When you prepare for the arrival of a baby you’ll see that there’s a gadget for everything but truth be told you don’t need most of them. We went to an antenatal class where the midwife advised us that all we needed were clothes and nappies (and bottles and milk if you weren’t planning on breastfeeding) and that as long as baby was clothed, had somewhere to sleep and was fed then along with you’re mother and fatherly love they would flourish and it’s true.

If I’m honest we were frugal with our baby prepping budget and didn’t buy a lot of things waiting to see actually what we wanted or needed when she was here and to be honest we didn’t get anything extra really. The organised “Monica Gellar/Bing” in me made a list of essentials and of desirable items so that we could budget and buy for baby accordingly. I also made a note of which items we were happy to get second hand and which needed to be brand new. Gradually on the run up to baby’s arrival we crossed items off the list, either because we bought them or because we realised they weren’t that essential.

We knew we needed firstly something for baby to sleep in, again though it’s not actually essential-many babies have slept in drawers that have been fashioned into cribs as well as Scotland doing a baby box initiative whereby new mum’s are given a box of baby essentials and the box can double up as a crib, and let’s face it, if a manger was good enough for baby Jesus then a drawer or box should be more than adequate for any other baby! Anyway, we chose a Moses basket, taking to Ebay and Amazon to search for a decent quality new one without paying ridiculous prices.

This was a similar method we used for everything, looked in the high street stores for items and then sought out if and where we could purchase said things at a cheaper price. We got lots second hand for reasonable prices and most was practically new and although I was envious of my other pregnant friends buying brand new I was seeing our budget stay low and more going into my maternity savings which has enabled me to have a longer time period off work. Deep down I know in my heart that baby P has no idea and doesn’t care if she has a second hand pram, or hand me down cot as long as they serve their purpose and are fit for us, it’s the time with mummy that’s important, you cannot but that and you cannot get it back. Of course essential things that had to be new for safety reasons such as the car seat we did ensure were bought new with a good reputation.

Have had baby it’s obvious though that there’s a lot you don’t need but a gadget for everything that shops and society make you think you need! My first example of this was when my mother in law first came over to visit and meet baby P, I was breastfeeding and still am with the intention of doing so for as long as possible before I go back to work. Whilst there she suggested we got a bottle prep machine for when we go onto bottles. Well actually that’s not necessary, I’m lucky in that I’m able to express milk so any bottles can be my milk and when we do eventually go onto bottles Baby P will not need that many. So although my mother in law’s suggestion was well meant, my temptation to splurge was unnecessary. It’s worth thinking through or waiting until baby is here as to what gadgets you need. We didn’t go crazy for bouncers, swings and baby bean bags etc, whereas we know a lot of people who purchased all of the above and more. Yes, we needed somewhere to be able to put baby down but a bouncer and the Moses basket was enough, each morning and evening we either carried the basket up and downstairs as needed or used the carrycot from the pram.

People also kindly inundated us with gifts, close friends gave hand me down clothes, some of which have hardly, if ever, been worn! For this reason again we bought very little in the way of clothes before baby P was born settling for a little set out of excitement after the scan said she was developing fine etc and an outfit for her arrival day/coming home. I’m so glad we did this as we didn’t know if we were having a boy or girl and got so much that she’s not had chance to get the wear out of items. Plus people didn’t just gift us clothes, we got some wonderful keep sakes, toys, comforters and decorations for her room. We also got hampers of nappies, breast pads, wipes, creams and baby bath things helping us to stock up.

On the notion of stocking up on essentials, this was by far one of the best things to do, we clocked baby events, sales and offers in shops and supermarkets and gradually built up a cupboard full of nappies etc so much so that we’ve not had to but much in the recent weeks and months. This was worth doing and has spread the cost and saved money in the long run. If I were to go back I’d advise myself to do the same but focus on this more than whether or not but a swing, play gym and bouncer because in reality those things clutter up your house and dependent on you and your baby, aren’t necessarily used as much you think making them not very cost effective.

In a nutshell, I’d advise any new parents to make a list of what they need, shop around and remember that you don’t have to buy too or the range or brand new. There maybe a posh gadget for everything but you may not need them or use them that much. Check out reviews from other mum’s on expensive items. Hang until baby’s here for some of your desirable items and see what you really want or will use. Most importantly keep it real and don’t get carried away, a loved baby is a happy baby and you already have that so you don’t need to go out and buy it.

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