Bringing a new life into this world is an exciting experience for most people. Unfortunately, it can also be nerve-wracking, especially for first-time parents. As the due date nears, your mind is probably racing, trying not to forget any of the baby must-haves.
To make your pregnancy as stress-free as possible, we’ve compiled a complete list of everything you’ll need to ensure your newborn is safe, healthy, and comfortable. From a crib to a car seat and everything in between, this newborn checklist will ensure you cover all your bases for your baby’s first few months and beyond.
Without further ado, here are all the baby essentials you need to stock up on before the baby arrives.
Baby Stuff for Your Newborn Baby 101
Certain items are absolute must-haves for a newborn baby. However, being a new parent can be highly overwhelming. So, buying some extra items and gadgets to make your life with a newborn more convenient is money well spent.
Changing a poopy diaper probably doesn’t rank high on most people’s favorite parenting task list. Still, diaper changes are an inevitable part of parenting that you will have to go through up to 12 times a day. To ensure these numerous diaper changes go off without a hitch each time, make sure you purchase the following items:
- Diapers. You can choose between disposable diapers and cloth diapers or use a combination. Both options have advantages and disadvantages, so you should base your decision on what works best for your newborn and your lifestyle. Regardless of your choice, make sure to stockpile the necessary amount. You’ll need between two and three packs per week if you select disposable diapers. Avoid going overboard with diaper packs, as newborns quickly outgrow their current size. As for cloth diapers, ensure enough for at least two days, so you have enough time to do the laundry. When washing cloth diapers, only use a detergent designed for this type of diaper.
- Baby wipes and washcloths. In the beginning, wipes might be too harsh on your baby’s sensitive skin, so stock up on a few washcloths just in case.
- Diaper rash cream. Newborn babies are prone to developing rashes from time to time. To prevent this occurrence or treat it when it happens, keep a good diaper rash cream or ointment on hand.
- Changing table. A changing table offers a secure surface for changing your baby’s diapers.If you lack the necessary space, consider purchasing a changing pad. You can also buy both and place the changing pad on top of the changing table to keep your newborn more comfortable and the table clean.
- Diaper pail. You can use any Ziploc or plastic bag to dispose of dirty diapers. However, using a diaper pail will help you trap the less-than-pleasant smells that a soiled diaper often emits.
Sleeping and Bedding Essentials
Creating a safe sleeping environment is arguably the most critical on a newborn checklist. After all, thousands of babies die from Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) every year in the U.S. Although the exact cause of SIDS is still unknown, unsafe sleeping conditions are widely believed to play a huge role.
To make sure your bundle of joy sleeps safely, you’ll need the following items:
- Crib. Your best bet is to buy a new crib from a reputable retailer. This will ensure the crib complies with the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) standards. New cribs can get expensive. However, your newborn will spend at least 16 hours a day in a crib, so you should invest in a higher-end model if possible. To save money in the long run, you can purchase a convertible crib, which transforms into a toddler bed or a daybed as your baby grows.
- Crib mattress. A crib mattress is one of the most important baby essentials.While there are a few factors to consider, you should prioritize two things. The crib mattress must fit snuggly inside the crib. And it must be an extra firm mattress to reduce the risk of suffocation and SIDS.
- Crib mattress cover. If your chosen mattress isn’t waterproof, you’ll need a mattress cover to prevent accidents from rendering the crib unusable.
- Fitted sheets. Three to four fitted sheets will do the trick.
- A bassinet isn’t necessarily a must-have item on your newborn checklist. However, if you’d like to keep your newborn baby close at all times, consider buying a bassinet. Bassinets are portable and take up less space, so your newborn can sleep in whatever room you’re in.
- Swaddle blanket. Swaddling your newborn makes them feel like they’re back inside the womb and helps keep them safe and protected.
- Baby monitor. Baby monitors aren’t a sleeping essential for the baby, but they will help you have peace of mind . These handy devices allow you to keep track of your newborn when you’re not in the same room. If you want to feel 100% assured that your baby is safe, consider purchasing a higher-end baby monitor. These nifty gadgets have advanced features such as video monitoring and sleep tracking.
If you want to go all out and create a slumber wonderland for your little one, here’s what you’ll need:
- A humidifier
- Blackout shades
- A white-noise machine
Let’s be frank; sleeping, pooping, and eating are all newborn babies do all day. Now that we’ve covered the first two baby favorites, let’s talk about the baby’s feeding essentials.
If you’re breastfeeding, the star-of-the-show item is already in your possession. Other than that, you can grab a few things to make the process more comfortable for you and the baby.
- Burp cloths. Babies aren’t exactly known as the most delicate eaters. So, make sure to have lots of burp cloths on hand. Burp cloths are a baby must-have even if you’re bottle-feeding.
- Breast pump. A breast pump can help you relieve pain and prepare milk for your baby when you’re away. Don’t forget to also buy a few bottles for feeding your baby and some breast milk bags for storing the milk for later.
- Nursing pillow. A nursing pillow provides extra comfort for both you and your newborn baby.
- Nursing cover. When breastfeeding on the go, use a nursing cover to shelter you and your little bundle of joy.
A happy mom means a happy baby, so consider also purchasing the following nursing items designed for your comfort:
- Nursing pads
- Nursing bras
- Nipple cream
If you’re formula-feeding your baby, here are the baby products to keep stocked:
- Formula. No surprise there . You should consult your baby’s physician about the appropriate brand and quantity for formula feeding.
- Bottles and nipples. You should purchase at least five bottles before you start bottle feeding. In addition, get a few nipples of different shapes and sizes to find the one that best suits your newborn.
- Bottle brush. A bottle brush is a lifesaver for thoroughly cleaning your baby’s bottles. To avoid washing bottles by hand, consider getting a bottle sterilizer. If you wash multiple bottles at once, a bottle-drying rack can come in handy, especially if you lack space in your dish-drying rack.
- Bottle warmer. A bottle warmer ensures the formula or breast milk is warmed evenly and safely, making it a baby essential.
A newborn can sometimes grow out of clothes in a matter of days. However, this rarely stops most parents from buying the most adorable outfits planned long before the baby arrives. Cute matching baby jumpers, graphic T-shirts, and oversized bows aside, here are the essentials when it comes to baby clothing:
- One-piece outfits. Five to eight onesies should do the trick for the first few weeks. Choose the ones that snap between the legs, allowing easy access during diaper changes (Want more advice on how to change a diaper? Read our guide here). If you want to dress up your baby more, stock up on T-shirts and stretchy pants.
- Socks. Consider buying at least five pairs of baby socks.
- Sleepwear. Babies spend most of the day sleeping, so getting them comfy sleepwear is crucial. You can choose between pajamas, baby sleepers, and sleeping sacks (for some great pajamas, check out our guide to the pajama brand “Little Sleepies”).
- Jacket. While layering baby’s clothes is an essential step to keeping them warm outside, you’ll still need a quality jacket.
- Hats. Choosing the best hats for your newborn will depend on your climate. A winter baby will benefit from a knit cap, while a wide-brim hat will protect your baby’s head in a warm environment.
- Special outfit. While not a necessity per se, your baby can’t sport just any outfit around the holidays or for their birthday. So, get them a special outfit to wear when they need to be extra cute (if at all possible), and remember to take as many pictures as you can.
Until your baby’s umbilical cord stump falls off, it’s best to stick to sponge baths. When the time comes for the real deal, here are items that will make bath time more practical for you and more enjoyable for your baby.
- Baby bathtub. A solid baby bathtub will make your life easier. To avoid purchasing a new bath weeks after the baby is born, consider getting a bigger bathtub with a newborn insert. When your baby gets older, get them some engaging bath toys to make bathing more fun.
- Bathing tools. A cup and a sponge is all you need to make your baby sparkling clean.
- Cleaning products. Your baby will need mild soap and no-tears shampoo. If you spot some dry skin patches, consider throwing a baby moisturizer into the mix.
- Towels. Use soft towels to wrap your baby up and dry them after the bath. A hooded towel can come in handy for quickly drying the baby’s head.
You can buy pre-packed grooming kits, but they are usually filled with baby items you’ll rarely use. The only baby products you need for grooming a newborn are as follows:
- Baby nail clippers. These specialized nail clippers will help you trim your baby’s nails to prevent accidental scratching. Nail clippers can also often be found as part of a baby first aid kit.
- Soft-bristled hairbrush. Besides its primary function, this hairbrush can help remove the scales on your baby’s head if they develop cradle cap. Cradle cap is a condition that commonly affects infants and manifests as crusty patches on their scalp.
Newborn babies are prone to catching colds and injuring themselves, so it’s prudent to have the following baby items in your cabinet:
- First aid kit. This kit typically contains petroleum jelly, adhesive bandages, and a thermometer. You should consider getting a spare kit for your diaper bag just in case you need to check your baby’s temperature or tend to a scratch on the go.
- Nasal aspirator. A nasal aspirator will gently clear your baby’s stuffy nose.
Some parents consider a crib, a changing pad, and a dresser the only true furniture essentials for a baby’s room. But if you’ve been looking forward to decorating your nursery, you probably won’t stop there (for more beautiful nursery ideas, read here). So, here are some lovely baby items to consider for your nursery:
- Rocking chair or a nursery glider. A rocking chair or a nursery glider is the perfect spot for breastfeeding a newborn baby. As the baby grows, you can use these comfy chairs to sing a lullaby or tell a soothing bedtime story.
- Baby rocker or bouncer. Baby rockers offer a safe place for your baby to lounge and inspect their surroundings. Plus, baby bouncers let you put the baby down for a moment if the need arises.
Baby Gear Essentials
Baby gear essentials allow you to keep your baby safe and comfortable on the go.
- A car seat is arguably the essential piece of baby gear, especially because the hospital won’t allow you to take your baby home without a properly installed infant car seat. You can buy car seats designed for infants or convertible models you can continue using later (for the best toddler car seats, click here to find car seats for a 3-three-year-old).
- Sunshade for car windows. While on the topic of car safety, you should buy a sunshade for your car windows. Keeping a newborn out of direct sunlight is critical for protecting their delicate skin.
- Diaper bag. A diaper bag should rank high on your baby essentials list (for more information regarding what to pack in a diaper bag, read here). Well-stocked diaper bags should have all the baby products you need to take care of your baby on the go.
- Stroller. Strollers offer a practical way to take your baby for a walk (if you have multiple kids, you might want to check out a wagon stroller to get you all out and about). Just make sure to buy a model that is safe for newborns. You can also get a stroller rain cover when Mother Nature interferes with your pleasant walk (find our favorite luxury strollers here).
- Baby carrier. Ababy carrier will be your go-to choice for keeping your baby secure while keeping your hands free. You can use baby carriers when you’re out and about or when you want your baby snuggled up while you do some housework.
- Portable crib. You might benefit from purchasing a portable crib if you often travel with your baby. With this crib, you won’t have to worry about your baby’s sleeping arrangements wherever you go.
Some nice-to-haves for when your baby grows up a tad include:
- Baby walkers
- Baby bike trailers
- Kids backpacks
In the beginning, your newborn won’t play very much. However, they will grow restless and fussy from time to time, so you can try to soothe and entertain them with the following baby items:
- A pacifier
- Soft toys that play music
- A spinning baby mobile
As your baby grows, you’ll want to expand their playtime collection and create a safe play space that will stimulate their cognitive, physical, and social development.
- Baby swing. Baby swings sway or rock side to side to provide your little one comfort and entertainment. Buy a model with colorful toys hanging overhead and plays music to jazz it up a bit more.
- Play mat. Besides playing, a play mat offers a safe space for some quality tummy time for your baby. During tummy time, babies are placed on their stomachs to help them develop motor skills that eventually lead to crawling.
- Portable play yard. Portable play yards are an excellent choice for parents who want to keep an eye on their little ones at all times. These play yards are enclosed, providing a safe place for your baby to play or nap.
- Baby toys. There can be no playtime without toys (check out our guide to the best baby jumpers once your baby gets a little older). Start with simple rattles and slowly add more engaging toys as your baby grows.
- Toy basket. The more your baby’s collection grows, the more you’ll start seeing baby toys in the most random places. Get a toy basket for the nursery to try and store toys together.
Since newborns can’t move much on their own, keeping them safe mostly boils down to providing safe sleeping conditions. But before you know it, your baby will start rolling, crawling, and walking, creating the need to childproof your home (buying baby gates will be very important at this stage. Find our top 9 baby gates here).
Here are some safety essentials that will help keep your baby or toddler safe:
- Safety gates
- Outlet covers
- Drawer latches
- Toilet seat locks
- Wall anchors
Also, remember that a firm mattress and a well-built crib are all you really need to keep a newborn safe. Any additional pillows or bumper pads can only increase the risk of SIDS.
Prepare to Shine
Stocking up on baby essentials before your new baby arrives will make the first few weeks significantly less stressful. Some nice-to-haves might be considered an added luxury, but as long as they keep you and your baby happy, they are a worthy investment.
When deciding what items to purchase, consult our newborn baby checklist and other parents who recently had their own bundle of joy. These must-haves and nice-to-haves put together will make the transition into parenthood easier.