Newborn Checklist: Must-Have Baby Essentials

Preparing for your new baby’s arrival can be a stressful ordeal, and that’s why we’ve created this comprehensive newborn checklist. The amount of information out there can be overwhelming, but don’t worry, we’ve summarized everything you need to know in this list of newborn essentials.

What do I need to take care of my new baby?

It’s helpful to break down everything you’ll need to take care of a new baby by sorting everything into categories. Create separate lists for basic needs in each category. Here’s a basic list of categories:

  • Clothing/blankets
  • Feeding time
  • Diaper changes
  • Bath time
  • Bedtime
  • Going out

What types of clothing do I need?

A list of basics is below, and the amount you choose to get will depend on how much space you have, your budget, and how often you want to be doing laundry. Speaking of laundry, don’t forget to purchase specialized laundry detergent to wash baby’s things before they wear them and after they’ve soiled them because newborns have very sensitive skin.

  • Definitely multiple (8-10) cotton undershirts or onesies (a mix of short-sleeve and long-sleeve is best)
  • At least 5 nightgowns which are loose enough to cover the stomach until the umbilical cord falls off
  • 5 to 6 pairs of pants
  • One-piece of stretchy sleepers
  • Pairs of socks and booties to wear with outfits and nightgowns
  • Scratch mittens to help baby not scratch their face
  • A few cardigans or jackets, which are mostly helpful in colder months
  • A bunting or snowsuit to go out if it’s winter
  • A few dress-up outfits (entirely optional)

As far as blankets, you’ll want to have multiple receiving blankets and cotton blankets for keeping baby warm and cozy.

What will I need for feeding time?

If you’re breastfeeding, all you need is a comfortable place to sit while you feed, and it’s good to have several receiving blankets within reach. A receiving blanket is useful for multiple things, including being used as a changing mat in a pinch, as a cover while you breastfeed, and as a burp cloth.

If you’re bottle feeding, you’ll need:

  • About 6 bottles and 6 teats
  • Brush to clean bottle and teat
  • Formula; how much depends on the type you choose, so follow instruction on package
  • Bottle and teat sterilizing equipment

Feeding time is also a good time to re-dehydrate yourself, so keep a bottle of water nearby to quench your thirst.

What will I need for diaper changes?

A regular change of diaper to protect your baby’s skin is essential. Whether you use cloth or disposable diapers, here’s what you’ll need:

  • Lots and lots of clean diapers, no matter if you’re using disposable or reusable
  • A diaper pail for holding soiled diapers
  • Changing pad
  • Soothing diaper ointment or barrier cream to prevent/treat diaper rash and skin irritation
  • Disposable wipes or lots of reusable washcloths to clean baby’s bottom

What will I need for bath time?

Most importantly, you need to give a bath in a warm place, and you need:

  • A flat surface
  • A soft blanket or changing pad
  • A shallow baby bath tub or a sink
  • Soft wash cloth
  • Mild baby shampoo
  • Mild moisturizing soap
  • Soft towel
  • Fresh diaper and change of clothes

What about sleep time?

If you’re using a crib, you’ll need a crib mattress and waterproof cover for it, a sleep sack, fitted crib sheets and light blankets.

If you’re co-sleeping, you’ll need to make sure your mattress is firm, and you’ll need a waterproof pad to put under baby and a well-fitted sleep sack for baby.

What will I need for going out?

Taking baby out is fun, and if you have all the essentials with you, you can ensure it’s a great experience for both of you. Here’s what you need in your diaper bag:

  • Wipes
  • Changing pad
  • Plastic bag for keeping soiled diapers
  • If bottle feeding, enough formula for a couple of feedings
  • Receiving blanket
  • A change of clothes
  • Pacifier, if your baby is using one
  • Approved infant car seat
  • Emergency information

When you use this newborn checklist to stock up on essentials, you’ll be ready for whatever comes your way when your new baby arrives.

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Photo: Getty