Everyone always talks about how expensive it is to have a baby, and say stuff like, “We’re waiting till we can afford it.” Before I got pregnant myself I kinda bought into that mentality. But after having my first child I realized that kids do not have to cost a fortune! Here are some great tips to help you decide what you should buy and what you can do without.
- Buy gently used. There is nothing wrong with buying something pre-owned for baby. It will be considered “used” after the first time your child touches it anyways, so don’t feel like you have to have brand new. Believe me, baby won’t know the difference, but your wallet will!
- Buy gender neutral gear if you plan on having more than one child. I’m talking about a stroller, carseat, swing, highchair, bassinet, playpen, diaper bag, the things that you’ll need for every baby. I know it’s tempting to buy all the cutsie girly stuff for baby girl, but try to be practical about it. If you’re pretty sure that you’ll be having another baby in the next few years, buy neutral patterns. They can still be just as cute, and can be used again and again. You’ll be glad you did!
- Don’t buy more clothes and shoes than you need. I know, I know, it’s so hard to pass by that adorable outfit for baby, especially buying for a baby on the way. But all too often people buy way more than they could ever really use, and end up with clothes still sporting the tags and baby too big to wear them. You really don’t need more than 12 outfits (in each size) for baby.
- You don’t need so many toys and books. Honestly, it’s true what they say: Kids are happy playing with wooden spoons and pots and pans. We have SO many toys, from family and friends, and the kids really don’t play with 80% of them. 5 toys, honestly, would be enough for baby. There are plenty of other things around the house that would entertain your little one for free. And books can be borrowed from the library. Collect a few all-time favorites, and let the library keep the rest for you.
- Buy good quality clothes. They don’t have to be expensive either. You can find really good deals on used, quality clothes. The best quality stuff I’ve found is from Baby Gap and The Children’s Place. In my experience these brands of clothing really hold up from child to child. Not to mention their re-sell value is very high; it’s easy to get your money back out of the clothing, and possibly even make a profit on your used items.
- Buy gender neutral sleepers and sleep sacks. Pale yellow, white, and mint green. Nobody will see baby in them so it won’t matter much if it’s cute or not. It’s nice to be able to use them over and over with each child.
- Buy Portable Gear. Instead of buying a regular baby swing, consider a travel swing. It serves the same purpose, is more practical, and even takes the place of a bouncer or glider. Instead of a traditional high chair and a booster, just buy a booster seat with tray. It can be used longer and is great for travel.
- Opt out of a Changing Table. When I first got pregnant some friends of mine told me that I really didn’t need a changing table. They wisely warned that I’d end up changing baby everywhere but the changing table. They were right. The only thing it’s good for is storage, so if you can do without that, you don’t need it.
- Buy A Multi-Functioning Playard. A good one can take the place of a bassinet, a changing table, and a gym/playmat. Look for one with a bassinet attachment, a holder for diapers and wipes, and a mobile hanging over it.
- Crib Bedding: Try to find a used set. I know they make the new ones in the stores look so irresistable, but if you can’t get the crib bedding as a gift, try to find a cute used set. You’ll save a small fortune not buying new.
- Carseats: This is the one thing I would never go cheap on! Your child’s life is worth it. Never buy a used carseat; you don’t know if it has been involved in a car accident, or if it’s been recalled. Try to find a seat with excellent safety ratings, that will fit your child for a long time.
Here is a list of things that you DON’T NEED:
- Bouncer/Glider- all you need is a travel swing.
- Gym/Playmat- a playard with a mobile is all you need.
- Boppy- just use a pillow.
- Bumbo- really, you just don’t need it.
- Walker/Jumper- an exersaucer is all you need.
- Bottle Warmer- warm water in a bowl, it works fine.
- Wipes Warmer- this is just silly.
- Baby Safe Feeder- puree your baby’s food and you won’t need this.
- Changing Table- only good for storage.
- Diaper Pail *Although I’ve used mine a ton, you could do without.
- Bassinet- get a playard with bassinet attachment.
- Wedge or Sleep Positioner- mine never kept baby in.
- Teething rings- use a frozen wash cloth.
- Baby Tub- I always found it much easier to just hold baby on my lap in the bathtub with a little bit of water. It’s so hard to reach all of those little crevices in a baby tub.
- Digital Ear Thermometer- the doctor told me that these really are not very accurate.
- Hooded Towels– just use your regular bath towels.
I would suggest getting:
- An Exersaucer
- Baby Food Processor (if you’re going to make your own)
- Travel Swing
- Stroller/Travel System
- Baby Carrier
Of course, this isn’t every single thing you’ll need. Obviously you’ll need a crib, bottles, a diaper bag, and stuff like that. But you get the point. Hopefully this will help you in deciding what you really should register for and buy.
I do hope this helps. This, of course, is just my humble opinion. But being on baby #3, I’d say I do have some experience, so I’m passing on what I’ve learned to all the new mommies out there. Love ya!
If anyone has anything else to add to this list, please share!