Baby On A Budget: Must-Have Items to Snag Secondhand vs. What to Splurge on New

Getting ready for a new bundle of joy can be exciting, however it’s also easy to get carried away and blow the budget. This can lead to overspending for expecting parents.

The good news? Tons of baby gear can be safely picked up secondhand, as long as they are thoroughly checked over and cleaned before use.

However, don’t forget that there are still a number of baby items that you should always purchase new, for hygiene and safety reasons. Here, we will list out the items you should save money on and buy secondhand, and what you should always buy new.

Baby Clothes

Mother and baby at the bed
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There is absolutely no harm in purchasing secondhand baby clothes. With babies growing so fast, charity shops are usually stocked with an abundance of perfectly good rompers, hats, tops, trousers, shoes and more.

Make sure you check for stains, rips, snags and broken zips before purchasing, and always run anything secondhand through the washing machine before folding it away.

Changing Tables

Mother changing her baby's diaper on table at home
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Furniture can be a massive expense when it comes to anticipating a new baby. With this in mind, it is best to try and get a secondhand changing table for your nursery.
While it will require a thorough inspection before being purchased, if it is clean and structurally sound, there is no reason to purchase a new one.


A stroller strolls in the park
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A gently used stroller can be a great find, as they often come with a hefty price tag when new. Look for a stroller that’s sturdy, has smooth maneuverability, and features intact safety straps. Make sure it folds and unfolds correctly and check for any recalls before purchasing.

High Chairs

Baby Boy Eating Fruit
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As we have mentioned previously, babies grow fast – meaning they can grow out of high chairs before parents know it. Lots of people choose to donate their old high chairs to charity shops, so why not head down to your nearest one and have a look?

As always, make sure that the legs are sturdy, that the straps are in good condition, and that the tray is clean. This way, you can feed your new baby safely and securely, without having broken the bank.


Father and cute little daughter with teddy bear reading book
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Children’s books are a treasure that can be enjoyed over and over again. It’s easy to find books in excellent condition that can be passed down from one child to another, fostering a love for reading without the expense of a brand-new library.

Baby Baths

Dad looking at toddler son in white bathrobe and smiling
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Lots of people may find themselves avoiding purchasing anything that has been used with water secondhand, as mold could have built up on the surface. However, baby baths can actually be found in secondhand stores, and there is no harm in taking one home.

While the bath will have already been cleaned, make sure to check any hidden areas for mold or water damage. The same, unfortunately, cannot be said for bath toys, as mold could have built up inside them – making them almost impossible to clean.

Baby Toys

Young parents with infant daughter sitting in baby chair with plastic blocks and feeding bottle
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Whether you want to spoil your baby with plush, plastic, or wooden toys, always check out your local charity shop before buying any new ones.

Plush toys can be popped into the washing machine, while wooden and plastic ones can be buffed and wiped before being played with. Just make sure that each toy is suitable for babies and that none of them have any small pieces that could be seen as choking hazards.

Play Mats

4 months old baby girl lying on colorful play mat
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Play mats are used for a relatively short period, so secondhand ones are often in good condition. They’re great for tummy time and sensory stimulation. Check for easy-to-clean materials and ensure all the original toys or attachments are included and securely attached.

Bouncers and Swings

Cute adorable newborn baby sitting in swing
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These items can be soothing for babies and helpful for parents. Make sure the frame is sturdy, the fabric is clean, and that all the electronic functions work as expected. It’s also important to verify that the product hasn’t been recalled.

Now that we’ve talked about what items you can buy secondhand, here are some baby items you should avoid purchasing secondhand.

Breast Pumps

Manual breast pump and mother feeding a newborn baby
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While renting breast pumps is an option through hospitals, the FDA (The US Food and Drug Administration) states that they are typically supposed to be single-use products – used by only one person. This is due to there being a large risk of cross-contamination.

Because of this, pumps will have to be brought new, in order to ensure cleanliness and safety. Make sure to do your research before making a purchase, so that you can find the right pump to suit your needs.

Baby Bottles

Little boy drinking water from baby cup in highchair
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While you can sterilize bottles, they can degrade over time. They can also harbor bacteria, and should not be bought used. It’s safer and more hygienic to buy these new.


Mother with her sleeping baby
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Like baby bottles, pacifiers wear out, can become a choking hazard, and are difficult to sterilize completely. For your baby’s safety and oral hygiene, these should always be purchased new.

Baby Mattresses

High angle view of mother putting clothes on adorable infant baby
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It is not essential, but buying baby mattresses new is recommended. This way, you can test the firmness of your new baby’s mattress, ensuring that it is perfect for the arrival of your little one.

With secondhand mattresses, there comes the possibility of bacterial growth within the structure – especially if it comes with rips or exposed springs. Your baby will be spending a lot of time sleeping and napping, so buying a new mattress is best.

Teething Toys

Teething baby
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It is likely obvious, but toys designed to be chewed should not be bought secondhand. Even with thorough cleaning, bacteria could still be lingering on the toys – especially if they have holes in them.

The material that coats teething toys can also wear down fairly quickly, so buying new ones will not only be safer and more hygienic but will also mean they last longer.

Used Cloth Diapers

Close-up portrait of adorable infant child in knitted deer costume in bed
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While cloth diapers can be an environmentally friendly option, used ones can carry risks of yeast or bacterial infections. If you choose cloth diapers, new ones are the safest bet.

Car Seats

Infant baby girl in car seat
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For safety reasons, you should always avoid buying secondhand car seats. While the seat might look perfectly adequate, there is always the chance that it is damaged in some way – or has even been involved in a car accident.

Even if nothing drastic has happened, seatbelts and the plastic within the chairs can wear down with time, as well as coming with the potential of harboring bacteria within the fabric. To keep your little one as safe as possible, always invest in new car seats when needed.


Cropped image of father holding infant daughter laying in crib
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Baby bedding should be bought new to ensure it’s clean, free of allergens, and fits the crib or bassinet perfectly, reducing the risk of SIDS.

Baby Carriers

Infant daughter in babycarrier with father in suit
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Finally, you should always try to buy baby carriers new – for the same reasons that you need to buy new car seats. Unless you know the seller of the baby carrier well, you will have no way of knowing how long it has been used for and how worn out it is.

Loose stitching could be present – even if it can’t be obviously seen, and there could also be bacterial growth within the material, from baby food and drink.

The carrier may have also sat in storage for a long time, which could mean it is dusty and moth-eaten. To carry your baby confidently and safely, have a new carrier ready and waiting for your little one’s arrival.

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