I read once that the average baby costs over a million dollars from birth to age 18! Let me guess – half of that is spent right upfront, before that little squish is even born! As a new mom, I was worried that I wouldn’t have all the “things” – the newest, fanciest gear and the coolest gadgets. How would my children survive if I didn’t have nanny cams set up in their room? Would I be a bad mother if I didn’t buy the $300 crib mattress? Here’s the thing: babies might need a lot more gear on the daily than the average adult. But there are just some baby gear items they don’t need, period! Don’t listen to all those registry lists – they’re just trying to sell you the most expensive stuff.
As a note, I will add: spend whatever you can afford on your child. If you can upgrade to the newest baby monitor with camera and night vision, and it’s important to – then do it! Far be it from me to tell people what they can and cannot do for their own kid with their own money. If you’re like me, though, trying to figure out how to get the most bang for your buck in a tight budget? I’ve got a few pointers that will help. One thing I’ll never compromise on is safety.
Speaking of safety: lots of baby gear and “essentials” are really unsafe to use. No, I’m not joking! Things that look really cute or even seem useful aren’t recommended: crib bumpers, carseat straps, or toys that attach to the car seat handle. Nope. Hard pass. Your baby’s bedding will look fine without a crib bumper. And if you’re still worried about them getting their little limbs tangled up in the crib rails, try a mesh bumper. That way, baby can still breathe if they scoot up against the sides of their sleeping surface.
Most babies will soothe and eventually sleep through the night. It takes some time, but that’s a developmental thing. Unless your baby has major colic, you probably don’t *need* a soothing machine like the Snoo. Is it freaking amazing and looks so cool and I kind of want it anyway? Yes. But I promise, you are not a bad mom just because you don’t want to drop hundreds of dollars on one piece of baby gear that your kid will outgrow in a matter of months. (But really, my friend has one, and it’s magical!)
In terms of sleep, the most useful items you’ll find are cribs and pack-and-plays. I personally found success for naptime with rock-and-plays but technically those aren’t for sleeping, so, user beware. Regardless, there’s something you REALLY don’t need on your wishlist: a bassinet. Oh my goodness, yes. They are cute. They are darling. They can even be family heirlooms. But your baby will use them for *maybe* a few months before they become an unsafe sleeping space. Honestly, just do yourself a favor and skip them altogether. (That being said, I do love that our kiddos will forever have a bassinet that Grandpa made!)
Speaking of mostly useless things: baby socks and shoes. I’m pretty sure that sock monster that lives in your dryer has a free-roaming cousin that feeds specifically on baby socks. No matter where you are, your baby is going to kick those darn things right off their feet. So either invest in bulk – like, 50 pairs – or just don’t. I’d say at least 6-7 months out of the year, my babies don’t wear socks. When it gets cooler, I try to get stay-on booties or even just footie pants. Yes, they’re a thing. Yes, they’re genius. Shoes aren’t even good for your baby to learn to walk in, honestly. Let your kid be barefoot until they’re a steady walker, which for most will happen well after that one-year mark.