Ready to shop for your baby but not sure what you need. In this post I’m breaking down the essentials for each category and room so you’ll be ready when baby arrives. I’ve included an essential baby registry checklist so you can mark things off as you go.
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This is post 14 in my 31 days of tips for moms to be series.
The 9 Basic Essentials
In a previous post I covered the basic 9 items that you need for a baby. These are the bare bones basic items I suggest you have. Here’s a quick recap below. If you want to read more about these items check out my post about the 9 Basic Baby items you need.
- Pack n Play
- Car Seat – I recommend the Graco Extend2Fit long term
- Burp Cloths
- Free Samples
- Bouncy Seat
- Baby Carrier
more essential baby registry items with printable checklist
Beyond the items mentioned above there are a lot of other items that will be useful to have for your baby. Make sure to grab your printable checklist at the bottom of this post so you can mark things off as you buy them and/or add them to your registry.
- Onesies or footie outfits – ~14
- Swaddles – 2-3
Clothing is a place most first time parents go overboard. Your baby will outgrow clothing quickly in the first six months or so. Onesies and footie outfits are all you really need, depending on the weather. Crib shoes, lacey outfits or other fancy clothes will likely never get used. Even a jacket isn’t needed as it’s easier to cover them in a blanket than to wrestle a jacket on and off. Keep it simple in those early days. How many you need really depends on how much laundry you want to do! You want to plan on 2 outfits per day as babies do tend to spit up or have diaper blowouts which will necessitate a change of outfit. I would have at least 14 which should get you through a week, more or less depending on your baby.
For nighttime, velcro or zipper swaddles are perfect. They provide an extra layer of warmth while still creating a safe sleep environment. They also help the baby to feel secure and many babies sleep better in the early days if they are swaddled. (Note: You can only swaddle your baby with their arms in until they start to roll. As soon as they begin to roll you have to switch to a sleepsack or a swaddle that allows for their arms to be free.) You’ll want to have a few in case of nighttime blowouts. You may also want to have different thicknesses in case the weather changes.
Pro Tip: Only wash and detag a few newborn size outfits. Put everything else you purchase or get as gifts to the side. Depending on how large your baby is at birth they may never actually wear newborn size. While you want to have a few outfits prepared you don’t want to get stuck with 10-20 outfits that your child will never wear!
You won’t need hardly any toys for the first few weeks, baby will mostly sleep and eat. After that keep it simple. Young babies are both easily entertained and easily overstimulated. Simple things with bright colors, patterns, and sounds are great. Most bouncy seats come with a small toy bar. You can also purchase a play gym which creates a great space to lay baby. You can also create your own sensory bags or bottles with simple items from home or the dollar store. When you’re ready to add more toys try these 10 toys that cost under $10!
Baby essentials for the kitchen
Don’t run out and buy and wash a full set of bottles! Chances are your baby will decide they hate that kind. It’s best to have one or a couple of several varieties until you discover which your baby prefers. Then get enough to last at least 2 days. The number will vary depending on whether you breastfeed, formula, or combo feed your baby.
Dapple soap is the best stuff when you’re dealing with milk clean up, whether it’s breastmilk, formula, or regular milk. It cuts through any scum or grime so your babies items stay squeaky clean.
A drying rack is totally optional. You can just lay things out on a towel. However, drying racks that have areas for bottles will help them to dry much faster.
Microwave sanitizers are great for use in the early days. Once your baby is a few months old you won’t need to sanitize anymore, and some parents elect to never sanitize at all. The microwave sanitizers are inexpensive and don’t take up too much room!
If you’re breastfeeding you will need to have storage bottles or bags on hand. The bags definitely store smaller, but I preferred the reusable medela storage bottles as they create less waste over time. If you a formula feeding one of these formula mixers can help you to get ahead of the game by mixing up the formula in batches.
- Crib or pack n play sheets
- Diaper changing pad
- Diaper changing pad covers
- sound machine
- diaper genie
- Baby monitor – I recommend the Infant Optix DXR8
You will need linens whether you choose to use a pack n play, crib, or both. Have at least 2-3 so you’re ready for unexpected sheet changes. You may also want a diaper changing pad and covers. Without the covers, the pads can be quite cold! You can definitely make do without a diaper changing station and pad and simply change your baby on the floor, couch, etc. But I’ve found that we use ours a lot.
A sound machine is great for creating some white noise to help baby sleep. Just don’t turn it on too loud or it could damage baby’s hearing. We loved the munchkin sound machine.
Diaper genies are definitely an optional item. We have loved ours. We actually have one upstairs and one downstairs. Since we live in apartments and our outside trash cans aren’t close by we don’t want to be carrying stinky diapers out there constantly. With the diaper genies, they keep diapers locked in there until we’re ready to walk them outside.
for on the go
You’ll want a diaper bag of some sort for on the go. There are lots of different styles so you’ll have to choose what’s best for you and your lifestyle. We went with more of a traditional style diaper bag. Backpack diaper bags are also gaining popularity as they’re easy to use on the go.
I was surprised by how much use we’ve gotten out of our changing mat. We were actually gifted it by some friends. It’s great when at other people’s homes or if you end up somewhere that does not have a changing table in their bathroom. We don’t only use it on the go. We also frequently use it at home as our diaper changing station is upstairs and we live in a 2 story house. We lay the pad on our couch which keeps our couch clean and saves us from going upstairs all the time.
If your baby is super reliant on noise for sleep you may want a portable sound machine. Our friends always used the shusher. It only stays on for 30 minutes at a time though so be prepared to restart it.
The last items here is a stroller. I highly recommend getting a travel system, this is a stroller where the infant seat can also attach to the stroller. It makes it so much easier in the early days to just plop the car seat in and out rather than moving a baby between the two. Get one with a large storage basket underneath for all your adventures. I can easily push my daughter to the store to pick up a small number of groceries and stick everything underneath! The best way to pick one is to test them out. Go to a store that sells strollers and push them around. See which height, handle, and wheel number you feel most comfortable using. Make sure your spouse or other main caregiver come too so you can pick one that you both feel comfortable with.
- baby bathtub
- Baby grooming kit
Personally, I would also recommend getting a baby bathtub. We used it for quite a while. While we did sometimes hold her and do a family shower, one of several activities you can do to bond with your infant, my daughter quickly got too big to make that very feasible. We loved having the bathtub with the sling and then she still sat in it for baths once she got bigger until we were ready to put her in the regular tub. I think we use less water that way too as it fills up faster than the larger tub. But a lot of moms say they never used there so definitely consider your plans and bathroom setup before purchasing one. As far as bath products go, check out this list of non-toxic products for kids.
- Nursing pillow
- Nursing clothes
- Breast pads
- Lactation treats
- Manual breast pump
- Breastfeeding class
There you have it, the complete guide to getting stocked up for your baby. My advice is to look at several lists and think about your space and lifestyle. Don’t go out and buy every fad item another mom tells you was a life saver. Each baby is different and may have different needs or likes. Be prepared to try different things and return things that don’t work. If you are budget conscious like me try to pick items that you can get long term use out of. If your baby will only use something for a month then don’t buy it unless it’s an absolute must have.
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