In a 2011 survey, British consumer magazine voted baby slings as the most useless of all baby products. Apparently parents just didn’t like them. I’d have to disagree on two counts – firstly, slings are a complete lifesaver when you have a baby and especially when you have more than one. Secondly, there is a cornucopia of far more useless products out there that they could have picked on. So I’m going to pick on them now. Prepare to have your credit cards maxed to the limit if you’re investing in our Top 10 Most Pointless Baby Products.
10. Walking Wings
For years, babies have learned to walk. Nearly all of them do it of their own accord, and there’s a variety of techniques – cruising along the furniture, staggering from one fixed point to another, holding an adult’s finger – but largely, they don’t need the intervention of gadgets to help them walk. Until now! In gender-stereotyped pink and blue shades, the walking wings act like a little harness to help guide the baby while they walk. No longer will you need to “tug at little arms” as you drag them along, or suffer from backache as you bend down for all those hours of baby-walking you do. And none of that pesky baby-led navigation that sees you circling the same room several times. No, put them in some kind of contraption and take the power back! Sitting down with a gin and tonic while they figure it all out for themselves is obviously not an option any more….
9. Nuby Nibbler
One baby product that you might find useful is a little mesh bag for bath toys – it hangs them up and drains them when not in use. But would you also fancy sticking some fruit in the mesh and giving it to your baby to munch on? No, me neither. But clearly the makers of the Nuby thought they were onto a winner with their little mesh feeder, where you put food in and the baby sucks on it through the mesh “without the risk of choking”. Unfortunately, you also lose the risk of the baby enjoying their food or learning to handle it for themselves. Choking is a hazard, that’s true, and especially with frozen fruit, which seems to be a favorite recommendation of Nuby users. But why does any baby need to eat frozen fruit? Surely a slice of fresh mango is much nicer and doesn’t taste of mesh? So a useless product and a nightmare to clean too, by all accounts.
8. The BabyKeeper
For those that agree with the uselessness of slings, there’s always a problem when it comes to restrooms. You can’t fit a stroller into a cubicle, so what do you do? Hang them from the door like you hang your coat! The BabyKeeper does just that – clipping over the edge of the toilet door so that your baby can dangle there and watch you pee. It doesn’t look particularly comfy, but the baby in the adverts looks happy – he must love being strung up like a handbag. Not one for forgetful mothers cause, let’s face it, how easy would it be to just leave them there?
Now, this one caused huge amount of controversy when it launched and was withdrawn a few days later, after a vigorous campaign by parents on Facebook. The aim was to help mothers breastfeed, by checking their supply, but the method was deeply flawed. It relied on mothers being able to pump as much as they produced but anyone who has ever tangled with a breast pump will tell you that they’re aren’t the easiest or most natural of contraptions. Consequently, it’s rare that a woman will be able to pump out every last drop of milk that she’s produced. Babies are much more efficient at extracting milk than pumps are! Breastfeeding mothers were concerned that the product only fuelled paranoia about milk supply and would do more harm than good, The company eventually agreed, and recalled it from sale.
6. Diaper Stacker
Now these are a pretty addition to any nursery – fabric diaper holders, in a variety of fabrics to co-ordinate with your decor. But there’s quite a big flaw. When you have a baby, it’s a 24-hour job. There are 8 feeds a day, 8 changes a day and a lot of burping, pacing and rocking in between. When you get that precious 5 minutes away from the baby, what are you going to do? Shower? Pee? Make a cup of coffee? Or arrange a fresh supply of diapers neatly in the fabric hanger thing? Basically, they’re the kind of thing pregnant people buy and the kind of thing that only a pregnant person would be bothered to fill. Once the baby is here, you soon find that life is too short.