There’s no limit to the shopping you can do for a new baby — and many of us succumb to temptation and buy things that really are not necessary. But while shiny, pretty things may scream out at you, many of the necessities do not need to be purchased new. They often can be found second-hand, and still in excellent shape. The money you save will come in handy later when that “baby” needs college tuition.
First, take a quick look at this short rundown of things that should be purchased new, for safety reasons. Then check out this handy list of baby gear you can get away with picking up used:
1. Clothes (including coats, hats, shoes)
Your parents knew what they were talking about when they gave you your older sibling’s hand-me-downs. You may have thought they were gross or weren’t your style, but Mom or Dad thought about the waste of money: Why buy this kid something new and pricey if they’re just going to grow out of it in a few months?
Buying used baby clothes, including shoes, coats and other accessories, are some of the best ways to save on your new child. You can hit thrift stores to find some hidden gems just like you would your own clothes. Some stores, like Once Upon a Child, are dedicated to selling gently used children’s clothes, along with other baby-related goods. You can get things deeply discounted from their original prices.
For the most part, toys are universal. If you’ve got friends or family with children who aren’t too much older than your child, chances are those secondhand toys are perfectly fine. It helps your friends clear out their clutter and saves you from buying new toys that your children will outgrow as fast as their clothes.
As long as you’re getting age-appropriate toys for your little one, and you check it out for breaks, missing pieces and cleanliness, you should be fine. Check with the Consumer Protection Safety Commission (CPSC) to make sure you aren’t giving your child something that could hurt them.
Your little one is only little for so long. If you’re in the market for a baby bathtub or infant bathing mat that you’ll only be using for a few months, ask around to see if anyone is looking to get rid of one before you shell out cash for a brand new one.
Make sure you check it out before taking it on, whether you’re buying it secondhand or picking it up for free. Look out for mold or mildew, and be sure always to give it a good scrub before bathing your child in it.
4. High chairs
This is another for the most part item. If you’re paying attention to product recalls from the CPSC, you’ll know which high chairs to stay away from and which ones are safe. Like most baby gear, you’ll want to check the safety standards to make sure yours will be good enough. The American Academy of Pediatrics has some tips to keep your little one safe.
Most products in this group are totally fine to buy used if they were made within the last few years. To be sure, check the last time safety standards were updated and make sure the one you buy is within that time frame. Swings, for example, had a safety standard update in 2012 from the CPSC. Check for things being given away by friends and neighbors, and use apps like OfferUp or Craigslist to find good deals.
Specifically made for very tiny humans, bassinets are great for your little one to sleep in — especially because they will be sleeping an awful lot for the first few months of life. The bad news is that babies grow out of them quite fast. The good news is you can score a used one that’s still relatively new because of how fast those kids grow!
A bassinet is not a necessity but, rather, something nice to have. If you’ve got a crib or another safe sleeping solution for your child (like a play yard), you can skip getting a bassinet altogether.
7. Changing tables
Changing tables come in many shapes and sizes. Sometimes they’re repurposed dressers. The important thing is to make sure to have features that prevent your infant from rolling off. Get a changing pad that straps to your table. The table should also have a 2-inch high guardrail around the perimeter, according to guidelines from the American Academy of Pediatrics.
What is your experience shopping for a new baby? Share with us in comments below or on our Facebook page.