Newborn Checklist: A Guide to Baby Essentials
The time before your baby’s arrival is a time full of happy expectation and joyous moments of preparation, but it can also, at times, be a period burdened with stressful moments.
Trying to juggle all the big and small details of having everything you need by your side when your little one finally comes into this world is no easy feat.
Whether it’s breastfeeding accessories, or nappy change basics, toys, safety equipment for your home, or necessary preparations around the weekly bathing ritual, our checklist will cover all the baby essentials your baby will ever need. (as well as a couple of additional tips and info on how to keep track of their own bodies for the new mommies out there).
This guide will also be helpful for parents who’ve already welcomed their little nuggets, but are still struggling with all the necessities in keeping them safe and well in their earliest months of life.
Essentials for Your Newborn
There are a number (and we mean a number!) of things that need to be taken into consideration, so let’s get started with this newborn checklist!
Everybody needs clothes, and newborns (even though they’re so tiny) are no exception. Buying clothing for your little one is probably one of the most fun activities you can do while expecting, with so many varieties and cute designs of baby outfits nowadays!
Plus, you’ll probably always need more clothes than you think, so it’s a good idea to buy a couple of additional items in your first shopping batch, just to be on the safe side.
Also, it wouldn’t hurt if you buy slightly bigger clothes – even if they’re too big in the first months, you’ll baby will definitely find a way to fill them up as they grow up!
The baby essentials that you’ll need for your little one are the following:
(note: these are an approximate number of items that can serve as a guideline – you can, of course, adjust them to suit your budget and needs)
- 8 pairs of undershirts or onesies (jumpsuits) should be enough, to begin with
- 5 pieces of nightgowns
- 8 pairs of stretchy one-piece sleepers (preferably ones with zippers)
- 4-5 pairs of pants
- 3-4 hats (one or two for warm or hot weather, and one or two for colder weather)
- 2 pairs of mittens for cold weather, 2 pairs of scratch mittens to keep the baby scratch and scar-free
- 8 pairs of booties and socks (lighter and thicker ones - 4 for each type), to wear with different outfits, as well as nightgowns
- 2 jackets or cardigans (one lighter and one warmer for winter)
- A Snowsuit or a bunting bag
- Several (2-3) large cotton blankets and 6-8 receiving blankets which also make very handy burp cloths
Whether you’re using disposable or cloth/reusable diapers, these items are indispensable in the earliest months of parenting. Keep in mind that with disposable diapers it’s better to first buy a smaller amount so that you you see if they fit your baby and that they won’t cause irritation; after you check out which brand suits them best you can go on and buy a bigger batch (buying in bigger batches is usually cheaper).
These are the baby essentials if you’re using disposable diapers:
- Two boxes of diapers for newborns
- Nappy bin or diaper pail – the diaper pail is not absolutely necessary, but if your budget allows you, it’s definitely handy to have one in your child’s nursery, because they’re very successful in keeping smelly diapers away from both your noses
- Changing pad
- Nappy sacks
- A couple dozen washcloths or a couple of packages of disposable wipes for the baby’s bottom
- Ointments or other types of barrier creams to prevent diaper rash (see our article on best treatments and home remedies)
For best disposable diapers, check out our list here
If you’re using reusable/cloth diapers:
- 4-5 dozens of reusable or cloth diapers
- Nappy bin or diaper pail (again, the diaper pail is not strictly necessary)
- Changing pad
- 8 waterproof covers
- Safety pins or snaps to secure the reusable diapers and make sure they comfortably stay in place
- Sets of disposable wipes or 2-3 dozen washcloths for the baby’s bottom
- Creams, ointments and similar baby hygiene products for preventing diaper rash
Feeding your baby is an activity that may seem easy, but it still requires a couple of stuff that are pretty necessary to make the breastfeeding easier and more comfortable both for you and your baby, especially if you’re using a breast pump, either occasionally or full-time. When it comes to feeding, a newborn checklist should include:
- You’ll definitely need a lot of bibs (and we mean a lot!)
- Also, a lot of burp cloths
- Breast pump (see our lists on manual and electric ones)
- Milk storage containers
- Milk bottles
- (optional) a nursing pillow
- Nursing bra (this makes the nursing experience easier; also if you’re buying before your baby is born, it’s good to buy a size larger than your bra size during pregnancy)
- Breast pads (either washable or disposable)
- Sore nipples cream
- Bottle sterilizer
- Disposable wipes or muslins
- Baby carrier bags for moms on the go
If you are formula feeding:
- You’ll need the bibs and the birth cloths again
- 8 four-ounce bottles with nipples
- 6 eight-ounce bottles with nipples
- Nipple and bottle brush
- A feeding formula (always look out for the expiry date)
- Thermal bottle carrier
- Bottle sterilizer
Don’t miss our reviews
on best organic formula!
Always keep track of your posture during breastfeeding – this helps keep you safe from sore back, neck, and arms, and it also provides a better latch for your baby, which can prevent sore nipples, and we all know no mother wants that.
Also, don’t forget to regularly take prenatal vitamins and supplements while expecting, but also during breastfeeding – they will help to ensure the healthy development of your baby’s delicate body and mind, and keep in check your own changing body as well. Check out our guide on the best pregnancy vitamins
for more info.
While infants’ bathing times usually begin with the good old top and tail at first, it won’t be soon before long that they start enjoying their weekly baths – and as all parents know, maintaining good hygienic habits is crucial for the baby’s proper and healthy growth.
Baby essentials for a safe and enjoyable bath-time:
- 1 plastic infant tub or basin – alternatively you can use a larger dishpan in the sink, or you can just take the baby along in the bath with you
- 10-12 washcloths
- Baby cleanser, shampoo or baby soap (check out our list of best baby shampoos and find out which one is best for your baby’s gentle skin)
- Soft-bristled hair brush for babies
- Baby lotion as an after-bath moisturizer (check out another list we’ve compiled for your little one on best organic baby lotions)
- A couple of hooded towels (the softer the better)
- A non-slip bath mat is also always a good idea
- A bath thermometer – this is something that can usually be easily forgotten; if you don’t happen to have one around you, you can just use your elbow or hand as an alternative to check for the right temperature
Bedtime routines are also one of the most important elements in keeping your baby healthy and happy throughout its development. It’s usually advised that your little one sleeps in your room for the first 6 months. Afterward, it’s okay to start considering moving them into their own room. If you want to decorate your baby’s room, make sure to leave enough time for the paint-fumes to evaporate, so it’s best to do it before they arrive.
Some of the essential stuff that you’ll need for your little one’s cozy den are:
- Crib and a crib mattress
- Mattress covers (it’s advisable to use waterproof ones, we know how messy babies can be, especially in their earliest months)
- 3-4 fitted crib sheets
- 3-4 cellular blankets that match the crib size
- A sleep sack
- Baby monitor – this will help you monitor your baby’s sleep while not being physically present in their room, allowing you to move freely around the house
- Room thermometers – getting the right temperature for your baby’s sleeping den is just as important for their health as the sleep routine itself
It’s always a good idea to have more bedding layers because if it gets messy during the night, you can just remove the top layer and pop your little nugget right back to bed.
A safe home is a number one priority for a newly arrived baby, as well as one that’s just starting to crawl and walk and is super-curious, learning about their ways throughout your home. That’s why it’s always a good idea to be extra-sure that your house is baby proofed - even before your little one is born. Depending on your needs and the nature of your home, there are several baby essentials to consider:
- Socket covers – babies love to stick their fingers everywhere so this is definitely a must when it comes to baby proofing
- Window and cupboard catches
- Corner protectors for various furniture items throughout your home
- Playpens – these are good ways to temporarily keep your baby in one place when you can’t attend to them in particular moments
- Toilet seat lid-locks
- Stair gates – this is also a good idea to have in mind if you happen to have a staircase in your home – sometimes babies can wander off in a matter of seconds and you don’t want them ending up (or climbing down!) a set of steep stairs
- Fireguards if you have a fireplace
- Optional: first aid kit – this is actually a very handy item to have for the whole family in case of emergencies.
A newborn checklist isn’t a proper one without baby toys! Toys are items that you’re going to need more and more as your baby grows, and they’re also items that are gonna get more complex in the way. But, a good bunch of options to start with, for babies aged 0 to 6 months, is:
- Toys that the baby can nibble on
- Other rattling, lightweight knick-knacks
- Stuffed animals – if the baby is particularly fond of cuddling
- Baby swings, bouncing cradles and play mats are all great options that’ll keep your baby occupied and energetic, allowing them to rest up well after they’ve spent their energy jumping in and around
- Toys that light up easily and toys that make sounds or produce music – both of them are super-entertaining for babies, although probably a little less so for any adults that find themselves in the room.
Prams, Buggies, and Carriers
Both parents and babies enjoy walks outside, but babies get all the benefits with being pampered by looking at the world from the safety and comfort of their prams and buggies. What you need to consider when getting these accessories is that your baby needs to have a completely flat posture in them so it can help their spinal development, as well as support their neck and head. That’s why you’ll want a model that will fully recline.
Besides the pram itself, you’ll also need several other accessories such as:
- Rain cover and sunshade for more extreme weather conditions
- A furry footmuff for even more extreme weather temperatures (if you’re that eager to take a walk!)
- Baby carrier or sling – this will allow you to keep an eye on and have your baby with you at all times, while it’ll also give you the freedom to be mobile and do different kinds of things around the house or outside
If you own a car you’ll have to get a baby car seat, even before they arrive. For newborns, the group 0+ is the one you’ll need – this will last around 12 months of age. You can also get the one that’s 0+/1 which will last a tad more, up until they’re four years old.
A couple of baby essentials to have in mind when buying and adjusting a baby car seat:
- They should be rear-facing
- They should hold the baby in a horizontal position (similarly to the guidelines for the prams)
- Best baby car seats have 5-point harnesses that keep fussy and naughty babies safe and sound during exciting car rides. They can also be part of a travel system and this definitely makes getting around a lot easier.
While this newborn checklist is by no means exhaustive, we hope it’ll serve as a starting point for your next shopping trip for baby-welcoming essentials, making it fun and enjoyable, as well as budget-friendly!