From the minute new parents-to-be find out they are expecting, the cash register just starts ringing. and when they start to add up all the expenses that this first child will cost them over the years, along with all kinds of cute baby accessories advertised to them and the endless list of things they must buy, It's almost two mortgage payments.
It's very easy to get caught up in the excitement and drain the bank account only to later on have panic attacks about how much is being spent. In 2010 a USDA report estimated that parent's can expect to spend $12,000 on child related expenses the first year. By age 2 that cost can exceed $12,500.
There are many ways that parents-to-be can cut the expenses when they're expecting a baby. Many families choose to stick to consignment only shopping (Hello Duggars) or readily accept hand-me-downs from older children, friends or relatives. Other mom's join local Facebook groups whose sole purpose is to swap and sell gently used products that their children have outgrown at deep deep discounts.
Shopping that way is a great way to save some money and even line the pockets of mamas who have a whole house full of baby things they're able to sell.
But is buying used always the best and safest idea?
Because of the ever changing recall list and increase in safety standards, not all hand-me-d0wn baby products are safe for a new baby. Some used baby products can even pose a serious health risk to mom and her child. And yet there are some items that are best bought instead of used! I've gathered 7 baby products that parents should always buy new and 7 that they can save their money and get used.
14 Used: Baby Clothes
Is there anything more powerful to an expectant mom than the lure of adorable baby clothes? Even a seasoned pro’s like myself can’t resist spending all of my money on clothes for a new baby. But if you're on a tight budget or just simply want to be fiscally responsible, you may want to consider buying used baby clothes.
Babies grow at rapid speed and often your baby will outgrow an outfit before you even get to wear it. Not to mention how messy babies can get and often stain things with poop blowouts, food or spit up.
If you have older children, consider reusing their old clothes or ask family and friends if they have anything they would be willing to pass down anything they have. Consignment shops are a great place to visit for deals. And if you are looking for name brands at a deep discount consider Instagram sellers for hard to find pieces or brands for cheap!
13 New: Breast Pumps
A breast pump is an invaluable purchase for the nursing mother, especially if you're going to be going back to work but want to continue to exclusively breastfeed you're going to need a pump. Even if you don't plan on going back to work you're going to need a breast pump if you want to spend any time away from your baby.
Unless you want to look like you're on supermarket sweep and knocking things inside your cart so you can make it back before the baby wakes (guilty), get a breast pump. Trust me!
Breast pumps can be a very expensive purchase and because of that you may be tempted to buy one used. But that's probably not the best idea. And here's why.
A lot of people think that you can just wash and sterilize the outside of a breast pump and it will be good as new but that's not the case. The interior parts of a breast pump is where the danger lies. The inside provides the perfect place for things like bacteria and mold to grow and can be very dangerous to your baby. Buy new!
12 Used: Toys
Baby toys are another example of a place where if you aren’t careful you can spend a lot of money on things that may just end up collecting dust in the corner. It’s also hard to predict what toys will be popular for your baby so you may end up with hundreds of dollar’s worth of balls only to realize all your baby likes are crinkly books or the empty box from that weeks Amazon Prime delivery.
Consider joining with other mom friends to swap out toys at a monthly toy swap that way you can save money on things and keep your baby from getting bored. And keeping only a few rotating toys in your house will also cut down on the ever expanding clutter. Just be sure to make sure that all the toys are safe with no tiny pieces which can be a choking hazard, chipping paint, or loose hardware.
11 New: Car Seats
Maybe your mother-in-law held on to your husband’s infant seat and thinks it would be a great idea for your little one to use it. Don't take it. Car seat designs are constantly evolving and changing. What was considered top of the line forty years ago is cause for major alarm now.
With an older car seat you not only have the lack of advanced technology you also risk it being part of a recall as well or possibly having been in an accident which makes it unsafe. Car seats also only have a shelf life of 6 years and then are no good.
Even if a car seat looks clean and nice it potentially can be very dangerous for your baby and offer little to no protection in an accident because the pieces of a car seat degrade over time. Buying a new car seat is definitely money well spent!
10 Used: Swing Or Rocker
Baby gear like swings and vibrating chairs can be very expensive and it can be tempting to buy all 3 of the 4Mom’s chairs, plus a rock-n-play just in case. But chances are you may not use them as often as you think. For some babies this chairs are lifesavers for mom’s but for others (me) they are just big expensive space wasters because your baby never wants to be put down. Ever.
If you aren’t apart of a local Facebook swap and sell group join one now. Things like swings and baby bouncer chairs or even a Bumbo seat (which are only used for about 3 months) are easy to find on groups like this and often are in excellent used condition. If you have mom friends whose babies have outgrown these already consider asking if she’ll loan them out to you.
If your baby really likes it and you plan on having more children, you can always purchase a new one later on. Like with every baby item you buy check to make sure there have been no recent recalls on the item and that everything is working. Most swings and chairs have removable and washable covers so once you clean the fabric no one will ever know that it’s used!
9 New: Mattresses
A crib mattress is another item that is best brand new for sanitary reasons. Infants can be messy and a used mattress could contain bacteria from poop, pee, spit up or even mold which is not just disgusting but can make your baby very sick. Older mattresses also contain more chemicals like BPA and phthalates that you won't want around your baby.
And over a long period of time just like adult mattresses, crib mattress can get soft which is a suffocation risk. A firmer mattress is recommended because it can help prevent SIDS.
Your baby will spend about 18 hours in their crib a day (if you're lucky!) Look for a new crib mattress that is firm, breathable and made of organic materials! Once you're done using the crib mattress if you took good care of it (like using a mattress protector to keep yuckiness off of it) make sure you store it away in a cool dry place so that you can use it for your next child.
8 Used: Changing Table
Personally I never used a changing table with my children but I know a lot of moms who love them. But they can be pretty pricey and not completely deserving of a $200 or more price tag. Used changing tables can go for around $20-$75 on Craigslist or your local sell site.
If you are looking for an investment piece considering purchasing a used vintage or antique dresser that you can convert into a changing table with a simple vinyl coated changing pad. When choosing a pad you want one that fits completely on top of your dresser and one with a safety strap. You can affix it directly to the top of the dresser and some have straps that you can use or a sticky bottom.
You can also place a shelf liner underneath to keep it from sliding around. Make sure you attach the dresser to the wall as well to prevent tipping. Once your baby outgrows being changed on the table or it becomes super dangerous because of all the flipping and flopping they do you can easily remove the changing pad and have a beautiful unique dresser your child can continue using.
7 New: Cribs
When you get pregnant you will probably have everyone in your life offer you a crib they have stored away in their garage. Walk away from that offer quickly! In 2011 federal regulations changed prohibiting manufacturers from producing drop side cribs which are incredibly dangerous and in some unfortunate incidents have resulted in death.
Another reason to avoid used cribs is that sometimes there are missing parts that the person may not be aware of. In fact, when I had my first son a family friend gave us a crib and it was missing screws and when we woke up the next morning one side of it had come undone. Thankfully my son was on the completely opposite side and wasn't hurt, but it could have been a horrible accident.
If you're trying to save money, consider a mini crib which will take up less space and cost less or even consider safely co-sleeping!
6 Used: Monitor
For the first 6 weeks you will probably never be really far from your sleeping baby. But once your out of that “fourth trimester” and your baby has started taking more reliable and longer naps you may find yourself venturing out of the coziness of your bed and doing things like the laundry and cleaning (yuck).
If you live in a smaller home or apartment a baby monitor might not be something that you need. But if you live in a larger home or a home with multiple levels a baby monitor will be important. The days of the simple two handset baby monitors has definitely been upgraded. Now you can get baby monitors that work on Wi-Fi, video monitors, and even ones that will track your baby’s movement.
But they are very, very expensive. The simple baby monitor will run you about $20 and a pack of batteries. But if you are a little bit more of a helicopter parent and want to stalk your baby while they are sleep you are looking at spending around $300 which is more than a crib! But if you can find these used at a consignment shop you could save about 50% off of retail!
5 New: Stroller
Other than the crib the stroller is the next big ticket item. If you plan on getting out and about a good stroller is paramount. But they too can also be expensive ranging from $19.99 for a simple umbrella stroller to $1999 for the Bentley of strollers, the Bugaboo Cameleon. But like car seats and cribs they are also subject to a lot recalls.
Just recently a Britax model was recalled. If you're purchasing used, you may not be aware of that. In 2015 federal guidelines changed requiring manufactures to minimize risk like better hinges to keep from amputating fingers and seat belts that keep kids from escaping.
Plus, with every year it seems stroller technology evolves making them even more safer than the year before and helping to make things easier for parents when they go out. Considering investing in a stroller that can grow with your family and allows you to add extra seats for additional children when needed.
4 Used: Baby Bathtub
A baby bathtub is a great item that you can buy used (or not even buy at all!). Some babies don’t like the bathtub and prefer showers with Mom or Dad. Some people are totally old school and love bathing their baby in the kitchen sink. A baby tub is another item like baby monitors that have a lot of extra bells and whistles you don’t need to waste money on.
Even if you decide to buy one you will only be using it until your baby can sit up which is about 4-6 months. If you are able to get a used baby bathtub you could end up saving yourself about $40 and can use that towards the many, many diapers you’re going to need. If you are able to find a used bathtub make sure you give it a good wipe down with some bleach and you’ll be good to go.
3 New: Soft Infant Carrier
Being able to wear your baby can be a lifesaver for a new Mom. In those first few weeks and months your baby will crave your smell and the sound of your heartbeat and my need that to help them go to sleep. In an ideal world you would be able to provide just that for your baby 24/7. But the reality is, that’s not always realistic.
You may have other children that demand your attention or things that need to get done around the house. Having an infant carrier or sling can prove to be invaluable.
Infant carriers are often recalled so when you buy secondhand you really want to research to make sure that the carrier you're buying hasn't been recalled. Even when you do purchase new it's important that you check to make sure that all straps and closures are working correctly so that your baby stays safe.
2 Used: Nursery Glider
A nursery glider comes in hundreds of different styles. They have the traditional wooden rocking chair with cushion ones (which are kind of ugly if you ask me) and then they have the beautiful custom upholstered ones with the matching ottoman which can cost you a lot of money. Like a lot.
Sure gliders or rockers can be very comfy especially when you are nursing at all hours of the day, but they can be a big drain on your wallet new. Buying a glider or rocker new will save you a ton of cash. If you happen to find one with a few stains, you can rent a rug cleaner with an upholstery arm for cheap at a local home improvement store or you can spot clean any stains.
But if you are really handy there are a ton of tutorials on Pinterest on how to recover the cushions in any fabric you choose.
1 New: Pacifiers Or Bottle Rubbers
Maybe you've had that friends that hands you over several Ziploc bags of old pacifiers or baby bottle nipples because the "paci fairy" told her little one to give them to "the new baby." That's a great idea in theory. But in practice can be pretty gross.
The rubber in pacifiers can lose their integrity due to exposure over time and wear and tear. They can collapse in your baby's mouth and come apart making them a choking hazard. If you're getting pacifiers from older children, they have definitely been chewed on and worn out to the point that they may even be coming detached from it’s plastic base.
Even bottle manufacturers recommend that you replace your bottle nipples every 3-4 months because the holes can become larger over time. So if someone is passing something on to you. Chances are they've lived their life and are ready for their burial.
Pacifiers and bottle nipples are probably the least expensive baby item you'll need that it's a no brainer to just buy them new.
Source: What To Expect and Pop Sugar