Smart Baby Stuff Purchases

We are getting very close to the arrival of lil’ SPF and I am happy to say that we are just about ready for him, baby stuff wise anyways. We can’t say for sure whether we are physically and mentally prepared to become parents but we figure we’ll manage!  So in the meantime we can feel good about having all the baby stuff at the ready.

Now what is all this stuff? Well it is the fruit of many, many hours of research, e-mailing back and forth with friends, phone calls with family members and lots of searching online shopping sites. We really only wanted to buy the key, essential items and not break the bank while doing so.

Writing about only the essential items makes me smile today after having watched the documentary ‘Babies’ which follows 4 babies from across the globe from birth to a year old or so. Needless to say their parents idea of essential items is drastically different than what we see in North America and all the babies are growing and developing fine. So our list might seem small to some and very long to others. I’ll follow up this post in a couple of months to let you know how our “essentials” list is doing.

So what baby stuff did we think was essential for lil’ SPF?


We did consider getting a second hand crib but most every one I saw posted on Kijiji was a drop-side, which they no longer make in Canada because of all the issues they have had with baby injuries and even death. So onto new cribs it was. I really did not want to spend a fortune on this item, especially considering we have not even bought a proper bed frame for ourselves yet!

I wanted to get the most value for our money, so I looked for a crib that could be converted into a toddler bed in time. The one we bought has the additional option of converting into a double bed with the purchase of a few extra parts after the toddler stage. We also wanted to get a bed that was somewhat environmentally friendly, again without spending a ton of money. The crib we bought, the DaVinci Reagan 4-in-1 Convertible Crib, is lead and phthalate free, has a non-toxic finish and is made from sustainable harvested wood all for $209 (we didn’t have to pay duty on our online cross border shopping!)

Crib Mattress

Researching the crib mattresses took a lot of time. I discovered that some materials used to make baby mattresses are believed to increase the risk of SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome). So it was key to find a mattress made without fire retardants, no vinyl cover and free of lead and phtalates. The new mattress we found in the end cost us $100 and met my sustainable criteria.


We made the effort to find a gently used bassinet but no luck once again. We also knew that we would eventually need a pack and play model to double as a bed when visiting relatives. I was pleasantly surprised to discover that many pack and plays today come with a bassinet option, perfect for the newborn sleeping in your room. The one we picked also came with a small change table attachment, again very practical when travelling. Cost $160.

Car seat

You should buy a brand new car seat because they do have a limited warranty and you never know if one has been in an accident, etc. Using the reviews, I picked the safest and most preferred car seat I could find rated by other moms. Also got one that is good until lil’ SPF reaches 30lbs or 30 inches. There was also an option to to get a car seat by the same brand for an extra $50 but the weight allowance increase is only 5 lbs more but you only get 2 more inches. If lil’ SPF is anything like me he will be too long before he outweighs anything.  The cost of our car seat was $120 but we received it as a gift.


Getting a stroller that fits our lifestyle of camping and hiking through sometime more rugged terrain was important. As such the three, large wheel model made sense.  We also wanted something that had good cargo, good reviews, could adjust so baby could sit or lie down and would last for several years (in terms of weight limits) and which our car seat could ft into. We picked the Jeep Liberty. The stroller cost was $200 but we received it as a gift.


We chose cloth over disposables but I will go into much more detail in a future post about the specific type of cloth diapers we will be using.


I was surprised to learn that babies need approximately 5 outfits a day! Depending on how many loads of laundry you want to do in a week, you will definitely need a good supply of baby clothes. We got many onesies at the shower and some other garments but we did need to buy long pants, sleepers and long sleeve shirts.

Every mom I know has told me not to buy too many newborn clothes because you really do not know how fast the newborn is going to grow. We visited two second stores in town and stocked up on the clothing items we needed. We did also get some bigger size items as they were a good price and again because you do not know how fast they are going to grow you don’t want to be without a pair of pants the morning the baby wakes up and is an inch taller!

As you know we are having a boy but for the most part we did try and pick clothes that would work for either a boy or a girl so if we have a second we will be set and if the clothes are still good after that we will have a broader group to sell to. Clothing cost: $90.

Change Table

I searched for used change tables in town but had no luck (our town doesn’t have the stuff we want “used”!). A couple of weekends ago we were heading to SPF’s hometown for a wedding where SPF was a groomsman and I checked to see what that town had used on Kijiji. Luckily I found someone selling a change table that looked in pretty good shape from what I could see in the photo and they only wanted $40 for it.  The ones I saw online and in stores started at at least $65. So we picked it up and took it home after the wedding. It has a nice sliding drawer at the top to fit all the pre-folded diapers in and then two spacious shelves below where I store bedding, receiving blankets, towels, etc.  It’s in good shape for a good price.

Toys to stimulate

I have read that babies need colourful, textured toys to stimulate them, get them reaching out, using hand/eye coordination, etc. So one of the best and most popular toys for this is a play mat. They are usually very colourful with an arched bar across the top from which toys hang. There could also be mirrors on the mat and all sorts of bells and whistles which may require batteries. As already mentioned we are not so keen on the plastic toys and we don’t really like the idea of having to load up baby toys with tons of batteries. So we kept our an eye out for a simple play mat and fortunately we found one at a local second hand garage style sale for $10. The mat is all cloth, including the toys and is machine washable. It even came in its own bag so you can easily take it on the road. We also picked up some colourful finger puppets for $2.

Baby carrier

A definite must for most parents because using a carrier means that baby can be close to you and feel comforted and secure while allowing you to make dinner, do laundry or whatever else requires use of both hands! I did a lot of research about what brands people recommended and looked closely for those that offered full back support, could be worn with baby facing front and back and could hold baby from birth till at least a year old. The one we decided on was the Moby wrap. Cost $40 (we received as a gift)

Other miscellaneous baby stuff

Bouncy Seat, swaddling blankets , receiving blankets, nursing cover, nursing pillow, bedding, change table pad, 1st Year What To Expect Book, lotion, shampoo, nursing tops and baby monitor. For all of these we chose items that had great reviews, purchased second hand when possible or bought online in the States when possible (almost always cheaper than what we could get in stores in town). Total cost to us (some items we received as gifts): $344

other items that we received at the baby shower and I now realize are essential:

– diaper bag (I figured I would use one of my many large bags but I see that having a baby that is specially designed for diapers and other baby items is key what with all the pockets and the material you can wipe down).

– stroller rain cover (would make for an unhappy lil’ SPF otherwise!)

So in total we have spent approximately $996 on baby stuff which we think is quite reasonable given what we bought.  For future purchases we might be looking at a costco membership!

To the parents out there, what do you make of our list and how much we spent?  Any items we missed in our goal to equip ourselves with baby stuff?

33 thoughts on “Smart Baby Stuff Purchases

  1. I liked your idea of trying to buy clothes that would work with either a boy or girl (thinking ahead to your second child). My brother and sister-in-law just had their first child, a girl, and the closet is filled with pink. :) I hope, if they have another, that it will be a girl (for their sake).

  2. I have a 6 mo. old and learned you can’t really know exactly what to buy – some things other people used all the time you won’t use at all, and you might find yourself paying any amount at the last minute if you think something will make your life easier once baby gets here.

    On the clothes – 5 outfits a day??! Sometimes I had to make myself change ours out of the same onesie she’d been wearing for multiple days. She didn’t spit up much and her diaper didn’t leak, so she stayed clean for the most part.

    Also – don’t you have craigslist in Canada? That’s where we find most of our used things.

    1. We haven’t over-done it I don’t think. We will go out and get stuff as we need it. Still, $90 for clothing for the first year is pretty good I think. And we can sell a lot of it back @ consignment stores.
      For the 5 outfits, i’m going with Mrs. SPF on this one as she did the research. I guess it really does depend on diaper leakage and spit up. I hope we don’t need 5 a day …

      Did you do cloth diapers Frugal Vegan Mom? I am curious if there is a leak difference between cloth (which we will do) and disposable.

  3. I think you did a great job hitting the main items. One thing that I recommend is a great laundry detergent and stain remover. Dreft was my go-to for all my laundry needs until my daughter was about 2 or so. I would also start stocking up on sippy cups, utensils, bowls, etc for when the baby starts eating food. It’s easier to pick it up now in drips and drabs than having to buy it all at once.

  4. I think you did great on the price for all the items (and some you even received as gifts!) Babies do need a lot of stuff it seems. But I think they’re worth it. Don’t forget to read to lil’ SPF. Even if baby can’t read for another 2-3 years, hearing those vocabulary words will increase his own vocabulary.

  5. I too think it is a good idea to get unisex clothes. We don’t have kids yet but this is in our plans. I love green, yellow, and orange. Our spare room is already green and yellow so it’s perfect.

    I have also seen those convertible cribs. This is what we want. I love how it has more than one use- it will last years and they look really nice too.

    Glad you have things so well organized. It will make a big difference when the baby comes.

  6. I would recommend books, sunglasses for baby, and a snowsuit:)I made sure that my baby’s car seat would accommodate a bulky snowsuit, too! And if you have extra cash, a (used) sled for hauling baby around the park in the winter is fun, too.

  7. Congratulation again!
    Our baby didn’t need 5 changes per day, but he used disposable diapers so it maybe different. Now at 6 months, he usually wear one outfit/day.
    Moby wrap is pretty good, but our guy outgrew it pretty quickly. I like our current carrier better. Beco butterfly 2.

    1. thanks retirebyforty! well hopefully our little guy will only be needing one outfit per day by 6 months as well! How much was the beco butterfly? Does it have good back support?

  8. Congratulations! Your list looks pretty comprehensive but I do have a few things to add.

    First, I’d recommend stocking up on safety devices like outlet covers, cabinet locks, a toilet lid lock, etc. It’s amazing how quickly the littles ones learn to get around and when they do look out :) One of my kids was a champion crawler at 6 months old!

    Also, eventually you will need a high chair or some type of booster chair. My kids liked to sit at the kitchen table with us long before they were ready to eat solid food. I’d just put them in their high chair with a few toys to play with while my husband and I ate dinner.

  9. Great list. We have the pack and play model with the bassinet and changing table as well. It’s been a wonderful item for us.

    Our baby went through outfits the first month with some blowouts and lots of spitting up. Virtually all of her clothes so far have been gifts, hand me downs, and consignment finds which helps.

    I would recommend buying a pack of onesies for the house wear. They’re really cheap and you’ll have fresh clothes for your little one.

    1. We have a ton of onesies. At the baby shower one activity had each lady decorate a onesie for the little guy. They used fabric marker I think.

      Do you think the estimate of 5 outfits (even if just a onesie) is over stating it given your experience, Elle?

  10. Congrats! What an exciting time? My boys are 8 and 12 now. The time went so fast, I just want to urge you to enjoy every moment with the baby. They grow up so fast you will not believe it.

    I remember the coming baby days, wow, what good times!

    Wishing you all the best!

  11. Congratulations! I understand the excitement on the coming baby. I remember when my kids were still babies, we used cloth diapers during the day and disposable ones at night. As per clothing, I think 5 outfits per day is exaggerated! My kids get to change only 2-3 times a day. I hope you can maximize the bouncy seat and swaddling blankets you bought. Mine was left almost untouched.

  12. Congrats for the great work! I do not have children yet, but I see my friends spending like $3K on stuff they didn´t eve use! When my time comes I will try to make it with your list. Congrats for your baby!

  13. Pingback: Totally Money Blog Carnival Celebrity Roast Edition » Financial Success for Young Adults
  14. I think you’ve done a great job stocking up! In my experience (with very spit-up prone babies who often pooped 4X per day), 5 outfits per day is not necessary. When packing for the cottage (no laundry available) I would pack 2-3 outfits per day when they were very small. Absorbant terry cloth bibs help stretch the outfits if your baby is a spitter; I did go through plenty of those! I also never picked up a baby without a receiving blanket over my shoulder… Don’t forget to pack extra clothing for parents if you are travelling. :)

    Cloth diapers worked okay for us, but the covers had to be washed often (with the 4 poops per day) and usually by hand since I needed them ASAP. The covers were expensive and needed to be replaced frequently since our daughter grew so fast. Combined with the difficulty of travelling with them, we ended up switching to disposable after 6 months. They go in the city compost in Toronto so there was not so much guilt.

    We have the “What to Expect the First Year” and it can be a bit alarmist, but the first aid guide at the back is good. My midwife saw it on a home visit and asked if we had any other books. It is especially unhelpful for breastfeeding advice, if that is of concern. I also had “Best Feeding” and the Ann Douglas baby book (both in my box to give away, if you’re in Toronto any time soon!). “Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child” is a good one, too.

    I also recommend checking used places for an exersaucer over the next few months. They are big but excellent entertainment for the 4-12m set. Excellent for keeping them in one spot and happy while you are busy cooking/eating/doing laundry.

    Sorry for the novel! Best of luck with everything.

    1. thanks for all the feedback Amanda! I will keep that in mind to always have the receiving blanket over the shoulder just in case. And we do have a lot of cloth bibs so will keep those close by too. That is great that Toronto has the big compost site, not something we have here so we are going to go with cloth, see our upcoming psot about it:) Interesting about the “What to expect in the 1st year” book, I have been reading it and there is quite an extensive section on breatfeeding and for the most part it was the same advice we got from the doula who taught our parenting class. Perhaps the latest edition has a better breasfeeding section? I will keep those other books in mind though! thanks again, always good to have experienced parents advice and feedback

  15. Mrs.SPF, you’ve got a comprehensive list there! Get a teether when it goes on sale. It’s like a rubber ring, made of silicone that a child can chew when starts teething..

    I find the breastfeeding advice from the what to expect books not very useful. That’s very generic. Look at ann douglas or sheila kitzinger books..

    Or just look at dr.jack newman’s website. It has very helpful videos. Also kellymom website has the most comprehensive breastfeeding advice e.v.e.r! Between the two websites, I was able to go on for 2.2 yrs!

  16. Which online store did you purchase your crib over the border? I am beginning to get our nursery ready and can’t believe the price difference across the border!

  17. Pingback: Totally Money Blog Carnival Celebrity Roast Edition » Financial Success for Young Adults

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *