So you finally feel ready to have another child, good for you! Having your first baby is a big step and requires a lot of preparation, but having more than one is a huge jump, too! Although you probably feel more prepared with what to expect and likely have a hoard of baby supplies, it's always good to double-check which items are safe to reuse.
If you're anything like me, I really hate spending money. The first time I went to a Big Box baby supply store, I about had an anxiety attack just thinking about all the money we were about to spend. But, thankfully, I have discovered some tricks of the trade since then (including finding The Baby Cubby!).
One thing I found was that despite what the immense novel-of-a-baby-supply-checklist might say, you don't need all that jazz! The essentials and some nice comforts here and there will do. If you're planning for or pregnant with a second baby, you can actually keep and reuse most things. Here is a list of what's totally A-OK to reuse with future babies:
Bottles (not nipples)
- Linens (burp cloths, crib sheets & blankets, and swaddles)
Clothes (but who can resist buying a brand-new baby outfit?!?)
- Most furniture (dressers, rocking chairs, and changing tables)
- Books and toys
You might say to yourself, "Well that's a pretty short list." But it's really not. Reusable items include a whole bunch of other things, but I just wanted to start with the things that don't require a caveat. Keep in mind that anything you reuse should have all the parts for assembly and safety. It's also probably a good idea to check a reliable recall finder if you're not sure about a particular item.
So, what about everything else? Here is a list of baby items and products that can be reused, but with careful knowledge of their expiration dates and long-term capabilities:
Car seats (you can usually find the exp. date on the bottom)
- Your own breast pump (if it has been cleaned and stored properly)
Baby bath gear (throw away cracked items and wash the rest)
Cribs (again, check product recalls)
Strollers (if it's approved for a newborn)
- Crib mattress
Crib mattress, you ask? Why? Well, crib mattresses have become even safer than they were just a couple years ago due to better support and size standards. In addition, an old crib mattress likely has sanitary issues, unless you had a serious plastic mattress pad/protector on it constantly. Keep in mind that a new crib mattress will protect your new baby from stored up allergens, dust, and (heaven forbid!) bodily fluids. However, as long as it is in good condition, has been kept in a clean and non-dusty environment, and absolutely does not sag in the middle then you should be OK to reuse it with your second babe.
With the other products, it's essential that you give them a good check. Are parts not working properly anymore? Is fabric or plastic stretched, discolored, or malfunctioning? Do these items fold up and assemble easily? If you have any doubts about reusing old items, it's always better to be safe than sorry.
So by now you're probably wondering which items are an absolute bust for 2nd-baby-reuse. The reusability of most items depends on their age, expiration, and functionality. But here are some pretty clear no-nos on reuse:
As for hand-me-down items, be sure that you know exactly where you got the item from, and whether the person took care of it or not. This rule especially applies to car seats and strollers. A car seat might not have expired, but if you didn't buy it new, there's no real way of knowing that it hasn't been damaged in an accident--which isn't always externally obvious.