This blog contains some simple tips and advice from two regular guys. We're not accountants, financial advisors, or brokers, so follow, ignore, or discuss our ideas as you see fit.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

The baby gear underground

Posted by Matt
If you have a young baby (or will soon), you may be wondering about what type of gear you need to start stockpiling. Is it a lot? By most any measure, yes. There are a LOT of pieces of baby equipment that I'd consider pretty frivolous, but the necessities do still pile up.

Friends and relatives are usually excited to get gifts for the baby; most often clothes, books and toys. Those are probably the things we received the most of (either as gifts or just hand-me-downs) and we appreciated that because the our son grew out of and get tired of them so quickly. We had so many toys that we put them out in rotations. We did buy a few on Craigslist, so my wife bought some disposable wipes with bleach to wipe them down. If I had to do it again, I'd try to get a lot less brightly colored plastic. Also, I wasn't crazy about some of the noisy ones, but our son found those really stimulating. Just put a piece of cellophane tape over the speaker to dampen the volume.

The real big-ticket items to watch out for are furniture; we bought a crib, changing table/dresser, glider and bookcase. My wife saved us big money here by shopping on Craigslist again, and were lucky enough to get a good glider as a gift. We probably would have been willing to spend a little more on that anyway, as so many new moms told us that they spend a LOT of time nursing in the glider.

I don't think you absolutely have to have a dedicated changing table, but at least find a piece of furniture that you can do diaper changes on standing up and that has room for all of the changing accessories (tissues, diapers, powders, creams, small distracting toys, etc.).

I wouldn't have guessed we needed the bookcase, either, but it was great place to stash all of the blankets we used and we did get a ton of baby books.

The price for strollers and backpacks are surprisingly high, so you might check craigslist for those, also. One warning here: we went through three cheap, used strollers before we finally discovered the BOB Revolution, which my wife absolutely LOVES. It was spendy, but my wife walks a lot so we're both glad that we finally paid to get something of high quality. If you find a deal on a used one of these, JUMP on it because it won't last long.

The one item of baby gear that I heard not to buy used is a car seat, but we used a hand-me down from people we knew because they assured us it had never been in an accident.

My overall recommendation is to try to put together your shopping list and limit your big spending to a few critical pieces. Sometimes people decide to buy all new stuff because they just want everything to be perfect for their new baby (especially the first one, when you have no experience and you're paranoid about doing everything right).

If you go to Baby's R Us and get everything on the "recommended for baby" cheat sheet they provide, you could easily spend into the thousands of dollars. If, on the other hand, you're really resourceful and/or you are friends with people who have babies, you can get by with purchasing very little. Just remember that your kids won't remember what they were wearing (and spitting up on) when they were three months old, but they'll always remember you for chipping in to a college fund.


Leah said...

Great advice, Matt! Just a sidenote, the Bob Revolution isn't the only great jogging stroller out there, but if you don't get a Bob, I'd definitely recommend one with a swiveling front wheel. Make sure it's easily changed from swivel to fixed. My first stroller was a major pain to switch over, and you'll be amazed at how much you use the feature.

And I don't know if you're reading this, but thanks again to our wonderful friends Erica, Beal, and their son Wolfie for outfitting Griffin in such great duds. We've enjoyed them, and our freinds and their new son are enjoying them yet again. Let's hear it for hand-me-downs!!!

Ray said...

I agree with all of your suggestions. BOBs are great! My wife also uses her Moby Wrap all the time. Check them out. We would have been lost without it when Ben had colic. They are not too pricey either. Check out www.gagagear.com