Oct 13 2008

What we’re buying before our baby is born


One of my blog readers is 15 weeks pregnant, and she wanted to know the kinds of things I’m buying now before our baby is born around the end of the year.

Since we have a pretty small apartment, we’ve been trying to keep the baby supplies to a minimum. I figure that we can start with what we identify as “needs” or “strong wants” before he’s born, and then we can always go shopping after his arrival. It might be a bit tricky to shop with a newborn during the winter, but hey, that’s what the internet is for!

Of course, everyone’s list will be different. Here’s what I’m getting before he’s born. Afterwards, who knows?

Place for Baby to sleep:

– We’ve chosen a crib for this. We’ll need a crib, mattress, mattress protector (I think), and some good fitted sheets.
– We do plan on getting a pack & play for daytime use. Some people use the bassinet part of it until they reach 15 pounds, to keep their babies in the parent’s bedroom. We might do this, but we haven’t totally decided. If you’re getting a pack & play, you might also want a mattress pad and fitted sheets for it.

Transport Baby:

Car seat. And I think we’re going to get a car seat mat to lay below it. I had our seat installed for a few days and it’s already leaving a heavy indention. I don’t want to totally ruin my car’s back seat! (By the way, if you’ve been following my personal blog, you might recall that I wasn’t sure if our seat would fit. It does! I took it to a certified car seat technician and when he tightened the LATCH system, the seat fit snugly. Yay!)

– We’re opting not to use a stroller for the first few months. Instead, we’ll wear our baby using carriers and slings/wraps. My husband picked out a carrier he liked at Once Upon a Child for $15, and I’ll order a sling and a wrap online. Seems like serious baby-wearers swear by having a few different carriers in their arsenal. I can always resell them on eBay if I need to.


– I’ve been keeping track of our baby clothes so I know exactly what we have and what we still need. You can see my clothes spreadsheet here. I chose the newborn T-shirts so he’ll have something to wear before his umbilical cord falls off. I have just a few onesies in the newborn size and I’m not sure if I’ll get any more. It’s hard to say, since I don’t know how much he’ll weigh when he’s born and how quickly he’ll reach 8+ pounds. Even if he’s under 8 pounds for a week or two, he’ll still need something to wear during that time, and I don’t want to do laundry every day. Yay for sleepers that fit a wide range of sizes, right?

– Other clothes we’ve received have been gifts or things Shane and I have picked up at yard sales or Once Upon a Child. Our 0-3 months category looks good, and we’ve got a great start on our 6-9 month sizes, but we could use some more clothes in the 3-6 month size. Obviously, this can wait until after he’s born and I can get a better idea on how fast he grows and in which season. Still, if I find some deals on clothes in this size before he’s born, I’m probably going to buy some in advance just because I want to.


I haven’t bought a pack of diapers or wipes in awhile. The sales haven’t been super great lately (in my opinion) but I might head over to Rite Aid this week to get a pack of Pampers jumbos for $7.50 after coupon and rebate. Not sure.

I’ve been keeping a diaper inventory and my stash has really grown. Unless I find some more size 1s on super clearance, I don’t think I’ll buy any more of that size until after my baby is born and we’re certain we need them. I have 530 in that size. It’s looking like I’ll need more in size 2 (256 right now) and size 3 (240).

My 1,026 diapers have cost $70.89, or about $0.069 each.

I have 1,237 wipes, and paid $19.78, or about $0.015 each.

As I’ve said in the past, I know that babies grow at different rates and they might go from one size to the next rapidly. Or, they might take a long time to do so. And, some babies simply don’t respond well to certain brands of diapers. So, all of this stocking up in advance could come back to bite me.

Surely some of the diapers in my stash will work. For the ones that don’t, I have no problem with donating them to charity.


If you’re planning on nursing (I hope to), then you’ve got most of your supplies already. I will likely pick up a few nursing bras, camisoles, breast cream and pads.

I’m probably going to have some lactation consultants help me out until we get a handle on things. Our insurance might pick up some of the tab, but even if they don’t, we’ll spring for it.

After we get going, we might decide that I’d like a breast pump or other nursing accessories. I won’t buy those things until there’s an actual need for them.

First aid:

Thermometer, nasal aspirator, etc. Also, fingernail clippers, petroleum jelly (for said thermometer) and stuff for the umbilical cord. Etc., etc.

Bath time:

– Towels, washcloths, some kind of cleanser for Baby, cotton balls for belly button, etc.

We found a nifty baby bathtub with shower sprayer for $5 at a yard sale. We thought about washing him in our sink, but I think the tub will work well, though it isn’t totaly necessary.

To me, the list that I’ve just compiled seems to be among the most basic things a new mom could require before the baby is born. We aren’t stopping there, though.

We’ve already bought a few children’s books and a diaper bag. And, we need a good organization system to keep all of this baby gear in place. I’m still working on that, and I’ll share with you what I’ve come up with.

If we decide we need a swing or bouncy seat or whatever else, we’ll get it after he’s born. Cuz we don’t need everything before his birth day. We’ll still be able to shop, either in store or online. Or if we really are too frazzled, we can send a grandma or a friend to the store. It’ll be ok. And hey, we might find out we don’t want to get some of those things after all.

To see a complete inventory of everything we’ve bought for Baby (or because of him), you can visit my spreadsheet here. It’s kind of a lot of money so far ($908) and we aren’t done yet.

Because we’ve gradually made these purchases and have set aside a savings account for baby things, it really hasn’t felt like a huge impact on our budget. I guess that’s one of the perks of pregnancy lasting for 3/4 of a year: plenty of time to prepare!

Helpful resources for baby gear:

From BabyCheapskate.com:

7 money-saving resources for saving big on baby stuff

Top 10 most useless baby items

Q&A: Most useful baby items?

A visual guide to saving money with baby The Simple Dollar

“Absolute basics” from Fit Pregnancy

How to control pre-baby clutter from Unclutterer

Posted under Uncategorized | 18 Comments »

18 Responses to “What we’re buying before our baby is born”

  1. Wow–you are well on your way!! I would say definitely get a few sheets for the pack and play and a waterproof mattress pad–the pad it comes with is OK, but once it’s stained, it’s stained. A good friend of mine swears by waterproof pads for everything…(the pack n play, the crib, your bed if you co sleep/rest baby there during the day, the carseat for blow out diapers) after two kids, her gear is still in great shape.

    Michelle’s last blog post..It’s the Little Things

  2. I cannot recommend enough that new mothers get at least a cheap manual pump. I didn’t have one when I engorged right after coming home from the hospital, and I got mastitis a couple times because of it. Even if you don’t use it to pump and save bottles, being able to relieve a little bit of that pressure is crucial.

    With some dexterity and patience, it is possible to hand express and reduce the pressure, but it isn’t nearly as easy. Being able to pump just a little bit also helped my baby latch better, she couldn’t latch properly when I was engorged.

    Kayleigh’s last blog post..Making Progress

  3. “Cuz we don’t need everything before his birth day.”

    YAY for you! I bought more stuff than I ever needed and most of it was impractical. Not only a huge waste of $$, but it sat in basement until my baby was 12, because i had no one to pass it on to.

    Shopping with a newborn is possible with a little planning, and you’ll be so glad you waited until you knew what YOUR baby will need, not just in theory!

    Blessings and best wishes!

  4. Looks good!! I would agree on the previous comment about some kind of breast pump and a couple of bottles. My SIL doesn’t work and only breast feeds but shortly after her baby’s birth she was in the hospital three times for kidney infection, gall stones, and a pancreas infection. It was vital for her to have a pump so that others could feed her baby. Hopefully that will not be the case for you!!! She got a very inexpensive one that has worked great for her. Just a suggestion!

  5. Great job planning! I’m glad that you haven’t gotten caught up in the baby buying frenzy that’s so easy to get into. :)

    I agree with the previous posters about waterproof mattress pads (or at least Chux pads – the kind you use when you are potty training dogs that have a blue plastic back and a white absorbent layer.)

    And if you plan on nursing you definitely need three things: a pump (I used a manual with my first, but this one I got The First Years electric double pump from Walmart for about $60 and it’s worth every penny – especially in the beginning, like the pp said!) nursing pads, and lanolin for sore nipples.

    The other thing I could think of (having a newborn myself right now) is someplace to put the baby down besides the crib – a bouncer, a bobby with a blanket on the floor, a swing – something that will keep you sane and not holding the baby all the time.

    Also, the hospital usually has a lactation consultant, and oftentimes you can get help from them after you go home for free. Mine even gave me a manual breast pump (not a good one, though, unfortunately.) If you get WIC, they often provide that service as well. There’s really no need to pay for a LC. The hospital also often gives you what you need to care for a circumcision if necessary, etc. If they don’t give you something and you are going to have to buy it, ask! They might have it!

    The one thing that really caught my eye about your post was your bath time section – we use regular adult towels – they are warmer and softer. We use the washcloths I make and sell in my etsy.com shop, but frankly, you can easily make your own with some baby terry or flannel bought at the fabric store on sale. You don’t need to do anything with the cord wound – the alcohol pediatricians used to recommend to help the cord dry up faster really doesn’t do much except dry out the baby’s belly skin. :)

  6. Yeah, even for those hoping to exclusively breast feed, I do see the advantage of having a breast pump.

    I don’t know if I’ll get one before or after the birth, though. I’ll continue researching my options and figure something out.

    I still have about two months until I’m officially full-term! Whoa…

  7. Using your list as a guide, I think that I’m almost ready except for a first aid kit and meeting with the car seat technician. Oh, and the diapers that I still need to sew. I’m so impressed with your spreadsheet, keep up the good work.

    Frugalchick’s last blog post..Frugal Flop

  8. Quick tips;

    1) Like mentioned above GET A PUMP! and use it! Even if you THINK you will only BF and no bottles something may happen. I BF my last baby and thankfully had pumped and had a stash in the freezer. I ended up in the hospital with kidney stones over night and couldn’t nurse for 24 hours because of the meds. Thank God I had a supply of milk and bottles so my mom and husband could feed the baby until I could.

    2) Baby towels aren’t as good as adult towels (as said above) I got baby towels as gifts with baby #1 and I used them, but come baby #2, #3 and #4 it was adult towels all the way.

    3) Personally, I hated baby bath tubs. At
    Wal Mart, KMart, Target, etc you can get these nifty bath sponges in the shape of a teddy bear (about $5)When baby is little and you spone bathe, you place the sponge on the counter by the sink and clean baby there. When baby is older, you can place the sponge directly in the tub and fill with just enough water to come up the sides of the sponge (it’s at an angle so it won’t get in baby’s ears or face). Bathe baby with plenty of room for you hands and the warm sponge will keep baby warmer, and when you are done, there is no water to dump out. I would just wring out my sponge and store it up-right in the tub so it would dry. Here’ a link to the type of product I’m talking about:


    Babies are soo slipper when wet, you just won’t believe it! I liked how secure mine were in their sponges ;-)

  9. One more note: Especially if you are nursing (but for any new mom)…drink TONS of water! My DR. told me tons of nursing moms end up with kidney stones. It has something to do with extra calcium in your body and not drinking enough. Not only will water help with your milk supply, it will keep your body hydrated,keep you feeling less tired and keep your kidneys functioning at peek performance ;-) I had stones after 2 of my 4 babies and let me tell ya, having the babies was less painful than the stones. LOL!

    Julie’s last blog post..Who Am I

  10. When you’re looking for a lactation consultant there are two places to look for free… the hospital and La Leche League, They are just as trained and care just as much. plus the ones from La leche league will come to your house and help you.

    one other thing i noticed was the petroleum jelly- our pediatrician told us not to use that to check the temperature, but to use ky jelly or some other personal lubricant. He said the petroleum jelly was bad for that. You might want to ask your pediatrician first and get their opinion.

  11. Mastitis stinks, so I am on board with the breast pump girls. I also start giving my babies bottles once a week or so around 5-6 weeks so they’ll take one and I can have a longer leash.

    Also agree with getting a bouncier or something.

    And just be careful during winter weather wearing your baby.

    Best wishes!

  12. Honestly, you don’t really need much at the beginning, so don’t buy too much stuff. You need Lansinoh nipple cream if you are nursing, a couple of onesies, some burpcloths and most importantly, a Nosefrida nasal aspirator for those little newborn stuffy noses and for colds that are sure to come. Diapers and wipes and you are good to go!

  13. Thanks so much Kacie! Keep us updated after “birthday” and let us know what comes in handy and what doesn’t work out. I’m glad I’m a few months behind you, I’ll be able to glean from your experience. Thanks again!!

  14. I would just say, watch what you buy before baby. A lot of times you realize you don’t actually need a product or 2.
    Also, a lot of hospitals will give you a really cheap manual pump. It probably will suck but it’s better then nothing to get you started

  15. Your list looks good!

    I agree with the comment above about the bath sponge. That is what we used as well and it was perfect!

    Also, breast cream is expensive. If you ask, they will give you a tube of Lanolin at the hospital.

    Invest in a few bottles. I breastfed but was exhausted the first couple of weeks. I would pump and go to bed at 9 p.m.. My husband would feed the baby at 11 p.m. and I would get a magical 4 hours of uninterupted sleep until the baby woke up around 1 a.m. She got one mommy milk bottle a day and it definitely did not interupt her nursing (and it saved my life!).

  16. Great post, Kacie. Excellent resource for my wife and I. I’ll be forwarding on to her.

    We’re going the pack n play bassinet route for the first few weeks. Then we’ll move her to the convertible crib we’re eye-ing. Any downside to those?

    Also, are you estimating any help from baby showers?

    PT’s last blog post..Prime Time Money

  17. I agree that you should get a breast pump before he’s born. I’m sure that if you buy it but don’t open it you can return it later if you don’t use it.

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Hey! I'm Kacie, wife and mother of 3. I write about my family's finance: how we save money, improve our spending, and plan for the future.

I hope I can inspire and encourage you to improve your situation. See disclosure.

I'm adopting a much slower-paced posting schedule, and treating this as a hobby blog now.

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