Are you prepping for your baby’s arrival and feel quite lost on what to buy and what not to buy? I feel you. I’ve been there too, and so did every mama to be. The amount of baby supplies a newborn requires can take anyone by surprise. Not only that, how can you decide which baby items are essentials and which are simply nice-to-haves?
Don’t stress. I’m breaking it all down for you. I’ve listed the essential items for your baby’s first couple of months as Necessities. Other things that you might appreciate, but which some parents have found to be a waste of money, are listed as Nice-to-haves. Unsafe items or not so useful items are listed as What you don’t need. To save you some time asking around, I posted also some popular brand choices. Many of those I use myself.
Read on for the complete list and don’t forget to download our summary checklist!
Baby Gear Essentials
Whether you’re on the move or relaxing at home, you’ll need to have some key baby gear at the ready. Here is the list of baby gear to have on hand:
- Stroller, where baby can lie flat on his back in the first few months. Your choice of stroller depends on many criteria including your budget, usability, space, other siblings close in age…? The right stroller can make your life a lot easier.
- Car seat. Choose one that has infant headrest or buy it separately. It should be fixed rear-facing for as long as possible to ensure your baby’s safety.
- Baby monitor. It will help you keep an eye on your sleeping baby, especially if you have a big house. Popular choice:
- Cameras. They are a must if you will be leaving your baby with a nanny. Popular choice:
- Baby carrier. You can use it on the go or at home. Your baby can snuggle close to you and you will have both hands free to do everything else. It’s a great help especially if you have other kids to take care of or during traveling. Popular choices:
- Baby bouncer. It can help keep your baby occupied while you catch your breath. Popular choice:
What you don’t need:
- Second-hand car seat. You never know if the used car seat conforms to all safety requirements or if it has been in an accident. This item is better purchased new.
Baby Bath Essentials
A bath can be a wonderful fun and bonding time with your baby; at least, once you get a handle on that slippery baby. These are the baby necessities and nice-to-haves for the bath:
- Soap-free wash and shampoo. Buy a mild, tear-free, fragrance-free wash and shampoo. Popular choices:
- Baby towels. Use them for wrapping up your baby and drying him after his bath.
- Soft baby washcloths.
- Baby lotion. Moisturize your baby’s skin with a good cream that you apply after every bath.
- Baby bathtub. A good bathtub will make bathing your baby much easier. Popular choice:
- Bath thermometer. You can always test the water temperature with your elbow; but if you’re unsure, a thermometer can be handy.
Read this article “12 Tips for bath and bathroom safety”.
Baby Feeding Essentials
Be prepared to feed your newborn baby around the clock. Here are the important baby supplies to stock up:
Breastfeeding and bottle-feeding:
- Burp cloths. As well as protecting your clothes from the inevitable baby sick and mopping up dribbles, they provide a soft surface to rest your baby’s head on.
- Bibs. They are handy if your baby is a drooler or a spitter.
If you’re breastfeeding:
- Nursing bras. They allow your baby easy access at feeding time.
- Breast pads (disposable or washable). They will keep you and your shirts dry and protect you from little leaks. Popular choices:
- Breast pump (Manual and/or electric). There are different types available in the market. Choose between a manual or electrical pump or a pump that works on one or both breasts at the same time.
- Milk storage containers. You can pump milk straight into a bottle or use specially made plastic storage bags, which are food grade and BPA free. The advantage is they don’t take up much space in the freezer and can be defrosted easily.
- Nursing cover. You will need it if you are planning on breastfeeding in public in certain countries (like UAE).
- Lanolin-based nipple cream. It can help relieve sore nipples, especially in the first few weeks. Popular choice:
If you’re formula feeding:
- Formula. Buy a brand of formula that your pediatrician recommends. Start with a single tin to see if your baby has allergies, discomfort, or constipation from this particular brand.
- Bottles and newborn teats. Feeding bottles must be BPA free and of good quality material that can endure high temperatures. Try several brands to find the one your baby prefers. (I tried Dr. Brown’s, Pigeon and Philips and both of my boys preferred Philips)
- Bottle cleaning brush. It’s essential to rid the feeding bottle of leftovers after every feed. Popular choice:
- Bottle cleaning cleanser. Choose one that is food grade and free of scents and colorants.
- Nursing pillow. It can help you maintain a comfortable posture while breastfeeding or bottle-feeding your baby.
- Rocking chair for feeding. It could be a comfy place to nurse your baby and rock him to sleep. Eventually, you can use it to snuggle with your baby and read bedtime stories.
- Sterilizer. You can choose a sterilizer that uses steam to disinfect bottles and other accessories or go the traditional way and soak the bottles and accessories in boiling water. Popular choice:
- Bottle warmer. You can heat the bottle of milk in a bowl of hot water or use a bottle warmer which is more convenient.
- Bottle drying rack. It’s handy for drying bottles, nipples, pacifiers, and any other baby item after washing.
- Insulated bottle carrier. It’s handy to keep bottles and/or breast milk warm or cool when you’re on the go.
Baby Grooming and Health Essentials
Babies need the occasional grooming too. And if your child happens to get sick, you’ll want to have the right baby essentials on hand. Here is what to buy:
- Baby nail clippers, scissors, or file. They help trim and smooth your baby’s nails safely.
- Baby thermometer. There are many types of thermometers available in the market including digital, ear and forehead thermometers. Choose what works best for you. Popular choice:
- Baby soft-bristled hairbrush.
- Teethers. Chewing on a teether can ease your baby’s discomfort during teething.
- Nasal aspirator. Use it along saline water for suctioning mucous. Popular choice:
- Cradle cap cream. This is a necessity if your baby develops cradle cap. The cream helps eliminate cradle cap and reduces the reappearance of patches. Popular choice:
Baby Diapering Essentials
Changing a diaper may seem daunting at first, but trust us, you’ll get the hang of it. Your baby will probably go through 10 to 12 diapers a day at first, so plan accordingly. Check out this list of what you need for diapering:
- Diaper bag. Choose one that has enough room and pockets to store all your baby’s essentials. If you want to have something hands-free and easy on your shoulder and back, go for a backpack.
- Changing mat. Keep bed linen and other materials from getting soiled while changing your baby’s diaper on a changing mat.
- Cotton wool for cleaning baby with plain water or unscented wipes. Popular choice:
- Baby ointment. The purpose of this cream is to prevent rash. Popular choice:
If you’re using disposable diapers:
- Diapers. Avoid buying diapers in bulk. Instead, try several brands to see which works best for your baby as certain types might irritate your baby’s skin or don’t fit well. Popular choice: Babyjoy and Pureborn (available in UAE).
If you’re using re-usable cloths diapers:
- Cloths or re-usable diapers.
- Waterproof covers.
- Changing table. You will be changing a lot of diapers, and a changing table can make this a lot more comfortable.
- Diaper pail and refills. A good diaper pail will block nasty odors and keep your house smelling nice.
What you don’t need:
- Baby wipes warmer.
Read this article “How to make baby changing safe and clean?”.
Baby Sleeping Essentials
Sleep is an obsession for many new parents, and it’s easy to understand why: You’re not getting nearly enough and as soon as you’ve got naps and nights nailed down, it’s time to think about those sleeping arrangements all over again. Here is what to buy:
- Crib or bassinet. There’s always this eternal debate: bassinet or crib? In terms of safety, both a bassinet and a crib are safe places for your baby to sleep, provided that they conform to safety requirements. If you decide to go for a bassinet, note that your baby will outgrow the bassinet in a couple of months, so sooner or later you will need a crib.
- Firm mattress. The mattress should fit snugly; you shouldn’t be able to slip more than two fingers between the mattress and the side of the crib/ bassinet.
- Fitted sheets. Buy 2 at a minimum.
- Swaddle and Sleeping bag. You can use the swaddle until your baby is about 4 months old. Once she can roll over, it is time to transition to a sleeping bag. The sleeping bag goes over your baby’s sleepwear and keeps her warm at night. With the right tog, you won’t need to use a traditional blanket which increases the risk of SIDS.
- White noise machine. By playing constant, repetitive white noise, sound machines help to lull babies to sleep and keep them asleep. It’s as if he is back at home in Mama’s belly.
- Waterproof mattress covers. They can help protect your mattress from diaper leaks mainly.
What you don’t need:
- Crib bumper, pillows, fluffy blankets, and stuffed toys. All those items increase the risk of SIDS.
Baby Clothing Essentials
Pick out practical, cotton-based baby clothes that will keep your baby comfy and cozy. Choose well-made items that will hold up through frequent washing. Avoid, glitter, heavy embellishments, sequins, ribbon, ties, and buttons, because these can be choking hazards or be the source of skin irritation. Keep in mind that your baby requires different sets of clothing and accessories depending on the season. Here is the minimal list of what to buy:
- All-in-one suits. They have poppers or a zip at the front and are designed for babies for easy changing and dressing. Small babies tend to live in these during the first few months and really don’t need to wear anything else.
- Baby vests/ bodysuits. They go underneath the all-in-one suits, or they can be worn on their own if it is hot.
- Cotton hat. The hat should cover the ears to keep your baby warm.
- Socks. It is essential to keep your baby’s feet warm all the time. If you choose all-in-one suits, you won’t need socks.
- No-scratch mittens. Some all-in-one suits have mitten embedded in them. Check before you buy.
- Light cotton blankets.
- Gentle laundry detergent. Some brands are specifically formulated to be gentle on baby’s skin.
- Outfits for dressing up. Enjoy dressing up your baby for a festive occasion, a photoshoot or simply a day out.
What you don’t need:
- Shoes. They look adorable but they are unnecessary until your baby starts walking.
- Too many clothes. The simple reason? Newborn babies grow fast.
Baby Soothers and Entertainment
Your baby doesn’t need a lot of fancy playthings, but it’s nice to have some of the items on this list around:
- Pacifier. Some babies love it. Some don’t. Try different brands to see which one your baby prefers. Note that it’s not recommended to use pacifiers until breastfeeding is established.
- Playmat. These are soft mats with toys that dangle from overhead. Fancy versions feature lights and sounds.
- Toys. It’s nice to have some few toys around that engage with your baby.
- Books: There are countless benefits of introducing and reading books to your baby at an early age. Read this article “10 Best baby and toddler books from 0 to 18 months“.
In a Nutshell
Babies need stuff, and lots of it. We hope this article has helped you prepping for the arrival of your newborn baby. Don’t forget to post your comment below. I’d love to hear from you!