Over the years, my perspective on what a baby needs has changed. I’ve learned that you can pretty much get away without buying anything brand new for your baby. I’ve always been frugal, but with my first, I was a little more naive when it came to buying things used instead of new. I have since come to my senses and saved a lot.
I’m due a month from now with our fourth little munchkin. It’s not surprising that after three kids, there’s not much we need. We’ve kept our boy and girl clothes over the years, so we are set whether this one is blue or pink (we’re going with the old fashioned surprise). We’ve also kept some other baby essentials that we love.
These recommendations of baby things you can buy used come from my own personal experience and, while valuable to me, they may differ from your experience and recommendations. That’s cool– we can still be friends. I would love to hear your opinions on what baby things you are willing (and not willing) to buy used in the comments!
If you have a baby shower, you will most likely get lots of clothes for your little one. If you have friends with kids, they are probably willing to lend you their baby’s outgrown wardrobe. Garage sales and thrift stores often have baby clothes in like-new condition since babies may only wear an outfit a couple of times before out growing it. For more ideas and inspiration, read 6 Ways to Get Kids Clothes Free or Cheap and 6 Reasons to Buy Kids Clothes Secondhand.
With our first, I was eager to get a baby bath like my sister used with her first (this one). I loved that it had little sling for when she was an infant, a slanted side for when she was older and a straight side for when she was sitting up. We ordered one brand new. Once I started frequenting yard sales and thrift stores, I learned they are readily available for $2-5. If I had asked around, I’m sure I could have borrowed one too. Many people forgo the baby tub altogether and just use the sink.
I like being able to keep the baby close to me, but still be out and about and productive, so I knew I wanted some sort of carrier. With our first, I bought a Moby Wrap brand new. I loved it and used it with all of my kids, but with a $40+ price tag, it’s pretty expensive for a long piece of stretchy fabric. Check Craigslist and thrift stores. I have bought and resold a Maya Wrap and several Baby Bjorn carriers that I have found for a few dollars each at garage sales and thrift stores. You can also borrow a carrier from a friend or family member.
A car seat is probably the number one baby item that people will insist you should buy new so that you know it isn’t expired and has never been in a collision. I agree, but must admit that we have never purchased a new infant car seat.
With our first, we bought the car seat and stroller combo (“travel system”) from a trusted friend who bought it new the year before. It had never been in an accident and was well within the safe time frame (generally 6 years from the date it was manufactured). We used that car seat for our first two kiddos. Then I sold the combo for $40 (the same price I paid back when I bought it). For our third, we borrowed a car seat from a friend who wasn’t using it. We were thrilled because it went up to 30 lbs (most only go up to 22 lbs). This meant we could use it past 5 months (our babies come out big and don’t slow down).
For us, a Pack-n-Play has always been handy piece of baby equipment. We bought ours used from a friend (same friend we got the car seat combo from). It came with a bassinet overlay like this one which is perfect for when the baby is small so you don’t have to reach all the way down to pick up the baby in the middle of the night. It doesn’t take up much space and it is portable. It’s great for taking on overnight trips with a baby or toddler.
I am squeamish about used mattresses. However, unlike other mattress sizes which accumulate all manner of grossness in them, crib mattress are almost always have a waterproof vinyl cover. They are a cinch to wipe off and disinfect. Of course I wouldn’t buy a mattress if it smelled like it came from a smoker’s home or had any other odd odor. We have never purchased a new crib mattress. For several years we had three kids on crib mattresses: one in a crib and two in toddler beds. I should also note that we don’t usually put our kids in a crib until they’re about somewhere between 9-12 months.
I’m sure it won’t surprise you when I tell you we’ve never purchased a new crib either. I bought our first crib at a yard sale when my daughter was about a year old (up until then she slept in the Pack-n-Play). It converted into a toddler bed, so we needed a crib for #2 who was just a year and a half younger. We got a hand-me-down from a friend of a friend. You can look up product recalls by searching online, or use your own good judgment.
Eewww– used diapers? If they’re cloth, then yes! We didn’t start cloth diapering until our third was about 10 months old (that’s when we moved to the boonies), but now we’re sold on the idea. Even that year of cloth diapering saved us so much money, and now we’re totally diaper-equipped for our next little one. Buying cloth diapers used, borrowing them, or making your own are just a few of the ways to save money on diapers. I wrote a thorough article about how you can get cloth diapers free or cheap.
If you choose to get a swing, bouncy seat, stroller, baby monitor, etc you can probably find most of them used too. You’ll save a lot of money by buying your baby gear used. When you’re done with it, you can sell it and get your money back or store it away for the next baby.
Babies don’t have to be as expensive as those crazy statistics say!
How about you?
- What baby products have you bought used or borrowed?
- What baby things would you not buy used?
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