When you're expecting your first baby a whole new world of shopping opens up to you that you've never had the
pain pleasure of browsing before.
From buggies and cots, to irresistibly cute outfits and nappy stackers(?!) there's no end to the items that are suddenly up for consideration.
With such temptation to spend greeting you at every turn you may become a victim of Baby Buying Syndrome, snapping up 'must-have' products whenever you spot them.
"Every new parent will end up buying things they don't need," says Zaheer Sattar, Managing Director of Baby Planet who is working with The Baby Show.
"It's easy to get caught up in the excitement of wanting to have absolutely everything for your baby. But before you buy anything, you need to think about whether it is right for you and whether you will actually use it."
Unfortunately, until your baby arrives, it's difficult to know what will actually be useful, and what will end up sitting in a corner gathering dust. So we asked our Parentdish Facebook followers, who have been there and done the new baby thing, for their insider knowledge.
What NOT to buy for your baby
'Shoes! My boy is one and has never even had any on his feet.' - Din Meaney
'Least useful were pram shoes, could never get them to stay on.' - Becky Poole
Until your child learns to walk they really will have no need for shoes. So save yourself from the stress of spending hours hunting for a kicked off bootie and stick with socks and babygrows to keep your baby's feet warm.
'Teddy bears!!!!! We have sack loads.' - Vikki Bryant
'All toys, all the money spent and my little girl prefers bottle lids, spoons and remotes. Can't beat a good set of keys either! Typical!' - Melly Sabine
You don't need to buy your baby lots of toys before they arrive - we promise they won't feel neglected if you don't.
Your friends and relatives will want to bring the baby a present when they first meet her - plus it really won't be that long until her first Christmas... and then there's her first birthday... an excuse for presents is never far away, so put that teddy down.
'Moses basket was a waste of money for me! Little girl hated it and was in her cot by three weeks old sleeping right through the night!' - Natalie Ann Jones
'Never used the night light or baby pillows.' - Abigail Hamilton
Blankets, bumpers, sleeping bags, cots, cot beds and Moses baskets - you can accumulate a vast amount of baby sleep gear. Check out our guide to preparing your baby's nursery before heading out to the shops if you want to avoid buying unnecessary extras.
A pretty but impractical changing bag
'A changing bag that wasn't big enough!' - Suzi Jones
'A changing bag that was far too small. My advice is to go into store to see and feel the changing bags rather than buy online. It's one of the longest standing items you'll use next to the cot and pram so don't skip on quality.' - Ashleigh Milner
There are almost as many different types of changing bags available now as there are regular handbags in Topshop. Size and number of useful pockets are key considerations - although you are going to have to be seen with it in public so aesthetics do have to play a part in your decision too!
You can always forgo a changing bag entirely, if you find a handbag that can rival Mary Poppins' for its ability to always ensure that something useful is to hand.
'Don't buy a "baby bath" - buy a baby seat that fits in a normal bath instead.' - June Shutt
Baby baths, particularly those with a stand, may seem convenient, but they're usually a pain to fill with water and empty, and often lead to your bathroom floor receiving a good soaking every bath time.
'Worst buys - too many clothes (cute little outfits).' - Suzi Jones
OK, your baby will need clothes - you're going to have a tough time getting him home from hospital without them and teeny tiny outfits are incredibly hard to resist - but be warned babies grow FAST. Keep in mind how many outfits your newborn will have time to wear before they start needing the next size up.
'A nappy wrapper.' - Trisha Gilmartin
'I thought the nappy bin was a waste of time. Any dirty nappies are best lobbed straight into an outside bin in my opinion.' - Victoria Rea Mcmillan
Nappy bin, nappy wrapper, whatever you call it, it's still just a container full of dirty nappies - the bin works just as well.
All terrain buggy
"As much as the idea of going for long walks with your new baby may be appealing, unless you are already a keen walker you are not going to need an all terrain buggy," says Zaheer Sattar. "In all fairness, when you're busy with a new baby you're never going to get round to doing anything you don't already do."
Unless you already enjoy regular cross country hikes or you live on a farm there really is no need for a buggy with wheels that rival a truck.
New baby essentials that DO make life easier
'Muslin cloths and many of them!' - Rebecca Ellen Elliott.
'One great buy is muslins, even though I don't need them as burp clothes any more. They are still in constant use, as tie in bibs, cloths to mop up spills, and of course dolly's blankets.' - Becky Poole
'Best buys muslin squares when I saw them on my birthing list I wondered what an earth they were and what would I use them for. When he finally arrived I realised I used them for everything from a burping cloth, swaddling cloth, to a make shift sun shade breastfeeding shade, pirate sun hat, peekaboo toy hot and cold compress, changing mat sheet etc. My son's three now and we still have a couple knocking about that we use for teddies blanket or a indoor picnic blanket.' - Dorinda Melena Martin
'Sleeping bags are ace. My two-year-old won't sleep without one so I'm now starting with my three-month-old. - Fiona Garnett
Check out our baby sleeping bag shopping guide.
'I would recommend digital monitors, they help you relax.' - Natalie Ann Jones
Bottle warmer (even if you plan to breastfeed exclusively)
'I breastfed and the bottle warmer was one of the best gadgets I had. I used it to defrost frozen breastmilk on the odd occasion that someone else was feeding them but the main use was for warming jars of baby food.' - Angela Lucy Moustafa
However, as Facebooker Siobhan Soper points out, one person's best buy is another's worst and vice versa - she says a bottle warmer was her worst buy, as she found her microwave did just as good a job.
Baby swings for twins
Four mums said swings are the best thing for twins - and for babies with older siblings.
'Swing was best thing for our twins.' Helen Payton-Jones
'Most useful couldn't have lived without with my twins - baby swings!!! They were an absolute god send.' - Lynsey Bancroft
'You don't get time to put a brush through your hair with one baby so God knows how multiples parents cope! I also loved my baby swings. Got one for my baby boy 1993 and again but much more modern 2006! First thing I bought second time around after 12 week scan.' - Lisa Spowart
'There's 16 months between my two and the swing was a godsend. Meant when older boy needed me I could put baby in swing until I was ready.' - Angela Lucy Moustafa
More money saving tips
Don't shun secondhand
Aside from a mattress - which you must buy new for every baby to reduce the risk of cot death - there's very little you can't buy second hand. Check out our handy guide to sensible second hand shopping for your baby.
Don't panic buy - there's no rush
"Maybe that's why everyone's given nine months," says Zaheer. "Not just so they can get used to the idea of becoming a parent, but so they can spend that nine months looking for and buying what they need.
"Realistically you want to start looking when you're about three months pregnant, then spend the next three months deciding what you want and then in the last trimester you can start getting together all the bits you want.
"Don't feel guilty if you go into a shop and ask them to demonstrate the pushchairs, but then you don't buy anything. Go away, check prices elsewhere and think about whether the product is right for you. Retailers understand, we usually see shoppers about four times before they buy a buggy."
Do your research
"Don't buy anything big, such as a pushchair without seeing it in the flesh and trying it out," says Zaheer. "But also do some research online before heading out to the shops to see the best price you can get for each product.
"At the end of the day if you don't ask you don't get," says Zaheer. "Most retailers will negotiate if you say, 'I'm planning to buy everything from one place, what deal could you do me if I buy it all from you?'
"But don't say I'm planning to buy everything from you, then they've got you in the bag and won't need to offer you any discount."
More on Parentdish: What NOT to buy for your baby and useful alternatives
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