Face it, newborns don't need much. Short of food, a clean diaper and a loving pair of arms, there is not too much more that they require in the first couple of months. The few essential items sometimes run at a premium price, but with a little research and patience there are bargains to be had. There are countless items that you could be lured into buying -- only to find that they simply gather dust before being given away. Once baby arrives, it won't take long before you realize that they really didn't need many of those expensive purchases. Life, for a baby, revolves around eating, sleeping and pooping.
One of the very first things your newborn will need is to be fed. Whether you decide to give him formula or nurse him, you will probably incur a necessary expense. Formula may be a constant in your baby's routine, so be prepared for the high costs of it. You might be tempted to purchase and store some before the baby arrives, but it could be a better idea to wait in case a particular brand doesn't agree with your little one. Should you choose it, expect formula to be an ongoing expense from the moment the baby is born, until he weans. If you plan to breastfeed, then of course the milk will come for free -- but you may want to invest in an efficient breast pump. Once your milk comes in, you may find that you produce way more than you and your baby can handle. Pumping milk will allow you store it for later use or for those times when other people want or need to feed your baby. Hospital-grade pumps can cost over a thousand dollars, although it's possible to rent one and buy the necessary tubing that you'll personally use. High-quality, efficient pumps for the average nursing mom can cost upwards of a couple of hundred dollars but they may be worth the investment if you intend to pump frequently. You'll want to invest in a few good-quality nursing bras if you intend on breastfeeding long term.
Your sweet new bundle will need somewhere to sleep. It's possible that you won't use a crib right away, but eventually you probably will. Expect this to be a major expense. Cribs are most often sold without the mattress, so you will also need to buy one. If you decide to keep your baby close to you for the first few months, a bassinet or co-sleeper should be factored into the budget. Buying a play yard is a potential solution for parents considering a bassinet because many of them come with a bassinet option for newborn use. Once the baby is older, the play yard is still useful for sleep or play, so parents get more mileage from the purchase.
Considering that a newborn will use on average 10 to 12 diapers a day, that's a lot of money down the toilet. Diapers, either cloth or disposable, will add up to an expensive purchase, not only for your newborn but for the next two to four years on average. You might try to save money by buying in bulk ahead of your baby's arrival, but be careful -- as tiny as they are, those newborn diapers will only fit for a few weeks before you'll need to increase a size. Cloth diapers and diaper covers are a one time, larger expense. Some parents launder the soiled diapers themselves, while others opt to pay a diaper service to remove, wash and replace their cloth diapers.
One of the most necessary purchases will be an infant car seat. If you deliver at a hospital, you will need one as soon as you leave to go home. Many parents-to-be opt for a car seat and stroller "travel system," in which the infant car seat is secured to the top of the stroller for transportation purposes, then removed to carry the baby to the car, for instance. Should you not opt for the combination, both strollers and car seats can be purchased separately. Strollers range from inexpensive to upwards of hundreds of dollars, depending on your needs and budget. Outside of the crib, a stroller is usually one of the bigger purchases for new parents. You may decide to forgo a stroller for your newborn and opt to wear him instead. Baby-wearers will need a good-quality carrier suitable for newborns. There are many different styles available, so it's best to try a few first. If you intend to be a baby-wearer, be sure to invest in the best quality carrier for your money -- that 8 pound bundle will triple in weight before you know it, and your back will thank you.