by Justine Deputy, RN, MSN
You could definitely call me frugal. But, I also search for quality items that will last and/or are healthier alternatives. I probably spent way too many hours researching baby products. But, in the end, I was very happy with many of the things we decided on and don’t feel like we wasted a ton of money. Here are some helpful tips to consider when planning for the baby to arrive.
1. Do not put products on your registry that you do not NEED. You will find some things that are really cute, but many of them have no real use. Have a few things you find that you absolutely LOVE? Add just those few! But, if your registry is full of just the cute stuff, you might not get what you need. Then, after your baby shower, you will be stuck purchasing all the essentials. Because let’s be honest, when family and friends are looking at your registry, it is way more fun for them to buy a cute stuffed animal and matching outfit than it is to buy that diaper pail!
2. Purchase a reasonably priced crib. IKEA sells this solid wood crib that can also convert to a toddler bed for only $79.99! You can leave it unfinished or paint it with a non-toxic paint! IKEA also has reasonably priced cribs that are finished, so those are options too!
3. Diapers: There are ways to save money whether you use disposable diapers or cloth diaper. Cloth diapering might not be for everyone, but if you are open to it, it can definitely save money! Read more about cloth diapering in Renee’s blog. She also offers a class about cloth diapering at The Birth Center. If you plan to use disposable, Amazon Subscribe and Save is the cheapest option for purchasing diapers that I have seen. As an Amazon Prime Member, you get up to 20% off! If you get diapers that you don’t end up using and they are sold at a local baby store, many of the stores will allow you to swap the unopened package for the next size up.
4. Ask friends to borrow things! I have heard from so many people that their little one liked a certain swing or bouncer and others that didn’t like that same swing or bouncer. It depends on your baby! Even if you can just borrow for a week, that could help you determine if your baby likes it, then you could decide to purchase.
5. Use a dresser as a changing table. Don’t spend money on a piece of furniture you will need to get rid of in a few years. A low dresser can be a wonderful option for a changing table. You may already have one (free!!) or it may be worth it to invest in one that will last many years as your little one grows up!
6. Car Seat: You don’t have to start with a bucket seat. Some negatives of not starting with one are – you can’t bring your baby inside while they are still sleeping if in a convertible seat, and you have to put them in the car outside on rainy, cold, or hot days. But, if you start with a convertible seat approved for infants, you do not have to buy a second seat around one year. Bucket seats also aren’t the most fun thing to lug around. If you decide not to use a bucket seat, I highly recommend babywearing. You can pop baby in a carrier whenever you get to where you are going. Want to learn more about babywearing, TBC has a class!
7. Don’t get caught up in the “recommended” items. If you go into a baby store, many of them have a ridiculously long list of “recommended” items. Realistically, I think the majority of people don’t have or use at least half of them. One of my biggest pet peeves is the ads for the crib bedding! It goes completely against the safety recommendations for sleep by the AAP. Skip the cute bedding set and only buy 2-3 cribs sheets.
8. Think about convenience too! Sometimes, convenience outweighs the price. One example for me was the changing pad. Although a little more expensive, I loved the fact that the Peanut Diaper Changer didn’t need covers that I needed to wash and could just be wiped down when needed!
9. Ask for recommendations from others! A great place to do this is the Birth Center Mamas private Facebook group. (Want to join?! Email firstname.lastname@example.org or private message TBC on Facebook to request to join!) You can use this to find out which items are most popular, which items might not be worth it, and search the Buy, Sell, Trade thread for items other mamas no longer need. Other community resale pages are also great resources! Along the same lines, garage sales, thrift stores, and consignment sales can be frugal options too!
10. Rocker, Glider, or Recliner: I personally found this to be an essential although some people may be able to get away without one. A comfortable chair in baby’s room (or your room) can be so helpful to nurse, calm baby, and read to your baby in as he or she grows. We used ours daily for 2 years.
11. Go for gender neutral if you plan to have a second baby, or be okay with using items with the typical gender colors for the opposite gender. Otherwise, you will be re-buying a ton of stuff with baby #2.
12. And lastly, make sure to treat yourself to those few special items that resonate with you! Since I was a car seat tech, one of the items I wanted to splurge on was our car seat. I also knew that we wanted a jogging stroller since that was something both my husband and I would use frequently. Although not the cheapest options, those fit our lifestyle and were worth it. Every family is different, so you might find that a certain crib, comfy glider, or specific decoration that is meaningful to you. Splurge on that item and save on the rest!