These are thing that every mom should need regardless of parenting style. Keep in mind, if I feel that something shouldn't be bought if it costs less than $30 (a carseat, breast pump, or crib for examples) it isn't on this list. That doesn't mean mothers don't need those things, but this is a list of smaller items that are still useful even if you don't have a huge budget.
So here you have it -- the 30 best baby items under $30.
"Swaddle that Baby!" - But serious, Swaddles are sooooo useful. I recommend always going with muslin over cotton because they are safer. Mebie Baby has some gorgeous prints (You can see the ivy one I have to the right) and I love the Bible Verse ones by Modern Burlap as well (I have their milk bottles swaddle).
2. Boppy Newborn Lounger
The Boppy Pillow is very popular these days, but I got more use out of the Boppy Lounger. It is cheeper and you can lay baby on it without placing anything underneath them. It is a great place to lay baby down when you need a free hand.
3. Mattress Protector
Super practical and every mom will want one to protect from diaper leaks at night.
4. Noise Machine
A white noise machine is always great because it is something some mothers won't buy if they don't have the money but would wish they had. I am currently using a Dohm machine my cousin lent me but you can find a smaller portable version for under $30 (linked below)
5. Zipper Pajamas
Mom will keep baby in pajamas 90% of the day their first few months. Always go zipper over button in my opinion.
6. Sleeper Sack and Swaddle Sack
Both Sleeper and Swaddle Sacks help keep baby snug and warm while sleeping. These are great for newborns. I have a muslin Sleeper Sack from Bebe au Lait and want an Embe Swaddler for our next baby. I have the Bebe au Lait sleeper sack in size 6-12 months and Oliver can still fit in it at 20 months! They will last mom a long time.
7. Crib Sheets
Go with a neutral color unless you know the mom's nursery style.
8. Board Books
If you decide to go with books, always go for board books. They are more durable and easier to turn the page when you only have 1 hand. Look to the left for some of my favorite board books.
9. Wooden Puzzles
This may seem too advance for an infant-- you are right-- but they grow out of the infant phase so quickly and it is nice to have older toys on hand as they grow. When they are first born, toys don't really entertain them much, so I'd aim for something that will get more use. Melissa and Doug make the most amazing wooden puzzles.
10. Little People
I don't think you can ever go wrong with anything Little People! They are can be chewed on when baby is little and used for imagination play as they get older.
11. Wooden Toys
So durable and much cuter than most plastic toys on the market. This little wooden camera I have is from Finn and Emma.
12. Grasping and Teething Toys
If you do want to get toys specific for a baby, get something easy to grasp or a teething toy. You can see some examples below.
13. Hooded Towels
Mom will need plenty of these and shouldn't be particular about the kind so just go with something cute!
14. Baby Washcloths
I may have 100 baby washcloths and use them all at least once a week! I use them to clean noses, wipe up spills, dry hands, dust, you name it. For an interesting spin on a washcloth, SoapSox makes characters that can hold baby wash or soap internally and suds up as you use it! They are so adorable and a great way to make bath fun.
My favorite is Wash with Water. You can see my post about why here.
16. Baby Wash
Wash with Water is my favorite again.
It is so helpful to have a medicine cabinet stocked and ready when baby gets here. Little Remedies and Zarbees are my favorite brands for infant medicine.
18. Medicine Dispenser
A medicine dispenser helps you deliver medicine via a pacifier. One of the most useful gifts I got that I never would have thought I needed.
19. Spout Cover
This isn't really necessary for infancy, but as soon as baby starts playing in the tub, it will come in handy.
This is an obvious one, but the 1 tip I have is never buy Newborn size. If baby is born large they will never need newborn size. Any size 1-4 will definitely be used.
Since some babies are more sensitive then others, always buy wipes labeled sensitive to be safe.
22. Dry/Wet Bag
A Dry/Wet Bag is a great gift and something most moms won't think they will need. They are often used by cloth diapering moms but have a 100 uses. I keep one in my diaper bag to hold dirty clothes when we have spills or blow outs away form home. My small, portable one is from Bebe au Lait.
23. Gathre Mat
This is the portable and modern version of a traveling changing pad! I love love love the mini Gathre Mat. It is much easier to slide this in your bag then a big bulky changing pad.
24. Diaper Pail
There is only one diaper pail for under $30 that I would recommend. It is the Dekor Classic or the Dekor Mini. If the mother you are buying for wants a different pail, I would buy pail liners instead.
I generally stay away from nursing or bottle feeding items as gifts because you never know if they will be used or not. Even if a mom plans to nurse or bottle feed, plans can change and your gift could go to waist. Instead, in this category, I like to think of things that every mom will need. Some people forget that babies will turn into toddlers and kids, so gifts for uses after infancy are still helpful.
25. Plates and Bowls
I love Re-play Recycled or the Happy Mat. It will only take 4-6 months for baby to start eating solid food, so these will be used sooner than you'd think!
26. Burp Clothes and Bibs
Similar to washcloths, these will get used over and over again and you can never have too many! I linked some of my favorites below.
27. Sippy Cups
There are two sippy cups that are great first cups to help a baby transition to eating solids and whole milk- The squeasy snackers and any 360 cup (see linked below). The squeasy cup can be used to eat pureed baby food or baby smoothies and the 360 cup is easier to use for little mouths. This was the only cup we were able to get Oliver to use for the first few months taking whole milk.
29. Baby Socks
Moms can never have to many socks. Just stick with neutrals and simple patterns. You want to give the mom something useful not something you think is fun but she will never use.
30. Basic Staples
One of the things that most moms can't resist buying is baby clothes! She may get 100 outfits at her baby shower and will still end up going out and buying more clothes because it is just so fun!
That is why I am very careful when buying clothes for a baby gift. I like to target those neutral staple pieces that baby will need but aren't as fun to buy. This way, mom can have fun buying the outfits without having to worry about the basics.
+ Neutral colored hoodies and jackets
+ infant hats
+ play clothes
AND always buy at 3 months and up. I never buy anything in newborn size because large babies start wearing size 3m at birth.