My sister in law is expecting her first baby in November and like everyone wants to be be ready for the new arrival but still wants to be careful with her money.
As we were expecting twins and had double the expense we really thought about what we would use so that the items we did buy were of use.
I think it's hard to know what you need / don't need with your first born so I thought I'd try and come up with some ideas of things that I really didn't need or use......
1. Baby bath - we bought a baby sponge instead - much easy to use.
2. A changing table - we used a cot top changing mat or changing mats on the floor - no where for baby to fall!
3. We bought cot beds instead of a cot - these last until they are around 5 or 6 as you can take the cot bars off and turn the cot into a small bed when the child is ready.
4. Cot bumpers - they look very pretty but I think the advice is not to have them on the cot when the baby is moving in case they suffocate so I've never really understood the point of them!!
5. Top sheets and blankets - I'm a big fan of baby sleeping bags (i.e. grobags although I have found that the cheaper alternatives have been fine too). With these your baby never gets cold, doesn't lose it's blankets or sheets in the night and can't get its legs stuck in the bars when he/she starts to roll.
6. A moses basket - very sweet but you can live without. I put the twins in one end of the cot bed when they were born and I borrowed a moses basket from a friend for my youngest. I was so glad I didn't buy a moses basket for her as at 9lb 7 at birth she wasn't in it for long.
7. Designer baby shoes - they are not walking - they don't need them!! And indeed, exploring their feet as babies and feeling the floor when starting to walk is an important part of their development. Save your money for decent shoes when they actually need them!
8. New baby clothes - newborn vests, babygros and outfits go for pennies on ebay and many are in excellent condition as small babies a) grow quickly and don't wear things for long, b) generally don't get that messy and c) have often received more clothes than they can wear when they are born. Check out your local NCT Nearly New sale as well as they often have loads of good quality babies outfits for low prices. You don't have to be a member of NCT to go to these sales but if you are looking for small babies outfits it is helpful if you know the babies gender!
9. Duffel coats for winter babies - they can't move in the thick fabric!! I do however, love snow suits in the colder weather. Look for ones with zips all the way day for easy access and then you can pop your little one in quickly and even in a sleepsuit in a matter of seconds and they are ready to face the weather!
10. A changing bag - join Boots parenting club and get one for free! (Check this offer is till on though). OK - so lots of other people may have the same style but I found that it was a good design that met all my needs when out and about so didn't mind.
If you have any other thoughts of things that are not necessary when preparing for your first baby I'd love to hear your ideas and will pass them on to my sister-in-law who will be very pleased to spend money on the important things.