The first time I walked into a big-box baby store to shop for my daughter, it felt like I was standing on the edge of the Amazon forest! It was an overwhelming and scary experience, mostly because I knew it would be quite a job to get through my list. To help all of the parents-to-be out there, I’ve tallied a list of 50 baby essentials so you can get an idea of what to buy and how much green is needed. But before you download my PDF, check out these five tips to simplify your baby shopping spree.
Tip #1: Consider Your Budget
Nailing down your budget is the first step to choosing what to buy for your baby. Expenses can really add up fast when you’re mapping out your pre-baby and post-baby monthly budget. The reality is babies can cost a pretty penny, so the sooner you can plan and save, the better.
My list of essentials adds up to just over $1,000! But according to a recent BabyCenter.com poll, the average mom spends $10,158 on her baby in the first year. “Yikes,” you may be thinking. But the good news is, you have time to adjust your spending habits now in order to afford everything you’ll need for your little bundle.
Tip #2: Don’t Turn Down Help
I’ve met a few new moms who feel the need to buy everything on their own dime. If this sounds like you, I have four words: Have a baby shower! Some people say no to baby showers because they don’t want to burden friends and family with their baby expenses. Some parents simply shy away from asking for help as they plan for their new addition. But the truth is, there’s value (and savings) in having a baby shower because it reduces the number of essentials you’ll have to purchase and the number of trips to the store!
In addition, a baby shower gives your circle of loved ones a chance to celebrate you with gifts, show their support and be a part of your baby’s life. My mother’s friends STILL take great pride in telling me stories about the shower they threw for my mom back in 1977.
Also, you’ll likely get offered hand-me-down items or clothes for your baby. Don’t turn them down! If the items are gently used, then they’ll help reduce your load. The hand-me-downs I received truly helped reduce my level stress because I found comfort in having a stash of items in my closet and worrying about fewer purchases.
Tip #3: Do Your Research
Know that as a parent-to-be, you’ll get an untold amount of unsolicited advice and baby stories. Friends and family are often a great resource when it comes to learning about baby products and gizmos. Also, don’t forget about your network of parent-friends when it comes to learning about the best products on the market. The baby product market is nearly a $50 billion industry with literally thousands of things to choose from. Do your own comparison shopping to see which brands and models best meet your needs.
Tip #4: Pick and Choose
Don’t get overwhelmed when narrowing down your high-priority buys! You don’t need to buy one of everything in the store, despite what the salespeople or baby websites tell you. I’ve narrowed my baby list down to the things I’ve found to be most fundamental and helpful for my family, but you have to determine which items top your own must-have list. Certainly there are parents who get by with a lot less than the 50 items on my list and do just fine.
However, I hope that your essential list includes a bouncy chair, a carrier and a nursing pillow. They all provide a safe and cozy place for your little one when you need a free hand for other tasks. There are other items on my list, too, that can make life easier, but aren’t necessities.
Tip #5: Hold Off on Some Buys
Truth is, you don’t have to decide on everything before your baby gets here – so don’t run out and buy up your nearest Babies “R” Us. There are many items your baby won’t need till closer to the one-year mark, including a high chair, educational toys and videos, a safety gate and other items for baby-proofing your home.
There’s nothing wrong with buying things as you go along! Plus, later down the line you may be more knowledgeable about certain brands you prefer, and you’ll know more about trends or new products that have hit the market since your baby was born.
I think you’re ready to check out my list of essentials, but please don’t ask me how much I’ve spent on all things baby! Download this PDF list now if you’ll be shopping for baby soon.