Wonder what baby items are worth spending your money on? I’m a frugal mom of 4 and here are all my favorite frugal baby items!
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Trying to figure out what baby items are worth buying? As a frugal mom of four, I know how hard it is to decide whether something is worth spending your hard-earned money on! And so I thought I’d try to help you out by sharing the 11 items that I would willingly buy again in a heartbeat.
A Frugal Mom’s Favorite Baby Items
1. Conair Sound Machine
This little machine has been a life saver for us so often! We live in a house where sound carries easily. We also live in the city and during the summer months often have neighbors who party loud and long into the night.
This machine makes just enough white noise to block other sounds out and has helped our babies (and older children too!) sleep well even when there’s other noise close by. I love that it has the option to run on batteries which is great for camping.
Update: The Conair sound machine has increased drastically in price and is no longer a frugal buy. This Homedics option looks like a good alternative.
2. Aden + Anais Classic Muslin Swaddle Blanket
These blankets are amazing! Yes, they’re a bit pricier than many other blankets but let me tell you, they are worth the extra money. I didn’t have them with my first two and sometimes I wonder how I managed! They are now my go-to blanket and I have hardly used anything else with babies #3 and #4. Here’s what I love about them:
- They’re bigger than most blankets and work wonderfully for swaddling.
- They are lightweight enough that they aren’t all bulky and annoying.
- I didn’t feel like I had to worry about them suffocating my baby because the fabric “breathes”.
(Obviously, this doesn’t mean that they couldn’t suffocate your baby, but it just seemed less likely to me. As always, use common sense.)
- Because of their size and their lightweight design, they work great as a cover-up when nursing.
- They get softer the more you wash them.
3. Boppy Pillow
If you are nursing, this is one of those things that just makes life a little easier. I didn’t have one for my first child and often would get a backache from hunching over when nursing. The Boppy helped with that by giving me a higher surface to rest my baby on while I was nursing him.
I also used it a lot as a place to nestle my baby when I wasn’t nursing. When they are newborns, they can lie nicely in the center. As they get older, it works perfectly to sit them in the middle since the Boppy gives just enough support to help them get used to sitting up.
4. Bumbo Seat
This little seat is just awesome! It’s perfect to use when your baby is just starting to try to sit up and can’t quite support themselves and it’s also great once they can sit a bit better but tire out easily.
I found that using the Bumbo helped my babies be more content because it gave them a change of scenery so to speak. And the fact that it is easy to wipe clean is wonderful! Obviously, it is great for indoor use, but it is also perfect for outdoors as well.
5. Graco Pack ‘n Play
This one is a big-ticket item but it is definitely worth it in my opinion! We have a lot of family that live out of state and so we travel a lot. This Pack ‘n Play folds up compact enough that it is easy to transport and allows us to have a nice little bed for our child no matter where we are. There is a more expensive model, but personally, I wouldn’t bother spending the extra simply because the extra features are not something you are going to use for more than maybe a month or so.
And I highly recommend spending a little bit more and getting a waterproof pad and sheet to protect your Pack ‘n Play while you are at it. It’s an easy way to keep it clean!
6. Soft Baby Shoes
I discovered these shoes with baby #2 and loved them! They are an inexpensive, perfect first shoe. They’re soft and not as clunky as regular shoes which make it easy for your baby to crawl in as well as learn to walk. If you are looking for a boy version, I thought these Canvas Baby Boy Shoes were quite darling!
Here are a few other options:
To be clear, the shoes that I used for my girls were Goldbug brand, but they don’t seem to be available anymore. So I read reviews and tried to find shoes that seemed to be decent quality and like the ones that I used on my daughters.
7. Tommee Tippee Insulated Sippy Cup
These cups are hands down the best sippy cups we’ve owned- and we’ve owned quite a few brands! They won our approval because they truly are leak-proof, which is something that no other cup that we tried actually lived up to. I also really like that they are insulated.
Update: I since have discovered the Munchkin Miracle 360 Sippy Cup and think I like it even more!
8. Bumkins Waterproof SuperBib
Maybe I’m picky, but it took me a while to find a bib that I truly loved. In my opinion, these Bumkin bibs are perfect for babies up to about 12 to 14 mos. They’re long enough to cover well and keep clothes clean, they are flexible enough to fit nicely and they wipe up easily, too. Plus, you can throw them in the washer too if you want to get them super clean!
9. Usborne “That’s Not My….” Books
We love introducing our children to books at an early age. The Usborne “That’s Not My ______” books are favorites of both our children and us! They feature bright colors, simple pictures and have fun textures to feel, too. And they are nice and sturdy as well, which is obviously important if you are going to be letting little ones look at them!
10. The Mommy Hook
This handy hook is like an extra hand! It clips easily onto your stroller or shopping cart to give you a place to hang your purse or grocery bags from. It’s small enough that you can easily keep it in your diaper bag to use when needed.
11. Bouncer Seat
Our babies all have loved the bouncer seat! I picked up an older version of the seat shown above on a whim at a yard sale when our first baby was a newborn, and I’ve never regretted it.
I love that the bouncer seat is smaller and more mobile than a swing, but still gives babies a nice soft, cushy place to be. And with the way it’s designed, every time your baby moves, it will gently bounce just a little bit. It’s not huge movement, but our babies seemed to like it.
It was especially great for when they were napping and I have no idea what I would have done without a bouncer seat for our colicky 4th baby. He slept in this thing all.the.time. for the first several months of his life! He seemed to have a lot of stomach gassiness and I think the fact that he could sleep on a bit of an incline in the seat helped him feel better.
Side note: I’ve since learned of Dock a Tot and think they could be another nice option. You can read my friend’s Dock a Tot review here.
I just had to update this post and add these 2 items…because we are currently in the baby stage with our 4th child and I realized that these 2 items have been huge lifesavers for me and you all deserved to know about them too! 🙂
12. Doorway Jumper
I eyed these things when each of our previous children were babies but always ended up convincing myself that I didn’t need another baby gadget. Recently though my sister-in-law offered to let me borrow hers and you all, it has been a total lifesaver! Our little guy (baby #4) absolutely loves it and it keeps him happy for such a long time.
13. Johnson & Johnson Nursing Pads
Hands down, these are the absolute best nursing pads out there- and I’ve tried quite a few brands! They are super absorbent and never leak (which is especially great if you have an active letdown and an oversupply of milk).
I love that they are made from a material that doesn’t make you sweat and allows your skin to breathe- key to avoiding getting yeast infections/thrush. So many of the other brands that I tried have a plastic backing that caused me to sweat and always made me feel slightly damp.
Yes, these cost a bit more than other brands, but they are totally worth every single extra penny! Even when I leak a lot, I rarely change them more than twice a day because they are so, super absorbent.
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Thank you for this list! I’m due in September with my first and I honestly have no idea what I need/don’t need so this is very helpful.
Congratulations, Karlyn! New babies are always exciting. 🙂 And so happy that this was helpful for you!
I wish I had read this post before I was about to have my son! I 100% agree with the Graco Pack n Play. We used that as my sons crib until he was 6 months – lifesaver! We went and got one with the extra features (basinet and changing spot), but our doctor recommended we not even use the bassinet so I also agree the extra features aren’t needed.
Great post, thank you! 🙂
Hindsight is 20/20, right? 🙂 I think for most people those extras on the Pack n Play just end up costing more but that’s about it! I mean, it seems like a great idea, you know? But in reality, you just don’t really use it.
I love this! I would add a baby swing. My baby and the little guy I babysit have spent literally hours in the swing. Mine is a Graco and I love it but I would recommend getting one that could be plugged into electricity rather than battery powered.
Your blog is amazing!
Thanks for your kind words, Jeanette! And I think baby swings are often a great investment for sure. I have several mom friends that they have been total life savers for. The only reason I didn’t include them on my list is because I borrowed swings to try with 3 of my babies and none of them really liked them. Crazy, I know. And I was disappointed, especially with our last because he was colicky and I was hopeful that it might help me out.
This is a great list of must haves. I definitely agree with the Muslin Blankets, they were a must have in our house too. They do have a hefty price tag but hold up for years. We were able to use them with all our kids and they just got softer each use.
Yes, the price actually held me back initially but when I borrowed one from my sister-in-law once to use when we were together, I became convinced they were worth it!
I honestly can see why many moms would want and love a baby carrier. And the two that I tried were never super comfortable, which was probably part of the reason that I never was crazy about them. 🙂 Maybe I should look into a used Ergo!
Ergo baby carrier!!
You know, Sara, I ever got into baby carrying. There are random times that I wish I had a carrier, but they are just so expensive that I couldn’t really feel good about buying one for the few times I’d use it. But I know for many people they are a great investment!
I can see your point on that. I used mine so often that it was totally worth the expense. I even still use it now sometimes when I babysit little ones for friends. My ergo was used for two kids and is still in great shape structurally. It is faded and not as pretty to look at any more. Perhaps one of the reasons I used my ergo so often was because it was truly comfortable and easy to use. I used some carriers that wasn’t true of though. I guess if a mom thinks she will use it, it can be money well spent in the long run.
Sara, I have a two month old and we have the Lille baby brand and love it!! A few friends that have multiple kids recommended it to us after trying different brands, and said it was the best one.