The Ultimate Guide To Shopping For Your Newborn

If you are newly expecting, congratulations! You must be wondering when to start buying baby stuff, and how much baby stuff you really need for your growing family. Enjoy this ultimate guide to shopping for your newborn from a mom of 3.

Having a baby can be so overwhelming. You must have so many questions if this is your first time through.

Now that your kid’s due date is approaching (yay! ), it’s time to dust off your list of baby essentials and head to the shop (or computer). But before you go all out on nice-to-haves, be sure you have all you require.

For months, you’ve undoubtedly been aching to go to the store counter (or the web) and start buying baby items (it’s hard to resist those too-cute outfits and toys), but rising pregnancy costs (not to mention saving for your baby-to-be) may be putting your shopping spree on pause.

Make sure you learn the inside scoop on some infant must-haves and how to make the most of them before you buy or get items you won’t need or can’t utilize. These purchasing suggestions might help you save money (and a few trips to the dreaded return counter with your new little bundle in tow).

I want to help you through the process of shopping for your baby and helping you determine what stuff you need and when to start buying baby stuff during pregnancy.

(This post contains affiliate links. Our full disclosure policy is really boring, but you can find it here.)

When Should You Start Buying Stuff For Baby

It’s so exciting to find out you are pregnant and you might have the itch to start running off to the store, making your Amazon registry, and telling all your friends and family that they should start saving up to help you buy all the things you need for your little one.

But before you go and get super excited, you should wait until you are around 13 weeks pregnant before making any purchases for your baby.

The risk for miscarriage is high in the first trimester and it decreases as the trimesters go on. (sorry, I know it’s a tough topic.)

It is not recommended to start telling anyone about your pregnancy until you get the 13-week mark as well. So once you reveal to your friends and family what is going on, then you can start to purchase your baby stuff.

This isn’t a must-follow rule, you can start purchasing baby things when you find out you are pregnant…I always did! It’s just too exciting.

I get it, it’s such an exciting time and waiting is SO HARD!

Just keep in mind the risks of miscarriage before the 13-week mark.

  • Once you hit that 13-week mark, you should go out and purchase a baby glider, because it will be very handy to have during your pregnancy, and is also one of the more expensive items on your baby list so it’s best to get it out of the way.
  • Pregnancy Planner: People buy planners for many aspects of their lives, and a pregnancy planner that informs you when things will happen, what to expect, and how to prepare is an essential! The Oh, Baby pregnancy planner is the one that I suggest. This pregnancy planner includes weekly pregnancy tracking sheets, baby registry checklists, how to prepare your house for a baby, questions to ask on your hospital tour, choosing the appropriate physician, infant care, and much more!
  • Pregnancy Notebook: If you enjoy journaling, get a pregnancy journal to keep track of all the exciting (and not so fun) aspects of your pregnancy!
  • If you aren’t currently taking a prenatal vitamin, start taking one now. I have a few favourites, but talk to your doctor to be sure you’re getting the proper one for your requirements.

What You Should Buy When You Find Out You’re Pregnant

When you find out you’re expecting, you’ll want to purchase a few items to help you chronicle your pregnancy and prepare for what’s to come.

Baby Bump Stickers: Make sure you have adorable baby bump stickers if you intend to snap photographs every week of your pregnancy (which I strongly recommend because it’s enjoyable to look back on).

Do Your Research

Read up on items before you buy to locate the model that’s best for you when it comes to buying devices with a lot of bells and whistles and price tags to match (think baby monitors). Are you undecided about whether you should wait for the high-tech model or accept the low-tech model?

In addition to comparison shopping, go out to your new mom (and dad) network and ask them for their thoughts on their favourite items (no information is more important than that from a parent who has been there).

Buying Baby Stuff Early

Many cultures believe it is not a good idea to purchase ANY baby items until the baby is born. In fact, many cultures don’t even bother gifting anything to the mother if the baby has not been born yet.

The reason being is the risks of miscarriage. Imagine having a baby shower and receiving all these wonderful baby things and then losing your baby before they come into the world?

The heartbreak is life-changing. You can never go back from that.

If you feel like it is bad luck to purchase baby items before birth, then you can avoid doing so. It’s not unheard of that’s for sure.

The only thing we can tell you is that you should go with your gut. If you feel like purchasing baby items the moment you find out about your pregnancy, you can do so.

Purchasing Baby Items Too Late

Technically you can’t purchase baby items too late.

After the baby is born, you can send your significant other out to purchase all the baby items you may need for that day / week / month.

In fact, purchasing baby items as you go can help you decrease the amount of money you spend on your little one.

You may find out that you don’t actually need a baby bath because you are comfortable bathing your baby in the sink or in the bath with you.

You may find out that you don’t need a baby swing because your baby is ok with sleeping on its own.

While there are some items that you must purchase right away, they can be purchased on the day of birth or the day you come home from the hospital.

Here are the bare minimum essentials I recommend you purchase for your little one.

  1. Car Seat (Cannot leave the hospital without this)
  2. Clothing
  3. Receiving Blankets
  4. Carrier
  5. Bath (Tub, cloths, lotion, and soap)
  6. Thermometer, Tylenol
  7. Nail Clippers, Hairbrush
  8. Bottles
  9. Diapers (cloth or disposable) and wipes!
  10. Playpen (in place of crib and bassinet)
  11. Vaseline

You can purchase your car seat in the last few weeks of pregnancy if you wish to wait, or you can purchase it before leaving the hospital. You will not be able to leave the hospital without a car seat.

Things To Consider When Buying Baby Gear

If you are finding out the gender or having a baby shower you may want to consider these things:

  1. If you are finding out the gender, then you may want to hold off purchasing certain baby items such as clothes and nursery-themed items.
  2. If you are not finding out the gender there are a lot of gender-neutral nursery ideas out there. Remember that your baby can wear any color clothing, so if you purchase many blue items and you happen to have a girl, your baby can still wear these clothes.
  3. If you have a baby shower you may want to wait and see what your friends and family purchase for you so you don’t spend your own money on these things.
  4. Your baby shower should be around the 30-week mark, so it’s a long time to wait for baby things if you’re not so patient like many mothers, like me!
  5. If there is something you really really need for your baby, then you should go ahead and make that purchase. If you happen to get another version of it, that’s ok. You can return it.
  6. You can have your baby shower after the baby is born as well, there is no hard and fast rule about having a baby shower before the birth.

When Do You Need To Buy Diapers?

Personally, I bought diapers as I needed them. I had just had one package of size 1 and newborn on hand before the birth simply because I didn’t know how large the baby was going to be. Some babies don’t even use newborn size diapers.

My third baby is still in size 2 diapers at age 8 months, while my other 2 were out of size 2 by month 2. Babies are all so different.

You might be curious as to how many diapers do you need and when you should purchase them.

You may be given diapers at your baby shower. Many people choose to buy newborn and size 1 diapers for new moms. You might also be receiving a few gift cards from stores that sell diapers, so you don’t need to stock up on too many diapers before birth.

The thing about diapers is, you don’t know the size of your baby so you don’t know how many diapers you will need. While there are some great information charts out there to use as guidelines, you may find yourself frustrated with purchasing too many diapers in a certain size because your little one is growing faster than the chart suggested.

At the very least you should have 1 pack of newborn diapers and 1 pack of size 1 diapers on hand.

You should also purchase baby wipes before the birth, or as soon as the baby is born.

Here is a guide on the best baby wipes. They are all different, so it is worth a read. You don’t want to waste money on wipes that break often and leave you with poop on your hands.

You may want to take a look at the storage in your nursery, or your bedroom if you’re not using a nursery and figure out how much space you have to store all the baby things and extra diapers.

Storing baby stuff before the baby arrives is actually a challenge. Most of the baby items are bulky and oddly shaped, so it’s difficult to stick in a closet.

When To Start Buying Nursery Furniture

Setting up the nursery is so much fun, so when should you start buying all the items for your nursery?

We recommend waiting to start in the nursery until you find out the gender of your baby. If you aren’t finding out the gender, then you can choose a neutral colour theme.

We do recommend not starting on the nursery before the 13-week mark, as exciting as it all is. You can start planning the nursery before that point though.

You do not need to have the nursery set up before the baby arrives, but it might make your life easier to have it all ready to go for the birth.

If you have the nursery all ready to go, then you have one less thing on your mind while dealing with the postpartum healing and new baby needs.

Stocking Up On Baby Clothes

Baby clothes are so cute!

That being said, we do not recommend purchasing too many baby clothes at first. You may receive many clothing pieces during your baby shower and your baby may have an abundance of newborn clothing on hand.

Your friends and family might also have hand-me-downs to give to you, so you should wait and see if anyone offers clothing before spending money on it.

Many Facebook marketplace groups and Kijiji also have many bulk second-hand clothing lots which they sell for reasonable prices.

You will also find out how often your baby needs a change after the birth of your little one.

If you have a baby with bad reflux, you may need to purchase more outfits than usual. Your laundry may also be a daily practice if you have fewer clothes and a really messy baby. By the way, if you do have a baby that spits up a lot, I suggest getting some drool bibs, these are the ones I used.

On the other hand, you may have a baby who doesn’t need a change very often, and then you will be stuck with a closet full of brand new baby clothes that your little one didn’t get a chance to wear.

It’s a good idea to buy baby things ahead of time, especially if there’s a nice bargain. You may start buying baby clothing anytime you want whether you know the gender of your baby or even if you intend to wait until the baby is delivered.

I wouldn’t stock up on baby clothing. Only one of my children spent more than a week in newborn clothing. You should start shopping for baby clothing at the 3-month size.

You’ll need the following items for each infant clothing size grouping: 0-3 months, 3-6 months, 6-9 months, and 9-12 months:

  • 10-12 sleepers
  • 10-12 pairs of pants/shorts
  • 15-20 onesies
  • 15-20 pairs of socks

Are You Having A Baby Shower

We have a LOT of friends, family, and coworkers in our lives. I (thought) I’d finished my baby registry necessities, but I kept finding myself having to add more after each baby shower.

I’m not saying this to brag, but rather to encourage you to consider how much baby gear you won’t have to buy. Also, consider what baby items you can go without.

When you’re registering for baby items, keep in mind the entire first year. What are the essential baby essentials for the first year and beyond?

Don’t go wild buying baby stuff before you have a good sense of how much you’ll be spending on your own.

Are You Finding Out Gender

We didn’t find out the gender of our children until baby number three. We had a great time with the current surprise but decided we couldn’t wait for the third.

If you aren’t sure what gender you are, make sure you sign up for anything gender-neutral. Even after the baby was delivered, folks continued to gift us gender-specific baby clothing.

If you’re still unsure about your baby’s gender, you can register for gender-specific baby items.

However, keep in mind that your first child may be a male, followed by a girl. Because you don’t want to have to buy completely new baby gear for kid #2, I always advocate choosing gender-neutral baby gear.

Tips For Shopping For Baby Stuff

Check Your Previously Loved Baby Gadgets

It’s not a problem to purchase baby gear and gadgets second-hand, but you should do a check on the items before accepting or purchasing your second-hand items. The gear might be safe, but it could also be on a recall list or is no longer safe by today’s safety standards. Search your baby items on Consumer Product Safety Commission for the latest information.

Be Selective With Newborn Sizes

You can’t stop yourself from buying those nice khakis for your kid? If you get the six-month size instead of the three-month size, you’ll get more use out of them. Just double-check that it’ll be appropriate for the season. Many babies outgrow their six-month clothes before they become six months old. While too-large clothes may be pulled up to suit your little fashionista (and then rolled down again a few months later), a too-tight outfit will result in an unhappy baby.

Shop For Easy Outfits

Your child isn’t begging for designer clothes just yet, which is a good thing since when it comes to those adorable outfits, less is more (especially during those first few fumble-fingered months of parenthood). Instead, seek snaps or zip-up one-piece suits. When you’re sleep-deprived or in a hurry, those zippers will definitely save you (or your spouse) the aggravation of lining up all those small snaps. And don’t buy too many onesies; you’ll probably get enough during your baby shower.

Double Up On Diaper Changing Stations

Even if you’re trying to cut back on big-ticket products, setting up a second diaper station doesn’t have to be expensive. All you’ll need is an additional diaper caddy stuffed with diaper supplies (diapers, wipes, and cream) concealed in a living room corner, as well as an extra changing mat hidden under the sofa. You may save time (and worry) by not racing back to the baby’s nursery — after all, Mommy’s Law states diaper blowouts happen more when you’re ready to leave the house.

Research Baby Carriers and Wraps

You may be thinking that you won’t be wearing your baby when you go out for walks but baby carriers are more valuable than just walking outside. Baby carriers and wraps are often used inside the home to help calm the baby while leaving the parent’s hands-free to look after other children or finish stuff up inside the home. A front carrier is also really easy to use when you are out shopping and saves you from having a bulky car seat sitting in the shopping cart taking up a lot of room.

Here are some baby carrier resources for you to look into:

Don’t Skip The Bouncy Seat

For new parents, there are lots of gadgets and gizmos to choose from, but a baby bouncer is a must-have for on-the-go moms. What’s the allure of these supple, cushioned seats? Consider renting a second seat (or, if you have the money, purchasing one) if you reside in a house with many floors. You may then leave one in the living room and one in your bedroom, sparing yourself (and your back!) the trouble of carrying the baby and the bouncy seat up and down the stairs. You don’t have the money? That’s why there are baby shower registries!

Some Items Can Be Purchased Later

When you thinking about buying stuff for your new baby, you may want to throw everything onto your baby registry list, and that’s totally fine. Just don’t be stressed out about purchasing everything you need for the first year before the baby is born.

Baby proofing items, high chairs, bouncy centers and baby toys can be purchased later on, as you need them. High chairs aren’t really needed for 4-6 months after birth and bouncers aren’t safe for babies who can’t hold their head up yet, so you can save space in your home and purchase these items later on.

Strollers And Travel Systems

I personally liked to have my stroller as a travel system so that I had the car seat all ready to go. I really liked being able to wheel my baby home after birth in the car seat/stroller combo, rather than carrying the car seat through the hospital.

You may not feel like jogging after birth for a few months, so a jogging stroller may not be required at all. Babies don’t need to be in an umbrella stroller until 6 months at the earliest, so there is no need to purchase one before birth. I actually never really used an umbrella stroller until the toddlers years (2 and up.)

What You Should Not Buy For Baby Until After Birth (or Ever)

You don’t know what your baby is really going to need after birth beyond the essential items, so there are a few things you can totally skip out on.

There are even items on the market that are a simple waste of money, completely useless and you simply don’t need them for your little one.

Crib Bumpers: These are dangerous and should not be used on a baby crib. YES, they do look beautiful, but they are not needed and can suffocate your little one.

Baby Formula: You may end up breastfeeding or formula feeding your baby. Doesn’t matter which choice you go for, honestly, fed is best. The reason you shouldn’t purchase formula before the baby arrives is that you don’t know if the baby will be ok with the type of formula you chose. Their little tummies are so sensitive and they may need a specific type of formula to stay healthy.

Newborn Baby Shoes: There is no need for this. Newborn babies do not walk. While newborn baby shoes are pretty and sweet, they are useless and probably uncomfortable for your little one.

When Is It Too Late To Shop For The Baby

Is there ever a good moment to start buying for your baby? YES!

By 32-34 weeks, you should have acquired all of the baby’s essentials. Many expectant ladies hold their baby showers around this time.

Use your baby registry discounts to finish purchasing the items you need from your baby registry once you’ve had your baby shower(s) and know what you have and what you need.

Setting Your Budget

In the same way that space is a problem, consider your budget for baby gear purchases. If you haven’t already done so, think about how much money you have to spend on baby items before starting your baby registry.

Don’t buy high-end baby equipment if it doesn’t match your lifestyle or demands. At consignment sales, you might be able to locate new or lightly used baby equipment.

When To Buy The Breast Pump

If you intend to nurse your child, make sure you select the appropriate breast pump. Allow plenty of time to study breast pumps and determine which ones may be covered by your health insurance.

Once you’ve received your breast pump, make sure you read up on how to use it and watch some instructional videos on how to adjust the settings.

So, When do You Start Buying Baby Stuff?

Start purchasing baby items between 13-30 weeks of your pregnancy. You may want to wait to purchase baby items until you know the gender of your baby, and until your baby shower is finished to avoid having too many duplicates. Nursery furniture can be purchased after the 13-week mark and diapers and clothing will most likely be gifted at your baby shower. Don’t buy too many diapers in too many sizes to void wasting money. You will require a car seat before the baby is born so you can leave the hospital with your newborn, which you can purchase when the baby is born, or a few weeks before the expected birth.

More Information On Baby Items You May Want To Know

(This post contains affiliate links. Our full disclosure policy is really boring, but you can find it here.)