by Samantha Schoech
When we were expecting our twins I was a little dismayed by how many pieces of plastic I was expected to buy for two babies. After all, babies are only babies for a short while and if everyone buys new piece of plastic (or wood, metal, etc) for their babies that’s an awful lot of manufacturing waste, landfill, and just plain crap. Plus, it’s expensive. Baby stuff is like wedding stuff, jacked up sky high to pray on your excitement and insecurity.
There was a time, after all, when the arrival of a baby didn’t mean a shopping spree.
We are lucky enough to have a twins club in San Francisco that sponsors and twice-yearly consignment sale. On the day before the night my water broke I was waddling around the sale, picking up used clothing, mattress pads, baby monitors and Bumbo seats.
While there is plenty of stuff you might want new (for me it was car seats, a Baby Bjorn, a diaper bag and anything that gets really dirty), much of what your new baby needs, can be bought used. You save tons of money. You save the planet. And, because babies don’t really wear things out, you can always resell it when the time comes.
Here’s 10 baby things you should be buying used:
1. A crib
Buy an new mattress if you’re fussy, but the whole crib? A waste of money. It’s a bed; it should be able to withstand about 5 babyhoods before it needs any tightening.
2. A play yard
They have made some impressive improvements in the last ten years or so, but as long as you get a late model, that’s easy to set up and break down, go used. MOst people use these for travel only on so they are pretty pristine.
3. Bumbo Seat
These things are indestructible and they can be hosed off. You will use it for approximately three months. Go used.
Later, once crackers, cheese sticks and Gogurts become a reality, the car seat will get disgusting. But a sweet little baby hardly makes a mark. As long as it’s in good shape and hasn’t been recalled, go used.
5. Changing table
You’ll get maybe nine months out of a a changing table before your baby will be so strong and flippable that you will decide to just change him on the floor. If you are a germaphobe, buy a new pad, if you are only a little bit of a germaphobe, buy a new cover. If you don’t care (because what are washing machines for anyway), get it all used.
6. Baby clothes
Yes, you will want some new onesies and a few cute things, but really, babies barely wear their clothes before they grow out of them. And clothes are completely washable. Go used and you can get twice as many ah-inspiring outfits.
7. A baby bathtub
You will probably end up bathing her in the sink or in the tub with you. But if you use a baby bathtub, go for a used one. Wipe it out with bleach, rinse it in hot water and voila, good as new. Seriously, babies don’t get that dirty.
8. Baby monitor
A fresh pair of batteries. That’s all you need.
9. An electric baby bouncer/rocker
Otherwise known as the “swing of neglect,” these seats come in handy when you need to put the baby down (say, to go to the bathroom, cook dinner, or just relax for a second). But they are giant and no one wants one in her house once the baby is done with it (about 10 months). They are readily available and rarely used looking at all. Go used, seriously.
10. A glider
Oh, but they are ugly. They are comfy and perfect for nursing, but they are u-g-l-y (unless you get one of those cute upholstered ones for a million dollars). Don’t spend the money, hon, really.