How Much Baby Stuff Do You Actually Need?If you’re prepping to have a baby, odds are you’re nesting. And that means a lot of research and shopping to make sure you have everything you need. I did this and while some articles were helpful, many simply didn’t answer my questions. I wanted to know exactly how much of something to order and have on hand to avoid last minute purchases during a stressful season of life. 

First off, I’ll tell you that you may not be like me, and so you may want to adjust accordingly, but I’ll tell you about my approach to things and what has worked for us. I hope it helps! 

Me as a parent of a baby…

My focus was to have enough, but not too much. I simply don’t need all the clutter sitting around, nor do I want to waste resources to buy something that didn’t need to be produced in the first place (aka I don’t want to kill the earth by buying too much stuff brand new). Plus, it saves me money. At the same time, I want enough of the baby gear so that I’m not always washing clothes or dishes and I’m not stressing out because I skimped too much. It’s a fine balance and I think the line is different for every person. But here’s what worked for us. 

So, How Much Baby Stuff Do You Actually Need?

Here’s what worked for me…in actual quantities.

Pumping Bottles: I started off with a combination of pumping and nursing, but to keep my supply up, I pumped after I nursed, so I still used a lot of bottles. I had a Spectra 1 battery powered pump (worked great!) and the Avent bottles fit the Spectra. All in all, I had eight bottles that fit my pump. In an ideal world, I think having two more bottles would have worked better because I was pumping at least five times a day. But, the eight worked well for me this go around. This was enough to use in a day, and do a quick wash to get me through the rest of the day. 

Baby Bottles: Before baby was born, we bought four different brands of bottles to try out. We ultimately settled on the Tommee Tippee ones because they seemed to help with gas. So, after a week of baby’s life, we bought more of the Tommee ones to get our total of 5 oz bottles up to ten. This was enough for us to have a constant rotation going, and not have to do dishes multiple times a day to wash the bottles. 

What did I do with the other bottles? Well, one of the brands we tried out was Avent and so I just migrated those bottles over to be used for pumping since they fit my Spectra pump. The other two bottles I kept around as backup for those days when life got in the way and we got behind on bottle washing. I also kept a spare bottle in our diaper bag as backup too. 

Burp Cloths: Friends, I ended up with about 30 burp cloths and for the first few months we needed all of them. I kept a stack in our living room and a stack in the nursery so that we always had some clean ones available on the level we needed. By about 5 months old, we needed these less and less for spit up and more for drool. We were gifted a ton of homemade ones made out of flannel and these worked really well. I got some cotton ones that were store bought and those were okay, but not as absorbing. 

Pacifiers: These were another item that I had people tell me you don’t really know what your kiddo will like. We had two or three kinds on hand just in case, and then once we found the kind we liked (we liked these) we bought six. I kept at least one in the diaper bag at all times. We always had a loose one (with no leash) in the crib for sleeping. And then, we had a few to have in use or in cleaning at all times. I know we also lost a few under furniture from time to time so I liked to have a few spares. You also drop them and they get dirty so it’s always good to have a few backups ready to go at all times so you don’t lose your mind. 

Baby Towels: I honestly questioned if these are an essential and as a minimalist, I think you can easily get by without them. But, we were given a few hand me downs of baby towels, so we’re using them. I will say that the little hood on them is nice so that you can keep baby’s head warm while you’re drying off. We have four at the moment and honestly, I don’t think you really need more than two. 

Clothes: This was a big question that I saw a lot as we were preparing for baby. Here’s the thing: babies grow fast and depending on the temperatures where you live, you may not even be able to wear certain clothes. Gosh, my five month old is still wearing some clothes she wore as a 1 month old because she’s on the petite side! You just don’t know. So, my recommendation is to not buy much at all if you can help it. See what you need later on and buy as you need.

We also got a lot of hand me downs and free clothes from clothing swaps, as well as gifts at showers. People love to buy outfits for babies. To this day, the only “clothes” we’ve purchased included the sunhat above, a swimsuit to fit her as a four month old, and a John Deere hat just for fun. 

What you DO need in my opinion are plenty of pajamas (I’d have about 10-12 on hand for the first few months of life) and then plenty of onesies and cotton pants. I like to have the tops and bottoms that you can easily mix and match based on what is clean. Also, we realized that onesies or clothes that go overhead are really difficult for those first few months because baby doesn’t have good neck control. So, zip up pajamas were our staple then. Once we got into 3 month to 6 month timeframes, we went to mainly long sleeve onesies and comfy pants. Again, I like to have at least 10 outfits per size so that I don’t have to do laundry every single day. I also always keep at least one pair of pajamas in our diaper bag as the backup outfit if we need it.