My sister is expecting her first baby and I am currently pregnant with twins. This is the year of babies for my family! Baby gear has been a hot topic, and we’re at opposite ends of the spectrum. My sister is just starting out and I’m at looking at the last of my baby days. We do have one thing in common though – we are both on a budget and want to make sure we get the essentials without going overboard.
Fortunately, babies don’t really need as much as we think they do. Once you get the basics covered then you can focus on a few of the fun little wants that are out there (and there are some fun ones) but if you are overwhelmed, start with the newborn essentials.
This is all a baby really needs in the beginning:
Something to Eat
If you are planning to breastfeed, you’ve pretty much got this covered. A breastpump is nice to get you through the early days when you are dealing with engorgement and to help you get some extra sleep if you want to share feeding duties. But you can survive without one if necessary.
If you are planning to use formula, don’t go nuts buying a full supply of bottles before you figure out what your baby likes. Get an assortment of a few brands and go out and buy more once you determine what works for your baby. Stock up on formula coupons. But again, wait until you figure out which brand you want to use after your baby is born.
Something to Wear
Clothes are a basic necessity but you don’t need to go out and spend a fortune on an excessive wardrobe. Babies grow quickly. I have clothes that still have their store tags because they either didn’t fit my baby’s proportions or my baby grew to quickly to wear everything I bought.
You’ll be doing a ton of laundry in the beginning anyway. Start with a basic stash of 5-7 sleepers, a few cute outfits for photos and when you want to dress your baby up a bit more, and then find some good quality used clothes to fill in the rest. Newborns spend a lot of time swaddles so you can get away with keeping them in sleepers (or onesies during warmer weather). Focus on stocking up on clothes that will be worn for longer periods of time like the 6-12 month stage.
Somewhere to Sleep
Newborns sleep a lot. You’ll need something safe. Even if you are planning on cosleeping, you’ll want a safe sleeping place for daytime naps or nights when you are too tired to have the baby in the bed with you. Bassinets are great for the first few months because you can keep the baby close to you at night without taking up a lot of space in your bedroom. If you want to avoid buying an extra piece of furniture you can put your newborn straight into the crib. I like to keep my babies close for the first few months, so with my last baby I set up her crib in my bedroom and just moved it when she was ready to transition to a room of her own.
Something to Ride in
The hospital is not going to release you with your baby unless you have an infant car seat that safely fits your baby. This is one purchase you shouldn’t scrimp on. Don’t buy a used car seat. You won’t know the history of the seat and that could put your baby at risk. Make sure you get a seat that fits well in your car and be absolutely sure that you know how to install it correctly.
If you live in an area where you can walk around quite a bit, a stroller will be a necessity as well. But keep in mind that most strollers are not designed to fit a newborn unless you are able to use them with your infant car seat. I prefer to use an infant carrier during the first few months. But you will have to figure out what works best for you.
Babies don’t need much beyond your care for the few months. What baby items were essential for you during the first few months?