YOUR NEWBORN BABY CHECKLIST
PREPARING FOR A NEW BABY
There are so many different things that must be done to prepare for a new baby. One of the most overwhelming and time-consuming things to figure out is what items you need to add to your baby checklist.
Truth be told, you won’t be prepared with everything you need for a newborn, but the whole process gets easier, I promise. You will reach a point where you will settle into your groove, and life with a new baby will become second nature.
My baby list consisted of a lot of things I didn’t actually need, but I wanted to be prepared. I have created a list of products that were necessary, nice to have, and others entire unnecessary for the first six months of your child’s life.
Related: Top Baby Products
I will warn you, it’s a really long list. But that’s because babies require a lot.
Bear in mind that this list contains links to my favorite versions of these products. If you decide to purchase an item through my link, I will be paid a small commission at no additional cost to you. I have used all of the products I am recommending to you and wholeheartedly stand by them. You can read more about this on my disclaimer page.
FIRST BABY ESSENTIALS LIST
DIAPERING AND HYGIENE
Diapers are one of the most expensive things you’ll need in the long run, given the sheer volume that you’ll need over several years. Unfortunately, they are one of the most essential purchases for a newborn baby.
Hygiene products are vital, and you’ll find that there are myriad options available.
You have the choice of cheap or expensive, environmentally friendly, all-natural, homeopathic, or mainstream brand names. The animals and characters featured on your little one’s first trappings will be mainstays that stay with them well into their toddler years and even beyond.
What You Need
Diapers (Price range $40-80 monthly, I recommend Huggies Snugglers)
You have the option of using disposable or cloth diapers. Keep in mind that the overall cost of disposable diapers is twice the amount that you will pay for cloth diapers.
The upfront cost of cloth diapers is high, but it may be worth it if you want to be eco-friendly and want something cheaper overall. Do some research on the different brands and decide what is right for your family.
Personally, I prefer disposable Huggies and Pampers. They do well with my baby’s skin, and I typically don’t experience any leakage problems.
Baby wipes (Price range $3-6 monthly, I recommend Pampers Sensitive)
Keep plenty of these on hand. We preferred the Pampers Sensitive with both of our children. They were soft and didn’t stick together as badly as some of the other brands.
Diaper rash ointment (Price range $5-15, I recommend Dr. Smith’s Diaper Rash Ointment)
If your baby ever has a bout or two of diarrhea, it is likely that their sensitive skin will benefit from diaper rash ointment. Even if you change your baby religiously, an irritated bum is sometimes unavoidable.
We loved using Dr. Smiths diaper rash ointment. We tried lots of different brands but found that most of the creams were stinky and hard to remove from our hands. Dr. Smiths did an excellent job controlling our baby’s diaper rashes, and it was easy to clean without an overbearing funk.
Baby Wash (Price range $5-30, I recommend Burt’s Bees Baby Shampoo & Wash)
There are many different options when it comes to baby soap. It can be challenging to know which option to purchase. I recommend sticking with soaps free of scent, sulfate, and dye, as these are the least likely to irritate your baby’s skin.
Remember, your baby won’t get very dirty the first year, so you should limit bathing to 2-3 times a week.
Thermometer (Price range $5-40, I recommend this Vicks SpeedRead Digital Thermometer)
Having one of these on hand is extremely handy. When your child is feeling sick, you don’t want to have to rush out to the store for a thermometer. Your child will likely get sick at some point, so a thermometer is a necessity.
A rectal thermometer is going to be the most accurate. Sticking any object up a baby’s bum is enough to make anyone nervous, but it is improbable that you will cause any trauma, and it is the most accurate way to obtain a temperature. Regardless how safe it is, always be sure to read safety tips on use, or consult your pediatrician.
Nail Clippers (Price range $5-15, I recommend a Safety 1st Infant Clipper)
Your baby’s fingernails will grow very quickly. Your baby will also incline to attempt to claw off their own faces–or yours. It is a good idea to keep these little daggers neatly trimmed to minimize collateral damage. Definitely add these to your newborn checklist.
Nasal Bulb Aspirator (FREE)
They will use one of these at the hospital to help aspirate extra nasal fluid and saliva. Take the one from the hospital home, as they work better than a store-bought version. Ask for an extra! Any maternity ward worth its linens will happily provide you with extras.
Baby Laundry Detergent (Price range $15-30, I recommend Dreft Newborn Laundry Detergent )
The chemicals present in regular laundry detergent can be harsh and irritate baby skin. Using mild baby laundry detergent is pretty significant when your baby is young and tends to make your baby smell amazing.
Nice to Have
Baby Bath Tub (Price range $15-70, I recommend a Summer Infant Bath Tub)
First off, let me say that a baby bathtub is not completely necessary. Some parents would instead just take their baby’s in the bath with them, or find other alternatives. We used a baby bath because it was what was easier for our family. So while this is not a necessary item, you need be prepared for how you will bathe your baby.
Diaper Pail (Price range $25-100 plus refill bags, I recommend this Playtex Diaper Genie )
I went back and forth with adding this item to the nice-to-have category. I almost think it is not a worthwhile product, as it is expensive to upkeep and will end up stinking in the future anyway.
Baby poop is not very fragrant until they are eating solids, and so a sealed container is not necessary when the baby first arrives. Personally, I find it easier to have a garbage can with a lid until my baby starts on solid foods. At that point, it is easy to run the dirty diapers out to the trash. I don’t like the thought of having a stinky diaper in my home, even if it’s in a sealed container.
For those who live in apartments, or are in positions where they are unable to run a dirty diaper to the garbage can outside, this product may benefit you.
Baby Washcloths (Price range $6-20, I recommend these Enovoe Bamboo Baby Washcloths)
I found baby washcloths to be useful because it is easier to wash tiny humans with tiny washcloths. If you don’t want to spend the money, you can make one, or you can opt to use an adult washcloth.
Changing pad (Price range $15-40, I recommend this Summer Infant Changing Pad)
A changing pad is typically used to lay your baby on while changing their diaper. In reality, you can change the baby on any surface you like, and so purchasing an additional surface is not necessary.
We bought one before our daughter was born, but did not use it for the first few months of her life. After this, we utilized it a lot because we began changing her on the hard bathroom floor. This product is useful in a case like that; otherwise, you can forgo this item.
Baby bath towels (Price range $9-25, I recommend Hooded Baby Towel)
You can certainly purchase these. They make some pretty cute hooded towels with attractive designs. However, you can use an adult-sized towel and get the same effect. It is money you can save, and adult towels are usually going to be better quality.
If you prefer to wrap your baby in something more exciting that makes them look like a cute baby duck, go for it.
You Don’t Need
Wipe Warmers (Savings of $25-35)
I received one of these from my baby shower. I was pretty excited because I imagined it was a product I would use every day. It ended up being a huge time waster as it takes a substantial amount of time for it to heat up. Using your hands to warm a wipe is a great alternative.
Diaper Stacker (Savings of $12-25)
Diaper stackers are cute in theory. One would think this would help with organization, but it tends to slow down the flow of the day. You will likely end up stacking the diapers on the changing table for easier access.
In the interest of avoiding excess, I’ll stick mostly to clothes that are necessary. There are probably a million things not to buy your child in this zone, but the reality is that clothing is a personal preference.
Does your child need to have a hoodie with ears? Maybe so. A suit and tie for the little man? Sure. Style is up to you, but here are some recommendations.
A note about sizing clothes for your baby
For the first six months, you will likely be using newborn, size 0-3, size 3-6, and size 6-9 clothing. Keep in mind some brands, such as Carters, may cause some confusion for consumers with their sizing labels. A “3” means 0-3 months.
What You Need
Onesies (Price range $15-50, I recommend these Burt’s Bees Baby Short Sleeve Bodysuits)
Onesies (or bodysuits) are the staple of baby clothing, and so this is the clothing item you will want to purchase the most of. They are typically used for layering, but do just fine on their own.
Babies go through a lot of clothes because they are messy and grow like noxious weeds. Be prepared for diaper blowouts, drool, and spit up. Blink and find your child has outgrown whatever size you just bought ten more of. Plan on having ten bodysuits per size (less for the newborn size).
Outfits (Price range $30-100, I recommend any Carter’s Baby 3 Piece Outfit)
8-10 outfits are really all that is necessary. You will have other and more convenient clothing options available.
Footed Pajamas and Nightgowns (Price range $40-100, I recommend Burt’s Bees Baby Footed Pajamas )
Footed pajamas and nightgowns are fashionable and practical. Footed pajamas are good for sleep, as they keep your little one comfortable and snug.
I sometimes keep my baby in footed pajamas all day. Be aware your baby will likely grow out of their “one size” nightgowns within the first few months. Our second baby, Moppet, grew out of them in her third month.
Socks (Price range $10-25, I recommend these Carter’s Baby Socks)
Babies lose heat through their feet, which means socks are essential to maintaining body temperature. You will likely lose the majority of socks you purchase, so it is a good idea to have some extras on hand.
Our washing machine eats baby socks, and so we wash them in a mesh-lined bag.
Hats (Price range $5-20, I recommend these Luvable Friends Baby Caps)
Not only are baby hats adorable, but they are also functional as well. It is important to remember that babies can lose a lot of heat through their heads because of the large surface area.
In the winter, a cozy winter beanie will keep your baby warm and snug. In the summer, a sun hat can help protect their head from getting sunburnt. Once they are a little older, they may not tolerate wearing hats, so it is a good idea to try and get them used to hats early on.
You Don’t Need
Shoes ($20-60 savings)
Baby shoes are so adorable–it’s something about how tiny they are. However, babies who don’t walk don’t need to wear shoes. It can actually hinder your child’s mobility when they are learning to crawl and walk.
Socks are great to keep their feet warm but don’t plan on spending money on shoes until they are toddling around on two legs.
A Lot Of Newborn Size Clothing ($5-30 savings)
Unless you have a preemie baby, it is likely that your baby will grow out of newborn size clothing within a few weeks. Some babies can never fit into newborn clothing. Purchase a few outfits, but don’t overdo it as it is unlikely your baby will wear this size for long.
There are many different options for bedding and sleepwear, but not all of your options are safe. You can choose between sheets or baby quilts, wearable blankets or regular blankets. Once you have a good understanding of what is safe, it is a personal decision from there.
What You Need
Sheets (Price range $10-30, I recommend Burt’s Bees Baby Fitted Crib Sheet)
Sheets are the only material that should be in your baby’s crib or bassinet, as anything else can increase the risk of SIDS.
Sorry mom, but you don’t want your baby’s crib to look like the beautiful one set up in the baby store with the quilt and the teddy bear. Sheets should be fitted and of a size with the mattress. Any material that can come loose can become a strangulation hazard.
Wearable Blankets (Price range $20-45, I recommend the Zipadee-Zip)
A regular blanket is also unsafe for baby, as they can pull the blanket up over their face and suffocate. Wearable blankets are a great safe alternative. It is best to add a couple of these to your newborn checklist, so you have a backup when one of them inevitably needs a wash.
If you live in a warm enough climate, you can layer baby instead. Research layer guidelines for different room temperatures to get a better idea.
Nice to Have
Nighttime Soother (Price range $40-60, I recommend this Fisher-Price Projection Soother)
We purchased a Fisher-Price Projection Soother for our second daughter. This is an adorable little machine that provides a medley of soothing sounds, motion, and lights to ease baby into sleep. We turn this on for her every night, and it puts her to sleep every time.
She doesn’t like being in absolute darkness, so this was a good alternative.
Swaddles (Price range $20-80, I recommend The Ollie Swaddle)
I believe that a swaddle is necessary, but some parents choose to learn to swaddle with a blanket instead. I could never get the blanket as tight as the nurses did at the hospital, and so an actual swaddle was a good option for me.
This item is hands-down the best product I have bought for my two daughters’ comfort. It recreates the feeling of being in the womb which is incredibly soothing for your baby. It’s also a completely safe item to use until your baby can roll over.
I recommend going with a quality swaddle, as they are easier to use and tend to work better.
Receiving Blankets (Price range $10-25, I recommend these Carter’s Baby Flannel Receiving Blankets)
Receiving blankets are useful, as they can be used to lightly wrap baby while you are out and about. You can tuck a receiving blanket over your baby while she is in her car seat on colder days.
You Don’t Need
Quilts and large blankets ($10-40 savings)
I received a lot of beautiful handmade blankets with both of my babies. Because they aren’t safe for babies, I kept my first daughter’s blankets in storage until she was two. She is old enough now that she really enjoys them.
Even if you choose to co-sleep at night, it is a good idea to have a separate safe sleep space for your baby during nap times. There are co-sleeping products that you can purchase for baby, but I will not be discussing those in this post. I will have a follow-up post soon about safe sleep practices.
Bassinet (Price range $50-200, I recommend the Fisher-Price Rock ‘n Play Portable Bassinet)
If you are purchasing a separate sleep space for your baby, a bassinet may be the first thing you consider. A bassinet will only be useful for a few months before your baby grows out of it, so you may choose to buy something that will be more permanent.
We have purchased a bassinet for both our babies because we wanted them in the same room with us for the first few months of their lives. We did not want to have to take apart and move a crib once we were ready to put them in their rooms, so the extra expense of a bassinet made sense.
Crib (Price range $50-1500, I recommend a Dream On Me Ella Convertible Crib)
A crib is the most common sleep space product purchased by parents. Cribs are used for the first 2 to 3 years of your child’s life, and so it indeed is an investment that pays itself off.
Be wary of buying these used, as some older cribs are drop-sided cribs which have been recalled and are entirely unsafe.
We have bought cribs that convert to toddler beds, so we will not need to purchase another sleep space until they are around fifty pounds.
Pack and Play (Price range $40-220, I recommend this Graco Pack ‘N Play)
A pack and play can double as a safe place for sleep or play. Some parents choose to use a playpen for full-time sleep instead of a traditional crib. You can purchase a mattress for some pack and plays to help make it more comfortable.
We don’t personally use a pack and play in our home, but I have had friends that find them incredibly useful.
Nice to have
Owlet (Price range: varies, Owlet Smart Sock 2)
If you have read my post on my favorite baby items, you will know that I see the owlet as a necessity. The owlet is a product that allows you to monitor your baby’s heart rate and oxygen level.
There is not another product out right now like it, and as someone that used to be in the medical field, I understand the value of this item. Keep in mind the owlet is not foolproof as any monitoring device may have errors from time to time.
Noise Machine (Price range $20-80, I recommend this HoMedics White Noise Machine)
There are a variety of noise machine products on the market in all different price ranges.
A white noise machine usually emits a repetitive noise, such as rain or TV static. This helps cover up any other background noise that may be present in your home, as well as relax your baby and help woo them to sleep.
If you are hesitant to spend money on this product, you can always download Relaxio, which is a free white noise app. An app was not very practical for my family as I wanted to use my phone after the baby went to sleep.
With our second child, we purchased a twenty dollar sound machine, and it is one of my favorite purchases we have made.
Baby Monitor (Price range $20-300, I recommend this Audio Baby Monitor or Video Baby Monitor)
A baby monitor is not necessary for everyone, but it is a good idea if you have multiple floors in your house, or if you are unable to hear the baby in every room of your home while they are sleeping. Monitors can also be taken outside while the baby is napping.
We have used both an audio and a video monitor. Although the audio monitor met our basic needs, the video monitor has been much more helpful. It is comforting to see your child is breathing, especially when they are quiet sleepers.
You Don’t Need
You should not use any product with an incline for sleep. Baby should stay on a flat firm surface when sleeping, and so anything with an incline (like a rocker) should not be purchased for sleeping. Any use of a rocker or swing should involve adult supervision. You can learn more about safe sleep here.
If you just want some basic sleep tips for a new baby, you can find that here.
ON THE GO
Whether it’s in the car to grandma’s house or a walk around the neighborhood, there are products that will be necessary for being mobile with a baby.
Need to Have
Car Seat (Price range $80-350, I recommend a Graco Click Connect Infant Car Seat or Graco All-in-1 Convertible Car Seat)
You can choose between an infant or convertible car seat. Your baby will grow out of an infant car seat, and so you will inevitably have to purchase a convertible car seat. If you are trying to be money conscious, you can certainly start out in a convertible car seat as many of these are rated for babies as little as five pounds.
Personally, I have used an infant car seat first for both of my kiddos, as you can leave them in their car seat while you are running short errands. It can be inconvenient to have to pull a sleeping baby out of the car seat to run into the store for some milk.
With either of these purchases, I discourage buying used. Car seats expire after six years, and if they are in any type of crash it is recommended to replace them. You can’t be confident about the history of a car seat unless you buy new.
Diaper Bag (Price range $30-350, I recommend a HapTim Diaper Bag Backpack )
All moms are going to want something a little different from their diaper bag. Are you the mom that stuffs a few diapers and wipes in her purse, or do you want a separate bag in which can also pack additional outfits and bottles?
Nice To Have
Stroller (Price range $30-1500, I recommend the Baby Jogger City Mini Stroller)
While not totally necessary, a stroller can be incredibly useful if you like to be out and about. The price range of strollers fluctuates considerably, so I recommend doing your research when you are narrowing down options. It is best to go to the store for this purchase, as you want to make sure you like the feel of the stroller.
We have a few different strollers and have found all of them to be useful. For our baby, we have a snap and go stroller into which we can lock the infant car seat. For our toddler, we have a standard stroller and an umbrella stroller. Find what works for your family.
Sling/Baby Carrier (Price range $20-$350, I recommend a LILLEbaby)
A sling or baby carrier becomes more of a need for the busy or multi-child mom. It allows you to get things done around the house without sacrificing quality time with your baby. It is a big help to have both hands free for cleaning, homework, or playing with your other kids.
I find I use my carrier the most when we go grocery shopping, as it leaves my hands free to shop while my baby is safely against my chest.
Mirror (Price range $10-30, I recommend this Baby Car Mirror)
You can purchase a little mirror for your car to put above your baby’s seat, so you can glance back in the rearview mirror and check on your little one.
My husband used to have an hour-long commute, so it was useful to be able to look back and check on our daughter periodically during his drive.
Whether you choose to breastfeed or formula feed, there are specific items that will be useful to have on hand. Remember, fed is best.
Need To Have
Bottles (Price range $10-60, I recommend these Dr. Brown’s Original Bottle)
With bottles, you can choose between using plastic or glass. After this, you have many different brands and types to choose from.
Glass bottles are better quality because they will not contain chemicals from production, and will not hold on to odors or residue when you clean them. Glass bottles can be pretty pricey, so many people opt to use plastic bottles.
Personally, my family prefers to use Dr. Brown’s bottles, because they feature an internal vent system that helps reduce colic, spit-up, burping, and gas by eliminating negative pressure and air bubbles. They also help preserve vitamins C, A, & E by minimizing oxidation of breastmilk and formula.
Each baby is unique, and so you may have to purchase many different brands before you figure out what your baby likes best.
Breast Pump (Price range $30-300, I recommend a Medela Pump in Style Advanced Breast Pump)
If you plan to breastfeed, it is likely you will want to invest in a pump. In today’s world, you may be planning to return to work, or there may be times that you cannot be with your baby. In these situations, you can pump to help keep your milk supply stable and build a supply of breastmilk for your baby while you are away.
There are manual, battery-powered, and electric pumps. Manual pumps can be useful when you are out and about, as they can fit pretty easily in a purse.
Personally, I preferred the use of an electric breast pump because they work more efficiently, and you can empty both breasts at once.
Formula (I will not give a recommendation, as formula type should be decided by you and your doctor.)
If you are not breastfeeding, formula is an acceptable alternative. There are many different types of formula, and so it can be hard to know which product to get.
Keep in mind that every single brand of formula has to meet the same nutritional standards, and so you don’t necessarily need to buy the most expensive brand.
Please consult your pediatrician for a recommendation.
Nursing Bra (Price range $15-60, I recommend this Breastfeeding Nursing Bra)
If you choose to nurse your baby, a nursing bra will make the experience much more convenient. A nursing bra allows you to pull one breast out of your bra by unclipping the strap rather than having to unclip the whole bra.
Lanolin (Price range $8-20, I recommend this Lansinoh Breastfeeding Salve)
If you are breastfeeding, lanolin will likely be a lifesaver for you. Your nipples will be sore when you start to breastfeed, and lanolin is like chapstick for your nipples.
Baby Food (Price range varies, I recommend using an organic baby food like Earth’s Best Organic Baby Food or making your own.
Some doctors recommend starting baby foods as early as four months. Consult your pediatrician for a recommendation about your unique child.
Nice To Have
Nursing Pillow (Price range $35-45, I recommend a Boppy Nursing Pillow)
This is an excellent product for nursing mothers. Not only can it be used to give your arms a break while nursing, but it can also be used to prop your baby up when they are learning how to sit up.
You Don’t Need
Bottle Warmer ($15-30 savings)
A bottle warmer is nice in theory, however, it takes a very long time to heat up. It usually ends up being more efficient to warm the bottle under warm water instead.
Personally, we used ours once and never again after that, so I would recommend keeping this one off your newborn checklist.
BABY “FUN” ITEMS
All of these items are technically nice to have items. There are many different variations of the items, and I would encourage you to spend some time exploring what is out there.
I recommend purchasing at least a couple “fun” items for your baby, as they help enrich your baby’s life.
Nice to Have
A swing or rocker (Price range $55-300, I recommend a Graco Simple Sway Baby Swing)
These products are certainly not recommended for sleep but can be incredibly useful when you need somewhere to sit baby down while you get something done.
Personally, we have a few dogs, and so I don’t feel comfortable leaving my baby on the floor, for fear she will get stepped on. This kind of products will give you a safe place off the ground for baby, just make sure you are continuously monitoring your child.
Play gym (Price range $40-160, I recommend this Fisher-Price Deluxe Kick & Play Piano Gym)
Our babies have always enjoyed their play gyms, and they are one of the few toys that your baby will get enjoyment out while they are in the young baby stage. They help promote skills like rolling and crawling, and the developmental hanging toys can keep your baby entertained for a reasonable amount of time.
Glider (Price range $120-400, I recommend the Stork Craft Glider and Ottoman Set)
Rocking babies are happy babies. The motion is comforting and triggers a relaxation response in most babies. We used ours every day in our baby’s first year, and it’s an item you will still use when baby has grown.
Teething Toys (Price range $5-20, My kiddos love the Sophie La Girafe)
Most babies do not start teething until they are around four months of age. At this point, they will begin to want to chew on everything, and so having some safe gnawing items can be useful to have on hand.
Jumparoo (Price range-$70-150, I recommend the Fisher-Price Rainforest Jumperoo)
This is a toy that your baby can sit in and jump around safely. A Jumparoo was my first child’s favorite toy. You will not need to worry about purchasing one until they are closer to six months, as your baby needs to be able to hold their head up and sit on their own for this toy.
Your child will get hours of fun and exercise of out this item, and so this is something I would consider investing in. You can buy one of these used, just make sure you test it out before purchasing it.
Don’t forget to download our free baby checklist pdf!
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