My first pregnancy was unplanned so I hadn't saved up for what was about to become the most expensive and joyful journey of my life. The first thing I did was buy a pregnancy magazine. I told very few people that I was pregnant because I was still in shock myself, and not on earth sure of how I was going to handle things.
I remember making my first tentative walk around Mothercare. I'd never imagined myself in the store, and felt a bit odd with no baby bump showing yet. But I wanted to check out all the things I was going to need. It was rather overwhelming and I assumed I'd need everything.
The prams and pushchairs were the first shock. I was looking at two weeks wages for a pram. Then the cot, changing unit and high chair, and already I was feeling a tad sweaty with fear.
I would have loved an old-fashioned pram with big wheels, but we went for the most economical one in the shop. The pram got more use than anything, so was worth the money. I didn't buy any clothes, and very few toys. As soon as people knew I was pregnant they started giving me gifts and almost new things left over from their baby days.
I've done the same and passed things on. The cot must be on its fourth owner now. But the changing unit and breast pump are still upstairs and unused to this day.
Friends told me 'Oh, I just changed my baby's nappy on the bed. We didn't have a changing unit'. I remember thinking, 'Well that's a bit too thrifty for me and not terribly safe'. But my friends were, of course, right.
Toys and clothes will be bought as gifts in such quantities you will not be able to use them all. In fact, you'll start to groan when presented with another huge teddy because you will find all your spare space in the house very quickly.
Babies grow so quickly, that anything but the good old babygrow and romper suit is likely to get left gathering dust in the new mini wardrobe. Whenever I spent half an hour getting my babies dressed up in gorgeous outfits, they'd be sick all over them before we'd even got to the car. The best investment was definitely babygrows and bibs.
Because I breastfed my baby, I didn't need to worry about bottles and sterilising systems and powdered milk. Apart from being good for baby, breastfeeding is very cheap!
In reality, you need very little for a new baby. Unless you can afford it without thinking, economy and budget purchases are fine. My most expensive and useful acquisitions were definitely the pram, the car seat (which is a legal requirement anyway), cotton babygrows, and nappies. Oh my goodness me, the nappies. I'd love to say I was an eco-mum and used environmentally friendly re-usable ones, but I didn't. I don't know how mothers ever find the time.
I did manage to re-sell a lot of the unused things I had, and the bigger things like playpens and cots that I needed for such a short time and still looked new. If I'd known then what I know now, I wouldn't have rushed out and bought so many things.