There has been much publicity about the cost of raising a child, enough to put couples off parenting for life! The estimated figures vary but parents can pretty much rely on shelling out £150,000 and more even if they don’t fund further education. The spending starts early too as many people spend a fortune on furnishing the nursery and accumulating clothes, linens and equipment for their new baby before it is even born. A new survey by Which has revealed, however, that some things can be safely omitted from the shopping list.

The Losers

10 items have been identified as the most pointless investments for new parents and not buying them can save as much as £275. Topping the list as the most pointless thing of all is the baby bouncer. This was followed by baby washing bowls, manual breast pumps and baby hammocks. With a mind boggling array of interesting and useful sounding things to buy it can be difficult for parents to see the wood for the trees but the experience of other parents could provide the guidance newbies need.

Not Worth Buying

The next items deemed pointless were the fabric sling, nappy stackers and a bumbo seat. Completing the list were cot mobiles, swaddling blankets and nappy disposal bins. Such items apparently end up cluttering the home and gathering dust in cupboards rather than helping parents or baby.

The Winners

The Survey also asked parents about the most useful things they had found excluding obvious core purchases like car seats and cots. These are the must have pieces that new parents should invest in and topping the list was the stair gate. Safety was clearly the main priority for parents as both audio and video baby monitors and ear thermometers were big hits. Baby sleeping bags made the top ten as did electric and microwave steriliser kits. Changing bags were on the list at number 2.

Big Decisions

Travelling was clearly a major issue on the minds of parents as the travel cot was declared as a must have by those surveyed. Over 2000 parents of children under 5 were questioned and so new parents would do well take notice of the responses. The sheer number of choices facing happy couples can be overwhelming and with most feeling the pinch to one extent or another their investments would be best made advisedly.

New products and innovations are appearing all the time jostling for a place on the shopping list but it looks like it is the old favourites which are still the real must haves. After the essentials like car seats, pushchairs, prams and moses baskets it is safety gates, changing bags and monitors that really make the difference.

All new parents have limitations to their budgets to one extent or another and must save funds wherever they can for essentials. It is tempting to rush out to buy everything available but not all the options are vital as experienced parents have demonstrated with their responses to the survey

Sally Stacey is a keen writer who has an interest in consumer affairs