Our guest author today is Michelle Lee, an aspiring zero waste minimalist and a new mom. She penned this article just before she had her bundle of joy, when she was opting pre-loved to prepare for her baby. Her list of used items you can buy when preparing yourself and your home for a newborn is a sure hit as it supported by first-hand experience! Michelle loves sustainable designs and seeks the quieter moments in life. Occasionally, she indulges in cooking and reading while her kid naps.
In the first trimester of my pregnancy, I had well-intentioned mothers dispensing advice such as “start preparing in your second trimester, by the third trimester you’ll have less energy to want to prepare for baby’s arrival” and “try to get second-hand”. I’ll add here that it really depends on the parents-to-be on whether they want to purchase brand new items or pursue pre-loved ones for the new bundle of joy. I chose the latter. So if are on the same page as me, come along on my journey!
If you are a first-time parent like me, the excitement and anticipation of the life-changing experience could make it difficult to weigh the needs versus the wants. When I was 8 months pregnant and well into the third trimester, I took to sourcing and ordering online for baby and maternity supplies as delivery was easy. Moreover, I thought baby fairs would be way too crowded with temptations and would make it tough for me to distinguish the needs from the wants. As an aspiring minimalist, I chose to go for the “just enough” approach armed with a list, purchasing sufficient items to meet the basic needs. We live in an era of technology and convenience, anything that we may need is just one-click away and can be easily delivered the next day. There is no real need to stock up.
Pre-loved items – yay or nay?
There is a misconception that pre-loved items are inferior in quality or that people are getting rid of their trash. I would say it’s only partially true and that a new mother needs to be conscious of what and when to buy pre-loved versus brand new items. Here’s a non-exhaustive list of pre-loved items which savvy and budget-efficient first-time mums can look out for:
- Maternity or nursing clothes – These are used for a short period of time by mothers and hence they’re generally in pretty good condition.
- Strollers, carriers or slings – Do check the moving parts like wheels and mechanisms for lifting the seat for strollers. For carriers and slings, check the authenticity of the product and the parts which may move
- Cots – Most children outgrow of their cots and there are many parents selling them with or without mattresses. I would recommend buying a new mattress as it comes into direct contact with the baby.
- Changing stations – Some mothers swear by using a changing station which is higher and better for one’s back when changing the baby. If you would like to invest in one, pre-loved works just as well!
- Diaper bags – There really is no need to buy a diaper bag per se, any backpacks with suitable compartments would be sufficient, otherwise, there are ways to pack to cater to your needs. We’re using a Crumpler backpack due to its waterproof nature and multiple compartments (it even has slot for a 15” laptop)! The key detail to note would be the shoulder straps, this would ensure that backaches are not on the horizon and would make for a good traveling companion down the road.
- Breast pump – Buy only the motor, but not the parts e.g. flange, tubing, breast shield, which come in contact with your skin, and you can buy separately from the company.
- Baby clothes/mittens/shoes/socks – These are seasoned and well used which also means greater comfort for the little one. Choose those which are made of natural materials like cotton, bamboo fibre which breathable and easy to wash.
- Flashcards/toys/books/playpen/baby chairs – Generally for these items, even if they were purchased brand new, mothers would clean them thoroughly before letting babies have a go at them. For pre-loved items, the same can be done and they’re priced at less than half the retail price.
- Un-opened items e.g. milk bottles, pacifiers – These are typically because mothers have bought too many of the same items or because their babies have rejected the brand.
- Semi-used packs of diapers – some mothers sell them as their kids outgrow them the sizes quickly hence no harm purchasing these.
 Friends and family
Asking around from friends or family members who may have friends giving away or selling things which their baby has outgrown is the easiest, this is, of course, assuming that you’re comfortable with announcing your pregnancy. The items which come from this group would mostly be in working condition and good enough to make it through the fourth trimester aka baby’s first 3 months.
On Carousell, there are multiple sellers and by keying in a simple search term like “stroller” or “cot bumpers” would bring up multiple results. Depending on your budget and preferences, the options are wide and varied, with multiple sellers who would be happy to arrange for doorstep delivery. Prices are also competitive and checking out the seller’s feedback would go a long way in ensuring that the product and after-sales service would be well within expectations. You can also try gumtree.sg for preloved baby stuff.
 Facebook groups
Facebook groups such as Preloved Baby Goods (30,000 members), Preloved Baby Goods SG (20,000+ members), Preloved Baby Goods Deux SG (14,000 members) East Coast Pre-loved Sales (12,000+ members) and SG Preloved Baby Goods (6,000 members) can be helpful when many parents are selling their items to make space for their kids. Mostly they have outgrown them or they bought too many of the same items, hence they’re in really good condition.
Repurposing for your new baby
As I didn’t want to have to deal with too many “baby-centric” appliances or products after it loses its specific use, I also prepared a list of items which can be repurposed from what most households would have:
- Steriliser > replace with food steamer which will be dual purpose -when your baby is ready for solid food, it would work as its original purpose of a food steamer. Some mothers prefer to get the all-in-one food steamer and blender.
- Storage station/trolley > replace with the now empty Chinese New Year hamper basket
- Breastfeeding pillow > replace with a travel pillow. I have an existing neck cushion from Muji which comes with a detachable cover.
- Small basin for washing up during diaper change > honey container
- Food masher > replace with an existing food masher from the kitchen
It doesn’t need to be expensive or troublesome to prepare for the arrival of a new baby into your life, look around you and you’ll be surprised at what you can re-purpose for the brand new little human being!
-Michelle, Instagram link