Now that you are pregnant, you are probably thinking about what you will need to have on hand to take care of your baby’s needs once you bring him home. If you are on a tight budget, you may wonder if you will be able to meet all of baby’s needs because there is so much advertising out there that could lead a person to believe that they need to buy many different items in order to be ready to care for their new arrival. The truth is that babies, especially brand new ones, need very little in the way of material things. Here is a minimalist list of baby basics that you will want to acquire before baby arrives.
It is important to note that I said “acquire” and not “buy” – buying things new is just one way that you can get what you need for baby. Consignment stores, swaps, thrift stores, and Craig’s List are other ways that you can pick up baby clothing and gear at prices that fit your budget. For example, in the picture above, Blake is sitting in a bouncy seat that we were given as a gift when our first child was born. His outfit consists of a striped onesie that I picked up at the thrift store for a dollar, and Gymboree overalls that I scored at the same thrift store for $1.50. Also, you can pick up a few items here and there throughout the course of your pregnancy instead of all at once so that your budget can more easily absorb them – and in case you acquire some items at a baby shower.
Babies need food. Breastfeeding is not only the most nutritious option for your new arrival, you can’t beat the price. Depending upon whether you will return to work, you may need to buy a breast pump, bottles, and milk storage supplies. Investing in a good pump can make working and pumping possible. However, since pumps are expensive try renting one from the hospital. It may even be covered by your health insurance.
Keep your newborn’s wardrobe small. After all, babies grow quickly. Her newborn outfits may never even get worn if she is too big for them at the time that she is born. Have a few items on hand in newborn, 0 to 3 month, and 3 to 6 month sizes that are appropriate for the seasonal weather at the time that baby is due. Then, once baby arrives, buy a few more outfits in her size – but not too many. Remember, she is growing very fast right now. Since newborns treat their clothes fairly gently, be sure to check thrift stores and consignment shops. Many items look like new and with a trip through the washer and dryer, they are as safe for baby as new items would be.
Consider buying big items like strollers, changing tables, and other furniture secondhand. Inspect them carefully to ensure that they are safe. Cribs should be checked to make sure that they comply with the regulations that were adopted last year – many cribs were recalled as a result of the new rules so use caution. Car seats should never be purchased secondhand.
Babies are expensive. However, with some careful planning you can keep your baby buying budget reasonable. As long as baby spends plenty of time in your loving arms, he will never know the difference between a new onesie and a used one or a secondhand changing table from the newest style.