Parents spend close to $10,000 during the first year of their baby’s life. By altering your shopping habits with a few easy steps, you can save thousands of dollars in one year and still provide your baby with the best and the safest products.
Sandra Gordon, a national baby products expert and author of Consumer Reports Best Baby Products, 10th edition, is no stranger to saving on baby products. “As a mom of two, I know how overwhelming and expensive it can be to raise a child, but what parents need to know is that they can still get high quality, safe products for their infant and spend less,” she says. Here are her key tips to help parents think before they splurge on baby clothes, items and gear.
Breast milk is the best and most economical choice but if you choose to formula feed or decide to supplement breast milk with formula, consider buying store brand formula, as it can cost up to 50 percent less than national brand formula.
“All infant formula sold in the U.S., both national and store brands, must meet the same nutrient requirements of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, so there is no nutritional difference.” Says Dr. Jennifer Trachtenberg, M.D., a New York City pediatrician.
Designer baby clothing
Babies grow rapidly, so think carefully before you purchase that designer outfit for your baby. Instead of impulsively buying an expensive outfit for your child, consider these wallet-friendly options:
- Scout sales and follow stores for coupons and discounts
- Check secondhand shops for designer baby clothing
- Shop online or through daily deal sites
- Rent a designer outfit for weddings, special occasions and holidays
Baby crib bedding
Skip the elaborate baby bedding set and go with the safer, more affordable option for your baby’s crib. Although you may prefer to have a perfectly coordinated crib set, crib bumpers are not only unnecessary, they are unsafe. “A good rule of thumb when it comes to crib safety is ‘bare is best.’ A tight-fitting crib sheet is all your baby needs and if you’re looking to provide your baby with warmth, skip using a crib blanket and opt for a sleep sack,” says Sandra Gordon.
Other baby items you can skip or save on
- Crib mattress: You do not need to purchase a convertible crib mattress. A firm crib mattress will last until your child is ready for a larger bed.
- Disposable diapers: Go with the store brands.
- Shopping cart covers: Shopping cart covers harbor more germs than touching a bare shopping cart. Instead, carry disinfecting wipes with you at all times.