If you’ve just found yourself to be a baby daddy, your head is probably spinning with topics like beer, sex, sports, bikinis, and whoa, babies. I’ve put this handy guide together to help you sort out what’s important to get and what’s best left on the shelves of Babies “R” Us.
1. Get as much free stuff as you can from friends and family.
- Especially furniture, clothes and toys.
2. Buy as much as you can through craigslist (or other used outlets).
- You could just register for everything, but if you can get a $1500 baby room set for $200, that means someone or some combination of your sisters will now buy $1500 of things you need from the store instead of wasting it on new furniture.
- You will find things way out of your price range (quality-wise) for a steal. Buy them! This is where you can get a fancy travel system (I’ll explain what those are) when you would’ve resorted to el cheapo if it were your money for something new.
- Baby items are almost always gently used. The useful lifespan is so short since kids grow fast, it’s ridiculous.
3. Get other people to spend their money on everything else you need.
- With some big ticket items through craigslist, you have a better chance of getting your registry wiped clean with people looking to spend $20-50.
- Register for all the things you wouldn’t want to buy used like a baby mattress, bottles, nipples (not those nipples), etc.
- Register for specialty items like room decorations or a baby mattress where it may be hard finding the right size
4. Reserve buying staples like diapers and wipes and food for yourself. Register for them, of course, but know a box of something will only last a week or two.
- Prepare yourself for spending hundreds of dollars a month on baby items. Don’t waste money buying things new if you can avoid it.
Furniture and Things Babies Go In
- Bumbo Baby Sitter Seat: $40. Your baby will sit in this for 10-20 hours. Do the math. Fine, register for it if you must. You can return it for $40.
- Bumbo Play Tray: $11. Need I say more?
- Fisher-Price Papasan Cradle Swing – My Little Lamb: $150. If like mine, your baby will spend 100+ hours in this swing, buying you precious sleep time. Don’t do the math, get it from a friend, used , or if nothing else, register for it. This is the model to get with its side-to-side motion. Assemble it before you need – we had to return the first one since it was bent out of alignment.
- Baby Carrier: $40+. Find one you like and one for mommy. I suggest the Baby Bjorn for dudes and the Pikkolo for chicks. Got mine on craigslist for $40. Pikkolo is $130 new. Mmmm craigslist.
- Shermag Multi Position White Glider & Ottoman Combo with Fern Fabric: $255. DO NOT BUY THIS and give me $50 as a thank you. So what, it glides! You don’t need to spend a kajillion dollars on something that only makes your knees sore from making it rock back and forth. Plus regular chairs take up less space.
Car Seat-Stroller-Travel System
- Chicco KeyFit 30: You can go a couple different routes with this. We lucked out and got a free travel system to write a review on and keep. That’s ideal! Originally, we followed our plan and got the car seat and 2 bases for our cars on craigslist then registered for and got a stroller that works with any model of carseat – it just belts on. (Craigslist for $50 + new universal stroller for $70.) In hindsight, I think it’s worth just getting the travel system for $300. Or again, used for less.
- Baby Trend Snap N Go Stroller – Single Snap: $70. Get in place of travel system or in addition to if you want a less expensive second stroller.
Bath Time & Baby Bottoms
- Koala Baby Hooded Towel and Washcloth Set – Frog: $14. Get a couple different versions of these.
- Johnson & Johnson Baby Wash. Get a bottle or two.
- Precious Planet Whale of a Tub Bath Center. Best way to go! It sits in your bathtub and works from newborn to a year. Great to have.
- Pampers Baby Fresh Wipes 462Ct: $12. Register for 10 of these. If it lasts you a year, it spares you trips in the middle of the night.
- Pampers Diapers. Register for them by the case at Target. Get 2 cases of Newborns, 2 cases of size 1, and register for 3+ cases of sizes 2 and up.
- Desitin. Register for a tube in case your baby gets a diaper rash.
- Safety 1st Simple Step Diaper Pail: $15. Don’t buy this one, but you’ll need something. I didn’t care for the systems that required you to buy their bags.
- MilkBank Storage Bottles & Caps 3 Pack – 2.5 oz: $9. She’s gonna need this if she’s breastfeeding. Don’t buy the nipples that go with them because you’re better off using these just for storage and sticking to another brand of bottles/nipples so that your baby doesn’t get confused by differing brands of nipples.
- Philips AVENT BPA Free Translucent Pacifier – 0-3 Months: $6. Get a couple different brands and all different sizes for older babies because you don’t know which brand will work best for your child. And you don’t want to sort this out with a screaming baby at 3am.
- The First Years 2-Pack Newborn Soothies: $4. This is what my kid loved initially.
- Lansinoh 60ct Disposable Nursing Pad: $10. If she leaks, you’ll chug through these fast. If she doesn’t, you’ll never open them. I can’t predict that for you!
- Lansinoh Brand Lanolin Topical Breast Cream – 2oz: $10. If she’s breastfeeding, get 3 and place them throughout the house.
- Bottle brushes: $4.50. Get 1 with the brushes on the sides and sponge on the tip for cleaning out bottles.
- Dr. Brown Glass bottles. I really liked these bottles – they vent air in through the sides to relieve the vacuum creating by the milk leaving. Get 5 small plastic bottles. Get 5 large (7 oz) bottles. There are plenty of other brands, but these worked great for us.
- Bibs. You will get 10,000 of these at the baby shower.
- Boppy Velvet 2-sided Slipcover – Blue/Green Frosty Sherbet: $20 & Boppy Bare Naked Pillow: $30. Makes breastfeeding a ton easier. Definitely worth registering.
- Basic Comfort Nursing Wrap: $11. Has a nice little weight to hold it over her shoulder. Also look for one that looks like a parka with a hole cut out for her head.
- Baby Safe Feeder™ 2+2 Starter Kit: $11. Useful when they get older. Not necessary by any means.
- Infant-to-Toddler Feeding Seat. It belts to a regular chair and has a tray for feeding. Very useful.
- Summer Infant Day & Night Handheld Color Video Monitor: $160. Don’t spend your own money on this, but if someone buys it for you, good for both of you.
- Swaddling Wrap. This is a must-have to pack for the hospital. Babies love being swaddled.
- Roller shade for the car. I boycott these on principle. Babies have eyelids, I have dignity.
- Inclined to Sleep Positioner. Definitely get one since it’s important for them as newborns to be positioned properly.
- Baby scissors: $3. Get 1 for trimming nails.
- Aspirator. Get 2 for sucking out mucous since they can’t blow their noses.
- Diaper bag. Get one that you both feel comfortable carrying. Don’t mess around with his/hers bags because they’ll never both be properly stocked.
- Dishwasher basket. This is key for washing all the small pieces.
- Bright Starts Baby’s Play Place: $80. Try to buy these toys used. It can be expensive!
- Clothes. Buy onesies that are temperature appropriate for when they’ll be worn (short or long sleeves, etc.) and try to get everything else used.
Where To Register
I highly recommend registering at Target for as many of these things as possible. Whatever you can’t get there, register for them at Babies “R” Us. It’s far cheaper at Target, but they don’t have the selection. Know that Target’s baby section is in no fewer than 3 parts of the store.
Ask away if you have questions and feel free to offer corrections!