The Complete Buy Vs. Borrow Newborn Checklist

Don't be suckered by Big Baby.


Because you’re a conscientious, intelligent, principled guy — and handsome as hell, sure — you’ll take every measure possible to fight Big Baby. First, you’ll find an alternative registry where you can request stuff you’ll actually use, specifically Grandma’s babysitting time. Second, you’ll ponder whether you’d rather fight one really big baby or 100 tiny versions of you. And finally, after a few hours, you’ll consider the many items on your newborn checklist the kid will never know you borrowed, including books they won’t remember you reading them and a play mat they won’t recall being stuck on while hilariously immobile.

Do not feel bad about this. You’re on the hook for an alarmingly expensive 17 years at least — might as well save now while you can. Besides, there are plenty of suckers, er, other parents who bought all new stuff they’re now desperate to offload. Here are some items you should take the opportunity to borrow before regifting them yourself, and a few that, for health and safety’s sake, you should absolutely buy new.

Borrow It

These are baby-soothing lifesavers in the early months that mercifully afford you a whole 5 moments to absently stare at the Netflix menu. Sadly, they are outgrown quickly. Happily, your friend who had a kid a few months before you probably paid for a smartphone-controlled, Cadillac-of-bouncers you can now borrow for nothin’.


This is that plush, u-shaped thingy that looks like the comfiest toilet seat in the world. It definitely isn’t. Please don’t try it. It’s actually for supporting the kid during breastfeeding or helping support them while sitting up. Borrow it, use it for the hot second when you need it, then pass it on before the temptation to find other uses for it becomes too great. Again, your wife is begging you, don’t try it.


Sadly, board books have a tendency to quickly turn into bored books. (Sweet dad puns like those, however, never get old.) While your kid will certainly be stimulated by the sound of your honey tones reading Goodnight Moon, they’ll probably be way more interested in the pulpy taste of its pages. Borrow books and pass them along if you choose. Assuming your baby doesn’t chews. Still got it!

High Chair

If it’s clean and keeps them upright and relatively immobile for feedings, borrow it. They’ll outgrow it quickly.

Play Mat

Good for that short period when the kid prefers batting determinedly at vague shapes floating in the middle distance instead of rolling over. Mostly because they still can’t roll over. Will outlive its use before the end of year one.


As long as a baby is still figuring out where its nose is, their toys lack any specific utility. That means you can borrow a steady stream of these knobby, blobular, rattly, jangly objects to place in front of your kid, and they’ll be equally happy with any so long as they can put them in their mouth. (Somehow they always know where that is.)

Buy It


The safety standards just change way too often. Also, building a crib is hard enough with the instructions and all the hardware in tact. Trying to build one with possibly missing hardware and no instructions? You’re gonna need a lot more duct tape.

Car Seat

Unless your lender is a highly trusted friend, there is virtually no way to know if the seat has already been damaged. Car and car seat regulations also tend to change almost as rapidly as your baby will. Buy one that can change with the kid as they grow.


Strollers are recalled alarmingly often over safety issues, saying nothing of the fact that your buddy probably didn’t fold and unfold is as gently as he should have. Damn it, Gary, just because you tore through the park with your terrified baby doesn’t make that a jogging stroller! Don’t go certified pre-owned for your kid’s ride. Buy new.