The list of items you can buy for your baby is endless. Many gadgets and gizmos are on the market to ‘make your life simpler’. But you are on a budget, so what do you really need and what can you do without?
From the minute you leave the hospital, you will need to make sure baby is safe in the car. For a guide to choosing the right car seat, please read our guide here
Somewhere to sleep
It is a personal choice whether you use a cot, cot bed, moses basket or crib. You may find a cot is too big for a newborn, yet a moses basket may only last you a couple of weeks, especially if you have a big baby. Moses baskets are easy to move, so you can use it to keep baby fairly close to you in the day and then move it into your bedroom at night. A crib/cradle is slightly larger, giving the baby more room, but cannot be moved around during the day. Ask around your friends, see what they preferred. Second-hand cots, cribs and moses baskets are easily to find on the Second-hand market, but it is recommended you buy a new mattress for whatever bed you choose. When buying second hand, ensure your chosen ‘bed’ is strong and sturdy, in good condition. Ideally, especially with cots, you should look for one that comes with the instructions.
You will need a selection of babygro’s, vests, bibs and cardigans. If you are having a winter baby, you will also need to think about a coat or snowsuit, plus hats. It is worth remembering that people will inevitably buy you pink or blue clothing once baby is born, so do not go too mad beforehand or you will end up with so many clothes that you won’t be able to use them all.
Our guide to pushchairs will help you to decide which style to buy and again, these can be picked up for a fraction of the price second-hand
No matter how you intend to feed, it may be worth having bottles and a steriliser on standby. Despite best intentions, you may find you have to bottle feed and do not need added stress of having to get everything after baby is born. You could borrow from a friend or find a good quality second hand steriliser and buy new bottles. You will also need muslin cloths and bibs, as it is bound to get messy!
What goes in, has to come out! Re-usable/washable/cloth nappies are the cheapest to use, but they are not for everyone. Some people would also say that disposable are ‘easier’ for the first couple of weeks while you settle into your new life, but again this is personal choice. The most important thing is to have a stash ready and waiting. Whilst on the subject of changing, you also need to think where you will change baby – a changing mat is cheapest, but will need to be used on the floor, or you can get a specially designed changing table. Again, these can be found at a fraction of the cost second-hand. You will also need a supply of baby wipes or cotton wool and a top & tail bowl.
Other bits you may want to consider: Baby Monitor, a bath or a bath support, nail clippers, blanket/shawl, Dummies, Changing Bag.
This list is designed as a useful starting point, it is a personal guide to what is essential but remember it is a personal choice that wholly depends on your lifestyle and your budget. Many items can be bought second-hand, but be sure to check all items carefully and remember the items that you should buy new (mattresses and bottle teats being the essential ones).