Before splashing out on baby gear, it might be worth thinking about:
- whether you need to buy it straight away … if it’s something that can be found easily like a bottle steriliser, why not wait a while and see if you actually need it.
whether you could maybe borrow one to see if you like/need it. For example, before investing in a baby carrier/sling, it can be good to try out a few different models to see what works for you … and your baby.
- buying second hand – baby equipment can be very expensive, and people often sell on bulky items at cut-down prices. You can find some great deals at the BCT’s Nearly New Sale, in second hand shops (see below) or online (see below).
Dreambaby (who also have a webshop) and Baby 2000 have a huge range of baby equipment, from furniture right down to bath thermometers. But shop around and compare prices! It’s nice to be able to see and hold and item you’re thinking about buying … but you may well find it cheaper in another shop or online.
Mothercare - shopping at Mothercare in Belgium can be expensive, but if you place a big enough order, it can make financial sense to order online from the UK and have it delivered to Belgium. Good for: babygros/bodies/onesies/clothes, muslin cloths, baby bedding, feeding equipment. Website: www.mothercare.co.uk
Hema - you’ll find one of these on most Belgian high streets. Good basics, bright colours and good prices. Good for: babygros/bodies/onesies/clothes, small equipment
Boobs and burps – shops in Dilbeek and Antwerp specialising in all things breastfeeding (e.g. breastpumps, breastfeeding bras and tops) and babycarrying. Advice in-store, and webshop: www.boobs-n-burps.be
Local baby boutiques - small retailers are rarely cheaper than the chains or online, but you can get a more personal service and sometimes discover some lesser-known brands and original products.
Online shops in various EU countries often have more competitive prices than Belgian shops or Belgian online retailers, and if you buy enough to make the shipping costs worthwhile, this can be a good option. www.babyonlineshop.de is one example.
www.amazon.co.uk also have a huge range of baby items, including big-brand nappies much cheaper than in local shops. However, since April 3 2014 they no longer offer free delivery to Belgium. Just beware of buying electrical items from UK online shops as you’ll have to use an adapter plug. Also, bulkier items may not be available for shipping abroad.
Belgian online shop www.baby-walz.be has a good range of baby items at decent prices.
BCT Nearly New Sale – held twice a year, you can find some great bargains at this sale. Everything is in ‘nearly new’ condition, as the name suggests. Great for baby clothes and equipment. Also open to non-members.
Second-hand shops such as Les Petits Riens (right beside their main shop on Rue Americaine, Les Petits Riens have a shop dedicated to babies and children, selling clothes, equipment, books and toys), BBBIS in Waterloo (http://www.bbbis.be/index.html).
Ebay – you can find great bargains on all things baby related. E.g. large bags of baby clothes, gently used equipement like baby monitors, bouncy chairs, prams etc. Think about ebay in surrounding countries too as often prices are better and there is more choice on e.g. www.ebay.co.uk
Belgian family associations ‘Ligue des Familles’ and 'Gezinsbond' regularly organise second-hand sales – check out www.liguedesfamilles.be (French), http://www.gezinsbond.be/ (Dutch) or www.quefaire.be (French)/ http://www.wattedoen.be/ (Dutch) for these and other second-hand sales.
Other Belgian and European second-hand sites, e.g. www.2ememain.be, www.petitesannonces.be, www.preloved.co.uk (in the UK), www.tweedehands.nl (in the Netherlands) - these kind of sites can be good for finding 'bundles' of second-hand clothes and other baby items.
There are also many Belgian Facebook sites where users post items for sale, including baby items. Ask friends, colleagues, other parents for links or invitations to such groups.
Oscar & Lilli - offering short and long-term rental of baby items in Belgium. Perfect if you need baby items for a short time, like when you have family or friends visiting with small children. Website: www.oscarlilli.com
Naissances Multiples - an organisation for parents of multiples, that also rents buggies, car seats and playpens at very reasonable prices. Website: www.naissancesmultiples.asso.be/location-de-materiel/
From your mutuelle
You can rent some items such as breastpumps, baby weighing scales from your mutuelle or via your pharmacy for a small cost.