Expecting your first baby is a wonderful and exciting time. It is also a time of a lot of preparation, and some of that preparation includes stocking up on baby gear. You might think that you need to spend a fortune on your new baby, but you really don’t have to! I am here to guide you through a list of some popular items that you can live without and offer cheaper, helpful alternatives.
Related Article: 10 Ways to Financially Prepare for a Baby
Have a baby on a budget without these 8 items:
1. Diaper Pail
When our first boy was born, we actually got a diaper pail, the Diaper Genie Elite. It worked okay for the first few months, but it was never perfect for sealing odors, so we had to take out messy diapers right away. I thought the problem was the type of pail, so when our budget increased, I bought the Munchkin Arm & Hammer pail. I was hopeful that the baking soda would be helpful in sealing odors, but as it turns out, that was a wasteful purchase too.
My solution is this grocery bag dispenser that I have by our changing table. I put messy diapers in a grocery sack and take them outside right away; then, I just use a regular garbage can for the wet diapers. I find this process easier and much cheaper than any diaper pail. You can get this dispenser on Amazon, and if you’re like me, you’ll probably use it forever.
2. Crib Bedding
- Even though some bedding sets are super cute, most of them just cost so much money. All you really need is a simple crib sheet, a good swaddling blanket, and maybe a Breathable Baby crib bumper. I never used a bumper with my twins, but it was a nice addition to my oldest boy’s crib since he always managed to get a limb stuck in the slats. If you do opt for a crib bumper, I definitely recommend Breathable Baby. The other cushy crib bumpers make me nervous with the suffocation risk.
- Most baby bassinets are only rated up to 15 pounds, so you can’t use them for very long. If you do want a temporary bed before moving your baby to the crib full-time, I would go for a Pack ‘N Play with the bassinet feature. You will probably use the Pack ‘N Play again and again, so it’s definitely worth it. Here is one that is cheaper than many bassinets.
- Although some babies really calm down with motion, baby swings can take up a lot of space. I always preferred a baby bouncer. They are cheaper, take up less space, and give you a safe place to set your baby down when you need a break.
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5. Fancy video monitor:
- Video monitors with night vision are super cool, and they absolutely have their benefits. But, if you can’t afford one, that’s okay! Our house is small enough that I could hear cries from the nursery anywhere in the house. If you need the extra range, a digital audio monitor works really well. You can even get multiple receivers for different parts of the home.
6. Play mats:
- When I was expecting my first baby, I kept adding play mats with all of the colorful hanging toys to my wishlist. When our neighbors gave us theirs, I found that I actually never set it up. It was simpler just to lay out a baby quilt for tummy time and give my boy a couple of toys to look at nearby.
7. Nursing pillow:
- Many mothers swear by their nursing pillows and can’t get by without them, but I actually didn’t find mine very helpful. I preferred using a regular pillow for the first couple of months; then, I used nothing at all once my babies could hold up their heads on their own. I found that any pillow just got in the way once my baby was a bit bigger. Then, I never got a twin nursing pillow because I couldn’t afford one, and we got by just fine.
- If you still think you would like a nursing pillow, you should at least get one for free! 17+ Free Baby Essentials for New Moms has a promo code for a free nursing pillow plus so many other baby freebies.
8. SIDS monitor:
- Breathing and oxygen monitors have been becoming more and more popular, but they are crazy expensive! When I was about to become a mother for the first time, I thought that I might want a monitor like that, but actually getting one just wasn’t feasible for us at the time. After becoming a mother, I learned that trust and instinct are very powerful. I didn’t need to monitor my baby constantly; he was a healthy baby, and I could trust that he was okay. Then, our twins were born prematurely and spent a few weeks in the NICU where they were hooked up to heart rate, breathing, and pulse oximeter monitors the entire time. While they were necessary for the early days, later on, they felt like a more of a hassle than they were worth. There were often inaccurate readings and false alarms. I think we worried more than we needed to during the times that all was well; their skin color was normal, and their breathing rate was regular. Of course, you should do whatever you think is necessary to give yourself peace of mind, but I personally do not want to do the monitor thing again.
I hope my baby experiences can help you determine what works best for you as you prepare for your baby’s arrival. Sticking to a budget is totally possible! Good luck!
If you found any of this advice helpful, please check out my Recommended Resources Page where I share all of my favorite things that save me time and money.