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Katie Ryan-Anderson wrote this guest blog for momaha.
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New babies are expensive and that doesn’t change — surely – until they are age 35.
As the mother of two little ones, I’ve come up with a list of what I wished I hadn’t spent my money on and what I’m glad I did.
- Baby bedding: I insisted my son needed this sports-themed crib set that cost $160 and in two years, he’s hardly used it. He uses the crib sheet it came with, but has yet to use the comforter. Plus, doctors recommend removing the bumper padding because of crib death and when they’re older, because the tykes climb on it and fall out.
Better buy: Invest in a nice hand-made blanket — ask any quilters in the family or search Etsy.com. It’s more original, lasts forever and you don’t have to store a 10-foot bumper pad.
- Plastic baby bath: I received one as a gift and couldn’t give it away. With big fears and a small baby, my husband and I laid our son on a towel in the bathtub and just poured warm water over him. As he and our self-confidence grew, we kept the towel and added a inch or two of water and watched as he flailed and cooed.
- Brand-new everything: If you’re of child-bearing age, your friends likely are too. Perhaps they have a baby swing you could borrow or a Boppy pillow they aren’t using. Parents can only use those items for a few months before they’re stowed in the closet anyway, so as long you trust the items are clean, borrow or buy used.
- Expensive stroller and car seat combo: The lady at the store told me a stroller was a wise investment. Get a good one, she said, this is your first child and you’ll likely have more so you’ll use this stroller for a long time. True, but now that I have two kids, I want to sell the $300 stroller and upgrade to a double.
- Clothes and size 1 diapers: at least wait to buy these until after your baby shower. You may get more than you need.
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THE THINGS I COULDN’T LIVE WITHOUT
- Formula: I never used it. But it was peace of mind (especially for me, 45 miles from the nearest 24-hour grocery). If my little one couldn’t drink breastmilk for whatever reason, I had an alternative handy. When he turned one and could drink cow milk, I felt pretty proud donating the formula to the food bank.
- Breast pump: OK, this could go in the buy-used or borrow category for me, but doctors don’t always recommend it, so check with yours first. I borrowed an on-the-go version and couldn’t have nursed after maternity leave without it. And while I’ve never tried any other brands, I’d heard horror stories, so check with friends, medical professionals and read reviews before buying.
Note: I put this question to my Facebook friends and got an overwhelming “Don’t buy a toddler bed” response. Their suggestions: go straight for the twin bed, just add railings or pillows so the kiddo doesn’t fall. Anyone else have experience with this?
Parents out there, what’s on your list of must-haves and live-withouts?
Katie Ryan-Anderson lives and works in North Dakota with her husband and two children. She grew up in Omaha where she attended high school and college.
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