When to Start Buying Baby Stuff (When Pregnant / Adopting)

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Whether you’re expecting your baby in the next nine months or in a few weeks’ time, planning when to start buying baby stuff when pregnant requires considering some factors. The same applies if you’re wondering when to start buying baby items when adopting. 

Some parents like to start purchasing things for the baby as soon as they know they’re pregnant. Others wait closer to the time of arrival of the baby for a number of good reasons. Considerations such as gender, budget, and storage space all play a role in the timing of when to start buying baby items. 

Factors to consider when buying baby stuff during your pregnancy

Having a baby has to be one of the most exciting, life-changing experiences any parent will go through. It can also be challenging, daunting, stressful, and an expensive affair! Even before the baby arrives, you need to start planning what stuff you and your little one need in their first months on earth. 

Let’s talk about those factors so you can start planning properly before stashing up on baby products. 

Your baby’s gender

Many parents choose to hold back from starting the baby’s nursery and buying stuff for their little one until the gender has been revealed. This can happen as soon as 14 weeks although some parents wait until the pregnancy has advanced to 18 or 21 weeks.

There are good reasons for waiting until you know whether you’re having a girl or boy:

  • If you want to create a gender-specific nursery, knowing the sex of your baby makes it easier when picking colors and themes.
  • You want to buy gender-specific clothing for your little girl or boy. 
  • Bedding, baby wraps, and blankets are other items that can be gender-specific.

If you’re not fussy about knowing the gender of your baby before its arrival, you can go with gender-neutral baby room decor, clothing, and bedding. 

Your budget

One of the biggest stresses associated with having children is the financial factor. Knowing your budget before splurging on baby products will help you determine when is a good time to start buying. You can then decide if you need to save or if you have enough funds to start buying soon after finding out you’re pregnant. 

Planning your budget also gives you a heads-up as to whether you can splurge on a Cradlewise or a SNOO Smart Bassinet or opt for a cheaper crib. 

Plan your buying around sales

Planning your buying around sales means you can find bargains that save you money. 

If you know there’s a Black Friday weekend coming up before your baby’s birth, it’s worth holding off before buying more expensive gear such as baby monitors, cribs, and rockers. 

It’s also worthwhile keeping an eye out for online store sales and purchasing bulk items such as diapers and wipes going at discounted prices. Baby clothing can also be bought whenever there’s an end-of-season sale. 

Wait for the baby shower

If you know your BFF or sister-in-law is going to throw a baby shower for you, it makes sense to hold off buying any stuff until the event is over. This way, you can take stock of the gifts you received and then decide what you still need to get for your baby. Gifts of diapers for baby showers are items you can rely on most guests to give you!

Create a baby registry so your baby shower guests know exactly what you want. But announcing your registry without a baby shower being hosted does give family and friends ideas of what to get you so don’t be shy to put it out there!

Your space

From my own experience as a father to a little girl, I know how much stuff can accumulate when having a baby! And, all of it needs to go somewhere without it cluttering up the house. Before rushing off to get items and gear, consider the amount of space you have in your home. 

Some questions to ask yourself include:

  • Do I have enough cupboard space to store baby clothing, bedding, bottles, diapers, wipes, and other similar stuff?
  • Is a nursing chair necessary and if the answer is yes, is there space for one?
  • Is there space for a crib and if so, how big or small do I need to go?
  • Is there enough space for a diaper changing station? 
  • Do I have a baby wardrobe for neatly hanging up my baby’s clothes?

Can you only start clearing space for the arrival of your little one a few weeks before birth? You may also decide to move to a bigger property before the birth of your baby. The answers to your questions and other scenarios will help you plan when you can start buying baby items. 

Delivery times

I’m not talking about the delivery date of your baby but rather when online purchases can be delivered to your home. This timing is vital if you’re planning to buy most of your baby items and gear using online stores. 

Delivery of packages may take longer than you expect so don’t do all your diapers or baby clothes shopping the day before your newborn arrives. You may end up having to spend more money dashing off to the local store to stock up because of delayed shipping.

When to buy baby stuff depending on your trimester

Something expecting mothers must take into consideration is buying baby products depending on their pregnancy trimester. Use this guideline to help you plan the purchases of your baby items.

During first trimester (conception to 12 weeks)

The first trimester is often plagued with morning sickness, fatigue, and adjustment to pregnancy. This is a good time to do the following:

  • Plan your budget: Review and create your budget and start saving.
  • Compile a list of baby products: Research and compile a list of baby items and gear you need from the start.
  • Create a baby registry: Setting up a baby registry means your friends and family can start buying baby essentials for you. And, it can also be used for your baby shower. 

The first trimester should be your planning stage and there’s no need to start buying anything.  Unless, of course, you fall in love with a very cute onesie such as this set from Gerber Baby Girl Onesies Bodysuits!

During second trimester (12 to 24 weeks)

By now you should know the gender of your baby (if that’s what you want) and you’ve saved enough to start buying the bigger baby items not included on the registry. 

  • Plan your nursery decor: This includes deciding on color and themes.
  • Declutter your home: This is essential for creating space for ALL your baby products. 
  • Start purchasing baby furniture: Items such as the crib, gliding rocker, and diaper changing table can be purchased during this trimester.
  • Planning choice of diapers: Decide if you’re going with cloth diapers or disposable nappies. 

You should start buying baby diapers and wipes in the second trimester

You can start purchasing diapers in this trimester especially if you find some good deals with discounted prices. Buying in bulk also means you can save. The Pampers Swaddlers Diapers come in 140 counts which will keep you covered for the first couple of weeks. 

The Honest Company Wipes will keep you well-stocked during your newborn’s first weeks at home. 

During third trimester (24 to 40 weeks)

The last three months of your pregnancy go by quickly and fatigue could set in towards the end of it as you get more cumbersome. 

  • Completing the purchase of baby essentials: If the baby shower takes place during your large trimester, this will be the time to start buying items you didn’t get but still need on your list. Don’t forget essentials such as baby lotion, nail clippers, and bum cream. 
  • Stock up on diapers: Look out for sales and stock up on diapers and wipes.
  • Car seats and strollers: Your newborn will need to travel home in a baby car seat when you leave the hospital. You could opt for a car seat and stroller combo and consider comparing Evenflo to Chicco Travel Systems here. The Evenflo Pivot Modular Travel System is a popular all-in-one option. 

Aim to have everything bought by the time you’re 34 weeks pregnant. This way, you can relax and prepare for the actual birth of your baby. 

Watch this video which outlines what you can expect to happen in your third trimester.

When should you start buying baby stuff for twins?

Expecting twins does put a whole new spin on planning what you need for your double surprise plus when to start buying baby items during your pregnancy. While the criteria remain the same for having one baby, there are some differences that need to be considered. 

Budget for two

Having two babies at the same time means doubling up on most baby items and gear. And, this means double the cost as well. Having twins can have a serious impact on your income so you need to create and start planning your budget as soon as possible. 

Putting aside “baby stuff” money in the first three to six months of your pregnancy means you know how much you’ll have when you do start purchasing. Budgeting also helps you determine whether you need to look out for sales and if you need to wait for the baby shower before deciding what still needs to be bought. 

Space for two

Space could become a big issue when having twins. If you’re living in a smaller home, you’ll need to look out for space-saving furnishings such as the Dream on Me Traveler Portable Bassinet. 

You’ll also need to start decluttering before buying baby products so you know what available storage space you have. This can be done in the first three to four months of your pregnancy. 

Stockpiling diapers, wipes, and other baby essentials could become a problem if space is limited so purchasing may only take place in the weeks before your little ones arrive. 

Elevated symptoms when carrying two

Carrying twins can elevate the symptoms of pregnancy including increased fatigue, longer morning sickness, and stress. This needs to be factored in when planning when to buy baby items for your twins. You’re likely to be heavier and feel extra uncomfortable during the third trimester so leaving shopping to the last minute isn’t a good idea.

Hormones running rampant and feeling fatigued isn’t uncommon in your first trimester either so hold off from buying for your babies during this period. The second trimester is the best time for purchasing baby items and gear and preparing the nursery. You also have better energy levels for decluttering your home during this trimester. 

When to Start Buying Baby Stuff When Adopting

When to start buying baby essentials when adopting is a common question asked by parents taking this route. What you need to know, from the start, is that there’s no right answer! 

There’s no specific timeline of arrival

The biggest challenge for many parents adopting a babyface is not knowing the exact timeline of arrival. While in some cases, parents may be matched with a pregnant mother and are informed of the due date, others may only be told a few days beforehand of a baby being matched with them.

However, some agencies may suggest putting together a nursery and attaching a picture of it to their adoption application form. Expectant mothers may appreciate seeing the environment their baby is going to and choose you to be their little one’s parents. 

Plan ahead and get the basics

Many hopeful parents are planners and want to be prepared ahead of time so they’re not caught unawares should a baby suddenly arrive. If you’re a planner, you can list basic baby items and gear and purchase them in anticipation of your baby’s arrival. 

Factor in space and your budget if you decide to do this. Having the basics such as a crib, baby clothing, diapers, car seat, and other essentials in place gives you more time to enjoy your new baby when he or she arrives. 

Avoid baby stuff with expiry dates

Avoid purchasing baby items that may expire before your little one arrives. Read my article to find out if baby bottles (and nipples) expire when deciding if you should buy these items sooner than later. Some parents also recommend only purchasing formula when your baby arrives as you may need to experiment with different brands. 

Diapers, while they don’t have expiry dates, should only be bought when you know the age of your baby. This avoids you wasting money on too many newborn diapers when your baby may be a few months older by the time you adopt. 

Keep it gender-neutral

If you want to set up your baby’s room and stock the basics before knowing what sex your adopted baby will be, opt for gender-neutral decor, clothing, and other items. This way, you can start as soon as your agency adoption papers have been filed and accepted.

Keeping baby products gender-neutral also means you can use them again the second time around if you’re planning to adopt another baby in the future. 

Wait for the home study process to be finalized

Many hopeful parents prefer to wait until the home study process has been finalized. While you still have to wait for the ideal match, the successful completion of the home study process indicates you’re eligible for adopting a baby. 

Matching often takes place quickly when your potential as parents has been approved based on the home study process. Once this happens, you can start investing financially (and emotionally!) into the pending arrival of your baby. 

Wait for the paperwork to be signed

Experienced adoptive parents suggest waiting until the paperwork is signed before purchasing baby essentials. Expectant mothers may change their minds at the last moment about giving up their babies. And, this is their prerogative, as much as it’s painful for the adoptive parents. 

You may decide to wait until all the paperwork is finalized and signed before having a baby shower. All you really need ahead of time is a baby car seat. Other essentials can be purchased when your baby arrives and bigger items such as a rocking chair can be purchased when you know everything is finalized with the birth mother. 


Planning when to buy baby items means taking certain factors into consideration. It also means deciding what you want such as creating a minimalist baby registry. Use the factors listed in my article to help guide you through the process of when to start buying baby products and have peace of mind you can enjoy your little one when they arrive.

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