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Having a baby is a major financial undertaking as well as a physical and emotional one. Today, there are countless items marketed as “must haves” and “necessities” for new parents that can make you question whether you need a bigger house and an extra pay check too.

But do you really need to spend the money on all those things? Our answer is no. So, we put together this list of items you should have, along with those you can decide yes or no on, and some we think are unnecessary purchases you can cross off your list and enjoy the extra money in your wallet.

Need It
First, let’s go over the items you absolutely must have when your baby arrives. These are the non negotiables:

  1. Diapers — No matter which type you choose (cloth or disposable), you need something to put on your little one’s bottom. And don’t forget the wipes!
  2. Clothing — Having plenty of onesies and nighties on hand will essential since babies are prone to lots of messes. They don’t have to be fancy or expensive, but make sure you cover all the basics, including mittens to prevent scratching, a hat and socks to keep them warm and swaddlers to help them sleep. Oh, and bibs. Lots of bibs.
  3. Nourishment — If you’re planning to breastfeed, have all your supplies ready including nipple balm, a pump, etc. If you’re going to with formula, have plenty stocked up along with bottles ( we think Dr Browns are THE best) and the proper equipment to clean and sterilize them.
  4. Bedding — A crib and/or bassinet that is safe for your child to sleep in from day one. Spring for the new mattress as well that’s firm. Waterproof sheets are also a worthwhile purchase.
  5. Baby Carrier — While you love holding your baby in your arms, you will need your hands from time to time, after all. A sling or other form of child carrier is a must to keep you mobile.
  6. Car Seat — This is another item to buy new. The staff at the hospital will also help you install it properly.
  7. Stroller — Echoing No. 5, you can’t carry them all the time and a stroller allows them to take in the world around them as well. You can even opt for a jogging stroller.
  8. Bathing Supplies — A baby tub – a modern type like this or a traditional one or  a bath support and personal care products like soap, shampoo and body wash that are safe for babies.
  9. Blanket — Don’t go too crazy and buy a dozen, but having a few special ones will provide a keepsake or two for later in life.

May Need It
Now that you know what you really need to buy, let’s talk about some items that are also pretty great. These can help, but you can get by without them:

  1. Teething Toys — You probably already have a lot of these laying around at home like wooden spoons. Some frozen fruit wrapped in cheesecloth also works.
  2. Diaper Cream — If you have some coconut oil in your pantry, you have a completely natural and nourishing diaper cream to keep their bottom happy.
  3. Changing Table — The floor or a bed with a simple mat down will work just fine if you want to cut this item from your list. Some moms prefer to change diapers on a higher surface, as it is much easier on their aching back. You could also repurpose an old dresser with a changing pad.
  4. Baby Swing —  Some babies love them, some don’t. And you won’t know til you’ve got the swing. While these gadgets can be convenient, your child grows out of them quickly. Why not opt for a pack ‘n play they can keep moving around in as they grow? Or maybe  look for a pre-owned swing or share one with other family members.
  5. Diaper Bag — There are some gorgeous ones out there, but they can cost a fortune. A reusable tote will work just fine and can be washed if needed.
  6. Rocking Chair — Great for feedings and bedtime and to give your back a break. But expensive.

Skip It
This last category is reserved for products that we consider luxuries. By all means, if they reduce your stress, absolutely pick them up, but they really aren’t necessary:

  1. Wipe Warmer — Think about it: Your baby still lets you change them when you’re not at home with warm wipes.
  2. Baby Towels — Cute, yes, but if you already have some smaller bath towels, you’re all set.
  3. Bottle Warmer — You can heat bottles safely in a microwave or in a saucepan of hot water, if your bottles are BPA free.
  4. Shoes — Before they can walk, opt out of the shoes, no matter how hard they may be to resist. Yes, they do look cute, but they are not necessary.
  5. High-Tech Toys — With how often they break or drool all over them, these toys are like throwing money away. Not to mention the headache they can give mom and dad.

We hope these lists help you narrow down your shopping list a little. It can be overwhelming preparing for the arrival of your baby, but rest assured — women have been raising babies for thousands of years without that latest gadget that costs as much as your heating bill.

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