It’s tempting to overstretch yourself financially when buying for a new baby, but you can keep the costs down while kitting the nursery out. We pick budget alternatives to baby essentials for new parents.
1. Changing station
Swap for… a cot top changer
A fancy changing station is a needless expense. A cheaper, space-saving alternative is a cot top changer – you can find they cost as little as £20, compared to its changing station, priced around £100.
2. Baby bath
Swap for… a washing up bowl
Babies don’t care about posh baby baths – a serviceable alternative is a plastic washing up bowl at a couple of pounds, or your sink. Just ensure that you wipe the latter with antibacterial wipes beforehand and taps are cool when you put your baby in.
3. Organic baby bath products
Swap for… water, or homemade baby wash
Want to avoid chemicals on baby skin? Then pricey organic wash is a must. In truth, you don’t need anything but water for the first few months. After that, make your own baby wash with gentle carrier oil, such as safflower £4.99 for 500ml mixed with a drop or two of suitable essential oils such as lavender, rose or chamomile.
4. Baby wipes
Swap for… washcloths
Going without wipes might elicit horror from some parents, but unless you’re dealing with explosive poo, cheap washcloths in a basket and an old household bottle with a pump top filled with purified or distilled water, are a cheap and effective alternative.
Swap for… a sling
Mainstream baby lore is that they need a pram, but research shows a sling is a more effective, comforting way to carry a baby. Prams range from £70 up to £1000. A wrap sling such as the Moby D (about £40), which you can use from birth, is a massive saving. Plus it will last until toddlerhood – and you’ll be able to negotiate stairs easily!
6. High chairs
Swap for… a clip-on fabric seat
High chairs range from £20 for basics to £300 designer seats. Invest instead in a fabric clip-on seat that fastens to the chair or table – practical and space saving (and you can travel with them). Grobag Chair Harness Gro-ing Place costs £9.99.
7. Nappy bag
Swap for… a larger handbag
Nappy bags can cost up to £300 for designer versions, but you’re paying for looks rather than convenience. Instead, buy a simple mid-size leather or canvas bag and pack a roll-up change mat (Tesco has one at £3), wipes, nappies, bottle and a small pot of snacks and you’ll be good to go for most outings.
8. Moses basket
Swap for… a cot
At £50-£100, Moses baskets will only be useful for four-six months. Babies can sleep in cots from birth so cut the extra expense – the Kiddicare Compact Cot costs £39.90, and can be lowered as the child grows.
9. Nappy wrapper
Swap for… a nappy pail
A nappy wrapper stores used nappies to stop unwanted smells, but a nappy pail is cheaper – basically a bucket with a lid. Depending where you look, you can pick them up for just a few pounds, compared to £44.99 for the Tommee Tippee Sangenic Nappy Wrapper Maxi Tub. Put a box of baking soda at the bottom of the pail to keep odour away.
10. Breastfeeding tops
Swap for… wrap dresses and tops
Special breastfeeding tops, designed to let you feed discreetly, are probably something you’ll never wear again. Buy wrap tops and dresses instead. Both allow easy access, and can add to a post-pregnancy wardrobe too.