Online shopping is imperfect (have you ever tried buying pants on Asos.com???). But imagine buying baby items—before you’ve ever had contact with a newborn, before you’ve met your actual baby, before having any idea what daily life with a tiny human is really like.

 

“That’s what online reviews are for, stupid!”

 

Actually, lady, Amazon has screwed me on multiple occasions. When I was pregnant I bought stuff based on the sheer quantity of reviews, as long as it got more than four stars, mostly because I was exhausted by the PhD-level of research involved.

 

I’m still figuring this whole thing out, but here’s the best advice I can give you: don’t focus on reviews. Know yourself, then focus on the features you know you’d like. Online baby shopping is a major opportunity for introspection.

 

Ubbi Steel Diaper Pail

 

As of this writing, this diaper pail has 2,376 reviews with 4 out of 5 stars on Amazon. It’s also won a bunch of awards and was one of the most registered items on Babylist.com. Clearly there is some sort of “cult classic” sitch going on with the Ubbi.

 

Ubbi has a lot of good things going for it, namely that it’s made of steel, which prevents the entire room from the pernicious, pervading poop smell, and it looks pretty sleek (especially for something meant to hold diapers). It also doesn’t require Ubbi-specific trash bags, so you can use your regular trash bags and have one less thing to worry about.

 

For me, the benefits end there. I’m not saying this is a bad diaper pail, but I don’t know why I thought I’d be OK with something that doesn’t have a foot pedal when I require that for all other trash cans I own. (My lower back is weak.) You access the pail by sliding a little door horizontally, but it’s in need of some WD40; as in, it’s stiff and doesn’t glide open easily. Not ideal when I’m protecting the baby with one hand and holding the soiled diaper in the other.

 

Another gripe I have with the Ubbi is how difficult it is to take the trash bag out of the bin when it’s filled with diapers. When I was 7, I attempted to pick up my church Santa’s bag full of candy-filled tins by swinging it over my shoulder. Instead, Santa’s weighty bag swung me off my feet and I landed on my face. This is what it feels like to take the diaper bag out of the Ubbi.

 

DO-OVER: What I should’ve bought

 

I haven’t tried another diaper pail because I’m not about to go buy another one, which says a lot: I don’t hate the Ubbi so much I’m willing to replace it.

 

But if I had a do-over, I’d try the Dekor Plus Hands-Free. The downside is you need to get Dekor-specific trash bags. The plus side is these bags are known to contain odors exceptionally well—even after your babe starts eating solids and excreting toxic poops.

 

It’s hard to tell if the extra recurring cost of the trash bags would be worth the foot pedal because I do really wish there was a foot pedal in my diaper-changing life. Decisions, decisions.

 

Summer Infant Contoured Changing Pad

If you’re a mom who decided you did not want to change diapers atop a blanket on the floor or bed (because what’s wrong with that? NOTHING), you’ve probably stumbled upon the Summer Infant Changing Pad and its 7,648 4.5-star reviews on Amazon, which retails for only $15-$20!

 

The main attraction is its “durable quilted vinyl” which is 100% waterproof and “can be wiped clean with a damp cloth.”

 

You’d think it would end there (place baby and his oozy, poopy butt directly on this wipe-able pad, then wipe clean with a damp cloth). But Summer Infant also sells changing covers to “extend the life of your changing pad.”

 

But doesn’t the changing cover then make your waterproof changing pad non-waterproof?

 

I also got the Munchkin Waterproof Changing Pad Liners to put on top of the changing cover that veiled the changing pad. Yes, ANOTHER layer to negate the function of the already-waterproof changing pad.

 

Granted, you could simply opt to ignore the changing cover and liners, but after discovering they existed at all, it felt wrong leaving the changing pad bare… as if I was making my baby sleep on a mattress without fitted sheets. Shrug.

 

DO-OVER: What I should’ve bought

 

It’s on the pricier side, but the Hatch Baby Grow Smart Changing Pad and Scale would’ve been a better investment for me for two reasons: The foam material not only makes it easy to wipe off poop, but it also appears to be non-porous, which lends you confidence that poop molecules aren’t getting ingrained into the pad. This kind of thing is important, psychologically. This also doesn’t require covers and liners you have to rotate in and out of the washing machine.

 

Second, as an exclusively breastfeeding mom I would’ve appreciated the scale, particularly in the early days when I was panicked about my son’s weight gain and unsure if I was breastfeeding properly or long enough. But even now, when my son’s weight is no longer of concern, it’s nice to know how much he weighs. It’s a fun thing to do, weighing your child with accuracy.

 

Hatch Baby’s app also enables you to track your baby’s sleep. Unless you have terrific memory, you’ll appreciate this feature so you can keep in track of your baby’s wake windows when he’s a few months old and starts developing more consistent sleep routines. For example, if your baby tends to stay awake for two hours before getting overtired, you’ll know exactly when to put away all the overstimulating rattles and start winding down.

 

Boppy Nursing Pillow and Positioner

This pillow is soft and plush and easy to “wear.” You simply slide it around your tummy and place your baby on it as you breastfeed. Having a support cushion is nice because it helps alleviate the slouching and slumping that inevitably happens when your arms get tired and your baby needs to stay positioned in line with your nipple.

 

The problem with the Boppy Nursing Pillow is that my baby slowly gets wedged in between the pillow and my body due to his sheer weight pushing the Boppy aside. After several minutes, the pillow is barely even in use.

 

DO-OVER: What I should’ve bought

 

The My Brest Friend Original Nursing Posture Pillow is a game changer. The pillow goes around most of your body and it comes with a buckle to keep the pillow snug over the entire duration of breastfeeding, remedying the issue I have with the Boppy. It’s also great because it’s supports more of my baby’s entire body and is sturdy enough that he stays on even if the pillow isn’t being propped up by my knees.

 

Perhaps the most important feature of My Brest Friend is the pocket that allows you to keep your cell phone close so you can go online shopping.

 

The downside? I’m overly dependent on it. I don’t like the idea of breastfeeding in public with it due to its sheer size, so now breastfeeding sans My Brest Friend feels awkward and clumsy.

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