We are getting very close to the arrival of lil’ SPF and I am happy to say that we are just about ready for him, baby stuff wise anyways. We can’t say for sure whether we are physically and mentally prepared to become parents but we figure we’ll manage! So in the meantime we can feel good about having all the baby stuff at the ready.
Now what is all this stuff? Well it is the fruit of many, many hours of research, e-mailing back and forth with friends, phone calls with family members and lots of searching online shopping sites. We really only wanted to buy the key, essential items and not break the bank while doing so.
Writing about only the essential items makes me smile today after having watched the documentary ‘Babies’ which follows 4 babies from across the globe from birth to a year old or so. Needless to say their parents idea of essential items is drastically different than what we see in North America and all the babies are growing and developing fine. So our list might seem small to some and very long to others. I’ll follow up this post in a couple of months to let you know how our “essentials” list is doing.
So what baby stuff did we think was essential for lil’ SPF?
We did consider getting a second hand crib but most every one I saw posted on Kijiji was a drop-side, which they no longer make in Canada because of all the issues they have had with baby injuries and even death. So onto new cribs it was. I really did not want to spend a fortune on this item, especially considering we have not even bought a proper bed frame for ourselves yet!
I wanted to get the most value for our money, so I looked for a crib that could be converted into a toddler bed in time. The one we bought has the additional option of converting into a double bed with the purchase of a few extra parts after the toddler stage. We also wanted to get a bed that was somewhat environmentally friendly, again without spending a ton of money. The crib we bought, the DaVinci Reagan 4-in-1 Convertible Crib, is lead and phthalate free, has a non-toxic finish and is made from sustainable harvested wood all for $209 (we didn’t have to pay duty on our online cross border shopping!)
Researching the crib mattresses took a lot of time. I discovered that some materials used to make baby mattresses are believed to increase the risk of SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome). So it was key to find a mattress made without fire retardants, no vinyl cover and free of lead and phtalates. The new mattress we found in the end cost us $100 and met my sustainable criteria.
We made the effort to find a gently used bassinet but no luck once again. We also knew that we would eventually need a pack and play model to double as a bed when visiting relatives. I was pleasantly surprised to discover that many pack and plays today come with a bassinet option, perfect for the newborn sleeping in your room. The one we picked also came with a small change table attachment, again very practical when travelling. Cost $160.
You should buy a brand new car seat because they do have a limited warranty and you never know if one has been in an accident, etc. Using the reviews, I picked the safest and most preferred car seat I could find rated by other moms. Also got one that is good until lil’ SPF reaches 30lbs or 30 inches. There was also an option to to get a car seat by the same brand for an extra $50 but the weight allowance increase is only 5 lbs more but you only get 2 more inches. If lil’ SPF is anything like me he will be too long before he outweighs anything. The cost of our car seat was $120 but we received it as a gift.
Getting a stroller that fits our lifestyle of camping and hiking through sometime more rugged terrain was important. As such the three, large wheel model made sense. We also wanted something that had good cargo, good reviews, could adjust so baby could sit or lie down and would last for several years (in terms of weight limits) and which our car seat could ft into. We picked the Jeep Liberty. The stroller cost was $200 but we received it as a gift.
We chose cloth over disposables but I will go into much more detail in a future post about the specific type of cloth diapers we will be using.
I was surprised to learn that babies need approximately 5 outfits a day! Depending on how many loads of laundry you want to do in a week, you will definitely need a good supply of baby clothes. We got many onesies at the shower and some other garments but we did need to buy long pants, sleepers and long sleeve shirts.
Every mom I know has told me not to buy too many newborn clothes because you really do not know how fast the newborn is going to grow. We visited two second stores in town and stocked up on the clothing items we needed. We did also get some bigger size items as they were a good price and again because you do not know how fast they are going to grow you don’t want to be without a pair of pants the morning the baby wakes up and is an inch taller!
As you know we are having a boy but for the most part we did try and pick clothes that would work for either a boy or a girl so if we have a second we will be set and if the clothes are still good after that we will have a broader group to sell to. Clothing cost: $90.
I searched for used change tables in town but had no luck (our town doesn’t have the stuff we want “used”!). A couple of weekends ago we were heading to SPF’s hometown for a wedding where SPF was a groomsman and I checked to see what that town had used on Kijiji. Luckily I found someone selling a change table that looked in pretty good shape from what I could see in the photo and they only wanted $40 for it. The ones I saw online and in stores started at at least $65. So we picked it up and took it home after the wedding. It has a nice sliding drawer at the top to fit all the pre-folded diapers in and then two spacious shelves below where I store bedding, receiving blankets, towels, etc. It’s in good shape for a good price.
Toys to stimulate
I have read that babies need colourful, textured toys to stimulate them, get them reaching out, using hand/eye coordination, etc. So one of the best and most popular toys for this is a play mat. They are usually very colourful with an arched bar across the top from which toys hang. There could also be mirrors on the mat and all sorts of bells and whistles which may require batteries. As already mentioned we are not so keen on the plastic toys and we don’t really like the idea of having to load up baby toys with tons of batteries. So we kept our an eye out for a simple play mat and fortunately we found one at a local second hand garage style sale for $10. The mat is all cloth, including the toys and is machine washable. It even came in its own bag so you can easily take it on the road. We also picked up some colourful finger puppets for $2.
A definite must for most parents because using a carrier means that baby can be close to you and feel comforted and secure while allowing you to make dinner, do laundry or whatever else requires use of both hands! I did a lot of research about what brands people recommended and looked closely for those that offered full back support, could be worn with baby facing front and back and could hold baby from birth till at least a year old. The one we decided on was the Moby wrap. Cost $40 (we received as a gift)
Other miscellaneous baby stuff
Bouncy Seat, swaddling blankets , receiving blankets, nursing cover, nursing pillow, bedding, change table pad, 1st Year What To Expect Book, lotion, shampoo, nursing tops and baby monitor. For all of these we chose items that had great reviews, purchased second hand when possible or bought online in the States when possible (almost always cheaper than what we could get in stores in town). Total cost to us (some items we received as gifts): $344
other items that we received at the baby shower and I now realize are essential:
– diaper bag (I figured I would use one of my many large bags but I see that having a baby that is specially designed for diapers and other baby items is key what with all the pockets and the material you can wipe down).
– stroller rain cover (would make for an unhappy lil’ SPF otherwise!)
So in total we have spent approximately $996 on baby stuff which we think is quite reasonable given what we bought. For future purchases we might be looking at a costco membership!