Having a baby doesn’t have to break the bank. There are cheap baby gear swaps to almost every expensive baby product out there.
When I became pregnant with my daughter, I realized that the mommy marketing is fierce. I had never before been so bombarded with as much marketing and advertising for products. It can all lead a new mom to believe that these expensive gadgets are absolute necessities. But that’s just not the truth!
Babies have flourished and grown from very little for centuries, without any expensive “must haves” on baby registry checklists. Sure, the convenience these products offer is helpful. But there are budget-friendly alternative for moms who need them. Here are the top 5 cheapest baby gear swaps for new moms looking to save money!
Bouncers and baby seats
Expensive: 4moms mamaRoo
Budget-friendly: Fisher Price Rock ‘n Play
The Mamaroo and other baby seats like it are expensive and marketed well. They have an array of impressive features, such as different rocking motions to sooth a baby and sounds. And for anyone whose lifestyle allows it, this kind of purchase or other baby seats like it are great to have on hand. But for stay at home moms living on a tight budget, these are unnecessary expenses.
A much cheaper alternative to a rocker and baby seat is the Fisher Price Rock ‘N Play. The Mamaroo is upwards of $200-$300. However, the Fisher Price Rock ‘N Play can be found on sale often for under $50. And because they are so popular among moms, they can easily be found for even cheaper. Check out your local garage sales or baby consignment shops for a pre-loved rock ‘n play.
Expensive: Buying disposable diapers every month
Budget-friendly: Cloth diapers-buy once for every single baby you’ll ever have.
It might seem counter-intuitive to spend money first in order to save in the long run. But that is the case with cloth diapers. The initial investment goes a long way with cloth diapers. While disposables are used once and thrown in the trash, cloth diapers can be washed and reused. And they are durable enough to potentially last through every single baby you’ll have. This is especially helpful for first time moms who plan to have more than one child.
For example, let’s say you hope to have three to four children someday. If you purchased a stack of cloth diapers for $100-$200, you wouldn’t have to spend another dime on diapers for all four children. That’s thousands of dollars saved over the course of your mothering journey!
Breastfeeding stay-at-home moms may desire to have a breast pump on hand even if they’re not returning to work. After all, it is nice to have some milk in the freezer. This allows you to have a date night or a mommy morning to yourself from time to time! But for moms who plan to stay home full time with their baby, an expensive electric pump can be an unnecessary expense.
If you are exclusively pumping, then a hospital grade breast pump is definitely the way to go. And many are covered completely by insurance! But for moms who will just be occasionally pumping, a handheld manual pump is a cheap and effective alternative.
The Medela Harmony, which is a very cost-effective manual pump, was very effective for my pumping needs. I used both the expensive Medela Pump in Style (around $200-$300), and the Medela Harmony (around $50). I found that I got the same milk output with both pumps. It was definitely the best, cheap baby gear swap I purchased. Keep in mind that I only pumped a few times a week. So exclusively pumping moms or working moms will definitely want a hospital grade electric pump. This recommendation is just for stay-at-home moms who pump only for outings.
I have not personally used it, but the Haaka is also a great alternative to an expensive electric pump. The Haaka is even cheaper than the Medela Harmony at under $20. I have read such great reviews about this breast pump/accessory. With my next baby, I’ll definitely be purchasing the Haaka. This is especially effective for collecting milk from the opposite breast during feeds.
Bassinet and changing table
Expensive: $100+ crib plus $100+ changing table
Budget-friendly: Pack ‘n play with insert
Furniture for a baby can really add up. It is often some of the most expensive items on a baby registry. After all, it is so exciting to decorate a nursery for a baby on the way. However, for moms truly on a tight budget, there are ways to work around these expenses, or forgo them altogether. Here are just a few cheap baby gear alternatives to buying expensive furniture for a baby nursery.
One alternative is to purchase a pack ‘n play with an insert for newborns. My baby, who is almost ten months old, still uses her pack and play. And she still has plenty of room to grow in it. It’s lightweight, portable, and able to be taken to other rooms around the house or even on vacation. It’s especially helpful for moms living in small spaces, like apartments or small homes.
The newborn insert can take the place of an expensive bassinet. This can also be used as a changing table as well. Keep a basket with diapers and wipes on the nightstand to change baby’s diaper right there in the pack ‘n play at night.
Cribs are also often found for cheap at thrift stores. And all that would need to be purchased would be a new, firm baby mattress and a fitted sheet. Whether baby has a nursery with a crib or not, a pack and play is still a worthwhile expense. It’s useful for every stage of baby’s first year or two.
Expensive: designer strollers, or even travel systems
Budget friendly: Buying a carseat stroller frame, then transitioning to a cheap umbrella stroller
When my daughter was born, we waited over three months to purchase a stroller, and I’m so glad we did! We didn’t need one at all during those first three months. For one, I held her in the baby wrap on my chest during those early outings. This helped keep my colicky baby calm, and it also kept her away from outside germs. And when she wasn’t in the baby wrap, it was easy to just pick up the carseat and go.
We intentionally waited to purchase a stroller. And because of that, we could choose a stroller that we would actually get the most use out of. We found a used stroller in perfect condition on Craigslist for under $40 (originally over $200). And it went perfectly with our carseat because it was the same brand.
Another alternative route we could have taken was purchasing just the stroller frame that matched our carseat. This can be found for under $100. Once baby is able to sit up on their own, you can switch to a cheap, lightweight umbrella stroller.
Cheapest Baby Gear Swaps
The convenience of expensive baby products are definitely nice. But there are ways to get similar results from cheaper baby gear swaps. I hope you enjoyed these top baby gear swaps, and if you have any ideas for more swaps, please share them in the comments. Did you find this post helpful for new moms on a budget? If so, please share it on social media or Pinterest to spread the money-saving love.
*Disclaimer: There are affiliate links within this post. This means I get a small commission from your purchases of these products at no extra cost to you. All opinions of each product are my own.