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The 10 Items You Need for a New Baby

When I was pregnant, I was at a loss for what we really needed when it came to preparing for a new baby. With the crazy amount of products on the market, shopping for baby stuff can be seriously overwhelming! While we wanted to be as prepared as possible for our new arrival, we also didn’t want to be stuck with excess items that we wouldn’t use.

In fact, I really could have used a list like this one.

Despite my best efforts, we still wound up with extra items that we didn’t use, and not enough of the items that we really did need! Hopefully the following round-up will help my fellow friends and future parents avoid this situation by navigating the necessities.

Here are My Top 10 Must-Have Baby Items:

1. Swaddle blankets.

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I had no idea how many swaddle blankets you need with a newborn– which are not to be confused with receiving blankets. (To be honest, I’m still not sure what to do with receiving blankets!)

I think we only had two of these blankets when our little guy made his arrival, but by the end of the first week, we had ordered 4 more! I love these muslin swaddle blankets by Aden & Anais. They are large enough to create a tight swaddle, but are also thin and breathable, to prevent over-heating. With all of the spitting up and diaper leaks those first couple of months, we found that 4-6 blankets were useful to have on hand.

*If you need more help with getting a tight swaddle, you may also want to try the Miracle Blanket. Our son slept 5 hours straight the first time we wrapped him in it! It quickly became a staple at bedtime.

2. The Happiest Baby on the Block.

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This DVD is essential for new parents. I borrowed the book from a friend, but watching the DVD is invaluable for seeing and learning these amazing techniques to calm a fussy baby. I also learned how to create the perfect swaddle from watching this, something that I didn’t accomplish even after getting assistance from the nurses at the hospital several times.

3. My Breast Friend Nursing Pillow.

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This is hands-down the most helpful nursing pillow on the planet. It’s ergonomically designed to support your back and position your baby exactly where he or she needs to be for each feeding. I love how it snaps to your waist and has a pocket for storing a water bottle or TV remote– perfect for those first few weeks when you’re glued to the couch or bed! I recommend buying an extra slipcover, as we had to change ours at least once daily for washing.

4. Baby Carrier.

Screen Shot 2014-02-04 at 11.43.01 PMI tried a variety of baby carriers, including the Moby and Baby K’tan wraps, but the Ergo is by far my favorite. The infant insert allows me to do practically anything and everything hands-free (including cooking!), with my baby safely nestled against my chest. It’s actually his favorite way to nap, and allows me to stay productive at the same time.

What sets the Ergo apart from the other wraps is that it’s structured to provide extra-support for the baby, and is easily adjustable so that my husband and I can both wear the same carrier! I honestly don’t know what I’d do without this thing.

5. White Noise Machine.

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Babies love sleeping to white noise, and we love that this machine comes with an auto-timer, but will also play the noise all night long. We sleep to this noise at full-volume every single night! When our baby sleeps well, we sleep well… noise and all.

6. Somewhere to sleep.

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Speaking of sleep, your newborn will need somewhere to safely do that! We had originally intended for our baby to sleep in his crib in our bedroom, so we bought this Nook Pebble Pure organic crib mattress for a safe and breathable sleeping environment. This was probably the most expensive purchase we made when it came to baby stuff, but since babies sleep 12+ hours a day, we thought it was a worthwhile investment that would last.

However, it turns out that bed-sharing works best for our family (using these safe co-sleeping guidelines), so our little guy will just have to enjoy this mattress in the future.

*For naps, I use this video baby monitor to check on him, without disturbing his sleep. Sometimes he’ll nap in the MamaRoo, too. (The only swing he’s ever liked!)

7. Clothing.

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One thing that I found most frustrating about preparing for a baby was that no one could tell me exactly how many items of clothing I would need in each size. Since we do laundry daily, I’ve found that we really only need about 4-6 outfits in each size (newborn, 0-3 mo, 3-6 mo, etc.). Any more than that is not a necessity– just for dress up!

Depending on the weather, you may also want to keep a jacket and hat in each size, for layering. And plenty of socks! Since they fall off easily, and somehow magically disappear in the laundry, you’ll most likely want at least 4 pairs of socks in each size.

8. Diapers & Wipes.

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You’ll need plenty of these with a new baby! We cloth diaper, which probably deserves a whole post of its own, and absolutely love these GroVia diaper shells with prefolds. They are just as easy as using disposables (my husband agrees!), but are WAY cheaper and non-toxic.

As an added bonus, prefolds can double as burp cloths.

For wipes, we use these cheap washcloths and a wipe warmer. And we use this diaper pail with cloth pail liners, for easy laundry duty– the whole bag goes into the wash each night!

*We also skipped buying a changing table. Instead, we change diapers in our bassinet or crib, lined with these flannel crib pads.

9. Bath Tub

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I love this Puj Tub for bathing our son in the sink. It keeps him at waist level, so I don’t have to bend over, and it stores flat against our fridge with magnets– so it takes up virtually no space in our small apartment! I’ll be sad when he out-grows it, but we’re still going strong at 5 months.

10. Car Seat

Screen Shot 2014-02-05 at 12.21.53 AMYou can’t even leave the hospital without one of these. I found it difficult to find information on non-toxic car seats, but vehicle safety was our top priority when choosing this essential item, anyway. We went with the Britax B-Safe Infant Car Seat, and let it air-out for months before our baby was due to arrive, hoping it would help with any potential off-gassing. We’ve been very happy with it so far!

I hope this helps with any future baby shopping and gifting!

Reader Feedback: What’s your favorite baby essential? Is there anything else you’d add to this list?

33 comments to The 10 Items You Need for a New Baby

  • This is a fantastic round up. I love it and I think it’s a very useful look.. new parents want to know these details moreso than the technical stuff! Also, it’s refreshing to have a mama that has aligned views share her tips. I’m pro swaddling, baby wearing, and cloth diapering and I don’t plan to use a stroller .. it feels good to see this here and know which items you recommend!

  • Sarah

    Thank you so much for this! I am 19 weeks pregnant and my mom just asked me what I’m planning to do for a registry, and I was thinking I had no idea! This is soo helpful!

  • Jessica

    Totally agree with everything on here! I also found that the rock n play, baby swing, bumbo, and saucer/jumperoo were also essential the first year! My daughter LOVED her jumperoo around 5 months until she could walk.

  • Brenda

    This is a great list. I’d love to “pin” this on pinterest for future reference. How do I do that?

  • Pretty much exactly what I would have said! After 4 months of baby, I’m definitely glad we didn’t buy a bunch of stuff, too. I have also found that a swing has been super helpful for naps as well. My fave carrier is a relatively new one, the Emeibaby. It’s like a ring sling and structured carrier all in one, and no infant insert required!

  • Sarah

    It is **so wonderful** that you did this, I’m sure it will be so helpful for new/expectant moms. I wish someone had done this for us! Unfortunately we had to learn the hard way. :) The only thing I would add -and which I think it is safe to say saved our sanity and our marriage with both kids! – would be the wonderful and amazing book, “Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child” by Marc Weissbluth, M.D. It is so informative and eye-opening; and whether or not one chooses to follow his guidelines/plan for naps, sleeping times etc, I highly recommend reading it if only to understand what healthy sleep means and how it should look, how vital it is, the effects of poor/insufficient sleep, and more. It sounds like common sense knowledge, but incredibly it actually contains a lot of surprising and new information (for us at least!) From how to know when to put your baby down before they get overtired (looking for “drowsy signs”) and why that’s important, to learning *how* to put them down, to understanding how important healthy sleep is for Mama and Papa too – and how to achieve it! – I found this book invaluable. !! :)

  • Deirdre

    I totally agree with your list and I have a 5mo as well. There are a few things that we have that are slightly different, like a different white noise machine and breastfeeding pillow, but overall I would make the same list! I now buy every pregnant friend the miracle blanket and the Happiest Baby DVD. The two of those saved my life and allowed our daughter to be a happy and calm baby.

  • Caitlin

    I use cloth diapers also but I just can’t do it when I am out and about anymore now that babe is 15 months. I need my diaper sprayer! I know there’s diaper liners but the poo doesn’t stay only on the liners and they clog toilets. I am thinking about trying the disposable inserts but they are pricey.

  • Fredda

    Pacifiers. Without a doubt.

  • Thanks for this! Not pregnant yet but hoping to be by the end of this year! Already filing away information like this on my secret Pinterest board. :)

  • Denise

    Great list! Loved the Aiden and anais blankets for swaddling. If you have a baby girl in the future, she will find a use for all the receiving blankets. My girls “swaddle” their baby dolls with them ;-)

  • LW

    Does the wipe warmer have disposable wipes in it? Or are you able to heat your terry cloths?

    • Megan

      It actually comes with 4 terry washcloths, and I do use it keep my cloth wipes warm!

      • LW

        That’s awesome! I didn’t even know that existed! I thought they were just for disposable. It’s really nice to know about all the environmentally friendly options. I also would be really interested in a cloth diapering post. Love your blog!

  • Lindsay

    I would love to see a whole post on cloth diapering!

  • Thank you for sharing this great list! I am 19 weeks pregnant and all the choices for baby products can definitely get overwhelming. I just pinned this for future reference!

  • Laura

    Great list! I agree with the items on your list. I have a 2 month old and feel like I’ve returned so many items due to trial and error. I would add zipper onesies and the Rock n Play. We have a beautiful crib our baby unfortunately hates and sleeps next to me in the Rock n Play. Also, when I’m changing him in the middle of the night, zipper onesies are so easy.

    I would also recommend renting a pump from the hospital instead of buying one. I had to pump and bottle feed and now supplementing with formula due to my work schedule. Now, I have way too much pumping gear that is really expensive and cannot be returned. So, in case breastfeeding doesnt work out, I believe it’s better to hold off on all of the pumping supplies.

  • What a great list! I am so grateful for posts like these. Not pregnant yet, but one day! :)

  • saniel

    High chair/seating, stroller(jogging)

  • Thank you, Thank you, Thank you!! As a new momma, this really helps!

  • This is a great list! We’ve got an almost 1 year old and definitely went through the tricky “what do we really need?” Our son truly did not like to be swaddled, he sleeps with his hands above his head. I used receiving blankets to put under him when we changed him until we got better at it and then cut them up to make cloth wipes. We cloth diaper as well. I use bum genius AIO’s. We like them a lot, although it changes a bit when they start eating solids. You’ll see : ) I want to try this white noise machine, we cosleep but he still wakes up 3-4 times a night so I’m curious if that might help.

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  • isa

    LOVED to read that your family shares the bed!! So do we, after 2.5 years, and we get oh so many strange looks, and unnecessary comments… it really all boils down to what-ever-works-for-your- family!

  • Tara

    Wow, I agree especially with what you said about baby clothes! My son received a ridiculous amount of hand-me-downs (in perfect condition) from his cousins, plus we received all those gifts that people just can’t stop themselves from giving, and there were baby clothes everywhere! I felt obliged to put him in each outfit at least once, yet of course there were favorites that I wanted to put him in all the time. It became this bizarre source of real stress for me and I vowed that if I have another child, there will be way less clothes but more frequent laundry! (I also learned that spit-up left in the laundry hamper too long gets mouldy – oops – another reason to just do laundry more often).

  • Amber

    Thanks so much for this list! I was wondering what’s the best/most convenient way to clean the dirty cloth diapers?

    • Megan

      If they are still breastfed or formula fed (no solids), you can just throw the diapers in the washing machine without doing anything extra. They just need a soak cycle before you add the detergent. Once they start solids, you’ll need a method for removing the waste– we just ordered a sprayer that attaches to the toilet, to keep things hands-free! (We ordered this one: http://amzn.to/1kDR51g)

  • Ludivine

    LOVED this post! We are expecting our first baby and I am definitely a little overwhelmed with all the baby stuff. I just want to make sure we have what we need before the baby comes, not stuff we will not use. I also greatly appreciate the info on cloth diapers as we are strongly considering this over disposables. One quick question, what are you using for bottle feeding? I was thinking of glass bottles instead of plastic but am not sure. Any thoughts?

    • Megan

      I’ve actually never needed to use a bottle, so I don’t have any experience with them. From talking with my mom friends, it sounds like babies can be very picky about the type of nipple on the bottle, so I’d probably start with a glass bottle first and try various nipple attachments on it to find one that works best for baby. Best of luck to you!

  • Lisa. T

    i am hoping to start by baby on solids soon and was wondering if you could recommended any good baby cookbooks that are really healthy?

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