Old post alert! I have a couple mostly written drafts that I kind of forgot about after quite a long time. I'll be filling them in, updating them a bit and posting them in the next little while. No use in wasting a perfectly good but no longer personally relevant post!
We really didn't do much research before buying baby stuff and we could have saved a great deal of money by not buying some things and getting other items gently used. We listened to family members that hadn't had children in 20 years, buying items they told us we absolutely needed to have as well as following lists that other people posted on the internet and just buying things we thought were cute. Shopping with other people was the worst because they would always point out items that they deemed essential.
- Diapers: Only get 1 or 2 packages of newborn size, you may not need them for long, I think we only needed them for 2 weeks before Alice was into a size 1. If your baby is small you can always go out to get more or get someone to pick them up for you.
- Receiving blankets: Babies leak at an astounding rate, you will need to mop up spills that you never thought could come out of such a small creature. A large receiving blanket can also be used to swaddle or go over the stroller to keep out the sun while on walks
- Baby washcloths and towels: You will need to give a lot of baths to clean up the aforementioned leaks.
- Baby shampoo: You can use this as body wash as well. We bought a huge bottle and just used it up a couple weeks ago.
- A sling or carrier (Moby type wrap, Ergo or Ring-Sling)
- Convertible car seat: You can use this kind from birth until your baby is bigger, saves you from buying an infant car seat and then having to buy another once your baby reaches the weight limit of 20 pounds or so (it will be sooner than you think!)
- Onesies that snap at the crotch: you will be changing a lot of diapers and you want the quickest, easiest access possible, especially late at night.
- Stretchy waist pants: Easy on,easy off, young babies don't really straighten their legs to make it easier for you to put pants on them. Baby jeans? Hahahahaha
- Lightweight stroller: If you plan on wearing your baby you may not need to buy a stroller at all. A lot of carriers are good until your baby becomes a toddler and by then they might just want to walk everywhere anyway.
- Jumperoo: We found this to be quite useful, we put our lady chick in there and got some stuff done around here, kept her busy and happy for up to an hour sometimes! We were able to resell it for a good amount too.
- Pump: If you're planning on boobing your kid you won't be able to get away from them for more than an hour or 2, and believe me, you WILL want to get away from your kid at some point. It doesn't matter how cute they are, you will want and need a break! Pumps are expensive, see if a friend has one they are done with and just replace the shield and hoses or give it a good boil.
- Shoes: You won't be able to get them on or keep them on your tiny person's little curled up feet and your baby doesn't need them until they start to walk anyway. At 7 1/2 months old I could finally get shoes on my kid, she outgrew 3 sizes of cute shoes before she even wore them
- High chair: You don't need one until your baby starts solid foods and wants to be included in family meals when they are at least 6 months old. No use in having it take up space for that long before you need it. Jon hates ours with a vengeance. The day we bought it he nearly threw it into traffic.
- Scented body washes and lotions: Those "relaxing, calming or bedtime"scents may smell nice but they aren't going to help your baby sleep. Just use baby shampoo to wash your little dude, it smells nice
- Bassinets: As soon as your baby can roll over they can roll out of these
- Change table: We have a kitchen cart from Ikea that we used for our microwave for years, perfect size to strap a soft change pad onto
- Baby books: Most books have a corresponding website
- Diaper genie: The refills are expensive and apparently they don't work that well keeping the smell in and are sometimes hard to use. We use a metal canister garbage can with a foot lever lined with a scented bag that we get from the dollar store. We change it whenever it gets full/every 2 or 3 days and it holds the smell in just fine and it's hands free.
- Diaper bag: I just use a large purse, you really don't need to bring that much stuff with you if you're just running out for groceries. I used to bring tons of stuff with me but I've pared it down to just 2 diapers, travel wipes case, a receiving blanket, a folding change pad and a plastic bag. That's it. If I'm going on a lengthier outing then I bring 1 more diaper and a change of clothes.
- Travel system: It seemed like a good idea so that's what we went with, an infant car seat that attaches to a stroller. Nope. The stroller is extremely heavy with a very large wheel base. We could barely get it through doorways and down aisles or onto a bus and walks to the store took more time and effort than they should have. It could only be steered with 2 hands, making it nearly impossible to hold a grocery basket and push at the same time. Our baby had already outgrown the carseat in height by the time she was 7 months old. We've since bought a lightweight stroller and convertible carseat.
- Newborn sized clothes: We had one newborn outfit when Alice was born, she wore it home from the hospital and maybe once more before she outgrew it. It was a gift, all of our other clothes were 0-3 months, so what if they were a bit baggy on her. You don't know how big your baby is going to be, buy bigger. If they are on the smaller size or preemie you can always buy more clothes in that case.
- Frilly/Fussy Clothes: Don't even bother trying to get on a turtleneck or 1 piece that has to be taken completely off every diaper change. Ditto for clothes with big puffy skirts, you won't be able to get the whole thing out of the way and it's going to be a disaster if you have to change a poo diaper while your little lady is wearing it. Grandparents WILL buy all of these things for you, just smile, nod and then give the offending outfit away. They don't know any better, that's how kids were dressed eleventy thousand years ago. I guess they hadn't invented the crotch snap back then.
What to buy used:
- Jumperoo/Exersaucer: We bought ours new but should have bought used. Our kid loved it but learned to crawl soon after and didn't want to play in it anymore. We got just a couple months use out of it.
- Bouncy Chair/Swing: Don't pay the $50+ for a new one, somebody will have one on Craigslist for probably $20, these don't get used for that long either
- Clothes: Babies outgrow clothes at an astounding rate, you'll put an outfit on your baby and a week later that same outfit will be too tight. We hardly bought anything new, a lot of clothes were found with tags still on from thrift and consignment stores.
- Baby tub: These are outgrown pretty fast as well, you'll be lucky to get 7 months out of it before your baby wants the big tub.
- Strollers: You can get really nice, gently used strollers for a good price on Craigslist. I notice that most the time the person states the reason for selling as they have a car and just use the carrier when they need to go into a store or need to upgrade to a double, etc.
Never buy used:
- Carseats- If it's been in an accident then it's no longer safe to use and should be replaced. You have no way of telling when you buy one from Craigslist, you only have the word of the seller. Carseats also expire after a certain number of years, usually five or six from the manufacturers date.
- Walkers-Outlawed in Canada. Looks like an exersaucer with wheels. Gives babies who otherwise wouldn't be able to walk the ability to move too fast and reach too many hazards. I've also seen these on Craigslist, people find them in storage from 20 years ago when they had kids and are trying to get rid of them.
- Drop-side cribs- They are now illegal but not everybody knows this so may be trying to sell one they found in their storage/attic, etc
I'm sure there are probably more things to add to all of the lists but that's all I could think of for now.