Get Ready for Baby
Babies need clothes to wear and nappies to keep them dry. They need somewhere warm and clean to sleep, plus some form of safe and flexible transport,
08:00 09 June 2009
Considering how small they are, babies can be incredibly expensive. But you probably don't need as much 'stuff' as you think.
This article also appears on www.bbc.co.uk/parenting/having_a_baby
Didn't we do well?
There are lots of ways to save money, and you don't need to buy
everything in one go. Items like high chairs, and even full-size cots,
can be left until later.
Babies need clothes to wear and nappies to keep them dry. They need
somewhere warm and clean to sleep, plus some form of safe and flexible
transport, and a source of food. If you meet these basic requirements,
you'll cover all bases.
Things your baby needs
- Clothing and nappies
" think in terms of four or five full outfits. This gives enough for a
fresh change of clothing once or twice a day at least, and still gives
time to wash and dry the used ones. Nappies can be disposable or
reusable. If you go for reusables, you'll need at least a dozen, and
two dozen is better. Babies get through six to eight nappies a day in
the early weeks. You may be pleasantly surprised to find friends turn
up to visit your baby with cute babygros. Don't feel compelled to go
out and buy all new clothes for your newborn. Considering the amount of
time the clothes fit, you may consider hand-me-downs.
- Pram or pushchair " plus a
rain cover or if you have pets perhaps consider buying a 'cat net'; a
shopping basket or tray attachment is also very useful.
- Car safety seat " which doubles as a carrier
- Somewhere to sleep " such as a crib, cot or pram top, plus bedding (don't buy a pillow " it's not safe until your baby is one year old)
- Feeding equipment " bottlefed babies need bottles, formula and sterilising equipment.
If you plan to express your milk at any time, you will also need a
bottle and a teat. You'll also need a pump if you aren't expressing the
milk by hand.
Optional extras at the beginning include:
- a baby carrier or sling " which allows your hands to be free while your baby is cuddled in to you; it also makes using public transport easier
- a baby bath " your baby can use the big bath, share with you, or a new, clean washing up bowl can be an option at the very beginning
- toys " though not really
necessary at first, they're nice for you and your baby to enjoy
changing gear " a changing mat or baby dresser with a changing top.
How to cut the cost
"...toys are not really necessary at first..."
Second-hand baby gear can really save you money.
Try looking in your local paper, newsagents windows, charity shops,
nearly new sales " look on the National Childbirth Trust website (see
Related links below), carboot sales or on internet buy and sell forums
and auction sites.
If you're lucky, family and friends may offer you hand-me-downs for
free. Keep in mind that some items may only be guaranteed from new for
a certain length of time, so there may well be safety implications if
you're getting them second-hand.
Check equipment for stability and safety, and only buy car seats if
they are clearly unused " if they have been involved in an accident you
may not see any signs of it, but their fixtures may not be safe, and
the inside could even be cracked.
- Cut down old full-size bed sheets and hem them round the
edges; use for cot and pram bedding. A cot sheet is quarter the size of
a single bed sheet; a pram sheet is half of that.
- Avoid buying newborn size clothing. You will get plenty as gifts,
and even if you don't, your baby can wear second size clothing with
sleeves rolled up if necessary. Your baby won't care if it's the wrong
size, and you will get more wear out of these items.
- Borrow equipment when you anticipate using it no more than a few
weeks or months, or share the cost with a friend or relative whose baby
is due some months before or after yours.