It’s no secret that babies come with a lot of things: clothes, equipment, spit up, and emotions (for baby and its caretakers). so what you need to keep in mind, is that you don’t need everything that’s available for your baby. There’s basics that all babies need, and then the fun little add-ons that every parent can decide specifically on. Here is my take on the basics that are necessary for caring for a baby.
So what are the necessary items for a newborn baby? What are must have items for a newborn? Let’s talk about that.
We Started From The Bottom…
I’ve used almost all of the diapers available in the US. I’ll keep it simple. Luvs are great but Pampers Swaddlers are better. Huggies Little Movers are the best, especially for crawlers and walkers. Boom, easy.
Don’t worry about stocking up before hand. Baby can change sizes so quickly. You don’t want to get stuck with 200 size 1 diapers after baby has a growth spurt.
If you want to use cloth diapers, I suggest the brands that are adjustable and can grow with baby.
My absolute favorite is Huggies Natural Care. You don’t get a string of wipes every time you try to pull one out, they thoroughly clean the area, and they’re moist but not dripping. Wipes are easier for me because I think Huggies are just the best and everything else is pretty much the same. I don’t have a least favorite brand of wipes.
3. Diaper Cream
I always used Desitin or the Walmart brand and they worked best for my boys with regular diaper rashes. For bad rashes, I think Resinol is the best but it’s a bit too pricey for everyday use.
What To Feed The Baby
This is an obvious one if you’re planning on formula feeding. But don’t stock pile too much (unless it’s free) because you might stock up on Similac Advanced for instance but find out that baby has spit-up trouble or is lactose intolerant. Instead, designate a piggy bank, savings account, or envelope to formula money and stock pile that instead.
5. Electric Breast Pump
This is for the really into breastmilk feeding moms. It definitely makes pumping easier and gets more milk out than a manual pump. But use in conjunction with a manual pump to finish off every pumping session and make sure that every drop is out. Leftover milk storage in the breast can make your body think you don’t need to produce as much. Get every last drop every time.
If you don’t plan on breastfeeding, this is definitely somewhere that you can cut costs to divert that money into buying formula.
6. Manual Breast Pump
This is only necessary for the mom’s using their breast milk obviously.
Like I said earlier, it can be used to finish off every pumping session to make sure that every last drop is out. It also fits easily in a diaper bag, helps relieve clogged milk ducts, and is far more affordable if your insurance won’t cover an electric one.
I personally used this manual pump but this one is also highly recommended.
7. Nursing Cover
This can also help when feeding formula babies in public to eliminate distractions.
It can be a cover for nursing in public or in home, as a car seat cover, a blanket, and so much more. It’s a very versatile baby care item.
How To Feed The Baby
The best advise I can give for this is to get one of those sample packs so that you can try multiple different bottles and see what baby likes.
For more information about the variety of baby bottles available, check out my bottle review at the link below.
9. Bottle Brush With Nipple Attachment
There’s lots of bottle brushes out there and really anything will do, but definitely get one with a nipple attachment. It makes it a lot easier to clean gunk out from the tiniest inside part of the nipple.
10. Drying Rack
Any drying rack will do really but a drying rack made specifically for baby bottles is usually the best option. Many baby bottle brands also sell their own drying racks which are usually designed to hold the various little parts some bottles come with.
11. Burp Cloths
Almost a requirement for keeping you from needing to change your outfit multiple times throughout the day just you do with the baby.
Bibs aren’t just good for trying to keep babies clothes clean while eating food. As baby grows, it drools and spit ups enough to drown your entire home with you in it. This is the main reason I like bibs. They can catch the spit up and save you from a lot of added outfit changes and therefore laundry.
Transporting The Baby
13. Car Seat
Obviously. Aim for a travel system. They usually include the car seat, base, and a stroller that the car seat can easily clip into. Buying them all at the same time can bring down the cost some.
Don’t sideline this one. It means you don’t have to carry baby’s car seat everywhere (like through a mall or large store) and it can keep toddlers contained while in a crowded store.
15. Backpack Diaper Bag
Trust me, you don’t want to have to sling that heavy thing over your shoulder all the time. Give yourself the support of 2 straps and save yourself the back and shoulder pain.
16. Car Seat Liner or Cover
Especially useful if baby will be born in the cold months (if you get cold months). In my neck of the woods, we use something like this when it’s the coldest out. This kind is helpful when it’s a bit brisk out but not full blown winter. They can also help keep the sun off of baby.
17. Baby Wrap or Carrier
Makes going out in public so much easier. And can help baby get to sleep when teething is really bad. It’s wonderful for bonding and comforting as well. This is the wrap that I’ve used with both of my boys. I’ve also got this carrier and it’s worked wonders when we go hiking.
18. Car Seat Toys
Just don’t get the ones that hang out of reach. Sure baby can look at them but once baby is old enough to know that they can grab things, they can’t reach the toys and that’s just mean to baby in my opinion.
Calming The Baby
Remember, you can just wean them off of it later. But trust me, it will save you many sleepless nights and can help in training baby how to sleep on their own and not while being held, rocked, bounced, etc. Save yourself the anguish early on.
Note: Many doctors recommend still holding off on pacifier usage for breast fed babies until they have an established latch to avoid potential nipple confusion.
Most Pack n Plays have one built in but you can still get the sweet ones with the frills and lace.
21. Crib or Pack n Play and Sheets
A Pack n Play can be used as a bassinet with the attachment and then the regular section can be a crib if you want. My oldest had a crib for most nights but while we moved, he slept in his Pack n Play. He never had a problem with it. My youngest however wasn’t ready to go to his own room but was rolling so I needed to get him out of his bassinet. He did not like the mattress in the Pack n Play one bit. So I was thankful to have a crib with a thicker mattress to move him to.
You can also save money in the long run by getting one of those cribs that converts into a toddler bed. I have this one that can be a crib, toddler, bed, day bed, and full size bed.
Finally, have at least 3-4 sheets for the middle of the night spit-ups, blow outs, pee outs, pukes, etc.
22. Swing or Bouncer
Use in moderation. I’ve known many parents who found their baby became sleep dependent on the swing. But their also helpful to get baby more inclined and strengthening their back muscles to be able to sit on their own. Giving the baby something else to do besides play on the floor or be held can save you from a baby who fusses until they’re held.
23. Baby Blankets
Not to be used in the crib due to SIDS risk but they can be great for in a car seat on a chilly day that isn’t cold enough for a full blown car seat cover.
The small thin ones make great burp cloths when needed. Both of my boys have taught me they are also great teethers.
24. Night Light
It’s not really for baby to not be scared of the dark, it’s so you can see to get to baby during the night without having to turn on the light and really wake up you and baby. Buy one, even a cheap one, and save yourself from tripping over the laundry basket at 3 AM.
25. Baby Monitor
I used this with both of my boys and it was fine. It even reached clear across out house to the deck. The parent unit can be plugged in or run on batteries. It also has a clip on the back to attach to your pants, bag, etc.
I’m not gonna say that I never wished for a monitor with a built in camera. It would have been so helpful to know if baby was being quiet because he was asleep or because he was playing with his pacifier. But I’ve heard from a lot of people offline and online that they can and do get hacked. I don’t need anyone outside my house knowing that I’m home alone with baby or what window they could get caught climbing through.
26. Changing Pad and Covers
Not necessary, I’ve changing plenty of diapers on the floor and on my bed (didn’t always go over well). But can be helpful to have a specific place to store diaper changing items. I’m not going to say that you should get a changing table for with the changing pad. Sure there’s some nice ones out there and I do like the ones attached to the crib, but other furniture can work just as well. I used a 32 inch tall dresser with both of my boys. I already had it, the wood stain matched with their room, it was the right height for me, the top drawer happened to be the perfect height for a diaper to stand up on it’s side, and also happened to be the same depth as a sleeve of diapers. It was magical.
Caring For The Baby
27. Boppy Pillow
Whether breastfeeding or not, it’s helpful to make holding baby easier. And if you have a C-section, the pillow works as an added cushion to push into your abdomen when you need to cough or sneeze. They can help baby learn to hold their head up during tummy time and they’re great for a picture taking.
28. Body Wash and Shampoo
Just remember to keep the umbilical cord stump dry. Go for a nice moisturizing one like this. The perk of having a “hair challenged” baby is that you get to save on shampoo.
29. Soft Bath Towels
Hooded towels if you want to but any soft towel will do.
30. Baby Lotion
Baby skin may be soft, but it can dry out quickly. There’s lots of lotions available, and I won’t make recommendation as to what to use for your baby, because every baby is different. Find whatever works best for you and your baby.
31. Bulb Syringe
Nose Frida if you want to go that route, some moms swear by them. The typical, blue bulb syringe worked fine for me.
Oral is very commonly used and is great for cooperative children who are old enough to site still until the reading is done. It’s said though that the child needs to have not drunk anything hot or cold for 20 minutes before the reading is taken and the child’s mouth needs to have been closed for 2-3 minutes as well. But the reading for this one won’t be accurate if it doesn’t stay under the child’s tongue the entire time.
Ear (tympanic) thermometers can be a bit pricey but are very quick reads. Doctor’s don’t recommend this for babies as it can be hard to keep the tip in place in an infant. A build up of earwax can also skew the reading.
Underarm is very easy use and is said to give the least accurate reading. 1 degree Fahrenheit needs to be added to get the most accurate reading. A chilly room can throw this reading off as well.
Rectal is the most accurate and it can help with constipation. Really only works on babies, older kids fight it of course. Dab a little bit of petroleum jelly of the bulb first. This thermometer takes 10 seconds to get a reading.
My pediatrician always asks for a rectal reading if I call in with a high temperature reading from any other device.
33. Children’s Tylenol, Motrin, Benadryl, or Generic Versions
ALWAYS CHECK WITH YOUR DOCTOR before administering medications like these. Some of these medications are restricted by age.
Motrin and Tylenol are used for pain and fever reducing.
Benadryl can be very helpful when allergies rear their ugly head but they aren’t severe enough to illicit an ER run, just a pediatrician call.
My Best Friend
34. Zout Stain Remover
I want to state this again, this is not a sponsored post. It has affiliate links, but it is not sponsored. Specifically by Zout. I just love it so much. I could do an entire post about how much I love Zout.
When we announced that we were having a second baby, I sent my oldest to daycare in a white shirt with green, hand painted lettering saying, “I’m gonna be a big brother!” He ended up being given red Kool-Aid, you can imagine what happened. This was at 9 AM, I got the shirt home, sprayed, and in the wash at 5 PM. When it came out, I expected no change.
The red was completely gone! But the painted letters were fine! It worked just as well with my youngest son’s sleeper after he had beets for the first time (he liked them at least). But by the the end of the jar, the boy looked like he’d mauled a squirrel to death.
You can use whatever stain remover you prefer I guess but I’ll still worship Zout like a god.
Remember, what brands work for you and your baby may be different from what worked for us. Always do what’s best for you and your baby and love them while they’re little!
Wanting some more shopping advice from someone who’s been there? Check out the link below!