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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.
- Best budget-friendly bassinet: Dream On Me Karley Bassinet
- Best budget-friendly stroller: Safety 1st Smooth Ride Travel System
- Best budget-friendly baby monitor: ANMEATE Video Baby Monitor with Digital Camera
- Best budget-friendly baby carrier: Infantino Flip 4-in-1 Convertible Carrier
- Best budget-friendly bottles: NUK Simply Natural Bottles Gift Set
- Best budget-friendly pacifiers: Nanobébé Pacifier
- Best budget-friendly diaper bag: Ruvalino Multifunction Travel Backpack
- Best budget-friendly high chair: JOOVY Nook High Chair
- Best budget-friendly baby bathtub: The First Years Sure Comfort Deluxe Newborn to Toddler Tub with Sling
- Best budget-friendly baby play mat: Fisher-Price Deluxe Kick ‘n Play Piano Gym
- Best budget-friendly crib: Babyletto Gelato 4-in-1 Convertible Crib with Toddler Bed Conversion Kit
- Best budget-friendly mattress: Organic Dream® Lightweight Crib Mattress
- Best budget-friendly nursery glider: Storkcraft Hoop Glider and Ottoman
- Best budget-friendly swing: Graco Soothe ‘n Sway Baby Swing with Portable Rocker
- Best budget-friendly playard: Baby Trend Lil Snooze Deluxe 2 Nursery Center
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
- $$$$ = $200+
Best budget-friendly bassinet
When it comes to baby gear, anything sleep-oriented is naturally going to be more expensive — sometimes even as pricey as a full crib (we’re talking hundreds if not closer to thousands for the high-tech kind).
Not only do they tend to be on the larger side, but sleep products require highly efficient safety standards to reduce the risk sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). They also need to be easy for parents to use.
This lightweight bassinet from Dream on Me comes in under $100 and is loved by parents for its foldable frame, spacious storage basket, and durable double canopy. The bassinet is 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.
Best budget-friendly stroller
And 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. This should get you through the first few years at least.
Best budget-friendly baby monitor
Baby monitors that offer video are usually upwards of $100 and more. This is what makes this highly-rated monitor a diamond in the rough.
This monitor features a high-definition display with night vision, temperature monitoring, and eight 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 lullabies straight from the monitor.
Best budget-friendly baby carrier
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.
While some baby carriers — especially the fancier kind — can run you upwards of $100 (sometimes a couple of hundred dollars), this one is very 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
- a back-carry wide seat for both older babies and toddlers
The baby carrier is also machine washable and comes with a handy bib in case of spit-ups or spills.
Best budget-friendly bottles
Parents like these NUK bottles because they’re designed to cut down on infant tummy troubles caused by taking in too much air. 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 for less than $50:
- 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
- three silicone-free orthodontic pacifiers (one in newborn size and two for children 6–18 months)
Best budget-friendly pacifiers
A pacifier is one of the fastest and easiest ways to soothe a fussy baby. It’s a good thing that they’re usually inexpensive (which is great, because you’ll likely need quite a few!) and you can buy them in multipacks.
Nanobébé 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.
Best budget-friendly diaper bag
When it comes to a diaper bag, the higher-cost brands tend to be more fashion-oriented, and can you upwards of $100.
Most parents agree, however, that 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, two 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.
Best budget-friendly high chair
High chairs are one of the bigger ticket items and that’s usually because of their size and intricacy. While most are between $200 and $300, Joovy stands out with this highly-rated high chair just over the $100 mark.
This chair has all the bells and whistles new parents are looking for, including a removable swing-open tray, four 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 also particularly useful for travel since it folds up nicely and has a handle for easy carrying.
Best budget-friendly baby bathtub
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 that can run you close to $100.
This baby tub from The First Years does the job and typically costs 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. It also has a drain plug at the bottom that changes color to let parents know when the water may be too hot for baby.
Best budget-friendly baby play mat
There’s no shortage of activity centers available on the market — and some of them are pricey to say the least (like close to $100).
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 lots of textures and over 65 songs and sounds to keep your little one engaged.
Best budget-friendly baby crib
If there’s one big-ticket baby product that you definitely need, it’s a crib. But, you don’t have to spend upwards of $1,000 for a quality crib that will last you far longer than baby’s first year.
The Babyletto Gelato Convertible Crib costs half that and offers you four different transitions to grow with your baby, from infancy and toddlerhood and all the way from childhood to the teenage years.
It transforms from a crib to a toddler bed to a day bed and then to a full-size bed. Your purchase even includes the toddler bed conversion kit, which is often sold separately for most convertible cribs.
It’s also Greenguard Gold certified, so it’s screened from more than 10,000 potentially harmful chemicals. It comes with a 1-year warranty.
Best budget-friendly mattress
Infant mattresses tend to cost somewhere between $100 and $300, but parents are often willing to spend more. Parents also tend to care more about materials and durability when it comes to an infant mattress.
That’s what makes the Organic Dream® Lightweight Crib Mattress such a great deal. For less than $200, you get a high-quality organic mattress that’s hypoallergenic, both Greenguard Gold and CertiPUR-US certified, and meets the firmness specifications of the American Academy of Pediatrics Model.
It’s moisture-wicking — so it keeps baby nice and cool at night — and is dual-sided so you can switch it to the softer side once your infant becomes a toddler. That means one purchase for two phases of life.
Best budget-friendly nursery glider
Nursery gliders are considered a piece of furniture, so they can run you as much as the fancy one in your living room — and even more so if they have electronic features.
This one by Storkcraft might not have any high-tech buttons, but it has everything you need to rock your baby to sleep for just a couple hundred dollars.
It features padded arm cushions with side pockets to store just about anything, from your smartphone or tablet to a water bottle. It rocks back and forth with ease and comes with an ottoman.
Best budget-friendly swing
As with most baby products these days, high-tech baby swings can cost you more than $200 — but you really only need a baby swing that, well, swings!
New parents swear by the Graco Soothe ‘n Sway Baby Swing with Portable Rocker, which offers all the necessary features and comes in just over $100. It swings and has a multi-direction seat that lets baby go side to side or front to back. You can also adjust the swing speed.
As your baby grows, you can adjust the positioning to one of three positions. There are also two varying vibration speeds to help calm baby when they’re fussy.
Best budget-friendly playard
Playards are so convenient for a second changing or sleep station at home and can be easy to pack up for travel purposes. But, they can cost you upwards of $200.
This one by Baby Trend is affordable at just under $100. It comes with all of the necessary features, including a removable full-size bassinet, a changing table complete with storage pockets, a removable napper, big wheels that break, an easy-to-lock mechanism, and more.
Parents love the affordable price and how easy it is to use for such a wide range of purposes.
Where are the best places to get affordale baby gear?
There are so many online retailers, many of which compete over pricing. This is great news for consumers since you can easily find deals on Amazon, Target, Walmart, and more. It’s a good idea to do price comparison, as some of these retailers will honor the lowest online price you find.
Where can I get eco-friendly baby gear?
You can find many eco-friendly and sustainable baby products online, especially when typing in the keywords “eco-friendly baby products” into your search bar. Other great retailers for shopping eco-friendly baby gear include EarthHero.com and ProductofTheNorth.com.
What’s the best type of baby gear to splurge on?
If you’re going to splurge on one or two baby items, your best bet is probably a crib and/or stroller. These are two products you’ll use every day. They also go through quite a bit of wear and tear, so durability is paramount to ensure that the products pass the test of time.
There’s no shortage of baby gear on the market today, and many of them are high quality and made with helpful features for new parents.
When it doubt, consider customer reviews to determine whether something is useful for your particular needs.