Walk into any store that specializes in babies and young children and you quickly realize that you could potentially spend a lot of money. As a first time parent it can be difficult to know what you really need. After all, you want to be prepared for anything. However, a lot of what is sold is eye candy and not essential for caring for an infant.
What do you really need?
Choosing a car seat can be confusing. They come in many different models and price ranges. You will also have to decide if you want to invest in an infant seat, which will require another car seat purchase when your little one grows out of it, or a convertible seat. Pay attention to weight recommendations and make sure you buy a seat that is compatible with the car you drive. Some of the larger, more expensive seats do not easily fit into compact cars.
A Place for Baby to Sleep
Even if you co-sleep with your baby, you will need a crib or pack and play as a safe place for the baby to sleep during the day. If you purchase a used crib, make sure it meets all the safety recommendations and was not subject to a recall.
A Sling, Wrap, or Carrier
Any type of baby carrier is essential, especially for stress free days getting things done around the house. They are also great for hands free grocery shopping. Baby carriers are wonderful for breastfeeding, enabling you to feed discreetly in public. Baby carriers also reduce crying and colic in babies.
It doesn’t have to be anything expensive. An umbrella stroller is quite effective when your baby gets a little older. You may not even use a stroller when your infant is smaller, especially with the convenience of a baby carrier.
You can get away with not having any of the following items. They may make life easier for you but you can raise a baby without owning them. For starters, a baby tub. You won’t even be able to use one until your baby’s umbilical cord falls off. Many moms find that the sink works just as well or better.
Another item you can get away with not buying is a changing table. Just buy a changing pad and use the bed or floor.
A bouncy seat, swing, or play mat can be nice to have, but not all babies like them and they can take up a lot of space. If you chose to purchase any of these items for baby, consider buying used from a resale shop.
A diaper genie or wipes warmers are convenience items that you can get away with not owning as well. Wrap the diaper up in a plastic bag instead. If you chose to use a cloth diapering system for your baby, you won’t need a diaper genie anyway. You can warm up a baby wipe simply by holding it in your hand a few seconds.
As time goes along, you will find what baby items make your life easier and what items go unused. Beyond the basics, every mom has different ideas on what she simply can’t go without and your needs will differ depending on if you are breastfeeding, what kind of diapers you use for your baby, and if you work outside the home or not. The main point to keep in mind is to not make a purchase for baby because it is a cool gadget and everyone says you should get one. Caring for your infant does not have to be expensive.
About the Author: Gina Davidson is the pregnancy expert behind AllNineMonths.com. She uses her experience as a mother, grandmother, photographer, and writer to help couples enter parenthood successfully.