When to Start Buying Baby Stuff: The Ultimate Timeline

Written by: Alyssa Larsen



Time to read 11 min

You’re pregnant and ready to shop! Whether you’re expecting your first baby or you’ve done this before, buying baby things is an exciting way to prepare for your journey into a new season of parenthood. The shopping bug might hit you early on in your pregnancy and you’ve found yourself second-guessing whether you should start buying baby stuff so soon.

Is there a right time to begin filling your cart with all the baby essentials? We’ll share our ultimate timeline to help you plan your shopping trip.

Baby Stuff

When Should Pregnant Women Start Buying Baby Stuff?

The number one rule is: There are no rules! You can—and should—start buying things for your baby whenever you want. Some women choose to start shopping after the first trimester, but it’s personal preference.

As you get closer to the end of your first trimester, you’ll likely have an ultrasound done to get your first look at how your baby is developing. A healthy report from an ob-gyn after an ultrasound is a relief to women who may have been worried about or had a previous experience with miscarriage. This good news tends to be the marker for celebrating the pregnancy with a trip down the baby aisle at your favorite store.

The first trimester is also when you’re most likely sick and tired—literally. The surge of hormones preparing your body to grow a tiny human for the next nine months can cause morning sickness and fatigue, and you might feel too crummy to care about buying baby stuff right now. If you’re not stocking up on baby supplies yet, don’t worry. You have plenty of time to get everything you need before your little one arrives.

Timeline for Buying Baby Essentials

There is no right or wrong way to prepare for the birth of your baby, but keeping a timeline in mind can help you set goals for your purchases while sticking to your budget. When you break down your to-do list into chunks to accomplish during each trimester, you’ll feel less overwhelmed by all the baby stuff.

Explore The Nursery

First Trimester

You may be feeling nauseous and extremely tired at this point. Take it easy and start small.


Before you buy your first baby items, take some time to look into different brands and compare them based on price and quality. Take note of what other moms say worked well for them and which baby essentials they’d recommend. You can also subscribe to stores’ email lists to receive information on their baby products and digital coupons. When you subscribe to Nurture&, we’ll send you the latest updates and special discounts on our modern nursery furniture.

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Prep for Pregnancy

Streamline what energy you have during this time on taking care of your health needs as a newly pregnant woman. Schedule appointments with your OB-GYN, start taking prenatal vitamins if you haven’t already and prioritize drinking lots of water and eating nourishing foods. Towards the end of the first trimester, you can start looking at maternity clothes and comfortable footwear to get you through the next several months of pregnancy.

Stock Up On Your Regulars

Before all your focus shifts to buying baby stuff, you can start stocking up on your regular household consumables. Laundry detergent, dish soap, and toilet paper may not be as fun as shopping for cute baby clothes, but buying more of your everyday items now can free some of your budget in future months for upcoming baby purchases.

Second Trimester

You might welcome a burst of energy now—along with a baby bump. You can use this time to dig into your wants and needs for your baby.

Create a Baby Registry

A baby registry is simply a list of baby supplies that you pick and share with others to let them know exactly what items you want and need. Even if you don’t plan to send the details of your registry to anyone else, it can be a great way to keep track of what you like. 

Most stores that sell baby items allow you to create a registry online or in-store. If you want to shop at more than one place, consider creating a universal registry, like Babylist or Zola , to include multiple stores.

Set Up the Nursery

You may have a room ready and waiting to become a nursery, or you might need to clear out some space. Now’s the time to start envisioning where your little one will sleep, where you’ll change their diapers, and spend time together. 

Start collecting the essentials you’ll definitely use—feeding and nursing supplies like bottles, a breast pump, and a feeding pillow. If you haven’t already, you can start buying baby clothes to fill up the nursery closet.

When to Start Buying Baby Stuff

Purchase Nursery Furniture

For an organized nursery, you’ll want to fill it with functional furniture. Nursery furniture , like a crib, dresser, and glider or rocking chair are staple pieces in your baby’s bedroom. When picking out the big furniture, consider your budget as well as how long your child will use this room. High-quality nursery furniture can last well into the toddler years, and later be used for new siblings if necessary.

Here are some of our premium selections:

  •  The Glider  Plus offers cozy seating in your room with special features like a power recline, automated lumbar support and an adjustable headrest so Mom, Dad, or any caregiver can get comfortable while snuggling with your baby.

  • The Crib  allows your baby to sleep safely through all stages of infancy with the option to convert to a toddler bed when they’re ready.

  • The Dresser  provides optimal storage in your nursery with space for a changing topper on the surface to create a diapering station without the need for a separate changing table.

  •  The Daybed  offers the comfort of a mattress cushion and the back support of a sofa. The design of a daybed allows you to use it for seating, sleeping, and every kind of lounging in between.

Enjoy Buying Baby Stuff

Take advantage of your feel-good days during the second trimester and have fun buying baby things. Choose a cute diaper bag and fill it with diapers, baby wipes, and rash cream. Buy bibs and burp cloths—you can’t have too many. Store soft bath towels and washcloths for future bath times. And don’t forget more baby clothes.

Third Trimester

As you near the end of your last trimester, it takes more effort to do daily activities and you’ll need to rest more often as your baby continues to grow. Get as much done as you can at the beginning of your third trimester , and then relax up until your due date.

Have a Baby Shower

You can throw the party yourself or hand the reins over to your friends and family so you can simply show up as the guest of honor. Many of your loved ones want to show support to your growing family with gifts and celebration, which is what a baby shower is all about! Planning a baby shower at the beginning of your third trimester will ensure you’re able to enjoy the day to the fullest.

Baby Shower

Buy Baby Gear

Depending on the gifts you receive at your baby shower, now is the time to make sure you gather the rest of the baby gear you need. A car seat, stroller, and  bassinet  are all big-ticket items that are good to have ahead of your baby’s arrival. You can also purchase a bouncer, play mat , and highchair before your baby is born, or consider hand-me-downs from trusted friends and family members. Not all baby items should be reused, so be sure to check for damage or missing parts before accepting hand-me-downs.

Pack Your Hospital Bag

As your due date draws closer, switch your focus from preparing for newborn life to preparing for labor and delivery. Think about what you’ll want and need with you at the hospital if you end up staying there for a few days. Things like insurance information, your birth plan , and your ID should be kept safely in your bag.

The right clothing like an extra maternity outfit, nursing bras, and a soft robe can make your hospital stay more comfortable. You can check out our hospital bag checklist for a more comprehensive guide.

Make Returns

If you received duplicate gifts from your baby shower or your online order was delivered and you just didn’t like it, it’s best to send back returns before your baby is born. Life with a newborn baby consumes so much of your time and energy that you may forget all about those baby items you want to return until it’s too late. Some retailers have strict timelines on when they will accept returns, so the sooner, the better. When you purchase Nurture& products, you’ll always receive a 30-day risk-free trial.

Tips and Considerations Before Buying

Buying baby things is a fun part of pregnancy, but when you start to go through your list some overwhelming questions might pop up. How much will all of this cost? Where will I put everything? How much is too much?

When it comes to making sure you get everything you want and need before your baby’s arrival, there are some things you’ll want to keep in mind.

Your Budget

Baby stuff is expensive. The best way to handle the costs of preparing for life with a newborn is to research different brands of baby items and spread the expenses out over time. Comparing different brands of similar baby products will help you determine the quality and features that are most important to you as well as the price. You might be surprised how alike two baby brands can be with contrasting price points.

Throughout your pregnancy, organize your purchases to avoid buying all your big-ticket items at once. Plan to take advantage of coupons that might come through for your birthday or with annual memberships, and holiday discounts like Black Friday sales if your pregnancy overlaps those times.

Available Space

Even if you already have a room dedicated to your baby’s nursery, adding a new addition to the family will take up space in other areas of your home, too. Take time to declutter your house and make room for new baby items. Imagine where you’ll put furniture in the nursery and how you’ll store clothes and diapers before you start buying stuff.

Your Baby’s Gender

Most women who want to know their baby’s gender early can find out around 20 weeks of pregnancy. Many ob-gyn offices will offer a 20-week scan via ultrasound that checks the growth and development of your baby, and can usually determine whether you’re having a baby boy or baby girl. Wait until after this appointment to start buying baby things with gender-specific colors, themes, and decorations.

Some expectant parents may decide to wait to find out the sex at birth and can start buying  gender-neutral  baby stuff at any time.

Emphasize the Essentials

You may already know how easy it can be to go overboard when shopping for your little one—especially with baby clothes. Although the mini tuxedos and tiny strappy sandals are adorable, they’re not practical for babies. 

It’s nice to have a special outfit or two for family pictures or a special occasion, but invest most of your budget on essential items you’ll use more than once.

Seasonal Weather

Another factor in buying baby clothes is what season your baby will be born in. A baby with a summertime birthday will need light sleepers and short-sleeved onesies made of thin, breathable fabric. 

A winter baby will be most comfortable in layers of soft clothing and warm socks or booties. When you’re buying a seasonal outfit for your little one, be sure to consider how old they’ll be when the weather is right to get your best guess at the appropriate size to buy.

Possible Sensitivities

All newborn babies go through a period of adjustment when they start life outside of their mother’s womb. This includes their skin adjusting to the air, temperatures, fabrics, and bathing products. 

It’s best to buy baby products that are sensitive, all-natural, and fragrance-free in small sizes to start with. Buying bulk supplies of a certain kind of baby lotion, shampoo, or wipes could end up being a waste of your money if you find out your little one has a negative reaction to the product.


Don’t skimp on the safety supplies. Baby health and safety items are an essential part of preparing your home for your little one. Things like a baby thermometer and infant fever-reducer medication should be kept in a safe place in your home before your child ever gets sick.

Set up a baby monitor in the nursery to instantly have eyes on what’s happening in the room when you’re not in there. Install furniture wall anchors and straps as you move new nursery pieces into your home and you won’t have to worry about forgetting to do it later.

Delivery Time

You can buy nearly anything you want and need online these days, but keep in mind that not all delivery times are speedy. Before you click the button to place your order, check that the shipping dates align with how soon you’ll need it to arrive in order to have it set up before your due date.

Mom with Baby


Is It Bad Luck to Buy Baby Stuff Early?

Absolutely not. Nothing you buy or don’t buy early on in your pregnancy will have any effect on the health of you or your baby. Pregnancy is a time to celebrate new life, so make your first purchase whenever the time feels right for you.

Is 4 Weeks Too Early to Buy Baby Stuff?

No. It is uncommon, since at this point most women are just finding out they’re expecting or might not have even taken a pregnancy test yet, but it’s perfectly okay to start buying baby things at this time.

Is 12 Weeks Too Early to Buy Maternity Clothes?

Not at all. It’s common for pregnant women to start feeling that their pre-pregnancy clothes are becoming too tight by the end of the first trimester or the beginning of the second trimester. Everybody and every pregnancy is different, so no matter how far along you are, wear the clothes that feel comfortable to you.

Expectant moms and dads have plenty of factors to consider when shopping for newborn baby essentials, but the truth is you can start buying baby stuff whenever you want. The most important thing is that you get to enjoy this part of pregnancy and prepare for the new life ahead of you.

Nurture& can help you get ready for your baby’s arrival by creating your dream nursery with premium baby essentials. Check out our catalog of thoughtfully designed nursery furniture made for parents, by parents. You can find more of our best tips on pregnancy and parenting in Our Journal .

Alyssa Larsen

Alyssa Larsen

Alyssa Larsen is a stay-at-home mom with a passion for writing. Before starting her career as a freelance writer, Alyssa devoted all of her time to her family and raising her young children. The evolution of her motherhood journey and parenting experience inspires her work. She strives to always tell a story that is helpful and relatable to the person reading it. Alyssa lives in Ohio with her husband and four hilarious kids.