baggy tops, and clothes with lycra content can be very accommodating. You can alter waistbands by hand or buy a cheap waistband extender to insert in between zips. Additionally try inserting contrasting thin triangular panels into the sides of existing tops for a kitsch bespoke look. Or use a nice piece of material that fits comfortably around your waist to create a bandeau. This will enable you to wear your normal tops right through pregnancy. You can also raid your partner’s wardrobe for T-shirts, shirts and sweaters. Chose clothes that you can layer – your pregnancy will go through three seasons, and it’s very expensive to buy separate clothes for each one. Ponchos are great for the winter.

pregnant woman holding box of body lotion

Anti-stretch mark cream: The vast majority of women will develop stretch marks on their breasts during pregnancy (see, ‘Timeline of Breast Changes in Pregnancy’). These are caused by the collagen beneath the skin tearing as it stretches to accommodate your enlarging body. There are numerous anti-stretch mark creams on the market, but despite what the manufacturers would have us believe, no cream applied to the surface of your skin can have much effect on what is happening to the deeper layers of collagen that lie well below the surface (Regan 2005).

Any of These Books: Not all parenting books are created equal, some actually sabotage the health of mothers and babies.

Car Seatbelt Extender: Pointless. Just put the lap part of your seatbelt below your bump and make sure the other part sits between your breasts.

Home Doppler: In many cases, these cause more stress for expectant mothers than relief. It can be difficult at times to find the fetus’ heart rate since the fetus moves around a lot. Also, the fetal heart rate normally has some variation to it, so I’ve seen mothers get very concerned when the heart rate is higher or lower than they’ve seen before.

Prenatal MP3 Player: Just sing. Your baby is comforted more by the sound of your voice than by any other sound.

Wooden Massage Tool: Human hands are better, particularly when attached to a hunk.

Calming Spritzer Spray: Use a cold flannel instead.

Wallpaper: When the nesting instinct kicks in and you find yourself dangling off the top of a stepladder like a mad woman, stay clear of wallpaper. Instead decorate the nursery walls with paint. Children’s tastes develop and it’s easier to repaint a room rather than repaper it. Also, children can’t resist tearing off unglued wallpaper. Select wipe-clean brands on paint.

Designer Hospital Gown: It’s a lot like your wedding dress: you’ll only wear it once, for a few hours, and by the end of the day it’ll just get covered in bodily fluids.