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Tips for parents-to-be on buying your baby's essentials

Sultana Patail

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So, you're having a baby—congratulations! Now the fun begins, with cribs, strollers and sleepers to buy. Where do you even start? First time bundles of joy can be overwhelming, so here are some essentials for any new parents out there.

1. Assess your situation

Before the unsolicited advice begins rolling in and you start looking at $500 gliders, you should start by assessing your situation. What's your budget? Allocate money to the big ticket necessities first, such as a stroller and crib, and then work your way down. What type of space are you in, a four bedroom house or a shoebox condo? If you're tight on space, look for collapsible items, such as bouncers and bathtubs, that can be stored in closets or under couches and beds. Do you have anyone in your circle of family/friends with babies? They can be a great source of hand-me-down clothes. You may not have the answers to all of these questions, but the more blanks you fill in beforehand, the easier it will be to plan. There's a lot of marketing directed at expecting parents, so it's easy to go overboard buying things that may not be needed.

2. Research

One of the first things you'll learn when you become a parent is that everyone has an opinion!"Oh my God, are you using a crib bumper? Don't you know that contributes to SIDS?" or "You're not using cloth diapers? Don't you care about the environment?" It can be easy to get caught up in the opinions of the world. Before you invest your money, do your research through your own selected sources. Weigh the pros and cons of things that matter to you, and don't be scared to have your own opinion. Are you more comfortable with disposable diapers? Can your schedule accommodate the demands of breastfeeding? Do what works for you, so that you feel justified in spending your money wisely.

3. Test items

When baby comes home, the last thing you'll want to do is worry about returning things. Avoid this by going in person to test out items, as opposed to relying solely on online reviews. Important items to test are baby carriers, car seats and strollers. Many stores will let you try on carriers or feel the weight of car seats. Test products to ensure that you find the ones that are most comfortable and ergonomically correct for you.

4. Buy secondhand

We know you just adore that brand new matching crib set, but there are a lot of things that can be bought secondhand. You can find great deals on gently used baby gear online. Search buy and trade websites and apps such as Kijiji®VarageSale, or Facebook mom groups®. Not only will you meet other parents in your community, but you'll often save a bundle and items are usually as good as new. An important tip when searching for secondhand gear is to check the manufacturing year. Many big ticket items such as cribs and strollers have a five-year lifespan before they're legally outdated. If you plan on shopping for a used car seat, exercise caution and consult the Federal Government's tips for buying second-hand car seats.