Help prepare for your baby’s arrival by reading through this list of 62 baby essentials. Before my daughter was born, I thought I knew about all the baby essentials I needed to have. I spoke with family and friends about their suggestions. Many of these suggestions were useful, such as my friend recommending a pregnancy pillow, which helped a lot during my second and third trimesters.
However, there were quite a few baby essentials I didn’t realize I needed until after I gave birth. I’ve listed 62 baby essentials to help prepare you for your baby’s arrival.
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What Baby Items are Essential?
- Car Seat
Keeping your baby safe in the car is one of the most important things you can do. A car seat is a must-have on your list of baby essentials. The AAP advises parents to keep their children in rear-facing car seats until age 2, or until they reach the maximum height and weight for their seat.
My recommendation is to choose a stroller that has a cover on the top to shield your baby away from the sun as much as possible. Also, many strollers have storage baskets on the bottom, which is very convenient. You also want a stroller that’s easy to move around.
- Disposable diapers
Don’t underestimate how much diapers you will need for your newborn in the first year! There’s a reason why baby shower diaper raffles exist. You will need a ton of them in the first year. Pampers was one of my favorite brands, because they did not leak compared to other brands I used.
- Cloth diapers
If you want something more eco-friendly or to save money in the long run, cloth diapers could be an option. I never tried cloth diapers for my daughter, but a friend had tried these cloth diapers and highly recommended them due to cost savings in the long run.
- Baby wipes
Similar to diapers, you will be using ALOT of these in the first year, so be sure to stock up. They have scented and unscented versions.
- Baby Wash
There are some baby washes that you can use for both the baby’s hair and body. I love using Aveeno for my daughter. It was recommended by my daughter’s pediatrician, due to her sensitive skin. In fact, my daughter still uses it to this day!
- Diaper Pail
Some may argue this is not a necessity, as you can throw away diapers in a regular trash can. I beg to differ. In the beginning, I tried not to use a diaper pail in order to save money, but the smell of baby pee and poop eventually dominated the regular trash can. For me, the diaper pail was a worthy investment.
- Baby no-scratch mittens
I did not buy this item, but a family member gave this as a gift. I didn’t think my baby needed this, but boy was I wrong! She kept scratching her face with her hands. Once I put the mittens on, there were no more scratch marks since the mittens covered her nails.
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Baby Things to Buy Before Birth
- Nursing bra
You won’t need this prior to giving birth, but I highly recommend you buy this before giving birth to have it ready once your baby arrives. If you’re trying to save money by thinking a nursing bra is not needed, think again! Nursing bras are specifically made for mothers who are nursing.
After I gave birth to my daughter, I was very uncomfortable in the chest area. The nursing bra provided a lot of the support I needed to help relieve that discomfort.
10. Nursing bra pads
This was one essential that never crossed my mind before giving birth. I never knew about “leaking breasts” after birth so I had to deal with wet t-shirts and bras. I initially tried to use Kleenex to help absorb the milk but that wasn’t really helpful. Once I bought the nursing bra pads, I was wearing dry bras and shirts once again. 😊
- Nipple cream
This was another one of those items that I thought was a non-essential, but shortly changed my mind AFTER I started breastfeeding. This is a must-have if you are going to be nursing your baby.
- Formula (If you choose not to breastfeed or to supplement breastfeeding with formula)
Some friends of mine who formula-fed their babies recommended Similac.
- Pregnancy Pillow
I used a pregnancy pillow throughout my pregnancy, but it didn’t start to really come in handy until the second and third trimesters. The pillow helped increase my comfort level during these times.
- Maternity Clothes
The most important thing about you choosing maternity clothes is that you’re comfortable! I suggest leggings and clothing that will allow you to move around freely.
When you choose a crib, don’t forget to also get the mattress, sheets, and a mattress waterproof protective cover.
- Baby Monitor
Having a baby monitor on your list of baby essentials is a must. You’ll need this for times when you’re in a different area in the house, making meals, taking a shower, or doing other various tasks.
- Electric breast pump
Lack of sleep was definitely one of the most hardest things for me to experience when I was breastfeeding. I strongly recommend using an electric breast pump to have an extra supply of milk readily available. Someone else can feed the baby while you get much needed sleep!
- Baby bottles
Whether you breastfeed or choose to give your baby formula, baby bottles are definitely on the list of baby essentials.
Most Essential Things a Newborn Baby Needs
If the baby feels hot, but you’re unsure if there’s a fever, a thermometer will come in handy.
- Nasal aspirator
I had no idea what this was until someone gave this as a gift and explained what it was. Again, I thought this was another non-essential until my daughter had dried mucous bits that were difficult to take out with tissue. Having a nasal aspirator nearby is an essential to get those bits out of the baby’s nose.
- Nail clippers
This was also a necessity as my baby kept scratching her face. You’ll want to keep your baby’s nails trimmed as much as possible to help avoid her leaving scratch marks on herself.
My baby had a full head of hair when she was born! Having a comb ready is a plus.
- Long sleeved tops
- Baby Beanies and Hats
- Swaddle blankets
Babies are not as adaptable to temperature changes compared to adults. In the beginning, you will want to use swaddle blankets to wrap them to help regulate body temperature.
Baby Essentials and Non Essentials
- Diaper Bag
Diaper bags will come in very handy once your baby is born. You will need a bag to store all those essentials when you are out of the house. Don’t just rely on your purse – trust me!
- Baby tub
I used a baby tub to shower my baby in the first year. For safety reasons, never leave your baby alone in the tub.
- Car window sun shade blocker
I didn’t realize my baby needed this until we took her home for the first time and the sun was in her face. We ended up using a blanket to cover the window for that one time, but invested shortly after in a sun shade blocker.
- Burp cloths
It’s amazing how so much “stuff” can come out of someone so small. You will want to invest in burp cloths to keep your clothes as clean as possible.
- Diaper rash cream
Babies getting diaper rash is not uncommon. Luckily, my daughter barely had diaper rashes. When she did get them, we used Desitin which worked well for her.
38. Nursing Pillow
You’ll need support for those many times you will be nursing your baby.
Non-Essentials but Recommended
- Baby shoes
Before my baby was born, I bought baby shoes but realized in the first 9 months that they were more of an accessory, rather than a necessity. Your baby doesn’t walk yet until later so shoes are not really essential until they start walking.
- Changing Table
Having a changing table was convenient so I didn’t need to always lean over the bed to change the baby. After I gave birth, I had lower back pain, so leaning over all the time on a bed to change the baby didn’t help my back pain at all. I decided to invest in a changing table, which was much easier on my back. It’s not really an essential, but it’s definitely nice to have.
- “Baby on Board” Car Sticker
It’s bad enough with all the unsafe driving that goes on out in the world, but it can be even scarier when you have your baby in the car with you. Although it’s not a guarantee that other people will drive more cautiously, having a “Baby on Board” sticker/decal on your car can give other drivers a heads-up that you got precious cargo in the back.
- White Noise Machine
Having a white noise machine will help mask outside noises that would otherwise bother your sleeping baby. I put this down as a non-essential because some parents have told me that once their baby is sleeping, no outside noise can wake them up! However, it’s always nice to have.
- Baby carrier
Baby carriers are convenient when you are outside the house. It also promotes attachment with your baby since they’re physically closer to you.
- Bottle drying rack
Even though this is a non-essential, I still bough a bottle drying rack because we needed more room to dry the bottles. Our dishwasher rack was already full with other dishes.
- Baby bottle warmers
Baby bottle warmers are good because they can be helpful in heating the milk up to the right temperature for your baby.
Baby Essentials for the First Year
- Baby bathrobe
It was much easier for me to wrap my baby in a bathrobe than a towel after her bath.
- Baby gates
Once your baby is able to crawl, baby gates will be useful to keep her safe and out of trouble!
48. Teething toys
Teething toys came in super handy when my baby was teething. She especially loved chewing on these toys after they came out of the freezer.
49. High Chair
Once my baby was able to eat solid foods, a high chair helped support her body while she was eating.
50. Baby Bibs
51. Baby solid foods
When we started out my baby with solid foods, we used Gerber pureed foods. She loved it as she ate any Gerber food we gave her (sweet potatoes, peas, carrots, prunes, bananas, etc.).
- Baby solid food maker
Another option is to puree the food yourself. I didn’t do this, as I found the Gerber pre-packaged foods to already be useful, but many parents choose to puree the foods themselves.
53. Baby Books
Baby Non Essentials for the First Year (but Recommended)
- Bouncy chair
This keeps a baby entertained since they’re not able to walk yet.
- Activity floor gyms
This is another recommended form of entertainment for your baby.
- Crinkle baby toys
My daughter loved these types of toys where she could hear the sound of paper crinkling inside a toy. Something about the sound was really soothing to her.
57. Baby Rattles
58. Crib toys
59. Baby photo album
We do live in the digital age, where pictures are mostly stored electronically, but I do recommend having a baby photo album on hand. Although it’s non-essential, there’s something special about having something physical on hand to look through, like a photo album with your baby pictures in it.
- Meal kit deliveries
You’re going to need all the help with grocery shopping during the first year of your baby’s life – trust me on this! There are services that deliver meal kits to you with the ingredients already measured out for you. This service is very convenient, as you don’t have to physically go to a grocery store to pick up the food items.
You just order the meals you want online and they deliver the ingredients to your doorstep. I highly recommend Hello Fresh. I’ve been using them and their ingredients are fresh and delicious.
- Meditation Online
Welcoming a new baby in your life is exhilarating and exciting, but it can also be exhausting and stressful. As mothers and human beings, we need to be healthy in our minds to live happy lives. Research has shown that meditation can have positive mental benefits.
I’ve talked to several new mothers who mentioned they used to do meditation but no longer do so because of their crazy schedules. I was one of those mothers until I discovered an online meditation program, which gave me the flexibility and tools to do meditation successfully, while having a hectic schedule as a working mother.
Sometimes we need someone to talk to, in order to help manage our stress better or deal with any depression or anxiety. Your life may make it difficult to get to a therapist’s office with your new responsibilities as a mother. Online therapy is a more convenient way to help you deal with stress, depression, or anxiety.
Your mood affects your baby, so even if some may debate that therapy is a “non-essential” for stressed, depressed, or anxious mothers, think about how your overall mental presence can affect your well-being, as well as your new baby.
I hope this list of baby essentials helped you get an idea of the baby essentials you will need to help with your pregnancy and your baby on the way. Congratulations on your bundle of joy!