Keeping baby from breaking the bank

By Mir
July 26, 2011

The lovely and pretty Allison wrote to tell me that she and her husband are expecting their first baby. (Yayyyyy! I did a little dance of joy, because news of babies always makes me happy.) She says:

Since we are of the school of: I’d rather send you to college than break the bank on onesies and burp cloths – how do we go about outfitting baby/getting room together/getting all the “gear” that babies seem to require without hemorrhaging money? What is okay to buy used? What is most definitely not? Is there a list of must-haves that anyone can point me to? Are there common traps to avoid? Are there any reputable sites for product review/safety standards that I should familiarize myself with?

And finally, I am a lawyer. Where in the world do I find affordable office appropriate maternity wear?

The first thing I advised Allison to do was take a deep breath. Then I asked her if I could use her question here on the site. (Priorities: I have them.)

Let’s talk about this.

The first thing I want to do is refer Allison back to a post I wrote for about shopping for used baby gear. There are lots of things it’s okay to buy used, so that’s good news. There’s a link to a product recall database in that post, but you can always go straight to the CPSC site if you prefer.

Next, bear in mind that newborns require very little. A safe place to sleep, diapers, a few swaddling blankets, a carseat, and a pile of tiny gowns and/or sleepers. Everything else is really gravy. And I remember how tempting it was as a first-timer to buy everything, but just keep in mind that really, your baby isn’t the one who needs/wants fancy furniture.

If you’re the research-y sort, the longtime bible on this topic is Baby Bargains; I read an earlier edition back when I was pregnant with my first, but they’re on their 5th 9th (wow!) edition and still going strong. It’s a great primer on what you need and what you don’t, as well as some ways to scoop up deals.

A general philosophy tip on buying for baby: Never buy a lot of anything ahead of time. Babies are fickle creatures. Sure, you don’t want to have to run out shopping the first day home, but neither do you want to stock up on Brand X diapers only to discover that Junior’s tender bottom prefers Brand Y. The pacifiers my daughter demanded as if they were crack were summarily rejected by my son, and the blankets he couldn’t sleep without were all pristine because his sister had wanted nothing to do with them when she was an infant. You really just never know until the baby is there. So scope out the deals, but resist the urge to overbuy.

Now, as for your maternity-wear situation: Absolutely look for resale shops, because the kinds of clothing you’ll need for the office are expensive, first of all, and their short period of wearability means you’ll likely be able to score some great stuff that looks barely worn. I don’t know how formal you normally dress for work, but you’ll have to give up the notion of a closetful of suits during your pregnancy, for sure. The good news is that the sort of A-line and babydoll blouses are still very “in” right now, so for those early, outgrowing-normal-clothes-but-too-small-for-maternity-clothes days can probably be handled with some shirts you already have and pants or a skirt a size up from what you wear now.

I know you have a thing for shoes, Allison (right?), and that will stand you in good stead with the cardinal rule of pregnant dressing: Accessorize. Chances are good you’re going to be wearing the same few pieces over and over, so enjoy your shoes, pull out your jewelry, make friends with pretty scarves. It’s an easy way to dress up your look and all of those beautiful accessories will still fit you after you’ve had the baby.

For shopping non-resale, they have some gorgeous maternity items at Ann Taylor LOFT, where the sale items are currently half off when you add them to your cart. (They carry Japanese Weekend, which is one of my favorite maternity brands ever.) You may look at that sale stuff and think that short sleeves are a bad idea because you’ll be very pregnant in the cooler weather, but most pregnant women are hot all the time, plus you can always wear a jacket or cardigan, so take advantage of the summer sale stuff now and you’ll still be able to wear it later, I promise.

Know who else carries some pretty awesome maternity stuff? Target! Their Liz Lange maternity clothing is super cute, and not that expensive (plus it goes on sale frequently).

Readers, what else can we tell Allison (besides congratulations, that is)?


  1. You’ll get TONS of the basic onesies, burp cloths and cute little blankets and outfits from friends, relatives, co-workers, showers . . and I had no pride, taking any used clothing and baby items I could from friends and neighbors with older kids (heck, we still take clothes, and she’s six). We have saved THOUSANDS of dollars this way.

    Also try to save the really fancy stuff for grandmas to buy. My baby wore onesies and sleepers until she was about 15 months old, and I never bothered with shoes before she learned to walk.

  2. No used car seats or baby bottles. I would say everything else is good. Find a nice kids consignment shop such as Once Upon a Child (there are a ton of shops like this so I would imagine there is one close by). You can buy and sell there and they have a HUGE selection. Best of all, they buy direct – no waiting for someone to buy your item. For baby toys, check out yard sales, Goodwill, consignment, hand me downs, etc. Soak and wash in vinegar and water. Remember your baby will be putting everything in their mouth – even new items need to be washed esp. if coming from a foreign source. You wiill quickly realize that you really don’t need as much as the baby stores would like you to believe you do! Also, I’m sure you will have a shower or two and get loads. My parting advice – buy Britax car seats. I did a ton of research and they were always the best. We are on 3 years with them and are very happy we made that choice.

  3. I’m on my second child and second everything said above. Buy at yard sales, consignment, etc. and you will save tons of money! I also second Baby Bargains as the go to book and Britax as the go to car seat. They are much more comfortable for your child and are well worth the extra expense.

    If you plan to have more children, I would advise going gender neutral on any baby gear that you can. We have a 2.5 year old and barely need anything for our second child since we bought gender neutral.

    Good luck!

  4. My husband and I just welcomed our first little one 4 months ago so this topic extremely relevant to me. The best advice we got is to hold off on buying any clothes for the baby and that is hands down what people love to buy for you. To cut costs, we also borrowed baby gear (swing, car seat, stroller, bathtub) from some trusted friends who were finished with it for the short term as their daughter had just turned 1. We added a bouncer and playmat to the mix which our friends will use come January when their next baby comes. The timing worked out great for all of us.
    Above all else, keep in mind that the store will be there after you have the baby so if there’s something you need you can send someone to get it or get out of the house yourself. And you can use gift cards to pay for it because you’ll receive some of those too!

  5. CONSIGNMENT! Google children’s or baby consignment in your area. They usually carry maternity clothes too. I’ve saved a TON buying clothes/stuff for my daughter this way. (She’s 6 now, and I’m still at it!) The only things I would NOT buy used are bottles (obviously), carseat, and crib mattress. If you decide to buy a crib from a consignment store, check and make sure it has not been recalled. (Most consignment places won’t take anything on the recall list, but I’d check just to make sure.)

    For maternity clothes, black pants are your friend. Get a few pairs of black pants and just change up the cute tops. One or two black dresses with some cute colorful accessories can be great too. congratulations!!

  6. Congratulations! Now, are you going to be breastfeeding? If so, I’d highly recommend a boppy. And that can be used. And if you’re going to go back to work and need a pump, that needs to be new. You can’t use used pumps.

    When it comes time to put your child on a sleep schedule I swear by a sound machine. It may not make anyone elses must have list but my breastfeed sons wanted to eat, sleep and basically live on my breasts and nothing helped more than a bedtime routine that included white noise from a good sound machine.

    And a agree with all things gender neutral. Good luck!

  7. If space permits, SAVE the boxes and receipts from gifts you receive and things you purchase!! We tape them to the back of the box. That fabulous Fisher Price crib aquarium sounds GREAT now, but if it makes your 8 week old cry a blood curdling scream because of the ratcheting of the gears, return it for the spoons, bowls and sippy cups you’ll need in no time flat. Babies R Us is great about returns WITH a receipt, so if a highchair just doesn’t slide across the kitchen floor like you thought it — take it back!

  8. Oh, and PS, the saving of the boxes came in very handy when we were done having babies and sold our gear on eBay! 🙂

  9. Used pumps are fine (loved my Medela), just buy new bottles and shields. I passed mine on and it’s still pumping away, ahem.

  10. CraigsList in and CraigsList out!! I have saved and earned so much money doing most of my dealings with CraigsList. Save the boxes – you seem to get more money for something packed in the original box than just stuffed into a garbage bag. 🙂

    Join a local moms’ group or recruit your friends with kids of similar age and gender to start a handmedown circle. My best friend and I have been sending clothes back and forth between our four stair-step girlies for the past 5 years. I truly didn’t buy a single item of clothing (new OR used) for my second born until she was in 12 month sizes. The vast majority of her clothing is still used; I just supplement with cute stuff I can’t pass up. 😉

    When you do buy clothes for your baby, starting around the 9-12 or 12-18 month mark (and definitely around 24m or 2T and up), spend a little extra for quality. Hanna Andersson, Gymboree, Lands End – those are more expensive brands, but they LAST FOREVER.

    I buy Hannas on sale (or at Goodwill/consignment) and a size too big. For girls, anyway, the dresses can be worn as tunic tops over shorts or leggings long after they are “too small” as dresses. My nearly-5 year old is wearing as tunics some of the dresses I bought her just before she turned 3. Plus, they are still in such great shape that we will pass them on to my best friend’s daughter to wear for at least a year before my second daughter gets them back…By the time you account for the lifetime of the clothing, the actual cost is much cheaper than the cheapo one-season flimsiness you can get at Target or WalMart.

    Also, you CAN use a used breast pump; you will just want to get new tubing and breast cups (whatever they’re called), which are sold separately.

  11. Check the sale racks at Motherhood Maternity stores. I scored great items both times I was pregnant and plenty of nice things for my somewhat-dressy office when I was working and pregnant. If you have a Discover Card, you can also trade in that cash-back bonus for a gift card or two good at Motherhood and their more expensive sister-stores, A Pea in the Pod and Destination Maternity.

    Oh! Congratulations!

  12. For spending less on a babe, cloth diapers are where it’s at. For serious you can diaper a kid for their whole diapering career for under $200. And it’s not difficult once you get your laundry groove going. I know it’s not for everyone, but consider, too, that those diapers will last for more than one kid (we’re fixin’ to cloth diaper Kid4).

  13. Ditto the Britax and the Baby Bargains (they are actually on the 9th edition now!

    Consignment, hand me downs, & borrow from friends. It is really hard, because you want to buy certain things yourself (for my ex-husband, it was our daughter’s first baseball cap. It was his thing, and all gift ones went back or were passed on.)

    Buy one nice outfit in a small size. I had bought most clothes in 6-9 mos, and had 9,000 sleeping gowns. My grandfather died 8 days after my daughter was born, so me & my c-section were in WalMart finding two 3 mos outfits for the wake & funeral 😉

    Be confident in being baby’s parents. I woke up in the hospital (after finally getting a small nap in) to the nurse telling my ex-husband that if my daughter didn’t latch on to breastfeed, her system would shut down & she would *D*I*E*!!!!!!

    Seriously? I’m not in an underdeveloped third-world country. I’m in a nice hospital in the US Midwest, and I can see the formula closet from my bed. Really?!?! Sent hubby down the hall to get a frickin bottle. My daughter never did really get into breastfeeding, so I stopped trying to bump 6 drops from my 44DDs (I know, you’d think I could feed the world with these) and now she’s 11 and can basically look me in the eye (I’m 5’7″) so clearly she didn’t suffer. (rolls eyes)

    Speak up – don’t tolerate rude nurses, or having the foodservice guy in the room while the lactation consultant is there. Just saying 🙂

    Good luck!

  14. OK, this is my favorite piece of advice to give that NO ONE EVER TAKES: do not buy maternity clothes (especially pants) too early in your pregnancy. When you first start to outgrow your regular clothes, JUST GET “NORMAL” CLOTHES IN THE SIZE YOU CURRENTLY NEED. You can get true maternity clothes later. This is good advice (even though NO ONE EVER TAKES IT, did i mention that?) for two reasons: one, you don’t know how your cutie pie baby bump is going to grow. You may be fine with one of those wide elastic waistbands; you may need the full panel. You can’t know which it will be until later. Two, you are going to be at least a size or two bigger than “normal” after you have the baby. (Trust me on this. I literally weighed the same amount when I was admitted to the hospital as I had at my first OB visit, and I still could not wear my “normal” clothes immediately post-birth. Your body just changes for a time. Don’t panic.) After you have Baby, you will be so so glad to have something wearable already in your closet. You will DEFINITELY not want to buy anything, but you will also feel depressed if nothing fits.

    Hang on tight! You’re in for the ride of your life! 🙂

  15. Good luck! I also recommend second-hand, whether it’s consignment or thrift. If you shop wisely, you’ll get wonderful quality for almost no money.
    Confidence: remember, you know more than you think you know. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. Enjoy your little one!

  16. We are done having kids and have been selling our in really good condition stuff on craigslist. So if you are ok with CL (I know is scares some people) start searching there. Things like strollers, swings and bouncers that get only a few months of use are MUCH cheaper used. (for instance we just sold our $60 Snap and Go stroller frame for $10 and it’s in like-new condition. And last month one grandma bought our activity center, bouncer and jumparoo all for $35 for her new grandson).

    I also second the idea of gender neutral “big things” – esp if you plan to have more kids. it helps with resale, too.

    As for carseats, I know everyone praises Britax but I’ve had a Marthon and swapped it out for a Sunshine Radian which isn’t as huge in the car, has a steel frame and will hold a bigger child (no need for booster seats). My 5 year old loves her seat and easily has 2+ more years of use in it. Either way, watch Amazon for sales because you can save $30-$50 there.

  17. My youngest recently graduated from college, so my advice is ancient. Still… When I was pregnant with my firstborn, one thing I noticed was that most so-called essential baby equipment is designed to keep the baby away from his/her mother. I’m a crunchy, extended breastfeeding, home-birthing, family bed parent, so my experiences may not fit yours.

    I was given a playpen, which saw far more use to keep stuff I didn’t want the baby to get at safe than as a containment system for the baby. Strollers? They have their uses with older babies and toddlers, but how many parents have you seen pushing the stroller while carrying the baby? I got far more use out of baby carriers — my Snugli, a sling, a framed backpack carrier for my toddlers, and a Sara’s ride for my extremely squirmy baby who wiggled her way out of the sling…

    Forget the fancy baby food equipment. In fact, forget the baby food altogether. If you wait until the baby shows interest in solids (usually between 6 and 9 months), they won’t need pureed foods. I would prepare small, unseasoned batches of our food, chop them up small, and allow my babies to feed themselves. The biggest advantage to giving them control over their food intake is that none of them — not even my autistic daughter — grew up to be picky eaters. Of course I held off on the potential allergens until they were older, but a breastfed baby doesn’t really need solids for a long time (autistic daughter showed no interest until she was past a year, and was not malnourished), so it is okay to take things slowly.

    Most of my baby clothing was donated from older parents. At the time I was pregnant with my son (33 years ago), all infant clothing was synthetic. I was extremely grateful for the 15 year old untreated cotton clothing that saw me through my three children.

    Okay, the baby jumper was very nice for giving me 15 minutes to get dinner together. 🙂

  18. All great ideas. And Mir is right: babies really don’t need that much stuff. Garage sales are good sources for gently used baby gear (I found a Bebe Pod, which is like a Bumbo seat for $5)– and as you tell folks that you’re expecting, they may WANT to give you some/all of their old stuff (anyone who’s done having kids is usually itching to clear the bulky equipment/old clothes out of their house). Just be sure to cross reference gear on the CPSC website to check for recall information before putting it to use.

    We found that some of our cheapest items worked the best. For example, we used Gerber cloth diapers for burp clothes; they were super absorbent and it wasn’t a problem when we were going through about 8 a day (our son spit up A LOT). I also never bothered with Dreft laundry detergent (which is crazy expensive); we used All Free & Clear with no issues whatsoever. We also discovered that the Target brand unscented wipes worked just as well as the Pampers sensitive ones. With diapers, it turned out that Pampers contained the messes the best for us, but that’s different for every baby. For clothes, yes, it’s fun to dress babies up, but they grow fast and are messy little creatures. Invest in a few pieces that will make you smile, pick up a few functional basics, and let your friends and family handle the rest.

    Want Not is a great resource. Baby Cheapskate ( is worth a daily read as well. She does a weekly round-up of diaper and formula deals, and stays on top of baby/kid sales during the week.

    Congratulations! And good luck!

  19. I was going to say babycheapskate but Jen beat me to it. Ditto that.

  20. For maternity clothes, for babe #1, I borrowed the whole shebang from a colleague whose wife was an attorney and the same size as me. Maternity clothes are uncomfortable, poorly made and EXPENSIVE, so she was happy to see them get some more use. For babe #2, that colleague had moved on, so I bought a “lot” from e-Bay (you may have to be patient/start early). I knew this was my last, so I sold that same lot on e-Bay later.

    If you are doing daycare, you won’t be able to do cloth diapers. Different babies have different diapering needs, but don’t assume that only brands that advertise a lot will work for your wee one. Ours both did great in Sam’s Club house brands, which are about 1/4 of the price of the big names. If you want to do brand names, keeps track of diaper coupons and sales and can save you a lot, sometimes similar to Sam’s. I liked just picking up the giant box once a month and not worrying about it.

    If you pump, get the best one you can (I had great luck with one I rented from the hospital.). They are more efficient, which saves you time and hassle.

    Practice saying to yourself “They mean well, but it’s MY baby.”

  21. Everyone told me to buy maternity clothes in my current size (so, I was a 14 / XL or 1x before the pregnancy, I should buy that because they account for that growth.). I bought a ton of stiff on a good sale when I was first pregnant. I did NOT account for the fact that I would only eat oranges without getting sick the first 30ish weeks of pregnancy. Oranges don’t really pack on the pounds so I was hiking up my pants and skirts the entire pregnancy. Dresses were the only thing I could keep on! I recommend that no matter how good the sale, don’t buy too much until you know how you grow.

  22. For maternity shirts especially, mention to two or three people with new babies that you’re interested in borrowing/sharing/receiving/paying for maternity clothes, and you’re likely to get more shirts than you expected — maybe not from them, but maybe from a friend of someone. Even if you’re skeptical of the source’s taste, accept everything. If a garbage bag full only yields two appropriate pieces, that’s still two more than you had before, and a homeless or domestic abuse shelter is almost always glad to have what you don’t want.

    I’ve had good luck buying low-rise, non-maternity jeans and pants. I end up with only three pairs of pants toward the end of pregnancy (like now!) but, as Amelia said above, then you have increasingly more to wear after the baby comes. As long as your tops are long enough, you’re good to go.

    Also, I agree — don’t buy more clothes than you need at any given moment. If you buy three shirts of a style you like in different colors but all the same size, there’s a fair chance that you will only get the chance to wear them three or four times each. Even at a decent sale price, that’s not really a bargain.

    People give pregnant people a lot of leeway; they only see the baby, not your clothes! You can do laundry a little more often and get a little more wear out of everything.

    Misc. other commentary: My babies sleep in laundry baskets til they’re too long — very safe, very portable, and no need for a bassinet. Rent a pump from the hospital at least until you are sure breastfeeding will be a go; I made that be *the* plan and didn’t account for low production, so I have an expensive pump that is basically unused. And Luvs and Pampers BabyDry are exactly the same product with different characters, but Luvs are cheaper.

    It’s true — you know more than you think you know — especially since you’re already asking questions! 🙂


  23. Congratulations!

    I’m a mama of three little monkey children. We can’t seem to make them any other way.

    Clothing: I never registered for clothing. My friends told me that people will give you clothes no matter what. And this is true! Plus you never know. My #2 monkey was always several sizes ahead, and #1 and #3 were long string beans so they would outgrow clothes by length but not girth. People will probably offer you handme downs, but I also loved to shop sales, Sam’s club and other bargains.

    Maternity wear: You got lots of good advice. I bought from Motherhood and I’d buy the sales. I tried to buy pants and then a range of tops. I also hit places like Ross and Marshall’s. For casual weekend wear I bought Old Navy XL Tshirts and called it a day. You need a good pair of capris and jeans for casual wear and you’ll be good. For my FIRST baby I didn’t wear maternity clothes until I was 25 weeks along. That changed for #2 and 3. But usually you only need the clothes for a few months.

    Baby gear: Register for it. I bought gender neutral. We preferred Graco for our car seats mostly because after the baby seat we had to buy for three cars (us and grandparents). A lot of stuff you will use for such a short interim that if you can borrow or inherit — go for it. We did buy new car seats. I used the car seats again for #2 but # 3 got new ones because of timing.

    Diapers: I used generic for one child but then on my next child we had leakage issues, so I would go through more diapers. I ended up going with a name brand and we used less diapers. I bought in bulk from Sam’s. I find that with diapers it’s often a parental preference. I would drive my hubby crazy because I had to buy diapers ahead of time. It just was part of the nesting. And our daycare does allow cloth diapers if you choose to pursue that. So it doesn’t hurt to ask.

    Breastfeeding: This really is a wait and see. I nursed all three, but many of my friends had extreme difficulties or ended up not nursing. Wait to buy a pump (you shouldn’t use one until after the first month anyway). Ask your OB for a prescription and you can get a discount if you buy through the hospital or pharmacy.

    Other ways to save money: Make your own baby food! You need a steamer (or you can par boil), a food processor or blender, and ice cube trays. I made all of my own baby food. We’d make it every Sunday and have enough for the week. We waited until six months to introduce baby food and we mixed 1 to 2 cubes of food with baby cereal and apple juice. It saves you a ton of money!

    Enjoy the time and splurge a little because the truth is they’re little for such a short period.

    Enjoy the baby! It really does go by so quickly.

  24. Baby must-haves:

    Bassinet: optional but really nice! We used our’s for nine to 12 weeks on all three.

    Crib: must have

    High chair and/or feeding chair: must have but you don’t need it until maybe 6 months

    Nursing pillow (I used breastfriend): must have if you want to successfully try nursing but optional — you could use pillows.

    Stroller: We never used our big stroller and didn’t like it. For #2 we got a lightweight umbrella stroller with a hood and that’s our primary stroller after six months. For # 3 we got a baby car seat stroller/carrier and that was REALLY nice because if the baby is asleep you can pop baby out and just stick car seat in. Yes, a big stroller does this too but it’s so bulky. We used our car seat stroller until a year and then switched to the umbrella style for #3.

    Bouncer: Nice to have. You’ll want to put baby down.

    Bumbo: Nice to have, but not necessary. We used for very short time. Buy used or borrow.

    Floor mat: A quilt on the floor does the same trick. Nice baby gift to receive.

    Bottles: I liked to have enough to go through two days. so for me that was about 9 bottles (for pumping and feeding). I replaced nipples more often on #3 and that baby never got sick.

    Microwave sterilizer: Must have. I sterilized bottles, nipples, pacifiers, breast pump material. It kept #3 healthier.

    humidifer: never used it

    mobile: Must have but you use it for such a short time, good baby registry item.

    Crib entertainment: depends on you/baby

    crib set: After baby #1, never used. I just bought really nice crib sheets. Safer for baby. Less expensive.

    Exersaucer: Must have but again baby registry, used or borrow.

    Swing: Depends on your baby. Mine liked them. Used for all three so it was a good investment. Some babies don’t like them.

    Baby jumper: Great entertainment. We used on all three and shared it with friends and passed it on. You can only use from maybe 4 months to about 10 depending on your child.

    Playpen: we never used it, but it’s a nice to have. Most hotels carry one if you travel so not a must have.

    Baby bathtub: Must have, but the simpler the better in my opinion

    Baby towels/washcloths: register for at least 10

    Receiving blankets: good for rolling up for car seat/crib. Babies urp a lot so good to have multiple.

    Bibs: Never can have too many!

    Toys: Hold off until baby is bigger and you see what he/she likes.

  25. I am an attorney, too. I had a couple of trials during my pregancy, so I had to have suits. I found some at JCPenney. Not a place I usually shop, but for maternity suits, they were really reasonably priced and the quality was fine (not the quality of my Ellen Tracy suits, but good enough to get me through trial). I only bought a couple and just changed up my tops and accessories. They had teh softest maternity tees there, too (My dark secret is I kept one of my long sleeve maternity t-shirts from JCP and still wear it as a pajama top . It is just so damn soft and cozy.)

  26. You will probably be surprised at how little people let you buy for yourself. Your friends, office, family, or all of the above may throw you showers. Then, if you know anyone at all who already has children, hand-me-downs may be all but foist upon you. If you don’t have friends or neighbors whose kids are outgrowing their baby stuff, try signing up for Freecycle.

    A great, fun way to buy both clothes and gear are the large consignment events thrown by groups like Mothers of Multiples and other smaller local organizations.

    Of course, used cribs are the big no-no since they just changed the safety standard. So you’ll have to buy or register for a new crib. Then again, the affordable and useful Graco Pack n Play serves as full-time crib to many babies.

  27. Wash exactly 2 items before the baby comes home and leave the tags on everything else. I had twins and everyone assumed they would be small. Nearly 16 pounds of baby (8 lbs and 7.5 lbs) were born at nearly full term…so much for the small things I washed.

    I found out that the Carters outlet store near me takes back anything with a tag and no receipt so if you get 12 blankets, see what you can return there.

    Try the cheap diapers too…wish I did before the girls were toddlers. The Walgreens brand worked just fine. I used only Huggies for years. I tried Pampers but believe it or not, they had pictures front and back and in the middle of the night, I was always having to turn a diaper around because I put it on backwards in the dark.

    Buy used. My kids hated swings, glad I borrowed it from someone.

    Think twice about a port a crib…mine never liked it but like someone else, I did use it to keep things away from them.

    If you have stairs, get a gate and be ready. My daughter couldn’t even pull up to stand but climbed the stairs while I had a worker in the house.

    If you have hardwood floors, consider a walker-yes a walker (and no, there was no where they could roll down and fall)…the sheer joy on their face was worth it (mine chased each other to steal toys from each other…I laughed, one laughed and one cried).

    If you have a small space, consider a booster chair that can go on your dining chairs instead of a high chair. Not as convenient but when I moved to a small house, their giant high chairs took us half the kitchen eating space.

    Don’t buy it now–or buy it and don’t wash it-but consider a Miracle Blanket and when you use it for a sleepless baby, wrap them up TIGHT like a burrito. Don’t get a cheap imitation that won’t stay closed with a squirmy baby. Never use it (lucky you), sell it for basically full price on eBay. I give these as gifts all the time…they SAVED my sanity from 1 month to 4 months in age.

    All Free and Clear is just fine. A+D, stock up. Put baking soda in the baby’s bathwater to keep away rashes.

    Oh and lastly, don’t buy everything now but just before the baby is born, sign up for at least a test period of Amazon Prime as soon as you need it. You’ll need to ship any number of things overnight and you might was well save money on shipping.

    Best of luck!

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