Whether you’re registering for baby gear or paying the tab yourself, it pays to budget wisely. By focusing on the products you truly need, you’ll have more money to spend on necessities such as diapers, diapers and more diapers. Your house will be less cluttered, too. Here are five baby products you’ll want to avoid or trade in for something more practical if you receive them as a gift.
- A pricey diaper bag. Sure a Ju-Ju-Be or a Marc Jacobs diaper bag is super cute, but at $180 to $300, you’ve got a pricey accessory that’s going to get its share of pee, poop and street schmutz. Parenting can be distracting, too. What if you accidentally leave it at the park? It happens. Better to go with a diaper bag that’s not so swanky so if it gets dirty or goes missing, it’s not such a big deal. And $180 to $300 can buy you a lot of diapers.
- A bottle sterilizer. Instead of spending $25 to $100 for a bottle sterilizer if you use formula or pumped breast milk, rely on your dishwasher. It’ll do the job. Or just wash bottles in hot tap water with dishwashing detergent, rinse, and dry. Done! Just boil bottles before the first use, though, according to label directions. The same goes for nipples and pacifiers.
- Baby clothes. You will need these, of course, but clothes are the most popular baby gift, so don’t buy or register for them. You’re bound to get loads of them as gifts from well-wishers, and they may even last through your baby’s first year. Wait until after you’ve gone through the haul to stock up.
- A crib set. Who can resist a beautiful, coordinated crib set? It can set the tone for your baby’s nursery, but between the bumper, blanket, crib skirt, throw pillows and fitted sheet, you can spend $55 to more than $2,000, depending on how designer you want to go. And as you may know, a decked-out crib isn’t considered safe. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends having nothing in your baby’s crib. That means nixing the wedges and sleep positioners, too. The safest cribs are not only bare, they’re cheaper. A tight-fitting crib sheet is all you need. To keep your baby warm, dress her in a sleep sack.
- After-market car-seat products, such as an infant car seat mirror (radar: parent distraction while driving and potentially dangerous projectile in the event of an accident), sun shades that attach to your child’s back seat window (possible projectile), car seat covers that go underneath your child (car seats aren’t crash tested with car seat covers so what can happen in the event of an accident is unknown), and stuffed animals and other toys that have a hard center (projectile). Kisha Price, a child passenger safety technician at the Johns Hopkins Center for Injury Research & Policy in Baltimore recommends keeping car seats and your child’s car-seat area free of all other products.
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