If you’re a parent or mamma-to-be, chances are you’ve come to the realization that babies are expensive. Or rather, baby STUFF is expensive. There are so many baby products out there, how do you know what you’ll really need…especially if you’re watching your pennies. From a two time frugal mamma, here are the items I couldn’t live without.
5 Baby Essentials for Any Budget
Baby Essential #1: Diaper Bag
Go ahead and do yourself a favor, and get yourself a good diaper bag. Because it’s basically gonna be like your 2nd child for the next year. Personally, I think the diaper backpack is the way to go. Trust me: you’re gonna need those hands, and you don’t have time to keep fixing a diaper bag that’s slipping off your shoulder constantly. I’ve had a few different diaper bags, but my favorite by FAR is this one from Amazon.
It may not be the most stylish, but this thing is awesome. It has several pockets and compartments for all your baby items, thick cushioned shoulder straps, and it distributes the weight really well so your back isn’t dying. My favorite function is the zippered baby wipe compartment on the side. No more digging around for wipes when your little one just had a blow out!
Lately, I’ve seen these diaper bags circulating around and they are OH. SO. CUTE. Yes-my current diaper bag is perfectly fine, but I want one…plain and simple. Compare these to the designer version, which is over $100. Yikes! I’ve seen several moms with this bag, and they all rave about it! Plus, they’ve gotten amazing reviews on Amazon.
Baby Essential #2: Bandana Bibs
Babies drool-it’s a fact of life. And it’s gross. My son was hardly ever without a bib during his first 6 months of life because his shirt would be soaked if he didn’t have one on. Bandana bibs are not only cute, but they “catch” the drool alot better than regular bibs. Plus-if you’re bottle feeding, these help keep your baby from having that “milk neck”. Ew.
If you’re looking to get more bang for your buck, these bandana bibs have a sewn in teether and pacifier strap. Score!
Baby Essential #3: Swaddles
I’ve found that there’s two types of people in there word: those who love swaddling, and those who hate it with a passion. I’m definitely a swaddle lover, and swaddled both of my babies for as long as I could. If you don’t know what the big deal with swaddling is, I highly recommend this book. Especially if you want to know how to soothe your screaming baby FAST. And if you like sleeping.
There’s lots of products to help you swaddle your baby, and trust me-I’ve tried a bunch. They all have their pros and cons, but it really depends on your baby. Savings tip: get some that are gender neutral. These are only used for sleeping, and it will keep you from having to buy more for your 2nd or 3rd child. Grays and black/white prints are really popular right now, and work for boys and girls.
Here are a few swaddles that I’ve tried and had success with.
Blanket Swaddle: The Multi-Functional Swaddle
Swaddle blankets are great for wrapping your baby tight, but they can be a little intimidating if you’ve never swaddled before. The nurses at the hospital are like swaddle ninjas, and can teach you how to do it. I love swaddle blankets because they’re big, light weight, and multi functional. These will end up being your car seat cover, burp cloth, nursing cover, changing pad-you name it. I love these from Amazon!
Velcro Swaddle: The Cheater Swaddle
If you just can’t get down with the swaddle blanket, or it seems too complicated-Velcro swaddles are the way to go. There’s no wrapping required…everything is Velcroed for you. The downside is you can’t always “wrap” your baby tight enough, resulting in little arms getting loose.
Sleep Sack Swaddle: The Transitional Swaddle
These swaddles still have the Velcro like the ones above, but it’s also a sleep sack…which is what many babies transition to after they’re no longer being swaddled. A neat function of these is that you can choose to either swaddle your babies arms down, or leave them free. This is what my daughter currently uses and they work great!
Swaddle Strap: The Anywhere Swaddle
Ok-this one is pretty cool, and I used this almost exclusively with my son. This “swaddle” is great because you can use it anywhere, over any kind of clothing. If you’re out and need to swaddle your fussy baby, you can literally just strap this thing on in about 10 seconds. PLUS, putting this on is a no-brainer…so it’s great to leave with grandparents, babysitters, or nursery workers who may not know how to swaddle.
Baby Essential #4: Sound Machine
This goes back to the book The Happiest Baby on the Block. Dr. Harvey Karp outlines 5 “S”es to sooth your fussy newborn. One of those “S”es is “swaddle”-another one is “Shhhhhh”. It turns out that “shushing” a baby isn’t just something cute, it actually soothes them by mimicking the sound they heard when they were in the womb. Pretty cool! The truth is, it’s actually VERY loud inside the womb-and that’s what your baby got used to during the last 9 months. So a loud “shhhhhh” noise, or white noise, is actually very comforting to them. If you don’t believe me, next time you’ve got a screaming newborn, try “shushing” them as loud as you can and watch them become almost instantly calm.
Since you can’t shush your baby 24/7, that’s where a sound machine comes in. You can get them very inexpensively, and I absolutely would NEVER be without one. Most have several settings like rain, thunder, ocean waves…..and white noise. The white noise will not only soothe a fussy baby, but it will help them have longer stretches of sleep. You don’t have to worry about every little noise waking your baby, because this drowns it out.
This is the one I use, and it’s great. I actually own 2 of these: one for each of my kids. It’s affordable, it’s loud, and you can plug it in or run it on batteries…which makes it great for throwing in the backseat of the car when your baby won’t stop crying. Not that I know from experience or anything…
Baby Essential #5: A Good Diaper Rash Cream
I’ve gone back and forth soooo many times about this last one, but ultimatley decided it’s too good NOT to share.
Babies are notorious for diaper rashes, especially when they’re newborns…alot of it has to do with the acid in their poop. I remember Lincoln getting some pretty bad diaper rashes, and we just continued to use Desitin or Boudreaux’s until it eventually went away….sometimes weeks later. When Goldie’s diaper rashes were getting so bad that she was practically blistering, I had to find something, because the store bought creams weren’t cutting it.
I decided to give Young Living’s Lavender Diaper Rash Cream a try after reading several reviews describing it as a miracle cream. You guys…I’m all about frugality, and I was NOT down with paying $27 for a little tube of cream. But ohmygoodness….definite miracle cream!! I could not believe how quickly her blistering booty cleared up! It was the best $27 I ever spent, and my only regret is not knowing about it when my son was a baby. I’m such a fan, that it’s become one of my go-to baby shower gifts.
If you’re interested, check it out. And please know that I would never promote something if I didn’t absolutely believe in it.
- Click the link
- Choose “retail”
- Type “Diaper Rash Cream” in the search box
- Check out!
Need more ideas?
Visit my store on Amazon for even more baby must haves! Compiled by Insta readers and myself, it’s the perfect resource for gifts mamas will love. ❤️
What baby items could you NOT live without?