You will hear that babies are very expensive. Well they can be. You get pregnant, start wanting to prepare for your child and are faced with a HUGE amount of things to buy. Cribs, changing stations, dressers, toys, swings, clothes. But what do you really need for the baby? Well it depends on the level of connivance you are looking for. Some items are purely to help the parents, others are for the child’s safety. Here is a list of things i believe you need for the first months of your babies life.
Car seat. Its the law, all children must be buckled into a safety seat. Get one that is lightweight, comfortable and easy for you to use. And get one that you like, you will be using it for the first year of your child’s life. I prefer to buy a convertible car seat, that works for newborn through preschool age by removing inserts. Its first a infant seat, then turned face forward a toddler seat, and with the harness removed a belt positioning booster. Mine is rated for 100 lbs, its more expensive then an infant chair but will last much longer.
Diapers. You will spend more money on diapers then anything else during the course of your children’s first year. There are many options of what to buy as to diapers, many brands of disposables and easily 4-5 times that many of cloth. Cloth while more expensive in the short term will save you money in the long run. But they require more care in the washing department. Disposables will cost you more over the course of time, but are simply that, disposable.
Carrier or stroller. You will take your baby places. Its a fact, you will be out and about, shopping, going places and doing things. An infant car seat can get heavy. So a stroller or a baby carrier is great for those circumstances. I have both, and use both depending on where I’m going and what I’m doing. For hiking, ill use a baby carrier, strap my son in and we are ready to go. For long trips to places such as the state fair, i prefer to use a stroller where it can multi-task, provide a place for my preschooler to rest when he is tried, nap my preschooler, and hold purchases and jackets to name a few. Both options have their place.
Bed for baby. Even if you co sleep, having a separate bed for the baby is nice. Some moms prefer to get a crib that can convert into a toddler bed and then a full sized bed later in life, while more expensive lasts throughout a child’s life. However i prefer to use a pack and play. For me, its portable, i can take it outside with me, and lay my child down for a nap while i accomplish things, it can be moved from room to room easily. They are lightweight and relatively inexpensive. About the cost of a normal crib. However its for every mother to decide what works for her.
Bouncy chair or swing. For me, a bouncy chair was my life saver. And other moms have said that a swing was theirs. A chair or swing allows you to put your baby down and do other things while you know baby is safe. By other things i mean, cook dinner, do laundry, play with other children, or even take a shower. I know some moms who put their baby’s in swings for naps as well.
Clothes. Clothing is extremely expensive but very necessary. I live in the far north where in winter we need rather expensive gear if we wish to go outside. That gear can run in the hundreds of dollars per person. Just to stay warm. However like all clothes, it can be found on sale, or cheaper then brand new. Buying clothing of all kinds second hand, online, or on clearance can drastically cut the amount you spend in half. For example. I’m preparing for my second baby and have spent under $50 dollars for enough clothes for his first year of life excluding winter gear. Which can be found in like new conditions for a fraction of the price.
Safety Products. This is a must for any parent. Outlet covers, and drawer latches are very important once your child is mobile. Children seek out little holes and put things in them, a thumb tack can easily slide into an outlet, as well as a bobby pin that was dropped on the floor. Drawer latches are equally as important, we put many many things in drawers that we don’t want our children getting a hold of for whatever reason. The bathroom is one of the most dangerous rooms in the house to a child. With products and chemicals that are harmful if ingested, to the toilet with water in it that can down a child, its a safe bet to use a baby gate to keep them out or a door knob cover. A baby monitor is also a great thing to have on hand. My house is small, so i rarely need one, i can hear a baby from any room. But if i go outside and leave the baby sleeping, a monitor is great to listen and keep an ear on the baby while I’m out of hearing range. If you have a larger house, they are very important. You cant always hear a child crying if the baby is upstairs and you are down, or if the TV is on and you have a quiet crier.
A diaper bag. A bag to carry your diapers, extra clothes, socks, blankets ect. The things you will need for your child while out of the house. These can be purchased relatively inexpensive in department or outlet stores. Extremely cheap ones can be found at garage sales and second hand stores. And prices vary on sites such as Ebay.com. Find one you like that will fit your needs, you may need this for some time.
This last one is optional bordering on necessary. Formula Vs Breastfeeding. A way to feed your baby. Breastfeeding is much cheaper, but if you work, you may also need a pump and bottles. Even as a stay at home mom, i need a breast pump and bottles to express milk for my baby. Be it for dad or a grandparent to feed the baby, or as in the case of my first son, he was unable to latch without a special nipple on a bottle that was very long. If you opt with formula, it is extremely expensive, however programs such as WIC can help. You will need bottles as well as bottle cleaning supplies.
This is only a basic list of the items I believe necessary for living with an infant. You will require many other things over the course of your parenting time with an infant, but this should give you some ideas on what you do need.