‘I wasted a fortune on baby gadgets’
Parents spend more than £1,000 on designer ware and must-have products for their newborns
Laura Sloan admits to splashing out on baby items for her first child
MIDDLE-CLASS parents are wasting hundreds of pounds on totally unnecessary baby “essentials”.Research by the insurer Aviva found that parents spent an average £1,600 preparing for the arrival of their new baby last year, up from £1,389 in 2012. However, more than half of those surveyed admitted to buying things they either did not use or could have done without.
A survey by the consumer group Which?, meanwhile, reveals that parents could save £275 by avoiding some of the least useful baby products. These include a door bouncer, costing between £20 and £30, and a baby washing “top and tail” bowl, costing between £3 and £10.
As a mother of two boys, aged four and five, I know how tempting it is to splash out on baby goods — but they could be consigned to the attic within a few months.
You do not need everything to be brand new
Every parent wants the very best for their baby, but it will not matter to them if the item isn’t new and it may be that you could pick it up for a fraction of the cost second-hand.
Plenty of towns and villages have social media “for sale” pages that are dedicated to baby items, and you can also pick up nearly-new goods and clothes on websites including eBay, gumtree, preloved.co.uk, and babyswaporshop.co.uk.
Sally Learmouth, 37, from Uxbridge in west London, is a mother of two and director of a communications agency. She said: “I have a four-year-old and spent a fortune on everything, including a beautiful Bloom wooden baby chair that he wouldn’t sit in without crying, a Bloom high chair, and a Bugaboo that cost a small fortune.
“When I came to sell it on eBay recently, I stared in wonder at some of the extras I’d bought: a mosquito net? Really?
“However, when I share these words of wisdom with pregnant friends, I can see their eyes glaze over at the thought of buying anything less than the best for their first.”
Don’t waste your money on “useful” baby products
Most parents buy at least one baby “essential” that turns out to be a waste of money.
For example, some spend a fortune on tiny shoes for their baby . . . but they will grow out of them within a few weeks — and they can’t even walk.
Ugg’s Boo baby boots, for example, cost £45. They might look sweet but it is a lot to spend on something that might never be worn.
Another “useful” product is a wet-wipe warmer. This electrical device is supposed to keep wipes “ moist” for baby’s bottom, but it is mains-powered and so can be used only at home, presumably meaning a cold bottom everywhere else. They do not come cheap either: on Amazon, the lowest price we could find one was £27.99 with free delivery.
Although nappy-wrapper bins receive mixed reviews from parents, who either seem to love or loathe them, it does seem daft to pay for a separate bin specifically for nappies.
They cost from £10 up to about £45, but let’s face it, nappies stink, and the last thing you want is a bin stashed full of them in any room.
The best way to get rid of nappies is just to put them in a nappy sack and dispose of them in your main rubbish, which can go in an outside bin as soon as possible — or, for the environmentally friendly, to buy reusable nappies with washable inserts.
Finally, if you have a big baby, using a baby towel will often be akin to wrapping them in a flannel after a bath. Just use your normal towels, which they will not grow out of.
Case study: Baby showered
Laura Sloan admits to splashing out on baby items for her first child, Oliver, now 18 months but is keeping a tighter rein on her spending now she is expecting again. The marketing executive lives in Tunbridge Wells, Kent, with her husband Tim, an IT account director.