Wondering when to start buying baby stuff during pregnancy? Learn the best time to start shopping for certain items like clothes and diapers.
The first trimester can be tricky when it comes to planning for the baby. You’re optimistic and excited to start shopping, but also cautious, unsure if it’s too early. You may not have even told anyone that you’re expecting, but don’t want to sit idle during all this time, either. There seems to be so much to buy, but you don’t exactly know when a good time would be to start making those purchases.
I hear you, mama.
I’m a planner myself, and love checklists and to-dos to keep me organized. Except when it comes to babies, we can only predict so much. I was expecting a singleton when I learned I’d be having twins, for instance. And in hindsight, I learned more about the purchases I made over time, than had I gotten everything done from the start.
When to start buying baby stuff during pregnancy
Now, you won’t find a rigid timeline of when to start buying baby stuff during your pregnancy. I’ve learned that what works for one mom won’t always work for another.
Instead, I can offer benchmarks to consider, and situations that you might relate to so you can make a better decision. I’ll also share advice on what you can do in the meantime if you feel like you’re not at the right time to buy these items just yet.
Either way, I want you to see this time—whether you start buying items or not—as productive and positive. Take a look at these considerations about when and what to buy for the baby during your pregnancy:
1. Buy items once the baby’s gender is revealed
One category you can start buying—and know when to buy—is the baby’s clothes. The gender of your baby can typically be revealed around 16-20 weeks, which can be a good time to start looking into baby clothes.
Besides buying baby clothes, you can also look into other categories like bedding and nursery décor, blankets, pacifiers, and baby wraps.
That said, I tend to prefer gender-neutral items, even with baby clothes (white onesies work well!). But if you like gender-specific items, knowing the sex of your baby is a perfect starting point to buy.
Free printables: Plan for your monthly expenses once the baby comes! Join my newsletter and grab your Printable Monthly Expenses Worksheet. Estimate recurring expenses and typical costs of raising a baby to have a better sense of how much to spend. Get it below—at no cost to you:
2. Buy after your baby shower
Another fantastic time to start buying baby stuff during your pregnancy is after your baby shower. You likely created a baby registry of items that your friends and family can gift you. Once your baby shower has passed, you can then purchase any remaining items on your wish list.
An added perk of buying from your registry list is that many companies offer sales and specials just for creating one. You can then easily make the purchases with an added discount to boot.
Here’s everything I wish someone had told me when I was pregnant.
3. Space your purchases out
Worried about a massive bill toward the end of your pregnancy? Space your purchases out through these next several months, especially for big-ticket items.
For instance, buy the crib or bassinet this month, the car seat and stroller the next, the changing table after that, and so forth. You can feel like you’re getting things done instead of sitting idle and waiting. And you won’t feel overwhelmed when you’re able to check things off bit by bit.
4. Wait for the sales
Yet another reason to start buying baby stuff is when the items go on sale. You can buy most of them during seasonal sales, like during Black Friday weekend or on a Memorial Day sale.
Similarly, you can keep an eye out for random sales on particular items. You could stock up on diapers when you see that they’re on sale online, or buy nursery furniture when a store is holding a blowout sale.
And don’t forget that sales can apply to household items too, like toilet paper and dish soap. You won’t want to run out to the store to restock with baby in tow.
See what to stock up on before the baby arrives.
5. Buy diapers and wipes
You’ll need diapers and wipes, so these two make great purchases even in the early stages of your pregnancy.
That said, buy only one box of newborn and size one diapers each, and one small box of baby wipes. For one thing, you’ll likely get diapers from friends and family, or from the hospital, too. You also won’t know which brand works well with your baby—buying many boxes of one brand could backfire.
And of course, don’t open them just yet. If for whatever reason you need to return them, you can have more luck when they’re not open. Even better: tape the receipt to the box for easy reference should you need to make a return.
Alternatives to buying right now
Let’s say you’re holding off on buying baby items this minute. What else can you do to make the most of your time?
- Start saving money. If you’re not sure what to buy, you can still start saving money now for the eventual time you do. Find out how much the items generally cost, then start saving a set amount each month.
- Research and learn about particular items and how to use them. For instance, compare types of strollers, how to use these items, or eco-friendly versions (like cloth diapers instead of disposable). That way, once you can and want to start buying, you have the money and information to do so.
Learn 8 tips to save for maternity leave.
What to consider when deciding when and what to buy
Feeling unsure of whether to buy baby stuff right now is understandable. Take a look at these considerations when making a decision:
- The baby’s gender. As we discussed, you might not want to buy clothes and other items until you know whether the baby is a boy or a girl.
- Shipping or custom orders. Are you buying custom items and nursery decorations? Factor in extra time for them to arrive.
- Store policy limits. Some stores and businesses have particular return policies. Save items that only have a 30-day return limit toward the end of your pregnancy, versus those with longer or unlimited ranges.
- Your fatigue. The second trimester is typically the best time to get things done. You’re nauseous during the first and exhausted by the third, making the middle part of your pregnancy an ideal stage to buy items. You also might not be physically able to help assemble baby gear or shop in stores the closer you get to your due date.
- Maternity leave. With a baby to care for and possibly a reduced income, maternity leave may not be your best option to buy the remaining items.
- High-risk pregnancy. High-risk pregnancies could sometimes mean an earlier delivery date. Having your basic baby gear along with your hospital bag packed is essential for those who fall in this category.
Take a look at these hospital bag essentials.
Knowing when to start buying baby stuff during pregnancy isn’t as clear as you might imagine. Many considerations, from money to time to feeling cautious about the pregnancy, play a huge role in when to start.
Hopefully, you’ve seen a few ideas and benchmarks to help you through. You can start once you know your baby’s gender or after the baby shower. Space your purchases throughout the next few months, or wait for big sales to pop up. And of course, you can always start with essentials like diapers and wipes.
If you’d rather not make any purchases right now, you can still start saving money or research these items. And finally, base your decision on factors that relate to you, from a high-risk pregnancy to store return policies.
Whether you start buying baby stuff now or wait until later, you can still have a plan to follow!
Get more tips:
- The Ultimate Checklist of Things to Do Before the Baby Arrives
- How to Cope with Cholestasis of Pregnancy
- Top Baby Stuff for Dads He Can Use
- Baby Things to Buy Before Birth (Make Sure You Have These!)
- 9 Things to Do Before the Baby Is Born
Don’t forget: Join my newsletter and grab your Printable Monthly Expenses Worksheet below—at no cost to you:
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