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Planning Your Baby

Even if you've done it all before, bringing a baby home from the hospital takes a lot of preparation. The last thing you'll want to do in those first few days after the baby arrives is run around to pick up any little necessitates that you forgot. Getting everything bought, borrowed or found and tucked away before the magical day can give you a feeling of accomplishment - and set your mind at ease that you've got everything you need.

If you're buying on a budget, there are some great low-cost sources for all of baby's needs - and considering how fast your newborn angel will outgrow those layette items, you'll want to take advantage of every cost-cutter that you can.

Shop the second’s stores

Just like adult clothing, baby clothes manufacturers sometimes goof just a little. In most cases, the missed stitch or not-quite-perfect seam isn't anything that will affect wear. You can save as much as 70% off department store prices if you pick up baby layette items at your local job lots or discount department store.

Buy a size ahead in sleepers and footsies

Most babies barely spend a month in 0-3 month sizes. Reserve the smallest size for special occasion clothing - like coming home from the hospital, and skip right to the 3-6 month size for any fitted clothing. For the same reason, stick to comfy, stretchy cotton and terry knits for one piece footie jammies. They'll fit much longer.

Lay in a good stock of Swee'pea gowns.

Drawstring bottom nighties are just about the most convenient single item for baby at home. When baby needs changing, just pull up, change and pull back down.

A pack of birdseye diapers make the best burp rags

Even if you decide to use disposable diapers, buy one pack of cotton birdseye diapers. They can't be beat as burp rags to lay over your shoulder or lap when you're pat-pat-patting the baby to bring up any air bubbles in the tummy.

Shop yard sales

Newborn layette items are nearly always gently used. Most babies just aren't in them long enough to do a lot of damage. A stop at your local Salvation Army thrift store can buy you a whole layette's worth of crib sheets, receiving blankets, baby onesies and baby tees for less than $5.

Launder everything before the baby is born

Use a mild laundry soap like Dreft or Ivory Snow to wash away any remnants of dyes, chemicals or starches. Babies have notoriously delicate skin. If you'll feel better giving any used items a good bleaching, make sure that you put it all through a second clear rinse to wash away any lingering traces of bleach.

Quality DOES count in ways you don't expect. Do buy name brands that feature finished seams - French or enclosed seams are even better. It's not that your newborn cherub will put a lot of wear on those seams - it's that flat, enclosed seams will be far kinder to baby's delicate skin.

Shop wisely, and you'll get everything you need for baby's homecoming with a minimal investment of cash.

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