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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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  • TJ @ TJ's Sweet Home February 23, 2018

    It is so interesting reading everyones reply to this! Newer moms vs moms of yesteryear

  • Jo February 23, 2018

    This sure does bring back memories -- mine are 35 and 32. I breast fed the first one exclusively, but had to go back to work with the second one when my husband was out of work, so she started on formula at around 4 months. I used cloth diapers, but the day care wouldn't allow them so my second one wore disposable during the day (and the daycare had to deal with them as trash) and put her in cloth as soon as we got home. The oldest used cloth only. My mom bought me a dozen diapers, I bought a dozen (unfolded) and my sister and a cousin-in-law gave me a couple dozen from their babies who were no longer in diapers. We used coated nylon diaper covers that Sears used to sell in their catalogs.
    No changing table. My sister gave me flannel-covered rubber pads that I put down wherever I happened to be changing baby. The oldest loved the baby swing we were gifted; the youngest hated it, and I ended up selling it. We used a cradle loaned to us at first, then a bassinet loaned to us, then a crib given to us, so bedding was pretty cheap! We lived in a very small single-wide trailer, so toys were kept to a minimum, but books were always welcomed, and a frequent gift. The nursery was a 7ft. by 9 ft. bedroom, all paneled in pecan paneling, with built-in dresser and 4 ft. by 2 ft. closet, so the floor space was actually 5-1/2 ft. by 7 ft. . There wasn't room for a lot of unnecessary stuff, so we didn't have it. Both kids were fine and grew up without any issues from being "deprived."
    Brandy, I hear you about finding nursing bras for smaller women (or larger busted women). They are only made for "average" sizes, as are most bras and swimsuits. What a pain that was!

  • Julia February 23, 2018

    I have a nearly three-month-old at home, and there are a few things that helped us keep costs down. Before giving birth, we made two weeks' worth of fully-prepared meals and stashed them. It wouldn't have been enough for us to have lots of ingredients on hand--we were so tired we couldn't think, so having all those heat-and-eat, healthy meals was GREAT. We also asked the hospital to combine all of our bills into one and paid it all off at once, earning a 5% discount on the total. (If I hadn't asked, I would still be waiting on a $450 bill for my baby's care, which wouldn't be high enough to qualify for the discount.) And we didn't bother setting up a separate bedroom, as apparently it's safer for babies to sleep in their parents' room anyway. Best of luck to all our fellow new parents out there~

  • Monica February 23, 2018

    Thank you so much for this article with a seemingly complete list!!! I will give birth in about a month and am so excited. I can´t wait for it anymore. I stopped reading now when I read about the bottle brushes and thought: Oh my god, how could I forget that!!! I will study the whole list and will make a final shopping trip. I thought I would have thought on everything. I even bought the best formula from europe, just in case my milk won´t come in (for all mothers, who do not know - you can buy european formula with higher standars than everywehre else on https://myorganicformula.com/.. I couldn´t believe this, when I found this side!). Now I am curious, what else I forgot. So thank you for your work, writing down all this!


  • Veronica - Ca February 24, 2018

    What a great post! This really took me back. My first baby is now 20 years old, but boy let me tell you, we were SO POOR when he was born! New babies really don't need much. Gowns, even for my boy, were my go-to clothing. They make diaper changing very easy and are comfortable for the baby. All of my babies most liked first toy was handmade. I tied several canning rings together with a strip of cloth. The metal was cool on teething gums and the rings made a pleasant sound when clanging together. In our first home (a 400 sqft rental) we had one bathroom with a single stall shower. Once my son outgrew the kitchen sink for bathing, we used a plastic storage tote in the shower for a makeshift bathtub. It worked great! Although we are much more financially sound today, I look back on those early years with great fondness. We were a happy young couple making our start in the world. Our children grew up healthy, happy, and loved. I wouldn't change a thing.

  • Heidi Louise February 24, 2018

    While shopping at yard sales, or even regular stores, and accepting hand-me-down's for my then-baby son, I figured out how to keep track of the sizes he needed. Baby clothing sizing is notoriously inconsistent across brands.
    As the clothes (probably) get too small first in the body, keep track by measuring a onesie or sleeper that fits, from neck to crotch.
    I would do this with "hand" measurements. First, the shirts were one of my hands tall from fingertips to wrist. Then they were two hands, fingers sideways. Then they were one hand long, plus a few width fingers.
    I realize that might be confusing to read, but my point is that if you know how big something is by your hand measurement, you always have your hand with you to check it out!

    My favorite extra baby items were a series of umbrella strollers, never a big one, and we found handle extenders that made them about a foot taller, much easier to push. And onesie extenders, small fabric squares with various kinds of snaps on them that would snap onto the onesie flaps so they could work for another size. Best wishes to all the new moms and dads and families out there!

  • Kathrine February 25, 2018

    As a new mom (baby is almost 3 months old) it feels like beeing let into a secret society with all the sharing and rotating of things that goes on here in my city: maternity clothes, baby clothes, cribs, buggies, toys, furniture, bottles, pumps, you name it and wait a few hours and a stranger on Facebook will have something for you. I even managed to get a birth pool and everything I needed for a homebirth this way!
    I figured if I had somewhere for baby to sleep, something for baby to wear, a package of newborn diapers and a few nursing bras for me, then we could get through the first days and all other needs would be adressed as we discovered them.
    I did buy a special towel/blanket for wrapping around baby right after birth and one nice soft wool/silk onesie for babys first outfit, but they were really more a way for me to feel ready, than a true need for baby.
    All I really spend a good amount of money on was a nice pram, lightweight, as I will drag it around and in and out of busses and trains for years, and warm, since baby will sleep in it outside in all weather and all seasons (it's the norm here).

  • Jeannie February 25, 2018

    Oh, what a pleasant walk down memory lane. I wish this blog had been available when I was having my babies. The information here is invaluable and I have shared this site with many young women. There is always something new to learn.

    Jeannie @ GetMeToTheCountry.blogspot.com

  • Faith Dossett February 25, 2018

    I enjoyed your article about items NEEDED for a new baby very much. I love your style of writing, and your pictures are beyond reproach. After reading this and remembering way back to 1972, I found that I did almost everything on your list. I was blessed to have two baby showers -- one at my place of employment at the time (a bank) and another one given by a friend for friends and relatives to attend. I received gender-neutral baby clothes (this is before we could find out if it was a boy or girl) and one little pink one-piece pajama; two feeding dishes (one electric and one that you poured warm water under in a receptacle); my baby book (or I most likely would not have had one); receiving blankets, shawls, and one patchwork baby quilt (pink, baby blue, yellow squares); baby silverware, a diaper stacker (again, I probably would not have had one otherwise), etc. I collected S&H Green Stamps then; and one Saturday, my mother and I redeemed them for a baby bathtub, an infant seat, a nursery lamp, a bottle sterilizer, and glass baby bottles. We bought a new crib & mattress (on lay-a-way), and my one extravagance was a round rug about 48" in diameter with a baby blue elephant on it. (I always felt that I was having a boy; I never chose a girl's name.) My son was born in September, and we brought him home in a little outfit, socks, and blanket, all of which we received as gifts. His bed was soon ready for him with clean sheets, and we changed him into a little one-piece outfit (sheets & outfit were gifts, too). I did not have a bassinet; I only had one baby towel and washcloth; I did not have a changing table; I did not have a stroller until he was several months old, and our neighbor gifted theirs that had lasted through their 3 children's babyhoods. Disposable diapers were still a new thing, and I remember that the hospital gave us a complimentary pack of about 6 Pampers; I remember that they still fastened with diaper pins! Fast forward to 1999 -- my "baby" and his wife were expecting their first baby! And, oh my goodness, had the list of NEEDED items grown!! I was so happy that baby wipes had been invented by then -- never mind that they had a warmer! No cool wipe should touch a baby's delicate hiney! My daughter-in-love and son received so many baby items -- it was amazing! I was so thankful that they received so many beautiful and useful items. But I couldn't help but think back to 1972, and his little room, mainly furnished with love. My aunt (who raised me) donated a little chest of drawers and a little desk (adult size, but small). Those two items along with his new bed furnished his room, with the little blue elephant rug by his bed. That was definitely having a baby on a shoestring budget. Thanks for the memories, Brandy!.

  • L Hernandez February 25, 2018

    Both of our sons had colic, I borrowed a swing & it helped so much. Used receiving blankets to swaddle our boys too, helped sleep better when newborn. Make sure your used crib is up to baby code (safe). The need love the most & lots of holding.

  • Kelly February 26, 2018

    I was blessed in that I pretty much got everything I 'needed' at my baby showers. That's the best thing about coming from a large family. My mother purchased the infant seat/stroller combo, crib & mattress, dresser and changing pad for me. Everything else was received as gifts from guests at my baby shower. I didn't have to buy my son any clothes for the first year of his life. Didn't have to buy diapers for a good 4 months.

    I do agree that a diaper pail/genie is useless. I registered for one but the thing was a pain to use. I'd also say bassinettes are useless as newborn babies could actually sleep in a dresser drawer if need be.

    I chose a nursery 'theme' that could be unisex for a future child if it were a girl, Blue Jean Teddy...sadly there were no more kids for me after baby #1, who turns 14 two months from today. I kept every handmade item people made for him. Every blanket and hat that was knit, crocheted or quilted with love is saved so I can give it to his children someday.

    I got him some things at a consignment store in our area called Once Upon a Child. I don't think it's open anymore but it came in great hand when I wanted to buy him some nicer clothing without spending the money. Kids grow like weeds! lol

  • Emily Freeman February 26, 2018

    I have three children and I agree with much of your list. I’ve found it necessary for me to have some sort of seat/ play pen/ swing, really just a safe place to put baby when I need my hands and I need baby to be safe. I need to contain baby when I do laundry in our three story house or take a shower. This will vary based on house layout, etc, but the crib isn’t enough for me.

  • Athanasia February 27, 2018

    It has been very interesting reading all these baby posts. Mine are grown, yet as my mother said the other day, we've got babies coming out our ears. What with the two little granddaughters Dora and Anna Joy and our nephew Henry there is always someone around. Nephew Caleb (my husband's business partner) and wife Katie Anna are expecting twins and so is our daughter Eliana and husband Theo. Twins run in the families both sides...I am a twin, so is my husband. At church there have been two births recently and an adoption so the nurseries are busy busy.

    Our church has a clothing exchange 2 times a year so that on a Thursday night you bring in whatever you don't want, lay it out or hang up in the age appropriate areas and then Friday night and Saturday morning you can come back and "shop". There are also lots of hand me downs going around too.

    We had a very old crib that my oldest girl has now. Years ago my husband stripped and refinished it so we didn't have to worry about lead paint. The sides don't drop so when that became cautioned against it was fine. The spindles are good, too, and my husband reinforced all joints and hardware. It has been well used. The highchair we have, also at my daughter's, is the one my parent's used for us. It is maple and also been refinished. If there were straps on it they long ago wore out so we had bought a quilted cover thing that slips over the back and seat and then goes around and ties around the waist. When that one wore out I made a new one using that as the pattern. We use a clip on highchair here when needed.

    We didn't use a lot of the baby stuff either, though we got a lot of use out of our baby bath. I used it for all the children and we always took it camping with us as it was a good way to do baths and cleanups while traveling, even when the children were toddlers. I've still used it for the new generation as needed. It also works nice to use as a small pool in hot weather...just enough for the youngster to sit and splash in without dragging out the larger pool.

    We did weekend and longer camping trips often and we never had an RV. These are some of the things we found useful. I was given a Snugli carrier as a baby present with the first and used those from newborn up until about 6 months...they adjust so that at first the baby is all inside and enclosed then as they get bigger their head and feet and stick out. Then we had a baby backpack that we bought at an outdoors store that we use for when they were about 6 months and up. We had a very sturdy stroller. We first had one of those umbrella ones we received but the wheels wore out in a month. I took it back to the Sears and they looked amazed. They asked what were we doing with it and I said well using them for walks. They said those are really only meant to be used indoors like at malls and the gravel roads and dirt roads we were using them on were too much for the wheels. So we traded it in for a real stroller. We also had a foldable clip on seat that we could attach to picnic tables....it held in place with the weight of the child. We still have that and that is what we use for the grandchildren.

    For baby food I had a little hand grinder than I could just put the regular table food into and puree it as long as wasn't something with items they weren't supposed to eat in it. That wore out after 5. My daughter has some other similar item. I nursed them all exclusively and had a hand pump. I did like the boxes of baby cereal as they were handy to use when camping. Our middle girl went on her first camping trip when she was just 3 days old. Oh. We had/have a portable crib with mesh sides and a mesh top you can put over for keeping out bugs. We used that more outside then in. It's kind of like a play pen but only have as wide...rectangle rather than square.

    I always found it easiest when packing clothes for the children to roll each days items up into a bundle...socks, underwear, top and bottom. Kept from searching. I can't think of anything else at the moment but I did offer these last ideas as they were different from what Brandy listed as they do not, I think, go camping often as a whole family.

  • Colleen Marble February 28, 2018

    A tip an experienced mom gave me when I was expected my first was to cut some wipes in half (store them in a separate container or a ziploc bag). Tiny messes -- a boogie, a wet (not dirty) diaper, a smudge here or there -- only need a half wipe, not a full one. I did this with both of my kids and it was really helpful.

  • Colleen Marble February 28, 2018

    Another tip: As a new, first-time mom I was in misery nursing, even after a month. It was agony. My friend loaned me her nursing pillow: My Brest Friend. Stupid name, kind of goofy looking, but it's a miracle product. The pain stopped immediately because for the first time I was able to position him correctly. I just wasn't getting there on my own, even with help from friends and books and the use of pillows and armchairs. And it left my hands a bit more free for working on the computer, reading, eating, etc. I bought my own pillow for my second baby 4 years later, and I don't regret my purchase one bit.

  • Meredith March 01, 2018

    The Finnish have given a box with maternity essentials out to moms since the 40’s, they are really cool. Here’s the American version. While somewhat expensive it is a great template to start from.


  • Shaleen March 01, 2018

    I’m surprised you listed baby nail clippers as a necessity. I used them with both of my kids but every time I pulled them out, I thought to myself “Why did I buy these? They’re no different than regular nail clippers!” Are they really that different and maybe mine just stink!? Haha!

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