When you're starting a family, it's easy to be seduced by the many gorgeous - and frighteningly expensive – products on the market. But spending an arm and a leg isn't obligatory.
Check out our top five favourite baby bargains which prove that preparing for parenthood doesn't need to cost a fortune.
Ikea Antilop Highchair, £10.99, www.ikea.co.uk
Parents in the know rave about this highchair, whilst perhaps feeling deservedly smug that they saved themselves so much money (even run-of-the-mill versions sell for between £50 and £100 and designer models can cost hundreds).
Not only is the 'Antilop' nice and compact for use at home, you can remove the legs and chuck them, plus the seat, into the car to take to lunch at friends' or relatives' houses. Clean lines make it easy to wipe down after mucky mealtimes and there's a choice of white or blue. Optional extras come in the form of a clip-on tray, £4, and a £4.99 inflatable seat liner cushion (worthwhile for the first few months of weaning when younger babies need a little extra support and comfort).
Ikea Sniglar Cot, £34.99, www.ikea.co.uk
OK, so we're sounding like we're on the Ikea payroll here (we promise we're not...) but the place really is crammed with so many bargain baby buys we had to include another. This solid birch wood cot is not the flashest but then again it won't offend anyone's tastes either, and it does the job well enough. At this price it makes a great choice for leaving at the grandparents' if your baby will be a frequent overnight guest there.
The matching 'Sniglar' changing table is also a steal at £24.99.
Aldi Mamia Nappies, £5.19 (for 56 'midi'size nappies), www.aldi.co.uk
Cheap nappies can be a messy false economy but these, from low-cost supermarket Aldi, are comfortable for little bottoms, reliable and best of all, half the price of other brands. They offer decent absorbency and softness and don't bulk up when wet. Sizes range from 'midi' (9lbs upwards) through to 'Junior' for larger toddlers, sadly there's no newborn size.
Alternatively: washable nappies usually work out cheaper in the long run than disposables, even if you have to pay upfront for a full set (some local councils offer grants for this) and use a bit of extra energy for laundering them. If you don't fancy using them full time, buying a few and switching for daytimes only or only when you're at home can still save you pounds.
Mothercare Travel Tot car seat, £49.99, www.mothercare.com
A low-price car seat from this trusted retailer's own brand range. As a rear-facing 'group 0+' model it will last from birth to when your baby reaches around 12 months. It's nice and light at just 2.55kg and the shaped base means it can be used out of the car as a rocker seat too.
It's not the plushest or comfiest around but is a great value choice if you mainly do shorter journeys, or need an extra car seat for a grandparent or childminder's car.
If you're buying for a newborn you'll need a pushchair with a decent level of comfort and which reclines flat or almost flat (it should be labelled 'suitable from birth'). This manages both – pretty amazing given it's under £50. Granted, it's not exactly the Porsche of the pushchair world, but it's fairly lightweight (8kg), folds small, and even comes with a raincover and fleece-lined footmuff thrown in.
Liat Hughes Joshi is author of What to Buy for Your Baby, published by White Ladder Press/ Crimson.
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