By Barbara Pronin
Parents-to-be – and new grandparents – are sometimes overwhelmed at the amount of ‘stuff’ a new baby requires. But while some equipment is essential to baby’s well-being, not all baby gear is created equal.
Before you shop, check the necessities and niceties suggested by Parents Magazine:
- Crib and mattress – There are many reasonably priced cribs on the market, and a ‘gently used’ crib that meets safety standards can save big bucks. But do buy a new mattress.
- Bedding – Choose sheets that fit snugly around the mattress. Steer clear of potential safety hazards like pillows, quilts, and even bumper pads.
- Changing pad – A sturdy one with a safety strap is a must. But put it atop a low-profile chest of drawers the child can use for years instead of investing in a changing table that will soon be consigned to the attic.
- Basic diaper pail – Fancy diaper disposal pails and refills are costly and store up odors. Consider a simple, easily emptied diaper pail lined with plastic grocery bags.
- A comfy chair – At feeding time, or when baby is fussy, a comfy chair or rocker can be a blessing. Before you buy new, check the ads for a good, used recliner or glider.
- Car seat – This is the single most important item you can purchase. Nothing will do more to protect an infant, and hospitals generally won't allow you to take the baby home without one. Put your money on a new one rather than used.
- Infant carrier -- Front carriers and slings free up your hands and are very packable – and consider a standard infant carrier, usually a molded bucket seat lined with soft cushioning. Some parents find babies love to sleep in their infant carriers, even at home.
- Baby seat – The infant carrier is a safe spot for baby to sit. But after the first six weeks, most parents want a more entertaining contraption. Options range from simple bouncing seats to battery-operated swings to baby gyms/activity centers. Good used choices are easy to find.
- Stroller - Invest in a combo stroller system that can be used through several stages of growth.
- Bath tub – Most are inexpensive – or consider a spongy tub or sink liner.
If you can stretch your budget, consider:
- Baby monitor
- Crib mobile
- Hooded towels
- Backpack-style carrier