We are now over 10 months into our challenge and where the baby was concerned, we vowed to keep a bit of an open mind around second hand stuff and relax our rules a bit. This was because
a) pregnancy and preparing for a baby is hard enough without additional pressures
b) our baby hasn't volunteered for this challenge
c) its our first child and we didn't want to miss out on any lovely experiences with her
d) our friends and family wanted to buy us some new things
e) it's our challenge and we can do what we like
f) sorry I am a bag of hormones.
What we have found is that it is ENTIRELY POSSIBLE to kit yourself out with baby goods- even ones you really, really want second hand.
Here is a little run down of Little One's stuff and how we acquired it:
We really wanted a Stokke Cot- it grows with the child- up to the age of 7!! If you want a specific brand, you need to start hunting early. We bought the cot about 4 months into our pregnancy. We found that Gumtree was the best site for this sort of purchase. The cost in the shops is about £1000 I think; we got it for just under £600. It was in perfect condition and had even been freshly painted in Stokke paint! Then all we had to do was get a nice new mattress made for it from the lovely people at www.babymattressesonline.co.uk.
It goes without saying that you always need a new mattress as the bacteria held in a mattress from a child that isn't your own can increase the chances of cot death. The lady we bought the cot from had washed her mattress but we felt that for the additional £40 of buying a new mattress it wasn't worth the risk. We might re-purpose the old mattress as a dog bed….
2) Seat/High Chair
Because our dog thinks babies are doggy-lollies, we really needed somewhere to put the baby down, without it being at ground level.
Luckily, our favourite brand Stokke make a chair that also grows with the child- from new born up to adult, with just a few tweaks. We found the chair on E-bay, locally to us. I can't remember how much we paid- it was definitely less than brand new.
We also got the new born attachment for £20 locally via e-bay and the lady delivered it to me due to the bump which was very kind!
We have the high chair attachment too when we need that, but for now, at least we will be able to put the baby down without her being pestered by the furry baby.
I really wanted a vintage one, so off we went to British Heart Foundation in Ealing. Surprisingly, old wardrobes aren't that popular and thus are pretty cheap. This is because they don't hold that many adult clothes on the rail, but with a bit of diy help from my parents, we added a second rail and have found it is the perfect size for baby clothes and items.
We added new nobs (within the rules as was a means of up cycling) from Anthropology. They weren't cheap; at £20 they were as much as the wardrobe but they make it! My mum gave the front some tlc and treated some of the scratches with a special wax and stain.
We have bought lots of baby grows from Fara charity shops- the ones especially for children. We live in a nice area- Richmond so all the shops have very good donations. I would recommend going to affluent boroughs/areas to get the best stuff. Our favourite brand it Petit Bateau and we have found some lovely bits made by them for a snip of the price- here is my favourite find so far- £50 in the shops, £8 from Fara. Surprisingly, it's pink!
The things you can't find second hand very easily are vests and basic like socks, bibs etc- this is because they just get wrecked and stained and minging. So we have bought quite a few bits new to fill this gap. And then, under reason c) and e) and f) above, we have also bought some lovely new "best" outfits. I feel fine about this as we have done brilliantly so far with this second hand malarky!
We have also been given lots of things by lovely friends and relatives who have also had baby girls. We are so grateful to friends and family for everything they have given/lent us.
5) Nursery decorations
We have "nursery corner" as we just have one bedroom, but we wanted to decorate it and make it feel like a distinct baby space.
I found some crates (not second hand- sorry) and my Dad put them up on the wall like shelves. All the bits inside are a mixture of H's old toys, my Mum's Beatrix Potter books and vintage finds and treasures we have been collecting from vintage fairs and fleas.
My favourites are the Potter books that my Dad made into shelves by drilling through them and then mounting them on the wall with a tiny bracket. Those are my books- given to me by my late Grandpa.
The only thing that is new is the hedge-hog toy and other softies- she deserves her first soft toys to be new, I think!
So- there you have it- those are the big things we have done second hand.
We decided to opt-out of getting a second hand buggy. You may be disappointed in us re this, Dear Reader, but we wanted a very specific, new model and my parents offered to gift it to us. It is an absolute dream and I can't wait to use it!!