Baby Essentials For First Time Moms On A Budget
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“Two Pink Lines”
So many moms-to-be get overwhelmed as soon as they see those two pink lines pop up. It’s like reality hits that you’re now going to be responsible for a tiny human who depends on you for survival. So many emotions and questions start to flow. You create a baby registry on Amazon, and suddenly you realize it must take a million dollars to have a baby these days. The checklist they have set up for you is a bit ridiculous. Seven categories, each with multiple subcategories is just plain crazy. I haven’t used half of what they suggest in four kids combined! So here’s my guide to baby essentials for first time moms, on a budget.
Before you start looking, ask yourself “What do we really need?” Then make your own checklist. What products fit your lifestyle? If you don’t jog now, you won’t when baby arrives either. Skip that $500 “jogging stroller” Go for simple and functional!
After having four babies now, I’m pretty much an expert in the “baby essentials” department. I bought things with my first that I thought I’d need but never used. So I want to help you decide what your personal family needs are in this post, and save you time + money! (Use those extra savings for their college fund!)
What are the essentials, anyway?
Realistically, all you need is a carseat, diapers, clothes, food, and somewhere to sleep. But there are a few things that I have found that help a little more than just the basics when you’re going through the sleepless nights and postpartum healing. I’m going to share with you what has worked for our family. The silly things I bought as a first time mom, and the important items I bought or used with my most recent baby.
“No mom is more right than any other mom”
Everyone has their own way to mom, and that’s awesome. Some moms cloth diaper, some moms swear by Pampers Swaddlers. Some wear their babies in Ergo, breastfeed & co-sleep, while others sleep train & formula feed. Whatever works for your life is best! No mom is more right than any other mom. Just do what aligns with your everyday life the best!
How to get started with your baby essentials checklist
- Decide on a budget. A realistic one. We budgeted about $1500 with our last baby and came in under budget. This number is really up to you and can work with almost any budget, especially if you register. To read how we personally budget, visit my finances + family post HERE
- After you have a realistic number, write down basic needs first. Which carseat is safest, but also within your budget? What will they wear? What kind of diapers? Cloth or disposables? Are you formula feeding or breastfeeding? What will they sleep in? I recommend this Joovy pack-n-play for the first few months, before transitioning to a crib. It’s small, convenient, and has multiple uses. It’s also great for traveling. When we stay away from home, my baby girl sleeps very well! It’s definitely one of my favorite baby products.
- Okay you have the budget and the basics, so now what? This is a good time to go over the registry suggested checklist. Go through each category and pick the items that you think would compliment your lifestyle.
Are you a homebody or an out and about person?
If you’re a homebody
If you stay home a lot, register for a 4moms Mamaroo swing, which is basically a swing and bouncer in one. It’s great for the sleep deprived days, where you just sit on the couch and Netflix binge. You know baby is safe and you can rest in the same room with them. We bought this one for Stevie and it was amazing. It helped soothe her so much she never really took a pacifier. She loved it and we used it about 6 months before she was too big for it. I also recommend a Dockatot. They’re a bit pricey, but if you put it on your Amazon registry, after you have your baby, they will give you a discount on the items left on your registry! It was a great buy for us, but decide for your own needs!
If you’re more on the go
Definitely get a carseat base, like this one. It’s worth every penny. The base stays in your vehicle and the carseat clicks in or out. Carseat & Stroller combos are also great for on the go because you can lock it in place and go! It’s very convenient for going to the park, the zoo, and shopping. I had this kind of stroller with my first three babies, but the down side to these is the size. They tend to be really bulky, and I was out of trunk space for baby number four, so I decided on the Urbini Reversi Stroller. The seat is reversible, it reclines all the way back, a decent amount of under storage, and it has an option to put the carrier seat on it, but we have always used just the stroller. It was a great buy and saved us about $200!
My recommendations for every mom
- Pampers Swaddlers, “>The Honest Co. Diapers, and/or Bum Genius Freetime Cloth Diapers. We clothed diapered our third baby for two full years and I loved it. Her diapers were colorful and very easy to wash. I had zero problems with them! As she got older, I switched her to pull ups until she was fully potty trained. Pampers Swaddlers are amazing and a great option for sensitive skin babies. My last baby was too small for the cloth diapers we had, up until now, so we used Pampers. She sleeps amazing in them! (12 hours per night) I put a cloth diaper on her during the day now. If we’re out and about, we I use Pampers, and at bedtime. Honest Co. is another great choice because you get the convenience of disposable, no harsh chemicals, and also the cute patterns like cloth diapers! I definitely give all three of these brands a 10 out of 10. If you need more advice on cloth diapering, please reach out to me HERE. I’d love to answer any questions you might have!
- I’ve used every brand of wipes I can think of and I have really loved parents choice and Up+Up the most.
- Pampers seem to be thin to me and tear easily. Huggies are almost soapy and my kids got bad diaper rashes when we used them.
- Water wipes are great, but overpriced. Honest Co. wipes are okay just not my favorite, Seventh Generation are fairly priced for the quality and eco benefits, but Target and Walmart wipes win my mom vote!
- I have breastfed and formula fed my babies and Tommee Tippee was my favorite bottles of all time! A close second is Playtex VentAire bottles. My kids took both of these very well and they’re pretty cheap! Definitely recommend if you’re formula feeding! We tried Dr. Browns bottles to see what all the rave was about and I absolutely hated them. There were too many pieces, hard to clean, hard to put formula in, I just did not like anything about them! But I know several mamas who love them. Everyone moms differently!
- This is where I go a little overboard. In my budget, I allotted quite a bit of change for clothes because I love cute baby outfits. I can’t resist! Old Navy is my favorite kid brands! Especially since I have three girls, and they always have sister sets in baby, toddler, and girls! Target would be my next choice! Both of these stores have decent priced, quality options! I do want to add, I don’t buy many newborn size clothes. They grow out of them so quickly, so half of them don’t even get worn. I shopped at Once Upon A Child for newborn onesies and got 10 for $10! The best part is most of them are brand new, because like I said, they grow so fast!
The Perfect Crib
Whew, so many options here. Lucky for you, cribs come in every price range and you dont have to be in a hurry to buy this! If you get the Joovy pack n play, you can use that for a while!
Types of Cribs
The Mini Crib
I love these cribs. Babyletto makes this mini crib in three cute colors. It has wheels and two bed height settings. They are sleek and stylish, and don’t take up much space. Most of them fold up for easy storing and it’s easy to pop back up when you need it! If you’re going for style, this is for you. It’s expensive, but if you plan to have more than one baby, it maybe be worth it for your family!
The Convertible Crib
Convertible Cribs are great investments in the long run, because they convert from a crib to a toddler bed, then to a full size bed. This is the kind we use. I like having a bed that grows with my baby, so I’m not having to replace things all the time. That gets ridiculously expensive! This would be my top pick for every mom.
The Under Crib Storage Crib
These cribs work great for small spaces, along with the mini crib, because you have lots of storage for boxes of diapers & wipes, clothing totes, blankets, well, you get the point. You can store just about anything under these!
The Round Crib
These are so over priced and not convenient at all. For one, you have to use a round mattress. Two, you need round sheets. Have you been in Target lately? They don’t sell these things in stores. So it’s not easy finding things to go with it. It’s about six times more expensive that a regular crib. Skip this!
The Combo Crib
Combo cribs usually have a changing table attached to the bed. To kill two birds with one stone, if you will. I’m not a fan of these for two reasons. Changing tables are not necessary at all, ever, and it just looks weird, like it’s all crammed together. Save the money and go for a more traditional crib!
The Portable Crib
These are great, but you could just use the pack n play or the mini crib I mentioned before. You definitely don’t need both. Just choose what you prefer more.
What else do newborns need?
Okay so now you’ve created your budget, made a personal checklist for you and your baby, went through an online recommended checklist, crossed off the unnecessary items, like that wipe warmer, and decided on the basics that fit your needs. Below is my ALL TIME FAVORITE, CAN’T MOM WITHOUT PRODUCTS. I love these and I have used them forever now.
My Top 10 Favorite Baby Products From The Last 10 Years
- The Bloom Bath
- Muslin Blankets
- A+D Diaper rash ointment
- Ergo Baby or a baby carrier in general
- Dockatot or some sort of baby lounger
- Boon Bottle Drying Lawn
- Dishwasher Basket
- Basic organic cotton onesies
- Burp cloths
- Bibs with a side snap
My Tips for Success in Shopping For Your Baby On A Budget
- Stick to your budget! Having a baby doesn’t have to be over priced!
- Search for better deals. Shop Amazon and Target
- Get discounts. Cartwheel App is great for this!
- Register so friends and family can help out. It takes a village!
- Take advantage of freebies like Amazon’s Baby Registry Box.
- Shop consignment shops like Once Upon A Child
- Focus on what you need first, then use the rest of your budget for wants.
- Buy things that are useful for other future babies.
- Think simple and functional
- Don’t buy what you think you might need, buy the basics first. You won’t need play mats, shoes, toys, or even a highchair for some time. Just stick to the basics and add more as you find needs that need to be met to fit your lifestyle.
Common Questions/FAQ About baby essentials
- Do I need a formula maker?
- No, just save the money & make it yourself!
- How many outfits do I need?
- Well this just depends on you, but I would say we have 8 onesies, 5 sleepers, & a few pairs of socks.
- Do I need a bottle/wipe warmer?
- No, room temp is just fine for most babies and wipe warmers only keep the wipes warm in the box. As soon as they come out of the warmer, they are cold again!
- Do I need all the different types of play things for my baby?
- Playmats, bouncers, and more are baby products you won’t use…atleast not in the first few months. Skip it until you really need it.
- Is the Dockatot worth the money?
- Yes! If you can find a way to fit that in your budget, DO IT! It works wonders! We use it for everything and it comes with us in our travels! Snuggle Me Organic is a great alternative!
- What’s your secret to getting a newborn to sleep through the night?
- Well, experience. But also the helpful little book I was introduced to when I was a first time mom, Babywise. I was rarely sleeping and had to change it. My son went from waking every two hours for 7 months to sleeping 12 hours a night, from the first day I applied the schedule they suggest. My last three babies were on the babywise schedule from the beginning and sleeping through the night by 8 weeks old! A great read in my opinion!
The Last Thing You Need to Know about buying baby essentials on a budget
- Always start with your budget & buy basics first!
- Wait and see what your baby needs or is interested in when they are born.
- As long as you love your baby, have basic needs met, and a nice routine in place, you’ll be great mama!