Once upon a time, I didn't have any kids. Even when I was pregnant with #1, I really didn't know what to buy for my baby, or WHERE to buy it.
Several days ago, I posted about what new moms might need to hear before giving birth. Today, I'm hopefully going to give some helpful tips on what a new mom might need to own--especially if you don't want to spend a lot of money!
Let me start with this: how much should a baby cost every month? If we were going to actually budget a set amount of money, how much would that be? Honestly, I think--once the "big" purchases (like stroller, car seat, etc.) are out of the way, the answer to that question is going to be... How much do you want to spend on your baby?
There are many, many factors that determine how much money will be spent on each child, depending on what the newborn will be eating, wearing, how it will be diapered, and so on. Now that I've had three newborns (some of you have had a few more than I, and I'd be curious to hear your thoughts on this subject!), I have an idea of how much we're willing to spend. It doesn't necessarily come out to a specific amount each month, though. It's more like a mindset.
Okay, that kind of long intro aside, here are what I would consider...
Stroller and Carseat
Sometimes you'll find them in a set together, and other times, you'll have to buy them separately. I bought ours at a consignment sale, so it was probably half the price of the set when it was new. Although I'm not a huge fan of gender-neutral clothing, we bought a gender-neutral stroller/carseat combo, so that we could happily use it for both our boys and girls!
Crib/Pack 'n Play
A place for the baby to sleep is oh-so-important, but that doesn't mean it has be expensive. Check out Craigslist, or see if your area has an annual childrens' consignment sale.
Diapers and Wipes
Unless you're planning to potty-train from birth (we tried that with Rachel, and though it was exciting for a little while, I wouldn't necessarily recommend it), your baby will need diapers, and lots of them! Back when I had more time, I clipped coupons, and waited for sales, and bought our diapers mostly from Rite-Aid and Walgreens, for much less than their original cost. Then, we went into a long stage of cloth diapering, which worked out great, until I had three kids. Then, it just felt overwhelming. So, now I'm back to buying diapers and wipes, in bulk, from Walmart. Oh, and I use Ebates, of course, and get a dollar or two back every time!
Burp cloths/Receiving Blankets
My babies spat up a few times a day, for at least the first few months--and I think that's normal! Stores actually sell what they call "burp cloths," though I preferred the size of receiving blankets. They're nice and thin, you can wrap the baby in them, and then when they spit up, you can wipe the babies off! I was constantly throwing these in the wash, so I'd suggest owning 8-10 of them.
Ah! This is one of my favorite subjects: clothing for children! By the time my "babies" are in the 6-9 month range, they're totally wearing "mini-me" clothes, but before then, they mostly wear soft, knit clothes. To prevent stains, I liked sleepers, onesies, and little knit pants that weren't white or light-colored (though they still wore some of that occasionally). Some of these items were given to me as gifts, and I also collected them from yard sales, consignment sales, our local consignment store, and sometimes... from Walmart.
After Matthias was born, I went to Walmart and bought several pairs of brown knit pants, to pair with brown, blue, and orange (or patterned) onesies, and then I bought several sleepers. In the 0-3 month size, I probably owned 10-15 onesies, 4 pairs of knit pants, and 5 sleepers. I was constantly doing the laundry, though, so if you're not planning to be washing a load every day or every other day, you may need more onesies and sleepers stockpiled than that! Oh, and lest I forget, I must mention socks! Keep those little feet warm, while they're little and can't pull the socks off!
Okay, I think that about sums it up in the "Baby Essentials" Department. There are many other things that parents buy nowadays, such as baby monitors, toys, bath tubs, and so on, but honestly, in most cases, I think these are more wants than needs. This is where we get into the... how much do you WANT to spend on your baby? Once you and your husband have figured that out, then have fun with shopping!
P.S. How much should you spend on a baby's clothing?All parents might not agree with this, but this is just from me to you, ready? When Rachel was a newborn, I went to the mall, and bought her two dresses, each for $15. I would not do this again. When they're that little, they wear clothes for such a short amount of time, that you barely put a dress on them a few times, before they've grown out of it! ALSO... I was a new mom, so I was just getting the handle on washing out baby poop stains (which are THE. WORST.), and I didn't do an adequate job washing out one of those $15 dresses. Rachel wore it a few times, of course, and then Jemima probably wore it once, before it looked so stained that I threw it away. *sad face*
I feel like how much you should spend on an outfit changes once the child gets older. For example, I spent over $20 on a winter coat for Rachel, but I'm glad I did. It was an 18 month-size coat, which she was able to wear all winter long (as opposed to a couple times), and now Jemima's wearing it, and it still looks new! If we have more daughters, they'll be wearing this coat as well.
It's just... when they're in the 0-6 month range, especially, I wouldn't spend much money on their clothing. I would also focus on buying them clothes that they will wear over and over, instead of a few times. For a little girl, for example, she might need 2 or 3 dresses for the first month or two, and you can buy them at a consignment sale (or store) for $2 or $3 apiece!
ALSO... styles change. You don't want to spend a ton of money on an item that might be out of style next year, or in a few years, and the best you'll be able to do is possibly sell it, for a small portion of the original price.
Okay, okay. I'm done.