I’m so tired of hearing people complain about how expensive children are. To me, it just sounds like anti-children-having propaganda. That being said, if an expectant parent buys every baby product on the market brand new, they may end up re-mortgaging their house.
Having taken care of babies constantly for the last 4 years, I have noticed some items I didn’t buy, I never missed. There were also some items I did buy that were a complete waste of money, as I never needed them. For those expectant parents who are on a budget, this list is for you.
Electric breast pump
If you are planning on returning to work while still exclusively breastfeeding, then perhaps an electric breast pump is worthwhile. However, for the rest of us that are rarely parted from our babies, or are planning on switching to formula when we return to work, it really isn’t necessary.
I tried an electric pump out in my early days of breastfeeding and found it to be quite painful to use. My baby was much better at extracting my milk than the pump anyway.
If your baby is only rarely using a bottle, there really is little need for a steriliser. Instead, you can just use the microwave or pour over some boiling water from the kettle, which will also do the trick. I bought a steriliser 4 years ago and I found that I hardly ever used it, it took up a massive amount of space in my kitchen cupboards and it produced an unpleasant burning smell the few times I used it. I got rid of it earlier this year. Don’t waste your money.
If you already have a baby bouncer, you really don’t need a rocker too. Rockers require a lot of batteries, which can be really expensive and serve basically the same purpose as a non-battery-wasting bouncer.
Baby carrier (strollers) AND buggy
Sure, having a baby carrier or buggy is nice. But having both for just the one baby is really not essential, so long as you have a car seat. And if you intend to do ‘baby bunching’ like me (have your children in quick succession), you may well find very quickly that you need to upgrade your single buggy to a twin buggy anyway. In retrospect, it would have been better for me to just get a baby carrier and then buy the double buggy when my second child was born.
When I had my babies, the hospital sent me home with a large bag packed full with free samples of baby skin cream, shampoo, oils, etc. I still haven’t used them all up. If by some miracle you do make your way through all of those, just buy a tub of pure lanolin from the internet, which works on virtually every single skin complaint. Your baby might smell a bit like a sheep from the lanolin, since the wax is the natural by-product after boiling sheep’s wool, but it is shockingly effective, free from unnatural products and way less likely to produce an allergic reaction.
If you really feel self-conscious about nursing in front of other people, simply drape a muslin/burp cloth over your shoulder. A nursing cape will take up a tonne of space in your nappy bag and to be perfectly honest, they look way more ridiculous than the sight of a mother feeding her child.
I have received dummies from my community centre, the hospital and other parents for free. I have never had to buy a single one. My children were never really interested in sucking on dummies anyway so most of the dummies are still sitting in a cupboard in my house in their original packaging.
The hospital will provide you with some very unflattering net underwear after you give birth. I definitely recommend sticking with this for the first couple of weeks. Without being too graphic, let me just assure you that this is not a time in your life when you want to be wearing nice, new underwear. It will get ruined. And after that, if you haven’t returned to your old figure (it usually takes quite a while!), just buy some larger underwear and save yourself a little money.
We bought a couple of swaddling sacks for our first child and I tried using them on my first 2 children. What did I discover? My babies HATE being swaddled. Those little rebels wanted the freedom to flail and stretch, even at only a few days old. And even if you discover that your little ones prefer to be swaddled, there’s a multitude of videos on YouTube that will teach how to swaddle your baby with a much cheaper receiving blanket instead.
Squeezy bath toys
I know that it seems obligatory to have a rubber ducky or two for your child. But trust me, you’ll regret it.
I’ve learned the hard way that rubber ducky-type squeezy bath toys are impossible to fully dry out once moisture gets inside them, which pretty much happens the first time you use them. That moisture eventually turns into black mould, which poses a serious hazard to your baby’s health. Instead, opt for bath toys that won’t trap in moisture.