Exciting times! Preparing for baby’s arrival is definitely no easy feat, but it’s much less complicated than it sounds like if you know what newborn essentials you should be shopping for and what you don’t really need.
What we aim to achieve in this newborn baby essentials checklist is to break it down for you into different categories depending on priority.
While most of the other guides out there cram everything together on one checklist, we believe it should be divided into different categories based on importance, so that you know what needs to be on hand right from the get-go and what can afford to wait because you won’t really need until later anyways.
We’ve already talked about what you need to pack in a hospital bag, but what is it exactly your baby needs after you’re all back home from the hospital? Read along and start adding items to your baby registry!
Plan For Future Use
First things first, and since you’re here planning for a shopping spree to have everything ready before your little bundle of joy comes out for the whole world to see, we have a very important tip for you to keep in mind for the future – one that the future you might greatly appreciate the current you for thinking of doing.
Whatever mentioned on this newborn essentials checklist that you do plan on buying, try your best to get gender neutral items.
Why exactly? So that you can re-use most of the items in the future if you have another baby – assuming they’re still in good condition at the time, of course.
If you know you’re having a baby boy and you go out there buying everything to appeal to the macho-to-be, you’ll need to buy most of these items again in the future if you get a baby girl – and vice versa.
So, save yourself the headache and keep it gender-neutral with as much of these items mentioned in this checklist as possible.
Newborn Essentials Checklist
Here’s a list of just about everything you’ll need to get ready before your baby is born:
What you’ll need from the following list might not be the exact same as what another parent needs, depending on how you plan to feed your baby.
Do you plan on breastfeeding them? If so, how? Directly breastfeeding or through expressed milk? Or do you plan on feeding them formula milk instead? Or perhaps you’re planning on giving your baby the best of both worlds by supplementing with formula?
Some of these items will only apply to specific cases (i.e only directly breastfeeding, only pumping or only feeding formula milk), while other items will be good to have around in all cases alike.
We’ll also be mentioning some important items you’ll need at your disposal once baby no longer only relies on drinking liquids and starts transitioning into eating solids.
1) Baby Bottles and Nipples: Regardless whether you’re breastfeeding or formula feeding your little one, you should invest in some of the best baby bottles that money can buy.
Some parents prefer glass baby bottles, others prefer sticking to the regular plastic baby bottles. There’s advantages and disadvantages to both options, and the choice is ultimately yours to make.
2) Formula: For those of you not going to be breastfeeding your little ones, try to get them the best formula you possibly can – their development depends on it.
3) Bottle Drying Rack: When done sanitizing your baby’s bottles and getting that nasty smell out, a baby bottle drying rack makes the whole drying process as easy as can be – all while ensuring the bottles remain stored in a clean area until future use.
4) Bottle Cleaning Brush: Speaking about cleaning bottles, you’ll need a baby bottle cleaning brush to help you get to those hard to reach areas.
5) Bottle Warmers: The easiest way to warm a bottle of milk is by using a bottle warmer. Yes, you can make use of other traditional methods such as placing them in hot, boiling water for 10-15 minutes, but this becomes tiring really quickly.
Also, if you need to warm a bottle of milk in the middle of the night, you’ll love the easy fix a bottle warmer gives you.
6) Bottle Sterilizer: Just like there are traditional methods to warming bottles of milk, you can also sterilize bottles through the same means.
But again, why do it the difficult and time consuming way? Get a bottle sterilizer and be done with it just by pressing a few buttons.
7) Breast Pump: For those of you who have to deal with hectic schedules and aren’t always physically available with a breast waiting for your little one to feed on every couple of hours, pumping breast milk and storing that liquid gold in bottles is the best option – assuming you don’t want to go down the formula feeding route, of course.
You can choose between a manual breast pump and an electric breast pump, depending on which better suits your needs.
8) Nipple Cream: If you’re experiencing cracked nipples while breastfeeding or nipple pain from pumping, the right nipple cream might make all the difference in having you feel better.
9) Nursing Pads: Leaks happen, and with all that stimulation from direct nursing or pumping, it’s only normal. Thankfully, that’s where the right nursing pads can easily save the day.
10) Milk Storage Bags: Storing all that liquid gold you’ve just finished pumping in suitable storage bags is a good idea, so that you can easily take a bag out later, pour it in one of your baby’s bottles, warm it up a little bit – and voila! All good to go.
11) Nursing Pillow: These pillows are specifically designed to hold your baby during feeding sessions so you can stay hands-free and not get tired nearly as quickly.
Whether you’re directly breastfeeding or bottle feeding, you’ll find a nursing pillow equally as useful in both scenarios.
12) Nursing Bras: For mothers who choose to directly breastfeed their babies, nursing bras save you a ton of time and effort given how easy they make it for you to give your baby access to your breast for a feeding session.
When you’re giving your baby a breast to feed on around 10 to 12 times a day, every bit of help you get makes a difference.
13) Breastfeeding Books: No one ever knew too much information about anything. The more you put into learning, the more you get out.
For example, there are many breastfeeding books out there you can get your hands on that teach you all you need to know for the best – and most effective – breastfeeding experience you can get.
14) Nursing Covers: For those of you who plan to breastfeed in public or pump in public, breastfeeding covers are a must for ensuring your privacy and keeping things discreet.
15) Burp Cloths: Be prepared to deal with your baby’s frequent spit ups by having burp cloths ready.
16) Bibs: Get a nice set of bibs and have them ready way before you start feeding your baby solids. That’s assuming you want to protect your baby’s clothes from all the drooling that’ll be going on, of course.
As a matter of fact, you’ll need bibs on standby as soon as your little one begins teething – that’ll be drool-galore on its own!
17) High Chair: One of the first items you’ll find yourself looking forward to buying as soon as your little one starts eating solids is a high chair.
Makes it easier for you to keep them in one place when eating – and not moving around all over the place – and you can have them join you for mealtime so they don’t feel left out. Win-win!
Consider getting a space saving high chair if you have limited room around the house to accommodate it, and make sure to get one that’s easy to wash – because a lot of these being sold on the market today make it quite agonizing to clean, to say the least.
18) Splat Mat: You should definitely get one of these waterproof mats made to be placed under a baby’s highchair to keep things from getting messy during feeding sessions.
Expect a lot of food spills when your little one starts eating solids, especially early on while they’re still getting used to it all, so be well prepared to save your rugs!
19) Baby Food Maker: When feeding solids, there’ll be times where you’ll find yourself wanting to prepare your own baby food at home instead of purchasing ready made ones from the store.
For this, you’ll need a good baby food maker to help you save time and energy. Who doesn’t enjoy getting things done in a fraction of the time they usually take to get done the good old fashioned way?
20) Sippy Cups: When it’s time to start introducing your baby to drinking water, sippy cups can simplify the process until they’re old enough to start drinking from regular cups. Just make sure you transition them from bottles to sippy cups the right way.
21) Bowls: You should already have baby bowls ready to use for as soon as your little one begins eating solids.
22) Spoons: Whether self feeding or still requiring your help, a soft spoon specifically designed for babies to eat from is safe and easy on their gums.
First things first, and probably one of the most time consuming aspects – if not the most time consuming – of taking care of a newborn is diapering.
Did you know that newborns go through an average of 10 diapers a day during their first year in life? That makes for around 3650 diapers you’ll have to change in just the first year alone. If that’s not time a frequent, time consuming task, then I don’t know what is!
So, take a look at the following section and make sure you bring your diapering A-game to the table (literally, it’s just you and those diapers on that changing station, good luck!).
1) Diapers: First of all, you’re going to need the absolute best diapers money can buy.
Your little one’s comfort depends on it, and you obviously want them wearing something that’s good at doing what it’s supposed to do.
It’s up to you to decide whether you want to go with cloth diapers or disposable diapers – each has their own benefits and drawbacks that you’ll have to learn about and consider.
2) Changing Pad And/Or Changing Table: In a perfect world, you’re able to get a changing table and install a changing pad (also called a changing mat) in it to use the two together.
If you’re on a tight budget, though, and you need to do without splashing a lot of money on a changing table – then get a good changing pad at the very least.
You’ll be able to take a changing pad around with you wherever you go to complete a diaper change wherever you find yourself needing to do one. Make sure you also get a changing pad cover.
3) Wipes: When accidents happen and your baby’s diaper has to be changed, it’s a nightmare trying to clean your baby’s bottom without baby wipes.
Whatever you do, make sure you get natural baby wipes and avoid the scented ones. Those tend to contain harsh chemicals that your little one ends up paying the price for, especially if they have sensitive skin.
4) Wipe Warmer: Ever tried cleaning a baby’s butt by using a cold wipe? Didn’t exactly go too well, did it? That’s a surefire way to get a baby to scream in protest during a diaper change. Buy baby wipe warmers and you’ll experience the difference firsthand.
5) Wipe Holder: This one isn’t exactly a necessary item to get, more so a useful add on you should consider if you feel the need to get it.
6) Diaper Rash Cream: Keep a tube of diaper cream readily available at all times to use the moment you notice diaper rash symptoms.
7) Diaper Pail: Whether you’re cloth diapering or using disposables, diaper pails are excellent additions for when it comes time to dispose of those stinky diapers while containing the nasty smell.
8) Swim Diapers: Taking your little one for a dip in the pool? Or are they old enough to start learning how to swim? Either way, you’ll need to get swim diapers that can withstand the water without soaking wet and falling off in an instant.
Health & Care
Your baby’s first year on earth is the most crucial year ever. They’re the smallest they’ll ever be in terms of size, and their immunity system is the weakest it’ll ever be.
1) Nasal Aspirator: Got a stuffed nose that’s making it hard for them to breathe properly? A nasal aspirator is oftentimes all you need to help clear out their nasal passages and get the snot out in the least gross of ways.
After all, they’re way too young to know how to blow their own noses for that.
2) Baby Thermometer: It’s crucial that you regularly take your baby’s temperature when something doesn’t seem right. An accurate baby thermometer (such as an ear thermometer) will help you stay in control of the situation so you can act straight away and waste as little time as possible.
3) Baby Scale: You’ll also want to keep a close eye on your baby’s weight progression to make sure they’re putting on the pounds (or ounces) according to schedule.
If they’re lagging behind schedule, you’ll be able to make the necessary adjustments to get things back on track.
Without a baby scale that gives you an accurate reading, you’ll only be playing a guessing game trying to tell whether or not your little one is gaining weight properly by how they look – which, if you didn’t already know, is incredibly inaccurate.
4) Nail Clippers: For keeping your little bundle of joy looking their finest and keeping injuries at bay, you’ll need nail clippers specifically designed for babies. The ones you and I use, designed for adults, won’t get the job done.
Clipping your baby’s nails on a routine basis is essential, because when a baby’s nails start to get too long, they can cause injuries to themselves.
5) Baby Safe Laundry Detergent: If you plan on keeping those nasty allergies away, and this especially important if you have a baby with sensitive skin, you should get baby safe laundry detergent to wash their batch.
6) First Aid Kit: Always have a firstaid kit around that’s specifically designed for babies – having one designed to cater to an adult’s need isn’t enough.
7) Mosquito Repellents: Not only is getting bit by a bug one of the most annoying things a baby could experience, it can also be harmful in certain circumstances. Get a high quality bug repellent to keep these pesky creatures far away from your precious one.
Nursery & Baby Sleep
Up next on our list of newborn baby gear essentials is everything that goes into creating the best nursery you can put together for them. Getting high quality sleep is of utmost importance to babies, just as it is to adults like you and I.
Besides comfort, you’ll also want to pay special attention to safety.
1) Crib Or Bassinet: You can choose to get a bassinet for your newborn to spend the first few months of their life sleeping in and then transition to sleeping in a crib, or you can go for the crib right off the bat without having them sleep in a bassinet first – they’ll outgrow their bassinet in about six month’s time anyways.
There’s advantages and disadvantages to either – and at the end of the day, it’s your call. You can read this piece we wrote about bassinets vs cribs if you’re looking for some guidance.
2) Crib Sheets: Get some of the softest, most durable crib sheets you can find.
3) Crib Mattress & Mattress Covers: If you’re going with the crib straight from the get-go, or when it’s time to transition your baby from sleeping in a bassinet to sleeping in a crib, getting a high quality crib mattress is absolutely critical. Mattress covers will also come in very handy.
4) Nightlight: A night lamp installed in your baby’s nursery means better sleep for them and easier attending to middle of the night duties such as feeding sessions or diaper changes for you.
5) White Noise Machine: If there’s anything that helps put your little trouble maker to sleep when they can’t seem to doze off, it’s a white noise machine.
This is especially important during the first few months of a baby’s life, since these sounds are familiar to what they used to hear in their mother’s womb not too long ago.
Sounds that soothe little baby help them sleep better and you get more peace and quiet to relax a bit yourself – what more could you ask for?
6) Baby Monitor: As we briefly mentioned in the introduction to this section, ensuring your baby is as safe as can be in their nursery should be high on your priority list.
How exactly? Easy – get a reliable baby monitor that allows you to see and hear whatever baby’s up to at any given point in time so that you can rush to help them out whenever the need arises.
This gives you peace of mind that your little one is doing just fine even though you’re not with them in the same room at the time.
7) Humidifiers Or Vaporizers: The choice of whether to add a humidifier or vaporizer to your baby’s room is ultimately up to you to decide – but 9 times out of 10, a cool mist humidifier is the clear winner.
Humidifiers help keep issues like congestion and respiratory tract infections at bay, as well as help ease your baby’s difficulty when down with a cold.
8) Sleepwear/Pajamas: Make sure it’s comfortable enough for them to sleep all night long while wearing, and that it’s easy enough for you to take off of them and put back on whenever need be.
Little bundles of joy can be (and often are) exhausting to deal with, so it helps if you have a soothing toolkit you can resort to for when you need it most.
1) Swaddle Blankets: During the first few months of a baby’s life outside the womb, wrapping them tightly (but not too tight) in a swaddle blanket (receiving blankets are a great place to start with) brings back feelings of comfort and coziness they used to feel in the womb not too long ago.
Helps them sleep better, and helps you catch up on some much needed sleep in return.
2) Rocker, Swing or Bouncer: Motion has been proven to be soothing to babies, which is an area where rockers, swings or bouncers excel in.
They do the rocking to soothe your baby so you can stay hands free. And let’s be real here, which parent doesn’t need a helping hand from time to time?
You can also benefit from a nursery glider for soothing purposes.
3) Pacifiers: A pacifier is the universal go-to item when trying to soothe a little baby – need we say any more?
4) Teething Toys: Been there, done that, so trust me – you’ll want to have enough teething toys at your disposal for when your little one starts teething.
It can be a very painful phase for them (with sore gums and all), and teething toys are great for soothing purposes.
5) Teething Necklaces: In addition to teething toys, you can also get a few teething necklaces that you or baby can put on. These offer a convenient hands-free alternative to teething toys.
Take advantage of bath time you get to spend with your little bundle of joy – it’s both fun and one of the best chances you’ll get to strengthen the bond between you two.
1) Baby Bath Tub: The first thing you’ll need is a baby bathtub specifically designed to hold your baby while you give them a nice wash.
Saves you from having to wash them in unsanitary conditions – in the sink where harmful bacteria and germs might be lurking around, for example.
Plus, baby bath tubs make it much easier for you to handle a wet and slippery baby.
2) Baby Shampoo: You can either get your little one regular baby shampoo or organic baby shampoo, depending on your personal preferences.
3) Baby Soap: You’ll also need to get body wash soap specifically designed for use on baby’s skin, since regular soap designed for adults often contains ingredients harsh to use on babies.
4) Baby Towels: And of course, it wouldn’t be proper bath time if you weren’t prepared beforehand with baby towels to dry them clean and keep them all worm and cozy.
Hooded bath towels are a fan favorite – they’re the cutest thing ever and have your little one feeling all warm and cozy.
1) Car Seat: You’ll be taking your little one home for the first time from the hospital after delivery, and a suitable car seat that keeps them safe and comfortable is necessary.
You need to choose between an infant car seat or a convertible car seat, so do your research beforehand to find out which suits your needs better.
2) Fullsize Stroller
3) Baby Carrier: If you have a fussy little munchkin that cries whenever you put them down for a minute because you have to attend to something else, a baby carrier will come in very handy.
Your hands will be free to do whatever else you were planning to do at the time, and your baby will stay right by your side wherever you go – problem solved!
4) Mirror For Car: Having a mirror installed in your car which lets you keep an eye on baby at all times when driving around helps keeps you at ease, knowing they’re all okay back there.
5) Sun Shade For Car Windows: Again, newborns should not be exposed to direct sunlight no matter how “insignificant” it may be, so make sure you have sunshade installed in your car’s windows to minimize chances of overheating.
1) Bodysuits (a.k.a Onesies)
2) Sleep Bags/Gowns: You’ll love these for how easier they make your diaper changing duties, trust me – been there, done that, and experienced all the joys that come with!
3) Socks: Meant to keep your little one feeling all worm and cozy during those cold winter months. Just make sure you get ones that actually stay on their feet, or else you’ll spend a lifetime looking after missing socks – not fun!
4) Hats: Anytime you go outside the house with your baby and they’re exposed to direct sunlight, make sure they’re wearing a hat that keeps them safe from the sun’s harmful UV rays.
This is even more necessary considering that you shouldn’t be applying sunscreen on your newborn until they’re at least six months of age.
1) Play Yard: A play yard offers your baby an excellent space to “knock themselves out” (not literally) while staying in a safe and contained place, out of harm’s way.
1) Diaper Bag: A changing bag gives you ample space to store essential items you need to take along with you at all times.
Wrapping It Up
Don’t panic if you don’t have everything mentioned on this list ready before you bring baby back home from the hospital for the first time. This whole parenting thing is a journey, and we’re all here learning throughout it all.
It’s not like there’s any shortage of stores you can get just about any baby item or accessory from whenever you want to, anyways!
You’re already doing a wonderful job, and with what you’ve learned so far from this newborn baby essentials checklist, you’ll be just fine!