There’s been a lot of baby talk in the personal finance blogsphere lately.  I don’t really know why.  But never one to let the talk of babies pass me by I can’t help but contribute.  Four Pillars recently made a list of essential baby items.  The mother in me will not let me pass this by.  Must. Join. In.

The bottom line when it comes to baby stuff is that the cheap stuff might not be as cute, but it’s just as good.  The standards they have in place when it comes to baby equipment are very high.  Even the lower end stuff is going to be just as safe as the high end stuff.   So when in doubt, go cheaper.

1. Car seat:  At first you will probably want an infant car seat.  Those are the ones with the handle that you can snap in and out of the car.  Totally essential if you ask me.  Life is so much easier when you can set your baby down for a second, or move them into the house when they fall asleep in the car.  And I know babies with acid reflux often sleep much better in their infant seat.

When they out grow the infant seat you will need a regular car seat.  For our son, we went middle of the road for our car seat and I like it a lot.  For my daughter, I bought the cheapest car seat on the market cause I was broke back then.  It worked just fine.  It’s not as cozy, but I have no doubts it’s just as safe.

2. Clothes/ blankets:  Do not buy these.  You will be given more clothes and blankets than you will know what to do with.  Seriously.  In the rare event you are ready to pop and no one you know has given you clothes then go buy about 10 onsies and some socks.  Maybe some cozy, elastic top pants if it’s chilly.  Your baby will out grow clothes weekly for a while.  Save your money on the cute stuff for now.

3. Crib: Not being a fan of the family bed, I can’t live without a crib.  I got a lower end crib when my daughter was born and both my kids used it.  It got about 5 years worth of use and is still going strong.  You don’t need a $400 crib.  You just don’t.  Also, get 4 or 5 sets of sheets and some water proof pads.

4. Bottles:  Again, you don’t need the expensive ones.  My son was a little picky about which nipple he liked and we ended up switching to a new brand at about 6 months old.  Since you don’t know what your baby is going to like it’s better not to go out and buy $50 worth of expensive bottles.

5. Pacifiers:  If you plan on using them then buy a few different brands.  Babies can be very picky about them.  My daughter loved her paci and didn’t care about the kind.  My son could take it or leave it, but if he wanted it there was only one brand that would do.

6. Gripe Water:  You know, the drops that help the gas bubbles move through.  My son was colicky and this stuff helped tremendously.  One of his first nights home my husband went out at 2 am to buy some.  For $3 it’s worth having some on hand ahead of time.  Generic works just fine.   If you don’t end up needing it then you wasted $3, sorry.  But if you do, you will send me a hand written thank you letter.  :)

7. Diaper Bag:  You will need one of these if you plan to leave the house ever.  Go ahead and get something cute, but don’t spend a fortune.  It will get ruined no matter how hard you try.  The things that will be put into this bag will gross you out.  Don’t make yourself put a dirty diaper or puke cloth into a $200 bag.  Buy cheap so you can replace it often.

8.  Stroller:  You can get the “travel system” that has the infant car seat and the stroller that fit together.  I have mixed feelings about the stroller.  I guess you kinda need one cause there are times when you just can’t get around it.  On the other hand they are so expensive and it seems like you could get through life without one.  But either way, I had and used one with both kids so I guess they are essential.

9. Pack and Play:  At first we used it in our room when our son was a newborn so he could be close.  Then we moved it downstairs and used it as a changing table, jail, laundry basket, toy collector, ect.  Once he outgrow that then we used it for the intended method of a crib when we traveled.  He finally outgrew it on our recent trip to Disneyland.

Wait and see items:

1. Boppy:  Had one, never used it.

2. Bumper Pads:  You know, the soft things that go around the crib bars.  Newborns don’t really move around much so you won’t need them right away.  You will have a chance to see if you have a wiggly sleeper or not before you spend the cash.   I know those matching crib sets are adorable, but they aren’t worth the money.  Not by a long shot.

3. High chair:  I so wanted the high chair that matched my swing.  So so wanted it.  But it cost twice as much as the generic high chair and I just couldn’t bring myself to spend the money.  I got the generic and never looked back.  It was so much easier to clean than the expensive one and really, once it’s covered in mashed carrots who cares if it has ducks on it or not.

4. Jumperoo:  Love it!!  My son adored his jumperoo.  He would still like it if he could fit in it.  This was a must have with him.   But I don’t think this is an item you should buy before you know your baby.   Once you get to know them you will be able to tell if this is a toy they will like.  Besides, they won’t be using it for a while anyways.

5. Swing:  Neither of my kids cared for the swing.  This is also an item I recommend waiting to buy until you have met your baby.   You will be able to tell if your baby needs item.  They are expensive and HUGE, so try to avoid buying if you can.

Well, I think that’s the big stuff.  It’s by no means a comprehensive list.  Most items fall into the wait and see category.  Newborns don’t need very much.  They are happy as long as they are warm, dry, fed, and cuddled.

pic by: normanack

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