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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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Comments

  • Kris February 20, 2018

    After 8 babies, you certainly qualify as an expert! I agree, you can get by on a lot less equipment than you think you need with babies. I didn't care for high chairs--we preferred a booster seat with a tray attachment. It fit into our small home better and allowed the baby to sit closer to us. I used a changing pad on top of a dresser (with curved sides) to change my babies and I got very good at stabilizing baby with one hand to prevent slide-offs. Again, with a small house, space was at a premium. Not sure my back would have held up with changing a baby on the floor all the time, so I mention that as an alternative. And, like you, I ended up preferring my garage-sale umbrella stroller to the big, bulky one we got as a shower gift.

    We also received tons of baby blankets and 0-3 month clothing as gifts. I'm not sure it occurred to me to return the clothing for a larger size--I guess my mommy-brain didn't think that one through!

    Our first baby was a non-sleeper and a swing was the only way to guarantee a little bit of sleep with him--each baby is different; our second one didn't care for the swing.

    I am beyond the baby stage now but you brought back fun memories!

  • Mel February 20, 2018

    When I was pregnant for my first child my husband and I were driving my grandmother home after Sunday dinner at my parent's house. My grandmother LOVED yard sales. She lived through the Depression and rarely bought anything new, but she could do some major shopping at a yard sale. She saw one in the small town we had to drive through to take her home and of course she wanted to stop. Being late Sunday afternoon they were about to close. When the man who was having the sale noticed I was pregnant he insisted on giving us all of the baby items that were left. He had a crib, changing table, wind-up swing, lots of blankets and baby clothes, and infant carrier (not a car seat, just a carrier) and lots of other little odds and ends. We used all of this stuff along with the items from our shower for all of our children! Along with other hand-me-downs and gifts we were able to basically buy nothing new until they started school.

  • janet February 21, 2018

    I had a similar experience to above when I was pregnant with my first everyone gave me everything . I bought one item for them to wear home from the hospital one package of baby wipes and one package of diapers. I borrowed the car seat from the lending closet on base for the first car seat and then I bought the larger one from USAA. We used the things that were given to us or we did without. I didn't even have everything that was on Brandy's list of must haves and yet my children grew up and we all did fine.

  • Isabella February 20, 2018

    When I joined my military husband in Germany many years ago as a new, nursing mother, I brought everything for 15 months for the baby and me in a foot locker, including all my cloth diapers. Our tiny baby first slept in that padded foot locker until we found a crib. The one thing I could not live without there, though, was a good stroller. It was the first thing we bought. We did not have a car there, so that stroller was a workhorse, carrying the baby as well as groceries and laundry for the laundromat. We walked everywhere, and the Germans always helped me get a stroller on a bus if needed. (In Germany, they have a stand area in the back of buses for parents and strollers.) A crib, a stroller, cloth diapers, and basic clothing and linens was all we had, and our son thrived with love from us, of course!

  • Jody S. February 20, 2018

    After 7 babies, I must agree with the nasal aspirator thing---the small ones are good for nothing.
    However, I have found two things very, very useful for nursing. I really prefer having a nursing pillow over trying to get another pillow (or more) positioned just right. Also, after baby 6(I think), I discovered nursing tanks. I love these even more than my nursing bras because it keeps the belly covered while I nurse in public-- no nursing cover needed. And glad for that I am because none of my babies tolerated having a nursing cover. That is the only nursing clothing I would recommend other than regular bras; all the other nursing clothes I bought were a waste of money.

    Not a necessity but nice is a baby carrier of some type. I think each Mama has to find the one that works for her; try borrowing ones from friends to see if you like it before you buy it.

  • Brandy @ The Prudent Homemaker February 20, 2018

    That's why I say every mother has her favorites! A nursing pillow was never high enough for me (perhaps they don't work well for small-busted women? I'm small enough that it's almost impossible to find nursing bras in my size; even most regular bra brands don't make my size pre-nursing; I had one department store tell me they carried nothing that small and another tell me they had only ONE brand in the one department that size; nursing bras start a cup size larger than that). Thankfully mine was a hand-me-down, so no outlay of money there. I tried to make it work with my first three, but I still had to lift the baby higher or bend way down to reach the baby, which is NOT a comfortable way to nurse.

    Likewise, I tried a baby carrier, but I felt like it was very difficult to use, and the baby was always in my way. A friend of mine manages to cook with his baby in a front carrier (I watched hi do it at my house) but I am terrified to have the baby's feet get burned! And I found the baby was in the way to do dishes, so a carrier never worked for me.

    Everyone has a different lifestyle and preferences, but I think it's good to know that you don't HAVE to buy everything and even if you feel pressure to do so (I know I sure did with my first) you might just end up hating something--or only use it for 1 to 2 months before your baby is no longer interested in it.

    My eldest lived in onesies, because that's what we could afford. She had one dress in each size for church, bought on clearance or received as a gift. While it wasn't my favorite thing to put her in onesies, it worked just fine (especially in our hot climate), and when I had my second little girl (baby #4) I had a bit of money to buy dresses, so I bought several used dresses on ebay. Dresses were definitely a want and not a need. The next three girls got a lot of wear from those!

  • kim February 21, 2018

    We also used onsies a lot with our eldest. It was easier not having to put shirts over her head (99% in size). The zippered onsies worked for 9 months.
    We have gotten rid of boxes of toys because our girls never even played with them. Now we only keep 1 bbo. I tried telling family to stop buying plastic junk but we still get tons of it. I prefer the wooden puzzles and books. Or cookie cutters or at least something that doesn't just sit there for them to look at. Oh well, that's the struggle of trying to raise kids the way YOU think they should be and not the pressure of society and commercials.

  • Athanasia February 26, 2018

    What is a "bbo" ???

  • Bethany February 21, 2018

    I prefer "real" nursing clothes, too. A sister-in-law gave me a nursing T-shirt for Christmas, and I found myself wearing it for DAYS on end because I liked it so much better than the nursing tank tops/button down shirt combination. For the first three months of baby's life I just wore regular clothes. When someone showed up at the door unexpectedly, I had to yank baby off the breast and pull my shirt down. So annoying! With the nursing shirts, people can hardly tell you're nursing and they barely see any skin at all. This is good for being at home, but especially for outside the house, travel, etc.

    I ended up buying two more of the nursing Ts, and most days I'm wearing one of the three. I wish I had more. :)

  • Stacy February 22, 2018

    That is how I accidentally scarred a poor 18 year old for life. He was a door-to-door salesmans and interrupted a nursing sessions. I was still in that new baby haze and managed to overlook putting my breast back into my shift (tank with a low neckline). I stood there obliviously dripping milk for nearly 5 minutes. Realized my error after I shut the door.

  • Jody February 21, 2018

    Oops. I should note that I use the nursing tanks as bras under my regular clothing :)

  • K February 20, 2018

    Thank you so much for this article, Brandy! I've been eagerly looking forward to it and will refer back to it when I am ready for a little one. I am not in a financially good position right now but people have been encouraging me to have a child anyways (my church is having baby fever!)

    One of the pastors at my church had told me that when his wife gave birth to their first daughter, they were at their poorest - the only breast pump they could afford was a manual one! But he said the first six months, he didn't have to buy diapers as church members were extremely generous and occasionally gave a box of disposables out of the goodness of their hearts. Similarly, a woman just last week dropped off two giant bags of new, never worn baby girl dresses for the taking!

    My friend doesn't have a high chair but she has a booster seat so baby can be plopped at any chair for a meal, which is really handy when eating out.

  • Brandy @ The Prudent Homemaker February 21, 2018

    We didn't have an actual high chair until baby #4! We had a kind that clipped onto the table. It wore out and that's when we were able to buy a high chair.

    We don't eat out as a family (my husband and I have rare dates out when we have a gift card), but when I went with my parents for two graveside services for my grandmothers in 2016 in another state, the hotel and all places where we ate had high chairs. My baby wasn't eating solid food yet (he was 4 months old) but he sat up well and we put him in the high chairs the restaurants and hotel had.

    I have used an Avent manual breast pump (which is highly rated) with my babies. But now insurance companies in the U.S. cover breast pumps and also pump rentals.

  • cathy February 21, 2018

    Just want to second the manual breast pump. I found it much more comfortable than an electric pump, and for those times when I was too full and Needed. To. Pump. Right. This. Minute, it was really handy. Plus easier to take with you when you're out and about or on vacation. I tried the electric pump with my oldest, and every time I turned it on, he started to cry; could not stand the sound!

  • Colleen Marble February 28, 2018

    Yes - manual pump all the way. I used one with both of my kids.

  • Alaska gram February 20, 2018

    I did not have a lot of things with my first baby and we did fine. I exchanged a lot of 0-3 clothes so that we had clothes for quite awhile. I was a nanny in High School and college, then had my own two, then went back to Nannying while my husband was getting his Master's. One situation was for boy-girl twins. He loved to eat and she hated it. The only way I could get her to take any formula was to put her in the bouncy seat. Now I have been caring for a grandson since his mother went back to school when he was 2.

    The earliest children were cloth diapered. One nice thing with disposable diapers was needing fewer changes a day! I remember walking to the laundromat with load of clothes, baby, and cloth diapers. It did not work well because my boys were sensitive to powder detergents left in the washers.

    I sewed a lot of my children's clothes, but we had no thrift stores in the remote area where we lived.

  • http://thejewishlady.com February 20, 2018

    Can we add books to the "must have" list? Child health and child rearing books have helped me so much. Being able to look up symptoms at home can prevent a lot of unnecessary doctor visits, especially for first-time moms that haven't been through it all before. I recently read one that I really liked, written by a pediatrician who's also a mom of 3 boys. http://thejewishlady.com/books-love-baby-toddler-basics/

  • Brandy @ The Prudent Homemaker February 21, 2018

    I love books--especially children's books. Libraries are a great resource if you can't afford books (including board books). I feel very strongly about books (we have a library!) and have found many great books at garage sales for $0.25 each.

    Our pediatrician's office has a call-in nurse service. These are becoming more common. You can have a virtual visit with a nurse and she can tell you if you really need to bring in the child or not. They can also diagnose you online and send a prescription to the pharmacy for you without you having to come in. There are also many great resources online.

  • Paige in GA February 21, 2018

    I love this post! I have 6 kids and have always fallen into buying matching crib sets, until my last. She is adopted and was 11 months old when we got her. A mesh bumper, crib sheet, and thin blanket were all we needed. I have always (even as a teen) been in love with everything baby and loved buying those items. Your post makes me realize how much money I could have saved with just buying the needs, not all of the wants!

  • Yolanda Breidenbaugh February 21, 2018

    Congratulations on the new baby on the way! I blogged, a while back, about diapers.... Here is the link:

    http://simplyhomemaking60.blogspot.com/2013/03/some-thoughts-from-grandma-on-cloth.html

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