We recently cleaned out our garage and gave away all of the baby items we had been holding onto. Items we had used with our first child and held onto through child two and three and then a bit longer just in case. You would be surprised at how few items there actually were. A crib, a pack-and-play, a high chair, and a stroller. Now, there were some items that we loved, but they just didn't store well or they needed to be replaced for safety reasons, like car seats, but in reality there is just a lot of stuff that you feel like you won't be able to live without that you probably don't need. And not buying those items could save you a ton of money.
Here are my suggestions for items that you don't need when having a baby, at least not right when you bring them home.
Inconvenient 'Convenience' Items. There are a lot of items that sound great when you are walking through the baby aisles but really only end up costing you more money. We never bought a wipe warmer because I had multiple friends tell me that they dried out their baby wipes and rendered them useless. I returned the fancy diaper pail we bought before even opening it because the refillable trash bags were pricey. For a lot less money we could put a regular trash can with a lid right outside the back door or walk the diapers out to the trash can. It was a good job for my husband.
Untested Items. Eventually you will want to have a dozen bottles and a half dozen binkies at your disposal at all times. And in your nesting stage you will want to buy them all, sterilize them, and get them all ready for the new arrival. In theory that sounds great, but when you bring the baby home and they won't latch onto the bottles you have chosen and prefer the binkie that they got in the hospital nursery, you will have wasted a big chunk of money on items that you now can't even take back. This rule applies for formula too. And clothes. If you have a closet full of newborn-month clothes, the baby will likely outgrow them before you even remember to put them all on. My babies never even fit into newborn sizes. Buy a couple of the essentials and when you find what works and what the baby loves, then go out and stock up.
Items You Can Borrow. It is likely that you know someone that has had a baby and is going to have another baby but doesn't have a baby right now. Someone that is storing a swing or a rocking chair, or one of a dozen other items in their garage. Someone that probably wouldn't mind lending it to you so they could park in their garage again. Now, not everyone is a lender or a borrower, but if you have it available to you I would seriously consider taking advantage of it. Even if just to take the items on a trial run. Some babies love swings and others don't. Save yourself a couple hundred dollars and find out which one your bundle of joy is before you fork out the dough on a swing of your own. And sometimes it is mom that doesn't like an item. I love rocking chairs but not gliders. That fact would have been good to know before we bought a glider for the nursery.
No matter what you decide you can't live without, try not to panic and buy it all before the baby gets here. There is plenty of time to figure out what you want to have around, and you probably can find a superstore open 24 hours a day to get it when you do decide you need it. You should spend all of your free time before the baby comes sleeping anyways. You can't buy that at the store.
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