I was thinking about Thrifty Baby’s £20 Moses basket today. We were at a car boot sale at the city racecourse, and everywhere I looked there were baskets and stands!
I’m not sure that I would have bought a second-hand basket: the current prevailing wisdom is that the mattresses have to be new every time, to reduce the cot death risk. It’s easier to find a basket bargain than a mattress bargain. That said, Tesco are currently doing a Moses basket mattress for £8, which isn’t bad.
Anyway, I wanted to write a little bit about what goes inside the Moses basket. I was lucky enough to be given some Moses basket-sized sheets as a Christmas present, but I haven’t ended up using them very often, so if you are shopping for a baby – please, save your money! A lot of the mark-ups on baby gear are crazy.
Although I have a couple of little fitted sheets (£8.99 for two from Argos), I ended up using…
…pillowcases! This was a great reader tip, from way back. They really do work just as well. Thrifty Baby’s basket is quite long, but I found that our largest pillowcases fit it just fine.
A few weeks after his birth, when Thrifty Baby was diagnosed with reflux, we had to make a couple of changes. We were told to raise the head end of his Moses basket, so that he slept raised at an angle. I did this the thrifty way, with a couple of books (weighty Tolkien tomes) under the legs of the stand. It wasn’t ideal though: not only did I keep knocking the basket off-kilter in our small bedroom, but it’s really hard to find two books of identical thickness. The basket wobbled, like an annoying restaurant table. So in the end I invested in a reflux wedge, which goes on top of the mattress and does exactly the same job.
The pillowcases and fitted sheets didn’t fit post-wedge, so we have just been tucking little fleece blankets into place instead. And again – they work absolutely fine.
Now, about those little fleece blankets. I’ve seen them retailing for silly prices. At Mothercare they are £7.99 a pop, which is far too much to pay for a basket-sized or pram-sized scrap of fleece, don’t you think?
The best prices, as with a lot of baby essentials, are at ASDA. There, you can get a pink, blue or white fleece blanket for £4.00. I have the blue one, and in my opinion it’s just as good as the Mothercare equivalent, despite being half the price. If you are shopping before your baby is born, it is also worth bearing in mind that blankets may be given as gifts. We received four – and we make heavy use of all of them!
So enough about fleece – what about the cellular blankets? These are supposed to be essential for newborns because they are more “breathable”, and help to regulate babies’ temperatures. For the uninitiated (I had to look it up when pregnant), cellular blankets are the knitted ones with holes in. They are seen as being quite expensive, and for that reason people seem to hang onto them. I didn’t find any going secondhand, although that may have been my bad luck. The best price I have found is at Tesco, where a pack of two cellular blankets retails at £7.99. (And again, it’s worth noting that at Mothercare, cellular blankets are £7.99 for one – so twice the price! No wonder that store is in trouble…) I got mine from Tesco. I do use them, but two have been quite sufficient.
Finally, baby sleeping bags! These have been brilliant for Thrifty Baby, who likes to kick his bedding off at night – which is not a problem now, when the nights are balmy, but was not so good in the sub-Arctic January temperatures. A very kind friend gave us her son’s baby sleeping bags. He hadn’t taken to them, and she thought that perhaps it was because she hadn’t introduced them soon enough. So we started Thrifty Baby on them the week that he came home from hospital. It was such a lovely gift, and I am so grateful. Mooching around Mothercare, I saw that they sell similar bags for £25 each! Argos does a Winnie the Pooh one for £13.99. However if you are looking for a bargain I think your best bet is eBay, where people sell them in bundles. At the time of writing, for example, a bundle of four baby sleeping bags is listed at £3.00, with just six minutes of the auction to go.
I think that’s everything covered, but if you have any questions or any thrifty tips for baby bedding, please share…