Kids can be quite expensive what with all of the equipment you need, nappies, clothes and the TOYS which seem to take over the entire house. When I had my son (nearly five years ago now), I wasn't sure if I was going to have more children. So I wasn't sure if I wanted to have "investment " pieces to last several kids or just items to hand down. I think that it is always better to have things which will last---better for the environment--but not always easy on the wallet! Here are my top buys and the things I wish I had done differently now that my daughter is here.
1. Nappies--I used a few different types of cloth nappies. My favourite with my son was Motherease One-Size shaped nappies with different size covers as he grew. This seemed a more economical choice at the time. However, I now feel that I might have been better off with a sized, shaped nappy. It is more expensive to purchase new nappies and new covers every few months, but with two children it is easily cheaper than disposables. The one-size are too big and bulky on a baby until they are 5 months or more. Another, cheap option would be to use pre-fold such as Bambino Mio. I didn't like these with my son because the covers got poo on them all of the time, but buying more covers is easy and still cheaper than disposable.
2. Swings and Things--I was totally convinced that I needed a swing and found an inexpensive one on sale for about £50. Well, my son did not care for it much. I lent it to three other families and their kids had mixed reactions. When I dusted it off for my daughter the cat peed in it and she has never tried it. So, it was a bit of a waste. Many kids love them and I think that before you shell out the cash you might try your child in a friend's swing. Or borrow one. They are also quite robust, so you may well get a good one second hand.
As for bouncy seats. I didn't have one for my son and wish I did. He hated being put down, actually, but there are times when you are in the shower, cooking, etc when you need to put the child down. (I wish I had put him in a wrap sling, but I don't know how I could have stood over a hot stove with him strapped to my chest anyway). I have borrowed two bouncy seats for my daughter and they are fantastic. You need to have a place to put a baby down safely in most rooms of your house. So, either carry a bouncy seat around or have a couple. The songs and vibrations are not necessary if you are interacting with your child. The less expensive ones are fine in my opinion.
3. Clothes--I use used clothes for the most part for the kids. Babies grow out of clothes every few months, so it is silly to spend much at all. Everything I use gets passed on to other families when I am finished as well. You can get used clothes from friends, people you meet at playgroups, or cheaply from charity shops.
4. Pushchair/Stroller--You can spend as much as you want, but you don't have to spend much. Here is where it is very good to read reviews on websites! I do advise people to get one with a large basket to hold our shopping and all of the stuff you have to carry around with you. So many folks tell me they don't want to carry a lot and then regret it. My pushchair was part of a travel system with a car seat. I chose a lovely brown colour suitable for boys and girls. However, the padding is coming off and I can't fix it. And part of the car seat is broken, so I have had to borrow one from a friend. It fits in our pushchair sort of. So, if I was going to do it over, I would read reviews, choose a travel system, and make sure it has plenty of storage. I also love my cup holders.
5. I wish I had bought... A glider or rocking chair, a Jumperoo (my son loved a friend's), better quality toys (we have a lot of cheap, but broken ones now)