first time parents

What Should First Time Parents Buy – A Guide To Budgeting


Preparing to have a new member in your family is no easy task. Out of the hundreds of new responsibilities that you will need to shoulder, expenses stand out significantly. With the endless amount of baby products in the market, it is very easy to get overwhelmed. If you are a first time parent and have no idea how to traverse the baby product market, we have your back. We have taken it upon us to list down all the necessities that any first time parent would need to properly prepare for their newborn. From the absolute must-haves to basic necessities and products you can do without, our curated product list is all you will need to make the right purchases.Set aside all your budgeting woes and worries for we are here to show you just what you need to be investing in and where to put your money.

The early days of a newborn child are incredibly stressful for any parent. As a community of parents who have been there and done that, we have plenty of experience navigating the world of baby products. By shopping smart using our checklist of infant necessities and baby items, you will be able to save your money for the items that really matter. Not only will our list allow you to budget properly, but it will also make sure you are well equipped for the upcoming days.

A lot of the time, first time parents head over to baby gear stores and seek the assistance of customer support staff. While that might help you get a comprehensive list of what you want, you might not need most of the items on that list. And if budgeting is a priority for you, then you will find yourself in a position where you need to narrow down the list all on your own to cater to your pocket. No parent really needs that added worry, right? Let us not forget that stores essentially want you to purchase their entire inventory.

Bear in mind that all any parent needs for their child are diapers, a comfortable spot to sleep, and cozy blankets for the perfect swaddle. But, since those are literally the absolute bare necessities, and we’re definitely not living in the olden days, you might need a little more than the bare necessities. As a parent, you deserve accessories and products that will make you as well as your bundle of joy as comfortable as possible. We want to make that possible for you.

RELATED: The Ultimate Guide for First Time Dads

We have broken down our list into must-have items and complementary products that are nice to have (should your budget allow it). However, the latter is absolutely not needed and you can invest in those products at will. You can use this checklist to adjust your shopping needs as desired.

Breastfeeding Gear

Must have item(s):

  • At least 2 nursing bras
  • Spare nursing pads
  • At least 4 cotton bibs
  • At least 4 burp cloths
  • Nipple cream

Nursing mothers absolutely need nursing bras and pads to properly deal with breast milk leaks between feedings. It is a perfectly normal occurrence and simply needs the right gear to deal with properly. As for the bibs and burp cloths, you will need those if you want to save yourself larger laundry piles.

Another less discussed topic is nipple chafing which can be very painful for nursing mothers. You should invest in some nipple cream to soothe your nipples and reduce the possibility of bleeding. This is especially necessary when your baby starts teething but is still important in the early days as well.

Complementary item(s):

  • Nursing pillow
  • Breast pump
  • Breast milk storage containers
  • At least 2 feeder bottles and at least 6 feeder nipples (if someone else is entrusted with feeding your baby)

Tip: You can use a comfortable pillow or cushion as a nursing pillow if you cannot invest in a proper one.

READ MORE: Is a Feeding Pillow Really Necessary for Breastfeeding?

Formula feeding gear

Must have item(s):

  • At least half a dozen feeder nipples
  • Feeder bottle cleaning equipment (brushes, drying basket, and rack)
  • Baby formula for at least 8 weeks
  • At least 4 cotton bibs
  • Feeder insulators/coolers/carriers
  • Feeder bottle sterilizer
  • At least 4 burp cloths

Choosing to breastfeed or bottle-feed is a choice that every first time parent is free to make. While breastfeeding does have its benefits, it is ultimately the parents’ choice to opt for it or not. If you choose to go with formula feeding, these items are necessary to invest in.

When it comes to feeder nipples, there are many different sizes and types to consider. You might need to experiment a little until you find one that agrees with your baby. The same can be said about formula options. The other items are basic necessities to ensure that your formula-feeding experience moves forward smoothly.

Complementary item(s):

  • Bottle warmer
  • Dry formula dispenser

Tip: If you deem it necessary, bottle proppers prove quite helpful for busy parents or for parents who have to feed multiple babies at the same time.

RELATED: What’s better: Breastfeeding or Formula?

Diaper Gear

Must have item(s):

  • At least 2 months’ worth of newborn diapers
  • Baby wipes
  • Rash ointment
  • Baby cream

Perhaps one of the most important items on your list, diaper gear for first time parents can be quite a challenge. With the endless array of brands and products, you can easily find yourself lost or confused while shopping. Stick to the absolute basics for diapers, baby wipes, ointment, and cream. You should be all set that way.

Complementary item(s):

  • Waterproof changing table pads
  • Diaper trash can
  • Talc-free baby powder

Tip: A wipe warmer or diaper stacker are beautiful additions to any nursery. If you want to spoil your baby a little, consider adding these to your list of complementary diaper gear items.


Must-have item(s):

  • A durable crib equipped with a comfortable mattress

Whether you have a separate nursery for your newborn or not, you will need some furniture items. A crib is absolutely necessary to make sure you and your child get your beauty sleep every day. While it might be the biggest investment you make for your newborn, it is a solid one that will pay off in the long run. A dent of this size definitely resides at the top of “first time parent fears” but trust us when we tell you that a good crib will save the day.

Complementary item(s):

  • Baby monitor
  • Vaporizer or humidifier
  • Dresser
  • Changing table
  • Rocking chair

Tip: Investing in a second-hand crib is not recommended. You do not need to deal with repairs alongside taking care of your child.


Must-have item(s):

  • A pair of crib sheets
  • A couple of waterproof mattress protectors
  • Warm and comfortable receiving blanket(s)

We cannot stress enough the importance of waterproof mattress protectors. Having protectors will save you a great deal of extra laundry hassle. As a first time parent, you will experience quite a lot of baby fluids. Whether it is in the form of drool, diaper leaks, or spit-up, you must make sure your crib is equipped with waterproof protectors to avoid soiling the mattress.

You must avoid pillows, mattress padding, or sleep positioners at all costs. These items contribute to sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). Until your baby is one year old, the crib should not house any of these items.

Tip: Should your budget allow it, consider investing in matching quilts or decorative crib skirts.

Grooming Gear

Must have item(s):

  • Baby shampoo
  • Baby body wash
  • Nail grooming set
  • Set of cotton swabs and cotton balls
  • At least 2 hooded towels
  • At least 4 washcloths

When it comes to bathing and grooming your newborn baby, there is not much that you will need. This list of essentials should be more than enough to ensure you do a good job. The cotton swabs and cotton balls are especially useful to dry and clean hard-to-reach areas. However, make sure to exercise ultimate care and gentleness while using them.

Complementary item(s):

  • Bath toys
  • Faucet guard
  • Infant bathtub

Tip: You absolutely do not need a bathrobe for your baby. Hooded towels will do the job just fine.


Must have item(s):

  • At least 7 onesies or baby suits
  • At least 6 pairs of socks
  • At least 7 pajama sets
  • Multiple rompers, shirts, and pants
  • Sweaters, snowsuits, and hats (for colder seasons and regions)

For the most part, first time parents find themselves completely lost when it comes to baby clothing items. We know we were, too. However, it does not have to be this hard. For the start, make sure you have enough basic clothing items to change at least once every day. You should also keep some spare clothing items for emergencies such as diaper leaks and spit-ups.

Complementary item(s):

  • Baby hangers
  • Diaper covers
  • Sleep sack to replace a blanket

Tip: You do not need to invest in shoes until your baby starts to walk. Yes, we know how cute they are but if you are on a budget, cross them off your list.

Travel Gear

Must have item(s):

  • Bouncer seat
  • Fitting car seat
  • Stroller (with a rain cover)

Traveling with a newborn can be quite difficult. That is why parents must ensure that they have comfortable traveling gear that ensures safety and convenience. A bouncer seat is ideal for both carrying and putting down when out and about. Moreover, a stroller is essential for parents to go out for walks and allow their baby a change of air and scenery. You should, however, make sure that you also invest in a rain cover instead of opting for a blanket.

Complementary item(s):

  • Diaper bag
  • Sling (particularly for newborns)

Tip: Stick to the absolute basics when it comes to travel gear. Chances are you will not need any of these items until your baby is a little older.

Basic Care Gear

Must have item(s):

  • Petroleum Jelly
  • Nasal aspirator
  • At least 2 pacifier(s)

Petroleum jelly is perhaps the most underrated baby care product out there. Honestly, forget all other fancy brands and products. Just invest in a decent amount of petroleum jelly instead. It works wonders.

One thing to note while using a nasal aspirator is to avoid overdoing it. Excessive use of this product can lead to irritation and even nosebleeds. It is recommended to use it 3-4 times a day only and even lesser if you do not feel like your baby has a stuffy nose.

Complementary item(s):

  • Gas medicine
  • Teething ointment

ALSO READ: Everything You Need to Know About Postpartum Recovery

You must be thinking “what about toys?” To be fair, there are no necessary must-have items when it comes to toys. You can definitely purchase some. It is advised to opt for toys that enhance sensory stimulation. Some notable mentions would include rattles, playmats, and soft blocks. Moreover, steer clear of harder toys and those that can prove to be a choking hazard at all costs.

You might also want to consider adding a thermometer and infant Tylenol to your first time parent checklist. This is of course, just for emergency purposes. You will obviously need to make sure your child is in tip-top shape. It is advised to seek medical help instead of experimenting with any form of medication.

Amongst the things every first time parent should know is the fact that a lot of places in different countries around the world offer freebies. Most of these brands and companies only require creating a baby registry account. From coupons to free products, if you are on a budget, this can be a great way to cut down on expenses.


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