First time moms are often big time spenders. From designer diaper bags to retro highchairs, it’s hard to hold back with so many nesting goodies out there. Babies need a lot of stuff – enough to transform your tidy two bedroom apartment into a hoarder’s storage unit! Don’t think the expenses stop once the nursery has been perfected either. Diapers, wipes and organic baby food are about to top your grocery list. Here’s a look at the essentials and the splurges to help you prioritize what’s worthy of your wad of cash.
Where to sleep
Restoration Hardware cribs are dreamy, but all your baby really needs is a safe space to sleep. The Academy of Pediatrics recommends that your newborn sleep in his own bed in your room for at least the first 4-6 months of life. Thus, a full sized wooden crib isn’t even necessary for the nursery early on. Play yards or pack n’ plays are a safe and cost effective option. These can be broken down, easily stored, moved to another room and used for travel. The Graco Pack n’ Play On the Go Play Yard gets consistently good reviews and runs about $70-80. For a splurge, try the 4 Moms Breeze Play Yard; it runs $300 but offers great durability. With one simple push and pull your bed is up and down.
Grabbing a good infant car seat is of paramount safety importance. While you may be tempted to save some cash and pick one up at a garage sale, don’t do it. Each car seat should have a VIN number, which allows you to check for recalls, but it can’t tell you if a used car seat has already been in a crash (rendering it unsafe). Many reasonably priced quality new car seats with great safety ratings are available. For example, the Graco SnugRide Classic Connect 30 gets high safety ratings from Consumer Reports and will only set you back about $65. For a splurge option, check out car seats from Peg Perego Primo or Nuna Pipa. Also, make sure you purchase a car seat that’s compatible with your stroller to make car to stroller transfers seamless! For a stroller splurge ($820), consider the Uppababy Vista. This stroller is an investment but includes a bassinet and can adapt for up to three children as your family grows.
Breast, bottle, or both – here are a few recommendations that will save you time and energy, keep your infant gas free and maintain your modesty.
- Nursing Pillow Pick your pillow based on comfort rather than pattern or brand. Although Boppy is a popular choice, less expensive brands have emerged, offering the same comfort.
- Nursing Covers Petunia Pickle Bottom Nursing Covers offer adorable patterns, although at a premium price. If you’re on a tighter budget opt for equally cute designs at Target or Amazon.
- Breast Pumps It may be worth the price to splurge a little here. The Medela FreeStyle Breast Pump ($400) is a small, quiet, completely portable battery operated pump. Add on the hands free bra and you can pump anywhere while getting some work done in the process. Check to see if your insurance will cover part of the cost.
- Bottles While a little more costly, Dr. Brown’s Bottles are known for reducing the amount of air that infants swallow while feeding, resulting in less painful gas bubbles in their tummies.
Baby carriers are all the rage, and rightfully so! Time spent close to mom improves baby bonding and even greater milk supply for nursing moms. The Moby Wrap is a great option at a reasonable price (around $40), but it might take a little practice to secure the wrap comfortably. The ErgoBaby 4-Position 360, while pricier ($180), is not only comfortable for you, it’s completely versatile for baby. Infant inserts and rain/sun covers make this carrier perfect for all ages, stages and seasons of life.
Have fun planning, purchasing and nesting. Most importantly, remember that more than anything you can buy, what your baby needs most is your love!
Cincinnati Parent staffers were asked: What was the one item or piece of equipment you found absolutely essential when your kids were babies?
When my second son came along, my Baby Bjorn carrier was a lifesaver. It allowed me to chase after my two-year-old while keeping my newborn safe and snug next to me. Repeatedly bending down to talk to a toddler while having a baby strapped to your chest is also a great thigh workout. – Karen Ring, Advertising Coordinator
For my oldest, I couldn’t have lived without a baby swing. My youngest wanted to be held at all times, so I always had him strapped to me in a baby carrier. I used it anywhere I needed my hands free because he wouldn’t sit in a stroller, a swing or a bouncy seat. – Roxanne Davis, Business Manager
The one item I found as a necessity with twins was a harness! When you have two babies running in two different directions, the harness keeps them attached to you! – Melissa Wittenbaum, Account Executive
We loved our baby aquarium. The soothing soft light helped each of our daughters feel they weren’t alone in a dark room and the calming music and cute little fish did just enough to take their mind off it being bedtime but not overstimulate them. – Katy Mark, Account Executive
A baby monitor — a must have when I was a new mom, although my husband and I learned the hard way that what we said in the baby’s room could be overheard by guests! – Susan Bryant, Editor
It has been awhile since I’ve had babies as my oldest daughter, Wendy, now works for Cincinnati Parent! But I do remember the convenience of the automatic swing (you had to crank it back then) when I had to get a few things done. – Mary Cox, Publisher