I remember being four months pregnant with my first child and getting a subscription to a pregnancy magazine. I was very excited to learn about all of the new things and processes, occurring in my body and to try and understand this new thing, called “parenting.” When my first issue arrived, I was overwhelmed by all the things I, apparently, needed to buy for the new baby.
Intuitively, I knew it was all wrong. How did people have babies before the “soothing” swing, the “calming vibrations” chair, the fancy crib, the modern changing table and precisely 20 sheets and thirty blankets? Then, my son was born and I knew that I was right to make that assumption of needing less, not more. All he needed was my love, a rattle and something warm to be wrapped in. A towel would do.
Then, two years later I had my twins. Being more experienced, I didn’t buy into the whole “double of everything you don’t need anyway” promotion. Here’s what Babies R Us suggests you buy for a new baby. And this is my list:
You need an infant car seat with an adapter. If you have two cars, simply switch the adapter back and forth, or buckle the seat in without the adapter.
Shopping cart cover – this is funny. Bring a blanket to the store.
Car seat toys – Buy ten infant-friendly toys and rotate those between the car seat, the stroller and the baby gym.
Car mirror -buy, it’s helpful.
I highly recommend KolCraft car seat carrier! It costs only about 50$ and is the only stroller you need the first six months or so, unless you have a budget for multiple strollers. When my babies used to fall asleep in the car, I simply transfered their car seats into KolCraft, without waking them and transferring them. KolCraft also has a lot of room for storage.
I also recommend these stroller hooks, regardless of the type of stroller you have. They will help you hang your shopping bags.
After the baby outgrows the infant car seat, I highly recommend a simple umbrella stroller, such as Mac Laren. I know at $250, it’s expensive, but it’s worth every penny. This stroller is lightweight, portable and beautiful. We took it everywhere for two years and it still looks like new, so we will keep using it with the twins!
If you like jogging and are prepared to spend some money, buy B.O.B. This stroller always gets rave reviews from those who own it.
Backpacks and carriers
In my opinion, you need just one : Ergo. Well, maybe a Moby Wrap. Don’t buy the Baby Bjorn: it hurts your shoulders and puts too much pressure on the baby’s sciatic nerve. We got a Baby Bjorn for our baby shower and I ended up giving this carrier away when I discovered the Ergo. Baby Backpack Sling is a good option, too.
Buy a playpen which converts into a crib. And don’t buy the actual crib, unless you have some extra space, extra money or just want something pretty. The play yard is portable and your baby can sleep in it for a good year and a half. The prices range widely, from $60 to $200, so choose wisely. Just buy a good mattress for it.
If you do decide to buy a crib, buy one simple set of bedding and three-four sheets and rotate them. There is no need to buy more.
If you do decide to buy a crib, get the one that converts to toddler bed. This way, you are saving money in the long run.
These are pretty and pretty useless. I repeat, buy a playpen which converts into a crib and keep it right next to your bed, like a co-sleeper.
Get a bouncing chair and a play gym. The swing in my opinion, is a waste of money, as it accomplishes exactly what the bouncing chair does. You can put your baby on the bouncer and give him/her a different toy to hold each time. The baby will be in heaven.
Feeding and nursing
I brestfeed, so bottles are not part of my expertise. For nursing, I recommend a good breastpump if you intend to leave the house and some bottles.
Indian prefold diapers- this is a must buy item! You can use them as diapers, as burp cloths, as blankets, as nursing covers, you name it. They are cheap and absorbent. Once you are done with the baby phase, you can use them for cleaning.
Bibs -buy a set of three small ones and a set of three plastic ones, BPA free. The plastic ones are good for when the baby is older and the food is all over the clothes.
Bottles, nipples, breast pump – you probably need those
Nursing cover- you don’t need it. Just use a blanket.
High chair- not worth the money and is hard to clean. Buy this booster instead: you can start using it as soon as the baby eats solids.
Splat mat- you can buy a plastic tablecloth at a dollar store instead
Spoons -it’s good to have one set, made of BPA-free plastic
Bath and Potty
Changing table – you may or may not need one. Yes, it’s a convenient thing to have, but changing a baby on the bed is pretty convenient, too. You can put your regular bath towel under the baby to make sure the bed stays clean.
Potty- you need a potty, but don’t buy it until you are ready to potty train.
Diapers – I like cloth. It saves money and the environment. Plus, they don’t leak as much as paper diapers do and the baby gets no rashes.At least, this has been my experience.
Wipes -I like cloth wipes: they are better on baby’s skin and save a TON of money on the long run. Just carry a bottle of water with your wipes or use a spray.
Spray (if using cloth wipes)- I like California Baby, but you can make your own, using water and a few drops of lavender and tea tree essential oils.
Wipe Warmer – Don’t ever buy it. What a joke.
Mobile – I believe you need one. Babies love them.
Toys- Buy a lot less than you think you need. People love giving toys as gifts.
Books- I am for buying as many books as possible.
Blankets – about four receiving blankets and a few more warm ones for when the baby gets bigger.
Towels- You don’t need special hooded towels. Use your regular bath towels.
Bath Toys -Buy a cheap set.
Bathtub -Infant bathtubs are useless: wash your baby in the sink for the same result. Buy an inflatable baby tub, so you can wash him/her in it both at home and while traveling. At about 6 months of age both baby and daddy can take a bath together in a big tub.
Diaper Bag- If you don’t have disposable income, don’t buy it. Buy this instead and carry it in your large purse with some extra diapers and extra clothes.
I am obsessed with baby clothes, so I can’t give you any good money-saving advice here. Sorry. 🙂
Moms, how would you change this list? What was the baby stuff you couldn’t live without and what was useless?
image by dan