There are some other baby essentials lists out there, but after reading them, I came to the conclusion that most of them have a lot of stuff that you don’t really need.
I thought it would be a good idea to create a list of baby essentials along with items that are really nice to have, but not exactly vital.
For those items, it’ll be up to you to make the call of whether you need them or not.
Also, if you plan on possibly having another child in the future, let me make one suggestion: try to keep things gender-neutral. It’s nice to be able to reuse things!
In this list I’ll link to what I think is the best option, or to a list of items that you can pick from.
So, without further ado, here is our list of baby essentials!
Changing diapers is going to be a frequent task, so you’re going to need a lot of diapers and diapering items. Rashes can also be a common problem, so products to help deal with that will be a good idea, too.
- Diapers — You’re going to need them. A lot of them. (I hope you like changing diapers.)
- Changing Pad — You might be able to get away without a changing table, but they can be super handy. You’ll want a pad at the very least, though. You can just put it on a table or dresser if you have one that’s suitable.
- Wipes — Again, you’ll need a lot of these for diaper-changing time.
- Baby Powder — For reducing moisture and friction. It helps reduce the risk of diaper rashes.
- Ointment/Cream — For when your baby gets a diaper rash.
Nice to Have
- Changing Table — These are handy, but not really a necessity. Most parents end up changing everywhere but the changing table.
- Diaper Pail
— Let’s face it: diapers stink! A diaper pail is designed to store dirty diapers and contain the smell, which can be really nice. It’s not exactly a must-have, though.
There’s a lot of work that goes into creating a nice, comfortable nursery for your new baby. You’ll need a comfortable crib and mattress for them to sleep, a monitor to keep track of them at night, and somewhere to store things.
- Crib & Mattress — Your baby is going to need somewhere safe to sleep. If you plan on having multiple children, a going gender-neutral with this is a good idea. I’d recommend a waterproof mattress, too. Or at least a waterproof mattress pad. You know, for pee.
- Bassinet — This is an option a lot of parents go for. If you want to co-sleep with your baby in the room during those first few months, a bassinet is a good option.
- Bedding — If you get a crib, be sure to get a couple of mattress covers.
- Dresser— For storing the inevitable assortment of cute baby clothes.
- Baby Monitor — You’ll definitely want to keep an eye (or ear!) on your new baby at all times. A monitor lets you do that without having to physically be there.
- Nightlight — Really nice to have for the frequent mid-night feedings or just to check up on them.
Nice to Have
- Noise Machine — These produce soothing sounds, like the sound of rainfall (for example) to help your baby sleep. These can be hit-or-miss, but might be worth it for you.
- Cool Mist Humidifier — Babies can be prone to respiratory tract infections, especially in the dry winter months. A cool mist humidifier keeps the air moist, making for a less-ideal environment for viruses and bacteria.
- Space Heater — This might not be necessary, but if your nursery room gets drafty or cold at night, a space heater can really help.
Feeding & Breastfeeding
If you choose to breastfeed, there are a lot of things that can make your life as a mother a lot easier. Even if you choose not to breastfeed, you’ll want to have good bottles and formula. Also, while your baby isn’t going to be eating solid food for the first months of his life, you should still be prepared for it!
- Baby Bottles — The hard part is deciding between glass or plastic bottles. I’d generally recommend glass; they’re easier to clean and you don’t need to worry about chemicals in the plastic bottles.
- High Chair — For when your baby starts eating solid food. Having your baby eat along with the rest of the family is fun and lets them feel included.
- Bibs — Food time is messy time. You’re going to need a bunch of these, so stock up.
- Nipple Cream — Breastfeeding can be painful, especially over time. A good nipple cream makes a huge difference in relieving pain.
- Nursing Pads — For leaks; you can go with either washable or disposable depending on what you prefer.
- Burp Cloths — Get at least 3-4 of these. They’re used for burping your baby; they go over your shoulder.
Nice to Have
- Breast Pump — Nice to have if you’re a busy mom and don’t always have time to breastfeed. Not exactly a necessity, though, and they can be expensive.
- Milk Storage Bags or Bottles — If you’re going to pump, get some good storage, too.
- Nursing Pillow — These make the whole nursing experience a lot more comfortable for both you and your baby.
- Baby Food Maker — I’d recommend making baby food over buying store-bought. While it’s pretty easy to make baby food by hand, a baby food maker can make the job a breeze.
- Food Storage — If you’re going to make baby food, you’ll need a place to store it, too. I’d recommend getting ice cube trays to put small portions of food inside. You can then put the trays inside air-tight freezer bags and into the fridge for future feedings.
- Sippy Cups — For when your child starts to drink on their own.
- Formula — If you’re not going to be breastfeeding, you’ll need a good baby formula.
Bath time is always fun! You won’t need a lot; just a few towels and washcloths, as well as some suitable soaps and shampoos. You might want to invest in a baby bathtub, but most parents find that it’s really not necessary.
- Hooded Towel — Not only are these super cute, but they are really nice and warm. They’re perfect for post-bathtime.
- Washcloths — Get a bunch of these. For cleaning up messes, both on your baby and everywhere else they’ll inevitably make one.
- Baby Wash Products — Shampoo, soaps, lotions. Get stuff that’s made for (or suitable for) babies, of course.
Nice to Have
- Baby Bath Tub — There’s no reason why you can’t bathe your baby in the tub or even the sink, if it’s big enough. However, if you don’t have a bath tub, one of these can be nice.
Infant Health & Care
You’ll want to keep a close eye on your new baby’s health, especially for the first few months. Having these items around is a really good idea, but you should always ask for your doctor’s opinion if you think something might be wrong.
- Nasal Aspirator — When your baby gets a cold, an aspirator is a lifesaver for helping to clear out their nasal passages.
- Baby Thermometer — You’ll want to keep a close eye on your baby’s temperature. A digital rectal thermometer is the most accurate, but obviously not the most easy-to-use option. An oral thermometer isn’t quite as accurate, but still gets the job done.
- Baby Pain & Fever Relief — Be sure to ask your pediatrician before giving your baby any medicine, though.
- Teething Toys — When your baby starts to get his or her teeth, they’ll want to put just about anything in their mouth! A few good teething toys are a great idea.
- Oral Teething Gel — Another teething necessity; this helps numb the pain of teething to make the experience less of an ordeal for your child.
Babies can be fussy, and it always helps to have some way to help soothe and calm them down. Swaddling is a great way to do so, and it’s really easy to do if you have an appropriate blanket. Pacifiers are also a staple of any parent’s arsenal.
- Swaddle Blanket — Swaddling is wrapping your baby cozily in a soft, warm blanket. It’s very calming and soothing. Get a few of these so that you have one around while one’s in the wash.
- Swing or Bouncer — Choose one of these. They’re nice for soothing your baby and keeping them occupied while you’re busy with something, like doing the dishes or talking on the phone.
- Pacifiers — Babies can be fussy about these, so it’s best to get a few different ones to see which they like best.
While you may be tempted to buy a bunch of adorable and fashionable baby clothes, I’d recommend skipping that and going for less-expensive stuff. While there are some really cute designer clothes, babies outgrow clothes really quickly. Build up a baby wardrobe including things from this list.
- Onesies — The staple of any baby’s wardrobe. Get about 5-10 of these.
- Jammies — For sleep time. The zip-up kind are a lot easier to manage (especially at night!). I’d also recommend the type with mitts, just in case your baby is one to scratch themselves.
- Socks — Get a bunch of these; you’re going to need them.
- Wide-Brimmed Hat — This is good for sun protection, especially in the summer months.
- Baby-Friendly Detergent — Get a detergent that is recommended for babies.
Nice to Have
- Shoes — Baby shoes are expensive and newborns outgrow them really fast. You can probably hold off on these until your baby starts to walk.
Baby Gear & On the Go
You’ll definitely be taking your baby out and about at some point! You’ll need some gear like a car seat, stroller, and other things to make life a lot easier.
- Car Seat — A convertible car seat is the most economical option: they convert to different setups to fit your baby as he or she grows.
- Stroller — For outings with your baby, this is vital. Opt for a stroller with a canopy for sun protection.
- Baby Carrier — For carrying your baby around when a stroller isn’t ideal, or for when you’re just doing things around the house. These also make your baby feel snug and comfortable up against you, too.
- Diaper Bag — For carrying diapers and other essentials when you’re out and about. For a more economical option, consider using an old backpack or shoulder bag.
- Sunscreen — In the warmer months, be sure to apply sunscreen to any exposed areas of your baby’s skin.
Nice to Have
- Portable Crib — If you travel or spend the night at other people’s houses often, a portable crib can be really nice. Some of them even double as a playpen/playard, which is a nice bonus!
Safety & Around The House
These items are mostly for when your baby gets mobile and crawling around the house. You won’t need them until then, but at that point they’re vital. Babies are super curious, and like to get their hands on just about anything they come across!
- Baby Gate — Not necessary until your baby starts to get mobile and crawl around, but definitely vital at that point. Stairs are super dangerous, and there are probably other places you’ll want to be off-limits.
- Power Outlet Covers — Once your baby starts to crawl, you’ll want to cover every exposed power outlet so they can’t stick something inside.
- Cabinet & Drawer Locks — Yep, crawling toddlers love to explore, especially under the sink where you store dangerous cleaning products. Get enough of these to lock up any cupboard or drawer that might be potentially dangerous to a curious mobile toddler.
Playtime & Fun
Last but not least is playtime! Be sure to get a variety of fun baby toys; those that stimulate the senses are especially good.
- Rattles — Babies just love rattles! If there’s one toy you get, make it a rattle.
- Books — Of course your baby isn’t going to be reading for a while, but it’s nice and fun to read them storybooks.
- Stuffed Animals — A staple toy for any baby.
- Sound-Making Toys — While these can sometimes get tedious to listen to as a parent, kids love them and they stimulate the senses which helps brain development.
- Mobile — For hanging above the crib, these are a great way to keep your baby entertained, too.
Did we miss anything? If you have any suggestions for baby essentials we might have missed, leave a comment below!
Where Should I Register?
If you’re wondering where to register, I have a guide for that too! You can check it out right here.