What You ACTUALLY Need For Baby

There are so many things that you need to buy when expecting a baby that it can be overwhelming. There are thousands of products and you seemingly need it all. Let’s just remember for a second though that most of that is due to great marketing and advertising. Sure you want most of it, but you don’t really need all of it. I remember going to Buy Buy Baby with my husband to complete our baby registry; we excitedly sat down with an associate who gives you one-on-one help, and she gave us a checklist of everything to put on the registry. The list was basically the entire store! I remember thinking that there was no way we would be able to afford all of it, and that we surely did not need it all either. But as a first time mom, how would I know if I needed it or not? Well, in an attempt to help some of you who are expecting, I have put together a comprehensive and realistic list of what I think is everything that you actually need for a new baby (and why).

  • Diapers and wipes: Of course this is a no-brainer, but I wanted to add a few tips though. Have a diaper raffle at your baby shower so you can stock up on diapers, and ask for them to be in a variety of sizes. You only need one or two boxes of size newborn diapers so don’t get too many. For a good deal on wipes I buy mine at Costco; I get the Huggies brand because they come with a free wipe box (not just refills). Because you can wait to stock up before the baby comes, see if you can get them on sale (they occasionally have them for $5 off). Costco is also great for diapers too, however, I like Pampers and Costco only sells Huggies as well as their own Kirkland brand. Trust me that certain diapers will retain their contents better than others, and every baby wears diapers differently so you may want to sample different brands to find the one that works best for you.
  • Burp Cloths: You will want A LOT of them, especially if you have a baby that spits up all the time. I constantly have a burp cloth or two (or three) at arm’s reach throughout my house! I would say that I have about 25 total.
  • Diaper Bag: You definitely want a bag to keep all of baby’s necessities in when you go out. This can either mean buying a diaper bag with specialized compartments, or re-purposing a bag that you already have! My husband asked that we get a backpack style bag because then he would feel comfortable wearing it, but I have also loved how it still allows me to be hands free as well.
  • Swaddle Blankets: This is one item that I suggest splurging on (and it seems that every other list I read thought the same thing). I think my favorite baby item was my Aiden and Anais muslin swaddle blankets. They are breathable so baby does not overheat, large enough to easily swaddle baby, and can double as a car seat cover and nursing cover.
  • Sleep Sack: R slept better when he was swaddled, and having a good sleep sack makes a huge difference. I got away with using my muslin swaddle blankets at first, but R quickly outgrew them and was able to escape like Houdini from a strait jacket. A good sleep sack will keep them more secure, and allow for easy diaper changes in the middle of the night. I loved my HALO sleep sack and chose it because it still kept his legs free; I had read that binding baby’s legs is bad for their hips but please don’t take this as medical advice.
  • White Noise Machine: Babies love white noise and I swear R sleeps better with it. I have a mybaby on-the-go sound spa which was only $10 at Buy Buy Baby. It is small and portable so we could take it with us everywhere (and I mean we took it EVERYWHERE when he was a newborn); it could clip onto his car seat or I would even hook it to my baby carrier to walk around. I still keep this on all night when he sleeps.
  • Medical/Grooming Supplies: A bulb aspirator is a must for a newborn to prevent them from choking on any spit up; the hospital gave us one it is that important so you may not even need to buy one. You need to have the basics like a thermometer, nail clippers, brush/comb. You will also want alcohol wipes/swabs (comes in very handy to tend to the umbilical cord if needed), baby Tylenol (you should have it in case you need it, you never know). Diaper rash cream, because you will inevitably need it. And lastly, you NEED a Nose Frida, trust me. I know it seems gross now but the first time your little one has a runny nose, it will be obvious why this is worth every penny. *I will also add that if you are circumcising a boy you will want boxes of gauze pads and a large tub of Vaseline*
  • Toys/Teethers: Toys can easily overrun your house so I am not saying to go crazy, but they are great for keeping baby occupied and giving them something to help them developmentally. You should have a few select toys, ones that serve multiple purposes to get the most use out of them. Also, after a few months your baby will start to teethe; it helps to have a teether for them to chew on so they don’t end up using your fingers all day.
  • Pacifier Clips: Pacifiers are subject to personal opinion, some people don’t even want to introduce one and that is fine. R stopped using one after a month on his own. The pacifier clip however will prevent you from losing your mind if you do use them. It also comes in very handy for small toys and teethers! I use one to keep a teether attached to the car seat strap at all times so he can’t chuck it while we are out.
  • Video Baby Monitor: Ok, so this may not be essential, but I love having one! Yes, I know that they are expensive and you can do without one. I told my husband there was no way I wanted to spend that much on one when we could get a normal monitor for cheap. However, he was right because it gives me so much peace of mind that I think it is worth it! Of course, you don’t need a monitor if you have baby in your room with you. We didn’t put R in his own room until he was 5 months and only bought the monitor then.
  • Waterproof Mattress Pad: Babies leak. You will want to prevent those leaks from getting on the expensive mattress you just bought for the crib. I have two so that if there is an accident in the middle of the night I have a backup.
  • Clothes/Linens: Of course, you already know you need to get clothes, but you don’t need to go overboard. And I am sure you already heard, but don’t get too many newborn clothes, they don’t wear then for that long! I didn’t really know how much I would need when registering for things so here is what I use:
    • Crib sheets- I would say don’t get more than 3 (I got 5 and it is way too much). You want to have more than one so if there are any accidents at night you have a clean one to replace it.
    • Onesies- I would say that I go through about 10-12 before it is time to do a load of laundry. Make sure you have a few long sleeves, but remember that you can always layer with a sweater if cold so I mostly get short sleeve.
    • Bottoms- You may not need an exact ratio of bottoms to tops; most days when we are just around the house I don’t even put pants on R. I am not sure if R just had long legs, but I always buy pants one size larger than his onesies. The pants don’t seem to be too much larger in the waist, but just slightly longer in the legs. This also helps because the fabric pants, not jeans, tend to shrink in the wash after a while too. I also LOVE footed pants because it still keeps their toes covered without having to worry about socks; the attached feet also prevent the legs from riding up constantly!
    • Footed pajamas– I would say to get about 6 of these. I prefer the snap up style for when they are really little; it seemed like the zipper kind were really bulky with the snap cover at the neck, and a few of the styles seemed like they were cutting into his throat. Again, I get a size bigger than his onesies.
    • Hats– I rarely used hats, I think I had way too many! I only used them when R was really little. He was also born with a lot of hair and they never stayed on. If you have a summer baby you may not even want hats, if a winter baby maybe just 2 or 3.
    • Mittens– Personally I think they are a joke. I learned quickly they never stayed on. What I found much more effective was using socks! Now hear me out, they are the same size as the mittens but fit more snugly on their hands so they don’t fall off, and they are thicker so they actually keep their hands warm. I will still do this with R, using the socks that he has outgrown.
    • Socks– They usually come 6 pair in a package. I would suggest buy two packs of the 0-3 month size (especially if you will use them as mittens too because this is the size I still use for R’s mittens so you will get a lot of use out of them). Once they need bigger socks I suggest only one pack, and don’t be afraid to buy them in a size or two larger than they need to get more use out of them.
    • Jackets– This depends on the time of year. I would say to always have one light weight sweater year round. In colder months you definitely need a jacket. I love buying sweaters/jackets with hoods because they help keep little heads warm without worrying about hats.
    • Blankets– As already mentioned I definitely recommend Aiden and Anais muslin swaddle blankets; you should only need one pack of 4. You also want one blanket that is a little thicker to use as a stroller/car seat blanket for colder months. This is not only an extra layer for warmth, it can be used to cover the car seat and protect baby from the cold and wind.
  • You will need someplace safe to keep baby when you need to put them down. This can be the crib, but you may also want some kind of swing or bouncy chair (when they are old enough to sit in it) to keep in the living room with you. The rock ‘n’ play is supposed to work wonders (especially helpful if your little one has bad reflux) and can double as a napper/bassinet so I am told. We had a pack ‘n’ play set up in the living room that we would put R in, when he would allow us to put him down that is. He hated his swing and only used it for a few weeks when he was older so to each his own.
  • You will need a designated place to change the baby. In my opinion, a changing table is pointless. If you really want this kind of set up I would say get a dresser changing table so you can still use it afterward. But honestly, once your baby is big enough to roll over and becomes a wiggle worm, you probably don’t want to change them on a high surface… I have always changed R on the floor and used a waterproof travel changing mat! It folds away when I don’t use it, can come with us in the diaper bag, and can be moved anywhere in the house that it is needed!
  • You will also need two pillows for feeding time. Yes, the Boppy is popular but not essential. But you definitely do want to designate a pillow (even one you already have) to help prop up baby at feeding time. You also want a smaller pillow for lumbar support to put behind your back; your back will be hurting enough as it is so make yourself extra comfy. You can even roll a bath towel to use instead of a pillow.
  • Last but not least, let us not forget the essentials which I am sure you know… But just in case… Definitely need a crib (the only case where this may be avoided is if you plan to cosleep until they are old enough for a bed and then put the mattress directly on the floor), and with the crib comes the crib mattress. You HAVE to have a car seat or you can’t leave the hospital so this is a non-negotiable item. Stroller is another typical must have, although I have heard some moms say that they exclusively use a baby carrier. The baby carrier is one of my favorite items! It is not essential because obviously you can get by without having one, but there are supposed to be so many benefits to baby wearing, and it is so convenient when we go out and don’t have to bring the stroller every time.

Ok guys, I know that was a lot and thanks for hanging in there with me. Hopefully you have a better idea of what we actually ended up using and loving with our baby (and why)! What about you other moms, was there something that you would put on this list that you loved?