When prepping for a baby’s arrival, whether you’re a first-time mom or having your third, shopping for must-have new baby items ranks at the top of your to-do list. But it can be overwhelming learning (or remembering) just how many essentials a baby requires during his first year of life and which baby products are best.
From diapering to feeding and everything in between, here are my 13 must-haves for a new baby.
What are the necessities for a newborn baby?
1. Diapers and Wipes
Of course you know diapers and wipes are new baby necessities. But do you know how many you actually need? On average, newborns go through 6-9 diapers a day, and during the newborn stage (first 3 months of life) that equates to 700 or more diapers! Before your baby arrives, make sure you have a good stash of newborn and size 1 diapers, as well as a big box of baby wipes.
If you plan on using cloth diapers, then you want to have enough to get you through at least two days.
2. Multi-purpose Ointment
Sure, you can get a diaper rash cream, but your money will be better spent on a multi-purpose ointment, such as Aquaphor. Not only does it help heal diaper rash, but you can also use it to prevent diaper rash, keep the diaper area dry, moisturize dry skin, and heal little cuts and scrapes.
3. Diaper Bag
Between trips to the pediatrician’s office and grandma’s house, you want a diaper bag you can take with you to hold the diapers, wipes, spare outfits, and more your baby will need while you’re out. Choose a diaper bag that’s lightweight, comfortable, roomy, and easy to clean.
4. Comfortable Clothing
When it comes to your baby’s wardrobe, you want cute clothing, but you also need to think about comfort and functionality. For newborns and infants you’ll need:
- 4-7 bodysuits
- 4-6 shirts
- 4-6 pants
- 4-7 pairs of pajamas or sleep gowns
- 4-5 pairs of baby socks
- 2 pairs of no-scratch mittens
- 1-2 hats
- 1-2 jackets or sweaters.
During your baby’s first 1-2 weeks of life, instead of dressing her in bodysuits, put her in loose-fitting clothing, such as kimono-style shirts, which allows for more air circulation and less rubbing on baby’s umbilical cord as it dries out and heals.
5. Burp Cloths
It’s normal for babies to spit up at least once a day, but many babies spit up more, especially during the first few months. Make sure to get burp cloths that are soft and absorbent, but also cute. Whether you want them to be or not, burp cloths will become your 24/7 fashion accessory once the baby arrives.
6. Nursing Pillow
Don’t let its name fool you – a nursing pillow isn’t just for feeding. Yes, the main purpose is to help support your baby while you feed him, but you can also use it to safely support your baby during tummy time and when he is learning to sit.
7. Crib and Its Necessities
Your baby needs a place to sleep, right? Some moms buy new cribs, while others feel fine with a used one. Whichever you choose, be sure the crib has all of its pieces and meets current safety standards. Along with a crib, you also need a crib mattress, a waterproof mattress pad, and a few sets of sheets so you’re not frantically trying to wash them after a poop explosion at 2 a.m.
Want the magic trick to help your baby get longer, more peaceful sleep? A swaddler! Some moms like swaddle blankets, but many others prefer swaddlers because they’re easier to use and make middle-of-the-night diaper changes a breeze.
9. White Noise Machine
A white noise machine reminds your baby of being in the womb so she’ll more easily fall asleep and stay asleep (at least that’s the hope!). Some parents use a white noise app on their phone, while others buy a white noise machine that’s also a nightlight. Some like having a white noise machine for home and a portable one for when they’re on the go. You can decide which one (or two) you need.
10. Baby Carrier
A soft baby carrier is an absolute must for a baby’s first year. It’s a way to keep your baby calm and close. Before buying a baby carrier, test it to make sure it’s easy to take on and off, comfortable and cool for you and your baby, and that it works for both mom and dad.
11. Baby First Aid Kit
This is one of those things many parents don’t realize they need until it’s too late. But not you. With a baby first aid kit on hand – complete with a thermometer, infant Tylenol, nasal aspirator, baby fingernail clippers, saline drops, baby gas drops, and a medicine dropper – you’ll be prepared when your baby has his first fever, stuffy nose, or upset tummy.
12. Baby Bouncer
At some point you’ll need a safe place to set your baby when you need to use the restroom or shower. You’ll then be faced with the question all first-time parents have: Where do I put the baby? The answer is a baby bouncer. It will safely hold and entertain your baby so you can get at least 5 minutes of “me” time.
13. Travel System
A car seat is one of the most important baby gear items you’ll buy. And since a stroller is a must-have baby item for new moms, why not kill two birds with one stone and get a travel system? It’s usually cheaper to buy a car seat and stroller as one unit, and a travel system lets you move a sleeping baby from her infant car seat to the stroller and vice versa without waking her.
If you can’t find a travel system you like, you can buy an infant car seat and then find a stroller that’s compatible with it.
What should you not buy for a baby?
1. Wipes Warmer
A wipes warmer may help your baby be more comfortable during diaper changes, but it’s an item you and your baby can live without. The shock of a cold wet wipe won’t last long. Plus, if you have one, you’ll have to refill the water on a regular basis. It also has to be plugged in so you’re limited in where you can use it.
2. Diaper Pail
A diaper pail isn’t a new baby necessity. A regular trash can with a lid works just fine. The trick is to not stick poopy diapers in there (put those in your outside trash can) and to empty the trash can at least every other day.
Tiny baby shoes are adorable, but they aren’t practical. Wait until your little one is walking before you buy him shoes.
4. Crib Bumpers
In theory, crib bumpers seem like a smart purchase. They prevent your baby from banging her head on the crib and getting her little arms stuck in between the bars. But the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends not using bumper pads since they can cause babies to suffocate.