Baby gear is expensive, so do your research before you buy anything. Read on.
So you're expecting. Congratulations! In all probability this will be one of the more exciting, stressful and defining periods of your life. As you're getting ready to shop for the new entrant in your family, you may want to consider a few things - and buy only what you need, without getting carried away or getting talked into how essential something is only to find later on that you've hardly used it. Baby gear is expensive, so think before you buy.
The first item that comes to mind when you set out shopping for your baby, is a crib. What parent doesn't picture his or her baby sleeping peacefully in a pretty cradle as they look on? But before you spend a huge packet on the prettiest crib you see, remember that although tiny bassinet style cradles look lovely, your baby will not be able to use it after around 2-3 months - so it makes sense to go in for something bigger.
If possible, get something that can be dismantled and kept away when no longer in use - or you will not know what to do with it once your child has outgrown his first bed.
If a friend offers you her child's crib, don't hesitate before accepting it. A crib is a large investment for a fairly short time span, and is not exactly value for money. However, make sure that the crib is in good condition, and that it adheres to safety standards. The bars of the crib should be close enough so the baby's head doesn't get stuck between them. Invest in a new, firm mattress that fits perfectly, and fresh sheets.
Ideally, don't place anything inside the crib, other than the mattress, a sheet and a blanket. Although you may be tempted to put a few toys or pillows inside, remember that baby may suffocate if trapped beneath them.
A bouncer or a rocker is always a good idea, and chances are you will use it a lot. When baby is not in his crib, seat him on his bouncer. The gentle movement will sooth him. Some parents swear that bouncers have an almost magical ability to calm a crying baby in an instant. Consider a bouncer with an attached mosquito net, because you can then use it indoors and outdoors.
If you plan to keep a maid for your baby who will accompany you everywhere you go with your baby, you may not need the carrier as much. However, the best part about a carrier is that it helps you hold your baby and bond with it, while leaving both hands free. So investing in one may be something you want to consider - whether or not you will have full time help. Some carriers can be used only for a few months, while others can be used until the baby is around 2 years old. However, using a carrier for an older baby could be hard on the back. Do your research before buying one, and don't just pick up the first carrier you see in a store.