There are so many products out there today that are marketed to first time moms. It's almost overwhelming to look through everything and decide what you need for when baby arrives. I started thinking about what items we could have used without, versus what we actually NEEDED for our parenting journey as first timers.
I then decided to give myself a challenge: "What if I only had $1000 to spend in preparation for when our first baby arrived? What would I buy and how would I maximize the money?"
The assumption being that nothing came in the form of gifts, hand-me-downs, or was even able to be found used locally.
In this post, you'll find my final list of items (that can all be purchased in one place- amazon, because let's face it... online shopping is so much easier and hassle free)! The entire list comes out to UNDER the $1000 goal and is everything you'll need for your baby's arrival!
Must have items for when baby arrives:
*Prices are all directly from Amazon as of 1/13/17 when I posted this article.
Chicco Key Fit 30 Infant Car seat and base- We loved this car seat. It works for newborns and works up to 30lbs. Great find and it fits in the stroller mentioned below! $199
Stroller- We chose the chicco liteway stroller, and I'd choose it again in a heartbeat. It fits the infant car seat, and also converts to a big kid stroller when they are ready! It was compact and easily fit in the car. $139
Bassinet- This purchase is one that is frustrating. It gets used for about 5 weeks (in our house anyways). After 5 weeks we transitioned our daughter to her crib, in her own room. I couldn't have lived with her not in our room for the first 5 weeks, however, and co sleeping is not a safe option... so bassinet it is. I also looked at co-sleepers, but they are incredibly expensive. This is an affordable bassinet that I found on amazon that looks great! $54
Bassinet sheets- This really doesn't have to be anything fancy, as your baby will be sleeping swaddled. It's more just to protect the pad from stains. Buy 2 so one can be in the wash while one is being used. $12
Crib & Changing table- Ok so technically you don't need the crib right away to prepare for your baby's arrival. I decided it would be silly to not include though, since as a Type A person I wanted everything ready to go ahead of time, including the crib. What you don't NEED is the changing table. You can use a dresser instead, and you might often find yourself just changing your baby on the floor or on a bed. We ended up using our changing table for EVERY diaper change. I liked that we had everything in one place, and that it kept our daughter contained. I was so happy to have the changing table, so I've included it on the list. And, you can't beat this deal...crib and changing table for only $154
Crib sheet- You do NOT need the comforter, blanket, pillow, curtain sets that they sell! You can't use blankets or pillows until your baby is 1 year old, so there is no need for any of it. Buy a solo sheet and you're good to go! $8
Changing pad- Since we went with a changing table, we also bought a changing table pad. If you want it cozier, just lay a receiving blanket on it, but you don't technically need a pad cover! $17
Changing pad liners- These are one of my favorite products. Changing a baby can be messy at times. Instead of changing the cover or the receiving blanket that we had on it, we'd put these liners down and only need to change the liner. Great find and well worth the money. Saves tones of time! $8
Video monitor- Ask me before we had our daughter and I was saying our place was small enough that we didn't even need an audio monitor. Then we tried the audio monitor because I couldn't hear our daughter if I was on a different floor of the house. Then we found we were given a used video monitor and fell in love. If you are planning on doing any sort of sleep training, independent play in their room, etc... you want and need a video monitor! When your baby makes a noise, you can look at them and see what they are doing, it is so helpful. This is a must have for us, now! $120
Sound machine- Babies are used to lot of noise in your belly, so the sound machine can really help soothe them. Our daughter is 2 and we still use ours. It's been a very positive sleep association for her. $14
Receiving blankets- Use these to swaddle with. It's worth getting a few and bringing some home from the hospital as well. $9
Baby Bathtub- Newborns are so tiny, and so hard to hold onto. These bathtubs are so helpful! $16
Baby wash- Head to toe, no tears baby wash. It will last you forever. $6
Newborn Diapers- Go ahead and buy this big pack of 216 diapers. It will only last about 18 days... We switched to cloth diapers to save money once our daughter was 10lbs, but they really don't work prior that weight very well. $38
Wipes- Stock up on wipes. No, you do not need a wipes warmer. $17
Onesies- You need a bunch of these. Stock up and go cheap! Your baby will be swaddled a lot anyways, so color doesn't matter. $26
Footed onesies- Depending on the season you might want a lot of these. Great to sleep in and wear during the day. Get the zip up kind, you'll thank yourself later. I am pricing this for buying 6 of them. $33
CJ's butt cream- It's good to have some diaper rash cream on hand. This was our favorite and seemed to prevent diaper rashes at the first sign when we'd put this on! $16
Trash can (instead of diaper pail)- There is no need for a fancy diaper pail. The smell dissipates with an open lid trash can. It's larger and you can store more diapers in it, not to mention it's cheaper! $16
Trash bags- Along with the trash can, you can buy regular trash bags...much cheaper than having to buy the diaper pail bags. $10
Flour sack towels- These work as great, inexpensive burp cloths $20
Breast pump- Do not buy a breast pump if you are breastfeeding... call your insurance company. They will give you one for FREE!
Nipple cream- This nipple cream is amazing. If you are breastfeeding, definitely invest in this! $10
Diaper bag- Every mom I've ever met ends up liking backpacks better than the traditional diaper bag. Save yourself some money here and buy a backpack instead. They hold just as much, if not more, and you'll appreciate the ease and hands free feeling it offers! $20
I am pretty surprised I kept it under budget! This was a tough challenge, but certainly doable! Now, there are more items that I would WANT to purchase. They aren't needed, and put me over budget, so I included them below in a separate section. What items would be on your nice to have list?
Nice to have items that I would definitely buy again:
Freezer bags/bottles- This is where my list might differ if you are formula feeding. I can only speak from experience, so I'm including breastfeeding supplies on this list. I chose to pump and have a freezer storage. This not a MUST do, but we chose to do this so my husband could help feed our daughter. It was a huge help, so I'd highly recommend it. The Kinde system that I am linking to includes all of the tools to pump directly into freezer storage bags, AND FEED directly from them as well. It is an amazing system and saves so much time! $84
Boppy feeding pillow- This pillow is not a must have, you can use any normal pillows at home to help prop your baby up for feedings. I really did like this pillow, however, and would be sure to have one if I did it all over again! $34
Hands free pumping bra- Again, this is something you could get away with not purchasing, but it is incredibly helpful to not have to hold the pump onto your boobs when you have a newborn to tend to! $20
Baby Carrier- Ok this is not a MUST have, but it is a serious nice to have! I can't tell you how often I used this. When you are grocery shopping, you need to be hands free and stroller free unless you have another set of hands helping you. Honestly, I'd rather have the baby carrier, then the stroller if I had to choose! This baby carrier (the becco gemini) is a bit more expensive than others you'll find, but it also forward faces your child. By 4 months they'll be ready to forward face and you'll be so glad you bought this one! $130
Glider- Obviously this is not a must have...but when you are stuck breastfeeding what feels like all day long, a nice comfy spot to sit is a phenomenal purchase. I'd get it again for sure since I spent so much time in it! $129
Day dreamer- This little day dreamer is an amazing spot to set your baby when they are small. It is cozy, and lightweight so it can be easily moved. I used this a lot when I was pumping to have a place to set our daughter down. She loved it so much, that I consider this one of our favorite items. I loved how portable it was. $70
Total with nice to have items: $1429
I would highly recommend searching for used items, and obviously put these items on your registry as well. You'll notice I did not put any toys on this list. Toys are one of the most gifted items at baby showers...people really enjoy buying toys and clothes. Odds are you'll have a handful to work with and that's all you really need. Your baby doesn't come out of you able to hold onto things and even focus their eyes on objects well.. so toys aren't used for awhile, and even then you'll find that your little one enjoys kitchen utensils more so than the fancy toys they have! Clothes are outgrown SO fast, that it is silly to spend much money on them. Buy the basics, and limit yourself to a couple of "cute" items. Once you are in the throws of parenting, you won't care what your little one is wearing.
So I took the challenge, now it's your turn! Please share your list of everything baby needs for $1000 or less in the comments! And, if you have anything to add or a nice to have that you want to mention for new moms, we'd appreciate hearing that as well! Good luck! I can't wait to see your lists!
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