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What You Really Need For a Baby: The Bare Essentials

What You Really Need For a Baby The Prudent Homemaker


Note: This post contains affiliate links.


When I was pregnant with my first baby, money was super tight. I wondered what I really needed for the baby, and everyone would tell me the same thing, "You need everything." 

"But what about __________?" I would ask.

"Oh, yes, you have to have that," they would say.

It didn't seem possible to me that I had to have all of these many things for a baby, but no one could guide me to what a baby really needed, and what I could skip spending money on.

Eight babies later, I've found that a lot of those things people said I had to have (and that I thought I probably didn't) are things I didn't have to have, and even a lot of the things I thought I would need are things I have either done without or gotten rid of (because we rarely or never used them!)

I have received a lot of emails over the years from readers asking what items they have to have and what they can do without, because they have a small budget for their baby.

If you have a small budget and want to make sure you have the essentials, here's my list of what you really need--and remember, you can get almost all of these items used via yard sales, hand-me-downs, children's resale shops, thrift stores, Craig's List, and local Facebook garage sale pages.


1. A car seat

It needs to be rear-facing and up-to-date (not expired).  

In the U.S., you must have this in order to take your baby home from the hospital. Even if your children are all born at home, like mine have been, you still need a car seat. You'll also need an infant insert to hold a newborn's head.


Sleeping Baby The Prudent Homemaker


2. A place for the baby to sleep

More than likely, you'll need a crib of some kind. It can be a small crib, it can be a used crib (try Craig's List, garage sales, Facebook garage sales, and children's resale shops). You'll also need a crib mattress and bedding. For bedding, you need 2 bottom sheets, 2 mattress pads, and 2 blankets. I personally also like waterproof crib pads that go in between the waterproof mattress pad and the sheets; they save you from having to take off the mattress pad every time your child spits up or has a leaky diaper while sleeping.

What you don't need:

A bassinet, a cradle, or a matching bedding set with a quilt. The baby will quickly outgrow the first two, and the big fluffy quilts that come in the sets are too large and too thick. A crib bumper is no longer recommended in the U.S. (as it is considered a suffocation hazard) and is also difficult to tie on and off every time you change the sheets.

Gender-specific crib sheets. If you opt for neutral colors, you can feel good about using the same sheets for each baby (of course you can use pink sheets for a boy, but many people would prefer not to. If you start with a neutral color, you won't have to feel obligated to buy different sheets if you have a baby of the opposite sex later).

Note that many places recommend not using blankets but using sleeping sacks instead. Despite this recommendation, I have never known anyone who didn't use blankets with their baby at some point, whether in the crib, while sleeping elsewhere, while being held, while swaddled, to cover the car seat when the sun in shining in the baby's eyes, or to lay down on the floor for the baby to play on. Chances are good that you won't need to buy any baby blankets; they are a gift that everyone loves to give. I've received over 80 baby blankets with my 8 children!

Receiving blankets are too tiny to be of much use. Many parents prefer a larger muslin blanket like this.


3. A place for the crib

This can be in your room or in another room. 

What you don't need:

A decorated nursery. Yes, it's pretty. Your baby will still be just fine without it. Your baby will notice your love and affection more than anything on the walls, a mobile, a rug, or coordinating decorations.


4. A place to feed the baby

A chair with arms is the most comfortable option. A place to put your feet up is a bonus but not required. I've nursed most of my children at the computer sitting in the computer chair, because it has arms. This website was started while I fed my 5th baby!

What you don't need:

A glider rocker with matching gliding ottoman.

I really wanted one of these with my first baby. We had 7 chairs at our house when my first was born--4 metal folding chairs that we used as kitchen chairs, 2 computer chairs without arms, and one broken recliner with wood arms. I used the rather uncomfortable recliner with my first two babies, until we bought a computer chair with arms when I had my third. Some type of chair with arms is helpful for nursing or bottle feeding.


5. A way to feed the baby


If you nurse your baby, you'll need at least 2 to 3 nursing bras. I cannot recommend getting fitted for a nursing bra enough! Department stores have women trained to fit you for a bra, and even if you've been fitted for a regular bra, your size will change when you are nursing. A comfortable nursing bra is important, and a properly fitting bra will be much more comfortable than one that rides up or pinches you.

Nursing pads are essential to keep you from leaking milk through your shirt. I like these disposable ones and these washable ones.

A nursing cover is wonderful for discreetly nursing (and fastening your nursing bra and shirt after you're done nursing). I've used blankets before, but the cover doesn't slip when I'm buttoning my shirt or the baby decides to flail his arms. 

If you're formula feeding, you'll need formula (of course), bottles, nipples with different numbers of holes depending on the baby's age, and a bottle brush.

If you're planning on pumping your own milk, you'll also need those items (minus the formula). You'll need a breast pump. This may be covered by your health insurance.

If you don't know what brand of formula you want to use, you can sign up before your baby is born on different companies' websites, and they'll send you free samples and coupons.

Burp cloths. Babies spit up. Some babies barely spit up, and some babies spit up a lot. Prefold cloth diapers work as great burp cloths, or you can purchase or make some.


What you don't need: 

Special nursing clothing. A regular t-shirt and/or button-front shirts work fine. If you like to wear a dress, a button front bodice or a criss-crossing bodice (such as in a wrap or faux wrap dress) will work for nursing.

A nursing pillow. If you really want a pillow, try using a pillow you already have.

A bottle sterilizer. You can wash bottles in the dishwasher, and if you don't have one, you can dip them in boiling water in a pot on the stove--or simply wash them well.

Nursery water. As long as you have clean, safe drinking water where you live, you don't need to mix your formula with bottled water.


6. Diapers and Wipes

Cloth or disposable, you'll need something. Baby wipes (cloth or disposable) are also needed. You'll want a place to dispose of the diapers (if disposable) or a bucket to put cloth diapers and wipes in until you're ready to wash them. You'll also want something to put them in until you're ready to use them (a basket, a drawer, etc.) 

Both cloth and disposable diapers can be done on a low budget. I have done both and prefer disposable. I buy the Target brand diapers when they have sale and gift card offers. I use the Costco wipes (a box is $20 but it also goes on sale for $16 a few times a year). I find that one box of wipes lasts me 9 months. I usually spend around $250 a year for disposable diapers and wipes.

You'll likely also want to use a diaper rash ointment and some baby powder.

What you don't need:

A diaper pail. This is one of those items that we registered for, received as a gift, used for the first two children, and then we decided we didn't need it. We had a diaper pail that took regular trash bags. Starting with my third, the babies have all been changed in my room. We found it easy enough to put the diapers in the bathroom trash can (under the sink in a cabinet) and to empty that trash can every day. Emptying it every day is the best way to not have a stinky nursery. If you are changing a baby in a nursery, you may find a trash can with a lid (that you can line with plastic grocery sacks) to be the easiest option.


7. A place to change the baby

Somewhere to change diapers is important. If you have a two-story house, you'll want somewhere to change diapers on each level. 

This can be as simple as a waterproof pad. I use a waterproof crib pad with two cloth prefold diapers on top. If the baby spits up on the top or the diaper leaks while changing a diaper, I can replace that cloth diaper with another for the next time. You can also opt for changing the baby on a bath towel folded in half. Both of these options will can be done on a bed or on the floor; I change my babies at the foot of my bed.

A portable diaper changing pad is useful when you leave the house--and you can use in to change the baby on at home, too!

What you don't need:

A changing table. They're an expense that wasn't in our budget with our first, and we made it work without one. It worked fine, and so, 8 babies later, I've never used one. Are they nice? Sure! But if one isn't in your budget, you can put down a waterproof crib pad on your bed or on the floor and change a diaper there (and if you have a two-story home, you might not always change the baby in his room!) Don't stress over having one if it isn't in your budget. I did--but we made it work without, and once I realized we were fine without one, we never bought one, even when we had the money to do so.


8. A place to wash the baby

I had a baby bathtub that I used with each of my eight babies, and I gave it away after our eighth. I won't be getting another one for my ninth.

I only used the baby bathtub on occasion, when my babies were younger than four months. After that age, you can sit up (while you hold the child) a baby in the kitchen sink for a bath. 

Most of the time, however, we bathed the baby by having dad hold the baby in the shower while I washed the baby (standing right outside the shower). This was the simplest way for us and why we rarely used the baby bathtub.

Used baby bathtubs are usually free for the asking; people can't seem to give them away. If you want one, ask around, and the chances are pretty good that you can find one for a song or even for free.

You'll want some baby soap. I highly recommend smelling the different brands if you can before you commit to a brand; you may find that you like the scent of some and hate the scent of others. This is a gift that you may receive in a baby shower, too, giving you the chance to try out a couple of different brands in small bottles.

A couple of small, soft baby washcloths are nice, but you can also use a regular washcloth.

What you don't need:

Baby towels; they are rather small and thin. They never kept my babies warm when taking them from the bath (even when it's 78ºF in my house half the year) and my babies outgrew them in the first few months. A regular towel will do just fine, be large enough, and be thick enough to keep your baby warm between the bath and getting dressed (and not be too wet to dry your baby like the thin, tiny baby towels).


8. Clothes for the baby (and a place to put them)

There is a reason so many people say that their baby outgrew clothing before it was already worn. If you have more baby clothes than you need, this can easily be a problem.

If you have a baby shower and people know what sex the baby is, you will most likely receive a lot of clothing, and it will quite possibly all be in the 0-3 month size. Don't be afraid to exchange clothing for a larger size.

A new baby spends most of his time sleeping. When your baby is less than 3 months old, you can easily have the baby wear pajamas all day long.

How many clothes you need in each size depends on a couple of things: how often your baby spits up, how often your baby has a leaky diaper, how many times you want to change the baby's clothing, and how often you do laundry. How many layers you need will depend on the season, the climate you live in, how warm you keep your house, whether or not you keep your baby swaddled in a blanket, and if you take the baby outdoors often or keep the baby inside.

Baby clothes are often freely handed down; you can quickly end up with more than you will use. They are also a great buy at garage sales.

Any dresser will do for your baby; if your baby is in your room, one designated drawer will keep all of your baby clothes handy. Baby hangers are very helpful for hanging clothes in a baby's room (or in your own closet, if the baby is in your room) and you'll use the fo years until your children need adult-sized hangers.

What you don't need:

Baby shoes. Babies won't need shoes until they are walking, and even then, they will do best barefoot most of the time. My babies have almost all walked early (at 9 months) and I don't purchase shoes until they have been walking for a few months. 

12 of everything. 6-8 of most items of clothing per size is more than sufficient if you do laundry every couple of days. A couple of hats (or even just one) when your baby is brand-new to the world are useful, but you'll quickly no longer need them (and your baby will quickly outgrow them).

Special baby detergent. Babies clothing can be washed with your regular clothing. You will want stain removers.


9. A few hygiene items

Baby nail clippers are one of the best things ever.

A small comb with fine teeth works well for combing fine baby hair--but it doesn't have to be a special baby comb. 

A nasal aspirator (referred to as a "booger sucker" at my house) is extremely helpful in unclogging a stuffy baby's nose. The larger the aspirator, the better; tiny ones are not worth your money.

What you don't need:

Baby brushes. These usually come packaged with a baby comb and sometimes with nail clippers. If your baby has fine hair, a comb is more useful than a brush. 

Special wipes for the baby's nose.


10. Baby medicine

When your baby is fussy, crying, and won't sleep, it can be overwhelming. It's helpful to have a few items in the medicine cabinet before your baby is born.

Gas drops. The store brand of these works just fine, as this tiny bottle can be expensive. I always find I need these in the middle of the night the first couple of weeks after my babies are born, when they won't stop crying and arching their backs from stomach pain.

Baby acetaminophen. Babies can only have acetaminophen during the first six months to reduce fevers. You can add infant ibuprofen to your medicine cabinet after that.

Garlic Ear Drops. These are amazing. Everyone I've told about these (and loaned my bottle to) has ended up keeping the bottle and buying me a new one, because they loved the product so much! If your baby (or child, or YOU) has an earache, these drops get rid of it very quickly (only 4 times have I ever needed to administer a second round of drops), and save you a trip to the doctor for an earache (and ten days of antibiotics)!

Oral Relief Tablets. I found these easier to administer and more effective than teething ointment.


11.  A stroller

I thought I needed a large stroller that my car seat could clip into, with a big basket underneath and a place for me to put a drink.

By the time my third baby was born, I had used that stroller less than 10 times with my first 2.

When I went shopping, I would put the baby's carseat into the shopping cart. Once the baby was bigger, I would put the baby right in the child seat in the cart. Most places I shopped (grocery stores and big box stores) had carts, so this worked fine.

When we went places, I usually found it easiest to just carry the baby. I rarely needed the stroller.

Eventually, I bought a smaller umbrella stroller at a garage sale for $7 (after my 5th was born). We were going a few more places and I found the lightweight stroller to be so much easier to use. I sold the big stroller at a garage sale.

Whether or not you need a stroller (and what kind) really depends on your lifestyle. Realize, too, that you may decide to stay home more once you have a baby.


Ivory Baby Toys The Prudent Homemaker


12. A few baby toys

Babies are curious about new things. Once they've learned all about something, they often tire of it and want to learn about something new. Once they can crawl and walk, they no longer want baby toys--they want to play with everything else in the house (including everything in your kitchen cabinets).

Before our eighth was born, I narrowed down the baby toys to the toys my young babies liked the most, and I donated everything else. What we kept for our eighth baby included the following: Sophie the Giraffe, Oball shaker, and Links


What you don't need:

A bouncer, a swing, playmats, and large baby toys that take up huge amounts of space. 

None of these made my babies happy. The baby would constantly slide sideways in the bouncer and preferred just to be held, and once the baby was 4 months old, all of my babies preferred time on a blanket on the floor instead. The swing had similar issues, and once I had a couple of children, the swing became something that the toddler just want to push really high and really fast! Every mom told me these were necessary items, but we found that they weren't something we had to have at all.


13. A diaper bag--or something to carry your baby supplies in when you leave the house

You don't have to have an actual diaper bag with pockets for bottles inside. If you bottle feed, they are certainly helpful, but any bag will work to transport diapers, wipes, a baby blanket, a nursing cover, bottles and formula, burp cloths, a diaper changing pad,  and a change of baby clothing. You can use a large purse, a backpack, or a tote bag.

I found it heavy to carry around a large number of supplies in a diaper bag while also carrying a baby (or a sleeping baby in the carseat!). To make my life easier (and to relief the back pain) I started keeping a large container of wipes, several diapers, and an infant bodysuit in the car. In my bag I have 2 to 3 diapers and a small container of wipes (and when I am nursing, I have a nursing cover, 2 burp cloths, and a change of clothing for the baby). With a one-year-old currently in diapers, I can fit a couple of diapers and a small package of wipes in my vintage 1950's handbag, and I don't have to carry a large bag.

What you don't need:

A designer diaper bag.


14. A high chair and baby feeding supplies

You won't need this until your baby is able to sit up and eat food. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends starting babies on solids at 6 months or slightly later.

Baby bibs are important for feeding to keep your baby from staining his clothes. The larger the bib, the more of the baby's clothing that is protected. I use homemade bibs in dark colors (so that I don't need to use stain remover) that are large enough to cover their entire outfit. In the beginning, at 6 months, I'll use a slightly smaller bib that covers their entire torso.

Two baby spoons is more than enough for a baby; you can quickly wash them by hand and have them ready to use.

You can mash up what you're having; steamed fruits and vegetables are easy items to give to your baby. A blender can be used to puree your food and you can freeze food in ice cube trays to use later to feed your baby if you're making a bunch at once.

What you don't need:

Baby cereal, individual baby food containers, teething cookies, Cheerios, veggie straws, and toddler food. These can quickly add up and make your grocery budget double, with half the budget going towards baby food!

Not convinced you can do without baby food? French Kids Eat Everything is a book I highly recommend getting from the library and reading at least once! I watched the truthfulness of this when a French friend of mine came to visit and gave his 8-month-old steamed broccoli from his own plate at dinner at our house. The baby loved it!


Every mother is different, and every mother has her own personal favorites that she has to have. You'll find favorite brands of baby products, favorite kinds of baby blankets, and favorite products. You may find you can't live without some of the items that I mentioned as not being needs, and that's okay! In the end, you are the parent, and you get to choose what you want for your babies.


Ivory Blessing Day The Prudent Homemaker


 You may also enjoy reading: Our Baby Naming Day Tradition


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  • patty February 21, 2018

    Having raised 6 of my own and providing child care for 4 of someone else's, I have found that some of what you need depends on the baby. Some of mine could not get enough of a baby swing and wouldn't nap anywhere else, other's wanted no part of one. I could not have survived without a big stroller, but used an umbrella stroller alot, (read "wore a few out") as well. I absolutely loved the baby towels that had the "hood" on the corner. My children used these until that were 3 years old. Mine were big enough for them to still wrap themselves up in them. I agree that somethings, clothes, blankets, etc., you do not need the volume of that we often get. You might borrow some of the bigger items like a swing, to try out with your baby before you purchase one. I can't recommend a stroller that your car seat fits into enough. There is nothing worse than having to take a sleeping baby out of their car seat or car the car seat around with the baby in it. I agree with Brandy that a lot depends on your lifestyle and the child involved.

  • Rochelle May 29, 2018

    I have found it is easy to borrow these items, like you say. Not only do babies have opinions (!) but they go through the ages and stages so quickly! I never would have dreamed of using a Bumbo seat with my older children, but then I had a baby with low tone and we wanted to try it. We only needed it for about a month before his core strengthened enough that he could sit on his own. What a waste of $40 that would have been!

  • Roxie February 21, 2018

    You have had a lot more children than me; so I am not going to say you are wrong; but it seems to me just 2 bottom crib sheets is just too few. I would have at least 4. I know when my children were babies it was often a bottle would be spit up after a meal on a sheet and less than an hour later the large BM diaper would explode out the side on this jammies and the sheet. I have changed his crib 3 times a night several time and the baby was not ill.

  • Brandy @ The Prudent Homemaker February 21, 2018

    Every baby is different! I've never needed three sheets in a day myself. I have nursed and bottle fed my babies; my bottle fed baby spit up a lot more often than my nursing babies, and I went through more burp cloths in a day with him than I did with the others. My bottle-fed baby got more to eat in one sitting, and it seems to me having more in a baby's tummy seems to lead to more spit-up incidents. I also don't make a large amount of breastmilk; some mothers make wonderful, creamy milk (mine is more like skim!) and large quantities of it and have lovely chubby babies.

    If you have the ability to do laundry more often (not everyone has a washer in their home) you can often cut down the number of all items (clothing, burp cloths, sheets, etc.) On my current baby (he's one) I usually just change his sheet once a week; I wash it and put the same sheet back on. He's getting big now, but as an infant, I rarely had to change his sheet due to spit up or leaky diapers. It definitely depends on the baby! Someone could always start out with two sheets and if they really need them, buy more.

  • Terri February 21, 2018

    Great article, I agree with everything you wrote, except the crib. My babies wouldn't sleep in a crib and, in fact, never spent a night in a crib. Since it's often a big expense, I recommend waiting on getting a crib and instead having something like a bassinet, playpen, or Rock-n-Play on hand, if you can get one free (from FreeCycle or Buy Nothing) or as a hand-me-down.

  • Brandy @ The Prudent Homemaker February 21, 2018

    I agree that one doesn't HAVE to use a crib--there are other options. I have seen used cribs for $75 and under at yard sales.

    I wanted a beautiful new crib with my first, but there was no way I could afford one at $550! My parents saved my crib from when I was a baby for me to use, and though it wasn't what I would have chosen, it was a style that was still be manufactured when my first was born (and met current safety standards at the time; now it wouldn't because the sides drop down, but we have used it for 8 babies and will use it for the ninth!)

    I tried a pack and play ($10 at a yard sale) and ended up not using it, but it is definitely less money, especially when purchased used! Another option is a small crib, which is even smaller than a pack and play (more like the size of a vintage crib from the 40's, in fact). I never saw those with my first but I have seen them in Babies R Us and at Walmart since then. They are much less money and still plenty large enough, and if you're using it in your bedroom, the small size is extra nice!

  • Samantha February 24, 2018

    I saw a news story on The Baby Box Company, an entity that gives states sweet little sleeping boxes for your newborn that are researched and designed to dramatically lower the SIDS risk. In our state (and most others) you watch a couple of short videos and take a super easy quiz and you get this box for free and many very high quality samples. Even if you have a crib, this little box is great for traveling to grandmas or in a spare room. It has a cushion on the bottom and is decorated. I would highly recommend it especially since it is completely free in many states and could be used as the sole sleeping area for baby.

  • TJ @ TJ's Sweet Home February 21, 2018

    Can you believe that when my first son was born we didn't have, nor was it required, a car seat to bring him home? (I can hear the collective gasps). I don't know if it was just in MI where we lived at the time (1985) or if that was the norm everywhere ("mandatory" seat belts weren't even a thing for a few years after, either). My how times have changed.
    I occasionally find myself walking past baby things and am amazed at all the newfangled (might as well make myself sound really old by using words like that, lol!) baby things. I was very basic with my first two, mostly out of necessity, but also because I found I didn't really need all that much (I mean WWTPHD? *what would the pioneers have done ;) )
    I had three and never had: a fancy stroller (umbrella ones only), nursing bras (and I did nurse but used bras that opened in the front and used a reusable, washable plastic thingy, or cotton pads that covered the nipples to catch "let down", a breast pump, nursing pillow and many other items that were "the latest" at the time. Heck, my babies were even too small for the coming home outfit (ONE...for all THREE. It was all white, plain white socks, and the little shoes were a soft mint green that my boys and girl wore home {*cough*swam in*cough} from the hospital) so that was more of a tradition/formality. I'm sure there are many more things I decided to forego at the time but 30+ years have taken their toll on my memory. (What I didn't forego was those big billowy maternity tops that were "in" at the time, but those were secondhand).

    But the "snot sucker" *gagggggggg* (ahhh...memories. The gagging is as fresh in my memory as if it were...a minute ago.)...YES, I agree, a must across the decades, lol!

    Thanks for the stroll down memory lane Miss Brandy! And to all the new and expecting mommies: try not to sweat the small stuff (ohhhh, all the cringe worthy mistakes I made, especially with my first born. In my defense there was no Google or Youtube back then, my mama was miles away and long distance phone rates were REAL.), do what's best for your individual situation, and don't succumb to other peoples pressures (I can still remember my good friend saying, "doesn't it bother you that you don't have a nursery for the baby?" (I was living in an apartment at the time, but moved soon after she was born and I
    did, indeed, have a nursery/bedroom for her. Honestly, I preferred my newborns sleeping in the same room with me at first anyway.) Uhhh, well it didn't, until you planted that seed in my mind. THANKS for that. ) it all works out! ~ TJ

  • Brandy @ The Prudent Homemaker February 21, 2018

    I remember my mother bringing home my baby brother and holding him the car in her lap. The law has changed now, but a car seat doesn't have to be brand-new (just not expired). We have been gifted many hand-me-down car seats for our babies (one of my readers who lives close by just gave me one her child just outgrew!) and they have been a blessing.

    When I was an infant, my mother was driving down the road in winter (snow and ice where we lived then) when a truck coming the other direction ran her off the road into a ditch. I was in a car set (in the front seat!) and she reached out to protect me as she crashed. She broke her nose on the rear view mirror in that accident, but otherwise, we were both okay. I have to admit that I am grateful that I was in a car seat!

    A front opening bra MIGHT be an option for me this time--if I can just find one in my size! Most brands don't make cup sizes smaller than a C :( I definitely am going to have to find something in the next couple of months. I've looked online, too, but a bra is like a pair of jeans--it has to be tried on!

  • Shirley February 22, 2018

    TJ...I laughed out loud at your "newfangled" comment! Well, Kid, my five were born before onesies (gasp) and disposable diapers were flat rectangles that looked like five or so sheets of tissue paper. I recall tissue liners that where great though. There were diaper services but I never used one. I used a bassinet with pillow cases for sheets and found a playpen the most useful thing. But I want to add that my firstborn was born in a small Texas town, and breast feeding was not favored. I felt like the nurses considered me poor white trash for wanting to breast feed. How times have changed! Guess I was ahead of my time (lol).

  • I February 21, 2018

    My friend had triplet boys who all slept in the same crib at first-she had a folded receiving blanket under their head in case of spit ups and she didn't have to change the fitted sheet so often!

  • Roxie February 21, 2018

    As a licensed care provider (by the state of TX) we can not put anything under a sleeping baby that is loose (like a receiving blanket) It would be considered a SERIOUS violation because of SIDS. Just saying it is not a safe thing to do. There should be nothing loose under the baby.

  • Meredith February 21, 2018

    I didn't want to buy maternity clothes so I bought about 5 xl ribbed tanks at target, took up the long straps so the neck fit and then wore those under draping cardigans while pregnant and under tee shirts and blouses after. My three fought covers while nursing and I found I could pull the tee up, the tank down and be a little more covered in case they pulled off the cover and also not have to buy expensive clothes. We also bought a lot of things second hand and still do. We bought a two child stroller at a yard sale for $20 to help transport my middle child who is autistic and is a flight risk. It's been wonderful. We loved our swing, it was the super basic collapsable model and it was the only thing that would soothe my eldest. We also bought a small foldable rocker/bassinet which worked as a bassinet by the bed and I could rock it with one foot while I cooked. We tried cloth and disposables, I found cloth did not work well for my boys, but just fine for my daughter. I use disposables now. I love this site and have read everything on it and been reading for years now. I wish I had found it back in 2008 when I was newly married with a $100 dollar monthly budget for food. I now use the knowledge to feed 5 people for $250 a month, including a family member with multiple allergies, (nuts, peanuts, carrots, celery, watermelon, squash, spinach) and three young and sometimes picky children.

  • Brandy @ The Prudent Homemaker February 21, 2018

    I donated my maternity clothes after baby #8, but then I lost weight and I would have needed a new size anyway. I've been making due this pregnancy with a few pairs of maternity pants that I found at thrift stores and two long-sleeved shirts and one short-sleeved shirt I found at thrift stores (plus one new maternity t-shirt), as well as two maternity dresses I bought used (one thrift store and one on ebay). The weather has turned cold again and I've been able to get away with some sweaters (not maternity) that I bought at the thrift store last year in my new size. I don't know if I'll have them all stretched out afterwards, though!

  • kim February 21, 2018

    Hi Brandy, I don't want you to take this question the wrong way, but since you lost weight before this pregnancy have you noticed it being easier? My first two pregnancies I was overweight and still have a sire back 2 years later. I'm wondering if losing 15 lbs would make pregnancy easier? I'm only slightly overweight. What have been your experiences with weight during pregnancy?

  • Brandy @ The Prudent Homemaker February 21, 2018

    Not a problem, Kim!

    I started my eighth pregnancy at the ending weight of my first pregnancy. I ended my eighth pregnancy at my heaviest ever. I dropped all of that weight plus the weight I had gained previously (53.4 pounds including the baby), and I started this pregnancy half a pound lighter than when I became pregnant with my first.

    There are other factors at play, though--I'm 41, almost 42, and not 25 this time! I broke my tailbone during the beginning of my eighth pregnancy, which was extremely painful. It will always give me pain, but it hurts more during pregnancy and has been giving me more difficulty now than it has for months. Sitting is painful, and driving in the car is very uncomfortable. (Being up and doing is less painful!)

    I have another difference this time as well. I normally carry my babies in my back due to a tilted uterus. My last pregnancy and this pregnancy something has changed and I am carrying my babies in front. This time is even more different--my baby is VERY low. I have 42-44 week pregnancies, and my babies don't drop this low until week 42-43. It's been that way for months. I hope this means a shorter labor! It's been physically very difficult this last month, and people keep asking me if I'm due any day, even though I have 2-3 months to go still.

    So, I think in theory it would be easier (it's always physically easier to carry around less weight) but it also depends on what other health factors you are dealing with.

    If you're planning on having another baby, don't let that stop you from losing weight now! You'll be happier and feel better overall, both physically and mentally. And you'll have less to lose after the birth of your next baby!

  • kim February 22, 2018

    Thanks for replying! I'm definitely trying to lose 10 more lbs in the next 10 weeks before getting pregnant with a third baby. Since I still have back pain 2 years after having #2 so I'm willing to do anything to make this a better experience than my first two pregnancies.
    Congrats on your pregnancy! If I could convince hubby to have more than 3 I totally would! I'm barely getting him onboard with 3. He is an only child and not used to having chaos around him. I had three sisters and we fought and played like cats and dogs.

  • Stacy February 22, 2018

    I hope you don’t mind me hopping on to your comments. I was (and still am) very overweight with my pregnancy. I had back problems because I manufactured too much relaxin and several ribs and muscles were pulled out of place. I went to physical therapy and while it took awhile, it really helped. Not saying you need the same thing I did, but all we did in pt was learn how to properly do exercises to build your core. As my core strengthed, things went back into place and I have absolutely no back trouble 2 years later. It might be worth trying some basic core strengthening exercises.

  • Lauren February 21, 2018

    After having three babies and using the big nasal aspirator a lot with my poor sick babies, a friend gave me the NoseFrieda which she said was the most disgusting an useful thing ever. Well she was right. My sixth baby is 5 months old now and I wouldn't want to be without the NoseFrieda. I am super minimal with what I have for my babies and I would always want to have this thing especially for when babies are trying to nurse. Seriously it is the best thing ever and grosses me out but works wonderfully.

  • Jenni@DitchingOurDebt February 21, 2018

    I would love to hear your thoughts on what is needed for slightly older ages too! For example, what kinds of toys do your kids have or not have, what do they do for free play time, etc.

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