No one is surprised to hear that babies are expensive. Between the nursery, the stroller, the car seat, the clothes, the saving for college – the list goes on – it’s easy to feel really overwhelmed by all the choices and options available to new moms. When I was pregnant, I poured over Consumer Reports and Amazon reviews, trying to figure out which product would kill my baby, and what things were simply marketing schemes.
With so many choices to make, it’s hard to know where you can cut corners and pinch pennies, and where you should really invest your hard-earned dollars.
Here are 10 things that are worth splurging on for baby’s first year…
A good baby carrier 1 of 10Every baby and parent has their own carrier preference, but for my family the Ergo has been more than worth it's price tag. Particularly in the early months, I carried Cullen absolutely everywhere. Babywearing is good for both moms and babies - encouraging bonding, providing awesome snuggles, and helping give mom extra hands to get things done.
Check out one Babble blogger's favorite baby carriers of 2012
A baby bathtub. 2 of 10I know many parents bathe babies in the kitchen sink, but I have a theory that they simply don't know what they are missing. Soapy, wet babies are SLIPPERY, and having a little tub that perfectly fit's a baby body makes me feel much more confident and safe during bath time. This is one of those things that might seem unnecessary, but really pays off.
The top 10 infant bathtubs
A safe car seat. 3 of 10There is probably no better splurge than this. As the saying goes, "you get what you pay for," and in this case safety is absolutely worth a few extra dollars. I'd recommend browsing consumer reports to make sure your car seat is safety tested and approved.
A glider. 4 of 10This was one of those things I wasn't sure I'd use, and boy was I wrong. Of all the things I bought for our house, I probably use this the most. I can't even think about how many hours I've logged in this chair. My tip? Spend a few extra bucks to get one that reclines. I can't tell you how many naps and nights I've spent reclined in my cozy glider.
Babble's favorite gliders and rocking chairs
Pajamas with zippers. 5 of 10Save yourself the hassle and headache of wrestling your baby while trying to snap up pajamas that will inevitably be mis-snapped and lopsided. Pajamas with zippers tend to cost a dollar or two more, but the lack of headache is PRICELESS!
A video monitor. 6 of 10I am the first to admit that I am totally addicted to our video monitor. I know many moms have survived without this for ages, but I really think having the video feature has contributed to better sleep for all of us. Many times, Cullen will wake and move around for a bit, and if I couldn't see him I'd think he was up from a nap based on his noises and grunts. But having the video allows me to see that he's still laying down, simply working himself back to sleep, and his nap ends up twice as long as it would have otherwise.
A good stroller. 7 of 10What makes a stroller "good" is different for every family, but it's definitely worth researching and paying for something that you will feel comfortable using often. Having a good stroller increase the likelihood that you'll get in extra exercise and activity too - a win win for everyone.
Check out one Babble bloggers' top stoller picks of winter and summer 2012.
A nice camera. 8 of 10This doesn't mean you have to shell out hundreds on a giant SLR camera, but I DO mean that it's worth having more than an iPhone ready to capture baby's first year. Babies change and grow so quickly, and quality photos will help you remember all those fleeting moments and milestones.
13 newborn milestones you absolutely must capture on camera
Travel. 9 of 10We live thousands of miles from all our family and close friends, and it has been difficult to go through Cullen's first year without more loved ones nearby. Travel is expensive, but being with family is priceless, and worth the headache of airfare, road trips, and time changes. It's always worth it when everyone is together.
One mom's essential guide to flying with your baby
A babysitter. 10 of 10I fully believe that in order to be the best mom and dad you can be, you have to work hard to nurture your roles as husband and wife. Time away, just focused on your relationship and your significant other, is critical during the first year of long days, sleepless nights, and short tempers.
10 ways to prepare your baby (and yourself!) for your first babysitter