How to Save Money on Baby Gear

Save Money on Baby GearWhen you’re pregnant, it can be overwhelming just thinking about all the stuff you’ll have to buy and get ready — but thankfully, parents can find plenty of ways to save money on baby gear. Before you run out to start your registry at a baby gear superstore like Babies “R” Us or Buy Buy Baby — or before you click over to Amazon — do your research and think about what you’ll really need. If there’s something that you won’t use right away (i.e., something for an older baby, not a newborn), consider putting off the purchase until you know whether it’s really necessary.

To complement our baby registry series, we thought we’d gather some money-saving tips for new parents and parents-to-be. Please add your own in the comments! What are your favorite ways to save money on baby gear? Did you (or will you) set a budget for pre-baby purchases or just play it by ear?  

Check out baby-related deals and freebies

Visit these sites for tips on how to save money on baby gear, including one-time deals:

Know when to buy new and when to buy used

Of course, it’s great to save money on baby gear by going to garage sales, using Craigslist, and accepting hand-me-downs, but be careful: Some things can be dangerous if you or your baby aren’t the first ones to use them. If you buy used clothing, toys, or other baby items, check past recalls and be aware of recent safety regulations regarding drop-side cribs and pre-2013 play yards, for example. Here are some general guidelines:

  • Things that are fine to buy used: baby clothes, books, toys, changing table, high chair, baby gym, furniture (gliders, dressers, etc.), baby bathtub
  • Things that may be OK to buy used: crib, playpen, stroller, baby carrier, bouncer/rocker
  • Things that are best to buy brand-new: car seat, breast pump, crib mattress, bottles and other feeding items, bath toys (prone to mold)

Don’t assume that you’ll need everything

Sure, it’s exciting to buy stuff for your baby’s nursery and start collecting cute outfits, but try not to splurge on a particular item just because your mom friend just got it, or the baby store has it, or a parenting magazine raves about it. A great way to determine whether an item is necessary or simply a nice extra is to check out Baby Bargains by Denise and Alan Fields (a book we’ve recommended before). To save money on baby gear, start with these suggestions to help you determine what’s essential and what’s optional — or just a waste of money. (This is not an exhaustive list, but it’s a good starting point!)

  • Must-haves, or at least very useful: diapers and wipes, car seat, crib/mattress/sheet, dresser, feeding supplies (e.g., breastmlk bags, bottles, formula), nursing bras, electric breast pump (your health insurance must pay for a pump), breastfeeding pillow, stroller, high chair, bag/backpack for baby supplies, baby carrier, babyproofing items, burp cloths, baby bath items, baby bathtub, swing, pacifiers, thermometer and first aid supplies
  • Nice to have, but not essential: glider chair, baby monitor, fancy diaper bag, special diaper pail (e.g., Diaper Genie), changing table (you can use the floor, or a changing pad on a dresser), hands-free pumping bra (5,000+ good reviews on Amazon!), wedge pillow if you are having a C-section, co-sleeper, stand-alone high chair, wearable blanket (e.g., Halo SleepSack), humidifer, nursing tops, play yard, mobile
  • May not need at all: wipe warmer (room temperature is fine!), Bumbo seat (baby may not benefit anyway), bottle warmer (YMMV), baby food processor, special “baby” detergent (just buy a fragrance- and dye-free brand), bassinet, baby socks (will probably just come off; buy footed sleepers), baby shoes, Pee-pee teepees (they don’t work), pacifier wipes, shopping cart cover (though, as a bit of a germaphobe, I saw it as a must), bottle sterilizer (no need), bath thermometer; Boogie Wipes; diaper stacker
  • Safety issues: complete baby bedding sets and pillows (for safety, use only a tightly-fitted sheet), crib bumper (unsafe; try a breathable bumper), baby sleep positioner (doesn’t prevent SIDS), baby movement monitor (not proven to prevent SIDS), baby walker (unsafe), car mirror (not a good idea), jumper (not ideal)

What to do with the money you’ve saved 

Consider setting up a 529 Plan for college tuition right away (and also consider mentioning it to grandparents!) and at least put a little money in it regularly. You should also start a dependent care FSA with your employer so that you can pay for childcare costs with pre-tax dollars.

Moms-to-be and new moms: What did you skip and what did you splurge on when preparing for baby? What advice did you get from mom friends about which baby gear items aren’t necessary? Did you buy anything that you later realized you didn’t really need? Did you not buy something that you later missed? 

Further Reading:

  • Baby Shopping Guide [Parents]
  • Baby Items You Can Live Without [Parents]
  • The Absolutely Most Useless Baby Products Ever [Alpha Mom]
  • Registry Rejects: 12 Baby Products You Don’t Need [Red Tricycle]
  • 19 Things Your Baby Doesn’t Actually Need [BuzzFeed]
  • Safety Tips for Buying Used Baby Clothes and Gear [SheKnows]

Pictured: Pixabay

How working moms can save money on baby gear | CorporetteMoms

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Comments

  1. I’m a jerk and a cheapskate, but I am really having trouble taking seriously the idea that you shouldn’t get used bath toys because they might have mold. Because (a) mold is easily removed with bleach; (b) your baby is probably going to be 6 months old before it shows interest in bath toys, at which point he/she will be close to crawling around on the ground and putting everything in sight in his/her mouth, so what is a little mold to worry about (as my mother would say, penicillin is mold); (c) bath toys are so cheap why are we even talking about this; (d) as soon as you buy bath toys and store them in your bathroom they will get moldy anyway; and (e) you will be cleaning them with bleach yourself regularly when your child poops in the tub, at which point mold will seem really harmless in comparison. Ditto with bottles and feeding supplies – why isn’t washing used supplies adequate???

    Seriously though, we were on a very tight budget when I was pregnant and got lots of stuff for free or nearly free from neighborhood parenting email listservs and Freecycle. If you live in a densely populated urban area, this is much more feasible. This is especially true for large bulky things with a short lifespan, like swings and bouncers.

    • “why are we even talking about this” lol. I do agree tho!

      I’m getting used bottles and feeding supplies from close friends – I figure, I know them, they’re hygienic people. Either way you will clean/sterilize so I agree, don’t see the issue.

      The only thing I’ve heard is an absolute must-buy-new is the car seat. This makes sense to me.

      • +1 The car seat was the one thing I was neurotic about, although I also refused anything that couldn’t be reasonably sanitized (like the bouncy seat with the felt insert I couldn’t get apart to throw in the wash).

      • Anononymous :

        We bought our car seat used. No way we could afford a Cybex otherwise. And we were in a side impact car accident (right into the back seat side where the baby was strapped in) and it was fine (baby LAUGHED and LAUGHED at the fun ride) to get the insurance company to replace it, we had to email photos of the cut straps to the insurance company.

        Looking forward to selling the replacement (which was used maybe 10 times).

      • I used an infant carseat from a friend that had a baby a year before me. I trusted her, I knew the carseat was good. Otherwise, yeah, you can’t just randomly buy a carseat from Craigslist.

    • Moldy bath toys :

      Rubber duckies can develop mold INSIDE of them. Google image search “moldy bath toy” for graphic details. Trust me, you can squeeze out some revolting black sludge/slime from cute little rubber toys. So gross.

      I’m planning on using the Pinterest tip of hot gluing the holes closed on our next batch of bath animals.

  2. Anonymous :

    This is very timely as I’m in the “buying all the baby things” part of my third trimester. We’ve saved money by being careful about what we need/nice to have, and we realize that we can buy anything later on and have it delivered within a day or two from Amazon (heck — even 2 hours for some stuff in our area!). I’ve also hit up kid consignment stores and only bought clothes on major clearance/sale, but this is easier since I’m in the DC area. I stalk sales for any nice to have items (like my glider chair) and used credit card points to get gift cards to babies r us and amazon.

    • DC Energy Attorney :

      Where do you go for kid consignment stuff in the DC area? First time clueless mom here :)

      • Anonymous :

        Kid 2 kid!

        • DC Energy Attorney :

          Thank you!

        • Anonymous :

          Yup Kid2Kid in Centreville! I just went and you definitely have to sort through the clothes. Most are in great condition but some are a little worn/pilling, but everything was like under $5. Most was $1.50-2.00. I got a juicy couture outfit (which isn’t really my thing and I never would’ve bought otherwise) for $3. Lots of Polo Ralph Lauren etc…

  3. Mrs. Jones :

    All our baby stuff was used except crib, car seat, bottles, and diaper bag. I still buy mostly used clothes and toys, at consignment stores/sales.

  4. I’m hoping for some hand me downs but sadly don’t know very many people with babies. I went for a wander through babies r us and was totally overwhelmed, one of the cribs would take up half the nursery! So ikea for us.

    We were talking about what the baby needs over the Christmas holiday and I am weirdly insistent on picking out their clothes myself. I know it is silly and baby will probably only wear things a few times before growing out of them but I’m only having one kid, am fussy about designs and fabrics, minimalist by nature, and my kid is going to wear mini Boden, baby gap, and Hanna Anderson rather than Next or Primark. Hoping that not finding out the gender will help prevent people from buying too many clothes?

    • Mrs. Jones :

      People will give you so many clothes and blankets you won’t be able to use them all.

    • Not finding out the gender helped a TON on cutting back on clothes. (And other pointless items. Anecdotally, those of my friends who didn’t know gender got way more useful items at their showers compared to friends who knew the gender and got a thousand clothes and weirdly-gendered items that just happened to have pink or blue on them.)

      You can also cut back on pointless items by not sharing/having a nursery theme. One of my friends went with a slight elephant theme for the bedding and lamp, and ended up with 900 stuffed elephants, a million elephant onesies, etc. Other friends have just said things like “bright colors” or “black and white” and registered for similarly-colored items, and got practical things like diapers and baby bottles instead.

    • To chime in with an on-topic tip, eBay is fantastic for the clothing brands you mention. We have gotten so many new-with-tags Hanna Anderson clothes off eBay and spent 12% (I calculated!) of what we would have paid retail. Good luck!

      • Ooh that’s a great idea. I just really like whimsical patterns and soft cottons.

      • Navy Attorney :

        Totally. Janie and Jack is my new favorite; no way would I buy those clothes, which will be worn approximately once, brand new!

    • If you have a boy people won’t buy you clothes, if you have a girl, people will (atleast this is my experience). Add Tea Collection, Peek, and Tucker & Tate to your list, all brands that I love. I’m similar about my kid’s clothing, I just love shopping for them and putting together outfits.

      • shortperson :

        i have similar taste and i will add crewcuts to the list once your baby is size 2 (sadly they discontinued jcrew baby)

  5. Baby on the move :

    Sorry for the threadjack but our baby is close to crawling and SO and I have realized that we need to babyproof FAST. Our current coffee table is giant and has sharp corners so we are thinking about getting rid of it entirely but my husband insists that he will never enjoy dinner again if he can’t rest his plate on the coffee table while watching dinner. What do people do for coffee tables with young kids?? TIA!

    • Anon in NYC :

      We have kept our coffee table. Granted, ours doesn’t have sharp edges, but I think you can buy some things to put on the edges of the table.

    • Are they unusually sharp corners or wood that comes to a 90-degree angle? Unless they are particularly dangerous, I would not get rid of the table. I had the babyproof panic but you actually have some time before most of this stuff needs to be done. The only thing we have done so far is put up baby gates and removed the door stoppers because he loved to play with them and put them in his mouth (our house is newer so the outlets are already “baby proofed” by design). We have plans to bolt our furniture soon and once he becomes more mobile I will deal with our blind cords.

      • Baby on the move :

        Thank you for the responses! Part of the issue is also because the room has become SO much more crowded with baby gear so we are interested in getting something smaller. The corners of our current one are also sharp enough that when I have hit it myself, I practically cry!

        • We just spent yesterday looking at round and oval shaped wood coffee tables, which is what we’re leaning towards. Seems safer for all involved, including the dog!

          Also we saw a giant U-shaped sectional and it definitely crossed my mind to get it and baby gate the opening with the kid inside and just call it a day.

    • Search “Furniture Edge & Corner Guards” on Amazon – loads of options!

    • Mrs. Jones :

      We did get some kind of rubber bumpers for the corners of the coffee table when our son was small.

    • Our coffee table was fine until my eldest turned three, and in the span of one weekend threw both his face and butt (via a summersault slam) into the edge. We moved the table to a different (less played in) room and got the edge guards from Amazon for it. They aren’t cute, but they get the job done.

    • Anononymous :

      We had an oval coffee table, but it was really huge and kiddo needed more space for crawling. So we replaced it with the Ikea Lisabo coffee table. She learned to pull herself up on that table and to cruise from table to couch, so a coffee table is a must for a baby.

      The bigger issue will be that your kiddo can get to cords now. (Whatever you think the problem will be is never the problem. I was freaking out about cast iron pans (which are too heavy for her to move) when I realized that umbrellas with automatic openers (which are light and a good size for her to handle) are probably deadly.

    • Anonymouse2 :

      I think getting rid of a coffee table purely for safety is a bit much. But I totally get the lack of space! If you are of the mindset that coffee table corners are dangerous, then everything is dangerous. Your baby’s dresser has corners, but you wouldn’t get rid of that. As anononymous at 10:07 says, no matter how much you babyproof your kid will find something to hurt him/herself on. A child can stab a child fork or Little People in its eye, drop a sippy cup on his toe, pull down the baby gym toys and let go, causing it to snap back and hit him.

  6. Lots of tips:

    – For things of limited useful life I asked for them outright on facebook. As in “does anyone have a bumbo they want to get rid of for free or cheap?” And then I happily pass them on in the same way when I am done.
    – With people whose older children’s clothes I like, I occasionally ask if they consign once the clothes are outgrown. Sometimes they say “I cant be bothered, you can have them for free”. And that is awesome. Otherwise, I pay a much lower price than what I would.
    – I’m totally okay with the peasanty cultural cache of having a graco stroller rather than a stokke or whatever fancy people have.
    – I got a $200 DaVinci crib on amazon.
    – That antilop high chair from Ikea is great and I would get it rather than a fiddly, hard to clean wooden chair if I had to do it over.
    – My diaper bag was the $30 skip hop forma, and it was great and fully machine washable.
    – We attached a changing table tray to the top of a dresser we already had, so we didn’t have to buy a whole new piece of furniture.

    The only thing I would say I splurged on was the nursery chair, which was worth every penny to me. It’s a big fluffy rocker recliner that I bought in the overpriced baby stuff boutique for $650.

    • Oh, also, think about your lifestyle and ask for suggestions from someone with a similar lifestyle both in terms of where you live, whether your child will be cared for in or out of the home, if you have a SAH spouse, and what kind of hours you work. You will probably still have some things that you could have done without, but you’ll at least have a better starting point than I did.

      The person I got advice from on what baby things I Absolutely Had To Have was my SAHM sister who lives in a walkable city, loves going hiking and camping, is always out and about doing stuff, is pretty crunchy, Bf-ed her kids til they were 2, and literally never leaves her children with a babysitter.

      I live in the non-walkable ‘burbs of a non-walkable city, work full time, send my kid to daycare, switched to formula at 6 months, and was more of a home-body until my daughter got well out of the infant stage. My sister’s must-haves and my must-haves were more different than either of us realized both in nature and quantity. And they continue to be. How many bottles did she need? Maybe 2 or 3? How many did I need? More like a dozen. She loves baby wearing her tiny kids. It was not possible for me with a bad back and a giant viking kid. Plus I wasn’t exactly going hiking on the weekend when my kid was a baby. I was driving my car to Target.

      • this advice is huge. what you need depends on how vital an item is to your daily life, which depends on your location/lifestyle. we live downtown with no car and commute solely via walking/transit. so a quick-fold stroller with solid suspension and steering was a must. we also have a smaller house, so we had to pick whether we had a bouncy seat, swing, or jumparoo b/c we cannot fit all of the above. we also had very different carseat priorities — we needed something narrow and easy to install/uninstall, with less concern about whether kid would stay asleep in it for long periods since its rarely used. and so on. so definitely talk to someone with similar lifestyle/life philosophy/location so you don’t end up with stuff that’s totally impractical.

    • “I’m totally okay with the peasanty cultural cache of having a graco stroller” +1000 (& you are hysterical!) We have a Chicco stroller and car seat and a cheap umbrella stroller for around the neighborhood.

  7. Babywearing mama :

    Things on the must have list I bought and never used:
    – stroller ( I bought a fancy shmancy one and used it maybe twice, we babywear everywhere)
    – baby bathtub (just used the shower)
    – pacifier (I am the pacifier)

    Things on the nice to have list that I think are essential:
    – baby monitor
    – hands free pumping bra(if you are going to pump, trust me, cough up $25 and buy one)

    Things I wish I hadn’t wasted money on:
    – a gigantic diaper bag (Yes it’s pretty, but it’s way too big and cumbersome. I wish I had gotten a smaller backpack version)
    – a bucket car seat (if I could do it again, I would have gone straight to a convertible. The buckets are heavy and unwieldy and your kid grows out of them so quickly it’s not worth the extra money).
    – the aforementioned stroller and baby bath
    – cloth diapers (I know a lot of people who love them though, personally I couldn’t make it work)
    – the Arms Reach cosleeper (useful, but I could have just used the crib as a side-car and saved the cash)

    In the end people will tell you you absolute need something, and you may not. My ring sling to me is an absolute necessity, even after 2 years. But I know plenty of people who don’t even know what it is. Buy the bare minimum and buy things as you need them.

    • “could have just used the crib as a side-car and saved the cash”

      To that end, would a pack n play with the infant insert (so baby is higher up relative to the floor) work as a kind of cosleeper (ie, pushed up next to bed so I basically just reach over for baby?)

      I really don’t want to buy a special cosleeper. We have a pack n play already for niece/nephew/friends’ kiddos who come over, so I’d just need the insert.

      • DueinFeb17 :

        Baby hasn’t arrived yet, so can’t speak from experience, but from what I have learned online, the bassinet setting of the Pack-n-Play is safe for infants to sleep on, but the newborn napper that is removable may not be, as it is not a flat surface. We moved the PnP next to the bed several weeks ago so that we could get used to it and plan for baby to sleep there until 6 months, then move him/her to crib in nursery next door. I wish our bed weren’t so high relative to the PnP, but I think it will work.

      • Anon in NOVA :

        Yes. If I had it to do again I may have skipped the crib entirely and stayed with the pack n play, especially with the new recs that children sleep in the same room

        • I would do the same. If the kid isn’t moving into the nursery until 12 months, there will only be a few months before the kid starts trying to climb out of the crib. It isn’t much harder to climb out of a crib than a pack-n-play on the lowest setting, and it’s a lot more dangerous to climb out of a tall crib. I’d just keep the kid in the pack-n-play until the climbing started, then move to a toddler bed or even a twin mattress on the floor.

    • empresria :

      +1 on not buying a bathtub. We used ours once. It is way easier jus to bathe with him in our tub.

    • We just used the crib in our room, which worked great. We were in two different homes, but both had a large master bedroom. I did not sidecar it, though, but I never figured out nursing lying down, so I would have needed to get up anyway. My son never tried to climb out of the crib, and at 3 he usually stays in his big boy bed until I get him.

      I had a baby bathtub, but it is not a requirement for me. I also babywear a lot, and rarely use the stroller, although at least it is a cheap one. I still love my bucket carseat, though, and was sad when both babies outgrew it.

  8. Anon in NYC :

    I bought most stuff, even big ticket items (crib, glider, dresser), brand new because I was really particular and wanted eco-friendly brands. In hindsight, this was a little ridiculous, but I figure that the crib and glider will be used for a future baby, and we’ll get an Ikea dresser for baby #2.

    I know that a lot of people here recommend this, but I found Baby Bargains to be really helpful for figuring out what we could get for what we were willing to spend. For example, crib sheets. I didn’t want to pay $30 per crib sheet, so I used the book to figure out brands that were good quality but less expensive. Another area where we saved – we bought Gerber cloth diapers as burp cloths. Way less expensive than “nice” burp cloths.

    I got a handful of used items from friends and family: pack and play, umbrella stroller, a jumper, random toys, bumbo, bottles (we sterilized them), clothes, and a bucket car seat (from my BFF who I would absolutely trust with my daughter’s life – it was unexpired and had never been in an accident). If we drove more frequently, I probably would have purchased a brand new car seat, but really we only needed a car seat maybe 10 times in her first year of life.

  9. Anonymous :

    Agree with so much of this. Also consider not actually buying a diaper bag. We had an excess of bags that could be wiped down. Ended up sharing a nice Patagonia tote we already owned.

    • +1000!!! We used my commuter backpack ( Timbuk2) as a diaper bag since birth. We still use it for larger outings and I’ll use it again for work in the future.

  10. I would move the swing in the “nice to have” category and add a bouncy seat to the “must-have” category. You can start out without a crib, bassinet, or co-sleeper if you have a pack-n-play with the bassinet insert. We put ours about a foot away from the bed and were fine without a co-sleeper.

    I would classify nursing tank tops, disposable nursing pads, a nursing cover, velcro swaddlers, sleep sacks, and socks to use as mittens (they stay on better) as essentials. I would put the humidifier in the “safety issue” category unless you plan to clean it on a daily basis. If you really want a humidifier, check out the Sweethome reviews–their top pick looks incredibly easy to clean.

    We tried to save money by buying a simple changing table instead of a real dresser with a removable changing top. It ended up being a waste because we eventually found that we couldn’t get by without a dresser and bought the changing top to go with it because the dresser and the changing table wouldn’t both fit in the nursery.

    I did not use the glider much and we ended up getting rid of it soon after the baby became mobile because we were afraid she’d get her fingers caught. I did most of my nursing in a big armchair with a cheap blanket draped over it to protect the upholstery.

    I would avoid purchasing a carrier until you’ve had the opportunity to try various styles and find out which works best for you and your baby. If possible, I’d borrow a bunch from friends for a short period to try them out before purchasing. Your carrier preference may also evolve over time.

    With regard to strollers, I’d hold off on purchasing anything other than a snap-n-go or a cheap umbrella-style stroller that is compatible with your infant car seat (we had one from Britax, and I think Chicco used to make them too) until your baby is old enough to sit up without the car seat.

    • Ah I should have scrolled down – you answered my “pack n play + insert = cosleeper” question :)

    • Anon in NOVA :

      I answered this for Pogo above, but just want to +1000 the holding off on the crib thing. It’s hard when the nesting hormones take over, but I really regret spending so much on a crib with my first. He ended up being in the pack n play for about 8 months, and since my crib had a changing table attached he quickly learned to climb completely out of it and onto the changing table. He only used the crib for about 8 months before it was converted to a toddler bed (which, nice toddler beds are way cheaper than cribs). If I had it to do again I would’ve just moved the pack n play to the nursery when the time came until he was ready for the big boy bed.

  11. Piggybacking on this — what type of carseat to preschoolers graduate to after convertible carseats? My 3.5 year old is in a Chicco NextFit and #2 is due in the summer. I’m debating just getting the next carseat up for #1 and having #2 use the NextFit. Would that make sense, or is a 4 year old too small to move to a booster/whatever?

    • Graco Nautilus or similar large non-convertible seat, aka a “harness booster.”

    • We have a Britax Pioneer harness booster that we have used since age 4. It works well for my average height, but slender kid.

      • hoola hoopa :

        Yes, harnessed booster. Go ahead and get one, as kiddo will use it for a long time.

        I seriously love our Britax Pioneers. (But I love click-tight even more, so if it’s still not available on the pioneer I’d get the harnessed booster that does have it. It’s worth every freakin’ penny.)

  12. I think this really varies person to person so the best approach is to start out with less and add as needed. Really you just need a mode of transportation to get baby home, some diapers and wipes (but even that’s dodgy because your baby could be tiny or a chunker), and a place for baby to sleep (crib, co-sleeper, pack n play). The hospital will give you a lot of stuff to start and then it’s just a matter of adding on as you have a need. Lots of Amazon Prime and Target/Babies R Us trips in the beginning. I was working on my dissertation right up until my first arrived (a month early) so I was caught off-guard. It worked out, though.

    • hoola hoopa :

      Completely agree! I always remind first-time parents that they aren’t moving to the moon – they can always buy whatever they need when they need it. New parents are made to feel like they must have everything they’ll need for the first year the day that baby comes home.

      Besides simply spacing out purchases and seeing what you actually want/need, spacing out purchases gives more gift-giving occasions. So when people ask what they can give your 3-month old for Christmas, you can tell them a jumper! or whatever. Gift-giver has ideas that you actually need; you save money. Win-win.

    • I agree with the minimalism up to a point. First, if there is any baby shower, you might as well target your wish list to things you have reason to believe will be useful at birth or in the future. Better to make a reasonable guess now that wind up with dozens of “receiving blankets.” Second, you do not want to have to think about shopping for things that suddenly seem essential (diaper cream or something) in the first week or two. You want absolutely everything you think you might use in the first couple weeks even if it means getting a couple different bottles, etc., until you figure out what works. This was also my thought when we purchased a bedroom set before the baby came— really, there was no need for a crib / dresser or even baby’s own room for a long time, but I predicted, accurately, that my capacity to think about that stuff would be near-zero with an infant. Some people have their sh*t together though:)

      Things I always give as gifts to new parents now, after never seeming to have enough myself: footie pajamas WITH ZIPPERS NOT SNAPS (sorry to shout); hooded towels; and burp clothes / cloth diapers to use for that or any other messes.

    • +1 to “start with less and add as needed.” You absolutely do not need everything that Baby is going to use between 0 and 2 by the time Baby is born. I think buying less stuff at first and adding as needed is probably the biggest money saver. Bonus if you can add by keeping an eye out on craigslist, consignment sales, etc.

      This also applies to baby/nursery projects. Our best friends are having a baby within the next couple of weeks. Momma-to-be is driving Daddy-to-be crazy with her list of “before the baby is born” projects. They estimated 37 weekends worth of projects, and the baby is due in 2 weeks. Honestly, they’ve renovated their entire house in the past eyar, Baby will be sleeping with Parents for at least 6 months, and the nursery looks fine to me.

    • +1 to zippers, for the love of god, get zippers. Also funny re: burp cloths – I eschewed buying dedicated burp cloths because I thought how dumb, any towel can absorb burps, and we’ll just use our dishtowels and save space, money, etc. Then my son had reflux and spit up so much, so often. We quickly ran out of dish towels and needed more ASAP. It can be hard to predict what will be important to you, so thank goodness for Amazon prime.

      • Omg yes on the burp cloths. I got at least 20 as presents and thought “this is so stupid and completely overboard”…. There were many days where I was frantically searching for a burp cloth while holding a handful of spit up milk and finding that every single one of those 20 burp cloths were already dirty.

  13. Anon in NOVA :

    I’m not sure how I managed to have a baby before Amazon Prime was around. I can’t even get my act together enough to buy baby shower gifts from anywhere but amazon prime now!

    Would definitely be a huge game changer if I ever have another

  14. Also–go ahead and register for the big stuff! People will go in together on big gifts, especially for office showers. My husband came home from his office shower with our Britax car seat and our swing. His parents gave us the baby monitor off our registry for Christmas. In my office we usually go in together on the stroller for showers.

  15. How to save money- buy or borrow. I wish I had more mom friends when pregnant. I was one of the first in my circle to have kids, though, so I got a ton of (new) stuff.

    I have had 2 kids and while we are TBD on #3, I’d be happy to let anyone borrow any of our gear. Right now it’s in the attic for either of my siblings’ potential kids, or until we make a final call on #3. But seriously…kids use stuff like exersaucer and swings and bouncers and playmates and jumperoos and bumbos for a matter of months and then they collect dust.

    Even our baby carrier which was indispensable for a few months retired after the baby was like, 7 months.

    I’d say a good stroller and high chair are where to invest, whether you buy new or used. Get one that really works for your situation.

    • For those in the suburbs i highly recommend the snap and go stroller for the early few months. We got ours for $10 at a yard sale with our second and I immediately felt stupid for not having one with our first. So much easier than the stroller systems or infant attachments for the bigger
      Strollers. YMMV for city dwellers.

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