Baby Gear: Getting By Without a Crib

The Stir Bloggers

Like everyone else these days, I've been thinking about money and how we're stretched. It's no fun. But sacrifice and trade-offs are the norm now for most parents. Did you see Cafe Sheri's recent post on living frugally and the everyday struggles of working families?

When you've got a baby on the way, the pressure to acquire baby gear can feel overwhelming, but a post in Answers from an Anonymous mom who said she couldn't afford a crib reminded me that, really, babies require very little -- and there are all sorts of workarounds.

Here's a summary of some real-mom ideas on how to get around buying a crib, at least right away -- or, if you do buy one, how to do it on the cheap:

Find another place for baby to sleep -- consider a bassinet, Moses basket, or Pack 'n Play. Baby will be able to fit in them for a while -- especially the Pack 'n Play, if you start by using the bassinet attachment and then move the child out of it as he gets bigger.

Consider co-sleeping -- if the closeness of the family bed is appealing to you, or if you think this would work for you and your partner, this is one way to eliminate the need for a separate bed for baby.

Save up to buy one later -- use one of the above ideas for the short-term, try to set aside some cash expressly for this purchase, and then buy an inexpensive crib (Wal-mart is a good option) a few months down the line.

And if you want to get a crib sooner rather than later....

Try CraigsList, freecycle, or consignment shops to buy, barter, or get one for free. Familiarize yourself with recalled products to make sure the one you're eyeing doesn't have any safety issues, and check to make sure all parts work correctly before you take it home.

Contact Catholic Charities -- they may be able to help.

I had a crib (that I bought used) for my second child, but because we live in a small house with multiple stories and her nursery was on a different floor than our bedroom, she slept in a Pack 'n Play for the first couple of months. Worked just fine.

Are you buying a crib right away? What tips do you have for getting by with less baby gear? Share your ideas with other moms here.

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