Some of the items I have suggested were essentials for us; you might find that some of these items are not as high priority for you. Anything you don’t prioritize can be picked up in the sales; just create a list of the non-essentials and hold tight for a bargain or three.
The journey to parenthood is exciting and EXPENSIVE. There I’ve said the dreaded word. Truth is every store that sells baby stuff is fighting for your attention and your wallet. Everyone wants a slice of the baby pound. They put up glossy pictures of happy families and show you a world of magical fairytales where babies gurgle all day and hardly need to be burped, fed or changed. It’s sadly all marketing gimmick and it’s all so you part from your hard earned cash.
A while ago I wrote an article of buying pre-loved items. I understand that in today’s recession climate a lot of parents are making cut backs and it’s fully acceptable to go down the route of purchasing pre-loved if you know how to find bargains and possibly be a dab hand with a paintbrush. But for those of you who have budgeted over the years and wish to spend your hard earned cash on new items then this blog entry is for you. Enjoy and please let others know about so we can assist other parents too.
What do you really need for a newborn?
I've left out the everyday items you will be buying every month such as nappies, wipes etc. I'll create a list of the everyday essentials in another blog post.
Shops will have you believe you need anything and everything with bells and whistles; fortunately that’s not the case. A newborn needs to feel loved and secure more than anything else. Here is a rundown of what you will genuinely need for your bundle of joy:
A car seat-my local Hospital won’t allow a baby to be discharged without their being a car seat present and in working order. If you do not have a car then you will need to borrow a car seat. Ask friends and family. Safety is paramount.
Somewhere safe for them to sleep:
Usually this is a Moses basket. My current favourite is a dark wicker one seen on eBay (new) for around £60.00 including stand. A designer or High Street ‘labeled version will easily set you back DOUBLE that price. Is it worth it? I’ll leave that decision down to you as it’s your money.
Other alternatives are a crib (which can be bought on the High street for under £100.00).
Both Moses Baskets and Cribs are only suitable until your baby is able to sit up. At this stage it becomes dangerous to use them in case of falls. At this stage in a child’s life they move onto a cot. But that’s at least 6 months down the line.
You will also need a mattress and bedding;
Never buy a second hand mattress. Look online for mattresses-we bought ours online and saved £40.00 on the price that was on the high street. It’s always worth looking around. Always buy from a reputable seller. If you do use a website like eBay use Paypal to pay and check their feedback before buying anything. Be safe.
Sleeping bag:These are great for little ones. Always check the recommended weight on the packaging-generally speaking most Sleeping bags/Sacs are not recommended for newborns. You usually have to wait a few weeks until baby meets the weight requirement to use these. These are great. There’s no problems with blankets becoming loose during the night. Available in different ‘togs’ for summer and winter months.
Changing Bag:Taking a baby out involves military like precession planning. There’s bottles, formula, nappies, wipes...the list is quite long. What you will need is a bag to carry all your must haves in. Bags vary from a standard one for around £30.00. A ‘posh’ bag can cost anywhere from around £80.00 upwards.
Swaddle cloths:If you are lucky like me and come across very helpful Midwives they will share many pearls of wisdom with you; including this babies love to be swaddled. Basically it’s like wrapping a burrito. Babies have been cocooned for the past 9 months and startle easily (via their own limbs!). If they are ‘wrapped up’ they feel happier. You can buy purpose made swaddle cloths or you can make one. Or you can learn to swaddle with a standard blanket via tutorials on YouTube. The possibilities are endless.
If you plan to bottle feed (or express milk to allow your partner to share the feeding load) you will need the following:
- Sterilizer (old fashioned ones with water, microwave systems or steam ones-you decide which works for you)
- Sterilizer fluid or tablets
- Muslin squares/alternatives. These are great for protecting your clothes from sick and milk spills. Don’t say I didn’t warn you; it comes with a part of the newborn package.
- Bottle brush (to clean the bottles)
- Breast pump (if you are planning to express milk)
- Cleaning fluid-your usual dish cleaning fluid is acceptable
I purchased all of the above items from a Superstore (Asda) during their Baby Event as they worked out much cheaper than Mothercare. Gosh will I be hated forever for saying that in a public place?! But it’s about value for money and that’s what I got. Shop around, look at reviews and decide which system works for you. Just because a certain brand worked for your niece it doesn’t mean it will work for you so be wise and get to grips with bottles and so forth whilst you have the time.
A means of transport-a Pushchair. Now this is a minefield for any first time parent. You go into a store and you are greeted with a simple system for under £300.00 and then you see the Rolls Royce of Pushchair’s for £800.00. Ridiculous money in my opinion but if that’s what floats your boat go for it. I suggest you consider the following
- Does it fit into your budget?
- Is it easy to operate/open/close?
- How much space will this pushchair take up in your car boot (trunk)?
- How long will this pushchair last you practically before you need to move onto a stroller?
- If you plan to have more babies soon can this system be transformed (via accessories and additional seat) to accommodate others?
- If you plan to reuse the Pushchair is it in a neutral color?
Some online stores offer ‘slightly seconds’ which means the Pushchair is safe to use but may have loose stitches or another issues that effect appearance slightly. If you are happy to take a slightly seconds model you can save a fortune-I’ve been there. We bought a second pushchair for our little one and paid under £70.00 for it as it was classed as a ‘seconds’ item. The new version was £120.00. To this day I’ve not been able to find the fault and we’ve been using it for 2 years.
Projector/Mobiles to go above crib
Projectors are meant to give a display of color and music that should lull a child into sleep. Sadly these didn’t work for us. They may work for you. Have a look around for one that suits your needs.
As for a mobile, the theory is they entertain a little one with the colorfulness and again help a child to sleep (they make be dizzy but then I’m not a newborn). It’s basically the similar theory to a Projector. We had one and yes you’ve guessed it; another failure for us.
In all seriousness your newborn doesn’t need lavish outfits. I know it’s easier said then done but resisting the urge to buy fussy outfits will save you money in the long run. Save that money and invest in outfits for an older age. If you do purchase clothes in an older size my suggestion is to not buy too many as clothes don’t just go off age of child, they also go off weight too which isn’t easy to predict.
Outer ware- such a pram suit. We’ve all seen them-the suits that look like a teddy bear/polar bear or similar cuddly object. You need to get one that will keep your little one safe from the elements. Consider the season too. One outfit should be enough for you; unless your baby is sick a lot in this case you may wish to invest in another suit as backup.
Toys and Books
Truthfully your baby won’t be up for playing with toys for the first few months of their life. Yes they will ‘follow’ colorful items around the room. If you wish to invest in a few toys soft toys such as rattles, high contrast toys (try Lamaze) and a couple of soft books should be enough.
As for story books; reading to a child at any age is enjoyable. My little one has only recently started to choose her own book and ask for it to be read but I’ve been reading to her for a while now.
Toy Gym/Floor Mat/Baby Nests
These are worth the investment. Babies love to lie down and stare up at objects above them. Babies spend a lot of time lying down, so you need to look at things to keeping baby occupied and comfortable for their first few months of their lives.
Have a look around and find something that appeals to you and is multi purpose that will last at least a few months.
Baby Bath tub (with stand if possible). Babies need to be cleaned. ‘Topping and tailing’ is acceptable as a form of cleaning but the reality is newborns need a bath too. For topping and tailing you'll need a bowl. Most stores do a nice bowl which contains a bowl for water and area for cotton buds etc.
You can find various designed bath tubs. From those which have a built in additional support to ‘prop’ baby up (which you support baby too) to a basic bucket design. There’s also a ‘bath support’ appliance available which supports your little one whilst they are in a bigger tub. If you plan to use your family tub for your newborn I suggest you invest in a Bath Dam (I’ve reviewed it previously). A stand comes in useful for those parents who find bending down hard; especially after a C-section.
Don’t forget to purchase a baby bath towel.
Baby MonitorIt may seem a bit weird that you are planning on leaving your baby alone in a room but sometimes it’s unavoidable. You have lots of different ones to pick from-you can have a basic one with just sound, one that connects to a mat which alerts you of if movement suddenly stops and the top of the range ones with a camera that watches your baby so you can not only hear your little one but see them too.
If you plan to have a Nursery ready for when your newborn comes you may wish to consider the following:
- Blackout blinds (to create a dark room for little one to sleep in)
- A dresser-to change baby on OR
- The cot top dresser. It’s like a wooden mat that you put on top of the cot and use it to change baby’s nappy
- Storage unit-for storing nappies, wipes and similar items
- Set of drawers/children’s wardrobe to store clothes
- A nursing chair-the type that ‘glides’ or another comfortable chair for sitting in when you are trying to get little one to sleep
- A lamp with dimmer-for when you need to find things around the Nursery
- Cot/Basket/Crib-for baby to sleep in-don’t forget mattresses and bedding!
If you have the space and budget allows you may wish to place a folding single bed in the Nursery to take a nap with baby.
A lot of the items on my essential list cross over into the Nursery too such as the Baby Monitor. A lot of things you will purchase will be used throughout your little ones first years, so it’s always advisable to do a bit of research before shelling out on bit purchases.
A note on cot/cot beds and bumpers
A great investment if you don’t plan to reuse your child’s cot whilst they are a toddler is a cot bed-the cot that transforms into a bed. This saves you purchasing a toddler bed. However if you plan to have another child quite soon after the birth of a first child this idea isn’t really worth a try financially or else you’ll end up with multiple cot beds to sell on later.
Cot Bumpers (the ones that go on the inside of the top bit of the cot) are not an essential item and some argue that they are not safe for a little one. If you wish to use one do a bit of research on the matter before parting with your money.
Further ways to save money:
Many stores have a ‘surplus’ or ‘seconds’ store where you can purchase their goods that are not perfect at a discounted price. Mamas and Papas have a seconds store in Stoke-on-Trent, however the last time I visited the store I was told you cannot return an item purchased so unless you are 101% happy with the items you wish to purchase.
Closing down sales/end of season (or rangeSales are a great place to purchase essentials at a discounted price. Look about for sales online too.
Sign up for Parenting Clubs at the store you wish to make purchases from in advance of your due date. If you don’t want to be bombarded with offers ensure you tick all relevant boxes. Ask about discount vouchers. Some stores offer 10-15% off a threshold spend.
Look in Catalogues-if you like something in particular and have yet to create a an account ask if there is a discount for a first order.
If you know what you wish to purchase and you know where you wish to buy it from you could ask friends and family for vouchers for that store. Every penny helps.
The same applies to colleagues, or friends and groups that wish to hold you a Baby Shower.
Check out eBay for new bargains. Paypal is a safe way of paying. Never send cash. Always check out a sellers feedback before a purchase. If you are making a large purchase and the seller states they have a store do a google search in advance and find out what others say about it.
Amazon Also a great place to pick up a bargain including boxes of wipes.
Ask other Mothers where they bought there stuff from; you maybe surprised at places they mention for bargains which you had never heard of or even considered.
Enjoy the shopping spree!