As a new parent, there are SO many things you need to buy for your baby. Diapers, wipes, clothes, car seats, strollers - the list goes on and on.
And, if you're like me, you may be tempted to go out and buy everything under the sun labeled as 'must-have baby items' But before you do that, let me share with you a few things that I found weren't actually necessary - and some items that are absolutely essential.
In case you're about to have your first (or second, or third) child, keep reading for our list of must-have baby essentials and things you can skip without feeling too guilty.
Stuff parents need at the hospital or birthing center
So you're about to become a parent. Congratulations! It's a wonderful, life-changing experience. But before you can enjoy all the cuddles and coos, you need to make it through labor and your baby’s arrival. And if you're planning on giving birth in a hospital or birthing center, here are all the baby essentials you'll need to bring with you.
- Going home outfit for your kiddo
- Baby clothes
- Car seat for when you take your baby home
- Diapers and wipes
- Bottles and formula (if necessary)
- Breast pump (If necessary)
After all, labor can be exhausting work! By being prepared, you can rest assured that both you and your child will have everything you need for a happy and healthy delivery.
Baby essentials checklist: What you need and what you don’t
Want to know the secret to being a great parent? It's all about being prepared. Of course, that's easier said than done when you're dealing with a tiny human who has a tendency to cry, poop, and projectile vomit at the most inopportune times.
But if you want to be able to survive those first few months (and beyond), there are some newborn must haves you'll need:
Baby supplies: Diapering essentials
For many newborns, the only time they're not sleeping is when they're eating or getting their diapers changed. In fact, you may find yourself changing diapers upwards of 10 times per day in those early weeks.
While it may seem like a daunting task at first, don't worry - you'll get the hang of it in no time. And to make things easier, here are a few newborn baby essentials when it comes to diapering
You can use this preventatively to protect your baby's delicate skin, or if they do happen to get a rash, it will help to soothe and heal it quickly.
2. Diapers (of course)
First, you need to choose the type of diaper your baby is most comfortable in! There are a lot of different options, like disposable diapers or cloth diapers.
Then, it is important to choose a diaper size. Newborns generally need size 1 or 2 diapers. Finally, you'll need to choose a brand. There are many great brands out there, so it's really up to personal preference.
Don’t stress if, at first, you have to change brands until you find the right one. Look for brands that offer leak protection and a comfortable fit.
And bear in mind that a new baby needs diaper changes quite often, so don’t forget to stock up!
Extra tip: if you’re taking your kiddo to the pool or beach, you’ll need a disposable or reusable swim diaper, plus a baby swimsuit, of course.
Read about Diapering 101 here.
Baby wipes are great for quickly cleaning up messes, and they can also be used for other purposes like cleaning up spit-up or sticky fingers.
You'll want something to store soiled diapers in until you're able to wash them or dispose of them properly.
5. Changing pad
They help to keep your changing area clean and organized.
Changing pad covers provide a soft and comfortable surface for your baby to lie on while you're changing their diaper. They also help to keep the changing pad clean by providing a barrier between your baby and the changing pad.
And let's be honest - sometimes accidents happen, and a changing pad cover is much easier to wash than the entire changing pad.
Things you don’t need:
- A wipe warmer: wipe warmers can actually dry out wipes, making them less effective at doing their job. So why bother with a wipe warmer when you can just use room-temperature wipes? They'll work just fine - promise!
Baby supplies: Formula-feeding essentials
So, now the proud parent of a beautiful (and hungry) new baby. Here are some baby essentials for any newborn feeding repertoire:
1. Baby bottles
For the average newborn, it is recommended to have between six and eight bottles on hand at all times. This will ensure that there are always enough bottles available, even if the baby goes through a growth spurt or has a couple of marathon feeding sessions.
2. Baby formula
If you're not able to breastfeed, the formula is the next best thing. Look for a brand that your baby agrees with and be prepared to mix it up at all hours of the day or night.
3. Burp cloths
A good burp cloth can be the difference between a happy baby and a fussy one. That's because babies tend to spit up after eating, and baby burp cloths can help to catch the mess.
They can also be used to wipe away drool or any other messes that might end up on your baby's face.
Without a brush, it would be nearly impossible to get all the formula or breast milk out of the nooks and crannies of the bottle. The brush also helps to reach those hard-to-reach spots in the bottle that your fingers just can't seem to get to.
Things you don’t need:
- A bottle warmer: unless you're planning on taking your newborn on a polar expedition, you can probably do without a bottle warmer.
Baby supplies: Breastfeeding essentials
In addition to cleansing brushes, bottles, and burp clothes, there are a few baby essentials if you decided to only breastfeed your kiddo:
1. Breast pump
A good quality breast pump will help you to get the milk flowing so you can easily store it and feed it to your baby when they're ready.
2. Nipple cream
Nipple cream is one of the newborn must haves because it helps to soothe and protect sensitive skin. It can also be used to prevent chafing and help heal cracked nipples and it can be used to help stimulate milk production
This pillow helps to position the baby correctly when breastfeeding. This can reduce the risk of back pain for the mother and also help the baby to latch on correctly.
Additionally, a nursing pillow can provide support for the baby's head and neck, preventing them from getting wobbly and falling over.
Plus, let's be honest: newborn babies are pretty darn cute, so having a comfy place to cuddle them is always a bonus!
4. Nursing bras
Nursing bras provide support for moms' breasts during feedings, preventing them from becoming engorged or developing clogged milk ducts. They allow the mom to easily access her nipples for feedings, which can be a lifesaver when you're already sleep-deprived. And they can prevent leaks by providing a layer of protection between your breast and your clothing.
Baby supplies: Traveling essentials
Traveling with a baby can be a daunting task, but with a little preparation, it can be a breeze. Here are a few baby essentials to pack before hitting the road with your little one.
If you've ever been a passenger in a car with a small baby, you know the drill: white-knuckle grip on the armrest, eyes glued to the road, and prayers for safe arrival. It's no wonder so many new parents opt for a baby car seat - after all, it's one of the best ways to keep your little one safe while on the go.
They're designed to protect babies in the event of a car accident. In addition, they help to keep newborns in an upright position, which is essential for their developing spine. And let's not forget the most important reason of all: peace of mind for mom and dad.
This is an absolute must-have unless you enjoy being held hostage by your child while they turn every trip to the grocery store into a marathon. Look for one that's lightweight and easy to fold; you'll be grateful for it when you're lugging it through the airport.
3. Baby carrier
A baby carrier gives you the freedom to explore without worrying about lugging around a stroller. It also allows you to keep your baby close, which can be reassuring for both of you in unfamiliar surroundings.
And let's face it, babies are heavy. Carrying them around all day can be exhausting. A carrier helps to distribute their weight more evenly, making it easier on your back and shoulders.
4. Diaper bag
This will be your lifeline for storing all of the bottles, formula, diapers, wipes, pads, and creams you'll need when you're on the go.
Things you don’t need:
- A mirror: if your baby does happen to wake up and start crying, chances are you'll hear it. No mirror necessary.
Baby supplies: Nursery essentials
Decorating a nursery can be both exciting and overwhelming. Where do you start? If you're feeling a bit lost, don't worry- we've got you covered. Here are five baby essentials that every nursery needs.
A safe and sturdy crib is essential for ensuring that your baby gets a good night's sleep. It's also important to remember that babies grow quickly, so you'll need a mattress that can be adjusted as they grow.
Your baby sleep is important, so make sure the mattress and the crib are comfortable!
Also, don’t forget to get fitted crib sheets and blankets!
2. A storage space
You'll need some storage options to keep the baby's things organized. A dresser with drawers is a good choice, or you could opt for a changing table with built-in shelves. Either way, make sure you have enough space to store all of the baby's clothes, diapers, and other essentials.
3. Rocking chair
You'll be spending a lot of time in this spot feeding the baby or rocking them to sleep, so make sure it's comfortable! A glider or rocking chair is perfect for this, and it's also a great spot for mom or dad to take a quick nap when the baby is down for a nap.
4. Baby monitor
A baby monitor is a baby essential that will give you the peace of mind of being able to hear your little one even when you're not in the room. It's also a great way to keep an ear out for any middle-of-the-night crying or screaming.
And let's be honest, it's a whole lot easier than trying to sneak into the nursery every five minutes to check on your sleeping baby.
A changing table is one of the baby items for any parent of a young child. Not only does it provide a safe and comfortable place to change a diaper, but it also helps to keep the baby's room organized.
With all of the diapers, wipes, and creams that a baby needs, a changing table helps to keep everything within reach. In addition, a changing table can also be used as a storage space for other items such as clothes, toys, or blankets.
Keep a kit with your kiddo’s medicine in a handy place!
Baby supplies: Bathing essentials
There's nothing like a fresh, clean baby. That's why it's important to have the right bathing baby essentials on hand when your little one arrives. Here's what you'll need for your baby shower:
These towels are designed to envelop your baby in softness, keeping them warm and protected while you dry them off. Plus, the hood helps to keep their head warm and prevents water from dripping down their face.
Washcloths are ideal for newborns because they are soft and gentle, yet effective at cleaning away dirt and debris.
Check out Beau & Belle Littles' organic bamboo washcloths.
3. Baby bathtub
A baby bathtub is designed to provide a safe, comfortable space for your baby to splash around in. They are often padded and have built-in supports to help keep your baby secure, and many even come with toys and activities to keep your little one entertained.
Read a parent’s guide to baby’s bath here.
4. Other baby items
In addition to what I mentioned above, it is important for you to get shampoo, a baby hairbrush, baby nail clippers, a rinse cup to wash them, and a bath thermometer.
Newborn must haves: Final thoughts
There's no denying that newborns are a lot of work. But as any seasoned parent will tell you, it's all worth it in the end. Now you have all the baby essentials that will help you get through those first few weeks (or months) with your new bundle of joy.
Remember that babies don't come with a manual, so there will be plenty of trial and error involved in parenting. So don’t stress out and, if you need more tips about parenting, visit our Beau & Belle Littles blog section!