Although there are thousands of baby products to choose from, you’ll be surprised by how well you can get by with a minimalist mentality. In fact, your little one only needs a few essential items – for feeding, sleeping and receiving lots of love from you.
We asked new moms to share their best tips so that you don’t waste time, worry and money on stuff you’ll never use:
1. Don’t visit the store alone
Go with another mom you trust – they can help you look through all the items in the store and pick what you actually need and use, rather than what just looks pretty on the shelf, says Danielle Strehler, mom of twins and a toddler. “It’s important not to go overboard,” she adds. “Even with twins, there’s no way I needed more than 30 vests or 20 different bibs! “
2. Don’t be scared to include bigger items on the list
Often, friends and family have had time to save enough money for your baby shower and want to spoil you and your new baby. Although you may think it’s a long-shot, always include more expensive items on the list, such as a humidifier, nappy bin or high chair, but don’t go overboard, says Danielle. Leave the big ticket items like a pram and cot for your own account, she advises, as you might feel disappointed if you don’t get them from others.
3. Avoid listing the wrong size clothing for the season
“Plan ahead and be clear on the size and type of clothing you need for the upcoming seasons,” says Danielle. Mom of two, Chantelle Baptiste, agrees. “People often don’t have time to work this out when they’re shopping for your gift. I didn’t think to list all the clothes I needed and got a ton of three-month winter clothes and my daughter was three months old in the middle of summer, so it was a waste,” she explains. “Ask your family and friends to leave the tags on the clothes, so that you can exchange them if need be. You never know how fast your little one will grow!”
4. Don’t leave out the practical stuff
Make sure to include all the nappies you’ll need (including larger sizes for later on), plus items such as towels, blankets and practical products for a first-aid kit. “One of the best presents I received from a fellow mom at my baby shower was a first-aid kit filled with items such as Calpol, colic drops, a thermometer and medicine dosage measure,” says Samantha Westlake, a first-time mom. “This has saved my life a few times in the middle of the night!”
5. Leave out the toys for now
This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t buy your baby any toys, but in the early days and months, all they need is your smiling face and warm voice for entertainment. It’s also wise to wait and see what your little one’s character is like before you buy toys you think he’ll be interested in, says Samantha. “For instance, I included loads of fluffy toys on my baby registry, but, in fact, my son didn’t like them. Instead, he was far more intrigued by my friend’s children’s rattles and musical instruments at playdates when he was a few months old.”
6. Don’t lose sight of the important things
Rather than getting sucked into the latest, or trendiest, items you don’t actually need, ask friends and family members to club in together and buy essential products like a nappy bag, breast pump or electric bottle steriliser, says Roxanne Harrison, a mom of three.
7. Don’t add too many skincare products
“You never know how sensitive your little one’s skin will be to certain ingredients found in basic baby oils, soaps or powders,” says Chantelle. “I also avoided bathing my daughter every day in the first few weeks,” she adds. Research from the Mayo Clinic backs this up – bathing your baby more than several times a week can dry out his skin, and in the first few weeks or even months, there’s no need to use soap.
8. Don’t stick to one store
A common mistake many moms make is to open a registry at one store only. If you want a sling from one baby boutique and linen set from another, why not put items on your list from more than one store? suggests Roxanne. “We did this and were surprised at how happy people were to shop around and get us what we really wanted!”