Baby on a Budget – the Barest Bare Essentials

baby on a budget

I love websites that list the essentials baby items you’ll need and list a wipe warmer – I’ve got nothing against wipe warmers but I’d hardly call them a necessity when you have a baby.

So I decided to make my own list and try to figure out what is the least you could get by with and not lose your mind. I mean, sure, we could all forgo the toys and bouncy chairs but if you factor in all the money you’ll have to spend on your mental breakdown, then you’re still ahead of the game if you spring for them. So here goes:


Baby on a Budget:


1. Aveeno Baby Daily Moisture Lotion:

There are good baby lotions out there that are super expensive, and cheap baby lotions that are full of shit. So I checked out Skin Deep Cosmetics Database (awesome site) to find a baby lotion that was reasonably priced, not too full of gunk and fairly easy to find. This is what I came up with. You can also get away with coconut oil or unscented lotion for grownups. Just take a look at the label and pick the one with the fewest ingredients. Around $7


2. Dr. Bronner – Organic Castile Soap Unscented Baby:

This stuff can be used for EVERYTHING including baths, soaking clothes and washing hair. It is fantastic. It seems a little more expensive but a little goes a long way. It comes in two sizes – big and fucking huge.  Around $15 depending on the size.


3. Vaseline:

It’s a mixture of mineral oils, paraffin and microcrystalline waxes that has a melting point just above body temperature and it’s cheap, cheap. You can use it on bums to prevent diaper rash and cheeks to stop chapping in winter. Some people aren’t big fans because it’s not as environmentally friendly as other options (coconut oil is a fantastic alternative), but it’s one of those staples that you can’t beat if you’re on a budget. Around $2


4. My Little Seat:

If you don’t have a lot of room or you find you’re on the go a lot, this is a great option. After all, kids don’t care what they’re in – look at that baby in the picture, he doesn’t give a shit – he’s like a honey badger– so why drop a ton of dough on a highchair? Some of the fancier ones can get up there but I found this one for $25


5. IKEA ANTILOP Highchair with safety belt:

Don’t think you could skip the highchair? Well, I had this highchair. I loved this highchair. It is easy to hose down and chisel cereal off that has dried to the consistency of cement. It is no frills, no screwing around and awesome. I would recommend this highchair to anyone whether they were trying to save money or not. Around $20


6. Infantino Swift Classic Carrier:

I think everyone needs a baby carrier and this one seemed to get really good reviews and you certainly can’t beat the price at $15. [If anyone cries “crotch dangler” you can direct them here.] Hopefully the woman strapped to the baby comes with the carrier as well – that would be super helpful. *Or* I even found this link to a neat no sew baby wrap.


7. Gerber 5-pack Onsies:

Onsies are one of those items that rarely makes it into the hand-me-down piles because they get ratty fast. Plus, if the weather is warm, this is all they really need to hang out and sleep in. Around $10


8. Bath Tub/Seat:

I prefer the tub to a sling simply because you can still use the tub when they are sitting, but slings are cheaper and great for infants. Some people skip the bathchair all together and just put their baby on a folded facecloth in about 2″ of water in the bath, which will do the job just as well. I was just too twitchy about freestylin’ like that so I thought I’d include it in case you were too.  Around $13 – 20. Oh, and here are some tips on how to bathe that newborn too.


9. Digital Fever Thermometer:

At first I had this cool, infrared thermometer here because I couldn’t figure out how you could take their temperature before they could hold a thermometer in their mouth, and after they decided that they aren’t too crazy about having something stuck in their bum. Well, a wise reader told me you could use an oral thermometer in their armpit and just add a degree for an accurate reading. Certainly worth a shot and it’s a heck of a lot cheaper. Around $10


10. Bouncer:

I’m sure there are a few people that say you don’t need one of these but this is a bit of a sanity saver. If you have other children or pets running around, you may not want to put an infant on the floor, and propping them up on the couch has topple-off-head-crack potential, so this is a nice solution to keep them put and give them something to look at. Around $40 (I should also mention that companies redesign their bouncers quite often so availability is often up and down, just find an inexpensive one you like the look of and go for it. Fisher Price and Bright Starts seem to always have consistently great reviews and you can often snag them for under $30.)


11. Gerber First Essentials Bottle Set: 5oz – 9 Pack:

Even if you are breastfeeding there may be times when you want to have a bottle on hand. As long as you’re willing to wash them frequently you can’t beat just over a dollar a bottle for something that’s BPA free. Around $10


12. Costco – Kirkland Signature Baby Wipes – 900 count:

Costco will forever piss me off that they charge you to shop at their store, but I found these ones on Amazon (yeah, stick it to the man). Keep an eye out for wipe sales as they go on sale often. You can also load up on a bunch of inexpensive baby washcloths and use them with a bit of water for wipes.  


13. Luvable Friends Washcloths 12 pack:

Use these with some water in lieu of disposable wipes to save some cash and give your baby’s bum a break at the same time. These are also great for wiping hands, bathtime, or wet in a ziploc for a quick mouth wipe when they decide to eat sand at the park.  Around $6

14. Flannel Receiving Blankets & Swaddlers:

These were such a staple for both of my kids. Use them as burp cloths, boob covers, floor mats, change pads and, well, blankets. Get a neutral colour if you plan on having more than one kid. Around $10


15. up & up Baby Diapers – Newborn:

Hands down, the cheapest way to diaper a baby is with cloth, but I saw a few sites that recommended disposable when they were newborns because they are in them for such short period of time. Around $6


16. Portable Playard:

I’m going to get a little kooky here, and suggest you use this as a bassinet when they are a newborn, then co-sleep and use it as a playard when they are bigger. I couldn’t find anywhere that said one of these couldn’t be your full-time crib and they are cheaper and fully portable. Get a gender neutral color so it will work for subsequent children and it will be easier to sell down the road. Around $70

17. ALL Free and Clear with Stainlifters Liquid laundry Detergent 169oz:

Forget baby detergent and get a detergent that is free of dyes and perfume and you’re good to go. All isn’t available everywhere but I found a post here and here that can point you in the right direction. Around $10


18. Cloth Diapers:

There is no doubt that cloth diapering is a big money saver. It’s a large up front cost but it is far more cost efficient in the long run especially if you want to have more than one child. Many people will even sell their cloth diapers on CraigslistKijiji and eBay where you can get them at a fraction of the cost. Some people get a little queasy about buying used diapers but I say wash the things and get the hell over it. Finding the right ones is a whole post onto itself, but Mom Advice is a great jumping off point if you aren’t sure about where to begin.

19. Used Clothes:

Babies fly through clothes in their first year and parents often overbuy in the beginning so you can find some barely worn duds at almost all second hand and consignment stores or buy them as lots online.


20. Timing:

Lastly, my best tip of all, have a baby just as all your friends’ kids turn one. They will be banging down your door with clothes, strollers and exersaucers (or as I like to call it, “the glorious circle of neglect”) and they will thank you for taking them – a baby swing is a godsend when your baby likes it and a piece of plastic shit that is taking up your living room the second they outgrow it.

Now, I know this may not be the most practical tip, but I thought it was worth a mention.

I left out strollers because depending on what you use them for, (hiking through snow vs. zipping through a hot mall) really changes what you need.

I also left out car seats because if you don’t have a car, well, you don’t need one but it is a must if you are putting a baby in a vehicle. All new car seats are safe as they have to meet government standards so go for the least expensive one. If someone offers you a relatively new car seat (check the expiration date molded in the car seat or printed on the shell) and you are sure that it’s never been in an accident – you can go for that too.

I want to keep honing this list so it’s nimble as a thimble so post stuff you think would be helpful.

Happy saving!

A massive thank you to those of you that shop through my affiliate links that appear on the site. It is no extra cost to you, and the pennies really do keep this site going. I notice and appreciate it each time that it happens, so thanks.

Our next recos:

The Secret to Creating a Great Registry
What to Get When You’re Expecting – New Baby Checklist
A Very Short List of Things Your Newborn Actually Needs
Amazing list covering all the basics you need when you have a baby girl or baby boy. If nothing else, it gives you an idea on where to start

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  • For those on the car seat thing – yes car seats expire after SIX years, however an infant usually outgrows the thing by ONE year. Many parents who have multiple kids fairly close together re-use their infant car seats for the second child (as long as it is well within expiration date and there have been no accidents this is fine, and most car seat tech are fine with this).
    BUYING a used car seat is never a good idea because you can’t truly know if it’s been in an accident (and ANY accident means the seat has to be replaced to meet standards)….but that was NOT the recommendation!
    The suggestion was a Hand me down from someone you TRUST. Like say your sister has a child a year before you.
    Even if you aren’t comfortable with using the seat itself, you might still be able to save if they gift you the base and you buy the same car seat new. Extra bases are pricey but can be convenient.
    Thanks for this thoughtful list that strikes a balance between bare essentials and a few convenience items for sanity. Usually lists are either ALL THE THINGS, or way overly minimal.

  • I love the idea of a pack and play as a crib. We recently found out that we are expecting our first after almost a year of trying. We have a small apartment so we don’t have a lot of room for big items. I saw something the other day that is called a “Cuddle Cove” by Graco. It has a bassinet and changing station on top of the pack and play as well as a storage area for diapers, blankets, onesies, ect on one of the sides. I feel like this is the perfect solution to having a lot of bigger items… and the child can use the pack and play as a crib once it grows out of the bassinet.

  • I had to take my first one to another country so everything had to fit in a suitcase. No baby furniture. No wipe warmer. No diaper pail. My first was a girl, but I myself bought everything in neutral colors in case we had a boy. My friends bought pink things for me. We ended up with two more children that were boys. I used the cloth diapers or receiving blankets as burp clothes (because you will get so many receiving blankets). I bought white onesies and pink or blue pants depending on the child. I bought a travel sleeper and have co-slept with all my newborns. I bought a travel diaper changer. I bought a puj tub-splurge but worth it. They now make cheaper versions of it. I bought a swing from craigslist–barely used. The exergen was a waste..not nearly as accurate as the digital thermometer–I use the armpit method which they used in the nicu my daughter was in. I buy Parent’s Choice everything. My second child has eczema. We tried the Aveeno, it made it worse. We tried the All Free and Clear, we had to switch to Seventh Generation or Kroger’s Simple Truth. We used Dr Bronner’s on him, but it stung him so we ended up using Shea Moisture. We also have the Ikea high chair. Great list!

  • We never used our bath chair. I think the costco wipes cost a lot less than 30 dollars a box. I buy them at the store and can’t remember but it has to be closer to 12 or so. Also, some stuff you can buy on with out being a member.

  • LOL so many are worried about the profanity. I love it and love you for doing it despite the others. What really matters is how much you love your kids. I loved this post, you hit it straight on. No diaper pail, no boppy, just saving $.

  • I found it hard to read with the unnecessary cursing…You are giving advice about baby products not in a bar room.

  • Thank you for the suggestions you give here! I will be facing this in the future and I think I could definitely try several of these. I like the snack idea and the nursing box idea. And I definitely plan on getting a Moby wrap for next time around.

  • Only thing I think is missing is breast pads and breast feeding tanks. Never buy nursing bras ahead of time. Wait until your size settles out. I wasted money and ended up with a breast infection as the bras were too small after my milk came in.

  • New reader here, I really love your blog and your message! Before I became a mom, I used to do the same thing. It’s just as wonderful as you imagine it being, and even more so, to be a mom. It’s just as peaceful and natural as you think it’ll be.

  • Wow!! A used car seat is definitely not ok! I don’t care how cheap it is it is never a good idea. I don’t know of any infant seat that lasts 10 years so even if there was nothing wrong with it a 10 year old seat is going to be expired. A car seat is a life saving device not something to skimp on!!

    • I just would challenge you to explain exactly why that is? Does it begin to disintegrate somehow? Not to pick on you but I see this angry sentiment a lot and people are always so outraged about it but never bring any facts. Just that they suspect/think/heard that something “bad” happens after a seat has existed in the universe for a few years.

  • Great article and you made me laugh while reading! "look at that baby in the picture, he doesn’t give a shit …" haha. Great stuff, thanks.

  • Good list. Also a note you can make your own laundry detergent liquid or powder for the cheapest cost per load. There are tons of great recipes for organic gentle detergent online. Also I add vinegar to anything I wash, including dishes (vinegar can do pretty much anything; I have also learned). So look around for an option that’s right for you! I agree with the playyard. I also found n easy DYI newborn bed that you can put right on the edge of your bed (it has two legs and safely can be secured right beside your bed if you are nervous about co-sleeping). There is a lot out there! I completely agree with keeping it minimal. We only have one child so far but going to look for items to prep for the next baby (as I gave almost all my stuff away) is so expensive and not worth the cost. You really don’t need that much! Also another thing to think about if you plan on having more babies is neutral baby clothes. Also white onesies can be salvaged (I did actually save a few of those) if they are stained. I made my own dyes out of fruits and veggies to salvage baby clothes with little stains. Also it’s not to hard to patch something up if need be. No sense in doling out the cash for something a baby is most likely going to grow out of in a very short amount of time and possibly stain even more. I have opted to get a few organic baby girl headbands and hats (you can also easily make your own) to go with my neutral outfits collection I am compiling for the next babes as neutral stuff tends to look more boyish…. This is obviously completed optional. Your baby is NOT going to care!… I could go on an on…. So anyway, this was GREAT. 🙂

  • My son has always loved Parent’s Choice bottles . They have a very stiff nipple that won’t collapse when he sucks hard. $2.79 for a 3 pack! Can’t beat that!

  • RE: Detergent

    EWG gives All Free & Clear an F!

    I like the Ology brand at Walgreens.
    "Ology 2X Laundry Liquid, Free & Clear" gets an A
    "Ology 2X Laundry Liquid, Spring Lavender & Vanilla " get a B

    The Ology softener get C’s 🙁

    OxiClean Laundry Baby Stain Soaker also gets an A

    Other than that unpleasant surprise, I LOVE this list! I was kinda proud of myself for picking a lot of things on this list by myself, reassured that yes, I picked right, was reminded of the awesomeness of IKEA. My parents had a simple IKEA highchair which served 5 kids just fine and it didn’t even have a higher back or fancy schmancy tray like this one!

  • car seats expire – most after 5 or 6 years and they wear down. its easy to forget that they are just foam and plastic. anyone whose used an infant carrier carseat knows how banged up they get… they’re really only meant to last through one baby and should not be handed down. also they do all have to pass MINIMUM safety requirements but these are bare bones at best and a lot of them barely pass. safety first carseats are horribly unsafe compared to all others. britax and graco are the best and you can find a brand new graco seat for under $100. check out the crash test ratings – its shocking. infant carseats are horribly misused in this country. over73% of parents do it wrong and it accounts for more preventable injuries and deaths than the next four causes combined.

  • I didn’t want a highchair and I didn’t want to buy one of those cloth seats…I had to use other stuff when he was smaller, but around 12months he wanted to be a big guy & sit in a chair to eat…I bought a nice large black vinyl dog collar for a couple bucks and wrapped it thru the rungs on a wooden chair, clicked him in…and there you have it…instant high chair out of almost any chair…

  • I recommend cloth wipes for home, just wet it and use, saves WAY more money. I use them on the go with a spray bottle, but if that’s too inconvenient use the disposable for the bag and cloth at home.
    Also, what 3-4 wipes can do on a poop mess, ONE cloth wipe can do, just an FYI 🙂

  • Love that you included the bouncinet. I ha marked that off as unnecessary. Thankfully my step-mum knew better and a fisher-price rocker chair was their big gift to us. My saviour! That was how I managed to shower, go to the toilet, express breastmilk, cook…..basically do anything that I didn’t want to, or couldn’t do with my baby wrapped to me. I have now lent it to a friend who was mentioning her issues with all of the above and I love seeing photos on her FB wall of her son in it. I’ll be sure to get it back when we have #2!!!

  • Stain remover. Takes that yellow baby poo colour out after a good ol’ diaper blowout. I like OxiClean (sometimes I go for the baby one, too) and Resolve is a close second.

  • This list is pretty much awesome, and I feel super smart for already having many of these things on my baby registry (Dr. Brommers = the bomb digs! And since it’s detergent-free and made with oils, you’ll need less vaseline!)

    Thank you especially for suggesting used cloth diapers. I’m pregnant with my 1st and planning to use cloth, and everyone keeps telling me I’ll give up. It’s nice to read a post from a normal person (not a crazy "YOUR BABY MUST BE ORGANIC!" fanatic) suggesting that I have a good idea with the used dipes. Take THAT, Mom, a stranger with a funny-titled blog thinks I’m right!

    Gotta agree with the commenter who mentioned the Crotch Carrier. It is worth the extra investment now to get a Moby Wrap ($45) or a Moby Go (about $80) to avoid possible joint/spinal problems down the road. Plus, you can use a Moby with a newborn — you often can’t do that with seat-style carriers, which sometimes only work for babies who can hold their heads up.

  • Great article!!! I had twins for my first children. I was terrified when I started adding up the cost, but I just asked around and ended up getting everything for free – hand-me-down cribs, clothes, cloth diapers, bottles, breast pump (i replaced all the hoses & attachments, so that was a few bucks), bouncy chairs, car seats, double snap’n’go stroller, high chairs (yes those antelope Ikea ones are amazing…just put them in the dishwasher!). I only spent $50 total on a few items I couldn’t get for free but found on one of the local facebook swap sites & craigslist (I even found moms cleaning out their kids closets and giving away bags and bags of clothes) – all that for twins. I saved my $ for a great jogging stroller that we still use all the time. I still haven’t spent much money and they are almost 3 – we’re starting to find it hard to find hand-me-down clothes now. I hear all the time that children are expensive – they don’t have to be if you choose to re-use! My twins only cost me about $50:) My advice is to make friends with people in their mid 30s…those who already have 2 kids and just had a 3rd…they’re almost always done and more than happy to give you their stuff for free – they don’t want to see it again!

  • We call the bouncy seat the poop seat.. lets be realistic, that bouncy can go anywhere including the bathroom. I spent a lot of money on the moby wrap (which I swear by)…and it’s just a piece of fabric.

  • Someone commented that babies don’t need lotion. But some do. With my first and third I used it for the first few months, but with my second I had to use it until she was about a year. She had a mild case of eczema and the doctor recommended Aveno or Dove (didn’t have to be for babies). Couldn’t find a Dove that was fragrance free, so I went to Aveno and compared the regular one to the baby one and they looked to be both the same thing. The Baby one was slightly cheaper though (at least it was six years ago).

  • Um, no. You need some extra large swaddling blankets and some cloth diapers. Throw in an Ergo and you’re more than set for the first 6 months. Why bottles? Such disappointment in this article.

  • I bought an Excergen Temporal Artery Thermometor…because I was told NOT to take temps in the bottom by my peditrician and the staff at the hospital. It was kind of pricey $35, but you can take a temp while the baby sleeps w/o having to undress, move him etc. It's been a GREAT investment.

    I totally second the cloth diapers for burp cloths and any package of cheepy washcloths will do as well. Those are nice and small and fit in a corner of your bag.

    Another suggestion: when your baby gets cradle-cap…because that will happen, a bit of olive or vege oil masssaged into the scalp will do wonders over the expensive shampoos for such a condidtion.

    Finally, in regard to the onsies…never be afraid to just throw them away if they get too gross or you don't want to clean up the mess….seriously, just toss them. They're cheap enough to do that.

    • I don’t know why any health care professional would tell you that. The best and most accurate way to take a temperature on an infant is rectally. If it makes you squeamish, an axillary (armpit) temp is the next best option. I work in a pediatric hospital and rectal temperatures for infants are part of hospital policy. Both the American and Canadian Pediatric societies recommend rectal temperatures, and recommend against tympanic (ear) thermometers, because they are inaccurate on infants. You don’t need to spend more than 10 dollars on a quick read digital thermometer, which can be found at any pharmacy. Just make sure you label the one you are using for rectal temps.

  • I agree with everything!! So much stuff that I got for my first was totally a waste! Diaper Genie – please! They need to rename it "Stink can"!! We encountered financial difficulty after my second was born and we downsized considerably. My daughter always slept better in the pack and play anyway, so we sold the crib and she slept in that till she was 2! Money well spent there! Also, don't waste your $$ on double strollers unless you have twins…they are like piloting a yacht and hardly fit anywhere!

  • I'm another skip-the-bath-chair advocate. I just haul them into the bath or shower with me, get them all scrubbed up and then wrap them in a towel and pop them into a laundry basket on the outside of the tub while I take a quick suds of myself and hop out. My 3 boys all loved the shower w/ mom routine- something about the combination of warm water and snuggled up to mom made bath time less traumatic. Alternatively- kitchen sink baths.

  • Gone are the days when mothers would just leave their child in a blanket stuffed in a basket and go around the home doing their chores. Today you can have baby bouncer seats that are so stylish and sophisticated, yet still comfortable and safe for the child.

  • Loved all your recommendations, and personally I'd vouch for the Fisher Price Healthy Care Booster Seat instead of a separate high chair because it's cheap, easy to clean, and a huge space saver. You just strap it onto a chair you already have. It runs about $20 in stores, and is a great choice if you don't have an IKEA in your city (my unfortunate situation).

  • This is such a great post. Definitely useful information! Finding a clean and healthy detergent is also a good idea just for your own clothes too.

    I would also add Moses Baskets to this list. While they can only be used during the first few weeks of baby's birth, they allow you to safely place baby down in a comfortable little bed (aka portable crib) while you're in another room other than the nursery. I know they were SUPER helpful for me a couple of months ago when I would want to do laundry or cook something and I didn't want to leave my daughter in the other room.

    I bought a really cute Moses Basket at AnnaBean after your hat post!

  • I have to add, I absolutely loved long-sleeved onesies for the whole first year. Short sleeve ones are a necessity for warm days, but I love how the long sleeved ones are just the perfect amount of warmth for cool mornings/evenings…especially paired with little cotton pants, or for cold nights, paired with a nice cotton sleepsack- no blanket needed. 🙂 I also agree w/ the person who posted about the baby-bjorn style carriers
    ….I think they are used too early and place unnatural pressure on the baby's spine and hips. Ive read research somewhere on this. I think the thought is that they are probably ok for very short periods of time when the baby is naturally sitting up on his own anyway and is stronger in his musculature but that prolonged use and use on very small babies is not a good idea. If you think about it and compare the way you would hold your infant, either in a cradle hold or upright with one hand under the bottom and one hand on the back supporting the spine while he's laying kind of into your shoulder, you
    can sense how a carrier where they dangle their legs would offer a different type of support. (not a lecture, just some info and my thoughts) 🙂 That being said, I'm all for baby wearing, just make sure you read up a little on the different style slings and carriers out there. my son loved my sling, my daughter did NOT.

  • I love the list, but would add a correction to the COSTCO wipes – they are actually lik3 $16.99 for the box of 900, not $30. And, their diapers are the cheapest and super quality. I have used both their wipes and diapers for all my 3 kids!

  • Just thought I'd suggest Pure Lanolin instead of Vaseline. Its not as cheap, but it is inexpensive when you buy it from a soap making supply website and its WAY healthier for baby, for you, and for the enviroment. It does anything and everything vaseline can do, and more. (works wonders for baby rash, dry skin, nipples, wont clog porse like vaseline will, and its 100% natural.)
    No nasty chemicals, no mineral oil (seriously bad bad bad for your skin.) no petro based ingredients. You can get it for as cheap as 4.60 a pound (thats 16oz) if you buy from a soap supplier. It also works wonders on wool, to re-lanolize. Just an FYI that it isnt much more expensive AT ALL, stays on skin longer than vaseline, and its WAY healthier for everyone involved!! You dont have to buy a fancy cream, stick with the basics 🙂

  • Fantastic post! There are soooo many products on the market that want you to believe they are a must have. After having 3 kids, I have really learned what is necessary and what isn't.

    For all new moms and to be moms, this list is invaluable! And Costco wipes are hands down the best price around. They were on sale for $4.40 off a box a few weeks ago and I bought 12 cases. Can you say two kids in diapers?

  • It took me to get to my second child to totally agree with you. I would add an exersaucer as they get older and want more freedom, but for a baby you got it right!

  • A bath chair is definitely not what I would consider essential. What I recommend instead is 2 inches of water in the bottom of your tub and your baby will have a ball, I promise.

    Also, in my opinion, babies don't need lotion so skip that one too.

  • Great post, as usual. You never disappoint! I'm a new mom of an 11 week old and I'd agree with adding the 'Gerber 2 pack zip front sleep n play' outfits. Even in the summer it's great to have baby's little feet covered (with AC in home and car) and the zip front makes diaper changes super quick. Especially those 4am ones. They are super comfy too, and only about $14 for two.

  • Before I had my first son, someone suggested a giant, inflatable yoga ball (from any sporting goods store). This was hands down the best $19.99 I have ever spent. When your sweet, precious bundle of joy is screaming bloody murder, snuggle him up and bounce on the ball. The more upset he is, the harder you bounce. This worked to calm both of my kids down 99% of the time.

    Granted, I spent A LOT of time bouncing each of my two kids, but boy was the ball a lifesaver.

    btw, your website invariably makes me cackle every time I read it. San-Fran-Tastic!

  • Temporal thermometers are the best! Just swipe it across the forehead and its very accurate. The hospital I go to uses them too. I found mine on for $30 and amazon does a free shipping program for new moms.

  • Just found you and this cracked me the heck up. Great list!

    I just wanted to add that the gerber onesies tend to run really small, so stock up on bigger sizes. the 3-6 run about the same size as the carter's newborn. my son was out of them before he even wore them all.

  • I second the burp cloths, like Mamacita suggested. I've always used cloth diapers for this purpose, too. They're absorbant, durable and bleachable. You think if you're going to breastfeed that you'll never have anything to clean up. But nobody ever tells you that when baby feeds from one bewb, the other leaks like crazy and you either have to pinch it shut or wrap it in a cloth diaper.

  • Just make sure that if you're going to go the cloth diaper route that you do not use Vaseline or anything with zinc oxide. Vaseline and/or zinc oxide will coat the fibers and keep the diapers from absorbing wetness.

    In addition to shopping on Craigslist, Ebay and Kijiji…look for local area KidSwaps that are often advertised in Community Events section of your newspaper. I went to my first one last week and came home with 8 onesies and a handful of t-shirts , a terrific hat/shoe combo and a brand new cloth diaper for a measly $18 and all look brand new.

  • Be careful with the All Free & Clear. We use it on our and our baby's clothing and bedding and his skin is fine. We used it on our cloth diapers and it was diaper rash city in no time. We switched to Rockin' Green and have had no problems since then.

    Also, Vaseline has paraffin, which does not always agree with cloth diapers.

  • Good list, but instead of the ear thermometer, I recommend a temporal thermometer. You just swipe it across the forehead. Its the easiest, most accurate reading I've ever had, and after three kids I've been through just about every thermometer on the market. Definitely worth the $30 I paid for it!

  • Craigslist & Facebook swap groups have tons of baby equipment at low prices. You can always find a swing `that was never used` for a fraction of the cost of new. Also, I go garage saleing to areas that have young families in nice neighborhoods. Tons of great deals on new or nearly new cloths, toys, baby equipment for cheap. A Bumbo isn`t a necessity, but a $15 used bumbo looks exactly the same as a $60 new one. Also, don`t buy pink or girly stuff if you are planning on more kids…a pink stroller might be cute now, but you probably feel bad putting her little brother in it later.

  • I don't care, that bouncer is a GOD SEND and necessity!! When you need to get a shower and there is nobody there to help out bring it with you into the bathroom and shower up mama!
    Also I didn't like the newborn target diapers, but all the other sizes are freakin' awesome and cheap!!! So far no problems with sizes 2-3. Our babysitter swears by the target wipes too although I don't like them because they are thin (some people like thin so get on with your bad selves!) I think you get three refill packs for like $6.

    I still swear by the fancy french bath chair though…worth a splurge for me and my piece of mind!

  • One item missing from the list that I found essential was burp cloths. I didn't buy anything fancy, just a few packs of the most basic cloth diapers (see the Gerber 12 packs). Not everyone has a baby that spits up as much as mine did, but it's good to have something to protect your outfit (and baby's), just in case. I also used the cloths while breastfeeding for wiping up. Please tell me I'm not the only Mom that sometimes made a mess of my baby or the general area around us when switching baby from one side to another! (I figure it's kind of like sitting in the first couple of rows at a SeaWorld show, you might want to wear those nifty little ponchos, or in this case, have a couple of burp cloths on hand).

  • Good list- although there was one thing that really stood out to me. I would never suggest a carrier like that to someone. They've been nicknamed "crotch danglers" because that's exactly what they do- dangle the baby from their crotch. It's really unhealthy for their hip and spine development. Sure, you can't beat the price at $15, but I'm willing to pay a little more for something that's not going to potentially hurt my baby. If you can't afford to pay more for a carrier, you could always make your own Moby or ring sling- there are lots of tutorials online. Or check ebay, craigslist, consignment shops, you get the drift.

    Other than that, good list!!! We love the Up and Up diapers here whenever we're not using cloth. 🙂

  • Great post. So much baby stuff is useful but not really necessary. And so much more is a complete waste of space and money. That being said, I would cut the bitch who tried to tell me my "My Lil Lamb" swing was a luxury and not a necessity.

    Oh and Gerber 3 pack sleep and plays- they have zippers not snaps which I found very useful in the middle of the night.

  • The cheap carrier is AWESOME, I have one. Its a godsend. Also though, ripping up an old sheet and making a wrap worked when he was newborn (I called it the new womb, put it in there he went right to sleep) but now that he want to interact he loooves the carrier he can face frontwards in too. And $15 is a can't beat em price!

    Bouncy seat- awesome. It was totally a baby trap when he was littler, he'd start to wake up but end up gently bouncing himself back to sleep! Hehe

    Aaaannnd Up and Up diapers are the BEST I've tried. I live in an apartment with no washer so cloth wasn't really the best option and with Up and Up we haven't had as many blow outs (theres nothing you can do sometimes, if its launching up the back it is launching up the back), no rashes, and they don't start to dissolve in the front if he sleeps longer then 4hours like Luvs did.

    This is an awesome list. I really want the cloth highchair. Right now kiddo is eating in his bumbo (also a must have, register for it :))

  • Great post! I'm due with my first in about a month and trying to decide what we actually NEED to have on hand. Thanks for the info.

  • VASELINE is so great! It also helps with the tarry newborn poop from sticking to the baby's bum. That way your not scrubbing his bum every change.
    The little seat looks awesome, too. I've never seen that and will look into it!
    Thanks for the great article!

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