Newborn Baby Essentials – What You Need and Don’t Need
Having a baby is so exciting and shopping for baby stuff is so much fun! But it can also be overwhelming, and you can get carried away with all the adorable options out there. When I was having my first baby I researched and went through countless newborn baby essentials lists to make sure I had everything before my precious little one arrived. I also ended up buying a lot of unnecessary items that I hardly ended up using. By the time I had my third baby the checklist was reduced by half. The below newborn baby essentials checklist is my opinion of what I believe you need and what you don’t need. I've also shared my experience and favorite products. Our full range of newborn baby essentials are also amazing! These brands weren't around when my kids were born but I would recommend to all the new mommies out there! Remember that your wants and needs may differ based on your circumstances and lifestyle.
What newborn baby essentials you need from the beginning
Newborn Baby Clothes
Most parents often buy way more clothing than the baby needs purely because they are so cute and irresistible. But how many clothes do you really need? Well, this depends on a few points:
- How often you do laundry. If you do laundry once a week then you can follow the below quantities. If you do laundry twice a week then you can cut the numbers by half.
- The sizes of the clothes. I didn’t start buying newborn baby clothes until my 3rd trimester. The reason is that you get a fairly good idea of the baby's weight/size by then. Babies grow quickly so you can get 1-2 newborn sizes of each type of clothing but focus more on the 0-3 months size. All my kids grew out of their newborn baby clothes within the first month! If you have a bigger baby, then they might not even fit into the newborn size.
- The weather. When and where your baby is born sets the size you need for the type of clothes. For example, if your baby is born in June in Dubai, then you need to buy summer clothes in 0-6 months size (it usually doesn’t get cold in Dubai till December) and winter clothes in 6-9 months size.
- How much you’ll take the baby out. Let’s be honest, no matter how adorable some outfits may be, they are not practical or comfortable for a baby to wear at home. If you plan on staying home the first month or so after birth, then you don’t need too many going out clothes. However, if you’re a social bird and plan on going out 2-3 times a week or more with your baby then you definitely need more.
What you need:
- Bodysuits/onesies (7-10). If your baby is born in the summer, then this is pretty much all they stay in! This is a key baby essential for newborn clothes.
- Undershirts (7-10). In the summer you don’t need these, but you do for the winter season. If you do want your baby to wear undershirts in the summer opt for the sleeveless ones. For winter in Dubai, the half sleeve ones are sufficient, but if you live in a colder place then definitely get the long sleeve ones.
- Sleepsuits (7-10). I preferred to get footed pajamas as my kids hated wearing a blanket and would always kick it off. This is another key baby essential for newborn clothes.
- Going out clothes (3 to 10). Depending on the gender of the baby this can be newborn baby dresses, skirts, shorts, pants, tights, etc. The quantity depends on how much you plan to go out.
- Hat/Cap. Depending on where you live, you would need 1-2 for summer and 1-2 for winter.
- Cardigan/sweater (2-5). If you live in a warm place like Dubai, then you could get by with 1-2 but if you live in a colder place then you may need up to 5.
- Socks or booties (4-6 pairs). Even in the summer, you'll want to keep your baby's feet covered. My favorite was Trumpette socks that come in adorable styles!
What you don’t need but are nice to have:
- Special outfit. A special outfit to bring your baby home in or for a religious ceremony or celebration you may be having for your baby. I’ve kept the special outfit to pass on to my children when they have their first child.
- Shoes. This is a temptation so hard to resist, but babies don't need to wear shoes until they've learned to walk. If you do still want to get shoes, go for soft-soled ones available on our site.
- A sleeping bag. These are great for babies who don’t like blankets, but my kids just didn’t like them. We carry organic cotton sleeping bags that are worth checking out.
- Baby hangers for the closet. You need these if you plan on hanging your baby's clothes, but I kept my baby’s clothes folded in a dresser for the first year.
Baby Care Basics
What you need:
- Pacifiers (2-3). I personally don’t believe in pacifiers and never needed one for my first two babies, but I did give in with my third baby. So, if you do opt to use one, choose one that is BPA-free, orthodontic, and the right size. There are a lot of brands in the market and you may have to try a few to see which one your baby prefers; my favorite (and luckily my kids as well) has been the Avent range.
- Thermometer. This is an absolute must in any household with children. My favorite has always been the Braun Thermoscan, it’s easy to use even with a fussy baby and very reliable.
- Petroleum jelly. Whether you use it for sensitive skin, dry skin, or a diaper rash, the uses of petroleum jelly are endless.
- Infant Tylenol. It's always a good idea to keep a new bottle in the house. Babies can get a fever from a vaccine or teething so you never know when you might need it.
- Nasal aspirator. Babies can get very irritated if they have a blocked nose and a nasal aspirator works like a charm in these situations. I’ve always used the Fridababy NoseFrida Nasal Aspirator.
What you don’t need but good to keep on hand:
- Teething gel/ointment. I was lucky enough that my children didn’t get fussy about teething, but I did keep one in the house.
- Saline nose drops. Babies often get a blocked nose, it could simply be from the air conditioner. Having these drops around the house helps to clear the baby’s congestion so they can sleep better.
- Antigas medicine/remedy. Babies can get gassy very easily, and sometimes it can be painful. I would give my baby fennel tea once a day to avoid them becoming gassy. I did keep antigas medicine at home as well as a backup if needed.
GroomingWhat you need:
- Hooded towels (2-3). The most practical towels are the hooded ones, check out our full range of super soft Towels. While you may be tempted to buy those cute baby robes, they are impractical. I mean it’s hard enough to get a baby dressed let alone get them in a robe! I’ll be honest, I did buy one because they were so darn cute, but I only used it a couple of times.
- Washcloths (2-4). There are so many uses for a washcloth. A baby’s skin is very delicate, so a washcloth is the best way to exfoliate during a shower or use to dry a baby's bum if you prefer to wash rather than use wipes. You can also use it to wipe the baby's face and body on days you decide not to shower them. The coolest use is to convert it into a teether by moistening and freezing the washcloth for something cold and soothing for the baby to chew on.
- Infant bath seat/tub. It's scary to bath babies, even with my third child I was still so careful. You need a good bath seat and tub. Get one that converts from a seat to a tub. My favorite was the Skip Hop Moby Smart Sling 3 Stage Tub as it came with a sling that had 2 positions which you could use until the baby started sitting and then you could remove it to use only the tub.
- Baby bath shampoo/wash. Opt for a product line that has the least amount of chemicals and is more natural. My absolute favorite brand is Original Sprout, not only because it’s vegan but it smells incredible! We have the full collection available in our Skincare section.
- Baby cream. Just like adults, babies also need their skin to be moisturized. The Scrumptious Baby Cream from Original Sprout is amazing! All my kids had eczema when they were younger so creams that helped were the Aveeno baby line and Cetaphil.
- Baby oil. There are many benefits to massaging your baby in the first year and I prefer to use oil while massaging.
- Baby comb/brush. These adorable little beings need to be styled and their super soft head needs a baby comb or brush.
- Nail scissors/clippers. You can use either a scissor or clippers or a combination of both. I used a scissor for the first year and then switched to a clipper.
- Cotton balls. For the first few weeks, these are great to clean your baby’s eyes or any other sensitive areas.
- Bath toys. You may not need them, but those rubber duckies sure keep the baby busy while you get them cleaned up! It’s also a good idea to keep the toys in a mesh bag in the bathroom to keep the tub tidy.
- Bath thermometer. I was always scared that the water may be too hot for the baby. I would test it by putting my hand in to make sure it was luke-warm. If you want to be sure a bath thermometer would be handy to have.
- Faucet guard. If your kids like to stand up and play in the tub, then it’s a good idea to have a faucet guard to protect their heads from bumps and bruises.
Diapers and AllWhat you need:
- Newborn diapers (1-2 packs). My favorite brand for all three of my children has been Huggies. They are soft, have never given my babies a rash, don’t leak, and fit well.
- Natural wipes. Go for natural wipes, my favorite brand is Water Wipes, which only came into existence by the time I had my third baby. My baby never had rashes with the use of natural wipes.
- Diaper rash cream. Before natural wipes came into my life, I had to deal with the occasional diaper rashes with my first two children. My favorite go-to rash cream has always been Desitin. If you want to avoid rashes then wash your baby with water rather than using wipes.
- Waterproof changing table pad with 2-3 covers. If you opt for a changing table then a waterproof pad will save you from having to wash the pad when there is an accident, and there surely will be! Having 2-3 covers will spare you from washing as you can have more than one accident in a day.
- Diaper pail or trash can with a lid. I never used a diaper pail and if you don’t opt for one then you must get a good quality trash can with a lid because the smell does get unbearable.
- Wipe warmer. Would you use a warm wipe to clean yourself? Ok, don’t answer that! Why would a baby need one, they will be just fine with a room temperature wipe or better yet wash their bum with luke-warm water.
Furniture and GearWhat you need:
- Crib with a teething guard or a co-sleeper. When my first baby started teething, she would bite the crib rail and the paint started chipping off! That’s when I realized how important a teething guard is.
- Crib mattress with 1-2 waterproof mattress protectors. To avoid having to wash the mattress and leaving stains, you should invest in a waterproof mattress protector. No matter how careful you are, there will be spills, leaks, and other accidents.
- Fitted crib sheets (2-3). Fitted sheets ensure a safe sleep environment for your baby. You shouldn’t keep anything loose in your baby’s crib.
- Crib bumper that ties securely. While some people believe this can be a SIDS risk, my babies always ended up banging their heads against the wooden rails. I would double-knot to ensure the bumper didn’t get loose and checked this every night before putting my baby down.
- Cotton receiving blankets (2-3). A soft blanket is something we all want, and for a baby, it's all the more important for the delicate skin. Check out the softest receiving blankets by Malabar Baby.
- Swaddle (2-3). There are so many benefits of swaddling your baby for the first few months. It helps a baby feel safe and cozy because of which they sleep better. Our range of organic muslin swaddles are worth checking out.
- A baby monitor with a good range. A big house or small, it's easier to watch the baby while you're watching TV in the living room or cooking in the kitchen.
- A car seat that fits a newborn to toddler. Hospitals do not release you without a car seat so it’s a good idea to have this ready and know how to install it in the car before the baby comes along. Invest in a car seat that grows with the baby, I have one that you can use from newborn to 5 years.
- A stroller that accommodates a newborn. There are many great options to choose from, but a stroller is a significant investment. When selecting check the features, weight, and add-ons like additional seats, if you want to think long-term with multiple children.
- Diaper bag with lots of pockets. A good diaper bag is a key to your sanity on the go. One that is waterproof and with lots of pockets helps you keep all the newborn baby essentials organized so you can easily find what you’re looking for. My favorite bag is the Skip Hop range and I’ve been using the sugarSNAP Diaper Bag Organizer Files which is an absolute lifesaver!
- Front carrier. There are lots of options and I feel this is a personal choice based on what you are comfortable to wear. Carriers are very handy when you’re traveling with a newborn or need to make quick trips and don’t want to use the stroller.
- Bassinet. If you live in a big house or visit your parents a lot, then a bassinet can come in handy as you can keep it in the living room or take it with you.
- Changing table. This is a personal preference as to where you want to change your baby. Since I had a c-section it was easier for me to change the baby on my bed with a changing mat. I later realized that a changing table is better to have for your back.
- Pillow. Babies don’t need a pillow until they are 1 year, in fact, it poses a SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome) risk. Babies should sleep on a firm, flat surface.
What you need for breastfeeding:
- Nursing bras (3-6). These are pretty much all you will be wearing as long as you are breastfeeding. If you don’t want to be washing them every other day, the quantity should be the number of normal bras you have.
- Nursing pads (1-2 boxes). In the initial few months, you will need nursing pads as you do end up leaking.
- Cotton bibs (6-10). Babies spit up a lot, I would go through up to 6 in a day when I was breastfeeding.
- Burp cloths (6-10). The number of times I had to change my shirt in a day was crazy! It's also a good idea to keep 2-3 in your diaper bag.
- Breast pump. If you are mostly home, then a manual breast pump is fine since you won’t be pumping a lot. However, if you are working and need to use it daily then I’d invest in an electric one as your hands do start hurting after a while with the manual one.
- Nipple cream. For the first few weeks or month, you will need this, and I can't tell you enough how helpful it is. My favorite and most effective was lanolin nipple cream.
- Breast milk storage containers. This depends, if you are mostly home then you can store breast milk in bottles and then just warm up the bottles. This is what I did. But if you are leaving breast milk for someone else to feed throughout the day then it’s a good idea to get containers.
- Nursing pillow. If you want to splurge on one it’s up to you but a regular pillow does the same job.
What you need for formula feeding:
- Bottles with newborn nipples (3-4 pieces). A lot of sites mention more bottles, but I would keep 3 large and 1 small bottle at a time, wash often and replace every 3 months. My favorite brand is Avent but babies have their own taste so you may have to try a few brands if your baby doesn’t like the first one you select.
- Bottle-cleaning brush. Not much to say here but do make sure there is a nipple brush attachment.
- Bottle sterilizer. While this is not on many 'need' lists, it was a must for me. I always sterilized bottles, pacifiers, and anything else that was going into my baby's mouth for the first year. I used the Avent sterilizer to go with my bottles; if your bottle and sterilizer are of different brands then the bottles may not fit into the sterilizer.
- Can of baby formula (1-2). Again, your baby may or may not like the taste of the brand you select so don’t stock up. The formula I selected didn’t suit my baby and later I was told by our family Pediatrician she was lactose intolerant, so I had to change the brand and type. Also, remember that once a can is opened you can generally only use it for up to 3 weeks or as per the period written on the package.
- Cotton bibs (6-10). Babies spit up a lot, but not as much when formula-fed as compared to breastfed babies.
- Burp cloths (6-10). The number of times I had to change my shirt in a day was crazy! It's also a good idea to keep 2-3 in your diaper bag.
- Insulated carrier for outings. I would fill hot water in bottles and keep them in the insulated carrier so they would stay warm while out. Dry formula dispenser. Whether you are going to the mall or visiting your family, it is easier to carry dry formula in a small dispenser with compartments where you can put the exact amount you need per bottle. Who wants to carry a can of formula on the go?
- Bottle-drying rack. This is a preference, if you want to keep your baby’s bottles on a separate rack then go for it. My sterilizer came with a dishwasher basket, so I kept the bottles in it to dry as well.
- Bottle warmer. I bought one from my first baby’s checklist and I barely used it. A bowl with hot water does the same thing in the same amount of time.
Baby Activity and Toys
While I wouldn’t categorize these as needs, some items are totally worth buying for the baby’s development and to keep them busy while you get your house chores done.
- Activity gym / playmat. There are several overwhelming advantages in getting an activity gym or playmat: assist in developing in visual perceptual skills, promoting hand-eye coordination, gives them tummy time which helps muscle strengthening, learn cause and effect by pushing, pulling or dropping the attachments, and propel your baby into a world of tactile stimulation. Check out our range of playmats some of which can also be used as storage!
- Bouncer seat or infant seat. If you want to get things done around the house, then this is a great item to buy. It is also a good alternative to a swing if you don’t want to spend too much.
- Rattles. Apart from amusing a newborn, rattles help infants improve hand-eye coordination by stimulating their senses. Check out the Ollie Ella Raya Rattle we carry on our website.
- Soft books. Reading to babies not only establishes a wonderful shared activity but also important for your baby's brain. The roots of language develop in a baby's brain before they can even talk!
- Stacking blocks/rings. Both building and stacking boost hand-eye coordination as well as fine and gross motor skills.
- Stationary activity center. Babies absolutely love it! They are so much fun as babies play with the attached toys and push off with their feet and. The age bracket for this item is generally between 4 to 9 months.
- Stroller toys. Having toys in the stroller, attachable ones, keeps the baby busy while on the go. Get toys that crinkle, rattle, squeak, or have a mirror as they help in the baby's development.
- Swing. I got the Fisher-Price swing as a present for my first baby and it was amazing! Babies fall asleep in it right away and sleep for hours.
What newborn baby essentials you need from 4 months onward
Feeding – Solid Food
What you need:
- High chair. A simple one does the job. For my first baby, I bought an expensive one with a cushioned seat, toy basket, and other features. With my third baby, I realized a simple one does the same job and for this particular product, you don't need anything fancy.
- Bibs. Getting your baby in the habit of wearing a bib at mealtime is essential if you want to save yourself from piles of laundry because babies always drop food on their clothes.
- Infant feeding cutlery. Age-appropriate, non-breakable cutlery preferably with suction is important as babies start exploring and learning to self-feed. Check out our mealtime collection.
What you don’t need:
- Baby food processor. So, I bought one for my first baby as I was ambitious enough to make purees. I soon realized this was a waste because my baby wouldn’t eat any of the purees I’d make. More so, you can pretty much do the same thing with any other processor or blender you have at home.
- Mess mat to keep under the high chair. It’s inevitable, babies will drop food all over the place. Having a mess mat will keep your floor clean and stain free.
What you need:
- Gates. If you live in a 2-story house, then this is a must at the top and bottom of the stairs. If you live in a single-story house, then you can put in places you don’t want the baby to enter; I had one in the kitchen entrance.
- Cabinet/drawer latches. We installed these everywhere! The refrigerator, spice cabinet, cutlery drawer, and the list goes on.
- Power outlet covers. Babies have a habit of sticking their tiny fingers where-ever possible so these are an absolute must!
What you don’t need but it’s a good idea to have:
- Corner guards for walls, tables, or any sharp edges. Unfortunately, I've had many visits to the ER because of my kids running around, tripping and hitting their head on the corner of a wall or table. The need for this also depends on your house and furniture, otherwise, I would have put this as a need.
- Toilet lock. I can't tell you the number of times I've had to take coins, toys, and other interesting things out of the toilet and the fascination babies have of putting their hands inside! To avoid all this chaos, it's easier to just install a toilet lock. On the other hand, you can wait and see how creative your baby gets!
So, there it is, I truly hope my newborn baby essentials checklist helps you craft your version. I would love to hear your feedback in the comments section below.
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*Note: All the product recommendations are purely my personal experience and preference, they are not a paid product promotion.
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