Shopping for baby stuff is one of the most exciting parts of having a baby. Soon-to-be parents are often inundated at the huge catalogs of baby-related items on the market and wonder if they need all that stuff for their baby. Between gifts, hand-me-downs, personal beliefs, and time pressure, figuring out the best time to go out baby shopping is tricky.
Ultimately, when you start doing your baby shopping is entirely up to you. There is no right or wrong time to start your shopping. On the flip side, it is best not to wait too long as your baby could come earlier than expected. Beginning your shopping after your 20-week scan, (which is usually when you find out your baby’s sex) should give you ample time to prepare for your baby’s arrival without too much worry or rush.
Things to Think About Before Buying Baby Stuff
How Far Along You Are
Some parents wait until after the first trimester is over to start shopping for baby stuff, as the risk of miscarriage decreases after the first trimester. Realistically speaking, buying baby stuff early on will not affect your pregnancy in any way medically, but if you have worries or feel uncomfortable buying things earlier on, it is perfectly fine to wait until after the 12-week mark – you’ll still have a good 6 months to do your shopping.
A positive pregnancy test can bring with it an urge to impulse buy all the adorable baby stuff you see. While it may be best to hold off or space out your baby shopping, there is no harm in picking up a few small things, although you might want to wait a while before buying the big items like baby furniture.
How Much Space You Have Available
Babies are tiny, but their stuff takes up a lot of space. Bassinets, changing tables, car seats, clothes, and diapers will take up the better part of a room and more.
Consider how much space you have to store all your baby’s necessities. Take note of the dimensions of the areas where you plan to put furniture items such as cribs, changing tables, and playpens. That way, you avoid the off chance that you might buy expensive items that end up fitting into your space awkwardly.
If you plan on having a baby shower, wait to see what items people gift you before going out to get them yourself. Once you see what baby stuff you have enough of and what items you run low on, you can stock up accordingly.
On the same note, even if you do not have a baby shower, your friends and relatives who have had children may pass on some hand-me-downs for your baby.
You can also set up a baby shower registry to give people an idea of what baby things you would like to receive. As you go along, the registry doubles as a sort of checklist to help you keep track of what things you need to get and what people have already gifted you.
If you plan to have your baby shower close to your due date, plan to have some baby things like the crib, some diapers, and some baby clothes ready, just in case your baby surprises you by coming earlier than expected.
The Baby’s Sex
This may not be the most important factor but knowing whether you are having a boy or a girl will help you pick out your nursery decorations and baby stuff if you plan on going with a gender-specific theme.
Going gender neutral for your baby is fine, but if you want to go with, say, pink for a girl or blue for a boy, wait until you can find out what your baby’s gender is, which is around your 20-week ultrasound checkup, also known as the anomaly scan.
Babies are never not expensive. Before you go all out on a shopping spree, figure out what your budget for baby stuff actually is and how much you can afford to spend on specific items.
If you want to cut a few corners on your budget, try looking for secondhand items on online marketplaces, buy and sell apps, and swap groups. Babies outgrow their stuff incredibly fast and often do not use their stuff for very long, so you should be able to find some fairly good quality items for much cheaper.
Your Own Energy Levels
For most people, the 2nd trimester of pregnancy is the most comfortable part of pregnancy. After nausea and morning sickness of the first trimester wears off and before the fatigue of the third trimester begins.
The 2nd trimester is the best time to buy most of your essentials and big items like furniture and nursery decor. You will likely have more energy to pick out the things you want and tackle anything that needs setting up.
If you plan on ordering your big items and having them shipped to you, try doing it by your 13th week, just so you have some buffer time in case shipping takes longer than expected or your baby comes earlier than expected.
Best Time to Buy Different Baby Essentials
Baby clothes are some of the most common baby shower gifts. If you plan to have a baby shower, wait until after your shower to buy baby clothes. That way, you can check to see what clothing items and what sizes you have enough of, and what you run low on.
If you have friends or relatives who have had children, they will probably be more than happy to pass on some of their baby accessories to you. With baby clothes, it is best if you wait to see what other people give you before getting things on your own.
Babies do not need very much in terms of clothing, but their clothing needs are different from ours. If you are unsure of what items you need or whether you have enough of each type of clothing, take a look at this baby clothes checklist.
Same with baby clothes, diapers are a very common baby shower gift. You will more than likely get a few cases of diapers in a few sizes. Some babies are born bigger and skip wearing newborn diapers altogether, while smaller babies might stay in newborn sizes for a month or two.
Starting off with one case of 140 newborn diapers and one case of 140 size ones should give you enough diapers for at least the first 10 days. Your baby will not stay a single size for too long, so it is best not to stock up too much or too early on these. Once your baby comes, you will have a better gauge of how long they will stay in a single size and you can stock up accordingly.
Baby furniture items that go in your nursery as well as other large items that need setting up are best-taken care of in your second trimester, which is when you will likely have enough energy to prepare the space the way you want and help with anything that needs assembly.
With infant strollers and car seats, have them ready to go by 32 weeks. You will need your car seat(s) set up in your car before your baby comes. Some hospitals require you to have car seats before bringing your baby home.
Between 13 and 20 weeks of your pregnancy should be a good place to begin your serious baby shopping. If you have a baby registry, take care to check and to see what baby stuff has been bought before you go out for them yourself.
In any case, have your baby necessities ready to go between 32 and 36 weeks. Give yourself ample time so that you can actually enjoy the whole process of shopping for baby stuff and avoid rushing and stressing through everything a week before your baby comes.