It's astonishing how much crap the world tells you a baby needs. My advice: completely disregard 90%.
But, for what you do need, I have 3 recommendations:
(1) Hit up your friends and families for hand-me-downs; and
(2) If they don't have it, buy it used; or, most importantly,
(3) Make it yourself.
We bought a great used crib but it needed some paint touch-ups because the prior resident of the crib chewed the rails when she was teething. The touch up paint looks great, but I researched what are called "rail guards" to protect against future teething incidents.
Here's what I found at Target.com:
1. Snap-on plastic things. These didn't appeal to me aesthetically and the comments complained that they were hardly universal in size--most crib rails were too big for these to grab onto. So, I moved on...
2. Stick-on "gummi" things. Gross. Plus, comments complained that the kid could peel them off especially after they got chewed on. I don't want my kid eating adhesive-covered plastic crap that will also make the crib ugly.
3. The last one I found is truly adorable--a cloth cover that velcros on:
Plus, that crib in the pic looks a lot like ours--so I know it will work on our crib. Problem: it costs THIRTY DOLLARS (with shipping). WTF?
So, I showed my MAP the choices and he agreed that the last one was best.
Then he turned to me and said, Can't you make that?
Yes, of course I can. And I love that he would suggest it--he has great respect for my fiber arts skills.
So, I'm designing a very simple, highly-cusomize-able crib rail guard set. The pattern is crochet (a great beginner crochet pattern, btw) and I'm almost done with the work. It looks great. I'll post the pattern free here in a few days, so check back.
BTW--this is a GREAT shower gift for someone you know is expecting. Ask them what color their bedding is, and what kind of crib. Better yet--show them this blog post, and tell them you would like to make this for them. It won't be a surprise, but so what? They'll love it, I promise.