Saturday, 15 October 2011

Analysis Paralysis

You may have thought that the 9 months of pregnancy was nature's way of giving your baby enough time to develop and to give you time to get used to the idea of becoming a parent. I know better though. 9 months is, in fact, the bare minimum amount of time required to research about, fret over, tentatively purchase, return and re-purchase all of the paraphernalia associated with having a baby. (Some days I wonder whether this period of time was actually invented by the children's shopping outlets...).

Baby shopping is The shops cater not only to every brand of parent from the thrifty single mum to the no-expense-spared young professional couple, but also to every imaginable neurosis of a new parent. Seriously, there are products to solve baby problems that I didn't know existed.

The first couple of times that hubby and I took a trip to one of the big local baby shops, we did it with the naive assumption that we'd 'pick up a few of the things we needed'. What actually happened was that I walked in, my eyes became the size of dinner plates, I looked non-committally at a few items, became overwhelmed and walked out completely empty-handed. What was going on?! I'd never had any issues with shopping before. Had I suddenly become devoid of my natural female shopping instincts? No. I was just way out of my depth. I had no idea whether a three wheeled buggy was better than a 4 wheeled one or what the relative benefits of a moses basket were and don't even get me started on the subject of what bedding to use.

In the end, we buried our proverbial heads in the sand for a good 5 months. After that, we slowly started using the internet and the advice of friends to determine a list of the things we needed and research the right products to suit us. eBay was our friend. Of course there were some things that we wanted to buy new for our little bundle but a lot of stuff, like the buggy was happily purchased second hand at a massive saving.

Here's a list of the stuff we decided to buy - just in case it is of any use in your own research. I've also given an indication of the price we paid.
  1. Buggy, Car Seat and Carry Cot - We bought a Quinny travel system second hand from eBay for a total of £185 (RRP £730)
  2. Car Seat Base - We bought a Maxi Cosi Easybase 2 for £95 new. We initially bought a FamilyFix and then realised that our car doesn't have Isofix points...oops. 
  3. High Chair - Fortunately, my parents still had the Tripp Trapp chair that they bought in Norway when my brother was born so we have a long term loan (RRP £155) . If you need to keep costs down, this can be bought later.
  4. Breast Pump - I knew I wanted to breast feed so an electric pump was a must for me. They are pretty expensive new so I bought a Medela Swing secondhand on eBay for £65 (RRP £129)
  5. Bottles - Only necessary if you're either expressing or formula feeding. I went for Playtex drop-ins (around £50 new including adaptors) and was able to buy an adaptor so that I could pump into them from the Medela pump
  6. Cot Bed & Chest of Drawers - £415. We bought these new because we didn't want the hassle of trying to find and transport a matching bed and drawers. If you only need a bed, you can pick them up second hand for a really good price (though it's advisable to get a new mattress). 
  7. Changing bag - £32
  8. Babygrows - We bought a pack of 3 for about £10 but were given lots of second hand clothes. In the early days, we sometimes got through 2-3 babygrows in a day so you need a few!
  9. Vests 
  10. Hats - We bought 2 for about £4
  11. Coat 
  12. Nappies - We invested in 5 reusable nappies but we started off using disposables because baby gets through so many in a day. A full set of reusables for birth to potty is around £225
  13. Cot sheets and cellular blankets - £25
  14. Bath - A friend introduced me to Flexibaths - a fantastic product for space saving! £25
  15. Towels - £10
  16. Baby grooming set - £15
  17. Baby Sling - £60 - probably would have bought one secondhand for around £20 but we received vouchers for Christmas...
So if I can give any advice it would be: Don't be scared of buying some things second hand. Don't try to do it all at once - decide on something you want to buy and research the best option for you first.

Happy Shopping!

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