Newborn Baby Essentials List for First-Time Parents

Newborn Baby Essentials List for First-Time Parents

This is where the idea for this blog started. The list below began as my list of things for our baby registry, and expand to a comprehensive list of “everything you might want to consider” getting (or not getting) for your little one.

Babies really don’t need very much. At bare minimum, a car seat, some clothes (a few sleepers is enough), diapers, wipes, mild soap, and somewhere to sleep. Beyond the necessities, it’s a balance between buying things that make life better and not cluttering up your home or wasting money and resources.

What you want and need will also really depend on your own philosophies about raising children. Keep in mind that what you think you know about babies might change dramatically after you have one, so just keep an open mind.

I will write a post about almost every item. The ones that have been published are linked below.

* Things you might not want to stock up on until you know what works for you.


Strongly recommend:

  • Crib
  • Mattress
  • Crib fitted sheet (3-4)
  • Place to change the baby’s diaper
    • changing pad
    • changing pad cover
    • waterproof pads
    • changing table or dresser that is a good height for changing pad
    • alternatively, a flat waterproof pad that you can lay on the floor, like one you’d get in a diaper bag but bigger.
  • Clothes storage
    • Dresser and/or shelves or baskets in closet
    • Hangers
    • Place to put clothes that are a few sizes too big (space in dresser or boxes)
  • Baby monitor
  • Night light
  • Extra baskets, buckets (whatever fits the decor) for diapers, toys, etc.
  • Curtains or shades

Recommended conveniences:

Things you might need “It Depends”:

  • Waterproof pad for crib
  • Side table for mom next to rocking chair, if this will be the primary breastfeeding location the first few months.
  • Fan or ceiling fan
  • Humidifier (highly recommended unless you live somewhere humid)

Not needed, unless you want for some reason: Diaper stacker, wipe warmer (many people who CD like them for keeping wipes moist, but I have never done this).

Do NOT need: NO SOFT BEDDING (bumpers, pillows for crib, blankets for crib) — there is no reason to buy a crib bedding set. If you do, quilts should be used decoratively or to play on the floor.

Other linens


All recommended, because we all need to sooth our babies!

  • Baby carrier
    • Wrap or ring sling
    • Soft-sided carrier
  • Swaddling blankets (see above) or swaddler (quasi-sleepsack that makes swaddling easier)
  • Teething Ring
  • Pacifier*
  • White noise of some kind

At Home

Recommended conveniences:

  • Bouncy Seat
  • Journal, baby timer, or app to keep track of feeding, sleeping, and diapers

It Depends

  • Play yard
  • Play yard sheets
  • Swing
  • If your primary living area is on a different floor than the baby’s room, consider getting a changing pad/mat (anything waterproof and soft you can lay on the floor) and a diaper caddy or basket for the other room.

Not necessary but fun:

  • Jumper or exersaucer
  • Maybe: seat/positioner (e.g. Bumbo) or something else that serve the same purpose (e.g. Boppy pillow)


  • Smoke alarms
  • Carbon monoxide detector
  • Fire extinguisher
  • Furniture wall straps
  • Cabinet and drawer locks
  • Gates (if needed)
  • Fireplace hearth cover (if needed)
  • Outlet covers

Health and Hygiene

Bath and Body

  • Mild bath soap
  • Lotion (unscented; if in dry climate or season)
  • Bath tub / Sponge / Sling / Sink insert
  • Spout cover for tub
  • Washcloths
  • Hooded towels (at least 2)

Don’t need: Baby toothpaste, teething tablets (potentially unsafe ingredients), bath thermometer (use your wrist)

First Aid

  • Thermometer
  • Nail clipper and/or file
  • Saline nose drops
  • “First Aid Kit” – baby tylenol, antibiotic ointment, band-aids, number of poison control
  • Recommended things that I have never used but might not be bad to have: baby tweezers, petroleum jelly to lubricate thermometer, baby tweezers
  • Buy if/when needed: Gas relief drops, children’s iburofen (for when older)

Do not need: cotton swabs (saw this on many lists but you don’t need to swab the umbilical cord anymore)

Do NOT use: Aspirin, cough and cold medicine

Out and About


Recommended conveniences:

  • Diaper bag or substitute
    • Changing pad
    • If disposable wipes: Container for wipes, travel wipes, or any regular-sized wipe with pop up lid.
  • Stroller
    • Frame
    • Lightweight
    • Other
  • Mirror to see the baby in the car
  • Sun shade
  • Baby carrier (see above)

It depends:

  • Seat cover-up (cold or windy climates) – “shower cap” style, nothing should go between baby and car seat
  • Cooler for bottles (if not exclusively breastfeeding)
  • Travel bassinet or pack n play (above)

Not needed: Body/head support (most of these void car seat warranties)

Cloth Diapering

  • Cloth diapers*
  • Cloth wipes*
  • Solution to wet wipes*
  • Spray or squirt bottle (or wipe warmer)
  • Diaper sprayer
  • Wet bags for diaper bag and daycare
  • Large wet bag OR diaper pail OR can with washable liner
  • CD-friendly laundry detergent*
  • Diaper rash cream*

If you plan to use disposables at the beginning:

  • Disposable diapers, size NB and 1, keep the recipes and try more than one kind*
  • Disposable wipes*
  • Diaper rash cream*


First 6 months:

Strongly recommended, breastfeeding or formula-feeding:

  • Bottles*
  • Nipples*
  • Bottle brush

Recommended conveniences:

  • Dishwasher basket
  • Drying rack

It depends: Bottle warmer (if you’re doing a lot of bottles or not breastfeeding)


  • Pump
  • Hands-free bustier or substitute (if pumping often)
  • Insulated carrying case (for pumping bottles, may be same as above)
  • Bottles to pump into (can be the same as above)
  • Nursing cover
  • Method for freezing (bottles, jars, bags, ice cube trays)*
  • Nursing bras*
  • Snap-down nursing tank tops
  • Other nursing shirts (optional)*
  • Nipple cream
  • Nursing pads
  • Nursing pillow
  • Nursing stool or other way/place to get comfortable

Solid foods (6-ish months and up)

  • Seat for eating at table
  • Bib (real food bibs, not the tiny kind that come with baby clothes)
  • Utensils, maybe some plates, bowls,
  • Straw cup, maybe sippy cup
  • Not necessary but nice conveniences:
    • Splat mat
    • Things for travel
    • Teething feeder
  • If making own food
    • Food processor or immersion blender
    • Freezer trays


In NB and 0-3 / 3M:

  • 2-4 sleepsacks (aka blanket sleepers)
  • socks (at least 1 pack)
  • sleepers with feet (3 or more – this is all we ever used in the NB size – pants and socks were too much to deal with!)
  • long-sleeved bodysuits
  • short-sleeved bodysuits
  • Pants (unless your baby is small, I wouldn’t even buy NB pants, just go straight to 0-3 and get just a couple of pairs)
  • knit hats (2)
  • Depending on the weather and your preferences: gowns (elastic bottoms, no zipper/snaps), leg warmers (easy for diaper changes), a cute outfit, sun hat or winter hat
  • 1 pair of cotton mittens in case newborn is scratching a lot

In bigger sizes: short-sleeved and long-sleeved bodysuits, sleepers, pants (if CDing, go up a size or look for ones with more room / stretchier elastic waists), more playclothes, socks

Don’t need: a lot of clothes in smallest sizes (newborns grow really fast! seriously, don’t stock up on 3 or even 6 month clothes), bunting/snowsuit for infants (don’t need this until they can go play outside and definitely not safe to wear in a car seat), more than one “nice” (dressy) outfit in smallest sizes, hard shoes until walking is well-established (at least 1.5 if not 2 years old or beyond).

Note on clothing sizes: 3 months = 0-3 months, 6 months = 3-6 months and so on until 12 months, although for certain brands (like Old Navy and Gap) the label specifically says 6-12 months then it will likely fit as long as 12 month clothes. 18 months = 12-18 months, 24 months = 18-24 months.

What’s important about that is that you can’t, for example, expect 12 month clothes to fit at 12 months. Because they are really intended to fit an average baby from 9-12 months. Plus you can usually start using clothes a few months before the range starts, and then be growing out of them just past the range, so for example my daughter wore a lot of her 12 month clothes from about 7 or 8 months until she was almost 18 months old (depending on the brand). With this kind of overlap, you don’t necessarily need a full wardrobe in each size. The one exception may be pants, which seem to have a narrower range for fit.


Ok, obviously you don’t need any of these… just some suggestions:

  • Activity gym
  • Board books
  • More books
  • Soft blocks
  • Rattles
  • Links
  • Bath toys
  • Wood toys (nontoxic paint only!)
  • Other nontoxic toys

Avoid buttons, strings, ribbons etc.

Open-ended toys have the best longevity. They might not get the excitement right out of the box, but they also won’t get ignored once the novelty wears off.


  • Camera
    • If you have a DSLR, I highly recommend a prime f/1.8 (or even f/1.4) lens!
  • Video camera
  • Pregnancy journal (easy to DIY!)
  • Baby journal and/or scrapbook


  • Books (e.g. Baby Hearts, The No Cry Sleep Solution, The Baby Book by Dr. Sears)
  • Happiest Baby on the Block DVD
  • Sign up for classes: childbirth, breastfeeding, new moms class or group
  • My favorite online resources

Financial and Legal

  • Life Insurance
  • Will (and if you haven’t already done them, a financial power of attorney and health care directive are often done at the same time)
  • Consider your options for saving for college