There’s not much in life that is more intimidating than preparing for your very first child to arrive. What do you NEED? What is not necessary? What should you have ready for when baby comes home, and what can wait? Personally, I asked friends and in baby groups. I read lists on baby websites. But I still chose some things that I don’t feel were necessary, and I chose some things that never ended up being used! I’m hoping I can help you pick the right items to bring baby home. Here are our newborn essentials – everything you need and nothing you don’t.
So, I am bringing baby home soon – what do I NEED?
This is pretty obvious. Whether you decide to use disposables (we love The Honest Company), cloth diapers, or a diapering service, you will need diapers for your newborn, and you will need a bit of a stash to start. Newborns poop a LOT!
I tried to breastfeed. For months I tried everything, but I was not successful. If you are successful with breastfeeding you can obviously ignore this – but it may be a good idea to have a container of formula at home for when you bring baby home, just in case. If you don’t end up needing it, you can donate it to someone less fortunate. I recommend an organic formula – The Honest Company actually makes some now!
3. Breast pump
Helpful to keep you from being engourged, and helpful to stimulate supply, a breast pump is important to have on hand. Some hospitals will rent them until you decide if you’d like a hand or electric pump. Personally, I recommend a small hand pump and a double electric pump, if you are able to afford it. Medela makes great pumps like this one. They even offer rental services in the US!
You may prefer to use baby wash cloths for wipes, we often did with warm water. However, baby wipes are amazing and can be used for SO many things beyond bum cleaning (I wipe dust with them!). Just don’t flush them, it’s bad for your pipes, I hear. Check out these wipes by Seventh Generation, they’re eco-friendly and organic.
For breast milk or for formula, bottles are great to have for baby to feed with! Brynn preferred the Mam bottles. It’s a good idea to try a few single bottle types before committing to buying multiples of one brand. Babies can be picky! We also loved these ones.
6. “Bum cream”
I personally don’t believe in using toxic chemicals on baby skin – or on any skin, really. I chose not to use harsh diaper rash creams on B. I always used natural brands if it was necessary, or just plain coconut oil. If coconut oil doesn’t work for you, give the Honest Co. healing balm a try (it can also be used for eczema and dry skin)!
Brynn needed, and still needs, her soother – and I won’t lie, it’s a lifesaver! I don’t know how we will get her to sleep without it. Her favourite was Phillips Avent Soothie brand, which is what they give you in the hospitals here. We also love Natursutten.
8. Soother clip
It’s a huge pain to lose a soother – especially when you don’t notice until you need it, aka when baby is flipping out in a public place! You really need a good soother clip to make sure you don’t misplace them more often than your bobby pins. I love Heimess – they have wooden beads that baby can chew on and play with as they get older. I also love Sweet Ruby Co. braided soother clips.
9. Wash cloths
These are multi-purpose items, really. We had what seemed like hundreds and we used them for everything – wipes, washing in the bath, dusting, cleaning.. You just wash them well and use them again! The environment appreciates it as well, I’m sure. We recommend Matimati Baby.
If you don’t believe in co-sleeping perhaps ignore this. But B slept either with us in bed, or in a cot in our room. Keep in mind that co-sleeping doesn’t always mean bed sharing, it can also just mean sleeping in the same room, which is actually a good way to reduce the risk of SIDS. These co-sleeping options are fantastic, because you can either grab one that tucks to the side of your bed, or use the cot that goes in your bed.
11. Changing mat
Yes, you will be changing diapers a lot. But no, I personally do NOT think that you need a whole separate change table. You can use a changing pad on top of a dresser, or just buy a couple travel changing mats. We only used travel changing mats or our receiving blankets and it worked well for us. I highly recommend these JJ Cole changing clutches that also store wipes, and come in a ton of gorgeous prints (that you can also match to a baby bag).
12. Baby mitts
Okay, so this isn’t overly a necessity because you could just use socks (which I have done!), but the real thing is way cuter and actually MADE for hands, not feet. But truly, in a pinch, socks work! Tiny baby nails are razor sharp, so really anything that keeps them from cutting their little faces up is good for me. I recommend an organic brand in case the mitt meets the mouth – Goumikids makes great ones!
13. Baby care set
Nail clippers, thermometer, hair brush, medicine dispenser, nail files – you name it, this kit has it. I highly recommend it because it has everything you’ll need and you won’t have to worry about it in a desperate time of need.
14. Hooded towel
Another thing that isn’t a SUPER necessity, but in my opinion IS. I mean, you could just wrap baby in a regular towel, but then their head is never properly covered. Or if their head is properly covered, their body isn’t. That’s why these hooded towels are so great, they wrap around baby’s body perfectly, and keep their sweet bald heads warm, too.
15. Hats and bonnets
A few cotton caps for in the hospital are great to keep baby’s head warm, and then when you’ve brought baby home, to keep their head and face protected from the sun. My favourite sun hats and bonnets are from Little Sun Hat.
16. All natural wash and lotion
Baby will need a bath after a few days or a week (see reasons to delay baby’s first bath here), so having an all natural body wash/shampoo, and some lotion ready is smart. We like The Honest Company wash, and Tubby Todd as well. For lotion we love coconut oil – but if you prefer to purchase actual lotion, I recommend Earth Mama Angel Baby.
17. Blankets and swaddles
We used muslin blankets as swaddles and as regular blankets for B, and receiving blankets for spit up. I ended up tearing up the regular receiving blankets once we grew out of the acid reflux stage and started using them as rags (which is amazing, by the way!). But muslin blankets are so incredibly soft and flexible, they make the perfect swaddle. I recommend Aden + Anais. And for a winter blanket, especially to cover baby in the car seat during winter, I recommend The Resplendent. Avoid covering baby with loose blankets in the crib or bed.
18. Zip up one piece jammies
Zips are WAY better than snaps. WAY better, guys. It makes changes that much quicker, plus gives you quick access when baby is flipping out. Nothing is better than saving precious time! I really love Carter’s zip up jammies.
19. A stroller and/or a carrier
Personally I like to have both a stroller AND a sling/baby carrier, but you will choose which works best for you. For outings/walks with baby, you’ll want one or the other. I didn’t love our stroller, but it works for what we use it for. I just wish I could’ve had Brynn facing me, which is why I am obsessed with the Stokke Scoot stroller… baby is facing you! Or even better, the Stokke Xplory, which can rear OR forward face. As for slings for newborns, I love the Sakura Bloom slings, and Moby Wraps.
20. A rocker/bouncer
I am obsessed with the Mamaroo by 4moms which bounces and sways like moms do. The motions soothe baby in a way traditional swings and bouncers never could. They also have the Rockaroo which does a side to side motion, and the newest addition, the Bounceroo, which bounces and vibrates. So perfect for hands-free getting things done, or soothing baby to sleep.
21. A fan
Yep, this is a MUST. A fan gives white noise, which is soothing for baby and can help them sleep better, and the air flow from a fan can help reduce the risk of SIDS. This has nothing to do with the fact that I am obsessed with my own fan, I promise. They’re just very calming, and anything that reduces the risk of SIDS is a bonus in my book.
So what do you think? Did I miss anything? Is there anything on this list you don’t think is essential?
And please stay tuned for infant and toddler essentials – everything you’ll need after you’ve gotten through the first few weeks.