Having your first baby is one of the most exciting times in your life. It is also one of the most confusing. With so many people telling you what to and so many stores trying to sell you baby products it can be really hard to know what you really need for your new baby. This newborn baby essentials checklist will be helpful.
As a mother of two I can safely tell you that all babies are different, but there is a list of baby items that you just have to get if you are going to survive the first year.
I have put together the ultimate baby items list to make things easier for new parents. These are the things you really do need to have. So set up a registry or nominate a friend or family member to help get everyone in your life co-ordinated, because it turns out tiny babies need the most stuff!
Baby Items List
First things first, baby needs something to cover her bottom!
In the beginning you will go through about 8 – 10 diapers (or nappies if you’re from the commonwealth) per day. There is a big debate around weather to use cloth or disposable diapers. A good idea is to prepare for both. In the first two weeks you will want to make things as easy as possible so disposable diapers are great. Once you and baby get comfortable you can switch to towelling or cloth diapers. I used towelling diapers during the day and disposables at night so that we weren’t waking up at night to change wet diapers but we still had the benefits of re-usable diapers in the day.
On your baby items list:
2 packs disposable diapers – newborn size
2 packs of disposable diapers – stage 1 size (3-6kg)
10 terry cloth or towelling diapers (even if you don’t use them as diapers they make great spit cloths)
1 packet of nappy liners
2 snappy-nappy fasteners (so much safer than diaper pins)
1 bucket for sterilizing
1 bucket of sterilizing detergent (look for the kind made especially for diapers)
2 packs of baby wipes or cotton balls
A small bowl for warm water if you are using cotton balls
Diaper bags or a specially designated, sealable garbage bin. There are several made exclusively for diapers.
Compactum or baby changing mat. Whether you have a full compactum or you change baby on a waterproof mat or a towel, you will want a designated space for diaper changes that is all set up with everything you need.
Clothing for baby
You have probably been checking out the entire adorable baby clothes in the stores ever since you found out you were expecting. But not everything that’s cute is going to be practical for baby. Babies have really sensitive skin, so you want to avoid brightly dyed fabrics or anything too synthetic. They also need their clothes changed several times a day because babies spit up, and pee and poop, a lot!
You want to make sure that you buy baby clothes that make diaper changing as easy as possible. Look for clothes with pop studs in the nappy area.
Contrary to many new fads, this is one place where the old wives were right. Small babies need more clothing on than adults. Babies have much smaller bodies and don’t have the ability to retain heat like we do. Your baby should always have at least two layers of clothing on, even if it’s a vest and a T-shirt. If it really is swealtering outside then just a vest and diaper, but only in extreme heat.
When you prepare you want to have some clothes ready for the next size up, because babies grow fast and you don’t know how big your baby will be. Some babies skip the new born size altogether. Most baby clothes come in these sizes:
0 – 3 months
3 – 6 months
6 – 12 months
12 – 18 months
This is because that initial growth spurt gradually slows down over the first two years.
On your baby items list:
6 Button down vests. Look for envelope necks or necks with pop studs to slip over baby’s head easily, and buttons at the diaper to keep them in place.
6 baby-gros (onsies). Look for baby-gros with pop studs down the legs for easy nappy changing.
6 long sleeve shirts with envelope or button opening necks.
6 pairs of leggings or little pants.
6 pairs of socks
3 pairs of mittens
3 pullovers or button up jackets. Again look for items that are easy to get on and off.
2 hats. A beanie and sun hat. Your baby needs a sun hat because he can’t tilt his face to keep the sun out of his eyes.
5 pyjamas sets. You can use baby-gros here again, or buy proper pajamas. Just make sure they are flexible, soft and preferably cotton or hemp.
Toiletries for Baby
Toiletries are things that people love to give as gifts because they are always going to be used. It is a good idea to investigate what brand you want to use beforehand and make sure your baby co-ordinator spreads the word. It is worthwhile using a trusted brand. Many parents prefer organic, pure baby products with no colourings. Whatever you choose make sure it isn’t strongly scented.
Toiletries on your baby items list:
Most companies make an all over wash that works for baby hair and skin.
You don’t have to bath new-born’s every day. You can get them quite clean with a cotton ball and aqueous cream on in-between days.
After you clean baby’s bottom you want to put a protective layer of special baby bum cream on her skin to protect her from wet rash.
Baby powder is great for absorbing moisture that might cause chaffing and sweating.
For all over baby after bath time.
Baby oil or sweet almond oil
These can help lift thick areas of cradle cap. You should never remove all of the cradle cap on your baby’s head before her thick hair comes through because this layer (though many take it off) protects her from the sun and from insect bites. If cradle cap is very thick and unsightly use a soft baby brush to loosen it. Never pick at it!
Baby hooded bath towels
Not quite a toiletry but also for bath time. Have at least 2.
Essential baby gear
There are a few items you really do need to invest in.
The baby gear list:
I had the “mama Africa” baby carrier with my second child and it was a life saver. Look for one that supports both baby and you comfortably. The Mama Africa was great because all of his weight was distributed over my hips rather than my shoulders.
Your pram needs may vary according to what you want to do with your baby. You get prams for every kind of parent from the sporty types who want to take baby along on their jog to prams for shopping mommies who need extra storage space in the back. Look for something that folds easily and has the safety approved stamps, whatever your activities may be.
This is a non-negotiable item unless you are planning on staying home for the next five years. Many Baby car seats adjust so that you can use the same seat from birth to age five years. Or you can start with a new-born size and upgrade later. Carrying baby in your arms on the back seat is not an option.
These are one of the greatest inventions of our time. You now even get monitors with little screens so that you can see your baby. Thanks to the best baby monitors parents can actually have a small amount of normal life without worrying too much.
These are free standing seats that your baby may love to sit in.
Baby Bath and slip-proof bath mat
It’s much easier to bath your baby in a small baby bath on a solid surface than bending over a full sized tub. You also don’t need to use a whole bath tub of water to wash one small person!
Buckets with lids
Even if you are not using washable diapers you will always have items of baby cloths soaking and you will want to keep them safe.
There are many different options from free standing high chairs to the kind that hook onto the dinner table or strap onto a dinner chair. You will want a secure and safe place to feed your baby though.
Your baby feeding basics include everything from breast care to your first soft spoons and bottles.
4 Nursing bra’s (for mom) if you are planning on breast feeding.
Disposable or washable breast pads
These absorb potentially embarrassing milk spills.
To support your baby’s weight while you feed.
6 spit cloths. In South Africa we call them Oopsies. Unused towelling nappies work well.
For mommy. A lanolin based nipple cream is essential for protection from chapped and cracked nipples.
4 Bottles. Look for BPA-free bottles and nipples (teats). You will need the 4 ounce size to start off with and the 8 ounce size by about 4 months.
You can use a special bowel or bucket with sterilizing solution, an electric sterilized or there are even kinds that you microwave, but baby bottles and pacifiers must be sterilized for at least the first 6 months.
If you are planning to use it.
A breast pump for breast feeding moms. Even if you are with your baby all the time you may want to pump so that you can bottle feed in public, although many more mom’s simply feed under a receiving blanket or shawl these days. If you will be away from baby you will want her care-giver to be able to feed her.
Milk freezer bags for breast milk
A bottle warmer for heating refrigerated breast milk. You should never microwave a baby’s milk! You can easily over heat it and it destroys the delicate human milk proteins.
Three baby bowls with suction bottoms and lids. The bottoms make it harder for baby to knock them flying and the lids make it easier to refrigerate food.
2 soft tipped spoons
These special baby spoons won’t hurt baby’s gums and are small enough for her to eat off of easily.
When your baby starts on solids you will need about 3 bibs a day.
For when your baby gets a bit bigger. The moment baby starts solids she should drink water as well. A spill proof cup with soft handles makes this much easier for her.
Your baby will sleep more than anything else for the first 6 months to a year. You need to be prepared for where baby will sleep and in what. Here is what you need to have for happy sleepers.
On your baby sleep items list
Crib or camp cot
Many parents these days opt for a camp cot with a bassinette for while baby is small. These are great because they adjust as baby grows and should last the first 2 years.
A swaddling blanket
Most babies like to be swaddled to sleep. Swaddling blankets are slightly elasticated and designed for comfort and safety.
4 receiving blankets. These double as stroller covers. Like swaddling blankets you will wrap baby up in a receiving blanket before lying him down and then cover him.
Crib or Cot Sheets
4 fitted crib or cot sheets. Make sure they fit the model of crib you have.
2 cellular blankets. Babies should not ever be left under a duvet. They can’t regulate their temperature and can’t kick them off if they get too hot. Overheating is associated with SIDS. However that doesn’t mean you should let him get cold! Rather warm the room than pile on too many heavy blankets.
Many parents let their babies sleep in their beds with them at night. You will still need a safe option for day-time naps though.
Baby toys and Educational essentials
Babies don’t need vast quantities of toys, but a few well-chosen items can be very helpful.
On your baby educational items list:
A teddy bear to love
A teething ring or chewy toy
A musical toy (believe it or not the toys pet stores sell for parrots are of a very high quality and are quite safe)
A play mat with different textures.
A mobile to look at above where she is lying in her awake times. Sleep areas should NOT be stimulating.
One or two bold black and white images for visual stimulation
Bath books. These are books with plastic pages that baby can chew.
Story books. Long before baby can hold her head up she can hear your voice. Babies love the melodic sound of you reading while you breast feed or in quite times.
A soft shaving brush is nice to tickle gently when you are having stimulating play time.
Medical and Safety supplies for your new baby
Any time you are unsure about a small child’s health you should seek medical advice. However there are some basics you should stock up on before Baby even arrives.
On your baby items list
A bottle of Gripe water. This is great for colicky babies. You just dip your finger in into the bottle and rub a drop along her gums.
A nasal aspirator. This little gem removes gunk from baby’s nose.
A thermometer to take his temperature.
A first aid kit. There are baby specific first aid kits available at many pharmacies.
Teething powders for teething pains. Follow package instructions and consult a medical professional before using any medications.
Baby nail clippers
Talk to your homeopath about chamomilla
Natura weeping graze and wound powder for the umbilical cord site
Baby tooth brush (from the very first tooth)
Electrical outlet (plug) covers
Drawer and cupboard locks or latches
Stair gates for both top and bottom of all stairs
Baby gates to keep baby in one room at a time are also great.
Corner covers for sharp corners on your furniture.
Toilet locks or latches
Fridge door locks or latches
Wrist Water alarm. This looks like a little watch that baby wears and it sets off an alarm the moment it is submerged in water. Essential if you have a pool, even if it is covered.
Baby detergent for clothing
Extras every baby should have
2 BPA-free , Orthopaedic Pacifiers. Some babies don’t take to a pacifier, but for the ones who do they are a god-send to the parents. Most babies self sooth themselves through sucking. Rather it be on an orthopaedic pacifier than on a thumb which will ruin bite in later life.
A baby bag
Every baby needs a diaper bag that can be grabbed at a moments notice, because you can’t take baby anywhere without your essentials. You get all kinds of beautiful bags for babies. Look for a bag that has lots of side zipper compartments to keep wet things separate from dry things. Many bags come with a small mobile changing mat. You bag should always be packed and ready with the following items: 3 diapers; wet wipes; cream; a pacifier; a change of clothes for the season you’re in and one item for the opposite season (If it’s summer then a set of summer clothes and a jumper and socks. If it’s winter a set of winter clothes and a t-shirt); a bottle of sterilized (pre-boiled) water; mom’s extra phone charger; a receiving blanket; a spit cloth or oopsie.
Baby Sense Book
This gem is one of the only baby books that focuses on your baby’s sensory world and how it affects all of your lives. Read it!
Blackthorn berry elixir
For breastfeeding mommies
A scrap book to save your memories in. every month take a snap shot and write down your child’s latest developments, likes and dislikes and the sounds and words he makes.
Keep his baby cards and the wrist band from the hospital. These things seem so simple now but will be special to you and him for always.
Any other items your would add to this newborn baby essentials checklist? Please leave us a comment below.