With all the happy celebrations and emotions surrounding the impending arrival of a new baby, it can be easy to forget the practical aspects — especially that expanding the family translates to more expenses! Before the little one arrives, parents-to-be often find themselves stocking up on diapers and gear that can tip the financial scales at hundreds to thousands of dollars. But if you're expecting a bundle of joy, don't let pricey baby gear rain on your parade. We're sharing 10 tips to keep costs to a minimum so that you can focus on the most important fact: you're having a beautiful baby!
Note: whenever you buy or borrow used items, do your research ahead of time to ensure that there are no outstanding product recalls and that the items are up to date by today's safety standards.
Register wisely. Left to their own devices, many of your guests will gift you with adorable outfits and stuffed animals for the baby-to-be. If there are items you really, truly need (a car seat, bottles, even diapers), make sure they appear on your registry rather than clothes and toys. Chances are, you'll still end up with a wardrobe's worth of newborn clothes, but you'll be off to a great start with baby necessities, as well!
Put your hand out for hand-me-downs. If you have friends who have kids, know that they are itching to give you baby gear. Within 24 hours after our pregnancy announcement, our friends and family had offered collectively three cribs, half a dozen car seats, and bags upon bags of newborn and toddler clothes. If you're at all concerned about the costs of these items, graciously accept them. You will be able to pay it forward later when other friends have babies of their own!
Rent. If you plan to be a breastfeeding family, a breast pump is a wise investment, not only to let Mom get some sleep from time to time, but also to help increase milk production if Junior is a high-achieving eater. But buying one can run upward of $400! Look to hospitals, clinics, and parenting networks in your area for daily, weekly, and monthly pump rentals, which can help offset the upfront cost of buying one new.
Scour Craigslist. Parents looking to offload their precious gear often turn to online classifieds like Craigslist to recoup some of the cost, so there are great deals to be had. A scan of the listings in my area showed a barely used Petunia Picklebottom diaper bag for $75 (normally $175) and a $900 Bugaboo stroller for $425. As with any online classified purchase, use caution when making the transaction, and meet the seller in a public location.