Many parents wonder about the best time to start buying baby stuff once they learn about the pregnancy. Despite the excitement, it’s probably best to wait a while before you start ordering baby stuff.
You should wait until you are between 13 and 20 weeks pregnant (after the first trimester) to start buying baby stuff so that you can find out your baby’s gender and decide whether or not you will have a baby shower or other events. Most baby-related shopping, including showers and sprinkles, happens during the second and third trimesters.
There are many good reasons not to rush into shopping for your baby but the biggest ones are the risk of pregnancy loss and not knowing the gender of your baby. We’ll explore both of those ideas as well as give you a nice blueprint for what you’ll need once you do start shopping.
When you should start buying things for your baby
Once you know you have a baby on the way it is incredibly easy to start feeling overwhelmed in many different ways.
One of the biggest worries that parents have, especially first-time parents, is that they are completely unprepared to take care of a child. While it’s probably true that you aren’t ready to take care of a child (we’re expecting our fourth and I’m still not sure I’m qualified) much of that will come quickly when you welcome your beautiful baby into the world.
In most cases, parents should wait until the second trimester (week 13) to start buying baby stuff. At this point in the pregnancy, it is very likely that your baby will be born healthy, you will know its gender, and you’ve told family and friends about the news. Once everyone knows, you’ll be able to coordinate your purchases with baby showers, sprinkles, and other events that usually mean other people will buy baby essentials for you.
Of course, having all of the gear and supplies on hand before the baby gets home goes a LONG way towards putting your mind at ease. That’s why baby showers, sprinkles, and gift-giving is so common – other parents already know that raising a baby requires a lot of stuff!
The first thing that you need to realize is that pregnancies last around 9 months. That’s a long time to plan, research, and purchase anything that you’ll need to take care of your baby so you aren’t under a time crunch right away.
Traditionally, it’s common for expecting parents to wait until at least the second trimester (around the 3-month mark) to purchase baby stuff. That gives you enough time to let the news sink in and evaluate what you really need before loading up the credit card or telling family members you need something you really don’t.
You can find out the gender of your baby at around 12 weeks
One of the biggest reasons to wait for the second trimester is that this is typically around the time that you’ll find out if you are having a boy or a girl.
Hopefully, you will know by this point if you are having twins – even if you didn’t know the sexes yet. In my personal experience, we found out that we were having not one, but TWO little girls at our 12-week ultrasound appointment. It’s just as shocking as you can imagine for a 22-year-old man to find out this new.
Anyway, it’s important to know the sex of the baby because even though it won’t have anything to do with what kind of baby wipes you will use it will impact the kind of clothes and other accessories that you’ll want to have on hand. Backing up to my story above, we didn’t find out that it was twin girls until right after Christmas so we ended up receiving a whole bunch of single, yellow clothes because the family couldn’t wait to buy something for the baby!
The moral of the story is that it’s just best to wait so you don’t end up with stuff you can’t use.
Is buying baby stuff early bad luck?
Another unfortunate reason to wait until the third month to start telling people about the baby or buying supplies is that the chances of miscarriage and other complications are greatest early on in the pregnancy.
According to the March of Dimes, around 10 to 15 percent of all pregnancies actually end in miscarriage and the vast majority of those occur before the 12-week mark. After that, the statistics drop to between 1 and 5 percent of pregnancies.
These statistics are one reason why many people say it’s bad luck to buy baby stuff early. Many people don’t even share the news with family or friends until they are well into the pregnancy.
As a parent that has suffered through this over the years multiple times, I can tell you beyond doubt that it is best to wait as long as possible to share the news or purchase clothes and other things. You’ll never use them for another baby.
What to buy for baby during the first trimester of pregnancy
Even if you wait to start shopping for baby, there are lots of things that you could be doing during the first trimester to support yourself as a mother and learn more about your pregnancy. By focusing on yourself and figuring out what you should expect for the next nine months, it can help you feel more comfortable about the future.
When to buy prenatal vitamins
These are essential. Your doctor will likely make a recommendation as to which ones he would prefer that you take but there are many great options on the market today. The most important ingredients to look for in a prenatal vitamin are folic acid, iron, omega-3 fatty acids, calcium, and vitamin D.
In most cases, women should start taking a quality prenatal vitamin while attempting to get pregnant and then continue to do so throughout the pregnancy. This means that prenatal vitamins are one of the first things you should buy!
In our case, my wife has a huge problem swallowing pills and it can be difficult to find prenatal vitamins that are small enough for her to swallow easily. After doing some research, I found chewable gummy prenatal vitamins by SmartyPants (check the latest reviews and buy on Amazon). We brought these to our first visits with the OBGYN and they said they were a great option.
The best part is that they also make kids vitamins so my wife and our daughters got into a great routine of all taking their vitamins in the morning. Since they were gummies, the girls always looked forward to taking them so my wife never forgot!
Other important items to buy during early pregnancy
Once you have the vitamins in order there are a few other things you should check out to help prepare you for the rest of pregnancy as well as the first couple of years with a baby. Here are a few of my recommendations:
- Pregnancy books – There are countless resources available but the classic has got to be What to Expect When You’re Expecting. There are many versions and add-ons to this book but the original is a must-read.
- Body pillows or other support – While you might not be showing much yet, morning sickness and other things can start hurting your sleep quality even during the early stages.
- A comfortable bra – Even though you are months away from producing milk, your breasts can still be quite tender throughout pregnancy so it might be time to ditch the underwire and find something more comfortable.
- Body lotion – Your skin can start getting dryer during pregnancy and once you start to show you will need to worry a little about stretch marks. Starting early with a good routine can help minimize these problems down the road.
- Pregnancy journal – You probably didn’t think of this one. Picking up a simple journal to record your thoughts during pregnancy can be a great way to start a relationship with your baby and provides an outlet for any feelings that you might have while you wait for her to arrive. You can put baby name ideas in it, brainstorm nursery colors, and keep track of symptoms to share with your doctor during visits.
What to buy during the second trimester of pregnancy
Once you enter the second trimester you can start to share the news and pick up the big items that you know you’ll need.
Here is a list of common baby items that you should buy after the 13th week of your pregnancy:
- Crib – Be sure that the crib is of high quality and meets the newest safety standards. I’ve discussed how to choose a safe crib in my article on keeping your baby from getting their legs stuck in the crib. Check it out here.
- Bassinet – Similar to a crib, be sure that your bassinet is sturdy and meets the requirements of the AAP. It is also recommended that you keep the bassinet in the same room as you for at least the first year of your baby’s life.
- Car seat – Do not skimp when it comes to the car seat as it is one of the most important safety products that you will buy. A quality seat can last for many years by converting to different stages as your baby grows.
- Stroller – Depending on your needs you might want to get a convertible stroller to use with your car seat or maybe you’ll just want a simple umbrella stroller.
- Rocker chair – These are a great place to sit your baby down for a while and many come with fun stuff attached. They can also help get your baby to sleep.
- Newborn/infant clothes – You’ll need a bunch of these. One thing I will say is to avoid buying a TON of newborn stuff because many children are actually born big enough to outgrow them quickly. You can’t go wrong adding in 3, 6, 9, or even 12-month clothing before your baby is born. This is also the easiest and cheapest stuff to pick up secondhand cheaply.
- Diapers – You will need a ton of these, but don’t get too many of the smallest sizes. We quickly went through the first few sizes and we’ve now stayed in size 4 diapers for months.
- Wipes – You will also need a ton of these. I recommend picking up high quality, biodegradable wipes like the ones you can find in my resource here. These will help prevent diaper rash and irritation while also being better for the environment!
- Shampoo and other toiletries – Babies get dirty quickly and easily!
- Baby accessories like nail clippers and a brush – Even though you probably have a stocked bathroom already, things like baby nail clippers are different for babies.
- Baby towels and washcloths – Adorable hooded towels are a must! I’m not sure that the hood is super helpful, but it is super cute!
- Bottles – Even if you are breastfeeding you should have some bottles on hand for those times that you can’t feed or need to store some extra milk up for later.
- Toys – Even though your baby can’t really play with toys for a while, it’s still fun to have a few on hand for them to mess around with until they get big enough to interact more!
Hah, so much for a brief list!
Be sure to do your research when purchasing these items to make sure that you are getting high-quality, safe baby products for your little one!
Should you stock up on baby products that don’t really expire?
I’ve mentioned a lot of things that you need for your baby but in most cases, you only need one (a crib) or a few (towels and washcloths etc).
There are, however, many items (like wipes and diapers) that you will need a lot of and they don’t really expire. That means you could buy a bunch up ahead of time and have a nice stockpile. This could make sense for you but I should caution you that it might not be a good idea for a few reasons.
Some products might not agree with your baby’s skin. Especially if you are using low-quality products, it’s entirely possible that your baby could experience some irritation or allergic reaction to ingredients in a product.
If you just have a little on hand to start, or preferably even just a little of a bunch of different brands, then you’ll be able to figure out what you like and then stock up accordingly.
Other products include the risk of sizing out of them before you can use them up. So something like diapers, while you will need a ton, could end up being useless if they become too small for your baby.