12 Crazy Cheap Must-Haves to Survive Baby's First Year | Olive and Tate

12 Crazy Cheap Must-Haves to Survive Baby's First Year

12 Crazy Cheap Must-Haves to Survive Baby's First Year


Now that Georgia is officially 16 months old, it's time for me to finally sit down and write the last of my infant/baby posts - and honestly, I'm not sure if that leaves me feeling thrilled or devastated! No matter what my crazy mom hormones are dredging up, I've been keeping little lists of things I want to share now that our baby days are over - and first on that list is a round up of inexpensive, can't-live-without-them products every parent should stock in their nursery. Most of these won't show up in the baby shower gift stack but they are tried and true, un-glamorous products that will help you survive the messiness of year 1. And, if you're a second time mom, these are the products that you'll bother to restock and re-purchase for the second go 'round. 

Every single one of these products is under $15, including many that come in multi-packs, and can be snagged on Amazon (because no parent can live without Prime!). 

12 Crazy Cheap Must-Haves to Survive Baby's First Year

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12 Crazy Cheap Must-Haves to Survive Baby's First Year


Mamas, step away from that scrub brush! Toss those pacis, bottle parts and nipples into this dishwasher basket made for parts and pieces, pop it in the top rack of your dishwasher and move on to the next! I exclusively machine washed every type of bottle we used (ComoTomo, Gerber, Dr. Brown's) and never had an issue. This particular basket is designed to be egg shaped so it won't tip over in the wash process, ideal for keeping track of all of those vented bottle pieces.

Georgia is a second baby which means she mostly had to nap on the go (sorry, baby!). Nothing drowns out the noise of Mommy's Happy Place (Target) quite like white noise, so I clip this bad boy to the car seat or stroller and crank it up. Portable white noise is also amazing for travel - both of our kids sleep with it so having one that can be tossed into a carry on bag is a keeper.

Oh, these changing pad liners. I’ve used these babies religiously for diaper changes with both a boy and a girl - and trust, they are a must have. I put the liner on top of the cloth changing pad cover (you know, the cute one), and swap it out when things get messy. I say "when" instead of "if" because it will get dirty. The liners can be machine washed and come in a three pack, so I toss the dirty one in the hamper and replace with a clean one, something I can do one handed, unlike having to change out the changing pad cover. The liners can also be wiped down if they don't need a full washing, making them a huge step up from fabric.

Ok, I wouldn't have understood the importance of this little guy unless I had a baby prone to diaper rash, so if that's you, listen up! Nothing is harder to get off of your hands or from under your nails than diaper rash cream. Double that if your babe requires a special mix of diaper creams that involves you mixing and spreading - what a hot mess. Use this spatula, save yourself and your finger tips.

I love this sleep sack - it's one size fits all through 9 months (my daughter is petite and wore it much longer), has a zipper instead of snaps and is the perfect transition after the swaddle. It is a fleece material but we wore it year round, just compensating for the weather with the bottom layer. In warmer months, we just used a thin, white onesie underneath and in the winter (especially in Maine) we layered a regular sleeper underneath. They wash so well, are very sturdy (ours lasted through both babies) and are super snuggly for baby. 

Pro Tip: protect the baby mattress with a liner that repels liquid. Pro Tip, again: double layer a mattress liner with a fitted crib sheet, then another liner and fitted crib sheet (just make sure all of the edges are tight and secure for safety) that way if baby's diaper leeks in the night, you can remove one layer of wet sheet/liner and have a dry one already on the crib, ready to go. 

Speaking of wet crib sheets, go ahead and stock up on inexpensive crib sheets to have on hand for quick changes. I know you'll want a pretty one when you're creating your dream nursery, but just keep the cheap ones on hand for quick changes. Whether it be a tummy bug or baby's first bedtime blow out, you'll be glad you have sheets ready to roll. 

No, not for bottoms. Cloth diapers make the best burp cloths of all time and the price point cannot be beat. They are soft, super absorbent and don't have any dies that could irritate baby's sweet face. If one gets gross, toss it out! If you don't like the way they look, monogram them! The last forever - millions and millions of washes - and they become softer with every wash. 

Perfect for a paci that falls on the floor and rolls under the fridge, bottle parts or pump parts, steamer bags are an insanely fast way to sterilize plastics quickly. Especially useful during the newborn/infant phase or for preemie babes that need to be extra cautious of germs, we really loved these to keep big brother's germs off of baby's pacis and lovies when she came home from the hospital. 

10. Onesies
White Gerber onesies are the OG baby product. Again, probably not something that will show up in the gifts at your shower, but something you absolutely need to stock. The shoulders stretch so that neck can brought down over the body (so you don't have to drag a soiled onesie over baby's head), they're soft and, quite honestly, there will be less days that require real outfits than you think. 

No need for a fancy changing pad system, just roll this soft blanket/pad up and keep it in your diaper bag or car. It can be wiped down or machine washed, is perfect for covering the trunk of your car or public changing pad and is a great size. I keep one in the car with a pack of wipes, a few diapers and a back up outfit so that we're always prepared. 

This is our preferred baby tub through both kids - it's inexpensive, does fit in a large single bowl sink and is perfect for the tub. Our kids were in them from birth to sitting up and, as a bonus, they are very easy to clean/drain. No mold, no worries! P.S. I just saw they now make a similar seat for sitters, something I wish we'd had! 

What am I missing? What's your fave cheap baby product?? 

4 comments

  1. The wubbanub has been a lifesaver for us!

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    1. Love the wubbanubs!! Both of my kids have taken them, thank goodness! xo

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  2. As someone whose first baby will be arriving within one week, this is so appreciated! Thanks Stephanie!

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    1. You are so welcome, mama! Can't wait to meet baby girl!

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