As I awaited the arrival of my second child, the search for items I could reuse and others I needed to purchase was heavily underway. There are tons of lists out there outlining all the items you need for a new baby, but I find many of them are merely trying to sell (or upsell) you on things you may or may not need.
Keep in mind that as you read through the onslaught of lists out there, every baby and every parent is different. What I found useful and not so useful may be completely different for you.
Budgeting for Baby
A lot of items you use for a newborn are only used for a 1-3 years. There are lots of used and/or barely used items out there for you to find!
I previously wrote about a group called Buy Nothing where you can snag FREE items! Check out the post here.
There are also used/consignment stores, online/Facebook buy-sell-trade groups (BST) and consignment events to attend. I have saved so much money on clothing, toys, books, shoes, furniture and almost anything else you could possibly need just by attending the consignment events and being a member of my local Buy Nothing group.
If you are on a serious budget and are having a difficult time knowing how to allocate your funds, just ask yourself if the item genuinely meets your child’s basic needs:
- Safety (includes transporting)
In an attempt to try to break up the list (to be less intimidating and easier to digest in one sitting), I will be separating the information into different posts based on these categories. I may do a bonus post for toys and such, but I figured I’d focus on the essential needs of the baby.
You may also like this post:
Even if you decide to register at a single place, start a registry anywhere you can think of! You will receive coupons and offers in the mail to save you money through almost every registry you create! Here are some places you can think about registering: Target, Amazon.com, Walmart, IKEA, and Buy Buy Baby.
Baby Products: Feeding
Yes, there is an amazing array of products you will need (or want). Below I will provide links to the actual products I use/used. Many of these items may be found used locally! I was lucky to have many nieces and nephews outgrow a lot of these by the time my son came (and I have saved almost all of them for my second son who will arrive in January).
Whether you decide to do formula or breastfeed/pump, choose some things to try before you get too many of one item. For example, some babies refuse breastfeeding or certain types of bottles. The first year of my son’s life was a combination of breastfeeding, formula and (mostly) pumping.
If you at all decide you want to breastfeed, I would highly suggest getting a breast pump. If you have health insurance, the pump may be completely covered by your insurance! With my first, I exclusively pumped for almost a year and used the Medela Pump in Style Advanced paid for by my insurance. Do some research to find the right pump for you.
Even if you decide to exclusively breastfeed, please at least purchase a single bottle to have on hand. You may want someone else to feed your baby (even once!) or maybe you may need some help if your baby is struggling with latching. All I’m saying is you never know what you will need. If you plan to exclusively use formula, I’d suggest getting at least six bottles to start (but don’t go overboard before baby arrives or at least keep your receipt – baby may not like the bottle type you want to use). I used glass Dr. Brown's Bottles. These are fantastic, but be warned there are many parts to keep clean.
Even for breastfed or bottle fed babies, bibs can come in handy. They are the best at catching drool or spit up. And, of course, once solids are introduced, they help save clothes from food…everywhere. That being said, there are times when just stripping your baby down to his or her diaper to eat messy foods is so much easier!
These do not have to be fancy. A simple hand towel will do. Just keep in mind that breastmilk and/or formula will make the towels smell…unsavory very quickly so you’ll need quite a few. I used cloth diaper prefolds as burp cloths. I will forever be grateful for doing this! They are super absorbent and can be used to clean up messes for years to come. I still use mine to clean up my son at 2.5-years-old.
This will become a tool you will use multiple times throughout the day (for bottles, breast pump supplies or even household cups). I prefer the type that do not have the sponge on the top since the sponge can mold so easily. I you choose to go with the Dr. Brown's Bottles, a few scrubbers will come with them for the parts. But, if, like me, you forget about a bottle and the milk nearly solidifies in the bottom, you will definitely need a bottle brush.
I’ve tried many many brands and types of bowls and cups. Ultimately, what works for your child depends on personality and eating tendencies. I have called out a specific bowl I will never buy again later (though, again, it may work great for you), but I’ll leave the shopping up to you (you won’t need them right away anyway).
I have two types that worked amazingly for us. The first is a narrow baby spoons that was fantastic for purées. The second is for when my son got older and was feeding himself with toddler silverware. There are some parents I know that have their kids use regular, every day silverware from day 1, but I preferred to use silverware that was easier to use for myself and then for my child.
If I could go back, I would skip the bulky high chair and go straight to a dining table booster seat. Not only will it save you space but money since you just have to buy one!
NICE TO HAVES
The items that were great to have, but I would not consider them “needed.”
When I serve a particularly messy meal, I like to put down a splash mat to catch a lot of the mess (and it can be hosed off). I use one that I purchased for use during painting activities and use it for both 🙂
Bottle Drying Rack
With my first child, I hand washed EVERYTHING out of fear of contamination when he was born which made the drying rack an item I used multiple times a day (for baby and pumping supplies). Instead of randomly recommending one (since they no longer make the one I have), try googling or searching on Amazon.com for one that looks right for you.
You may not NEED a dishwasher basket, but depending on the number of tiny dish items you will be cleaning, this is a real time saver. I used it a lot for all the Dr. Brown's Bottles parts and eventually for straws, silverware and sippy cup parts.
Small Popsicle Tray
Sure this may sound like a splurge, but this particular popsicle maker makes the perfect sized frozen treat for your teething baby. I just threw some apple juice or orange juice (with water added so they were less sugar) in the tray and voila! You can also use yogurt, baby food purées, anything mushy you can fit in the tray (I went with fairly clear liquids to cut down on mess).
Hands Free Breast Pump Accessory
While I don’t like the “hands free” terminology, having your hands away from the pumps is very helpful when you have a baby or toddler to care for at the same time. For a year, I pumped 6-10 times a day (depending on when in the year) and used this hands free bra kit. Many women don’t need or have to pump this much. But having this tiny strap device saved me so much time! It looks terrible, but it is quick to get on and nice when isn’t hot. I only had to replace mine once the entire year.
Silicone Freezer Tray
This freezer silicone baby food tray was a life saver when I was making my own baby food (to save money). Just freeze your baby food in the tray, transfer to a freezer container and pull one of the frozen cubes out the night before you need it! The silicone makes getting the food out of the tray so much easier.
Either from lack of space or from the price tag, these are the baby products I may not purchase again because of the price tag to usefulness ratio. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVED some of these, but, ultimately, there are other hacks to accomplish the same thing or they really don’t meet any real need for your child.
I loved this all-in-one baby food processor by Babymoov that steamed and then puréed. However, I gave mine away on Buy Nothing to another mom knowing that when baby two came along, I could accomplish the same thing with a steamer on the stove and my food processor (which I didn’t have at the time my first was born). NOTE: I made most of my own baby food out of necessity for the budget. Just one butternut squash ($2) could make 3 weeks worth of food (though I added other veggies and proteins to make different combinations).
As I mentioned earlier, if you have a table with a chair I would skip the high chair and go straight to the booster seat.
These are items I do not recommend. Pictures and links are only to show exactly what I’m talking about since there are so many options for everything!
I had a strong child. The only thing that these Gerber suction bowls served to do was throw food completely across the room after my son strained to get it off the table – twang! It would have been laughable if it hadn’t been so frustrating.
While some mothers LOVE these Babybjorn silicone bib, I found them to be too stiff to allow movement in the high hair and my son refused to wear it. I also had a larger child so the ring around the neck barely fit when it came time for solids.
Cheap, Plastic Silverware
As my son learned to eat with silverware, the cheap, plastic silverware nearly derailed the effort because their functionality was frustrating (the fork prongs would bend, etc). I have used the nicer toddler silverware, and they are fantastic because they have metal like “normal” silverware but grips for small hands on the handle.
This seemed like a great idea, but I found them hard to clean and my son grew frustrated with it fast (especially when his first teeth would get stuck in the mesh).
Thanks for making it all the way through! I hope some of it was helpful. Please feel free to comment with any questions.
Next up: Sleeping!