East Bay Momma

A Frugal Momma Providing a Rich Childhood

The Baby Stuff We Actually Use

During my second trimester I compiled a list of all the things to purchase for baby.  The list was based on a list from my healthcare provider and from lists in various parenting books (What To Expect When You Are Expecting and The Contented Little Baby).

I thought it would be fun to review the list and let you know what I actually have been using in order to try and save YOU some CASH!

My original list follows and it is broken down into zones in the house.

Please excuse the comments I made to myself back when I was pregnant about when and where to purchase what – they are specific to my situation (for instance you will see REG a lot which meant I registered on amazon.com for that item).

My comments on whether it was useful or not after four months of mommyhood(on a budget) are in green:

Kitchen Items:

Week+ worth of dinners frozen, dry cereals (by end of December) (Trader Jo’s)  Definitely a great idea.  The bigger your freezer and pantry the more I would stock up on complete meals.  Someone was supposed to plan a meal chain (when your friends alternate bringing you a meal everyday for the first few weeks) and she flaked.  Thank goodness my mother was here and cooked lovely meals for us.  You are so busy with the baby and think only of her needs you forget to eat and drink fluids which is so important to your health and well-being (not to mention breast-feeding).

Paper plates, cups, utensils for first few weeks  Since my mother was here and we moved one week before the baby was born to a new home that had a dish washer we didn’t do this.  But, I would highly recommend it if you don’t have additional help beyond your hubby/partner (trust me they will be so busy helping you they will not want to be doing dishes).

REG Steam Bottle Sterilizer (not the microwave kind) – register for baby shower – not as expensive as i thought – really think this will be uber convenient – at bed bath and beyond LISA P  Used this everyday multiple times a day for the first few months.  Really worth the splurge as it is a huge time saver and uber convenient.  Of course, it isn’t a necessity as you can boil your bottles to sanitize them too.

Emergency Supply of Water (Trade Jo’s)  We live in an earthquake zone so it is important for us to always have around, especially with a baby who is fed equal parts breast milk and formula due to mommy’s medical conditions.

Month’s worth of cleaning supplies, paper towels, toilet paper (by end of December) (Safeway or Costco)  Yup, have this on hand, not that you will be cleaning anything for awhile…

Baby detergent – khulan said to register for it; someone else said supermarked is fine  We use Dreft which is in a pink bottle from the supermarket.  Baby has my sensitive skin and she has had no reactions.

Trader Jo or safeway select frozen hor d’oeurves/dessets, coffee, etc for guests  Okay, so this is a little bit over the top but a few tubes of cookie dough in the fridge was really nice to have when guests came and the hubby could easily bake this up for them (not that you should be entertaining – they should be bringing you food – it is just nice to have for months two and three when things settle down!!)

REG Freezer breast milk bags – khulan said try to find bpa-free bags I would wait on this and buy this after the baby is born if you need them.  I ended up not needing them.

REG Five 8oz and three 4oz Bottles – brand=”AVENT” wide-necked design with Slow Flow nipple; also have Medium Flow nipple for eight weeks on  Great buy.  I only got the 80z and they have worked wonderfully.  No colic here!  Our baby hates the medium flow nipple even at four months so you might want to just get the slow flow (stage 1) until she is ready for them and to spread out your money purchases.

Extra long plastic handle bottle brush – bottle rack has one, probably don’t need a bigger one than that  I ended up having one in the upstairs bedroom bathroom as well as one in the kitchen.  I highly recommend a similar set-up if you have several areas of the house you will be feeding her in, for the convenience (remember you are feeding every two hours at first and convenience is key…)

REG Nipple brush Good buy.  Mine came as part of the bottle brush.

Electric Bottle Warmer (if we can find one cheap – our hot water takes forever to heat up) LISA P  Someone gave us one and frankly we rarely used it.

Baby bottle rack (from Liz!!)  Convenient but not necessary.

High chair – Mom shipping  At four months she is just ready for this.  Most babies start solids even later so if you can definitely wait on this purchase.  

Bibs – have three We are just beginning to use these at four months

Breastfeeding tea  Optional but I did drink gallons of it.

Vitamin D Karlton drops for boobie from Whole Foods  Must have.  Baby doesn’t get enough from your breast milk.  You just add it to a bottle each day.

Nursery Items:

Poop and Pee Log  Definitely helped when we were trying to talk with the doctor about her food and under-weight issues.

REG – Large air cleaner (double as a white noise machine)  fabulous but not a necessity of course.  

REG – Crib – sturdy enough for bouncing toddler  – ikea has consumer reports crib that turns into toddler bed – perhaps ask for this as a group gift at baby shower?  At four months I am just beginning to think about using this crib.  It is an amazing crib but we ended up co-sleeping (one of the greatest pleasures of my life is snuggling with her) and also having a bassinet by the bed.

REG – Crib mattress – 52,27.5,6

100% cotton Bed linens (washed by end of December) – no crib bumper for the infant!  (could cause SIDS) but can have one for toddlers – possibly from IKEA – WAIT TIL RECEIVE CRIB

  • REG waterproof mattress pad – book said flannel lined one is cooler  The mattress is water resistant so we are skipping this
  • three stretch cotton fitted bottom sheets (not the towel type the jersey type) Necessity
  • ????six flat smooth cotton top sheets (no flannel) (double as draw sheets)ASK MOM – goin to use diapers to catch spit up-no that could get bunched up  Do not use
  • REG three cotton, small weave cellular blankets  Necessity
  • two warm blankets  (done – mom bringing) Necessity

Changing Mat (kind that sets up on top of dresser)  Necessity (we couldn’t afford an actual changing station – you can change her on the bed with a changing pad anyways fyi or do what we did and turn her dresser top into a changing station)

REG Pads to cover changing mat Necessity for us

Bowl for sponge baths – sure we have something to use Necessity

Baby Sponge (use sea sponge) Ended up using cotton balls for the first few weeks and then regular washcloths when she began baths

Diaper pail/trash can (from the service) Necessity.  We got the cheapest one they had and it is fine.  I have to wipe it out about once a month but it isn’t too stinky actually.  Lots of folks covet a diaper genie which is superior for the anti-stink.  That would be a splurge item you might want to register for.

Diapers Service  People gifted this to us for the first four months and it was heavenly.  We tried two.  The first was a cloth diaper service which was great because the baby always tells you when she is wet so she never gets diaper rash.  You change a lot of diapers though.  The second was a compostable disposable service which was just fabulous.  Both help save the landfills!  We have three more weeks left with the service and then we have to make a decision about whether to go the cheapest route (cloth diapers), continue the compostable service despite it being about 30 dollars extra a month or just shop for diaper sales which isn’t as green (enviromentally-wise and money-wise) as cloth diapers

Diaper covers for cloth diapers (received from the service)

Diaper Rash medicine (Liz giving us) Burt’s Bees works great.  Nice to have on hand.

REG Diaper rash moisturizing cream (only if doc recommends) Did not use

Baby wipes (from the service)  Necessity

Wipes warmer LISA P  Never used – don’t waste your money

Baby hangers (Liz is giving us)  You definitely need these.  I have only had to buy two outfits but if you do buy clothes ask to keep the hangers.  Also, a post on craigslist or a mommy list might turn up some free ones.

Breast-feeding chair (straight back, wide, not rocking) prefer with way to put feet up  I never got one.  I breast feed primarily in bed or on the couch.

Black-out curtains for the nursery and parents bedroom (full length, fully lined) T giving us  Really like having these.  Helps with baby’s naps

Lamp that has a dimmer on it  So useful for late night diaper changes 

???  Baby mobile  Baby loves these on her bassinet and rocker!

REG – MY BREAST FRIEND INSTEAD Breast feeding pillow “boppie” (with removable, machine-washable cover) – mom found one at thrift store and is sewing covers for us  Use it frequently 

REG Disposable round breast pads (cheaper ones not good and waste of $) According to Saruul & Young, “Lansinoh” pads are the best  Wait to buy – I didn’t use these 

Burping cloth or cloth diapers for eating (4-6 of them) – Liz said pack of cloth diapers is cheap and works well – from diaper service Our baby isn’t a big spit-upper but you will definitely want a few on hand, especially when the drooling of teething begins

REG Breast feeding cover – saw Rika using  Not a necessity but I used this a lot when we had guests over, feeding in the (parked) car, etc

Newborn Clothes:  Hopefully you can hook up with a mommy whose baby is a few months ahead of yours because I was inundated with hand me downs.  It is wonderful!  Since babies grow so quickly they were all in great condition (not stained, torn, etc.)  I have only purchased two outfits for her because they were cute, not because we needed them!

Eight one-piece, snap-crotch onesies (wears everyday; 100% cotton; light colors because will fade; snap kind only not the tie kind)  – 14 long sleeve and 17 short sleeve onesies for newborn  I feel strongly that you don’t really need the snap-crotch ones or the short sleeve ones.  Our baby wears the front snap onesies everyday.  Even if it is hot out we have her in a light cotton long-sleeve one so that she doesn’t get sun-burned.  And, be sure to get the ones with the feet.  Socks can actual be bad for the baby’s foot development so the loose onesies with feet in them are perfect.  I would get at least a dozen of these if not more.  The ones that snap at the crotch aren’t baby’s favorite because they have to go over her head so they get used less often.

Eight tshirts that snap in front for before umbilical cord falls off  Our baby didn’t wear these even though we had them.  The long sleeve onesies sufficed.

Six sleepers (100% cotton; simpler design the better; no ties)   ***keep in original packaging with store receipts until baby is born, then wash  (LIz bought us two and Christina gave us 2)  Necessity but four is fine.

Four day outfits (80% to 100% cotton; easy to change baby)   * people will probably give us these * ask for sizes about 3 months  – Kelly giving us a bag of girl clothes; Christina too  Don’t buy outfits unless you want to.  You will be inundated with cute, impractical new and used baby clothing.

3 Sweaters (NO WOOL!)   ***keep in original packaging with store receipts until baby is born, then wash (have one and lots of sweaters/hoodies)  Necessity

1 Snowsuit – at least two sizes too big; no fur on the hood; no dangling ribbons; snaps not zippers  – Mom got it!  Necessity for a winter baby in a cold climate.  We had one snowsuit and two fuzzy full body outwear pieces

3 Pairs of socks (cotton; no shoes as can damage their soft bones)   ***keep in original packaging with store receipts until baby is born, then wash  Definitely

2 Hats – one sun hat with a brim; cotton caps and one fleece ***keep in original packaging with store receipts until baby is born, then wash.  i have one cotton cap. 1 knit. 1 crochette  Necessity.  You need way more than two hats.  I would have at least five or so in varying sizes.  Keeping a hat on her head is of the upmost importance to keeping her warm when she is so little.

REG 2 pairs of mittens – cotton  ***keep in original packaging with store receipts until baby is born, then wash  No need – your snowsuit and outerwear will have these built in.  People gave us the light ones for her because babies supposedly scratch their faces with their nails but we didn’t really have that problem and many onesies have those built in too.  Save your money.

3 receiving blankets – 100% cotton (for swaddling for sleeping)   ***keep in original packaging with store receipts until baby is born, then wash Mom  Our baby was a houdini and swaddling never worked except for a swaddler with velcro that we were given.  I recommend 2 blankets and one velcro swaddler.

1 lightweight jacket   ***keep in original packaging with store receipts until baby is born, then wash Necessity

1 going home from the hospital special outfit – T pick out?  I was emergency admitted so we didn’t have this prepared and I wish we had!  Do it!

Bathroom Items:

2 Baby washcloth 100% cotton (washed by end of December) – we can just use our washcloths  Nice to have but you could just wash yours in baby detergent and use that

2 Baby towels 100% cotton (washed by end of December) – khulan said be sure to get with a hood!  Same as above.  Love having the baby kind with the hood though.

REG Baby Oil  We never use it

Baby Wash  Khulan said: I was going for expensive and organic stuff. But changed my mind after a few people said good old Johnson & Johnson worked better than the expensive stuff they had. MOM  Plain water is fine for the first few months unless baby is super dirty

Baby Shampoo MOM  Plain water is fine for the first few months

REG Baby Brush  Still haven’t used it

REG Bath seat for newborns  Necessity.  The bathroom sink was a slippery, dangerous experiment.  We promptly bought a baby tub with a newborn insert.  It is elevated to help with mommy and daddy’s backs.  I highly recommend buying a good one.  Baby loves her bath!

Baby Nail Scissors – Liz has xtra  Necessity

REG Nasal bulb syringe for stuffy noses – recommended by Kaiser – ask mom and liz  Necessity if you can make it work.  We got a combo pack that has a saline solution to help soften the boogers.  I recommend that.

REG Wipes for eye/nose – ask Liz about these I remember she LOVED them  Didn’t get and haven’t used.  I just use tissues.

Sterile cotton balls (for diaper changes)  I don’t use them for diaper changes but we did use them to bath baby when she was in her first few weeks

rubbing alcohol and cotton swabs (for cleaning around the umbilical cord stump)  Used water and cotton swabs, not alcohol.

REG Rectal thermometer  Our health provider gave us one for under the arm.  Either way a necessity.

Infant acetaminophen drops  Necessity.  Have these on hand.

sanitary pads for mom  Necessity for the first six weeks (no one talks about this stuff…)

tylenol (acetaminaphin) for mom  Used the prescription meds the hospital gave because I had complications but probably a good idea for you to have on hand.

Misc Items:

Baby books – on their way from barnes and nobles  I highly recommend What To Expect The First Year, the American Pediatric Association’s book Caring for your Baby and Young Child and Contented Little Baby Book.  Library is cheapest!

REG BPA-free teethers  Our baby is four months and she still hasn’t shown much interest in these yet but we have both the front and back kind from Avent as well as the “Sophie” giraffe teether that is all the rage.

Nipple cream (only if needed-try just milk at first) – lactation center said to start using now  I didn’t need to use this.  

undecided-Steam cleaner for floors/furniture/rugs so no chemicals or find out where to rent one  I bought a shark steamer but really I think a good old fashioned scrub of the floors will be better when baby is crawling.  Save your money!

Baby book – thanks Mom!  Necessity.  You want to record all those “firsts” for your baby.

REG Two cherry-shaped (not flat) nipple pacifiers (make sure not toxic plastic) – Saruul suggested ones with clip-on strings, but I think you can buy the clip-ons separately.  Necessity.  We use Avent 0-3mos BPA-free.  We bought a little clip-on device separately for about five dollars which is great from when she needs the pacifier and we aren’t at home.  

Stroller (sun canopy, rain cover, head support cushion, storage area, swivel wheels, lightweight) – Liz providing: one vintage fancy one and one light travel version  We never use the fancy vintage one and we ended up buying our own stroller.  We opted for a 12lb, quick fold option with a cup holder that has been fantastic.  Only disadvantage is that the sunshade isn’t large enough so baby often has to wear her sunhat.  Don’t forget to buy the rain cover.  It is great for high winds too.

REG: Car Seat with base (large side wings, one pull harness, easy buckle, sunshade, head support pillow, replacement cover)  (kelly giving us too)

Least Toxic 2011 Car Seats:

  • Infant Seat: Chicco KeyFit 30 in Limonata, Graco Snugride 35 in Laguna Bay & Combi Shuttle 33 in Cranberry Noche
  • Convertible Carseat: Graco Comfort Sport in Caleo, Graco MyRide 65 in Chandler and Streamer, Safety 1st OnSide Air in Clearwater, and Graco Nautilus Elite 3-in-1 in Gabe
  • Booster Seat: Graco Turbo Booster in Anders

Snap-n-Go stroller for car seat (Check out second hand stores like Chloe’s after we buy the carseat) _ try to get from thrift store after get carseat!  We ended up not using the snap and go carseat. For me it was easier to cuddle her and carry her around myself then carry her in a bulky carseat.  I think a lot of mothers like them because then they won’t wake up the baby when transferring from the car but this was never really an issue for us.

Thank you cards and stamps  This is key.  You get tons of stuff even after the baby shower.

Breast pump  Necessity.  I got one for free from a neighbor.  I ended up renting one from our health provider because they said it was so much better but it never made a difference in the amount I pumped.

REG Breast pump replacement kit – order after breast feeding class  You only need this if someone is giving you a used pump.

Pack and Play (really want this.  doubles as a play pen.  encourages comfort when traveling.  try not to get new)  We got this used but in good condition.  Still haven’t used it yet and we’ve already been on a two week trip out of state.

Two sheets for Pack and Play (toys r us) – wait to see if we use it  Haven’t used this yet.

Bouncy chair (sturdy, removable/washable cover, head support cushion for newborn)- also KELLY giving us  I accidentally donated this before we got to use this.  So wish we had had it but it isn’t a necessity.  Would have been convenient for putting her down in the kitchen since we didn’t have the removable infant carseat that many people use when they needs their hands free.  We put her swing (see next item) in the kitchen instead.

REG Swing (used only. mom said i loved this)  Invaluable!  She still uses it all the time.  Baby’s has a mobile above it and some soothing sound effects and music as an extra bonus.  Register for this!

Nursing bras (Two – one before baby and one after) – fitted at Kaiser and can purchase from them  I do use mine but only have one.

Black and white and brightly colored books, especially ones with faces – We read everyday and she loves her books.  We got most of them at a second hand store.

REG Play gym (4-6 weeks) with blanket or mat below  She loves this!  You can get it used to save money.

Excersaucer!  At four months she is only now using this but it is pediatrician recommended and so fun to watch her move about in it.

REG Soft rattles (6-8 weeks)  She loves holding these but only starting about the third month.  Also buy or register for BPA-free toys that she can reach for, spin, turn, shake, etc three months on.  You will love watching her play with these but you may want to hold off until she developmentally ready for them and then take her to a store and see what she reaches for (that’s what I did).

REG Lots of baby/kids music – music boxes for her room; have 1 baby clash cd; need more baby/kid music -T got  I highly recommend baby cds for the car and the music boxes for diaper changes.

REG Swim outfit (enroll in classes 8-12 weeks)  Wait on this.  I can’t find a class for her in our area until six months.

REG Bouncer hangs from door frame (20-24 weeks)  We have not gotten this yet.  She is only four months old.

REG baby toothbrush for cleaning in morning and bedtime routine @ 6-9months  She is still too young for this.

REG 1 baby cup (sippy i guess) (introduce @ 7 months) BPA free  Purchased it but she is still too young.

2-3 baby spoons for feeding breakfast (5-6 months)  We have just started on solids.  Be sure to get a very narrow spoon.  The baby spoons we had were much too wide.

baby sling  We have gone through four different ones and the fifth is the charm:  we have finally settled on a great generic of the Baby Bjorn.  Your baby will tell you what she prefers.  Our daughter hated facing inward.  Other babies love to and even nurse in the wrap slings.  Don’t register for them.  Wait until your baby is here and go to the store and test them out with your baby.

mirror for car to see baby in back – mom found at thrift store  Invaluable.  Trust me you want to see what she is up to when you drive.

Baby monitor  Invaluable

Suitcase for the hospital. Remember to take along:

Nightgown and slippers. I did not need this.  Hospital provided everything

Toiletries, including toothbrush and hairbrush. Don’t forget supplies for dad (perhaps even a change of clothes!).

Clothes for your return home: choose comfortable clothes you wore mid-pregnancy or later.

Clothes for your baby to wear when coming home: undershirt or one-piece suit, and an outfit with snap closures.

Receiving blanket (your local weather will determine if additional blankets are needed).

Baby wipes. Hospital Provided.

Camera / video camera.

Nursing bra and nursing pads for breastfeeding moms.  Used the bra only.

My brest friend  Brought to hospital but didn’t use

Brest cream Brought to hospital but didn’t use

Breast tea Brought to hospital but didn’t use

Well that is the end of the list.  It sounds like a lot of stuff and not budget-friendly but really there are so many ways to save (check out second hand shops, get on mommy email listserves for your geographic area, check craigslist, etc, etc)



  1. Good list…I need to bookmark it for four or five years….

    • You are going to have so much fun picking out the stuff and I can help you!!! 🙂

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: