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What I bought for my fourth baby (and what I didn’t)

When it comes to baby items and clothes, most people fall into one of two camps: those who hang onto everything and those who get rid of it all and replace it if the need should rise again. Though I do my best to shed excess clutter, I’m squarely in the keep camp when it comes to baby items. So when our fourth child was born, we didn’t need to start over. Although there were plenty of things we didn’t need to buy, there are a few things we have invested in, whether for safety, convenience, necessity, or just plain fun.

Here’s the run-down:

Things we didn’t buy again for number four

  • Clothes: The two children before my fourth baby, a boy, were also boys, so we had a good amount of clothes that could be used again, especially for the early weeks. It’s been fun to see a new baby in clothes I loved on his older brothers.
  • Crib: Our crib and mattress have held up well through our previous three children. Using a rubber mattress protector under the fitted sheet has helped keep the mattress in good condition.
  • Bassinet: Our bassinet, which we have used for the first few months while nursing through the night, has held up similarly well. And there’s something special about having been able to put all our children in the same first bed.
  • Swaddling blankets: Swaddling helped calm all our children when they were newborns, and the same blankets I used with my first (which I bought in gender-neutral green and gray) were still going strong by the time the fourth was wrapped in them.
  • High chair: After using a cushioned high chair for a while, I exchanged it for a simple and sleek all-plastic one that is so much easier to clean.
  • Books: As with clothes, I have looked forward to re-visiting some family favorite baby books that introduced the first three babies to the joys of reading.
  • Bath tub: Again, simple hard plastic has proven to be durable and efficient. The bath we bought when I was pregnant with our first has served us well through baby number four.

Things we bought new for baby number four:

  • Clothes: While several clothing items made it through our other two boys, some didn’t survive spit up and blowout stains, and some didn’t quite line up with seasons for the fourth. So our hand-me-downs were supplemented with items that needed to be filled in and also with a few things just for our new baby.
  • Car seat: With eight years and eight very hot summers between when our first infant car seat was purchased and the birth of our fourth child, it was time to buy a new one. This purchase was made for safety reasons, since heat can compromise the integrity of the seat even if it hasn’t officially expired yet.
  • Travel crib: Back when number one was born, big, bulky travel cribs were the norm. Especially since one of my children jumped in one and loosened some screws, it was time to replace our travel crib as well. We’ve been thrilled with the sleeker, lighter, easier-to-fold and transport options that are now available.
  • Baby carrier: In keeping with the theme of sleeker, improved options, we also purchased not one, but two new baby carriers this time around. One wrap style for baby-wearing during the newborn months, and then, more recently, a thin and light carrier that’s easy to travel with.
  • Play pen: We never used a play pen for our other children, but a house with four kids is a bit more chaotic – and has many more small toy pieces that weren’t around when our family was younger. For times when I’m tending to the other children, or cooking, or need to step out of the room, I need a secure place to leave the baby where I know he won’t find an errant Lego or get into the dog’s water bowl.  

While it sometimes feels almost wasteful to have to purchase new items for a fourth child, the peace of mind and convenience that our new purchases have enabled has been well worth the cost. Not only that, but times have changed; baby gear is new and improved, and life with four little ones and older siblings that are school age is quite different from life with just one baby. Having the right equipment makes everything go smoothly. With a multi-child family, that’s worth a great deal.

About the author:
Shifrah lives in Tallahasse, FL with her husband, four children, two cats, and dog. In the midst of mothering and writing, she enjoys reading, lifestyle photography, sewing, going to the beach, and documenting it all in pocket scrapbooks. She drinks her coffee black. 

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