Pregnant moms are being bombarded daily with ads in magazines, flyers in the mail, and articles on their Facebook feed about all the gear they NEED to welcome their new child into the world. Registering for gifts can be very overwhelming just looking at all those aisles of baby stuff! If you aren’t having a baby shower, then it can be costly to think of what items you need to purchase before the arrival date. And even those of us who have multiple kiddos will understand that some of the gear that was helpful for one child may not be helpful at all for the next!
I think we all know that the NEEDS of a baby are pretty simple: Love, Food, Clothing, Shelter. The WANTS are things that can make life easier to some, but those items add up. They take up space and they can drain your wallet. So my advice to save money and help each other out is to borrow when you can! That’s right borrow. You use the item a few weeks or months and then return it to your friend, cousin, sister, or neighbor. If the owner doesn’t want it back, then let another one of your mama friends borrow it from you!
I’m not going to make an itemized list of baby gear because honestly I think your circumstances will vary. I think it’s more helpful to ask yourself these three questions before buying or registering for an item.
How long will I use it?
This is the biggest question in my opinion. Things like cribs, strollers, high chairs, and car seats will be used for years most likely. The longer the item is used I feel the more money you can justify spending on it. However, if you really want a fancy stroller or expensive baby carrier and know someone who has one, maybe ask to borrow it for a day or two before shelling out your own dough! Things like exersaucers, bouncers, swings, bassinets, and playmats have a very short term of use. These are perfect items to borrow because each child only uses them for a few months. My sister and cousin and I have all used the same bassinet. We are also all sharing many hand me down baby clothes in a rotation since we all have girls!
Am I certain it will be beneficial?
Make sure before you purchase an item that it’s something you know you will use, not something your cousin swears by or the store ad says you have to have! Bumbo chairs look super helpful until your baby is old enough for one and you realize their legs are too chunky to fit in them. Swings were awesome for your first baby, but maybe your second baby hates the swing. Some items you just don’t know for certain if they will be helpful. A car seat though is mandated by law, so I’m pretty sure that will be beneficial if you own a vehicle. If you travel a lot, have company with babies often, or need an extra place in your house for baby to nap then by all means get that pack-n-play!
Is it safe and sanitary?
Some items you may not want to borrow due to safety issues. Car seats have an expiration date and are to be tossed if they’ve been in an accident, so you might not want to go fishing in an attic for one of those! Some items may have been recalled by a company and you may not be aware if they are older. A breast pump itself may be borrowed, but you probably want to have your own personal parts for it. Most baby items can be taken apart and washed, so buying things secondhand or borrowing may not be a sanitary issue, but if you can’t easily clean or wash it then you might want to pass!
I realize some of you may not be in a position to borrow. Maybe you just moved to a new location and don’t know anyone, but once you start meeting people and making mommy friends, I think you will find that many of them have items they are stashing away in their attic for the next baby or maybe they are getting ready to give it away. I have baby items currently in my house from family members, playgroup buddies, and church members. I’ve even seen friends just ask in their Facebook statuses if anyone has a _______ they can borrow, and there are always tons of offers in the comments!