Are you a first-time mom? Make sure to use this helpful newborn shopping list to grab essential things you need for the baby, especially for the first 3 months.
You might say that I take lists to a whole new level.
I have the typical chore lists, grocery lists, to-do lists, and recipe lists. I also have a “front door” list of things I need before stepping out of the house, a list of library books to borrow, and even a “fun things to do” list for when I’m looking for, well… things to do that are fun.
And this started even before becoming a mom.
So, when my husband and I were expecting our first, you can bet I made a baby checklist. I wanted to make sure I wasn’t missing anything, and as a first-time mom, knowing what to buy isn’t always so easy.
But of course, I had questions. What do I absolutely need for bringing home and living with the new baby? What bottle nipples should I get? Which baby bathtub should I get—and do I even need one now?
Table of Contents
Your newborn shopping list
In short, I wanted to know the baby essentials I should get, especially for the first couple months. I was trying to figure out what outfits to buy as well as how many of each item (so I don’t get too much or too little). My newborn shopping list was really me just wanting to be prepared with all the must-haves.
Suffice it to say, I didn’t always get it right. Many things I thought I needed I ended up returning, and I sure made quite a few trips to the store after the baby was born.
That’s why I compiled a baby shopping list that includes items typical lists don’t include. Things I didn’t think to get and had to scurry all over town to get.
At the same time, this is a realistic shopping list—I didn’t include many items that made little to no difference. Because I know how easy it is to feel lost as to what you’ll actually need right away and what can wait until later. That feeling of having no idea where to start with baby shopping, or even what to get.
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Best practices for buying baby items
Before we dive into what you’ll need, let’s go over a few best practices in general:
- Don’t get too many or too much of an item. Things change, or you’ll find that the baby actually doesn’t take to the formula or diapers you bought in bulk.
- Keep the tags on and the products in their packaging for now. For instance, you might find that your baby is too small (or too big) for the clothes you got. Until you know his size, it’s hard to tell which clothes you’ll ultimately use most. By keeping the tags on most of your items, you can still return them for a better fit.
- Watch the weather. Even though my baby was born in the fall, the weather was brutally hot. So much so that many of the warm and long-sleeve clothes weren’t helpful. If you’re unsure, stick to layering: a onesie underneath a zipped pajama underneath a sleep sack.
- Essentials aren’t one-size-fits-all. What’s essential for one mom may not end up being something you’ll use often. In the end, try not to stress out—you can always get what you need (or return what you don’t).
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Breast pads: These will stop you from leaking. Reusable cotton ones work well and aren’t as wasteful.
Bottles: Start off with wide bottles and nipples. Our pediatrician said newborns like the brown-colored nipples (latex) over the clear ones (silicon). Once your baby is drinking more than five ounces, switch to the taller and narrower eight-ounce bottle.
Bottle brush cleaner: A must for cleaning narrow baby bottles and parts.
Formula: Like bottles, don’t get these in bulk just yet until you know the baby can digest it. You might even get a few samples from the hospital to try first.
Nursing pillow: A must even from Day One at the hospital. A sturdy one like the My Brest Friend helps you better hold the baby. Meanwhile, a soft one like the Boppy offers a soft place to rest the baby at an angle if needed (don’t lay the baby flat on his back after a feed!).
Burp cloths: Ditch the small burp cloths and go for larger ones, like those similar to cloth diapers.
Bibs: Your baby won’t be eating solids any time soon, but smaller, cloth bibs can serve as mini burp cloths to wipe drool and catch spit-up.
Drying rack: The Boon drying racks were a favorite of mine because the simple design meant I could place just about anything on there. This is especially useful if you pump and need to wash the parts.
Diaper change items
Diapers: If you’re buying disposable diapers, get small packs of different brands. You might have a preference for one, and don’t want to end up with too many of those you don’t. Cloth diapers are an eco- and budget-friendly option as well.
Wipes: Like disposable diapers, get a few for now instead of large boxes. You can also simply get reusable and washable wipes, especially if your baby has sensitive skin.
Diaper cream: Triple Paste is the only rash cream that worked quickly with my kids and prevented a diaper rash well. And it goes a long way, too!
Changing table: While it may not seem necessary at first, you’ll save your back by having one. Use a changing table with drawers or storage shelves. That way, after your baby has outgrown diaper changes, you can use it as a regular dresser.
Changing pad and covers: Get at least two covers, so that when you have a mess, one will be ready to replace it.
A diaper pail (of sorts): I just used a regular trash can (even with no lid!) the first few months. I was exclusively breastfeeding, which meant my baby’s poop didn’t smell. Not until he ate solids did I use a regular diaper pail.
Sleeping items and gear
Crib or bassinet: I used both, starting with the bassinet until my babies outgrew it and slept in the crib. I recommend a crib that converts into a toddler bed for an easier transition.
Mattress: Get a high-quality crib mattress, especially if you plan to convert the crib into a toddler bed (the mattress can be used for that bed as well).
Crib sheets: Get at least two crib sheets so you can have one ready to go while the other is soiled and getting washed.
Swaddle: Swaddling prevents your baby from hitting her face with her flailing arms. Velcro swaddles make swaddling much easier—no need to fold your blanket or tuck the edges anywhere. Choose a lightweight swaddle during warmer months and thicker layers for the cooler ones.
Pacifier. Offer a pacifier to see if your baby will take to it. You don’t want to use it instead of feeding him if he’s hungry (he’ll just keep crying), but it’s a great way to soothe him to sleep or keep him from waking up. Many parents swear by the pacifier clipped to a stuffed animal so it doesn’t get lost.
Sleep sacks or gowns. Blankets aren’t safe for babies to sleep with, so sleep sacks can keep your baby warm. If you want to avoid buttoning a zillion buttons in the middle of the night, a sleep gown (the kind without any feet at the bottom) makes changing much easier.
White noise machine: Newborns aren’t used to complete silence—they’ve grown accustomed to your loud womb and steady heartbeat. In light sleep, any little sound and they’ll startle themselves awake.
White noise sounds comforting compared to the stark silence of the outside world. A regular fan works as well, especially if you don’t mind cooling the room. Another option we tried was downloading an audio file of nothing but static that we looped over and over.
Baby bathtub: You’ll need a newborn baby bathtub, the kind that allows you to cradle the baby in one arm. In fact, get one that includes a mesh “hammock” to bathe without submerging him in water. You’ll need to keep his belly button dry so the umbilical cord can dry off.
Hooded towels: The hoodies keep your baby’s head warm and makes it easier to wrap him after a bath.
Baby comb: A baby comb will prevent and treat cradle cap.
Washcloths: Bathe baby with soft washcloths that are gentle for his skin.
Baby shampoo and body wash: Get one with a pump so you can add soap with one hand (while the other cradles the baby).
Baby lotion: Soothe your baby and prevent dryness after a bath with baby lotion.
General baby gear
Car seat: You won’t be able to leave the hospital without one, so a “bucket,” rear-facing car seat is one you’ll need even before Day One. Find one that can fit into a stroller for easy travel.
Stroller: Many strollers come with car seats.
Swing: A great way to keep your arms free is to place your baby in a swing, especially if he likes to sleep with motion. Get one that’s also plug-powered so you don’t have to use, run out of, or dispose of batteries.
Blankets: You’ll use them to cover the car seat, lay the baby on the floor, and hold him in your arms. Get thick and thin blankets for different purposes and seasons.
Bouncer: Once the baby can hold his head up, placing him in a bouncer is a great way to keep him nearby around the house while you’re nearby.
Baby carrier, sling, or wrap: I loved using a baby wrap because it allowed my babies to sleep close to me without having to actually hold them in my arms.
Diaper bag: Get one with a portable changing pad as well as insulated pouches for milk storage.
Baby monitor: With a baby monitor, you don’t have to open the door to the nursery to see if your baby is awake. You can see whether she’s still fast asleep or has already woken up. Even more useful, it lets you see if she’s in an awkward position, like an untangled swaddle or an arm sticking through the crib slats.
A baby monitor is also useful for the toddler stage. You can see if she’s still asleep or if she’s woken up. You can even speak through the monitor to tell her to lie down or get back in bed if she’s starting to roam.
- Onesies: These are your basic, short-sleeve onesies you can layer beneath other pieces of clothing, or simply keep as-is. Another option is to get long-sleeve onesies with built-in scratch mittens. Your baby’s long nails might mean scratches on his face. Prevent lost mittens and scratches with long-sleeve onesies that have “mittens” built into the ends of the sleeves.
- One-piece pajamas: I recommend getting zipper pajamas instead of buttons so you don’t have to fiddle with buttons in the middle of the night.
- Pants or shorts: Great for layering on top of onesies to keep his legs warm.
- Socks: Keep baby’s feet warm with socks or booties, or simply get footed pants or pajamas.
Thermometer. A baby thermometer is a must in every newborn shopping list. For every call to the pediatrician, be prepared to answer the “Does he have a fever?” question.
Nose-sucking device. The hospital might send you home with a rubber nose bulb. Other new moms swear by the Nose Frida, too.
Nail clippers: I love the Red Cross nail clippers—the handle was perfect for clipping, and the clippers themselves were very gentle.
Get more tips:
- Essential Things You Might Be Missing On Your Second Baby Registry
- Cool Gifts for Expectant Dads
- Baby Things to Buy Before Birth (Make Sure You Have These!)
- Essential Breastfeeding Supplies You Need to Have
- The Third Trimester To Do List: What to Do Before the Baby Comes
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