7 Tips for Buying Baby Gear

As you’re preparing for your baby’s arrival, you’ve probably been tempted by tons of too-cute clothes, toys and other baby stuff. Before you go on that shopping spree, check out these tips for choosing the baby gear you will actually need and use:

Should you splurge on that high-tech stroller or can you get by with a lower-tech version? Do you really need a baby wipe warmer? Before you buy, read up on the products you’re interested in to find the model that’s right for you and your budget. Check out mommy blogs and solicit advice from friends or family about the pros and cons of their favorite products.

Hand-me-downs are a great way for new parents to save on baby gear, but before you accept donated items or purchase secondhand products, do a safety check. The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) strongly cautions against using any crib that is more than ten years old. Even newer models can be dangerous, with more than 11 million cribs recalled since 2007. You can go to recalls.gov or the CPSC to make sure that the gear you’re considering is up to current safety standards.

While those tiny clothes are unbelievably cute, your little one will probably outgrow them pretty quickly. You’ll get a lot more use out of baby clothes if you buy the six-month size and let your baby grow into them.

There are many types of strollers out there – jogging strollers, umbrella strollers and even full travel systems. You may find that a lightweight universal stroller frame that lets you snap in your own infant car seat is the most convenient (and least expensive) choice for your baby’s first few months. This also gives you more time to think about other stroller options, and which one best fits your lifestyle.

Babies love the snugness of being carried on your chest, and toddlers often enjoy being carried on your back. In addition to being a practical, much less costly alternative to a stroller, a baby carrier also has health benefits: being carried in a parent-facing chest position can help take pressure off the back of your baby’s head and prevent flattening. If you can, borrow a few different carriers before you buy to see which one works best for you and your baby.

There are plenty of gadgets for new parents and babies, but baby bouncers consistently top the list of must-have items. These cushiony, flexible recliners are a safe place to put your baby when you need your hands free. If your bouncy seat plays music or vibrates, it can also help to keep your baby entertained.

If you’re on a budget, cut your shopping list down to what you think you’ll need during your baby’s first year and buy the rest as you go. Baby gear is always changing, so it can sometimes pay off to wait for the next big thing.

  1. Do Your Research
  2. Check the Safety of Used Gear
  3. Don’t Go Overboard with Newborn Sizes
  4. Start with a Universal Stroller
  5. Invest in a Baby Carrier
  6. Don’t Forget the Bouncy Seat
  7. Figure Out What You Need as You Go