Don’t be Leo. Don’t throw your money away.

Knowing what to buy to prepare for the arrival of your baby can be overwhelming, stressful, and expensive. (Although shopaholics among us rejoice!) Having everything ready to go before 40 weeks can provide a sense of preparedness.

But what to buy for your baby before you know how you’re going to parent? How do you know what to buy for your baby that you’ll actually use and isn’t just one of the endless things the baby-stuff industry is trying to sell you? That’s where things can get tricky.

This topic can go on for ages, but there are some guiding principles that can help you come to some useful conclusions. The following questions should help you narrow down your shopping list without narrowing down your wallet.

What to Buy for Your Baby

  1. Can we wait until after the baby is born to have the baby shower?
    Many parents find it far easier to decide on what they need after the baby is born, and once they start actually parenting. This way, you can get items bought specifically for your baby and you can request certain things you may never have known you needed when you were still pregnant.
  2. How many uses does this item have?
    Finding items that are multi-use will help you avoid clutter as much as possible. Most people find baby baths unnecessary, for example, and end up either bathing with baby in the tub or using the good ol’ kitchen sink with a towel on the bottom for padding.
  3. Does it help make our lives easier?
    Babywearing is the single most helpful tool I’ve heard parents rave about. But if your carrier is so complicated that you never end up wearing it, what’s the point? Choose items that make like with your newborn easier, not more complicated.

These questions may seem self-explanatory, but when deciding on what to buy for your baby, the waters can get murky pretty dang fast. The cardinal rule in buying baby stuff is, as it is with most things, to keep it simple. Newborn babies need milk, sleep, a clean diaper, and closeness with their parents. As long as you keep that in mind, you won’t get overwhelmed with all the crap being thrown at you, and you might even have some extra cash to spend on an indulgence or two for yourself!