Dollar baby

Childbirth shopping list: 22 items you don’t need

This post is for Leah Rothman, who’s about to graduate momness and is freaking out about how much stuff she needs to buy. Don’t worry Leah, Weirdo’s got your back. Let’s have a look at your typical childbirth shopping list.

Gear

Let’s start with the baby’s room:

1. Paint
2. Cupboard
3. Bed
4. Chest

Wait. Let’s back up for a second. Does the baby need her own room? If you have one room to spare, I’d suggest turning it into a workshop. Oh, you could rent it out to a roommate. They might even do some babysitting for you if you give them a cheap rent. In any case, the baby will much rather sleep in your room. If your bed is big enough, you should even sleep together. If not, a cardboard box right next to it will do. You’ll appreciate not having to get up when she wakes up. She’ll appreciate your almost instant response to her little night angsts.

5. Changing table

Throw a towel on an existing table. Tadah!

6. High chair

By the time her meal times sync with yours, she’ll be able to sit on a normal chair. Or on your lap at least. Definitely not needed.

7. Rocking chair

Not really needed, but can be found easily for no money or little money from parents that have a kid just a little younger than yours (to much younger). More on that below.

8. Baby walker

Those are the little chairs with wheels where the legs of the baby are dangling and they touch the ground, so they can walk around with it like old people in a Zimmer frames. They’re argued to be bad for the baby’s development. Pass.

9. Playpen

Now come on. It is a little prison. Unless you want to prepare her for the slammer, you can probably skip on this one too. If one day you need to restrain her freedom of movement for a minute or two, you’ll macgyver something out.

10. Pram
11. Crib
12. Car seat
13. Sling
(to strap the baby to yourself)

Pick one. They clearly overlap. If you have a car and use it a lot, a second-hand combo Pram / car seat will set you back less than 100€. You don’t have to buy second hand of course, but let’s make this post useful for poor people too. If you don’t have a car, the sling will do. You can ride the bike with it.

14. Baby monitor

Any two internet-connected devices can be turned into one. Otherwise, there’s an app for that.

15. Tub

I have given the bath to Petit Bibi in a sink from 3 months till he was big enough to go in the shower with me. I would have done it earlier too, but my mother threw a tub in my legs and it was taking space in the bathroom so I used it.

16. Baby bottles
17. Sterilizer
18. Baby bottle heater

If you have boobs, use that. Pamela Anderson effect without the silicone. Everyone wins! You must have at least a couple weeks maternity leave, right? If you have to go back to work, it’ll always be time to switch.

19. Scale

Now come on! This is getting ridiculous. People really buy this? That’s doctor equipment!

20. Thermometer

A medical thermometer will not serve very often… Unless you also use it to check bath temperature too! I only just came up with this idea so it’s up to you to try it. Not that it’s a huge saving. Bath thermometers are dimadozen.

21. A whole bunch of clothes
22. A bunch of toys

Those you will find for free. Better yet. They will find you. People will literally shower you with those.

So, what’s on our shopping list? Not much left… Either a sling or a car seat / pram (depending on whether you have a car or not). A spending of between 100 and 20 € on the second-hand market. Hey, let’s talk about that for a sec!

Babies grow up fast. The second hand market for baby stuff is normally rather lean. To the point where you can get a lot of stuff for free. Just ask the local daycare or family center, they probably have a couple of cupboards overflowing with donated baby-stuff. That’s where you should go shopping once you’ve already raided your personal network of friends and family. Many of them will be glad to let you have the stuff of their older kid if they aren’t planning on making a new one right away. Shit, they might even give you a car-seat! And you’ll have spent nothing at all.

If you find you still need some stuff after that, your local babystuff exchange community is one online query away. And you’ll get to meet other parents with slightly older babies. Don’t be shy. Ask them questions. It’s fresh in their memories.

Consumable

I already talked at length about the cloth diapers. But, in the very beginning, you might want to cut yourself some slack and do what others do. During the first month, babies can burn through ten diapers a day. Which means you’d need a massive stock of cloth diapers to keep up. I’d advise to use the cloth diapers until you run out and use the throwaway ones until a batch of reusable is dry. But you can always go all in with the throwaway diapers in the beginning, it’ll just add to your expenses. Add to that the baby wipes, the ass-cream, the baby soap, cotton and various other consumables and it stacks up to… not much actually. The only expensive consumable is the diapers and go read about it in the other article already.

EDIT:If you’re wondering why I’m not even mentioning the baby-food, that’s because I completely forgot. We never fed it to Petit Bibi, or only on emergency occasions like we’re in the street, he’s hungry and we’re in a country where the street food is all deep fried and the grocery food is saturated with sugar. There’s only a very small list of things infants can’t eat. You can just feed them whatever you’re having.

Free money!

Leah is in New-Zealand (my apologies to her for the prices in €, I’m trying to be useful to a whole bunch of people too). I have no idea what financial incentives the government over there has to boost the local fertility rate. However, it’s a pretty common thing in developed countries that you not only get the hospital delivery for free, but also a monthly check. Might be a fixed amount at birth too. It is very unlikely that they will give you less than you need. Unless your needs include designer clothes. So you might come out a little bit ahead. It won’t pay your rent maybe, but having a baby is not the financial catastrophe it is made out to be.

So don’t worry Leah, babies don’t need so much stuff. And to everyone else, go get reproduced if it ain’t done already!

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Petit Bibi

Petit Bibi

I started this trip when I was 5 month old. By the time it ends, I'll have spent more than half my life on the road.

4 thoughts on “Childbirth shopping list: 22 items you don’t need”

  1. How true, how true, how true! I have 3 daughters who are now all adults, and I still remember the presure that was exerted on us first time parents. You need this, that, and a load of other commercialy marketed shit the the baby could not give a damn about. The world is an exciting place for a newborn, why spend unnecesary money to try to improve it.
    Ahhh, but it is really all about our media and social induced brain washing (AKA, MARKETING) that is there to ensure the continued economic viability of these “Baby businesses”.
    It is really a question of priorities, and the only true essential needed is LOVE.

    1. Boy! You wouldn’t believe the war that my grandmother waged against Weirdo to stop me from sleeping in a cardboard box… I like that cardboard box just fine!

  2. Thanks, Weirdo! Babe is now 10 weeks old, and we’ve gotten by with not much stuff, but also with a surprising amount, if I’m able to contradict myself a little. I won’t go through everything, but we’ve gone for an app for a monitor, no change table, minimal clothes and only gifted toys. I plan on doing reusable nappies soon, and have been using reusable wipes since the beginning (no yucky chemichals). Overall, I’d say we’ve done fairly well on not buying loads of shit that she, and we don’t need. Thanks for the post! X Leah.

  3. Congrats, Leah! And let me know as soon as she walks. I’ll hitchhike half-way around the world to pay her a visit.

    Yeah, you can hitchhike boats :).

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