So you are having a baby! Woohoo! Your life and your house are about to be turned upside down. Are you looking for a seriously real budget friendly new baby checklist? This is it! Take it from someone who has been there.
You are probably wondering what you really need for you baby’s arrival. Coming from someone who has two kids, the answer is not as much as you probably think (or have been told)!
If you are worried about blowing your budget, yeah I hear yah. There are a zillion baby products out there that you are told you need. The reality is that just isn’t true.
Before we get into a list of baby stuff, please check out my related post, How to Financially Prepare for Maternity Leave.
Yes there are many baby products that might make your life a little easier but they may not too. Sticking to the basics will be much cheaper and your experience will not be impacted.
I am going to give you a list of baby things for the first three months but broken down into:
- Must Haves
- Nice to Haves
- Don’t buy
…based on my experience and reflection.
I’ll be honest, I bought a lot of dumb baby stuff.
It seemed like a good idea at the time but after I was out of the baby phase and packing things up to get rid of, I realized that so many things I bought were never use, used once, or didn’t work as they were intended. I’m sure I wasted at least $2000. I am not kidding!
The marketing for these things I bought must have been really good, or I was caught up in the excitement of buying cute baby stuff (before baby), or I was deliriously sleep deprived and not using common sense. Whatever it was, don’t make the same mistakes I did.
I remember a well-meaning mom friend gave me a list of all things I needed to buy. It was a looooong list. What did I do? I went out and bought EVERYTHING! Yikes.
You do not need that top of the line crib and matching dresser, the baby swing, two different play yards, bouncy chair, jumperoo, jolly jumper, a million toys, a ton of clothes, etc.
Trust me on this one!
However, there were a few things I splurged on that I am glad I did. I will point those out below too.
Enough of my rant, here is your list!
This new baby checklist is of course going to have some things that you are going to need but the list isn’t that long.
- Maternity clothes. Keep it to a minimum as they are expensive.
- Car seat.
- Nursing bra. If you plan to nurse.
- Washable nursing pads. The disposable ones work good but they are ridiculously expensive! Just make sure you wash them very frequently to prevent them from growing mold.
- Coconut oil for nipple cream. It works wonders and will help prevent thrush due to it’s anti-fungal properties. If you buy a big container, scoop some into a small one.
- Newborn diapers. Obviously.
- Wipes. Although some people use small homemade wash clothes if their baby’s bum is ultra sensitive. I think you just can’t beat the convenience. The Kirkland ones from Costco are the best in my opinion and they are cheap.
- Somewhere for baby to sleep. This could be a bassinet, even a laundry basket or a cardboard box like Finnish mammas for the first few months if you can’t afford a crib. If you plan to buy a crib before baby is born, then try to skip the bassinet. Instead, if you have room, set the crib up in your bedroom.
- Minimal baby clothes. In a baby’s first year, they change wardrobes entirely every 3 months. Therefore, there is no need for a ton of clothes. Also, getting a newborn dressed up all the time in cute outfits is a serious pain in the bum when they don’t have much neck strength. AND they will poop all over it! My kids lived in zipper sleepers for the first six months of their lives. Have a couple of cute outfits and a bunch of sleepers and onesies. Done.
- A few baby blankets. I had about 50 blankets and receiving blankets before baby came. I’m not kidding. In reality, I think I only used about 4 or 5 blankets and about 10 receiving blankets.
- Baby shampoo. Regular soap or bath wash is pretty harsh for a baby’s new skin.
- Swaddle sack. I found out about the Batwing swaddle method on a baby board and it was an absolute life saver. Check out this youtube video to learn how to batwing swaddle.
- Bottles. If you aren’t going to breastfeed, then you will need about 10 bottles. If you plan to solely breastfeed, then by all means skip this one!
- Change pad.
- Sun hat.
- Baby Tylenol.
Ok, I had to include in my new baby checklist, some things that are really nice to have because they will probably make your life easier but aren’t 100% necessary.
- Stroller. You could get away without a stroller but I think it would be tough when you want to leave the house. I splurged on ours and I have to say it has been worth it. I bought the Bob. My daughter still goes in it at 3 years old when we walk my son to school. I have had it for 6.5 years and it still works great. Also, good quality strollers tend to hold their value for resale than others. However, if you can’t afford a higher end stroller then get one in your price range
- Baby tub. You can put an inch of water in the tub to wash your baby or you can use a sink. They take up a lot of space.
- Diaper genie. It isn’t necessary contrary to what many people are told. I had one and they still get stinky and the refills are insanely expensive. Instead, you can just use a plastic bag and take it your outside garbage when you get two or three diapers in the bad.
- Monitor. If you live in a house where you bedrooms are far apart, move this to the “must haves” list. If your rooms are beside each other, trust me you are going to hear that baby. However, having a monitor close by does give comfort especially the video monitors. When they are older, you can see what shenanigans they are up to.
- Nursing pillow. Some moms prefer to breastfeed lying down; therefore, they wouldn’t need it. However, if you sit up to breastfeed, you might need one to save your back.
- Sound machine. Our house backs onto a busy, noisy road so I liked having a sound machine in my baby’s bedroom. You could also just use a small fan.
- Diaper bag. If you have a large bag lying around like a back pack or gym bag, that is all you need. If you really want a diaper bag, then look for bargains, stay away from designer ones, and try to find one that can turn into a back pack to free up a hand. I had a designer one and it sucked!
- Sling/wrap/baby carrier. The Baby Bjorn did come in handy for a couple of months but I could have easily gotten by without it. However, some babies absolutely love it. Just don’t buy a super expensive one.
- Play yard. If you are going to travel with your baby, then this might be a must have.
- Bouncer. These are a dime a dozen so if you can’t borrow one you should be able to find a used one really cheap.
- Nose Frida. Forget about the bulb syring. Those things are garbage. The Nose Frida actually works.
- Zipadee-Zip swaddle transition sack. This was my other splurge item that I ended up loving. Transitioning babies out of a swaddle can be a nightmare. When I had to transition my daughter out of the swaddle, I put her in this, and she barely noticed.
Do Not Buy!
This section of the new baby checklist, is seriously so important. Do not be fouled!
- Crib bedding. Can cause SIDS.
- Bumper pads. Can cause SIDS.
- Baby food maker. If you have a blender, that is all you need.
- Wipes warmer. What a waste of money. I remember one mom-friend telling me her baby would scream if she used unwarmed wipes. Makes it kinda hard to go anywhere.
- Newborn shoes. Dumbest most useless things ever.
- Floor chairs like the Bumbo. This was a hot item back in 2011 when I was pregnant for the first time. So naturally I had to have one. Turns out my son hated the thing and would buck out of it.
- Shopping cart cover. I bought one and used it once. I couldn’t remember to use it and it was too bulky to keep in my diaper bag.
- Designer baby clothes. Its going to get stained.
- Change table. What are you going to do with this useless piece of furniture when you are done with it? You can sell it but wouldn’t it be easier if you just had a dresser with a change pad on it? Yup.
- Burp clothes. If you have a bunch of receiving blankets, I found they worked better than burp clothes anyways.
- Hooded towels.
- Baby swing. My son loved it so much he wouldn’t sleep anywhere else other than in my arms. Kind of a safety problem. I decided it was better not to have it at all. My daughter hated the thing. Good thing I borrowed this and could just give it back!
- Sleepers with snaps. I don’t even understand why these exist! They are the biggest pain when you are trying to get the sleeper back on in the middle of the night in the dark.
- Soother/Pacifier wipes.They are just regular wipes but packaged smaller for more money.
- Pee pep teepee. Yup, had these too but guess what. They don’t work! Your baby boy is going to blow them right off and pee in your face.
- Baby bath thermometer. Your elbow works just as good.
- Baby brush. Chances are there won’t be enough to brush. Plus, the bristles are so thin they don’t do much anyways.
- Baby powder. I bought this and didn’t use it once. It can cause respiratory issues if breathed in. Stay away!
- Every baby toiletry. Vats of vaseline, 4 brands of diaper cream, baby powder, Tylenol, etc. I still have almost all of the Vaseline to this day – 6 years later. I didn’t use the baby powder once!
Remember, this is just for the first three months.
Once your baby starts to grow out of this newborn stage, you will know what they need when they need it.
Baby Budget Tips.
Instead of rushing out to Walmart to buy everything on your “Must Have” list…
Do this instead:
~Ask to borrow from friends.
Talk to your friends who already have a kid and see if you can borrow things they currently aren’t using. Most friends are quite willing to lend their things but they might not know what to lend you until you ask.
Check out your local sites on Facebook, Kijiji, Craigslist, Ebay, Letgo, etc. to see what you can buy on the cheap.
Go to garage sales.
~Keep your eye out for sales.
Especially for diapers. They go on sale all the time so when they do take advantage!
~Carefully choose what you add to your baby registry.
First of all, lets just get one thing straight. If someone is throwing you a baby shower, don’t think it is beneath you to have a baby registry.
Your friends and family will generally want to buy you what you need anyways. They just want to help. So don’t feel like this is sleazy.
They are going to buy you stuff anyways, it might as well be the stuff you need.
Register for things like diapers and wipes in big quantities. Diapers are bloody expensive! Don’t register for things like stuffed animals, toys, the fancy highchair, etc.
~Instead of a traditional baby shower, have a diaper party.
If you are lucky enough to have what you need for baby, one really great baby shower alternative is to have a diaper party.
I have been to a few and they are so great because it is really easy from a guest perspective – you just stop at store and grab a box of diapers. Easy! Right up my alley. Sometimes people also invite the guys and just make it a party. Fun!
~Wait until you have the baby to buy most things.
You might not even end up using things you thought you would. If you realize you need something, you are going to need to get out of the house anyway. Or you can order it online.
~Fill your freezer with meals.
If you have a bunch of meals ready to pull out of the freezer on those days you want something quick, you will not be tempted to order in and blow a bunch of money.
Print off this budget friendly new baby checklist, make a plan and stick to it.
If you find you need something that you didn’t buy in advance, get out of the house and go get it. That’s it!
I sincerely hope you found this post to be helpful and I deeply appreciate you reading it.
If you like this post, I would greatly appreciate it if you shared it!
Also, if you think I missed something on my lists above, please let me know!