Baby essentials – when you’re on a budget, it pays to know what’s on the must have list and what’s a big waste of your tight budget! When you have a baby you are bombarded with heaps of products you are told you NEED to buy. However, a lot of the time new parents will spend HEAPS of money on things and then find out they didn’t even need! So we’ve asked our community of parents on what were their essential baby items and what were just were just money wasters.
Cloth Nappies: Voted Baby Essential
Whether you use them for their intended purpose or as spew rags cloth nappies are a great investment! Whilst it may be a bit more expensive to get them at first you’ll save heaps of money in the long term – many of our mums reported the nappies lasting for several kids. Of course, cloth nappies aren’t for everyone, and they do add another layer of pain to newborn parenting. As far as baby essentials go, these are either a big win or a big money waster, depending on your parenting style.
Baby Baths: Voted Money Waster
A lot of parents reported baby baths being a waste for them, finding it easier to use the sink. However, there were also quite a substantial number who reported their baby bath being absolutely necessary – especially if you have a kid who hates baths. It’s also important to remember how fast your little one grows we had a lot of reports of kids growing out of their bath so quickly it was barely used. This comes down to your newborn’s attitude to bath time. The verdict – this one is a “wait and see” purchase. Borrow one if you can, or pick one up second hand rather than pay out for a brand new baby bath.
Change Tables: Voted Money Waster
This was probably what we got as the highest response as a ‘money waster’. But some people did report this as one of their newborn essentials. If you have problems with your back or your baby HATES being changed the purchase might be worth it. Many have also found changing pads to work rather than getting a whole table. Change tables aren’t just there to offer the right end of the baby at the stinkiest time… they’re there as an all in one storage area for nappies and the like. They’re one of the pricier purchases for your new baby so consider trying “floor changes” before you invest.
Note that it may not be on your list of baby essentials but when your little one starts to crawl, it may become a toddler essential! There’s nothing more difficult than changing a bum that doesn’t want to be changed!
Onesies: Voted Baby Essentials
We received a lot of love for Bond’s onesies – especially zippies and wondersuits. However, some mums thought Target or K-Mart brands were just as good for less money. Onesies are pretty much baby essentials because they’re the go to in baby wear in those first few months.
However, everyone agreed to be careful when buying 000 sized onesies as little ones can grow out of them faster than you think! Your baby will only be very little for a very short time. When buying clothing for your newborn, consider the likely weather on her birthday and get just enough onesies and other newborn sized clothing to cover the few weeks after birth. Those few weeks are unlikely to be a star studded affair, filled with formal dinners and photo ops too… a few basics is likely all you’ll need. Teeny tiny ball gowns may be cute but are firmly on the money waster list!
Bassinets: depends on your parenting style and your baby’s preferences
This was another product which got a lot of mixed reviews! Many found the bassinet to be a waste of money as their child slept in a cot or the family bed from very early on. However others found it to be very helpful, as they wouldn’t have to walk all the way to the other side of the house if their baby woke up. A lot of the functionality of the bassinet relies on how well the baby sleeps, the layout of your house, and your personal preferences.
If it’s your first baby, you may be swearing right now that you’ll never co-sleep. This may change. Your baby may not be at all interested in a cot or a bassinet… So much of parenting comes down to what your baby actually thinks. Even a tiny newborn has some very, very strong opinions! You can probably delay buying a bassinet until you get to know your baby – if co-sleeping and cot sleeping don’t work for your bub, you can then try a bassinet.
Baby Monitors/Breathing Sensors: Voted Money Waster
The main feedback we got on baby monitors was that they were a waste of money, with many claiming it would just keep them up or go off when the baby was perfectly fine. This feedback was similar for breathing sensors. However, some mums did say that breathing sensors helped their anxiety and allowed for them to sleep better. Therefore, it depends on your baby’s health and your anxiety levels if a baby monitor or breathing sensor would be beneficial for you. A portable baby monitor can be a big help if you’re planning on slipping out to hang out washing and want to be sure that you can hear if your baby wakes. This one will come down to your parenting style and your baby’s routine. If you find that you’re too anxious to pop out into the backyard while your baby sleeps, you can pick up a baby monitor in the first weeks.
Designer prams: Voted Money Waster
It’s pretty universally recognised that a pram is an essential for babies. Our community of mums stressed practicality when picking a pram. From simple things to making sure it fits in the car to larger things like taking into consideration future children with your purchase (ie. Do you need a pram where a second seat could be added?) Many of them stressed considering the pram’s long term use and how fast they will grow. Expensive “trendy” prams were voted non-essential, with most mums stressing the practical side of pram purchase being more important than the designer label. Choice Magazine often ranks the cheap and cheerful Target brands among the best prams and offer short term access to their reviews pretty cheaply – be sure to do your research!
Car Seats: Baby Essential
Car seats are essential to keep children safe. Make sure you research car seat laws within your state to know you aren’t putting your child in harm’s way. Many suggested buying a new car seat (as they are only valid for 10 years) and investing in an adjustable car seat. This one is simply not optional.
Carriers/Slings/Wraps: Voted Baby Essentials
For many children, some form of carrier, cling, or rap is pretty necessary. There were many different brands suggested and it was stressed by many parents that investing in a good one is important. The two important things in a baby carrier are comfort (for both you and the baby) and the design. The design is very important as badly designed carriers can put your baby’s health and development at risk. Of course, you may find that your newborn HATES the sling but loves the carrier, hates being wrapped but loves the sling… it’s all down to your baby’s preferences. While you’ll need wraps regardless (they’re the multi-purpose fabric of the baby years – from spills to pram shade to vomit sponges, to you know, wrapping the baby) you’ll need these. If budget’s tight, consider trying your baby in a sling and a carrier before choosing which you’ll use. Wait until after her birth to be sure.
Bottle Warmers: Voted TOTAL Money Waster
Bottle warmers were conclusively seen as a waste of money! Everyone agreed! With many mothers saying they resold theirs when they found you could just use a pot instead.
Bottle Sterilisers: Voted Money Waster
If you don’t have a dishwasher, bottle sterilisers do make lighter work of thoroughly cleaning those irritating teets, pump parts and other bottle feeding and mix feeding essentials. Nobody tells you how much washing up is involved in having a new bub. Sure you expected the laundry but LORDY the washing up. A dishwasher could almost go on the essentials list frankly!
What Does This Mean?
There’s a lot of baby products that will work for some children and won’t work for others and there’s a lot of products that will work for some parents and won’t work for others. So, when buying products make sure you take this into consideration, do your research and be prepared for the inevitability that some things may go unused or have to be resold. In conclusion, there is no essential baby items list that will work for all parents but if you do a bit of research you can avoid wasting too much money!
If you’re expecting and struggling with baby equipment – you can have a look at our checklist here to make sure you don’t forget anything!