New Baby Must-Haves: Splurge vs Save

With a two-year-old girl already in tow and a baby boy on the way, I’m finding myself dragging boxes of baby stuff our of our attic, dusting off the cobwebs and trying to prepare myself for baby number two next month. It’s amazing the amount of STUFF that comes with a baby—stuff I thought was totally necessary with baby number one that I have since donated because we didn’t use it at all. It was in the middle of this third-trimester work(out) session that I decided it would be good to share some insights that I gleaned from baby number one.

So, I rallied my closest mom friends just to make sure these weren’t my own neuroses coming through. What we came up with is our completely and utterly biased list of where to SPLURGE and where to SAVE. In other words, what is truly worth it as you are wading through the aisles and aisles—or pages and pages—of ‘must-have’ baby products out there? Here’s our collective years of experience, effort and misspent money put to work for you.

Splurge on diapers.

I remember staring at the baby aisle in the store making my registry and thinking, how on earth do I decide what brand of diapers to use? The choices are overwhelming, and who knew diapers were so expensive. Add in pregnancy hormones, and I felt like I was deciding the fate of my child based off of what diapers I use.  

One thing I have learned thru the years? Good diapers make all the difference. We have always used Pampers Swaddlers, and the Pampers Baby Dry for night sleeping. I save by buying in bulk at Sam’s Club (along with wipes), which makes a difference when you add up how many you go thru in a month. Splurge on the diapers, save yourself from as many diaper blowouts and bad diaper rashes as you can.

Save on clothes.

It’s fun to have a few nicer items for baby, but for the most part, you can get really cute and affordable clothes from Target, Walmart, Old Navy, large name stores rather than the smaller boutiques. I would splurge a little more on your things that can be gender neutral and definitely used for future children, but stains are hard to get out, and even the tiniest of babies can reap some serious havoc on clothes. This stretches into toddler life, too—one precious little girl we know has the tackiest pair of light up tennis shoes you’ve seen. She loves the shoes so much that she wants to sleep in them! Her face lights up when she sees them, and they’ve become a part of her little personality. Kids form their own opinions about what they wear, and it’s one of my favorite parts of motherhood to watch. Guaranteed, that $75 pair of shoes you bought won’t be the ones your little one goes to. Instead, it will be that pair of light up shoes that you got persuaded into last minute at the grocery store.

Splurge on a good video monitor.

Find one with good reviews, that you can add additional cameras onto as your family grows thru the years. These things are finicky! Collectively, we have tried almost every brand and it seems like everyone has ended up with Motorola. The video monitor is a game changer for being able to check on your little one and get some peace of mind without having to get out of bed in the middle of the night. I love the feature of being able to pan the screen and talk into the camera now that we have a toddler that isn’t in the confines of a crib. The video monitor is a luxury in life that is worth every penny in my opinion!

Save on bottles, pacifiers, and other various feeding items.

It’s amazing how such a tiny human can come with such big opinions. I registered exclusively for one brand of bottles and one brand of pacifiers I thought she would like, and then my colicky baby was born and wanted something totally different. Wait until the baby gets here, and see what their specific needs are before committing completely to a brand and all the accessories. We ended up having the best success with Dr. Brown’s brand bottles, and the crowd favorite for pacifiers are Mam brand, but baby number two could do his own thing, so I will be waiting before I make a big investment on either. Hold off on purchasing all other feeding items like spoons, bibs, and bowls because it’s such a long time before you start using those anyway.

Splurge on your stroller system.

Most strollers now come with a complete system with the car seat and stroller that connect, and then when baby is big enough they can ride in the stroller alone. Splurge on the car seat and stroller and get a stroller that you like and fits your lifestyle. Need a jogging stroller? Splurge on the BOB stroller, buy the car seat adapter and use it as your everyday stroller, as well as for running. Just need something that is easy to get in and out of the car when your hands are full? I have loved how easy and compact the Britax B-Agile system is. Think you will expand your family quickly? Consider an option like the Britax B-Ready that will let you add on multiple seats as needed. Whatever you settle on, I personally think this is the most important part of your child’s safety, so spending a little more on it is worth it!

Save on the breast pump.

Hear me out: brand and type IS important with this, but most insurance companies will cover some, if not all of your breast pump these days. Call the number on the back of your insurance card, or look online to see what is covered for you! A double, electric breast pump is great to have if you decide to nurse, and especially if you are working. Check on your insurance before you make the investment and hopefully save yourself some money on this registry necessity.

I am so thankful for my mom friends on this journey to help figure out what works and what doesn’t. Don’t hesitate to ask others for opinions and advice; not just about registry items, but about everything in motherhood. Even if you are the first Mom in your group to have a baby, there are lots of Moms out there willing to share what they like. So, ask that mom you see in the baby aisle at Walmart. She’s sure to tell you what she likes. Being a mom is a unifying thing, and we all love to help each other out to make parenthood a little easier!