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 list of baby things to buy before birth. 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.
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?
Your newborn shopping list
In short, I wanted to know the essentials I should buy for the baby, especially for the first couple months. I was trying to figure out what clothing 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.
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 after the baby was born.
That’s why I wanted to compile a newborn shopping list that includes even the smallest, most insignificant 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.
Free printables: Plan ahead for your monthly expenses once the baby comes! Download my Printable Monthly Expenses Worksheet so you can estimate recurring expenses and typical costs of raising a baby and have a better sense of how much to expect to spend.
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Best practices for buying baby items
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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. You might find that your baby is too small (or too big) for the clothes you got. Until you know your baby’s 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).
- Breast pump. Yup, even if your baby is just days old, you can pump to increase your milk supply. This will help stimulate the production of colostrum and eventually breast milk.
- Breast pads. These will stop you from leaking. Reusable cotton ones work well and aren’t as wasteful.
- Bottles. My husband and I bought a lot of bottles. From glass bottles to bottles with tons of parts to different-sized bottles. The winner? Playtex Vent-Aire bottles. These bottles are designed let the air flow out so your baby doesn’t suck it in (which causes more gas). 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. I like these over the Dr. Brown’s bottles because those have a zillion parts you have to clean (parts no sleep-deprived parent should have to deal with!).
- 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 means you can 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. Many hospitals will also send you home with sample diapers, too.
- Wipes. Like diapers, get a few for now instead of large boxes. You can also simply get gauze pads and warm water for wipes, especially if your baby has sensitive skin.
- Diaper cream. Triple Paste (the one in the tub) is the only one that worked quickly with my kids and prevents rashes well. And it goes a long way! I don’t think we’ve had to replace a tub for each child yet.
- Changing table. While it may not seem necessary at first, you’ll save your back by having one. Combine it with drawers or storage shelves to make it multi-purpose.
- 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. A crib that converts into a toddler bed works well.
- Mattress. Get a high-quality waterproof crib mattress, especially if you plan to convert the crib into a toddler bed (the mattress can be used for that bed as well). You can always wash your fitted crib sheets, but you can’t wash your mattress. This is why a waterproof crib mattress is a must. You don’t want to ruin your mattress with pee, poop, sweat or vomit (because these will all happen!).
- Waterproof fitted sheets. These fitted sheets slip right over the mattress like a regular sheet. Then you fit another regular sheet over that and you’re set.
- 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 child from smacking her face with her flailing arms. Velcro swaddles make swaddling much easier—no need to fold your blanket or tuck the edges anywhere. The Velcro swaddles are less likely to get untangled than regular blankets, and in the middle of the night, it’s much easier to re-swaddle. 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 in lieu 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. Newborns aren’t used to complete silence. They’ve grown accustomed to your loud womb and steady heart beat. So 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 as well. A regular fan works as well, especially if you don’t mind cooling the room. Another option we tried was downloading an mp3 of nothing but static that we looped over and over on our iPods.
- 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 the baby 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.
- Wash cloths. Bathe baby with soft wash cloths.
- 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 easily into a stroller for easy travel.
- Stroller. Many strollers come with car seats—stick to one that fits a car seat into it.
- Swing. A great way to keep your arms free is to place your baby in a swing and works well if your baby likes to sleep with motion. . Get one that’s also plug-powered so you don’t have to use, run out of, or dispose batteries. We used the same swing for all three kids (and for the twins, I wished we had an extra one sometimes!).
- Blankets. You’ll use them to cover the car seat, lay the baby on the floor, and hold the baby. Get thick and thin blankets for different purposes.
- 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 showering or cooking.
- Infant cushion. Need to set the baby down? An infant cushion like the Snuggle Me Organic or the Boppy Lounger works well and can “hold” the baby in the meantime. This is perfect for newborns who still need neck support.
- Baby wrap or sling. 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 their room 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 your baby is in an awkward position, like an untangled swaddle or an arm sticking through the crib slats. A baby monitor has still been so useful for the toddler stage. I can see if they’re still asleep or if they’ve woken up, and can even speak through the monitor to tell them to lie down or get back in bed if they’re starting to roam.
- Regular onesies. These are your basic, short-sleeve onesies you can layer beneath other pieces of clothing, or simply keep as-is.
- Long-sleeve onesies with built-in 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 a zillion buttons in the middle of the night.
- Pants. Great for layering on top of onesies.
- Socks. Keep baby’s feet warm with socks, or simply get footed pants or pajamas.
- Thermometer. A 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. Like the thermometer, the hospital just might send you home with a rubber nose bulb. Other moms swear by the Nose Frida, too.
- Nail clippers. I loved the Red Cross nail clippers—the handle was perfect for clipping, and the clippers themselves were very gentle.
- Baby detergent. A baby’s skin is so sensitive that regular detergent might be too harsh. Baby detergent like Dreft is a great alternative—use it until your baby turns a year old.
- Gas drops. Newborns will get extra colicky around the five-to-six week mark. With all three of my kids, I used Mylicon or Little Remedies drops to help ease gas problems.
Get more tips for your newborn shopping list:
- Essential Things You Might Be Missing On Your Second Baby Registry
- Top Gifts for Expectant Dads That Are Cool
- Baby Things to Buy Before Birth (Make Sure You Have These!)
- Essential Breastfeeding Supplies You Need to Have
- Pregnancy To Do List: What to Prepare in the Third Trimester
Plan ahead for your monthly expenses once the baby comes! Download my Printable Monthly Expenses Worksheet so you can estimate recurring expenses and typical costs of raising a baby and have a better sense of how much to expect to spend.
Get it below—at no cost to you: