A Helpful Timeline: When to Start Buying Baby Stuff

multi-image graphic of mothers and children with text reading: A Helpful Timeline: When to Start Buying Baby Stuff

Wondering when to start buying baby stuff? Good for you for thinking ahead! Between now and the time you meet your little one, there’s a lot to do…and a lot to buy.  

The truth is, there is no hard and fast rule on when to start buying things for your little one. Some parents can’t wait to pick out cute baby clothes and nursery décor, while others prefer to hold off for various reasons. In this guide, we’ll discuss a few of those reasons and provide a helpful timeline for buying must-have essentials for your baby.

Things to Consider Before You Shop for a Baby

With all the teeny-tiny baby clothes and newfangled baby gear available today, it can be easy to go overboard on baby items in the first trimester. But before you grab a shopping cart and go crazy, there are a few things you should take into consideration.

1. Budget 

It’s no secret that babies are expensive. According to a USDA report, a middle-income family can expect to spend nearly $13,000 annually per child. The good news? You likely have nine months to budget for your new bundle of joy and research ways to save on baby gear.

Contrary to what some companies would have you believe, babies don’t need fancy cribs, designer clothes or state-of-the art bouncers. Creating a budget for the baby forces you to think about what your baby actually needs, so you don’t get sucked into buying the “latest and greatest.”

Additionally, budgeting in advance for the baby can give you more motivation to find coupons and wait for the best deals. You can also take advantage of rewards programs—like our Grow-With-Us Perks—to help you save even more on baby stuff.

2. Space

Another key consideration when shopping for your baby is how much space you have in your home. Reclining gliders, large dressers and free-standing bookshelves may sound nice, but they’re probably not going to fit in a teeny-tiny room. 

Keep this in mind when adding items and gear to your baby registry. If you’re tight on space, consider a mini-crib and other smart nursery solutions that will help you design a functional nursery.

touching moms belly at baby shower

3. Baby Shower

Are you expecting someone to throw you a baby shower? If so, try to go easy on buying baby items until after your baby shower. Depending on how many people attend your baby shower, you could end up getting most of what you need from friends and family members.

Even if you aren’t planning to have a baby shower, it might make more sense to wait to buy baby stuff. Once word spreads that you’re having a baby, you could end up receiving a lot of hand-me-downs from other parents.

4. Gender of the Baby 

Many expecting parents prefer to wait to buy baby stuff until they find out the gender of their baby. This generally happens between 18 and 21 weeks, but some people find out as early as 12 weeks.

Of course, you don’t need to know the gender of your baby to begin buying things for them. Whether you’re keeping the baby’s gender a surprise or simply can’t wait to start shopping for your new bundle of joy, you can always stock up on unisex baby clothes for your little one. The choice is entirely up to you!

woman holding white Onesies® brand bodysuit

5. Package Delivery Times 

Planning to shop online? Don’t forget to consider the time it takes to ship your baby items. 

It could take weeks or even months for your packages to arrive, so take this into account when shopping for your baby. This is especially important if you’re ordering baby gear during the holiday season and other busy times of the year for shippers and retailers.

A General Timeline for Buying Baby Items

First Trimester 

Between budgeting for a baby and organizing your home to make room for baby stuff, there is plenty to do before you start shopping. Lay the groundwork for a stress-free shopping spree now, and you’ll thank yourself later!

mulit-image graphic with woman holding ultrasound and text reading: first trimester

  • Create a budget – First things first: Create a budget for baby stuff.  This way, you’ll have a better idea of what you can realistically spend on your baby. Need to make room in your budget for all those adorable baby clothes? Check out our ultimate guide to budgeting for baby clothes and get helpful tips on how to start saving for baby’s wardrobe. 
  • Set up a baby registry – It’s never too early to set up a baby registry. After all, you’re simply making a list of baby supplies, which you can usually set to private until you’re ready to share it with family and friends. Don’t know where to begin? Start by adding must-have baby clothing essentials to your registry, such as Onesies® Brand Bodysuits, baby pajamas, shirts, bottoms and wiggle-proof socks. 
Shop Onesies® Brand Bodysuits

  • Research baby gear – From buying a crib to choosing the right stroller, there are a lot of tough decisions you’ll need to make before your baby arrives. To find the products that are perfect for your family, be sure to spend a little time researching your must-have baby gear. Start reading baby buying guides and reviews to get a better idea of what products will serve you best. Doing your research is also a great way to save money by helping you figure out what you need and don’t need for your baby.
  • Stock up on consumables – Consider using this time to start stockpiling laundry detergent, shampoo and conditioner, dish soap, toilet paper and other consumables that may cost a lot over the long run. This way, you’ll have a small supply for when you’re on one income. Stocking up on consumables can also help ease the nesting feeling without filling your home with baby stuff too early.

Second Trimester

Even if you’re waiting until after your baby shower to buy most of your baby stuff, this is still a great time to purchase big-ticket items—like a nursery glider, a stroller and the baby’s crib—that you probably didn’t add to your baby registry.

multi-image graphic with text: second trimester

  • Choose a nursery theme – Now that you know the sex of the baby, it’s time to pick a theme for your nursery. With a theme in place, it will be much easier to choose furniture and décor that coordinate with your nursery design. Outfit your nursery with baby girl bedding or baby boy bedding in fun colors, patterns and prints. Add personality to your little one’s room with adorable baby books to match your nursery theme.
  • Start ordering nursery furniture – Buying nursery furniture online? Be sure to order sooner rather than later. It can take weeks for your items to arrive, and you’ll want to have plenty of time to assemble your furniture. For large and heavy items, you’ll also want to have someone help you move the furniture into your home.
  • Buy a crib – Some parents hold off on buying a crib and decide to use a bassinet for the baby’s first few months. But you’ll need to buy a crib eventually, and the second trimester is one of the best times to do it because you’ll have more energy. Additionally, this will give you enough time to assemble the crib.
  • Declutter your home – Start decluttering your home to make room for all the baby stuff coming your way. Remember, you don’t need to do everything in one day! Start by putting one or two items into a trash bag each day. Once the bag is full, drop it off at a donation center.
  • Decide on diapers – If you haven’t already decided which kind of diaper you’re going to use for your baby, now would be a good time to make a decision. While your main options are cloth diapers and disposable diapers, you also have many options between all the different brands and styles. 

Third Trimester

You’re in the home stretch! With your baby’s arrival looming closer, it’s time to double-check your baby list and pick up all the remaining products you’ll need for your new addition.

multi-image graphic with pregnant mother holding teddy bear and mother holding newborn with text reading: third trimester

  • Stock up on must-have essentials – For such tiny beings, babies can go through a surprising number of clothes, diapers and creams. In your nursery, make sure that you have lots of baby bibs and burp cloths within easy reach. Don’t forget to pick up diaper cream, wipes, baby lotion, nail clippers and other baby care essentials.
  • Buy a baby car seat – Don’t wait too long to get a car seat. You’ll want to have plenty of time to practice using your car seat in advance. Besides, you can’t leave the hospital without one! 
  • Round out the baby’s wardrobe – Once your baby shower is over and done with, you can go through your little one’s clothes and start filling in the gaps in their wardrobe. If you’re like most expecting parents, you’ll probably end up with a mountain of newborn clothes and not nearly enough baby clothes in larger sizes. Fortunately, that’s an easy fix! Check out the wide selection of quality baby clothes at Gerber Childrenswear and order everything you need for your bundle of joy.
  • Pre-wash baby clothes – Whether your baby items are brand-new or gently used, it’s always a good idea to wash them before your little one arrives. Hand-me-downs may have been stuffed in the basement or attic, causing them to get dusty. Similarly, brand-new clothes may contain chemicals that are harmful on the baby’s delicate skin. Speaking of baby’s delicate skin, be sure to pre-wash your little one’s clothes with a baby-safe laundry detergent!
  • Keep an eye out for good deals – Impatiently waiting for your little one to arrive? One smart way to pass the time is by searching for amazing deals on baby items. Specifically, keep an eye out for deals on high chairs, playpens, bouncers and other items that your baby doesn’t necessarily need right away. That way, you can wait until your favorite models go on sale.

Ready, Set, Shop!

With this helpful timeline, you can hopefully get a better sense of when to start shopping for your baby. Just remember that you aren’t bound by this timeline. At the end of the day, you should purchase and prepare for your little one however you see fit. 

Happy shopping!

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