What do you really need to buy for a new baby?

crib1Shopping for a baby-to-come is great fun and, if you’re like most expectant parents, you’ll want to get the best of everything for your little one. If you have unlimited resources, that’s fine, but these days most of us are keeping track of every penny. Give some thought to what items really need to be top-of-the-line, or even on your list. Be realistic.  There may be a huge difference between what you want and what you need.  Seek out sales and don’t forget the Internet; many of the pregnancy and baby sites have great stores and great deals.  Make a list of “must haves” and be careful around all the super cute theme products – it’s hard to stop when there are 37 matching items!

What do you really need? Diapers! Think about going green and using washable cloth – save money and the environment. You really should buy a new car seat for your baby, and a new crib if you can afford one. But if you buy these items used, or borrow them, be sure they meet current safety standards.  Read Consumer Reports information on safe products.  Do you need a cradle or bassinet?  Not really.  I know a couple who lived in a tiny apartment for the first two or three months after the baby was born.  They had no room for furniture so they emptied a bureau drawer, bought a mattress that just fit in the drawer (they come in lots of sizes), put the drawer on the floor near them and had an instant bed for Junior.  That covered their bases for about three months, when they moved into a larger space and bought a crib.

Chat with your friends and relatives about starting a clothes swap.  Babies outgrow their clothes much faster than they wear them out.  It’s very helpful to rotate clothes from a larger baby to a smaller one, especially if you live in a cold climate in the winter where snowsuits and other gear are a must.  Save the fancy new duds that the grandparents give you for special occasions and use the recycled ones everyday.  What suggestions do you have?

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7 Responses to “What do you really need to buy for a new baby?”

  1. Tamra Says:

    I definitely agree with the cloth diapers for sure. I have saved so much money using cloth with my girls, and as a great bonus, the Chinese prefolds make the best burp cloths by a long shot! Also, it is very easy to make your own baby wipe solution and use baby wash cloths to clean your little one’s bum instead of always using diaper wipes. Although, the regular wipes are much handier when out in the town for me

    In addition, I have found that less is more when planning for a baby. It is so easy to stock up on tons of “extras” that you never even knew you wouldn’t use. If you’re not sure you will need it, do without unless it becomes a must.

    Also, household items like wooden spoons, plastic cups, etc… make great baby toys. Why spend the money on tons of teethers when your leather keychain works just as well?

  2. Fiery Says:

    What a good article. I can not stress enough that LESS is best. Also that you should buy your Car Seats NEW. Unless you absolutely positively trust the person giving you the hand-me down 100% with your child’s life in the most dangerous of situations and know for sure that the seat has been properly cared for, never been in an accident and is not expired.

    Sure all those wonderful products are great but they take away from the things your child really needs, Tummy Time and unrestricted space.

  3. Lindsay Says:

    Fiery – You’re absolutely right about getting a NEW car seat. Very important for your child’s safety. Thanks for your input.

  4. Lindsay Says:

    Tamara – I really liked the cloth diapers better. My kids had less diaper rash with them, too. When they had out grown them, I used the diapers for rags for washing the car, etc. My husband liked them as rags so much that he eventually bought a new package of diapers just to use as rags.

    Have you noticed how tots often tend to prefer the box toys come in over the toy itself? And you’re right, those plastic food containers and wooden spoons were far more interesting, too. Excellent tips – thanks!

  5. jill Says:

    Thanks for mentioning cloth diapers. Big money saver and better for the environment. Of course it is a LOT cheaper to nurse, especially if you are going to stay home (and if you can, I know some people can’t, I personally pumped for 3 months until my preemie was able to take off on her own). I suggest only registering for what you actually NEED instead of all the cutesy stuff. We even opted out of bumpers and all that ‘extra’ stuff. Occasionally, our baby does bump her noggin on the crib, but not hard enough to really hurt. I bought 2 see through canvas bins to go on the top shelf of the changing table ($11 each, by using a coupon at Bed Bath&Beyond, I got one free) and 3 brightly colored plastic pails (for 50 cents each! at Michael’s craft store) for the bottom row. The bins hold diapers, towels, washcloths, extra changing table covers, burp cloths, and the pails catch miscellaneous items, plus there’s room enough to tuck extras behind or beside them. I bought jungle animal craft ‘masks’ also at michaels for under $1 apiece, painted them and hung them on the walls for decoration. That and the crib sheets and toys sitting around make for a colorful enough room. Re-purpose furniture! We were given a dresser, and the changing table is about 8 years old, my mom gave it to me when the last grandchild outgrew it, we used it as a plant stand and kitchen catchall until this year, and later we’ll keep it in the baby’s room for toys and books. The crib was new, but that was our biggest expense. When it doubt, go without! Then if you absolutely need it, use those shower gift cards to your favorite store to get what you need. If you can do wash once a week, don’t stock up on baby clothes. They go through them WAY too fast! Our baby had practically outgrown some gifts before they came in the mail! If you don’t plan on using something, don’t take the tags off, we returned quite a few things we had duplicates of (I think we had about 20 hooded baby towels) and were able to combine those to get other items later like a high chair. We were really lucky, but we’ve also been really smart, and were careful with what we registered for, so we didn’t get a bunch of cutesy extras, we got a lot of practical things. There will be time for cutesy, plenty of time….when they’ll be in a shirt for more than a month and a half!

  6. Lindsay Says:

    Jill, good suggestions to keep the tags on the items until you use them. You’re right – babies grow like weeds and often things are outgrown in the blink of an eye. You’ve got some teriffic ideas. Thanks for sharing them with us.

  7. kolcraft bassinet covers Says:

    I get where your coming from. I am getting a convertable carseat for my daughter as I hate her infant car seat but the thought of selling it breaks my heart as its hers and I bought it just for her. I do however know I dont need it anymore and its best for me to let it go. I refuse to get rid of her clothing though. I keep everything she outgrows in a storage bin. If I have another girl I will use it again and if not then its hers to keep and do what she pleases with it. As for your selling price…I do think thats too high a price. People are only saving $35 buying it used and for $35 I know I would rather buy it brand new and know its clean and where its been and stuff. I mean most people looking for used baby items either dont have much money or baby sit or have grandchildren and just want something for their homes. I find most people want brand new for their children otherwise. Not that buying used it wrong at all.

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