Mindy Marshall, five short months away from delivering her third baby — and only nine months removed from her second — is unlikely to be wooed by the shower of advertisements that tickle new mommies (and daddies). By now, Marshall, who also has a 3-year-old, can decipher the difference between her children’s needs and wants lurking on the aisles.
Changing table? Probably not. Same goes for the cute shoes and the bottles that come in every size imaginable. And let’s not even mention the wipe warmer.
“I’ve yet to use it,” Marshall said. “It’s inconvenient. You’d have to have them all over the house.”
Savvy advice from a wise mother. August is the biggest birth month of the year in Georgia. Last year, 13,556 babies were born in hospitals, according to the Georgia Hospital Association. That’s 1,155 more than the next biggest month, in January.
And with the little ones come big expenses, many times on items that will stay boxed, packed, shelved or otherwise out of sight.
“You can really survive with the very basics,” said Summer Schulz, a first-time mother of a 3-month-old. “Especially newborns, all they really need is love, attention and care. Simply interacting with your baby can be better.”
Schulz is on a play-date, with two other new mothers and their children. Marshall is spending the day with her children. All the mothers came up with this list of not-so must-haves:
1. Bottle warmers: “They can be a waste of money and time,” Schulz said. “If it’s room temperature, that’s fine. The baby doesn’t care.”
If you do want the milk quickly warmed, run it over hot water or briefly keep it in a pot of gently boiling water.
2. Wipe warmers: “I haven’t used it once,” Marshall said.
Alternative: A warm cloth is sufficient.
3. Shoes: “They are very cute and tempting, but they never stay on their feet,” Schulz said. “I have a shelf full of cute baby shoes that have never been touched.”
Alternative: Slip on booties are inexpensive and will keep your babies’ feet warm and unexposed.
4. Swaddling suits: “A blanket is just as good,” Schulz said.
5. Changing table: “I knew I would never use it,” Marshall said.
Alternative: Some mothers suggest a changing pad on a dresser, for instance. Or even a towel underneath your baby while changing on the bed.
6. Too many clothes: “You get so many clothes; tons that they will never wear,” Marshall said.
Alternative: Children outgrow clothes quickly. You can find quality baby clothes at consignment stores, yard sales and from friends who’ve recently had children.
So, what’s on Marshall’s gift registry this time?
“I’m having a diapers and wipes shower,” she said. “That’s all I need. And gift certificates. Gift certificates are like gold.”
So are the coupons you’ll find on websites like Gerber and Johnson & Johnson for baby products. Hospitals also provide samples, products and coupons for new mothers. Don’t leave the hospital without them. Many grocery stores also have clubs for new parents, offering discounts and coupons on items throughout the store.
What do you consider the biggest wastes of money for new babies? What could you do without? And where wouldn’t you cut back?
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