Click image to download printable checklist.
A friend who was in her third trimester recently asked me what basic things I was using for our second baby boy. As many of us have, she went to Babies ‘R Us to register for her precious little one and was overwhelmed by the hundreds of products and choices. All those towering shelves are a lot to digest! How much does one tiny person need?
I learned my lesson with my first son. My best friend, who has a son five months older, graciously passed down all of the clothes and paraphernalia that were given to her from multiple people. She warned me that it was a lot, but I was excited about my first baby and went on my merry way stuffing the drawers and closets full. After he changed sizes a few times, I finally sorted through all of it and and gave about half of it away. It was just too much to keep track of and organize.
The second time around I decided to simplify and edit even more. The truth is newborns don’t really need that much, it’s as they get older and harder to entertain the stuff takes over! This is everything we used after we came home from the hospital the second time:
Newborns grow so fast it’s not worth investing in an extensive wardrobe or cute outfits that make them look like little adults. They sleep most of the time anyway!
- 8 SLEEPERS WITH FEET
Zippers and the ones with mittens that flap down are great.
- 4 ONSIES
For warm weather
- 3 SLEEPING GOWNS
Makes nighttime changes quicker (and easier since you barely have your eyes open to snap all those buttons that never seem to line themselves up)
- 1 or 2 FUN, NON-PAJAMA OUTFITS
For meeting grandparents, etc.
- 2 PAIRS OF SCRATCH MITTENS
- GENTLE LAUNDRY DETERGENT
You don’t need to buy special baby detergent that’s marked up. We use Eco — inexpensive, light fragrance and works well for baby and adults.
I really never used hats or socks, but I live in Florida, so you may want to add these.
- CHEMICAL-FREE BABY SOAP
- CHEMICAL-FREE BABY LOTION
- 2-3 HOODED TOWELS
- PLASTIC BATHTUB
I use this one because it has a sling that can attach for newborn babes.
- CHANGING PAD
You can skip the changing table and just put the pad on the top of a dresser or table.
- 2 CHANGING PAD COVERS
- DIAPE GENIE AND INSERTS
So this isn’t a basic need, but it’s nice when you’re changing a stinky diaper every two to three hours.
- 2 PACKAGES OF 24-COUNT NEWBORN DIAPERS
They grow so fast we were on to size 1 when they finished these.
- DIAPER CREAM
My favorite by far is Burt’s Bees diaper cream. It works amazingly well and it’s 100 percent natural.
- HYDROCORTISONE CREAM
I feel like our pediatrician tells me to put hydrocortisone on everything — bad diaper rash, eczema, cradle cap …
- BABY NAIL CLIPPERS
- SYRINGE FOR BOOGIES
You can take this from the hospital before you leave.
- 3 CRIB SHEETS
I realize this isn’t a basic need, but it really does help. Try this one by Fisher Price, it lights up at night so you can get five more minute of shut eye once they’re a couple months old. Consignment shops have them a lot of times for a fraction of the cost, too.
- 3 MUSLIN SWADDLE BLANKETS
These are great — big enough to swaddle, cool enough to use in summer months.
- 4 RECEIVING BLANKETS
- NIGHT LIGHT
It’s not a good idea to turn the light on in the middle of the night because baby will fully awaken, but you need to be able to see where you’re wiping!
This part varies so much from family to family. I am breastfeeding and here’s what I use:
- BREASTFEEDING COVER
The covers look like aprons, but have a metal piece at the top to make it pop out from your chest a bit so you can see what’s going on in there.
- LANOLIN CREAM
This one is for you. Trust me here, I learned the hard way!
If you’re a stay-at-home-mom you can invest in a small single pump. But if you’re working and planning on pumping at work, it’s probably worth it to go for the double pump.
- STORAGE BAGS
- 4 TO 6 4-OUNCE BOTTLES:
People are very particular about their bottles, but I need to throw out there that it was life-changing when someone told me that the Dr. Brown bottles will fit right on the Medela pumps! They do have more pieces than the traditional bottle, but it helps with gassiness and acid reflux.
- 8 BURP CLOTHS
- 4 PACIFIERS
Ask for one at the hospital. You might not want to use it right away to avoid nipple confusion, but at least you’ll have an extra (sort of free) one for home. We used these in addition.
On the go
- INFANT CAR SEAT
This helps you see what’s going on in that rear-facing car seat while you’re driving.
- DIAPER BAG
Other items you might want
It’s just nice to have a place to put baby down in those rare moments he’ll let you. And when they’re older, they’ll like to make it bounce with their feet and the dangling toys keep them occupied.
This one is sort of a draw. One of mine liked it, the other one refused it. It was a hand-me-down so it didn’t matter much my first one didn’t care for it, but if I had paid $120 I wouldn’t have been very happy.
When I was learning about all the baby items I was apparently supposed to buy the names were cracking me up. Boppy, Bumbo, bouncer. I couldn’t keep them straight. So just to be clear, a Bobby is a U-shaped pillow you can use to help prop baby up when you’re breastfeeding. You can also use it to put behind them when they’re learning to sit up. (Or for you to sit on when your bottom is healing after delivery!)
Hopefully this list will help you create yours. In my third trimester, both times I felt like I was stockpiling for the end of the Cold War, never to leave home again. But the truth is if you forget something you can actually leave the house with your baby! Or if you’re too tired and don’t want to get out of PJs, order it online.
As the baby gets older you’ll see what you need to buy here and there — a Pack ‘n’ Play if you take a trip or a baby carrier if he won’t leave your side — but for now it can wait and you’ll appreciate the simplicity.
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