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  • Writer's pictureFFM

Newborn Essentials List

Updated: Jan 21

I know there are so many baby products to choose from, and it can be overwhelming to know where to start. I'm gathering a list of all of the baby items that you should actually include on your baby registry. Let's keep this list as straightforward as possible.

What to buy for baby

If you're ready to start adding to a baby registry, using this list as a guide is a great place to start. I found that the Amazon Baby Registry was really easy to use, and you get a 15% completion discount if all of the items on your registry didn't end up getting purchased.

If you want to start checking off your list at home, download our Before Baby Checklist.

Baby Essentials: The Complete List for New and Expecting Parents

Okay, I know there are a lot of baby recommendations out there, but I wanted to create my own list because what I actually found useful during those first few months was different than the recommendations I had received. I'm going to keep it fairly simple because I know the cost of baby items adds up quickly! I hope this list will help you decide what to buy before baby is born.

Baby Diapering Essentials:

You're going to be changing a LOT of diapers! It's better to get stocked up on everything you'll need ahead of time.

  • Diaper Cream Spatula: No one recommended this to me, but I use it every single time I apply diaper cream. So much easier and cleaner to put diaper cream on this way! After I use it, I just wipe it off with a baby wipe.

  • Huggies Diapers: I've tried just about every brand of diapers, and Huggies is the winner for daytime diapers.

  • Pampers Swaddlers: I highly recommend using Pampers overnight diapers throughout the night. I use the Pampers Swaddlers for newborn sizes, and then transition to Pampers Overnight diapers when baby reaches size three. Pampers overnight diapers are the perfect nighttime diapers because they're extra large and help prevent diaper blowouts. So, Huggies during the day and Pampers at night for the best combination. Remember, if you're experiencing blowouts fairly often, it's time to size-up in diapers.

  • Diaper Cream: I love the cleaner ingredients in this one.

  • Baby Powder: I personally only use on baby after bath time or if baby has a diaper rash. If you want one that is Talc-free, consider this one. It's a higher price point, but if you don't use it very often it will last a long time.

  • Diaper Trash Can: This one is a great option if you have a bit to spend on a trash can. It blocks out odors so well, without making the room smell like any fragrance. It uses natural baking soda to do this.

Baby Breastfeeding Essentials:

Breastfeeding is a lot of work, but there are products that can help the process go as smoothly as possible. I know breastfeeding products might not be as fun to purchase as cute nursery decor, but I promise that these are definitely essential items.

  • Haaka: This is an essential breastfeeding item. To use a Haaka, you'll want to put it on the opposite side that baby is feeding on. It will naturally collect your let-down from the other side. Then, you can freeze a bit of breastmilk at a time for if you ever need to give baby a bottle. If you are planning to exclusively breastfeed, you might not give a bottle very often, but it's still nice to have at least a few bags of breastmilk stored up just in case.

  • Spectra S1: This breast pump is really popular, and if you plan to pump fairly often you will want a hospital-grade pump like this one to help prevent mastitis. You can find out if you are eligible to get it free through your insurance here.

  • WillowGo Wearable Pumps: If you're an on-the-go mom who will want to pump, I suggest wearable pumps like these. After a lot of research, I chose the WillowGo wearable pumps because they can hold more milk than other wearable pumps, the suction can easily be adjusted, and there are only five easy-to-clean parts. For a quick tutorial on how to assemble and wash the WillowGo pumps, check out this Youtube video.

  • Pumping Travel Bag: After trying a few different options, I selected this pumping travel bag because it is discreet (looks like a lunch box), fits 6 bottles alongside your pump, and is completely insulated and leakproof. However, if you don't plan to pump on the go, then you won't need this item.

  • Breastfeeding Pillow: This is great for when your baby is a tiny newborn and can fit snugly into a breastfeeding pillow. However, they get bigger pretty quickly, and soon I found myself just using a normal pillow.

  • Stay-Dry Pads: You'll want these for your bra, especially when you first start breastfeeding.

  • Lanolin Nipple Cream or Earth Mama Nipple Cream: I actually purchased both types of nipple cream and ended up using both constantly throughout the first few weeks of breastfeeding. I found both of the creams beneficial in different ways, and I preferred to use the natural Earth Mama Nipple Cream if I knew baby would be eating again soon because it has more natural ingredients. I would use the Lanolin Nipple Cream immediately after each feeding- it was a lifesaver.

  • XL Size Silverettes: You could get the normal size if you are smaller-chested, but if you're torn between the normal size or the XL size, I would choose the XL size for more coverage. I did not want to spend the money on silverettes because they are a bit pricey, but after the first two days of breastfeeding, I immediately ordered these and wish I had gotten them much sooner.

  • Nursing Bras: I personally love this one because it is pad-free, which is a must for me. A close second favorite nursing bra is this one. You'll find which one works best for you if you try a couple different options.

  • Bottles: If you plan to pump and/or formula feed at all, you'll need bottles. These are the best slow-feeding bottles that mimic the boob as much as possible and help prevent baby from sucking in too much air which can make them gassy.

  • Bottle Soap: You'll want bottle soap to wash your baby's bottles, pacis, and other dishes to avoid using the standard household dish soap.

  • Dishwasher Basket or Sanitizer: There are two options to clean baby's bottles and pacifiers: either a basket to keep items separate in the dishwasher, or a separate sanitizer to keep on the counter. If you plan to pump/bottle feed often, then I would recommend the sanitizer because you will go through a lot of bottles. However, if you plan to try to primarily breastfeed, then I suggest the dishwasher basket because you'll have less bottles to wash, but you will still want to use it for bottles, pacifiers, teething toys, etc.

Baby Nursery Essentials:

Other than the cute nursery decor of course, here's what you need in the baby's room:

  • Bassinet: There are so many to choose from. Remember, baby will sleep in the bassinet in your bedroom for approximately six-months, so make sure you choose one that is safe, comfortable, and long-lasting. After approximately six-months, baby will most likely move to their own crib (depending on what works best for your family). And remember, no blankets, pillows, or stuffed animals ever get to sleep with baby.

    • Bonni Baby Bassinet: A great option that is more affordable than many others.

    • Newton Baby breathable bassinet: If you have a bit more to spend on a bassinet, this is my absolute favorite choice. The mattress is 100% breathable which helps ease my anxiety as a mom.  

    • SNOO Smart Baby Bassinet: If you have more to spend, this bassinet is highly highly recommended. It has pretty great technology and can even help rock baby to sleep. This can be really useful, especially for babies who have trouble falling asleep on their own.

  • Large Rug: If you don't have carpet in your house, you definitely need a large rug (this one is so cute!) in the nursery so that baby can roll around and play in their room.

  • Baby Hangers: I use these velvet baby hangers, but any plastic baby hangers will work great.

  • Baby Clothes Size Dividers: These are really nice for organizing the different size clothes in baby's closet. Pro-tip: Keep a bin in baby's closet for clothes that are "too small". You'll start filling this bin really quickly as baby grows.

  • Newborn-Friendly Baby Toys: Soft animal rattle toys, tummy time mirror toy, hanging toy for the car.

  • Baby Play Mat: This play mat is amazing, grows with baby, and keeps baby super entertained, but any play mat will work. If you have plenty of carpet/rugs in your house, you can probably get by without a play mat if you'd rather save the money on it for a while.

  • Baby Hamper: This one lets air circulation into baby's clothes, which I love.

  • Blackout Curtains: These are a must for nap time. There are so many great color options in these, too.

  • Changing Pad Covers: I love these waterproof washable ones. You'll want at least three changing pad covers to rotate through. Trust me, I tried to only get one at first, but you will have to switch them out fairly often and it's better to have extras on hand.

  • Crib and Dresser: Eventually, you'll need a crib and dresser, but you can definitely wait on these if you want to spread-out your purchases. Baby won't need to move to the crib until around six-months old (or whatever timing you find best for your family).

  • Crib Mattress: Eventually, you'll need a crib mattress too. Again, you can wait on this purchase if you want, or just watch for when it goes on sale. I love the Newton Baby 100% breathable mattress. It is 100% breathable so it eases my anxiety while baby sleeps, especially when they start rolling over.

  • Portable Sound Machine: This is not an "essential" item, but you might decide you want one to help baby relax and stay asleep on-the-go. The nice thing about purchasing a travel one is that you can use it as-home or while you're out.

  • Height Tracker: This is fun to keep on the wall to monitor baby's growth over time. I love having this in my baby's room!

Baby Bath Essentials:

Baby bath time is so much fun! I would recommend giving your baby a bath every few days prior to bed time. I like to keep the lights dim and make it a relaxing time for baby before bed, but you should do what works best for your family. Here are the baby bath essentials to help make it an enjoyable experience:

  • Baby Bathtub: This baby bathtub is great. You can start by giving baby sink/counter baths and then as soon as they start getting squirmy you should put the baby bathtub inside of your normal bathtub to be safe.

  • Baby Bath Soap: I like how this bath soap is gentle on baby's skin and helps moisturize baby's skin, too.

  • Baby Bath Scrubber: You'll want this silicone scrubber to wash baby's hair and get out any cradle cap on baby's scalp.

  • Baby Hairbrush: I love brushing through baby's hair after bath time.

  • Baby Moisturizer: It's great to use a baby moisturizer after bath time if baby has any dry skin.

  • Baby Bath Towel: Let's be honest, cute baby bath towels are not necessarily an essential item because a normal towel would also get the job done, but is there anything cuter than a baby in one of these?!

  • Baby Bath Toys: Okay, also not an "essential" item, but watching your baby play with toys in the tub is so much fun. I love that these ones are mold-resistant. When you do get bath toys, I also recommend this easy toy scooper.

Baby Health Essentials:

It's so much easier to get these items ahead of time, rather than frantically running to the store when baby gets their first cold.

  • Sick-Day Newborn Essentials Kit: This little kit is very helpful to have on hand for when baby gets their first cold. It comes with items to help with congestion, a medicine dispenser, and a nose-sucker which you'll use very often whether they are sick or not (babies can't blow their own noses of course).

  • Saline Spray: This spray is a must-have. I use this every couple nights when baby wakes up with a stuffy nose. Just spray a bit of this in, wait a few seconds, and then use the nose-sucker in the Sick-Day Kit to suck it out.

  • Baby Tylenol: Instead of running out to the store when baby gets their first fever, you should really have Baby Tylenol in the cabinet ready to go, just in case.

  • Thermometer: I love this no-touch thermometer. You can easily take baby's temperature while they're sleeping without disturbing them at all.

  • Baby-Safe Nail File: This set is great for trimming newborn baby nails safely. After a couple months, I mostly just used regular nail files to quickly file their sharp nails on the go.

Baby Clothing Essentials:

  • Newborn Velcro Swaddles: These are great for your newborn to sleep in. I love these velcro ones- so much easier than re-wrapping a swaddle blanket each time.

  • Footie Pajamas: You'll want a few of these in every size. The cotton fabric helps to not irritate baby's skin, and having the mittens fold over their hands at night helps keep their hands from getting cold and their face from getting scratched.

  • Sleep Sacks: We keep our house at 70 degrees, which is the optimal temperature for babies to sleep at. At this temperature, we dress baby in a footie pajama and this cotton sleep sack over it. During the winter, we use warmer fleece footie pajamas.

  • Burp Rags: How many you need will totally depend on if your baby does a lot of drooling or not, everyone is different. I found that stocking up on a ton of these wasn't totally necessary for me, although it's nice to have them available just in case.

  • Baby Laundry Detergent: A little goes a long way! I also always use the "extra rinse" feature on our wash machine when washing baby clothes. And don't forget to wash all of your new baby clothes before baby wears them.

  • If you live in a cooler climate or you're having your baby in the winter months, check out our post Winter Newborn Essentials for additional items.

Newborn On-The-Go Essentials:

  • Diaper Bag: Of course a diaper bag is a must-have, but there are so many to choose from. To help you decide, visit our post Best Bags for Diaper Bags. Once you choose one, check out our post What to Pack in a Diaper Bag for more helpful information.

  • Travel Changing Pad: Keep this in the trunk of your car or in your diaper bag for on-the-go changes. I think diaper changes in the trunk are easier and more convenient than bringing everything into a store or restaurant.

  • Diaper Trash Bag: This is an item I never saw on any baby lists, but they're definitely an essential for on-the-go diaper changes. Just throw dirty diapers in there and tie them up. Then you can toss them in a trashcan, or if there isn't one nearby you can leave it in the car and not worry about the smell.

  • Carseat: This is the best newborn carseat, grows with baby, and it's very affordable. I also know that it's very comfortable because my baby cried in several other carseats that we tried, but not in this one.

  • Stroller: This stroller is a great lightweight option at a fairly affordable price point. The heavy-duty strollers can be nice too, but they are much more expensive and more work to take on-the-go, in my opinion. I found myself using the lightweight stroller more often than our heavy-duty, more expensive stroller. If you enjoy daily walking and/or jogging, I'd consider this jogging stroller as well. And if you're interested in a stroller/carseat combo, here's a great option from Graco. Don't get too caught-up in having a deluxe, expensive stroller. I wish I would've saved the money and listened to other moms who tried telling me this.

  • Stroller Fan: This is really nice to have, especially if you live in a warmer climate. However, this is not totally necessary, or you can wait until the summer to get one. 

  • Soft Blanket: A must-have for on-the-go and when they're in the stroller. I'd recommend this soft and fuzzy one to keep baby super comfortable and cozy.

  • Baby Carrier: I used my baby carrier all the time to be hands-free while baby napped or to easily take them into the grocery store with you. For more baby carrier recommendations, visit our post Best Baby Carriers.

A Few More Baby Essentials for Around the House:

  • Baby Bouncer: A bouncer is really nice to have to get a few hands-free minutes per day. A great bouncer at the best price point is the Baby Delight bouncer. At a much higher price point, the Baby Bjorn bouncer is also great and has the ability to recline baby further back than the Baby Delight bouncer.

  • Pack-and-Play Set: Another great item to get your hands free sometimes. I highly recommend one if it's doable for you (especially if you have pets!), but you can easily get a large play mat for much less money to set baby on instead.

  • Baby Swing: This is definitely not an essential item, but when you have a crying baby, the 4moms MamaRoo can be really nice to have. It soothes baby very quickly, often puts them to sleep, or keeps them entertained while you have your hands free for a minute. You should also consider getting the newborn insert if you decide to get the MamaRoo.

Postpartum Essentials

Stock up on everything you'll need around 36-weeks pregnant to be prepared ahead of time, just in case baby makes an early appearance.

  • Postpartum Pads: An absolute postpartum essential. Some women prefer disposable postpartum underwear rather than pads for the first few days.

  • Comfy Postpartum Underwear: I tried a few options, and these were by-far the best.

  • Perineal Foam and a Peri-Bottle Set: These two items are must-haves. Use the peri-bottle to wash and then the perineal foam for comfort.

  • Perineal Spray: Yes, you could probably get away with just using the perineal foam mentioned above, but why not have as much comfort as possible postpartum? I used both the perineal spray and the perineal foam for the first couple weeks after birth.

  • Nursing Bras: I tried a few different nursing bras, but these have been my favorite.

  • Silverettes: As mentioned in the breastfeeding section above, if you're between sizes definitely go with the XL silverettes.

  • Lanolin Nipple Cream or Earth Mama Nipple Cream: As mentioned above, I purchased both types of nipple cream and ended up using both constantly throughout the first few weeks of breastfeeding. I found both of the creams beneficial in different ways, and I preferred to use the natural Earth Mama Nipple Cream if I knew baby would be eating again soon because it has more natural ingredients. I would use the Lanolin Nipple Cream immediately after each feeding- it was a lifesaver.

  • Stay-Dry Pads: You'll want these for your bra, especially when you first start breastfeeding.

  • Comfy Robe: Treat yourself to something and get this nice lightweight waffle robe for the first few weeks after birth. You should just be lounging around, relaxing, and bonding with baby. For advice on how to relax the first couple weeks after birth, read through our post all about the 5 5 5 Rule Postpartum.

For more postpartum essentials you need, visit my post The Third Trimester: Preparing Your Body for Birth.

I know there is a TON of information in this list, but just take it one thing at a time. If you want to start checking off your own list at home, download this Before Baby Checklist.

Remember that if you're ready to start adding to a baby registry, using this list as a guide is a great place to start. I found that the Amazon Baby Registry was really easy to use, and you get a 15% completion discount if all of the items on your registry didn't end up getting purchased. Or you could even print this page and check things off as you go. Baby will be here before you know it!

I hope this newborn essentials list was helpful for you. If you found it helpful or if you think I missed anything, please feel free to leave us a comment!

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