Bringing a new baby into the world can be a very stressful and expensive time. But knowing what you should or shouldn’t buy can make this time a lot easier. This post will be discussing what are the most helpful and necessary (as separate concepts) items to buy for a new baby.
Helpful vs Necessary
What is necessary is a pretty obvious concept but what is helpful can be a little more ambiguous. Feeding and clothing needs are pretty obvious but we can go further into that. That’s where the helpful aspect comes into play. Let’s look into that.
If you’re planning bottle feeding or going to have some bottles on hand for when baby goes to Grandma and Grandpa’s house (or daycare, or with the babysitter, or wherever) a good strategy is to get ahold of one of those bottle sample boxes. They can make it easier and simpler to try multiple different bottle nipples on your baby to see which kind they like and are willing to take. Then when you find one that your baby will accept (or prefers), buy a full stock of those bottles (as many as you need based on your, well, needs.
Note: As a general rule of thumb after working with 100+ infants in the infant room at a local daycare, breast fed babies tend to take to bottle nipples that look like a mother’s nipple. Predominantly bottle fed babies are more open to various other shapes of bottle nipples.
Check out my massive baby bottle review at the link below for a further breakdown of my opinion on baby’s favorite bottle designs and the pros, cons, and so much more of major bottle brands and tons of smaller ones.
2) Solid Food Feeding
Piggy-backing off of feeding bottles, we get into feeding baby solid foods. Whether your infant is working through a variety of table foods or if they’re just breaking into baby cereal or baby food, a very important aspect of feeding foods to a baby is what the baby is seated in. Depending on your needs and space availability, there’s a variety of high chair and booster seat options out there. But the one most overarching helpful trait to look out for in a high chair is that it is easy to clean. Don’t end up with a high chair covered in fabric that (I kid you not) was not made to be removed.
What to read more about my high chair struggles? Check out the link below for my breakdown and tips for buying a high chair.
Obviously a car seat is necessary and the variety of car seats out there is really just up to what you need out of a seat but there’s more to transportation than just the car seat. A stroller can be a literal back saver. Seriously, it means you don’t have to carry the car seat around with you everywhere and when your child gets older, it keeps toddlers in place so they can’t wander off. How helpful is that?
Sure the baby needs clothes but is there more to it than that? Well, sure. You can load up at sales one lightweight pants and onesies. Not only does that cover your child for a decent amount of the year (depending on where you live) but then you can throw in a few warmer or cooler pieces (sweaters, shorts, etc.) to round out a full wardrobe in just a few steps and you saved some money (#clearance).
Stay in the lower diaper sizes as long as possible keeping in mind that the diapers need to fit appropriately. Blow-outs, pee-outs, and the diaper not lining up at the straps or leaving indents on the baby are typically good signs that the diaper doesn’t fit correctly any more. So why stay in lower sizes when you can prevent this? Because companies charge the same amount for diaper packs regardless of diaper size. The only difference is how many diapers are in each pack. A pack of size 1 diapers will cost the same but get you more diapers than a pack of size 2 diapers from the same brand. In the end, staying in lower sized diapers as long as you can will save you money.
6) Splurge When Appropriate
Save money in the long run by buying baby supplies that will last rather than what’s cost effective. If you don’t have to replace your baby supplies over the child’s infancy (or from child to child), you’ll be saving money in the long run. If you want an infant carrier for your new baby, get the kind that will work for newborns through the toddler years rather than having to buy multiple infant carriers over time. Spend $10 more on the bottle sterilizer that has great reviews over the cheap one that will break a piece off or pop it’s lid by the child’s 6th month. Or in my case, by the right high chair right off the bat rather than forcing yourself to use one you don’t like and then finally caving and getting a new one (see my high chair struggles link above).
7) Buy in Bulk as Much as Possible
Diapers and wipes in bulk is pretty obvious but you can also buy baby towels and washcloths in bulk as well to save yourself time doing laundry (it’s ok, we’ve all been there). Formula works the same way as do breast milk bags *wink*.
8) Buy Temperature Appropriate Clothing Sparingly
If you’re in the part of the world that tries to freeze everything to do death every winter, then I’m sure you’ve thought about dressing your baby appropriately for changing temperatures. But make sure not to overdo it. Buying a car seat cover is a lot easier and cheaper than buying bunting, gloves, hats, etc. It’s also immensely quicker when picking up baby from daycare or elsewhere.
The same goes for summer. Babies shouldn’t be out in the sun or having sunscreen applied until 6 months old at the earliest. If your baby will be younger than that for most or all of summer, then you don’t really need to splurge on tons of cute summer clothes (I know, they’re enticing), swim suits, etc.
Also keep in mind that if you intend to have more children, these temperature appropriate clothing items may not end up fitting baby #2, #3, or so on (even if you time your pregnancies, #2 might grow like a weed while #1 is always the runt of the litter).
9) Your Needs May Change
This is a big one for baby proofing. I had to baby proof different things with #2 than I did with #1. He got into way weirder places than his big brother did. If you intend to move, your infant furniture needs may change and your baby proofing conundrums are likely to change as well.
10) Access Your Life
This one isn’t so much of a thing as a tip.
Take a day or two (or even a whole week) to access your life. Think through how each activity will be changed by having a baby in your home. What activities will need to be changed? Do you work from home? Will your desk need to be baby proofed? Will you need ways to entertain and care for your baby while you’re working (if the baby isn’t going to a sitter or daycare)?
What about the babies sleeping arrangements? Will the baby be sleeping in a bassinet, co-sleeper, or play pen in the beginning? Then you can put off buying that crib (or just continue using the play pen (no shame here).
Where will it be easiest for you to make baby’s bottles/nurse? Plan out how to set up your supplies in that spot. Have your breast pump on a side table next to your favorite chair. Keep all bottles, pieces, and bottle washing needs in one spot so nothing gets lost or misplaced and it’s all easy to find when needed.