Do you have a ‘wish list’ for your baby that’s as long as your arm? Well, we’re here to tell you that you don’t need to buy everything that’s on offer for your new baby. We give you our fantastic cost-cutting tips when buying for baby.
If you go too far with your pregnancy shopping, not only will you take a hefty hit in your bank balance even before your baby arrives but half the things you use may barely see the light of day either, meaning they are wasted.
Instead, buy to last, and if possible don’t buy at all but find one of those many parents out there who are just dying to offload their recently-used kit. Yes, there are things that you do need to shop for yourself – you should never have a second hand car seat or mattress, and if you inherit or borrow anything, check it carefully for damage and reject anything that might be remotely dangerous. But there are plenty of things that you can do without...
Those tiny outfits are adorable – but for the first few months, all you need is a few multi-packs of some cute, washable babygrows for day and night and some vests. Go for nice colourful or printed ones and they’ll see you through for months. And don’t bother with shoes! When buying before the birth, keep all clothing in its packaging and keep the receipts handy. That way, you can swap them if you find they are too big or small for your baby.
Similarly, you don’t need to stock up on masses of toys. You might want to get them their first stuffed animal but the fact is that tiny babies don’t play with anything much. And in any case, you’ll almost certainly be bombarded with cuddlies from friends and relatives.
While some people build up a highly expensive buggy collection, in all honesty, you’re buying something that will take your baby from A to B. Think about what you need (one you can run with? One you can take on the bus?) and get one that’ll cover all bases as far as possible (including a lift-out car seat). If you want one that does it all, with carrycot, seat and car seat, think about also getting a small and lightweight folding stroller for holidays and quick trips to the shops.
There’s a whole list of things you don’t need, starting with nappy stackers and wipe warmers! In fact, you don’t need a changing table at all: a changing mat on the bathroom floor does the job, with the added plus that your baby can’t roll off. The same goes for a baby bath: if the idea of putting them into the bigger bath (or bathing with them) is too scary, a washing-up bowl will do, or even the bathroom basin as long as you cover the hot tap with a flannel.
Nor do babies need tiny cots, Moses baskets, cot bumpers or lots of bedding: zip them into a baby sleeping bag in a cotbed instead and there’s no risk they’ll either burrow under the blankets or get too cold – and they can stay in the cotbed for a good few years – most last up to seven years. Just make sure you buy a really good mattress with it, if it’s to last that long. Come to that, don’t bother with too much cute baby-related wallpaper or furniture: décor that’ll last (one word: washable) in neutral colours is a much more cost-effective option and your child won’t have to bring friends home to cute bunnies when they’re ten.
And finally…you don’t need a specialised changing bag. Buy a folding, portable changing mat but apart from that all you need to carry is a couple of spare nappies and some wipes in a large bag that you actually like. Oh, and breastfeeding covers? If you do feel the need for some extra coverage, use a muslin. Because that’s one multi-tasking item that – unlike the other things on this list – you just won’t be able to do without.