We include products we think are useful for our readers. If you buy through links on this page, we may earn a small commission. Here’s our process.
To say that having a baby is an expensive endeavor is an understatement.
But while you may have to do some adjusting to your usual spending, you don’t have to break the bank to prep for your little one’s arrival.
The truth is, there’s often a budget-friendly option for many of the baby products you’ll want to have on hand during the first year and beyond. (Yep, even all those diapers and wipes you’ll have to order on the regular…)
And while there’s an endless list of baby products out there, you certainly don’t need them all. Don’t forget: People have been having babies since the dawn of time! You can raise a wonderfully happy child with a minimal amount of gear.
To kick off your journey as a new parent, however, you’ll need a few essentials like a diaper bag, stroller, carrier, pacifiers, bottles, etc.
Whether you’re creating your registry or are TTC and budgeting, we’re sharing a few quality, yet affordable options for important baby gear.
For this list we reached out to new parents and caregivers to learn about the specific products they found useful during their baby’s first year that were in a budget-friendly price range.
We also factored in product reviews to ensure that the gear we recommended had a high satisfaction rating.
- $ = under $50
- $$ = $50–$100
- $$$ = $100–$200
When it comes to baby gear, anything sleep-oriented is naturally going to be more expensive. Not only do they tend to be on the larger side, but sleep products require highly efficient safety standards to reduce the risk of SIDS. They also need to be easy for parents to use.
This lightweight bassinet from Dream on Me is loved by parents for its foldable frame, spacious storage basket, and durable double canopy.
Intended for newborns up to 25 pounds, fans of this bassinet have mostly great things to say and recommend using HALO bassinet sheets with this mattress pad.
Strollers and car seats are often some of the most expensive purchases new parents make. That’s what’s so amazing about this travel system by Safety 1st — it’s both an infant car seat and a stroller, all for less than what you would typically pay for one or the other.
This travel system has an oversized canopy with a visor that flips out to protect your little one from the sun, as well as a roomy basket underneath to store items like a diaper bag.
While the car seat is intended for use up to 35 pounds, the stroller seat accommodates children up to 50 pounds, so it should get you through the first few years at least.
Baby monitors that offer video are usually upwards of $100, which is what makes this highly-rated monitor a diamond in the rough. It features a high-definition display with night vision, temperature monitoring, and 8 infrared LED lights that monitor your baby’s every move.
This monitor has a transmission range of up to 960 feet that allows you to be physically distant without losing connection, as well as two-way talking so that you can communicate with your baby.
You can also play one of four soothing lullabies straight from the monitor.
If you want to get pretty much anything done in those first few months with baby, you’ll want to invest in a quality carrier that allows for hands-free snuggling.
This one is incredibly affordable — it’s also the only one you’ll ever need since it accommodates infants weighing 8 to 32 pounds.
The Flip 4-in-1 lets you carry your baby in four different ways: a facing-in narrow seat for newborns, a facing-in wide seat for older babies, a facing-out narrow seat for older babies, and a back-carry wide seat for both older babies and toddlers. It’s also machine washable and comes with a handy bib in case of spit-ups or spills.
Parents like these NUK bottles because they’re designed to cut down on infant tummy troubles caused by taking in too much air, and the flexible nipples allow for a latch that’s similar to the breast.
Plus, this 9-piece set comes with all the bottles you’ll need during baby’s first year:
two 5-ounce bottles with slow-flow nipples for those first 3 months
two 9-ounce bottles with medium-flow nipples for the 3–6 month range
two fast-flow nipples with 9 holes for 9+ months
3 silicone-free orthodontic pacifiers (one in newborn size and two for children 6–18 months)
A pacifier is one of the fastest and easiest ways to soothe a fussy baby. And the best part is that they’re usually inexpensive (which is great, because you’ll likely need quite a few!) and you can buy them in multipacks.
Nanobebe pacifiers have a careful, one-piece silicone design that parents say their babies love. These silicone pacis (which come in a 2 pack) are intended for babies 0 to 3 months, and are BPA- and phthalate-free.
When it comes to a diaper bag, function is always more important than fashion — although it’s always nice when you can have both! This cute diaper bag from Ruvalino offers plenty of storage at half the price of some other diaper bag brands on the market today.
It has 16 pockets, 2 zipper closure compartments, insulated bottle pockets, a laptop pocket, a changing pad, and an extra wide opening that makes accessing everything inside that much easier. It’s also incredibly versatile — you can wear it as a backpack, as a handbag, or it can hang on your stroller.
High chairs are one of the bigger ticket items and that’s usually because of their size and intricacy. While most are between $200 to $300, Joovy stands out with this highly-rated high chair closer to the $100 mark.
This chair has all the bells and whistles new parents are looking for, including a removable swing-open tray, 4 adjustable seating positions, a tray insert that you can remove easily for washing (or even pop in the dishwasher!), and nonscratch floor pads.
And, not only is it a great all-around high chair, but it’s particularly useful for travel since it folds up nicely and has a handle for easy carrying.
An infant tub is a necessity, especially during those first few months. But you don’t have to splurge on a tricked-out tub with high-tech features like temperature control — this one from The First Years does the job and can typically be bought for under $20.
This tub is designed to last your little one from infancy through toddlerhood. It comes with a removable sling that cradles baby like a hammock, and underneath there’s a seat for an older baby or toddler to sit in comfortably (with room to play!).
It has mildew-resistant pads that make for a cleaner bath and a drain plug at the bottom that changes color to give parents the heads up when the water may be too hot for baby.
There’s no shortage of activity centers available on the market — and some of them are pricey to say the least. But this one from Fisher-Price is a favorite among parents for its reasonable price and, more importantly, for how long it’s able to capture baby’s attention.
With a removable light-up keyboard, a self-discovery mirror, an elephant teether, a crinkle panda, a lion rattle, and monkey cymbal clackers, this play mat has endless textures and over 65 songs and sounds to keep your little one engaged.