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When to Start Buying Baby Stuff? A Trimester by Trimester Guide

A trimester by trimester guide to when to start buying baby stuff.

If you have a baby on the way your daydreams have probably turned into visions of your future little one, his or her nursery and which adorable name to choose.  

However, your practical side is freaking out as you try to determine how to properly prepare for a baby.

Should set up your entire nursery as soon as possible?

Do you wait for sales to buy big items?

Should you buy anything before your baby shower?

When is the right time to start buying baby stuff?

Those tiny onesies and adorable baby shoes are calling your name… but being practical in your purchases can help you make better decisions AND save money.

We are here to help. This guide will give you all of the important info you need so that you can make the best decisions about when to start buying baby stuff.  

Note: this blog post probably contains affiliate links, which means we may receive small commissions from purchases made through links in this post (at NO extra cost to you). You can read our full disclosure for more information.

What to Consider When Buying Baby Stuff

There are a few questions that can help you determine the best time to purchase the things you need for your baby. 

  • How much space do I have for baby? A huge determining factor of what you’ll buy is how much space you have. A smaller nursery may not have room for a dresser, a changing table, a crib and a rocker. Carefully consider your space and decide which things are most important to you before you buy anything. Read more: How to organize a nursery in a small space
  • Are you having a baby shower? If your friends or family are planning to shower you with gifts, by all means get your baby registry ready… but hold off on purchasing anything yourself until after the baby shower. You might be surprised by the generosity of your loved ones. 
  • Will you find out the baby’s gender before birth? It’s easy to go gender neutral for baby essentials like carseat, crib, decor and basic baby clothing, but if you’re planning to find out your baby’s gender and you WANT to decorate gender specific, plan to make most of your purchases in the second or third trimester when you’ll know your baby’s gender.
  • Are there any big sales before baby’s due date? Even if you’re not on a tight budget, getting the best possible price for big ticket baby items is a good idea. April and September usually have good deals on carseats. Shop at the end of each season for clearance clothes (just think about the age and size your baby will be when wearing those clothes!). Amazon Prime Day is typically in June (June 21-22, 2021 this year) and has some great deals. And, of course, don’t forget Black Friday sales on the day after Thanksgiving. 
  • Do you have family or friends who will give you hand-me-downs? I can tell you from experience that giving your baby items to someone you love makes them much less painful to part with. If you have friends or family who are done having children and you are okay with hand-me-downs don’t be afraid to ask! This will greatly reduce the number of things you’ll have to buy to be baby ready. Make sure and check safety guidelines for used cribs and mattresses and expiration dates for carseats (plus make sure they’ve never been in an accident). 
pregnant mom holding several colorful shopping bags

Our Guide to When to Start Buying Baby Stuff

Let’s get down to business. We’ve created a trimester-by-trimester guide to help you decide what to buy for your baby and when. With lots of momming experience under our belts, we are sharing the items that will get you ready for baby and when to buy them to avoid unnecessary stress. 

What to Buy for Baby in Your First Trimester

The first trimester is such an exciting time! You are still on the natural high of knowing you are going to be a mother, and nine months simultaneously feels like the longest time on earth and the shortest time possible. 

Buying for baby in the first trimester might be tempting, but it isn’t the most sensible time to purchase. There are a lot of unknowns at this point in pregnancy that can influence what you’ll buy. 

However, this is the ideal time to research products and plan out your nursery. If you’re absolutely dying to buy something baby-centric, here are some good choices. 

  • A pregnancy pillow: You might not be physically uncomfortable now, but a pillow like this one is designed to help with aching body parts due to pregnancy and is a purchase you will not regret. 
  • Baby basics: In your first trimester you can definitely get away with purchasing basics like onesies, swaddles and blankets. 
  • Books: We recommend a pregnancy book like the classic, What to Expect when you’re Expecting. If you plan to nurse, check out another favorite Ina May’s Guide to Breastfeeding
  • A pregnancy journal: Having a special place to record everything about your pregnancy will be a treasure for you and your baby. 

What to Buy for Baby in Your Second Trimester

The second trimester is the golden time of pregnancy… no more morning sickness (usually!), you’ll still be physically able to do almost everything and you’re typically full of renewed energy. 

There are also several things that happen in the second trimester that will help you to cross off your baby needs list. 

First, at this point in your pregnancy you should be able to find out the gender of your baby. If you are team pink or blue and want gender specific clothing and products you’ll be ready to start purchasing.  Secondly, the second trimester is prime baby shower time! Get your registry(ies) ready and get excited!

Need help sorting out your baby registry? I got you. Check out our complete guide to Baby Registry Must Haveseverything you need for your first baby.

Here are the best baby products to purchase during your second trimester. 

  • Big Ticket Baby Items (not purchased from your registry): After your baby shower is over, now is a great time to cross those major purchases off of your list (think crib, stroller, carseat, baby monitor, swing etc.). 
  • Baby clothes: Try not to purchase too many baby clothes in the 0-6 month range. For one, you don’t know how big the baby will be when they are born or how quickly they’ll chunk up. Then too, even though cute outfits are hard to resist, your baby will likely spend the first three months in a onesie or pajamas. You can also read our post on What Baby Clothes Do I Need?
  • Blankets and Burp Cloths: You’ll go through a surprisingly high number of blankets and burp cloths in the first few months. Start your stockpile now. 
  • Nursery Storage and Decor: It’s really nice to get the nursery decorated and organized while you have energy and can bend over easily. 
  • Crib/Bassinet Sheets: We recommend having at least three sheets because, well, diaper leaks and spit-up. Check out our post on the best crib sheets for some amazing sheets we are still crushing over!

What to Buy for Baby in Your Third Trimester

Not only do things get more real in the third trimester (this baby is actually coming!) but you also tend to get increasingly tired and uncomfortable. The third trimester can be challenging for moms physically and shopping may not be high on your list of fun things to do. 

You might feel a lot of pressure to have every single thing that baby needs, but there are two things to remember: 

  1. Online shopping is your friend – You can purchase pretty much everything you need for baby with the click of a button and have it within a few days. Put up your swollen ankles, sip a delicious smoothie and let your hands do the shopping. 
  2. You don’t need everything right when you bring the baby home – Obviously you will need the basics: diapers, wipes, onesies, pajamas, blankets, a carseat to bring the baby home and somewhere safe for the baby to sleep. However, there are some real benefits to waiting. Holding off on buying certain products until after baby is home can save you money.  You can avoid unnecessary purchases like pacifiers (if baby doesn’t like them), bottles (if you exclusively breastfeed) and swings (if your baby sleeps like a champ).

The pressure to be 100 percent ready is real, but don’t forget that you don’t end up on another planet cut off from all the stores once baby is born! If you’re missing something that you need, you can TOTALLY go get it (or send someone else to get it for you or order it for delivery).

Here are a few items that we do recommend you purchase in the third trimester. 

  • Diapers and wipes: You’re going to need them. And you’re going to need a lot of them! Keep diapers in their original packaging and keep the receipt in case you need to exchange them for another brand or size. 
  • Baby toiletries like lotion, baby wash, fingernail clippers: You will probably get samples of baby wash and lotion at the hospital but since these will definitely be needed at some point, the third trimester is a great time to stock up.  
  • First Aid Necessities: You will be glad you have a good baby thermometer and Baby Tylenol if you need it. Diaper rash cream is another great baby product to have on hand. 
  • Special Outfit/Accessories for your baby’s first photo shoot: The third trimester is a great time to pick out sweet hats, hairbows and blankets for your baby’s first photo op and birth announcements. 
  • Comfortable and cute Hospital Clothes for you: Slipping on a stylish (yet comfortable) outfit at the hospital will help you feel more like yourself. You could purchase a delivery robe like this one, or a comfy nursing nightgown/dress like this. Just keep in mind that your body will have just gone through childbirth… make sure to size up from your pre-pregnancy size so you are comfortable.
  • Post-partum Underwear: It’s the necessity that no one wants to talk about… but we’ve gone into great detail in this post. Having post-partum undies on hand will make you much more comfortable when you get home from the hospital and will save your husband from making a very stressful trip to the supermarket. 

FAQ: When To Start Buying for Baby

Here are some answers to questions you might have about when to start buying for baby. 

What are the first things you should buy when expecting a baby?

Even though all the cute things are calling your name, the first things you should buy are a keepsake items like a pregnancy journal and/or products that will help make you comfortable in your pregnancy. Hold off on buying baby items until you have more information (like the gender) or you might end up with serious buyer’s regret.

Is buying baby stuff early bad luck?

There is no truth to the old wives’ tale that buying baby stuff early is bad luck. It is definitely the more practical choice to wait a bit before making purchases for your baby, but if you have the means and desire to buy things early you will not be causing any harm or risk to your unborn baby. 

Should you buy anything for baby before 12 weeks?

There is definitely debate about this in the parenting community. Your risk of miscarriage decreases after the first trimester (12 weeks). Although no one wants to think about the possibility of a miscarriage, if it did happen and you had already purchased baby items, they could be difficult to have around. If you really want to purchase things for your baby before 12 weeks try to focus on items that will make mom more comfortable and/or keepsakes for your baby that you will treasure no matter what. 

When is it too late to start buying baby stuff?

Thanks to Amazon Prime it is NEVER too late to start buying baby stuff! With the exception of needing a carseat to bring your baby home, you could order while your epidural kicks in and have everything on your doorstep by the time you bring baby home. 

When should you start buying baby furniture?

We recommend buying your key pieces of baby furniture during the second trimester AFTER your baby shower. If you plan on using a co-sleeper or creatively storing baby clothes, you could put off buying standard baby furniture (crib, changing table, dresser) for months.  

When to Start Buying Diapers for Baby?

If you have space to store them and are careful about saving receipts, it is a great plan to start buying diapers whenever you see a good sale. You can always trade diapers for a different size or brand and a stockpile will make life easier. 

Should You Buy Clothes in Advance?

If you are on a budget and want to buy baby clothes on clearance at the end of each season you can definitely buy clothes in advance. However, babies like to throw a wrench into carefully laid plans by coming out bigger (or smaller!) than all of the outfits you’ve purchased and then growing faster or slower than you expect.

We recommend purchasing a few essential pieces (onesies, pajamas, a coming home outfit) and then waiting to see what size your baby is at birth as well as the clothes that they are the most comfortable in. 

We hope this guide of when to buy baby stuff will help you in your plans and purchases. Thoughtfully planning and buying the things your baby needs can save you both money and stress. 

The truth is, your baby has his or her most important needs covered simply by having YOU. So soak up this time and give yourself some grace as you do the world’s most important job…growing a human. 

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