Online baby clubs are really useful not only as a source of free baby samples, but also for giving good advice on what you really need to buy for baby before she arrives.A useful list of essential and useful items includes:-
- Clothes, including sleeping suits and vests, cardigans, mittens and bootees
- A supply of nappies, (washable or disposable) and nappy bags or a bucket
- A changing mat, cotton wool, soft flannels and baby wipes
- A Moses basket or a cot, along with mattresses and linen and blankets
- Transport for baby (a sling or a pram or both)
- A baby bath (you could use a washing up bowl in the early weeks, or even just a sink)
- Soft sponges, baby soap and a brush or comb
- A car seat (even if you don't have a car you'll need one to travel in other cars)
- Nursing bra and breast pads
- Muslin cloths to use while breastfeeding to catch the spills, or maybe cover your modesty when feeding in public
- A pump for expressing and a steriliser and bottles
All the baby clubs agree that although new mums will want to buy all new stuff for their babies, many items can be borrowed from friends or family and some can be bought second hand at a fraction of the original cost.
The only item which should be bought and fitted from new is a car seat. These should only be secondhand if you are absolutely sure they have never been in a car accident or been dropped and possibly cracked. Any fractures to a car seat's structure will render them weakened and unsafe in an accident.
Otherwise try to accept as many hand-me-downs as you can. Babies grow out of newborn clothes very quickly. Moses baskets will only last around three months, and baby baths will last for years and can be passed to many new mums before they start to look a little tired.
Second hand cots can be as good as new with a new mattress.
As for some of the smaller items, sometimes you can source free baby samples through the baby clubs, baby magazines and even via the supermarkets.
It's worth trying the websites of baby product manufacturers as they sometimes give free baby samples to help them with market research or when launching new ranges.
Look for freebies and money off where you can, too. Supermarket baby clubs and pregnancy websites often have links to special offers or give vouchers away.
The better baby clubs even give a free welcome pack to new members who register for free on their sites.
And don't forget that your baby may have a brother or sister one day so don't throw anything away, and call back loaned items when they are finished with.
Your first born may get mostly new, but babies are perfectly happy with hand-me-downs.