Are you pregnant and wondering when to start baby shopping? The short answer is that there is no definite time.
Some moms-to-be start as early as the first trimester while others wait until the last trimester.
Personally, I had serious morning sickness such that even the thought of getting out of the house would make me throw up.
However, as soon as the morning sickness was over, I found myself buying a little something here and there.
Start buying baby stuff as soon as you find good deals especially on big stuff like cribs, strollers, car seats, and loungers/co-sleepers. This will help you save big and avoid last-minute shopping where you may miss the most essential things.
What determines when you should start buying baby stuff when pregnant? Let’s look at some of these factors.
When to start baby shopping when Pregnant
To be honest, there is no definite time regarding when you should start buying baby stuff when pregnant.
Whether you start shopping early (like I did) or late into your pregnancy, there are factors that drive your decision. Such factors include knowing the gender of the baby, good deals, and the availability of money to spend.
Gender of the baby
Some women are lucky enough to know the gender of their baby as early as 10-12 weeks. The majority, however, have to wait until 18 to 20 weeks to get more accurate results from the ultrasound
If you want to start shopping, knowing your baby’s gender is important as it highly determines the kind of baby stuff to buy especially in terms of color and design.
For instance, for a baby girl, anything pink goes into the registry while for a baby boy anything blue gets into the registry.
This, however, does not mean that you have to buy everything from swaddles to socks and mittens in pink or blue.
Unisex colors are also perfect for both girls and boys especially when you don’t know your baby’s gender yet. Some of the unisex colors you should consider include baby green, red, baby yellow, white, orange, chocolate or brown, and black.
Personally, since I started shopping before knowing the gender of my daughter, I picked unisex colors.
For designs and patterns, I’m pretty sure you can tell the difference between designs and patterns meant for a baby girl from those meant for a baby boy.
For instance, a onesie that has ribbons is definitely meant for a girl while one with balls or cars pattern is meant for a boy.
You don’t have to wait until you are 6-7 months along in order to start shopping. Start looking at deals much earlier especially on big items, and comparing their prices.
If you start doing this early enough, you will definitely find some good deals.
Waiting until the last trimester may be difficult for you because apart from being too tired, you may not have enough time to wait for a good deal. So you may end up spending more than you would have if you started shopping early.
Availability of funds
Money doesn’t grow on trees… I know that’s a cliché, but it is true.
You may have the funds today and then it’s all gone tomorrow. That is why if the funds are available; buy one of the essential baby items on your registry.
Saving money to buy something later needs a lot of discipline. You may decide to start saving for baby stuff but along the way, you come across a good deal for a couch that you have always wanted. And guess what you do?
Well, to prevent this, prepare a list of the most essential baby items that are quite costly. Then whenever you get the funds, search for good deals across different stores and buy them one at a time.
Don’t wait until you have saved enough to buy all the baby items at once unless you are a really disciplined saver.
I’m not a disciplined saver so this method really helped me.
Baby stuff to start shopping while pregnant
So what baby items do you need to buy when pregnant?
1. Baby clothes
At some point in the pregnancy, you will start thinking about where to buy baby clothes.
I must admit that this was my favorite part of the pregnancy journey. All the newborn tiny outfits look so cute and make you yearn for the day your baby will arrive.
However, buying baby clothes needs a lot of control. The little dresses, socks, hats, and blankets look too cute and you may end up buying more than you actually need for a newborn.
It is advisable to exercise control so as not to buy items that they may never use or use for only a week or two.
Start with the most important things like receiving blankets, onesies, rompers, swaddles, mittens and hats, and sweaters.
Newborn clothes tend to be very tiny and will still appear oversize on the baby especially during the first month. However, don’t be tempted to buy a lot of newborn sizes since most babies outgrow them pretty quickly.
Choose a few newborn sizes, 0-3 month sizes, and 3-6 month sizes. This will save you time to start shopping again once the baby outgrows the newborn sizes. Most importantly, you will get the much-needed rest the first few months without getting stressed over shopping.
“When it comes to buying the newborn sized clothes, I would recommend you buy about 6 pairs of socks, booties, and mittens each, 6 rompers, 6 short-sleeved onesies, 6 long-sleeved onesies, 3 gowns, and 6 sleeveless vests.”
2. Diaper Stockpile
When to start buying diapers when pregnant is also a common question among moms to be.
There is no doubt that stocking up on diapers before the baby comes can save you a lot of money. But there are a few things you must consider before stockpiling on diapers.
Are you planning on using disposable or reusable/cloth diapers? Consider the pros and cons of each and make an informed decision.
If you choose the disposable diapers, you need to bear in mind that they will be a major constant expense once the baby comes. It is estimated that babies use about 3000 disposable diapers per year. The cost, however, varies depending on the brand and quality of the diapers.
For cloth diapers, newborns may use up to 12 diapers a day so you need to organize your laundry days accordingly.
However, as you purchase the diapers, keep in mind that babies react differently to different brands of diapers. You may stock on a particular brand only to find that your baby reacts badly to them.
If you prefer disposable diapers, you can stock on a newborn pack of pampers sensitive and another pack of size 1 to try out once the baby comes. If they do not react to them, proceed to add more packs.
Another risk of stockpiling diapers is that most stores only allow returns or exchanges after 30 to 90 days. So in case your baby reacts to a certain brand or you don’t like the quality, you may not be able to return.
A better alternative to diaper stockpiling would be to get gift cards so that you are sure to have money for diapers after the baby is born.
3. Breastfeeding Essentials
Breastfeeding your baby will start immediately after birth. It’s a spontaneous process so the baby will immediately start to look for the breast during skin-to-skin contact. This is why you need to purchase certain breastfeeding essentials while pregnant.
Some of the things you will need include;
- Burp cloths
- Nursing pillow
- Nursing bras
- Breast/nursing pads
- Nipple cream/moisturizer
- Milk storage containers
- Baby bottles
The above items will come in handy if you are planning to breastfeed. Nipple cream will be particularly important during the first 2-3 weeks after birth to soothe the sore nipples.
You will notice that in the early days of breastfeeding, milk let down will be quite high. You will need to wear breast pads all day and night. It is however advisable not to start pumping at this point because it stimulates milk supply.
Once your milk supply regulates, then you can start pumping. This could be around 3-4 weeks after birth. At this point, the breast pump and the milk storage containers will come in handy. Pump and store the milk in the freezer or a mini-fridge for breast milk storage for later use when you go back to work.
4. Nursery furniture and accessories
Whether you are going to co-sleep with your baby or let them sleep in the nursery, there are several items you must buy before delivery.
You will need;
- Baby lounger/co-sleeper
- Chest of drawers or dresser
- Baby crib/bassinet with a mattress pad
- Fitted sheets for the crib
- Baby monitor
- Changing table
- Diaper pail/genie
C-sleeping is strongly discouraged but one way do it safely is by using a baby lounger or co-sleeper. Alternatively, you may opt to have the baby sleep in a bassinet next to your bed rather than in a co-sleeper in your bed.
A baby monitor is definitely essential since it will help you watch over the baby as he sleeps while you are attending to other chores.
Some monitors like Owlet and Angelcare are specially designed to monitor the baby’s movement including breathing, temperature, and heart rate as they sleep and alert you.
As for the diaper pail or genie, you can opt for those that don’t use store-bought refills so that you can save on cost. You can also go for pail and genie alternatives like wet bags, regular trash cans, or disposable diaper sacks.
5. Bathing items and accessories
- Baby bathtub with sling
- Baby Soap or body wash
- Baby lotion/moisturizer
- Soft hairbrush
- Towel with or without hood
All my babies enjoy their first bath a few hours after birth. One essential item that really comes in handy is a bathtub with a sling.
As you will see, newborns are very tiny, which makes you even more anxious or nervous when bathing them. Using a sling will not only make you feel confident but also ensure the safety of the baby.
Some new moms opt for a bathtub for the sink so that all they have to do is place the tub on the sink and bath the baby while standing. This is particularly important for moms who have had a C-section since they should not bend too much.
Alternatively, placing the bathtub with a sling on a raised surface works pretty much the same.
Of course, you will need a really soft washcloth for their delicate skin and a soft hairbrush to help with the cradle cap. Most importantly, choose a baby-friendly shampoo and moisturizer that is meant for their sensitive skin to prevent allergic reactions.
6. Must have items
- Car seat (nontoxic options here)
- First aid kit
- Baby thermometer
- Nail clips
- Bouncer or swing
- Baby carrier/wrap/sling
You cannot take the baby home from the hospital without a car seat even immediately after delivery. It is not only unsafe for the baby but also some hospitals need to approve that the car seat in great condition before you go home.
So buying a car seat is not a luxury but a must-have essential baby item.
Babies will not seat on the stroller without a car seat until their neck muscles are strong enough to support the head or until they can sit up straight without support.
For this reason, you will need a stroller frame for the car seat to ease movement. Stroller frames are designed to fit certain car seats according to the brand. However, there are universal ones that are compatible with different brands of car seats. So take that into consideration in case you decide to get a frame.
So, to answer your question regarding when to start baby shopping when pregnant, honestly, there is no definite time. You can start as early as the first trimester or wait until 6-8 months to start shopping.
As I explained earlier, I preferred to start buying stuff early to avoid last-minute shopping. In the last trimester, most pregnant moms are usually very tired and can’t stand or walk for a long period of time. So early shopping leaves you with enough time to relax, take walks, or attend Lamaze classes in the last weeks of pregnancy.
Just take caution not to go out of control when shopping. You may be tempted to keep buying baby stuff especially clothes just because they look cute. Early shopping needs you to exercise a lot of self-control since you have sufficient time to buy that the baby will need.