When I was pregnant with my first child, I have a clear memory of walking into my local Babies-R-Us, ready to register for cute baby gear and feeling so excited. And then the nice checkout girl handed me the list of ‘must-have’ registry items. And there were eighty-two things on it.
EIGHTY-TWO. Seriously — how can such a tiny person need so many things?!
Well, in all honesty, your newborn doesn’t need quite that much stuff. But if you’re having a baby, you will need to buy some baby gear. And if you’re anything like me, you’ll want to focus on buying the things that you need at the lowest price possible.
But which newborn items can you afford to skimp on, and which should you buy new? Let’s take a look!
4 Newborn Baby Items You Should Never* Pay Full Price For
- CLOTHING: This is one thing you can trust other people to buy for you – people love to shower new parents with cute baby outfits! Need more clothing? Hit up yard sales, thrift stores, and consignment stores. Or, even better, see if you can work out a borrowing arrangement with a friend. I did this, with a friend who had a little girl exactly 1 year older than my little girl. She loaned me clothes, and at the end of the season, I’d return everything back to her PLUS I’d add in any outfits or accessories that I’d picked up along the way. It was a great arrangement for both of us.
- BEDDING: You know the cute (and pricey) bedding sets they sell in stores? Here’s a secret: you don’t need most of the stuff included. The quilts and comforters aren’t safe to put in the crib (they present a SIDS risk); same is true of the bumper pads. The crib skirt is nice, but non-essential. All you really need are a few good-quality crib sheets.
- TOYS: Again – so cute, but too expensive! And your baby will outgrow many these fairly quickly. Remember, too, that your baby may end up being more interested in the box the toy came in than in the toy itself – another reason not to spend big bucks on these! Friends and family will buy these for you, too, and you can scour yard sales, thrift stores, and consignment stores to get them used. Borrowing from friends also works well. If you borrow or buy used, though, be sure to check the CPSC list of recalled items, to be sure what you’re buying is safe.
- EQUIPMENT: By equipment, I mean things like bouncy seats, swings, high-chairs, baby bathtubs, etc. Lots of these things can be really useful during the newborn and early infant stages, but your baby will outgrown them pretty fast, so it’s better not to spend a fortune on these. Better to let others buy them for you, or to buy them used. Borrowing is great, too. (Again — when buying used or borrowing, check the CPSC recalls.) We have friends who have 4 children, and every time they had a new baby, they would borrow our baby swing. It was a great arrangement – it saved them money, and we didn’t have to let the baby swing sit in our basement, taking up space and collecting dust.
*You don’t need to pay full price for these things, but needing and wanting are two different things! I fully recognize that shopping (especially for a baby) is fun. So if you want to buy some of these things brand-new, and you have the money to do it – then go crazy, my friend! 😉
2 Newborn Baby Items You Should Probably Buy New
- CRIB: Buying a used crib, or borrowing one from a friend, can be dicey. That’s because in 2011, the CPSC issued new regulations for crib manufacturers. Cribs sold prior to these new regulations most likely don’t comply with new safety standards, and therefore aren’t considered safe. For instance, most older cribs have drop-sides, and those are big no-no’s by today’s standards.
Be careful, too, of buying or borrowing a newer used crib – even if it does meet safety standards, there’s no way for you to know if it’s been assembled properly. The only way to ensure proper assembly is to buy a new crib and then assemble it yourself.
- CAR SEAT: I’m a bit of a cheapskate, but this is one item I was happy to pay full price for. Why? Because used car seats are most likely missing the original manufacturer instructions, and could very well be missing important pieces and parts. And if the car seat has ever been in a serious accident (something you can’t verify, if you buy it used), then its quality is compromised. It’s best to go with a new model, so that you can be sure you have proper installation instructions and all necessary installation equipment, and so that you know the car seat is in perfect working order.
So – what do you think of our list? Any items you’d add or change? Chime in, and help parents of newborns know how to get the most bang for their buck!
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