Planning for Baby #2? Here’s What to Keep For Your Second Baby

written by EMILEE JANITZ
what to keep for your second baby"
what to keep for your second baby
Source: @creatingsteph
Source: @creatingsteph

I’m convinced no other event changes the landscape of your home more than the arrival of a new baby. One minute, your space is clean and well organized, and the next, there are pieces of baby gear around every corner, a stroller crowding your porch or garage, and colorful rubber toys spilling out of your bathtub. Your home suddenly feels much smaller. 

In addition to the loss of space, all of the baby care items come at a cost. When I was expecting my first baby, my husband and I purchased every baby item with the intention of reusing it for a subsequent child. But when I became pregnant with our second baby, we found ourselves looking around the house, wondering where in the world we were going to put all of the new things the new baby would inevitably bring with her.

Planning what to keep for your second baby

Whether pregnant with your second baby or planning to be, it’s hard to know what to keep for your second baby. We planned to reuse as much as we could, but we also knew that family and friends would more than likely gift our new baby some clothes and toys of her own. And, if I’m being honest, after having my son first, I was a little eager to run out and buy some dresses and bows for the little girl I was now expecting. On top of baby items, where were we now going to put all of the items coming into our life as my firstborn hit peak toddlerhood?   

I have to imagine many parents can relate to this general scenario. Baby items cost money—so of course, you want to reuse and pass down as much as you can. On the other hand, baby items can very quickly crowd you out of your own home. A good decluttering is not only rewarding but borderline necessary, depending on the size of your home and just how much you accumulated to care for your firstborn (or that was gifted to them by their grandparents). The question is—what do you keep for your second baby, and what do you get rid of? 

Whether you’re currently filling out your baby registry, are entering toddlerhood with your firstborn, or know a second child is part of your plans someday, here are some considerations to keep in mind when determining which baby items to keep and which to toss or donate.

What to keep

Rejoice in knowing that many of the items you acquired for your first baby can be reused for your second (or third, or fourth, etc.). Be sure to save the following.

Your Stroller

If your current stroller is in tip-top condition and accommodates your family’s predicted needs, then definitely hold onto it! So long as it’s safe (wheels remain properly attached, and the brake still works) and clean, there’s no reason you can’t use the same stroller to tote around your second baby. 

That being said, if you’re like me and your children end up being close in age (two under two), consider if you need to adapt your stroller with any corresponding attachments or overhaul your stroller system completely. After my second child was born, I stopped using my single stroller and upgraded to the UPPABaby VISTA V2, and it is, to date, one of my family’s most-used child-gear items. That is to say, it’s all situational! And if you’re a “planner” currently filling out your baby registry, do future-you a favor and pick out a stroller that can be easily adapted to accommodate a growing family. 

Crib and Bassinet

I remember the second time around having so much less stress knowing I had both a crib and bassinet I had used before, loved, and—most importantly—trusted. Unless your crib and bassinet are severely damaged or broken—or you’re not quite ready to move your older child into a big kid bed—there’s no reason you can’t use these items again. Store them away for safekeeping, and just be sure to assess for damage when prepping for baby number two. Consider replacing corresponding sheets and mattresses only if needed.

Car Seat (with exceptions)

One little-known fact is that car seats expire. Car seat expert Michelle Pratt shares on her website Safe in the Seat that the materials used to make the car seat can break down after extended periods of use, exposure to sun/cold, etc. So be sure to check the expiration date— typically found under the seat or on the frame. If the car seat has not expired, been in a car accident, incurred damage, had pieces gone missing, or been cleaned with harsh chemicals, the car seat you used for your firstborn should be safe to use with your second born.

“Car seats expire… the materials used to make the car seat can break down after extended periods of use and exposure to sun and cold.”

If you have any hesitancy at all over the safety of your car seat for your second baby, have the car seat checked. Use this search tool available on the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration website to find a car seat safety technician near you

Baby Carriers

From wraps to carriers to those tented hiking-intended contraptions for the adventurous among us, hold onto your favorite baby-wearing gear that made toting your baby around a heck of a lot easier. A second child has a way of increasing your appreciation for every hands-free moment. Plus, your shoulders will surely thank you for keeping these items around.

Breast Pump 

If you breastfed your first baby and are planning to breastfeed the second, then—so long as your pump was stored in cool, clean, and dry space—you can more than likely reuse it. If you still harbor concerns even after sanitizing all of the appropriate pieces—those that come in direct contact with breast milk—consider replacing those items only. 

Something else you may want to consider is if you’re looking to make use of the latest and greatest in breast pump technology. If you have insurance and are looking to replace your pump (whether it be due to safety concerns or the desire to acquire something more convenient), be sure to check if your plan includes coverage for a new pump. If you’re like me and have a difficult time navigating the world of insurance, don’t hesitate to lean on your HR representative if you have one! 


Bottles should be fine to reuse once sterilized for your second baby; however, you’ll likely want to replace bottle nipples (see the toss section below.) If you have various bottle styles, you may want to keep a variety since different babies may have different bottle preferences.

Clothes in Good Condition

I don’t need to tell those reading this post that babies grow ridiculously fast. And baby clothes—despite their size—are surprisingly expensive. Thankfully, clothing is one of those items perfect for reusing, though we know that sorting those baby clothes can be a Herculean task.

Toss pieces that are ripped or heavily stained, but even items with minor stains on them are great candidates for spare diaper bag outfits or backup clothing for daycare. When my second baby was born, I was so happy to have a base stock of clothing already in the house and was grateful to my past self for saving them.

what to keep for your second baby
Source: Kaitlin Holland

Favorite Toys

If you’re like me and went all-in on the whole Montessori method for your first baby, then definitely definitely hang onto all those beautiful wooden toys (unless they’re damaged—in which case, see the “Toss” section below). But Montessori toys aside, be sure to hang onto any toy that is in tip-top condition, particularly those that your first baby adored. While every baby is their own person with their own preferences, I do also think that some toys are better designed to be more engaging than others. In my own experience, my kids had a tendency to gravitate toward the same toys during their babyhood. Just be sure to give all toys a good clean-up and sanitize before turning them over to your newest baby.

Books That Are in Good Condition

The only thing better than a book is a well-loved book. One that’s been read many times with a story that has helped shape a life. Hold onto those books that you and your first baby enjoyed reading together and enjoy making similar memories with your secondborn.

Baby Gear You Loved and Used a Lot the First Time Around

Whether it be a portable crib, a sound machine, an air purifier, a bouncer, or what have you, if you used it with your first baby and you and baby both loved it, keep it. After my second baby was born, there was something really special and nostalgic about pulling items out of storage that were well-loved by my first. Not to mention—if you have the storage space—having some of these items on hand can be really accommodating should you ever entertain houseguests with little ones.

For our family, some favorite items included an activity center and a door-frame jumper. Just be sure to do a quick Google search to catch any product recalls that may have become active since using these products the first time around.

“Be sure to do a quick Google search to catch any product recalls that may have become active since using these products the first time around.”

Baby Linens

Towels, washcloths, burp cloths, crib sheets, changing pad covers, blankets—so long as they’re not ripped or unimaginably soiled, all of these items are fair game for reuse. Just be sure to freshen them up with a wash before bringing your second baby home from the hospital.

Kitchen and Dining Necessities

From bibs and spoons to your trusted highchair, all of those baby mealtime essentials will certainly come in handy when baby number two makes their appearance and starts getting familiar with the joy that is eating solid food. Similar to clothing and linens, just be sure to give them a good wash before putting them to use again.

what to keep for your second baby
Source: @karissfarris

What to toss

Unfortunately, due to safety concerns, some things are destined for the trash. Thankfully, many of these items are inexpensive and relatively easy to replace, especially when compared to larger, more costly items you acquired the first time around.

Bottle Nipples

Nipples have a limited shelf life. Speaking from experience (and speaking as a formula-feeder who relied heavily on bottles to feed my baby), nipples accumulate wear and tear over time, running the risk of small pieces breaking off while your baby is eating. If you look at the packaging of your purchased nipple, chances are, you’ll see a recommendation to toss it after two to three months of use. Three months was the recommendation on the Nuk bottles I used with both of my children and, if you take to Google search results, is the average recommended lifespan across brands.


Similar to nipples, pacifiers used by your first baby should not be reused by your second. This is due to safety and hygiene. Thankfully, pacifiers are relatively inexpensive, and you won’t really know your second baby’s paci of choice until they’ve joined you earthside.


Medicine tends to expire quickly. Sort through your baby medications and toss anything that’s open or beyond its expiration date. 

Damaged Books 

Books that have been torn up and/or gnawed on are probably not worth holding onto and can even pose a safety threat to your second baby (board books that have been gummed up can break off into pieces). Toss these puppies without a second thought. 

Broken Toys

Not all toys are created equal. And if there’s anyone who’s going to put toys to the test, it’s a play-happy baby (or perhaps the family dog). Assess your first baby’s toy collection and toss anything that’s been ripped or snapped. Chipping paint is another safety watch out to keep in mind when assessing what stays and what goes.  

Open Cans of Baby Formula

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

what to keep for your second baby
Source: Alaina Kaz

What to sell or donate

As you’re purging, feel good knowing that even though some items may no longer work for you and your family, they might be perfect for someone else. Consider donating the following items to a local baby bank or nonprofit organization that supports families in need.

Unused Diapers

You might be surprised to know that diapers do technically have expiration dates. If you’re unsure of when baby number two might be coming into the picture for your family, consider donating unused, unopened packages. As an essential item that many families in need struggle to afford (diaper insecurity affected 50 percent of U.S. families in 2023), you can feel good knowing that these donated diapers won’t sit unused for long.  

Clothes You’re Realistically Not Going to Dress Your Baby In

Whether they’re stained beyond belief or so nice you never dressed your first baby in them, be critical when going through all of those adorable baby clothes. If an item wasn’t in your regular rotation or—gasp—was never even worn, consider donating or selling. Those tiny baby clothes quickly pile up, and before you know it, your storage space is overrun with them.

Duplicate Toys or Books

Favorite toys? Keep. Broken toys? Toss. Toys that are nearly identical in design and purpose? Say goodbye to all but one. It can be difficult—especially when some were gifted by loved ones—but your baby doesn’t necessarily need six different rattles or 20 different baby-approved toy vehicles. And while all of these duplicates seem small, the truth is that space is one of your most valuable resources in parenthood. Be vigilant in protecting it and enjoy knowing that by donating some of these duplicate toys, you’re giving joy to another child to enjoy.

Baby Gear That Doesn’t Fit Your Lifestyle

When I was pregnant with my first child, my husband and I received so many wonderful gifts at our baby shower. From a stroller to a Pack ‘n Play and so much more—we had all of our baby gear bases officially covered. Not knowing what exactly we’d end up wanting or needing, I distinctly remember registering for just about anything and everything. But the truth is—and I suspect many parents can relate—we just didn’t end up using everything. Some baby items just didn’t end up fitting into our lifestyle. 

For example, we received a baby swing that converted into a bouncer. While this was great in theory, the truth is, we didn’t end up using the swing a whole heck of a lot. My husband and I ended up being much more partial to “parking” our baby on his playmat. Once you have one child under your belt, you’re inevitably much more in tune with your parenting style and know which items you’re going to use and which you’re just not. Donate or sell the items you won’t use—they might be exactly what another family needs. 

Final thoughts on what to keep for your second baby

The good news? You can truly save most of the items you purchased or were gifted the first time around. The other piece of good news? Once you’ve had one infant, you’ve got this whole baby-parenting act down pat. Take this moment in time to declutter and purge the things you know you’re not going to use. Donate what doesn’t serve you and your family, and toss any item that presents a possible danger. Keep what you love. And if there’s something you really, really love and it only ends up being a memento in baby #1’s memory box, that’s OK, too. Finally, rest easy knowing that, in terms of physical possessions, you will likely feel much more prepared the second time around.