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Suggestions For Organizing Essentials For Your Second Child

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Suggestions For Organizing Essentials For Your Second Child

Every parent knows that bringing a new baby home completely transforms the living space. Suddenly, a once tidy and organized home is overtaken by baby gear strewn in every nook, a stroller dominating the porch or garage, and vibrant rubber toys spilling out in the bathroom. The home quickly feels much more confined.

Along with the spatial constraints, all the baby essentials come with a price tag. When I was anticipating my first child, my partner and I bought every baby necessity with the intention of reusing it for future children. However, upon expecting our second child, we found ourselves wondering how we would accommodate all the new belongings our newest family member would undoubtedly bring along.

Strategizing your reserves for the second baby

Whether you are expecting your second child or planning to do so, deciding what to hold onto for your second child can be challenging. We aimed to recycle as much as we could, but we anticipated that family and friends would likely present our new baby with clothing and toys of her own. And truthfully, after having my son first, I couldn’t resist the urge to shop for dresses and hair bows for the little girl on the way. Aside from baby supplies, the looming question was how we would accommodate all the belongings entering our lives as our first child transitioned into peak toddlerhood.

I assume many parents can empathize with this common situation. Baby items incur costs, so naturally, you want to reuse and hand down as much as possible. Yet, baby items can swiftly overwhelm your living space. A thorough decluttering can be not only satisfying but nearly imperative, especially depending on the size of your residence and how much you have accumulated to cater to your eldest (or that grandparents have gifted). The dilemma ultimately becomes – what to retain for the second child and what to bid farewell to?

Whether you are currently finalizing your baby registry, navigating toddlerhood with your first child, or foreseeing a second offspring as part of your future plans, here are some factors to consider when determining which baby items to retain and which to donate or discard.

What to retain

Take delight in the knowledge that many items procured for your initial baby can be repurposed for your subsequent child (or children). Ensure to safeguard the following.

Your Carriage

If your current carriage is in prime condition and meets your family’s anticipated requirements, definitely hold onto it! As long as it’s safe (wheels are properly secured, and the brake functions), there’s no reason why you can’t utilize the same carriage for your second child.

However, if, like me, your children are closely spaced in age (two under two), contemplate whether you need to modify your carriage with any relevant extensions or revamp your entire buggy system. After the birth of my second child, I ceased using my single stroller and upgraded to the UPPABaby VISTA V2, a purchase that has proven to be one of my family’s most utilized child-gear items. The decision largely relies on circumstances! For those who are the “planning” type currently compiling their baby registry, it’s wise to select a carriage that can be effortlessly adapted to accommodate a expanding family.

Cradle and Crib

I recollect the second time around feeling considerably less anxious knowing I had a cradle and crib that I had previously used, adored, and importantly trusted. Unless your cradle and crib are extremely damaged or malfunctioning—or you are not quite prepared to transition your older child to a regular bed—there’s no reason why you can’t use these items anew. Stow them away carefully, and ensure to inspect for any damage when preparing for your second child. Reflect on replacing corresponding sheets and mattresses if necessary.

Car Seat (with exceptions)

An often overlooked fact is that car seats have an expiration date. Car seat expert Michelle Pratt shared on her website Safe in the Seat that the materials composing the car seat can deteriorate after prolonged use, exposure to sunlight or cold weather, etc. Hence, verify the expiration date—usually located beneath the seat or on the frame. If the car seat remains within its validity, hasn’t been in an accident, incurred damage, lost parts, or been cleaned with harsh chemicals, the car seat used for your first child should be safe for your second child.

If you have any reservations regarding the safety of your car seat for your second child, have it inspected. Utilize the search tool provided on the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration website to locate a nearby car seat safety technician.

Baby Carriers

From slings to carriers to those tent-like structures designed for adventurous outings, retain your favored baby-wearing gear that simplified transporting your infant. A second child will make you value every hands-free moment more. Moreover, your shoulders will surely express gratitude for preserving these items.

Breast Pump

If you nursed your first child and are contemplating breastfeeding the second, and your pump was properly stored in a cool, clean, and dry environment, you can likely reuse it. If lingering doubts persist even after sanitizing all the relevant pieces that come into direct contact with breast milk, consider only replacing those components.

Another aspect to ponder is whether you wish to take advantage of the latest breast pump innovations. If you have insurance and aim to replace your pump (be it for safety reasons or convenience), verify if your policy covers a new pump. If grappling with navigating the world of insurance, seek assistance from your HR representative if available!


After sterilization, bottles should be suitable for reuse for your second child; nonetheless, you may prefer to replace bottle nipples (refer to the discard section below). If you possess a variety of bottle types, retaining a selection is advisable as different infants may have distinct bottle preferences.

Quality Attire

It’s no secret that babies grow astonishingly fast. Despite their diminutive size, baby clothing can be surprisingly pricey. Fortunately, clothing is ideal for recycling; though we understand that sorting through baby clothes can be a monumental task.

Discard torn or heavily stained garments, but even items with minor blemishes can serve as backup outfits for your diaper bag or nursery. Upon the arrival of my second child, I was grateful to possess a stock of clothing already on hand and appreciated my former self for preserving them.

Preferred Playthings

If, like me, you fully embraced the Montessori approach with your first child, then it’s imperative to hold on to those charming wooden toys (unless they’re damaged—refer to the “Toss” section below). Besides Montessori toys, ensure you retain any toys in excellent condition, especially those cherished by your first child. While each child has their unique preferences, certain toys are inherently more captivating. In my own experience, my kids tended to gravitate toward the same toys in their infancy. Just remember to thoroughly clean and sanitize all toys before passing them down to your newest family member.

Well-Preserved Reads

Nothing beats a book that has been well-read and has influenced a life. Keep those books that you and your first child enjoyed reading together, and create similar memories with your second child.

Beloved Baby Essentials

Whether it’s a travel crib, a white noise machine, an air purifier, a rocker, or any other cherished item, if it was a hit with your first child, hold onto it. It felt truly special and nostalgic to reintroduce items that were adored by my first child after my second child was born. Having some of these items readily available can be convenient for hosting guests with little ones, provided you have the storage space.

For our family, some favored items included an activity center and a door-frame jumper. Just ensure to check for any product recalls that may have been issued since you last used these products.

“Make sure to check for any product recalls that may have emerged since your initial use.”

Infant Bedding

Towels, washcloths, bibs, crib sheets, changing pad covers, blankets—so long as they’re intact and reasonably clean, all of these items are suitable for reuse. Give them a refresh by washing them before your second child arrives home from the hospital.

Kitchen and Dining Essentials

From bibs and utensils to your reliable highchair, all these mealtime must-haves will come in handy when your second child starts exploring the world of solid foods. Just like clothing and bedding, give them a good wash before using them again.

Items to Discard

Regrettably, some items need to be disposed of for safety reasons. Thankfully, many of these items are affordable and easy to replace compared to larger, pricier items from your first experience.

Feeding Bottle Teats

Bottle teats have a limited lifespan. From my experience as a formula feeder, these teats wear out over time, increasing the risk of small pieces breaking off while your child feeds. Most packages recommend replacing them after two to three months of use. Three months was the guideline for the Nuk bottles I used for both my children and is the average recommendation across brands based on information from a quick Internet search.

Baby Pacifiers

Similar to bottle teats, avoid reusing pacifiers from your first child for safety and hygiene reasons. Fortunately, pacifiers are relatively inexpensive, and discovering your second child’s preferred pacifier is part of the experience.


Medicines have a short shelf life. Go through your baby medications and dispose of any open or expired products.

Damaged Books

Books that are torn or chewed on are not worth keeping and can be a safety hazard for your second child. Dispose of them without hesitation.

Toys in Disrepair

Not all toys are built to last. Assess your first child’s toy collection and discard anything torn or broken. Chipped paint is another safety concern to consider when deciding what stays and what goes.

Opened Baby Formula Cans

Once opened, powdered infant formula should be used within 30 days. Unopened containers can be reused as long as the formula is consumed before the expiry date. Store unopened cans in a cool, dry place.

Items to Sell or Donate

While decluttering, bear in mind that items no longer suitable for your family might be perfect for others. Consider donating the following items to a local baby bank or nonprofit supporting families in need.

Unused Diapers

Diapers do have expiration dates. If unsure when you’ll need them for your second child, consider donating unopened packages. Diapers are essential but can be financially challenging for many families, so your donation can make a significant difference.

Unwanted Baby Clothes

Whether heavily stained or never worn because they were too nice, scrutinize your collection of baby clothes. If an item was rarely worn or never used, consider donating or selling it to free up storage space.

Duplicate Toys or Books

While favorite toys are keepers and broken toys belong in the bin, consider parting with toys that serve the same purpose. Your baby doesn’t need multiple identical items. By donating some duplicates, you can bring joy to another child.

Baby Gear Not Aligned with Your Lifestyle

Reflect on baby items that don’t fit your daily routine. Donate or sell these items that you won’t use, as they might be exactly what another family needs.

Concluding Thoughts on Preparing for Your Second Baby

You can retain most items purchased or received during your first parenting journey. Once you’ve navigated caring for an infant, you’ll feel more confident and prepared for the second round. Use this time to declutter, donate what no longer serves you, and discard items that pose potential hazards. Preserve what you cherish, even if it becomes a memento in your first child’s memory box. Rest assured that you’ll likely feel better equipped in terms of possessions the second time around.

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