Don’t commit to one bottle ahead of time
You might think the uber-expensive, eco-friendly, stainless steel, Kid Kanteen bottles are the coolest thing to hit the market since the pacifier, but what’s really important is what your baby thinks. Yes, your little milky ball of delight will have his or her own opinion and it may be the one that counts. Take me, for example: I registered for and was gifted the Playtex Drop Ins. I ended up exclusively breastfeeding except for the days that I worked, and the brand that Weston decided to choose was Avent. I was thankful for not opening the large set of Playtex Drop Ins and back to the store they went. For this reason I don’t recommend buying, opening or sterilizing oodles of bottles in advance. Instead, try buying single packages of a few different brands. Sterilize only those bottles in advance and use them until you find one baby loves.
Babies don’t understand thread count
A nursery bedding set is not a necessity. Bedding sets can run upwards of $200.00 and many of the components often go unused. I urge you to consider if you are really going to use the bumper (the AAP recommends against it but that is a discussion for another post), the quilt or the diaper stacker? My suggestion here is to pick a theme or color scheme and buy the pieces you desire separately. You may even do better at Pottery Barn Kids, the expensive holy grail of nursery chic, buying separate pieces versus buying a whole bedroom ensemble elsewhere. I fell head over heels in love with the Pottery Barn Kids Jackson nursery set. To keep things low cost I decided to buy a few statement pieces and keep everything else solid color. I purchased:
- The Jackson whale pattern fitted sheet $19.00
- A plain navy blue crib skirt on Amazon for $20.00
- The Jackson whale Mobile (then on sale) for $29.00
- A small quilted sham for $24.50 (for the rocking chair, not the crib)
- Then, a fabulously crafty friend (Thanks Berta!) painted me three nautical paintings to add some more “Jackson” flare to the nursery
I spent a grand total of $92.50 on nursery bedding and flare (much less if you consider the mobile and the sham were just for decor).
Baby’s SUV (aka stroller): function over fashion
A stroller is one of the bigger ticket baby purchases. If it is your first baby (and your first stroller), I urge you not to take this decision lightly. Do not pick a stroller because it’s cute or fashionable. I am ashamed to admit it, but I committed a huge baby shopping faux pas. I purchased the oh-so-beautiful Bugaboo, from Craigslist, but without ever trialing it. My reward for poor planning/research is a stroller that I can’t fold without hoisting Weston into the trunk and imitating a poorly executed Olympic event. Don’t make my mistake. Instead, take the time to think about your lifestyle. Do you need a stroller that you can run with, one you can fold one-handed, somewhere to place a lot of shopping bags, or do you need a smooth ride on bumpy Nola streets? If you don’t have time to think about these needs and trial your favorites, my recommendation is to put this decision on hold. Instead of buying a full size stroller buy a lightweight frame compatible with your chosen car seat (ex: Snap and Go). This light weight frame will be cheap, easy to use, and will tide you over until you can make major decisions on what kind of stroller suits your family best.
Much to our dismay, babies are not newborns forever
When I was registering I imagined that I would have a baby for a very long time. You know swaddling til at least 6 months, right? Wrong. What I’m getting at here is that the newborn period is fleeting. Think ahead as you are registering! Don’t be afraid to register for some baby toys in the 6-12 month age range or older. Think about larger bibs, feeding accessories, a convertible car seat and a high chair. On a similar note, remember that most likely you won’t need 100 newborn outfits and thousands of newborn diapers. Born at a mere 7 lbs 5 oz, my son out grew his newborn sized attire before he could even wear it all.
It’s okay if some of your baby’s items are – GASP! – hand me downs
Buying new baby equipment is like buying a new car…you drive them off the lot and they lose their value. New is not necessary! Your baby won’t know the difference. If you have a friend that will let you borrow some baby equipment, or even a great consignment store nearby (Rhea Lana’s, Children’s Clothing Exchange, SWAP for Kids and Kid to Kid come to mind), you can save yourself some considerable money. We personally used a swing handed down from a fabulous friend. When we lived in Florida, we outfitted Grandma’s house with all the necessities via nearby consignment stores and generous friend’s hand me downs. Look specifically for toys, highchairs, swings, and exersaucers that can be thoroughly cleaned and washed. Use caution to avoid products that have been recalled or could be safety hazards (drop side cribs, outdated car seats, etc.)
Remember there is no one size fits all for baby products. Your needs are unique to you and your family. Good luck and happy baby shopping (and saving)! Do you have any tips to add?
Karen (aka Mrs. Mommy Product Blogger)
Karen is a NICU nurse turned mommy blogger and stay at home mom. She was recently transplanted from her home in Florida to Louisiana as her husband follows his passion of becoming a cardiologist. Happy to call Louisiana her temporary home she is enjoying taking in all the sights, sounds, and tastes of NOLA with her little lagniappe (otherwise known as one year old Weston). Her blog Mrs. Mommy Product Blogger catalogues her adventures in life and motherhood while focusing on reviews of products for baby and Mom.