With the excitement of a new baby joining the family, new parents can quickly become overwhelmed with the cost of all the ‘stuff’ that goes with a new baby. Did you know the average cost for a child is around $240,000? With so many unnecessary items on the market today, no wonder the costs of raising children are skyrocketing.
Corporations try to sell you their products, swearing life cannot go on without the latest convenience items. But is this all necessary? The secret is there are only 5 necessary items for a newborn! That’s it. The following will be a list of items a new parent needs…and items that are completely unnecessary.
1. Car seat – As required by law, a baby cannot even leave the hospital unless strapped into a car seat. However, a new seat is not required! Look for a gently used one on craigslist, garage sales, and from friends. Do your research! Manufacturers will sometime recall baby seats or set an expiration date for certain models. This information can be found on their websites.
2. Food– Whether you choose to breastfeed exclusively or use formula, making sure there is enough food for your newborn is the first priority. Along with this can come the costs of bottles depending on how that food is distributed to the child. Before spending large sums of money on the newest model of baby bottles, look into buying second hand. Bottles can last for years and can be reused over and over. Nipples, on the other hand, would be a smart investment and should be purchased new. After a while, the nipple material can break down and the integrity compromised. Just make sure the nipple matches the type of bottle.
3. Diapers – Whether you choose cloth or disposable, diapers are one item a parent does not want to live without! Period.
4. Clothes – There are so many cute, but unnecessary outfits, that are available for babies. Newborns are NOT easy to dress, however, and simpler is better! Depending on your climate, stick to the two basic items, onesies, and footed sleepers. Onesies are simply a long shirt with snaps between the legs. These are fairly easy to slide on and off with minimal trouble. Footed sleepers are great for colder days/nights. If you can, buy the kind with the zipper down the front and avoid the snap ones. Zippers are so quick and convenient with a squirmy baby.
5. Blankets – Blankets can be extremely functional and transitional. A blanket can be a swaddling cloth, a wipe, a burp cloth, a warm layer, a soft bed, and a bib. There are so many uses for blankets, that I find that having one or two fluffy warm blankets and about 8 thin receiving blankets will encompass many needs.
You may be wondering about baby swings, bouncers, cribs, bumbo seats, and many other convenience items. Although nice to have, none are actually necessary for the survival of your baby. If you truly want a baby swing or bouncer, try borrowing from a friend for a while before making the purchase. Many babies will never like a swing or will refuse to sleep in a crib.
With my first child, I purchased a crib, swing, bouncer, johnny jumper, etc and quickly found this baby only liked to play on the floor. What a waste of money! Here are several other items that are extremely unnecessary, but treated as if a parent is not thinking of the child’s safety if not purchased.
1. Fancy bedding sets – You infant will not care if there is an entire matching set surrounding him/her upon arrival in your home. Besides, how many millions of cases are there about child fatalities from bumper pads and big quilts? Avoid the cost and risk, don’t bother!
2. Changing Table – A child’s diaper can be changed ANYWHERE! It does not have to be on a designated table with the ‘proper’ padding and safety restraint. Decades of children have survived diaper changes on a couch, floor, bed, and even the kitchen table (gasp!). Two good rules are to always have one hand (and one eye) on the baby and to put a blanket between the baby and whatever surface you choose.
3. Baby bathtub – Did you know that your house already comes with one? The little babies can go straight into the sink, with a towel or blanket on the bottom, and the older can go straight into the big tub. Amazingly simple. Not as cute, but very functional and every house already has one. Most sinks even have the hand held sprayer which is so nice for rinsing slippery babies.
4. Shoes – Newborns never use their feet for any purpose. As babies start to crawl and walk, it is actually recommended to keep your little one barefoot, to help with grip and balance. Shoes are a cute and extremely unnecessary expense. Save your money and skip this one.
5. Food Safe Pacifier Wipes – Along with pacifier wipes, comes boogie wipes, flushable potty wipes, travel baby wipes, etc. Every one of these items is practically the same item, with a different name. Save some money and use a wet towel, blanket or toilet paper. These are items you already have. No need to follow the latest wipe trend.