Luisa will be two in May so it’s fair to say I’ve seen my fair share of ‘baby gear’. As a parent, every day is a school day and I still feel utterly unqualified but I have learnt a thing or two. I’ve written before about the products I feel are worth the money for your babies first year and the items I couldn’t travel without. Today I’m sharing some more wisdom to help parents save a whopping £884.
There’s nothing that makes a marketer happier that a couple expecting their first child. You’re feeling the weight of responsiblity, you want to do everything ‘right’, you’re ripe for the picking.
Everywhere you look there is advertising, must have products, special offers and cautionary tales of the parent who didn’t encourgage enough tummy time and their child turned out to be a serial killer.
Recently we’ve been getting Luisas room ready to redecorate and make it more of a fun space for a toddler. In the process I’ve come across so many unopened packets and barely used pieces and it got me thinking about how much money had been thrown away.
I surveyed a group of parents bloggers and asked them a simple question – “What did you buy for baby number 1 that you wouldn’t bother with for baby number 2?”
Hoepfully their answers will give you a bit of insight into what you actually need and where you can save a few quid.
- A nappy disposal system – The starter kits with refills are about £30 and you’ll need to keep purchasing cartridges at an approximate cost of £40-60 for babies first year. Nappy sacks are cheaper and easier.
- An array of bottles promising to stop colic – If you try 5 different brands of ‘anti colic’ bottle you’ll have spent approx £45 and i’m really sorry to say there’s a good chance none of them will help.
- Newborn outfits – They might be cute but they’re a total waste of money. They are fiddly and have stupid buttons in awkward places, baby will poo or vomit all over them and you’ll waste hours of your life ironing tiny dungarees. Stick to sleepsuits and save £200 (based on 10 full outfits at £20 each)
- Weaning pots – I can personally guarantee that if you spend 5 hours steaming, pureeing and freezing anything your child will never eat it. Plus those daft little pots will haunt you for life, you’ll be finding tiny lids until you’re 43. 16 little pots will set you back £24
- Crib / Moses basket – This one is up for debate, many many parents said the only place their newborn slept was on them or in the pram. Luisa did sleep in her crib but sporadically and with a lot of encouragement. Now, at nearly 2, she hasn’t slept in her cot in over a year. The average moses basket and mattress is £60 but you can easily spend over £200.
- All singing, all dancing baby swing – 7/10 parents I have personally spoken to think these are a total waste of money. They do look pretty cool and the idea of being an uber chic parent with a grey throne for your baby is appealing. But, you’ll be hard pushed to find one for less than £100 and your kid will mostly likely prefer a brightly coloured, even tacky, bouncer.
- A posh changing mat – Changing mats seem to cost on average £20 but it’s not hard to find one for £40 or more. This is a piece of foam with plastic on top that your baby is going to crap all over. It’s cold, uncomfortable and you’ll resent every penny.
- SHOES – I don’t know if it’s a ‘man thing’ but in our family at least, Matt was the baby shoe fairy. Before Luisa could walk she had two pairs of Nikes and a pair of Vans. She also had countless ‘pram shoes’ which are, frankly, so awkward to put on you’d be better off poking your own eyes than trying. Approximate ammount of money we wasted on baby shoes – £50
- Sleeping bags – Now I have to say Luisa did use and like grobags for a bit. But, she was too small for them until she was 3 months old and too wriggly / fussy after 5 months. If you’re going to try baby sleeping bags 1) don’t buy loads, wait and see if you get on with them and 2) make sure you get the right tog for when your baby will be born! Don’t stock up on winter ones in the sale for a summer baby or they’ll boil. – Approx cost for 3 sleeping bags £60
- Cot Bumpers – Sure, they’re cute but they aren’t safe. Dont buy them. There’s £20 saved! If your little one is a wriggler go for a mesh cot wrap instead.
- Posh comforter / luvie / special teddy – If your kid doesn’t prefer a grotty old muslin or a gaudy cheap toy I will eat my hat. Save yourself £25 and let them attach to whatever they fancy.
- Baby bath – This depends on your situation, when Lu was born we lived in a flat in Ediburgh and didn’t have a bath so we loved hers. But, if you have a normal bath save space and money by getting a bath support instead. £20 in your wallet!
- Top and Tail bowl – If your baby just needs a quick wash you can do it in the sink, with a normal basin or even a bowl. You don’t need a special tub and you’ll be £10 better off.
- Snot Sucker – Let’s be real, if your baby needs snot removed from their nose urgently they are probably poorly. You’re going to be exhausted and your house will be a tip, you might even have a cold too. You don’t have time to be looking for a little snot sucker. You’ll use a baby wipe, or a tissue, or your own hands. Gross? Yes. Real life? Yes. £5 saved, dignity lost.
- Socks – Do tiny babies look hilarious and cute in full outfits? Yep! However, refer to the above points about how impractical outfits and shoes are. Then ask yourself if new parents even have time to pair their own socks never mind teeny tiny ones… Stick with sleepsuits for the first 3 months – save £10 on socks.
- Scatch Mitts – These are really useful in theory, but I’m yet to come across a newborn sleepsuit that doesn’t have them built in. Also, there’s lots of evidence to support that wearing mitts all day is not good for your baby. They use their hands to discover the world – trim those little nails. £5 in the bank
- Hats – Yes, sometimes it is cold and your baby does need a hat. Do they really need 8? Get 2/3 and don’t expect them to wear them without a fight past 4 months. Congrats, you’ve saved at least £15
- Bows / Clips / Hairbands – At the risk of sounding like a total misery guts I also think these are a waste of money. Most are uncomfortable and, again, as soon as babe figures out how to swipe at them they will. £20 and 4 hours on Instagram shops saved.
- Baby oil – sure it’s great for baby massage but you know those free samples you got in Bounty / Emma’s Diary packs? They’ll last a year. Plus babies are wriggly, really wriggly, why make them slippery too? £5 for you
- Toys – Obviously I don’t expect your child to thrive with no stimulation but there are only so many toys a newborn can play with. Plus you’ll get an ungodly amount as gifts. You’ll curse every toy manufacturer and vow to live in a cave before their first birthday, trust me! Buy a couple of newborn specific rattles and board books then either save yourself £5o or load up a Costa gift card. Thank me later.
- Breastfeeding cover / wrap – This is a personal choice and I do see why some people like them. If you need a cover to give you the confidence to feed in public you buy a Louis Vuitton one, more power to you mama! But… in my humble opinion the best way to get comfortable with nursing on the go is to just do it. I guarantee 99% of the time noone will bat an eyelid. Sure there are horror stories of judgemental comments on Facebook and in the media weekly but Luisa is two and I have had 1 incident. Could have saved myself £20…
- 100 Muslins – This might be a bit ‘controversial’ but I really don’t see the need for muslins, I honestly never really used them. Maybe as a makeshift picnic blanket once or twice. Fair enough, Lu wasn’t a sicky baby who spewed when burped. Show a bit of restraint and buy a 5 pack – get more later if you swear by them. £10 towards your first family holiday!
- Sunglasses – pardon me whilst I dry my tears of laughter. I honestly thought Luisa would wear sunglasses. She’s now two and has had 3 pairs. She is finaly tolerating them for 15-20 minutes at a time. If your baby is going to be in the sun get a snoozeshade. Reclaim £15 and your sanity.
- Nightlight – Your newborn doesn’t need an all singing all dancing nightime illumination system with built in climate control and breakfast making capabilities. A soft glow lamp is more than sufficent to help you deal with night time nappy changes. I actually found that the grow egg did the job. £15 saved that can be spent on a vile novelty light when Lu requests one in a year or so.
So there you have it. You’ve saved £884 on babygear and I can personally guarantee that your home will be tidier and you will be less frazzled as a result.
There are some things that no matter how sweet they are or how much research was done to develop them will simply gather dust. Every family is different and what worked for me won’t necessarially work for you. Similarly, things Luisa loved and I swear by may be useless for baby number two – we live and learn!
Besides, the majority of supermarkets are open 24hr and hello Amazon Prime! So if you do decide you can’t live without a snot sucker you’ll not be waiting more that 8 hours to experience that joy first hand.
Huge thanks to the awesome bloggers who helped put this post together – if you enjoyed it please do check them out, they’re not half as bossy as me!
Boo Roo & Tigger Too / Something About Baby / Someones Mum / Bridie by the Sea / Dilan and Me / My Mummy Spam / Hello Beautiful Bear / Mrs Mummy Harris / Arthur Wears / Porridge and Parenting / Friendly First Foods / Ready Freddie Go / Raw Childhood