Baby Essentials List

The Essentials:

1. Crib or Pack ‘n’ Play.

  • Extra credit: get both, especially if you have friends/family with littles who will visit. We used our Graco pack ‘n’ play downstairs for dinnertime/playtime for a while, as a safe place to put baby. Once he could stand up on his own, he kind of hated it. It’s nice to have the pack n play, but for the long haul, get a good full-size crib for sleeping.

2. Diapers and wipes. Stockup now.

3. Carseat and later, a compatible stroller.

  • Infant seats are nice to have as you can strap the seat to a stroller easily without waking up your baby. If you do decide to get an infant car seat, buy a seat with the max weight limit of 30 lbs. Try to use it as long as you can. Accept the fact that you will only use it as a baby carrier for a few months anyway. The 22 lb limit seats are going to be lighter seats, yes, but how many of us can lug our babies around in them all day long anyway? Babies grow more alert and after a while, they won’t want to be in stuck in a seat all day.
  • The same rule applies to the convertible car seat. Some of the cheap ones I looked at for travel only work up to 40 lbs. Because the seat is lighter, its weight limit will also be less then bulkier/heavier seats. I still haven’t found a great seat that is both lightweight and goes up to 60-70 lbs.
  • Here’s my review of the Britax travel system.

4. Baby bathtub; first an infant tub (we got ours as a gift from the hospital), a transitional tub like the inflatable Kel-Gar Snug Tub (recommended for babies who can sit up), then use the regular bathtub (you may want a grippy mat). Extra credit: Buy some bath toys later or find some cheap plastic measuring cups or cups with a spout or small bucket. They can be super cheap, just make sure they are sturdy.

5. Feeding and equipment. Here’s my list of equipment for breastfeeding.

  • For formula-feeding or weaning off nursing, get bottles like like Medela or Avent Natural. We have also used the Avent bottle brush with our twins.
  • I personally like a Boppy; many moms say a supportive pillow would work as well, but I do not own a regular pillow as supportive as the Boppy. They are used for a limited time, 4-6 months depending on your baby’s size.

6. A simple, basic layette. Start with the layette of a newborn.

      • Here’s my list of what you should get for the first two years. Extra credit: A cute going home outfit
      • I recommend Carter’s onesies because our baby wears them the longest. They wash well; they only shrink slightly. Buy the cotton ribbed knit not cotton jersey for a stretchy fit that can be worn a bit longer. I promise I don’t work for Carter’s, I just really love what we’ve used from them. I’ve used other brands (Gerber, Gymboree, etc) and washed them and while they remain in good condition, they shrink terribly (I love Gymboree designs for dress-up days but I always line dry them, which can get annoying when you have to sort through all your baby’s wet laundry). Always shop the Carter’s 50% off sales and use a coupon which means you will be buying in large quantities of $40+ (so buy the next size up) to meet the dollar amount for the coupon and free shipping.
      • For other articles of clothing (dress shirts, pants, jackets, etc) a good option is a second-hand children’s store, that only sells items of certain nicer brands. Ours is Once Upon a Child. (We live within walking distance!) You will still need to sort through the stuff they sell and wash thoroughly, but we’ve scored some great Janie & Jack, Carter’s and Gymboree dress shirts, hoodies, and some great toys. Another option is Just Between Friends consignment sales.

7. Muslin swaddles – don’t buy too many baby blankets, We have WAY TOO MANY.

  • Get a swaddle or thin blanket of good size: Aden + Anais is a great swaddle and Baby now uses it as his precious blankie. He gets excited when he sees one of us holding his blankie and has to sleep with one or two while holding the corners. Luckily for us, we have four of them, in case one gets peed on, gets dirty or gets lost. It is lightweight, breathable and washes well. They have been used for 24 months now; one that is especially loved is getting stained and has snags, but the others look great. $40 seemed crazy for 4 blankets but it’s been completely worth it to me. The lowest sale price I’ve seen is on Amazon for $31 so keep your eyes open for this gem. Remember to buy the larger size not the Aden + Anais for Target which is a swaddle of smaller dimension.

8. A cute diaper bag, make sure it’s cute for your own enjoyment (dull the pain of hauling baby gear)

9. Baby highchair or booster (you can wait on this one, but only for 6 months)

    • Here’s my review of the booster highchair we have from Fisher Price.

10. Some other baby care essentials (if you are having a baby shower, register for these or WAIT before buying these yourself, they may come as gifts); you do not need to buy the pre-assembled kits; just like first aid kits, you can create your own of better quality items and essentials:

  • Baby nail clipper scissors, a light comb, gentle baby 2-in-1 wash and shampoo (I like Aveeno), one tube of diaper rash cream/ointment, and one tube of Aquaphor healing ointment (we like to use this on chapped skin from sick noses or cold weather)

Buy but don’t spend a lot of money on:

  • Baby toys, teethers, or activity gyms – I’ve found a lot of life in gently used toys (toy cars, blocks, and musical toys) after a good cleaning. I’d recommend buying toys new if they are plush or fabric (for sanitary reasons) and also, buy new teethers; we liked the Banana teether but the bristles will be bit off if your baby has several teeth.
    • We have this Skip Hop activity gym given to us by my cousin, and I love it because it’s soft and plushy (not hard plastic), but it is expensive at $75 MSRP! I suggest registering for this or saving up your gifted baby shower gift cards/funds for this or one similar. I bought a second for our twins to each have one, used off Craigslist for $10! That’s a great find. Skip Hop is a great brand.
    • Buy toys that have multiple levels of use and interest. I know this is really difficult to do, as babies tend to get bored of toys fast but try to find toys that have a lot of different play modes and are relatively inexpensive. An O-ball is a great example:oball
    • This flexible ball (comes highly rated and is 100% dishwasher safe, PVC, latex and phthalates-free) was the first toy Baby could grab and shake. Later he could kick it when we attached it to his playmat with a ring. Later he would throw it or hit it against another toy. Recently he has learned to “kick” it while walking. He’s now 15 months old and just starting to get bored of it, but we will put it away for a while and bring it back out to learn to play with later. It has a “toy life” of 10-12 months, pretty darn good for a baby toy that costs $5 at Walmart or Target.
    • If you have a bigger budget, look for developmental toys from Lamaze or Skip Hop. These are items you will want to register for: a fun activity toy with bells, crinkles and rattles, etc (a distraction in the car), some soft blocks and/or nesting toy. Just keep a handful of good variety. A lot of these toys have a wide age range and are very colorful but at the same time gender-neutral.

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  • Try Fisher Price toys with the age range of 6-36 months. Baby has the Laugh & Learn Learning Home and it has been played with daily since he was about 11 months. It has a variety of play modes and teaches a lot of songs, words, opposites etc. It was a gift from my mom that I didn’t think we “needed” but we’ve really got a lot of use out of it. (UPDATE at 20 months, Baby still plays with this toy in so many unconventional ways: putting toys through the windows, rolling his cars through the doorway, etc. It’s super fun! UPDATE at 24 months, we’ve finally given this toy a well-deserved break! UPDATE 30 months at 2 1/2 Baby still plays with this from time to time. It’s “learning time” function is really catchy for a toddler learning words.)

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  • Board Books – okay, this is completely a personal preference; if you love Usborne Books like I do, go ahead and splurge; if not, get some cheap board books or gently used books from Once Upon a Child or Amazon Marketplace.
  • Stuffed Animals: babies don’t even know what these are, and to be honest, they should not be in the crib with your young baby until they are at least 1 or even 2. That’s when my son realized what they are and started imaginary play; he only has one plush Nemo he got this year that he has actually sort of bonded with; he also has a Kohls Cares Mouse (from If You Give a Mouse a Cookie) which he thinks is neat and will occasionally play with.

The Optional

    • changing table – I really like having one, but some moms think it’s an extra piece of furniture. If you choose to get one, get a nice pad like this one and a cover (Amazon) and you may need some grippy texture liner underneath for stability. I recommend getting a changing table that can be used as a dresser when your child grows up.
    • baby swing – we have one; it was used for such a short period of time, but nice to have in those early months
    • baby bouncy seat – we could have benefited from having one, but we didn’t buy one, and my child is still super active, so he wasn’t stunted in growth by not having one. For our twins coming, I bought two as I’m expecting to need to put the babies down where it’s safe where my toddler cannot step on their toes.
    • Buggy Bagg grocery cart cover – I really like having mine, it’s extra large and fits all carts, even those huge ones at Costco; the germaphobe in me feel a little better about having one, plus the pockets are a nice shopping tool to store coupons and snacks for on-the-go instead of having an entire diaper bag with you
    • seats like Bumbo etc – some moms love them, I didn’t even try one; I think it will quickly be outgrown, so I think it’s unnecessary
    • baby carrier like ErgoBaby –  I think you can skip the carrier, or at least try to borrow one or get one gently used; some babies don’t like them; others love them. I did buy one for my twins, a Lillebaby carrier,  out of necessity to transport three littles. It’s a great product but used mostly for walks and airport travel.

The Unnecessary (Most Moms Say to Skip)

  • Wipes warmer
  • Bottle warmer
  • Diaper Genie (just use a step trash can and empty your trash often)
  • baby powder
  • baby monitor (though I’ve often wondered what he’s doing up in his crib when I hear him kicking instead of napping!)
  • wipes dispenser (I bought the OXO PerfectPull, and while it’s nice quality, we easily could have gone without and used Amazon Elements or Pampers Sensitive disposable dispensers.)

From The Krazy Coupon Lady: 10 Brilliant (and Doable) Ways to Save $1000s on Baby Costs

I agree with everything Joanie and Heather mention in this video, except for the Baby Gear: I think a Boppy (or other nursing pillow) and changing table are indispensable. I like the changing tables that are a dresser (with drawers) with the pad on top so you can use it as a dresser after the changing table feature isn’t needed; changing tables do not have to be purchased new, just functional and in good used condition. I think it is so important to care for your body and be able to change your baby without bending over or straining. I do like using the Kel Gar bathtub as a transitional tub between the infant tub we received from the hospital to using the real tub, but I realize it’s not for everyone.

I’ll have to check out the NoseFrida more before recommending, but I do not recommend a baby carrier at full price; if you can get a heavily discounted one or even borrow one, I suggest doing so. I borrowed an Ergo from my sis-in-law but we ended up not using it because my baby hated carriers from the start and honestly, he would have been way to heavy for me to carry.

The rest of the tips are awesome and ideas that I have been sharing on this blog! I’ve used all three: Amazon, Costco and Target for diaper deals and saved some serious cash!

Baby Shower Gift Ideas

Here’s some ideas for gifts for that new mom in your life. If you’ve been following the blog, this list will come as no surprise to you (and don’t mind me using some old photos, call it lazy, resourceful, whatevs) so let’s just say it’s a list of my favorite things that I’d gladly give to any new mom or receive myself:

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  • Aden + Anais muslin swaddles from Amazon
    •  This is a pricey gift but will be loved by your new mom and her little one, especially if they live in a temperate climate like California, Texas, Florida, Nevada or Hawaii. It’s the perfect blankie for a baby in the summertime. It’s breathable and swaddles like no other! It’s worth it. 
    • If you’re shopping for a summer baby or warm climate family, try the bamboo rayon style, they are super lightweight and so soft. My twins love theirs. 
    • There are other brands of muslin swaddles out there so check out Carters, TJ Maxx and other stores too but I cannot vouch for the quality of any other brands. There are plenty of brands and designs out there. My suggestion is to go for the largest ones out there: 47″ Aden + Anais ones!

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  • Pampers Swaddlers
    • Pampers is a great go-to brand if your new mom is using disposable diapers. At my shower, I received no other brand; only PAMPERS. It’s a great brand for most babies. Babies will go through tons of diapers, so this is a great gift for either new mom or experienced mom! My suggestion is to gift SIZE 1 diapers because they will be used soonest and have the most per pack but include a gift receipt so Mom can exchange for a bigger size if she gets too many.

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  • Baby Wipes (any brand, but go for unscented)
    • Though your expecting mom may develop preferences for wipes, they all generally work the same, so the brand does not matter here, so if you use coupons and see a great deal on Huggies, go for it! Baby wipes will be used up somehow, somewhere, some way. Guaranteed. This is another great gift for any new or experienced mom. Check out the general characteristics of brands I’ve tried here.

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  • Target Gift Cards
    • Every woman loves Target. (I think. I haven’t met one yet who does not!) This is a great place for maternity/nursing clothing, baby clothing, diapers, dollar spot…even chocolate. This gift will be appreciated by your new mom when she has a last minute grocery trip or a need for retail therapy. Even though I think cash is king (I love my Chinese relatives who send red envelopes!) but this is a great alternative to those of you crazies who think gifting cash is tacky.

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  • Infantino, Skip Hop, Lamaze, and B. Toys (all available at Amazon.com and Target.com)
    • These are super cute baby toys and are mostly gender neutral. I like how durable they are. I have purchased most of mine from Target but they are available on Amazon and Diapers.com, but may cost more.

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  • Baby Clothing 6M+ , 12M+ is better
    • Generally I suggest avoid buying baby clothing, but if you can’t resist, the larger sizes are better. Unless your new mom has absolutely no layette prepared, do not buy 0-3 and 3-6M sized clothing. They will only be used for a couple of months so the value isn’t as high. If you do choose to buy smaller sized clothing and your new mom is open to gently used clothing, shop thrift stores and the clearance rack. The best time to buy is January and February.
    • I like buying 6-12M and 12M+ clothing for a new mom. No matter the size you choose, remember to get seasonally appropriate clothing: don’t buy coats, jackets or swimwear for the baby if you are buying much bigger sizes as you cannot predict baby’s growth.
    • Stick to basic items like dresses, tees or bodysuits, and sleepers. Clothing sizes are just guidelines, but they work for most healthy babies; use the size ranges to help you determine what the baby might need. For example, if you want to buy 12M clothing, consider what the baby will be wearing on her first birthday. If born in the winter, consider buying some sweaters or light jackets or pants or leggings. If born in the summer, consider some shorts, sundresses, and cute tees or rompers.
    • My suggestion is to buy Carters brand clothing because they last and are worn the longest of all clothing brands I’ve tried. Other recommendations are Gymboree, OshKosh, and Baby Gap but they are more expensive. Don’t forget to give a gift receipt so mom can do exchanges later if needed.

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  • Board books
    • Any board book will be a fun addition to your new mom’s library. Consider buying those that are durable and have some touch and feel aspect to it. Board books by Eric Carle and Richard Scarry are my favorite for younger babies (I’m old school!) and they are cheap ($3-5 a book), Matthew Van Fleet is a great choice but might be best saved for baby’s 1st birthday and are a bit pricier ($10 a book). Usborne books make great gifts; My First Word Book is a cute book ($9.99).

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Moneysaver Tip: If the new mom is a close relative or friend who doesn’t mind gently used items or new but repackaged items, try Amazon Warehouse deals (buying Aden + Anais swaddles, wipes and even diapers if you’re strapped for time) they will be delivered to your home, they are the discounted items listed as Like New or Very Good under condition (instead of New) and usually will still come in original packaging, just maybe slightly dented or worn (read the description of the condition). Wipes and diapers will (should) come in their plastic wrapping but might be reboxed. If the packaging has cosmetic damage, consider placing the gift in a cute basket, laundry basket or sturdy toy box which Mom could use later for toys or books.

Updated Posts

Just a quick note to say that I’ve recently updated some of the old posts with new info:

Pampers Sensitive wipes have been replaced in our household with Amazon Elements, Kirkland Signature and Huggies Naturals. (Whatever is on sale.) Pampers brand is just too expensive to buy, in my experience. 

Pampers Cruisers are the best diaper for toddlers.

What booster style high chair seat might replace the Fisher Price SpaceSaver Deluxe that is being discontinued?

Old Navy joins my list of best baby clothing brands.

I added some toddler titles to the list of board books. This list is a work in progress.

Last but not least, the most-awesome-post-on-the-site, about baby clothes (0-24M) is updated so that all the info is on one post rather than three. (For clothing especially for newborns, check out this post.)

Hope this makes for smoother sailing on the blog.

-SimpleGirl

If you’re just joining us, read the intro post and 1st year anniversary post to get some quick links.

Feeling Used

I must have gotten bit by the garage sale bug this last summer (by summer, I mean May to October, because it’s still warm here in Texas!). We’ve had a blast buying used toys, books and clothing from Craigslist, eBay and Amazon. Here are some tips from yours truly, a  serious online-shopper junkie:

eBay

I am a huge fan of buying used toys (provided they are in clean and nice condition). I am slightly obsessed with Tonka Chuck and Friends Wheel Pals cars. I saw them at Wal-Mart for $5/ car and thought they were the cutest toy cars ever. I’m talking about the soft version (not die cast), also perfect size (4″) for a toddler’s hands. But I was reluctant to buy them at full price so I did some research on eBay. The next thing you know, I bought a nice collection of them at a decent price and was able to resell some of the ones we didn’t want. Many older cars are discontinued too so buying them used gives them a second life and plenty of them were in like new condition. I think I like playing with them more than my kid does. But whatever.

UPDATE: Because of our Hot Wheels collection, Baby took an interest in these Tonkas for about a year and decided HW are way cooler, which they are especially because Dad says so, even though he is a year under the HW age guidelines. (Uhh…why SG…why?) So just be careful about giving your kids toys in the “right time, right place.” My Tonka collection which would have been perfectly fine until age 3 is waiting for Baby #2 now.

51G0QAHNcqL I’ve also had some serious regrets buying from eBay when I have not been informed enough. eBay shopping requires serious research into prices, item condition, and if you’re talking about clothes, body measurements are essential to have.

  • Ask questions. If you are unclear about an item’s condition, always, always ask. Read descriptions carefully and do your homework: Is it in a home full of pets? a smoke-free home? The seller may not accept returns, and even when he/she does, you’ll most likely pay for return shipping. Ask the seller for photos if those they posted are unclear or dim.
  • For clothing, take your measurements and know your brands well. When wearing Ann Taylor Loft, somehow I’m a size 2, while on the other hand with H&M I’m a size 6. Each brand has a size chart on their site for reference; while it may not reflect that particular item, it’s at least a good place to start. Take measurements of yourself (or whoever you are shopping for) and ask for the measurements of the article of clothing from the seller if you are unsure about sizing.
  • From personal experience, I suggest buying used clothing from individual sellers in “excellent used condition” rather than huge sellers on ebay like thrift stores or mass clothing resellers like Twice. I think people generally take better care of their clothing when in their own homes (and worn by themselves or family members) and you are less likely to have the smelly thrift store smell when the item has been washed well and stored properly.

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Craigslist

SG has had some seriously fun times buying Hot Wheel tracks off Craigslist, mostly for fun: mostly for himself but a little bit for Baby too. We have scored some major deals from toys other people’s children have grown out of. Yeah, can you tell we’re a bit too obsessed with cars in this household?

  • Act fast and devote some time. Stuff that is on Craigslist that is priced to sell goes quickly. Make sure you have enough time that day to track down the seller, schedule travel time, and take time to go look at what you are buying.
  • With Craigslist and other negotiable shopping, always go in with your price in mind. What will you be willing to spend? Will you give the seller his/her asking price? When do you walk away?

Amazon

My love for Amazon runs deep. I love Amazon. So it’s natural that when I discovered Amazon Warehouse that I would love it just as much. They have some awesome stuff for babies and toddlers for a good discount. You can view Warehouse items here. Or you can search on a regular Amazon product page; if they have Warehouse products available, it will be found under Used (next to New) and labeled “Open Box.”

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  • On Amazon Warehouse, “like new” or “very good” items are usually worthwhile. I’ve only ever sent back one open-box item (a Fisher Price booster high chair seat) that was really in badly used condition (when described as like new or very good); it had noticeable signs of wear. “Very good” usually means the original box has been replaced by a generic or Amazon-brand brown box. Amazon is also very good about returns in case this sort of thing happens
  • I’ve purchased Pampers Wipes (came without the box or a dented box, packages are all still sealed), Kleenex tissues, and other household items. The items are usually damaged in packaging but fine otherwise, just make sure to read the description before buying.
  • For used books, the Amazon Marketplace is a good option. What I dislike, however, is that a seller cannot offer combined shipping, so you will end up paying $3.99 (or more) for shipping per item even if you buy 5 items from the same seller. Keep shipping costs in mind when searching
  • .A lot of “new” books posted in the Marketplace are not actually in new condition, they have a remainder mark on them (usually a line of permanent marker long the edge of a book) especially if you are looking for an older-published book. If aesthetics is a concern (for a book to be gifted, for example), buy new directly from Amazon or with a seller who has described their item as unmarked, not a remainder copy, pristine, etc. As a book snob (think of the girl who looks at every single copy at Costco or BN for dents and marks before buying one–that’s probably me) this has been a big issue for me. (New to me means unspoiled in every way; sometimes a slight bent corner but really nothing major.)

Once Upon a Child Review

Confession time. I like buying clothes. I also like buying clothes for my child.

I am a huge believer in retail therapy (within your means, of course.) When I was pregnant with Baby, I stockpiled onesies, shorts and rompers from Gymboree, a store that has quality items but can be pricey if you’re not careful. Luckily, most stuff was on clearance, but it was still kind of ridiculous to buy every single thing brand new.

I realize now that I was a little bit psycho about buying everything nice and new for my baby. Perhaps things would have been different if we were still in the poor student days of Simple Guy’s postgraduate schooling. But I was spoiling myself and totally unrealistic about buying used.

Lesson: if you buy used stuff for your kids, it does not mean you love them less.

Some things I believe should not be bought used, like car seats and cribs and mattresses and shoes. But clothing’s okay used, in my book.

I wish I knew about Once Upon a Child before I had Baby.

They sell baby clothes that are gently used of some good brands too (Carters, Gymboree, Janie and Jack etc). I only started shopping there recently, and this whole time they were only a five minute walk away from my house. (What was I thinking?) So far, I’ve bought a decent jacket, a few dress shirts, and some sweatshirts as we are preparing for a trip to a colder place soon.

We’ve successfully gotten the “thrift store” smell out of the clothes by simply adding a bit of white vinegar to the wash. I’ve loved most stuff I’ve bought there and I keep going back to see what is new on the racks. And get this. A lot of the smaller sizes like 0-3, 3-6 and 6-9 months have a big selection on clearance which for OUAC, means 50% off. (Say what?) It is perfect for the new mom!

I found some of the stuff I got at Gymboree there—I think I still did better buying my stuff from the clearance rack at Gymboree rather than Once Upon a Child. But it’s still an awesome option to keep in mind, if you don’t want to swim through the Gymboree red bins which always reminds me of those crazy Chinese women at the marketplace. (I realize I kind of look like an idiot, on my hands and knees, but it’s a sacrifice of self-image I’m willing to take for a great bargain!)

It has been especially helpful as Baby has gotten older, for toddler clothing. Toddlers don’t outgrow their clothing as quickly and the sale racks of Carter’s and Gymboree of bigger sizes are sparse–it’s really hard (but not impossible) to find what I want.

Please note: this review does not include selling old stuff to OUAC. I do not have any experience with selling to them. And I would try to gift my gently used clothing to a new mom before selling, but that’s just my situation and preference.

Gymboree Red Balloon Sale Finds

bigredballoonsaleIt’s that time of year again.

Gymboree’s Red Balloon Sale.

It happens twice a year and is one of the best Gymboree sales.

Email: Sign up for Gymboree’s email newsletter so you will be notified when the sale will happen. The day I get an email that the sale is going on, I will (try to) stop everything I am doing to go sometime on Day One of the sale for the best selection.

Coupon: I had saved a 20% coupon from Parents Magazine (from a free one-year subscription) that expires at the end of this month, so I knew it would probably overlap with the Red Balloon Sale. As of publishing this post, they will allow you to use a coupon during a sale!

Location: There are four Gymboree locations in the area and I’ve already determined best one to go to on the first day of the sale. If I have other downtime, I’ll go to the other mall locations, but they really aren’t that great. Once you have shopped multiple stores over a period of time, you’ll know which has the best sale rack. Some locations save all their sale items for the Red Balloon Sale, so you will see some great stuff for all seasons and sizes (and you will likely need to dig through the red bins). Other locations don’t have much on sale; it just depends on the store manager.

If you are extra friendly and have a specific request (article and size) they may check the back for you; just be open to whatever they have on hand. This happened for me when we were planning to go to Hawaii with Baby and the associate looked in the back for me; we got this cute shark bucket hat for under $3. I thought it looked kind of dumb in store, but at the beach, it was a big hit!

f3ef3cfe82904747c5a085f7b5816405This is a great sale for stockpiling.

But be careful! A lot of items I saw were winter clothing and seasonal items are hard to plan for.

Obviously, the best items are those you need and will use right away. So I did look at the normal sale rack of early spring/summer items (some lines were about 60% off; more recent lines will be more expensive). We got Baby new swim trunks since our new home has a pool. We got one size bigger to last the whole summer, since Baby is soon to grow out of his current size.

After sale and coupon, the swim board shorts were $6.40 (pre-tax):

tropicalboardshortsI found this mom-duck (or dad) and baby duck bodysuit that I thought was adorable. We are hoping/planning to have a second baby next year and I know we were running the wash a lot during the 6-12M size, so I bought it for the great price, plus it is colorful, gender neutral and has the expandable lap shoulders that I think are essential and would also make a great gift. After sale and coupon, this bodysuit was $1.59 (pre-tax):

yellowduckonesieOther things that were tempting that I passed on were:

-thick button up grey striped cotton shirt 18-24 M — too wrinkle-prone, not a wow piece,

-navy blue double breasted cotton button up jacket 2T, 3T– many of these were on the sale rack, looked very formal and might be too preppy on a little boy, but would have been really cute on a girl in the right color.

-green and blue plaid jacket 2T — very tempting since it was a nice jacket, but I do not have a clue when Baby will reach size 2T; I know he could probably use a jacket this winter, but he may not be at that size range yet. (UPDATE: And I was correct! We got a gently used 24M coat for this winter)

-white animals fleece zip up sleeveless jumper/swaddler 0-3 M — very tempting, as I do have potential future moms to gift this to, but it was too thick (not suitable for all seasons) and white (stains easily for a newborn in that size)

These just didn’t make the cut because I can’t predict growth or climate enough to justify stockpiling these seasonal items. Remember to stock up on basics–shirts, rompers, lightweight pants, and socks are always good choices.

Tip: The Red Balloon Sale happens twice a year: once in late-May or early June and again late-Dec or January. I find the late-Dec is the easier sale to shop because there’s more inventory and every kid needs tees and summer shorts so it is relatively easy to stock up on those rather than the winter items you find on sale in the summer. (We do however have a very short winter in TX, so if you’re in a colder climate, the opposite might be true for your kids’ clothing needs.)

Baby Clothes – Buy Color

We just got clear storage bins and so I’ve been organizing Baby’s clothing that he’s outgrown, sadly, to be put away until our next baby. I can’t believe he’s grown up so fast.

To my dismay,  the white Just One You (Carter’s) bodysuits from Target had these awful yellow stains on the shoulders, probably from newborn spit up.  I don’t know if we had horrible lighting in our apartment when Baby was born but I did not notice them before.

This was even back during the time I was a brand-new mom and took a lot of care to wash and spray stains out of shirts right after changing Baby.

I will probably use the stained white bodysuits with my next baby just because I don’t want to keep buying new baby clothes with each new addition to our family and newborn babies go through a lot of clothes every day.

But please learn from my mistake.  Buy color.  My colored baby clothing probably has stains but is a lot less noticeable. This way you do not have to use bleach on your baby’s clothing. Please do yourself a favor and get some color, preferably darker colors but pastels are better than white.

I promise I don’t work for Carter’s, I just love their clothing a lot and I truly believe in buying quality so you don’t have to waste money on inferior products (only to run to the store to buy what you should have bought in the first place). If I could have a redo, I would have gone straight to buying the Carter’s 7-pack of short-sleeve bodysuits because they have such great bright colors. (Please do take into consideration what gifted clothing you get first though. You don’t want too many shirts in one size.) I am kind of sad I didn’t buy these earlier; instead I just bought some last month and Baby was wearing 12M. That means I only have 12M, 18M and 24M left to go.

Baby is eating solids every day but the colorful bodysuits have held up really well in the wash.

carters3I can’t stress it enough, I love color!

With so many shirts, I also love not having to do the wash every other day. A pack of these and a handful pants are really all a baby needs for each size. And you can reuse them without those yucky spit-up stains showing.

Lesson learned.

Remember, stack a 50% off sale, a coupon code, and free shipping promotion.

Baby Clothes – Rewards Programs

Occasionally, Gymboree and Carter’s run rewards programs, when you buy a certain $ amount of merchandise you can get $ in store rewards.

Gymboree has a rewards program called Gymbucks. I never use this program. When you buy $50 of clothing, you get a $25 rewards called Gymbucks, stapled to your receipt, that you can redeem during their Gymbuck redemption weeks (you can’t use it right away!). The catch is that you have to spend $50 to get your $25. So essentially it’s getting 50% off a future purchase of $50…but you already spent $50 to get that reward. And that’s a lot to be spending on kids’ clothing.

Plus, from my reading online, Gymboree does not accept coupons with Gymbucks. Correct me if I’m wrong here. But that makes it really hard to use this program.

If you have a lot of kids or a family photo or family gathering that requires some nice clothes that are not on the sale rack at Gymboree, than you might consider this program, but make sure you know when you can use your rewards. Otherwise I wouldn’t bother. I always buy from the sale rack with coupons and that’s enough for me.

When they ask me if I want to spend $10 more to get Gymbucks, I shake my head.

Do sign up for Gymboree rewards program in general, even if you don’t plan to earn Gymbucks. The program signs you up for email newsletters that sometimes will send you coupons in your email. Like any rewards program, it’s associated with a phone number you give to the associate at every purchase. Being a member allows you to sometimes receive extra promotions during a sale (friends and family events). When you spend $250 you get $5 of rewards–I’ve never reached that mark, so I can’t comment on it.

Carter’s also runs a rewards program during holidays. You get $10 when you spend $50, but from the fine print, you can spend your $10 on $10. So just spend $10.01 and you can use it. Like the Gymbucks, the rewards do expire so make sure to read the fine print. I haven’t used this program, but I am more inclined to use this one in the future.