Baby “stuff” sure does add up

This weekend, Tony and I started the arduous process of baby shopping. Our families are kindly planning a couple of baby showers, which means we should have a little help when it comes to acquiring what we’ll need, but I was still hoping to keep things to a minimum. We are living in an apartment, after all, and we’ll eventually have to move all this stuff.

So Sunday morning I began pouring over all of the baby checklists available and trying to decide what exactly I needed to have, and what I wanted to have. I finally condensed it to a list of essentials — for now anyway. I’ll be breastfeeding and cloth diapering, so our feeding and diapering needs will change as the baby grows.

We also made the decision to start with an infant car seat that doubles as a carrier since he’ll be born in the early winter. It’s true that convertible car seats will hold the baby for longer, but the thought of waking a sleeping baby to carry him out into the cold in the middle of January does not appeal to me. So we’ll worry about getting him a new seat when he hits the weight limit. For now, I’m focusing on getting us through the first year (or so).

There are some items that I’m not sure I even want, but I’ve been urged by many moms to suck it up and get them (ahem, I’m looking at you bulky, space-eating stroller). Two of the biggest items, the crib and the car seat, have been promised as gifts from our parents, so registering involved choosing a lot of little stuff.

All of this shopping is fun, but overwhelming. It may not seem like a lot to moms who’ve spent the past year (or several) acquiring baby things, but it sure does look like a lot of new stuff to someone who’s starting from zero.

Despite all that, I’m looking forward to actually getting some of it. This baby feels more real every day (especially now that I can feel him bopping around in there), and I can’t wait to get his room all set up and ready for him to come home.

Here’s the list I brought with me to the stores. I was intentionally vague about things like clothing. It seems every time we see our parents, they’ve bought some new clothing item for the baby, and we’re guilty of picking cute things up here and there when we see them. I suspect this will only get worse now that we know it’s a boy, and it will probably get even worse in the fall when stores begin carrying warmer baby clothes. So I don’t think we’ll have to worry about the baby running around naked for at least the first, oh, 8 years.

Big stuff

  • Crib
  • Pack and play
  • Infant car seat
  • Stroller
  • Swing
  • Baby carrier/sling
  • Bassinet (donated second-hand from my sister)


  • Crib mattress
  • Quilted mattress pad
  • Waterproof mattress covers
  • Crib sheets
  • Receiving blankets


  • Bottles
  • Pump (currently seeking suggestions for a good one under $100.)
  • Burp cloths


  • Baby wash
  • Washcloths
  • Nail clippers


  • Diaper covers (4)
  • Prefold diapers (24)
  • All-in-one/pocket diapers (12)
  • Cloth wipes (24)
  • Diaper bag
  • Diaper pail


  • Sleep sacks/swaddlers
  • Onesies
  • Pants
  • Socks
  • Snowsuit/coat

Now it’s your turn. What did you find indispensable in the first year of your baby’s life?

Photo by photoann

19 thoughts on “Baby “stuff” sure does add up

  1. Joanna

    Funny you wrote this post now, since this is what we spent our weekend doing, too! We started a Babies R Us registry, and your list looks very much like mine. I put off registering for a lot of stuff until I have time to research better, or until we know the gender.

    I don’t want a bunch of Stuff- and we’re being offered Stuff left and right from friends who are done having kids. We have no big stuff to get thanks to their generosity, and the little stuff is overwhelming (standing in an aisle full of nail clippers, what’s the right choice?)

    As you said, we’re not registering for clothes at all, because I’ll know we’ll be flooded with those regardless. And, I’m not looking forward to a monstrous stroller either, and we’re reluctantly going with an infant car seat, too. My cloth diaper list is similar to yours, but I’m going with a few more prefolds/covers and a few less AIO/pockets. Glad to have someone else on the same path!

  2. M

    I borrowed a pump from a good friend. I fully sanitized it. It was a Medela and it was on the high end price-wise. I would highly recommend not skimping on the breast-pump, and at least get one that will pump both sides at the same time. It is time consuming to pump and it is so great that you are committed to doing it. Good luck

  3. Verna Stephenson

    I LOVE my boppy! A good breast pump is definatley something worth spending money on. I bought a used pump for $100 and got new parts and it works great! We had 5 snowsuits and only used one a couple times. We live in Michigan and it snows a lot here but I just covered my son up with a blanket in the car and he was plenty warm enough. Also, you could consider getting the big convertible carseat instead of an infant one and a convertable one later. The infant one is nice when they are newborns but they get so heavy in them so fast. I can hardly lift my son in his carseat and he’s 6 months. I used my moby carrier to take him in the store. Much easier. Just a suggestion.

  4. Anne

    As a mom of four who breastfed all of them my biggest recommendation would be to skip the stroller and get a baby carrier such as a Maya wrap, an Over the Shoulder Baby Holder, an Ergo baby carrier, or something similar. They allow you to keep your sweet one close, yet have arms free for other things. The baby buckets (car seat things you remove from the car) get pretty heavy and awkward to carry around. An added bonus is that people don’t get as close to your baby as they would if your dear one were in a stroller. It’s amazing how much people get up in the face of babies.

    Another recommendation would be to check out a couple of La Leche League meetings prior to giving birth. It’s great to have support during those initial days of learning for you and your baby, and it’s especially lovely to know the person on the other end of the phone. Congratulations and good luck! Get some sleep while you can.

  5. Karen

    Joanna – For now I’m planning to buy a lot of different all-in-ones and pockets just to try them out, because honestly I have no idea what will work for me or the baby. If I end up preferring the prefolds (or liking them just as much), I’ll be selling or trading the AIOs and pockets. I’m just trying to get a wide variety for now so I can try everything first. Good luck with breastfeeding and cloth diapering! I’m sure it will work out well for both of us!

    M – I would definitely consider the option of borrowing a pump, but unfortunately, I don’t have many friends with kids. None of my sisters breastfed, and they were really bad about hanging onto anything, so I’m not inheriting much from them either. Sooo I’m looking for the best one I can find that won’t cost a fortune. Since I’ll be a stay-at-home mom, I doubt I’ll get THAT much use out of it, but I’d like to have it anyway.

  6. elizabeth

    One small cheapie item that I needed was a bulb syringe. It’s a plastic thingie that you use to suck out mucus from the baby’s nostrils if they are stuffy, since they can’t blow it out themselves. I never used it with my oldest but my youngest was a very stuffy baby, and he couldn’t eat bc of the stuffiness. They are really cheap, like 2 bucks, maybe.

  7. Kacie

    YAY fun times!

    Ok i would say you won’t really need the snowsuit unless you plan on putting your baby outside in the snow in his first few weeks. Lolz! Cuz you can just put him in cozy layers and throw a few blankets over his car seat and rush him to the car.

    Plus you can’t have them in the snowsuit in the car seat anyway.

    BUT if you think you will be taking him on brisk walks then that might make sense.

    IDK about the big bulky stroller. You could get one of those snap-n-go ones perhaps, too. Just look at how huge they are and how much trunk space it will take. Ugggh.

    I do think the infant seat is reasonable, given that you’re having a winter baby. A summer baby, I’d say eh, no big deal. But yeah.

  8. Jessica

    One of my favorite and must have baby items was the halo sleep sack. Our little one loved to be swaddled and it was easy to use. Once she rolled over we stopped swaddling her and removed the swaddle wings and used it as a sleep sack. I actually found them cheapest at our hospital gift shop.
    Our daughter loved her bouncer chair. It was nice to be able to lay her in it (strapped in of course) when I needed to shower, etc. and it was light and small enough to bring into the bathroom with me when I showered or into the kitchen with me if I was cooking/cleaning.
    I would also recommend checking with your insurance company (if you have one) to see if they cover the cost of a breast pump. Mine covered 80% of the cost!
    I live in MN and I found the covers that go over the top of the infant carriers to be wonderful. It kept our little one warm enough going from the car to the house/store with an extra blanket tucked around her when it was super cold and it protected her from the snow and wind. We did not buy her a jacket or snow suit at all (she was born in Nov.) and would have hardly used one even if we owned one.
    I would also add on a few items for when she is a little older including a high chair or feeding chair.

  9. Jes

    we’re on our 3rd and i would say skip the stroller. (and the snow suit) We had both, and the stroller just took up space, the snowsuit only got used once to take pictures of our baby laying in the snow. lol. a sling works great, and if you’re using an infant car seat, you can carry it in and sit it on the shopping cart of wherever you’re going. it will be warm before you really are taking the baby for walks, and by then you can get a small umbrella stroller.

  10. Erin

    My baby is almost 3 months old. She is exclusively breastfed, so I don’t really need much of a pump- I have a good Medela hand pump, but since I’m not going back to work I don’t need anything fancier. We’ve found the bouncy seat to be absolutely awesome and I love the Moby wrap too- it took some getting used to for me, but it has been great. Here there are tons of consignment shops for clothes, cloth diaper accessories and things like strollers- my parents bought us a Peg Perego Pliko P3 (expensive stroller) for less than $100 from a consignment shop (they go for well over $200 new).
    I found the one thing I really didn’t need when we first brought our baby home was a crib! It seems like what everyone gets a crib, but we haven’t used one at all (actually we don’t have one), but the bassinet (lent to us by my former boss) has been great! I don’t know how you feel about co-sleeping, but it can be a great option for many families.

  11. Andrea

    Karen – Besides the obvious benefits to the environment, what made you decide to do cloth vs. disposable diapers? Did you do a cost comparison? If so, do you have the actual figures?

    I’m still working on “selling” my husband on cloth diapering – specifically gdiapers.


  12. Ginny

    Actually, I love my strollers. I’m very particular about them too. Drink holders are key. My second daughter was born in Feb. and the car seat/carrier/stroller combo was perfect. We had a warm cover, so I didn’t have to mess with a coat, and we never had to wake a sleeping baby to pull her out into the cold. The car seat carriers do get really heavy really fast, so the fact that the snap onto the stroller is key.
    With #3 on the way, I’ve been clearing out the non-essential gear (baby bathtub, boppy, etc.). I’m realizing that we never needed a changing table or even a changing pad… a folded towel on the dresser works fine and is easier to clean.
    One of my favorite “extras” was a pack of size dividers for hanging clothes in the closet (from One Step Ahead). They change sizes so quickly and I love those!

  13. Lindsey

    Baby wearing was the biggest thing I wish I had known about with my first kiddo. Moby Wraps can be made really inexpensively or you can buy one. It’s totally worth it! You can use it all the way through toddler hood, wearing your kiddo in front or back. It was my life saver with kiddo number three. Seriously, look into it. There’s tons of info on the net on how to make one yourself (without sewing too!) and how to wrap and tie them. The baby carrier/car seat isn’t so bad. It’s a little bulky, but really helps out a lot. :-) Good luck, and if you have any questions, feel free to email me!

  14. Lisa

    I recommend JBF sales, just search for one in your area. I got a swing for $20, and tons of receiving blankets for just a few $. I also bought baby and maternity clothes Besides it’s being green shopping second hand when you can. We bought a nice glider rocker from local store but borrowed a stool that I just slipcovered.

  15. Beth

    I just stumbled across your website. I am cloth diapering my second, we do it part time for him because that is what works for us with my work schedule, etc. My daughter was more like 95% cloth. With my daughter I tried everything and ended up using pockets, it just worked best. With my son I had to get new ones as the pockets were out of elastic, velcro, etc. I started using Grovia when he was around 6 months. They are the best. Less laundry, lots of options. They would be great for using an AIO/2 and prefolds because you could use the covers and then buy less stuff. Anyway I swear by them and I have sold all the rest of my stash to buy Grovia’s it is what has kept me CDing with my second. Good luck! Oh and craiglist is great for baby stuff too.

  16. Becky P.

    What things can’t you do without?

    For me:

    Clothes and various towels (hooded), receiving blankets, a place for the baby to sleep, and diapers and wipes. I breastfed, so no bottles–pump was useless to me, and I switched right to cups with sipper seals.

  17. Angie

    One of the greatest hints someone gave me was to buy and sell on craigslist, as you need things. For example, buy a swing on craigslist, (use it,take care of it), and sell it as soon as he grows out of it for the same price you paid. You’ll always be able to find one on craigslist in the next few years when you have a second child. Living in an apartment, this one piece of advice was a life saver.

    I also LOVE my snap in stroller piece. Nothing big and bulky about it. Folds and sits behind a door, easily and fits in the trunk easily too. We didn’t use it much except for walking at the park, which you probably won’t do much of in the winter. At the store we put our “baby bucket” in the cart, and otherwise, we put her in a sling or bijorn.

    You can rent baby cloth diaper sets for newborns for about $16 a month (Texas rates). Great way to try them out and return them when they grow into the next size. It’ll cost you to rent a set for 3 months about what purchasing 3 diapers will cost.

    You can also rent a breast pump. BUT, I would say… if you plan to breast feed for all of you kids… Don’t skimp on it. I wouldn’t buy one until after you go home. You won’t need to use it for a few months after the baby is born. Hopefully you’ll get some giftcards to help you pay for one.

    The best bulb syringe (as mentioned above) is the one you get at the hospital when they clean the baby after birth. Your insurance is going to pay for it… you may as well take it home.

    One last thing. We didn’t know what kind of bottle to buy. You’ll see at Babies R Us a whole wall full of them, and how do you know what to buy? Just DON’T buy any of them. People will give you a few with shower gifts, and if you breastfeed you won’t need one right away. Try the ones that people give you first, then buy a different type if they don’t work. We wasted a good $50 on bottles that we never touched.

    good luck.

  18. Kristin

    I’m a mom of 2 boys whose breastfeeding needs were total opposites. Since you’ll be home with the baby you may never need a pump. But you could have a baby who doesn’t latch properly for the first 4 months or so like my SIL did. So my advice on the pump is don’t buy one. Wait until you see how the baby breastfeeds. If you make it a few months with no issues and you want to pump so you can leave for periods of time then purchase a cheaper one. If the baby has issues you’ll need the expensive one. This is one purchase I would not make ahead of time. Especially if breastfeeding long-term is important to you.

  19. Pingback: 99 days to go (give or take a few)

Comments are closed.