Babies are wonderful and exciting… and expensive.
As an new expecting mom, you might be looking at all these lists of must have items for baby and wondering what “necessities” are truly necessary. Here’s a list of 5 Must Haves for new moms.
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Unless you’re doing elimination communication (which I am in complete awe of), your baby will need diapers. Diapers can be expensive, of course, but you have a few options.
If you want the ease of disposable diapers, I know many people have luck couponing for them and stocking up. Many stores will exchange unopened diapers for different sizes, so if you buy lots of newborn diapers and your child ends up having some deliciously chubby leg rolls like my second-born did, you’re not out all that money. Pampers and Huggies also offer reward programs.
To get your stash started, consider adding diapers to your registry, have a raffle for guests who bring diapers to your baby shower, or throw a Daddy Diaper Party!
Another option you have, especially if you’re on a budget, is cloth diapers. Cloth seems expensive up front, but in the long run you save lots of money, especially if you have more kids later on. There are different types of cloth diapers, so I recommend trying out several brands and styles to find out what you like. My favorite diapers for my oldest were Bumgenius Elementals, and for my son I’ve been using flour sack towels (from the kitchen section of Wal-Mart or Target) and Rumparooz covers. Many companies offer reward programs as well, including Nicki’s Diapers and Kelly’s Closet.
If you’re not opposed to buying preloved, I’ve found Buy, Sell, and Trade groups to be the cheapest way to build your cloth diaper stash. The Facebook group Fluff Love and CD Science is an excellent place to start learning about cloth diapers, and they also have info on properly cleaning new and used “fluff”.
There are also cloth diaper banks available for families who cannot afford diapers, including:
Baby will needs clothes. How many and what kinds depends on the season. Resale stores and yard sales are my favorite place to shop for kids clothes, especially babies and toddlers. They grow so quickly that the clothes often look brand new, but you don’t have to pay brand new prices. If you’re lucky enough to have a consignment store that you like and is close to you, you can bring in baby items that you’re done with (unless you are saving them for younger siblings) and use the money to buy bigger sizes.
Another great option is to shop the clearance racks, and buy a few sizes ahead. Target is my favorite place to shop for new baby and toddler clothes. I often find pants or T-shirts for less than $5. In fact, some of their regular price clothing is also very affordable.
Baby needs food. Everybody needs food. Food is life.
But I digress.
For the first six months of life, your baby should have only breast milk or formula. Breastmilk is, of course, free! Formula can get expensive, but if it is necessary you can look for coupons and samples from the companies who make it.
After your baby is ready for solids, you can do either traditional or baby-led weaning. Neither option is weaning from breastmilk/formula, but refers to the addition of solid food.
Jarred purees are expensive, and frankly I don’t find them very tasty. There’s nothing wrong with buying jars or pouches, but a cheaper option is to make purees at home. It doesnt require any special equipment, just a blender. I made all of my daughter’s purees before switching to finger foods.
Baby led weaning is another affordable option, because you aren’t buying special foods. It also helps if you’re a busy family, because there’s a lot less prep time.
4. Somewhere to Sleep
Cosleeping, crib, floor bed? There are many different options depending on what works for your family. Sometimes it may even vary by child! My daughter slept in our bed until she was done breastfeeding, while my son moved to his own room much earlier. The primary concern here is safety. Do not cosleep if you are a heavy sleeper, take certain medications or drink, or smoke.
It is also not recommended that baby sleep in any swings or seats. Baby should be able to sleep flat on their back with no pillows or blankets or soft toys nearby.
5. A Carseat
This is the one item for baby that should be bought brand new. You cannot be sure of the history of a used car seat.
We like to start with an infant seat, and then switch to a convertible seat when baby is between 6 months and a year old. You can also use a convertible seat from day 1, if your baby fits your seat’s weight and height requirements.
And that’s it!
Those are the only thing baby absolutely needs! There are many other items that can be useful, but are not absolutely necessary.
Some of my favorite “nonessentials” are:
A carrier. I have a Lillebaby (actually, I have 2 because I wanted to be able to wear both my baby and my toddler together). There are pros and cons to every brand. If possible, look for a local BWI chapter so you can try on different brands and ask any questions you may have.
Receiving blankets. These can be used as blankets, diapers, burp cloths, toys, and anything else you may need a large piece of flannel for. I love them. You can even cut them into squares to make reusable wipes!