If you’re a first time mom looking for a newborn baby needs checklist or a well-seasoned mom who is looking for a refresher, you’re in the right place.
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Getting prepared to have a baby can be a stressful time. From setting up the nursery to trying to decide whether you’ll go with disposable diapers or cloth nappies for your precious little one – never mind realizing that there’s a long list of newborn must haves that you haven’t even come close to touching yet.
With having my first baby not too long ago, newborn baby needs are fresh in my mind.
When I was still expecting, I didn’t have a clue of what we would need after having our baby. Dozens of moms offered their advice of what to get, but when I wrote it all down I ended up with a double-sided page full from top to bottom – and I was SURE that we really wouldn’t need that much stuff for our newborn.
They’re newborns after all – what else do they need besides diapers, food and somewhere to sleep?
(Okay – they DO need a lot more than just those three things, but there are just some things that they really don’t need.)
I wanted to be fully prepared for the arrival of our baby, but despite all the advice I was getting, I still didn’t know what we were really going to need, and which things would end up being a waste of money.
So, I opted to buy the bare minimum to start out with and decided that I would buy things as we needed them because I was in no mood to waste hundreds of dollars on stuff we wouldn’t even end up using. (Wipe warmers, anyone?)
WHAT DO I NEED TO PREPARE FOR A NEWBORN BABY?
Whether you’ve decided to create a baby registry or not, you’re likely going to have many people asking you what you need or want for your newborn baby.
(I didn’t make a baby registry and I’m realizing now that it would have been a LOT easier if I had – I could have pointed people towards the registry anytime they asked what I needed or wanted. If you do decide to make a baby registry, you can make one for free here through Amazon.)
Having a registry allows you to easily show people what it is that you still need or want for your baby without awkwardly feeling like you’re asking for a bunch of stuff. It also makes it easier to have everything you need in one place so you don’t have to try and wrack your brain to remember everything you have and don’t have (that pregnancy brain isn’t getting any better).
AMAZON BABY REGISTRY BENEFITS
If you do choose to make a baby registry, creating a free Amazon baby registry has many different benefits to it, including:
You’ll get free shipping on your baby registry items with orders over $25 as well as 10 – 15% off your baby registry items.
I also love that you can add items to your Amazon baby registry from ANY online store, so you can have all your baby items on one registry instead of making a different registry for each and every store.
The Amazon baby registry also offers a 90-day return policy if you’re not happy with the items you got.
PLUS – if you’re an Amazon Prime member (if you’re not, you can sign up for a free 30-day Amazon Prime trial here) you get 20% off baby food, diapers, and other baby essentials AND you can get a free welcome box.
If you’re ready to start you can create your free baby registry here.
THE FULL LIST OF NEWBORN ESSENTIALS
Before having my baby I wrote out a long, thorough list of everything I was told we would need for when we had our baby. I wrote down the things friends and family told me we would need and I did extensive research and wrote down everything else the research told me we would need.
One thing I have realized since having our son is that we really don’t need over half the stuff that we were told we would need. Most of the things that people say you NEED are just nice-to-have, not true newborn essentials.
So while I could have made this an over-the-top, not only everything you need, but everything that is nice to have, too kind of list, I decided to stick to the basics and make this just a list of newborn essentials. Things you’ll really need. All the other stuff that’s nice-to-have you can get later if you’d like, but they’re not things you need right off the bat.
THE ULTIMATE NEWBORN BABY NEEDS CHECKLIST FOR NEW MOMS
Besides food, diapers are the most essential thing a newborn will need, and they will need a lot of them.
One thing I wasn’t prepared for when taking out little guy home from the hospital is that we would be changing 10 – 12 dirty diapers a day. At first, I thought he was a peeing and pooping machine until I realized that 10 – 12 dirty diapers is normal for the newborn stage.
So, while you don’t want to stock up on TOO many newborn size diapers at first, just in case your baby is born big enough to transition to size 1 diapers soon, you will want to have at least 80 at home, which should last you about a week.
Enough diapers to last a week will allow you to settle in at home without having to run to the store with a 2-day-old to pick up more diapers but isn’t too many diapers in the case that your baby transitions to size 1 diapers soon after coming home.
Once you know what size diapers your little one is going to be in for some time, signing up for Amazon Subscribe and Save could save you a lot of money while delivering diapers right to your doorstep, plus you could get discounts on the diapers you buy through them.
My husband and I plan on cloth diapering our little babe when he’s a bit older, but we decided to disposable diaper him at first since he was born small and doesn’t fit the cloth diapers yet.
So, while we’re waiting to cloth diaper, we’ve found that these exact Pampers diapers have worked exceptionally well for our little guy. We haven’t had even one blowout yet in them!
They’re snug enough to hug his little legs and belly, but not so tight that it’s a stretch to get them on.
Of course, every baby is going to be built differently, and while the Pampers are our diapers of choice, Huggies might work better for your little one. So before you go and stock up on bulk diapers, I wouldn’t suggest having more than a week’s worth on hand, just in case you find they don’t fit your baby well.
Wipes are another newborn essential that you don’t want to forget to buy before your little one arrives.
After using these particular wipes on our son, my husband and I decided to switch over to reusable wipes and give them a try.
We’ve been hooked on them ever since and don’t have plans to go back to disposable wipes anytime soon.
While the disposable wipes that we used at first (these ones) did work well, I found that I needed to use about 3 wipes every time my son had a poopy diaper, and that resulted in us spending a LOT of money on wipes. With the cloth wipes, I can usually get away with using just one wipe, even for a poopy diaper.
(Plus the cloth wipe solution I use is incredibly cheap – check back here to find the recipe soon.)
If you do choose to go the disposable wipes route, I’ve heard great things about the Costco baby wipes.
Your baby may not develop diaper rash at all, but it’s a good idea to have this cream on hand just in case they do.
I’ve been applying this Penaten diaper cream to my son’s bum at almost every diaper change so we can hopefully avoid him getting a bum rash at all. So far he hasn’t gotten one and I strongly believe it’s because of the diaper cream we’ve been using.
Speaking of Vaseline, it’s one of those things you’re definitely going to want to have on hand when you bring your baby home from the hospital (you may even want it when you’re still in the hospital).
This is the Vaseline we use on our son (it’s different than normal Vaseline). We bought a big jug of it and it’s looking like it is going to last us a very long time.
Vaseline is handy to have on hand for baby’s first couple of poops. The meconium (baby’s first few poops) is very tar-like and sticks to baby’s bum like none other. Applying Vaseline to your baby’s bum before they have their first poop will help make clean up of those first few poops a lot easier. (No one wants to scrub their newborn’s bum raw trying to get the sticky poop off.)
You will also want to have Vaseline on hand if you choose to get your son circumcised.
5. DIAPER PAIL
I mentioned above that you can expect to be changing 10 – 12 dirty diapers on your newborn in a day. Now you’re going to need somewhere to put all those dirty diapers.
Some moms like to opt for an open diaper pail, as they find it doesn’t trap the smell as bad and makes it smell better, while other moms like to go for the diaper pails with lids to trap the smell in and stop it from stinking up their house.
There are many different types of diaper pails and the style you choose depends on your preferences.
This is the most popular diaper pail and a top choice by many moms (you don’t need any special bags like you do with a diaper genie). It traps the smell in and you can easily tie the bag up and bring it straight out to the garbage without stinking your house up.
I have chosen to go the simpler route and I just use a pail like this one with a plastic bag inside it as our diaper pail.
There are several different options you can choose from when deciding where to change your baby. The most popular option is a practical change table, like this one. However, some moms are choosing to just use a dresser with a changing pad on top of it as their baby changing station.
(I personally like the idea of a dresser, since they have many drawers so you’ll be able to store all your baby’s clothes in there as well as all the changing accessories.)
7. DIAPER BAG
Choosing a good diaper bag is a MUST. You’re going to be carrying this thing around for the next many years, after all. So you’re going to want to make sure you have one that you like.
I have this kind of diaper bag and I absolutely LOVE it. I can carry the diaper bag around and still have two free hands to tend to our baby and whatever else I need.
If you’re planning on nursing your baby, you’re definitely going to want a Boppy. These special pillows making nursing 100 times easier, and they save your back.
I nursed for the first couple of days without my nursing pillow and, even though my son was born small, my back was aching from holding him up (and from making the mistake of bringing my boob to him, instead of bringing him to my boob).
Using a nursing pillow has made nursing a LOT easier and less sore. These Boppy pillows are highly popular with nursing moms.
However, if you’re just looking for a simple nursing pillow – nothing too fancy – you can get a free nursing pillow here when you use the code DELIBERATE(ADDCODEHERE). No strings attached, you just pay the shipping and you will get the pillow for free.
9. BREAST PUMP
If you’re going to be breastfeeding your baby you’re going to want to have a breast pump.
Using a breast pump will allow you to pump occasionally and slowly build up a stash of breastmilk in the freezer. This way if you are going out for the day and leaving your baby with a babysitter, your baby can still drink breast milk.
I’ve also found it super helpful for the nights when I just need a break and need to sleep. That way when our son wakes up to eat in the middle of the night my husband can grab a bottle of breastmilk and feed him, and I can get some extra sleep.
(Seriously – even if you don’t think you’ll do that, it is SO nice to have the option to have a break from feeding.)
I use this Medela electric double pump. While it does work good, it IS quite pricey, so if you’re looking for a more cost-effective breast pump, I’ve heard AWESOME things about this one. It’s a manual breast pump and it’s simple to use and very affordable.
Plus it attaches straight onto bottles so you don’t have to worry about switching milk from bottle to bottle.
If you’ll be pumping, you’re going to need somewhere to store the milk, and that’s where milk storage bags come in handy.
I have used several different brands of milk storage bags, and I have found these ones to work the best (there are fewer spills when pouring the milk into a bottle).
This brand wasn’t my favorite. They worked alright but I definitely preferred the Lansinoh milk storage bags better.
I planned on strictly breastfeeding our baby. I didn’t even think we’d use bottles for the first while.
But, after a couple of weeks of getting next to NO sleep, my husband helped me realize I needed a break. So, we went ahead and tried giving our son a bottle, not sure how he would take to it.
Take to it he did, and it made our lives a whole lot easier. Now on the nights when I just need a bit more sleep, my husband can wake up with our son to feed and change him while I get a couple extra hours of sleep.
Everyone is going to have an opinion about the type of bottle you should use, but really, once your baby is here you’ll know best which bottles work and which ones don’t. We use a couple different brands of bottles, but our son likes this brand the best.
If you’re starting from scratch, a bottle starter set like this Philip’s one is a good way to go. It includes 5 bottles and nipples, a bottle brush, two pacifiers, two additional nipples, and 7 sealing disks.
12. BURP CLOTHS
Burp cloths are exceptionally helpful for cleaning up all kinds of messes, not just spit up. Grab several of these (I would recommend anywhere from 5 – 15). Getting a few more than you think you’ll need is a good idea, because some days you’re just not going to be able to keep up with laundry, so having some extras on hand will be helpful.
If you won’t be breastfeeding your baby, or if you’re planning on supplementing breastfeeding with formula every once in a while you’re going to want to have some formula ready and on hand before your baby comes home from the hospital.
14. BASSINET OR CRIB
Choosing somewhere for your baby to sleep is important. You’ll either put your baby straight into a crib, or you’ll put them into a bassinet/cradle first, then transition to a crib when they’re a bit older.
My husband and I decided to opt for the cradle, since it fit so nicely right beside our bed. This way when our son cries at night we don’t have to go far to tend to him.
Our son sleeps in a rocking cradle, just like this one. This way if he gets fussy at night for no reason we can reach over and give the cradle a little push and it will usually rock him right to sleep.
You’re also going to need a good crib mattress for your crib and a couple sets of linens (babies are notorious for peeing and pooping through their diapers at night, and a lot of the time it will soak right into the crib sheet, so having a few extras on hand is never a bad idea.)
15. SLEEP SACKS
Our doctor also recommended using sleep sacks instead of blankets, since when they get older they can kick the blankets over their heads but aren’t always able to pull it off of their faces and could suffocate. That was enough in itself to get us on board with sleep sacks.
We got a couple different sleep sacks for different times of the year. Some are thicker and have long sleeves, while others are quite thin and are sleeveless. You can grab a pack of sleep sacks here.
16. SWADDLE BLANKETS
If you do plan on swaddling your baby while they are still quite young you’re going to want some swaddle blankets.
(Which isn’t a bad idea since newborns up to the age of about 3 or 4 months have something called the Moro Reflex, which is a jumpy reflex where they quickly extend their arms – and sometimes legs – when they lose support, are startled, or feel like they are falling. Our son did these quick often for the first couple of weeks and he would usually startle himself awake, so to stop him from waking himself up we did swaddle him for the first couple of weeks to help him feel support and minimize the number of times he woke himself up from the startle reflex.)
We’ve had the best luck with these Muslin swaddles since they are breathable and aren’t overly restricting, so it still allowed our son to feel like he could wiggle around while still offering him support all around.
17. NIGHT LIGHT
We discovered pretty quickly that our son didn’t like to sleep in a room that was completely dark. We would put him down for bed with our closet light on, and as soon as we shut the light off he would start crying and crying.
At first, we didn’t know what the problem was, but soon we realized that anytime the light went out is when he would start crying. So, for a couple of nights we slept with the closet light on, and after realizing that having the room completely dark was indeed the problem, we invested a small amount of money in an LED nightlight and plugged it in close to his cradle.
Nighttime has been going a lot better since we started using the night light. (Plus, since we got an LED night light, it doesn’t cost much at all to run, plus this one automatically turns off when it’s light out and on when it’s dark.)
18. BABY MONITOR
You won’t need a baby monitor at the beginning if you keep your baby in your room, but they can come in handy if your baby is napping across the house from you and you want to be able to see/hear how they’re doing.
Regardless, you’ll want a good baby monitor in a couple of months for when you move baby into their own room.
I’ve heard AWESOME reviews for this baby monitor which allows you to not only listen to your baby but to also see them (which helps tremendously so you don’t have to go running to the room the second they start stirring, you can look at the monitor and as long as everything is okay you can give them a bit to see if they fall back asleep).
19. BABY BATHTUB
Using a sink to bath your baby in can work for the first little while, but using a bathtub makes things a lot easier.
(Let’s face it, you’re not going to want to be on your knees leaning over the side of a bathtub 48 hours after giving birth. You’re just not.)
You’ll want to have a couple washcloths on hand, a small pack of these should be enough.
You’ll also want to have a couple hooded bath towels ready for your baby, 2 – 4 would be a good number to have, this way you don’t have to do laundry every day (especially if baby gets poop or pee on the towels, you have backups). These are like the towels we use.
21. TEARLESS SHAMPOO
When shopping for shampoo and body wash for your baby make sure it clearly states that it is “TEARLESS”. Most baby shampoos and body washes will be tearless, but you’ll want to check that it states that just to be sure. This is the tearless shampoo we use for our son. It smells AMAZING.
Lotion and coconut oil are two more baby must haves that I’ve included on the list because they are both something we’ve used countless times.
We lotion our son every night after his bath. He had very dry skin so our doctor recommended using a scentless lotion since scents can make baby’s skin dry out even more.
He has also started to get some cradle cap, so I’ve been lathering his head up with coconut oil a bit before bathtime. Then when we bath him we gently rub his head with a washcloth and it has been helping get rid of his cradle cap. (You can buy coconut oil in bulk for cheap. This is what we use.)
23. CAR SEAT
Getting a good, safe car seat is super important. The hospital won’t let you take your baby home if you don’t have a safe car seat that fits them right, so you’ll want to make sure the car seat you get is the right size, isn’t expired, and is new.
You can, however, buy good used car seats, but do so with MUCH caution, since you can’t tell if the seat has been in an accident or not (and if it has it shouldn’t be used anymore).
My husband and I decided to go with a Graco car seat and stroller so that we could latch the car seat right into the stroller to make life easier.
Choosing a good car seat that you’re comfortable with should take some time and requires a lot of research.
The best way to go when purchasing a car seat and stroller is to purchase them as a set, like these. This way your car seat will fit right into your stroller which is important for the first few months.
We found our son hated riding in the stroller, but he loved it when he could be in his car seat, so having a car seat and stroller combo has worked exceptionally well for us.
25. BABY CARRIER
Your baby will have days when they want nothing other than to be held. And those usually end up being the days when you had big plans to run errands, clean the house, meal prep, etc.
My son has been having a whole week of needing nothing but to be held, and our baby carrier has been the one thing that has kept me sane.
While I DO love baby snuggles, I can’t stand sitting on the couch doing nothing when I know there is work to be done, so putting our son in the baby carrier allows me to walk around and have two free hands to do stuff while holding him.
It has been a life saver. I like this baby carrier since it’s lightweight and not bulky at all.
26. PACK N PLAY
This one isn’t a MUST HAVE right off the bat, but it sure is useful. Especially if you plan on going to someone’s house overnight, or even just for the day, the Pack n Play offers somewhere safe for your baby to play and nap.
27. BABY SWING & VIBRATING CHAIR
My husband and I were able to find a great deal on our Fisher Price baby swing, and we got our vibrating baby chair for free second hand. (If you keep your eyes on buy and sells in your area you might be able to find a rockin’ deal yourself.)
Having a baby swing and/or vibrating chair for your baby, especially one that has a mobile over top of it like this one is a great way to give your baby something new to do.
28. HIGH CHAIR
You won’t need a high chair for another couple of months, but when your baby is ready to start eating food you’ll want to have a high chair ready for them to use. This high chair is affordable and can fold up to be stored in small spaces.
Car mirrors help you keep your eye on your baby when you’re driving. You’ll want to make sure that the mirror you get is crash-tested to make sure it’s safe for your little one. This is the mirror my husband and I got to keep an eye on our little guy.
HYGIENE / SAFETY / ETC.
Your baby first aid kit should include several different items, including a thermometer, a nasal aspirator, baby nail clippers, and baby scissors. This baby first aid kit includes all of those, and more.
Baby’s first sickness can be a terrifying time, so you’ll want to make sure you have everything on hand to help make your baby feel better.
You’ll also want to have a thermometer on hand to make sure your baby’s temperature is good, as well as a nasal aspirator for when your baby gets a stuffy nose.
31. TEETHING TOYS
I know you’re just gearing up to have your baby, but before you know it he / she is going to grow up. And that means that teething is right around the corner, and these teething toys are great for providing relief to a teething baby. The toys are big enough for your baby to hold on their own, and you can put them in the freezer for a nice cooling effect.
If you decide to use soothers for your baby you’ll want to be prepared for those soothers to get lost, thrown on the ground, and wrecked, so you’ll want to make sure you have more than one on hand. Having 3 – 5 soothers is a good number so you don’t have to worry when one gets thrown in the dirt.
When your baby is still little they likely won’t lose too many soothers, but as they start to get older and move around more you can count on having a few soothers going missing from time to time. These soothie pacifiers are a popular choice among moms. They are big enough to not be a choking hazard, are easy to clean, and if you get these ones with the stuffies attached your baby can easily find and put their soother back into their mouth by themselves from a young age.
33. WRIST RATTLE
Your baby won’t be amused by toys for the first while, but around 3 months they will start to grab at toys and want to play with them. But, you can start giving them things to look at earlier than 3 months.
Wrist rattles are a great way to distract your baby with something to look at and with some noise. These are the wrist rattles we have for our baby, they can also be attached around the baby’s ankles to give them something to look at when they’re laying down.
Babies will start to enjoy stuff other than being swaddled and held around 6 weeks to two months, and at this point your baby will start to enjoy looking at and grabbing at toys. A playmat is a good way to give your baby something to do on their own – it’s also handy for doing tummy time on since the mats are colorful and you can set toys up on them for your baby to look at.
35. BABY BOOKS
Reading to your baby, even at a very young age, is a great habit to start. It is said that reading out loud to your baby helps you bond with your child and develops your child’s language and communication skills, even from when they’re a baby.
Finding books that have flaps, mirrors, and textures, like these ones, for your baby to touch and interact with are the best kinds of books, even for newborns.
While your baby won’t interact with the books when they’re a newborn, at around 3 – 6 months they will start to reach out and interact with the books. It’s a good idea to read out loud to your baby even before they seem to be interacting with the books.
Getting a baby devotional book is also a good way to get in the habit of reading the Bible to your baby from a young age.
Reading is a good thing to add to your baby’s bedtime routine since it has so many benefits and is a good way to help your baby wind down and get ready for bed.
36. BABY CLOTHES
Surprisingly enough, your newborn won’t need a whole big wardrobe full of clothes. A lot of parents like to keep their newborns in sleepers all day since they can be difficult to dress at first and sleepers (especially the ones with zippers) are easy to get on and off for diaper changes.
Another reason not to go out and buy a bunch of newborn clothes is that your baby will likely grow out of their newborn clothes quite quickly. Our son was born small, and in less than a month he had already outgrown a couple of his newborn outfits.
But, even though you don’t want to buy TONS of clothes for your newborn you will still need to have some clothes handy.
I would recommend having 8 – 10 onesies, some with short sleeves and some with long sleeves (these ones are easy to get on and off), two hoodies, a couple pairs of pants, 8 – 10 sleepers, a couple toques and baby sun hats, some socks, and some scratch mitts (babies like to grab at their faces and with their sharp nails they can scratch themselves pretty good).
When thinking of a newborn baby needs checklist, people often forget to think about what the mom of that newborn needs. Here are a couple things that will make life as a mom so much easier.
37. BREAST PADS
Even if you’re not planning on breastfeeding, you’ll still want to have some breast pads on hand as there will probably still be some leaking happening. But, you will definitely want to have a LOT of breast pads ready if you are planning on breastfeeding.
Some moms leak a lot of milk, while others don’t leak quite so much.
I have personally already gone through a couple boxes of breast pads. This particular brand of breast pads works super well for collecting a lot of milk (which is exactly what you need if you leak a lot – or are out and about and don’t have time to change your pads often).
They can collect up to 20x their weight in liquid!
38. NIPPLE CREAM
Nipple cream is another must-have if you’re planning on breastfeeding. After a couple of weeks when you and your baby have established a good breastfeeding routine, it shouldn’t be painful, but for the first couple of weeks when you’re both getting the hang of things breastfeeding can come with cracked and dry nipples, blisters, and bleeding from the breasts.
The biggest culprit of sore nipples from breastfeeding is when your baby doesn’t latch properly, but you can also get sore nipples simply from having them sucked on what seems like all the time. (You’ll get used to it – don’t worry.)
It didn’t take me long to get blisters and bleeding nipples. In fact, it was before we even left the hospital.
So, since I hadn’t prepared myself a postpartum care kit BEFORE having our son, my husband and I had to stop at a drug store on the way home from the hospital, and I got to wobble sorely around the store looking for nipple cream.
(It was not fun. Take it from me and prepare your postpartum recovery kit long before having your baby. Here’s everything you’ll want to include in your kit.)
The nurses at the hospital recommended using nipple cream made with Lanolin, so after searching up and down the drug store aisles we finally found the right cream.
I’m happy to say that after just a couple days of using the cream my nipples healed completely and haven’t gotten sore since (and I haven’t had to use the cream since). This is the exact nipple cream that worked wonders for me.
I could go on for hours talking about everything new moms should have ready for their postpartum recovery, but I’ve saved that for another post.
Now that you have your complete baby shopping list for first time moms, it’s time to go out and get everything you’re going to need before your baby comes.
(You don’t want to be that lady wobbling around the drug store after giving birth looking for all the newborn essentials because she didn’t buy them before her baby came. You just don’t. You just gave birth – go home and rest and enjoy your new baby, mama!)
What are a couple items on your newborn baby needs checklist? If you’re a first time mom, what are some other things you think you’ll need once your baby arrives? If you’re already a mom, what are some things you thought you would need, but didn’t end up needing at all?
I’d love to hear from you!