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Checklist of Essentials for Your Newborn

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Discovering that you are going to be a parent can lead to a lot of joy. It can also lead to a great deal of stress and anxiety.

So how can you release this stress? Retail therapy! 

However, as tempted as you are to go out and buy everything in your local baby shop’s “must have” list, cease and desist. You will probably be forking out more money and buying more products than you or your baby really need.

We have developed the definitive checklist for expectant parents. This list is based on our own experiences, supplemented with feedback we have received from other parents and online user reviews. 

These are items that we believe are essential for a newborn. Look out for our “nice to have” checklist for other, non-essential items that are good to have for an infant.


Essentials for Baby


Travel Gear and Accessories


  • Stroller: Get a stroller with a car seat add-on attachment (if it is not a travel system)
  • Car seat and car seat base: Get a car seat compatible with your stroller


  • Crib: If you are planning on getting a portable crib then you can wait to get a full-sized crib till the baby is a little older
  • Mattress: The mattress should be firm, with no pillow tops, to avoid suffocation
  • Mattress cover: A plastic mattress cover helps protect the mattress from pamper leakages, etc.
  • Fitted sheet for the cot: Get 2-3 fitted sheets for the crib
  • Swaddles/ receiving blankets: We recommend getting 2-3 small and 3-4 large unstitched swaddles. Try and get swaddles made from breathable materials, like muslin, to avoid any chance of suffocation. Also unstitched swaddles can later be used to cover your baby



As your baby grows older you will need to add to this list accordingly. However this is a good start and is sufficient for your newborn’s first few months:

  • Newborn convertible nightgowns: Get 6-8 nightgowns that are front open, allowing for easy access for diaper changes. These convertible nightgowns are nice as they can be converted to footed pajamas in case you need to take your newborn outdoors
  • Soft cotton hats: Get 3-4 light cotton hats to keep baby warm. Make sure the hats are not too thick to avoid over-heating your newborn
  • Socks/booties:  Get 3-4 pairs of socks or booties
  • Mittens: 2 sets of mittens should suffice.  Babies have very sharp nails and since their nails cannot be trimmed till they are at least a few weeks old, mittens are a good way to prevent them from scratching themselves
  • Cardigan/bunting snow suit: If your baby is born in winter, get a cardigan/jacket or bunting snow suit to get the baby back from the hospital, or for when you take the baby outdoors
Bath and Hygiene


  • Burp cloths: Get around 5-6  large burp cloths so you can put them on your shoulder while burping baby
  • Bibs: Around 6-8 bibs are sufficient
  • Wash cloths: Get 7-10 soft wash cloths for bathing baby and wiping small messes
  • Bath tub: Get a bath tub with ridges, to prevent slippages, and also a removable sling for newborns
  • Baby bath towels:  Get 3-4 bath towels, preferably with hoods so you can cover baby’s head after a bath
  • Baby wash: Get baby soap or baby liquid wash, preferably the fragrance free variety 
  • Nail clippers and nail files
  • Diapers: All babies grow at a different rate so it is difficult to gauge sizes and quantities. A safe bet is to get 2 boxes of newborn diapers and 1 box of size 1 diapers to begin with. Buy more as the need arises. We also recommend that you buy at least two different brands in the newborn size to see what works best for your baby. Your hospital might give you diaper samples from different companies as well
  • Wipes: You can use reusable cloth wipes (2-3 dozen) or disposable wipes (buy at the rate of 70-150 wipes a week). Reusable wipes are ecologically friendly and are cheaper than disposable wipes. Disposable wipes, however, are hassle-free and less messy. If you are using disposable wipes get the unscented and alcohol free kind
  • Changing mat: You can opt to get a changing table. However, we found it easier to simply go with a changing mat – it’s portable and doesn’t take up much space.


  • Bottles: Get around 3-4 small bottles (4-5 ounce bottles) and 3-4 big bottles (8-10 ounce bottles). If you are planning on breastfeeding then using wide neck bottles is best as it mitigates nipple confusion issues to some extent. First Years Breastflow also makes nipples that lets babies control the flow of milk, by using both suction and compression motions, to closely mimic breastfeeding
  • Formula: If you are just formula feeding then this stays in the essentials list. If you are breastfeeding, this should be in the “nice to have” list.


General Care and Safety

  • Baby lotion: Organic, fragrance-free lotions are probably best for your baby’s gentle skin
  • Diaper rash ointment: There are many different types of diaper rash ointments. Depending on the severity of the rash, the following types of diaper rash ointments can be used:
    • Mild diaper rash: Use diaper rash ointment with petrolatum or lanolin
    • Moderate diaper rash: Use diaper rash ointment with zinc oxide
    • Severe diaper rash: Triple paste (a combination of zinc oxide, petrolatum and other ingredients) should be used.
  • Petroleum jelly: This is handy for a number of things- from soothing baby’s chapped lips to lubrication for a rectal thermometer
  • Hand sanitizer: This is useful for you as well as guests who will inevitably want to touch the baby. Also, buy a few travel-sized bottles to keep in your baby’s bag in case you need it while traveling
  • Baby proofing items: You should be thinking about baby proofing (for e.g., fire extinguishers, carbon monoxide detectors, etc.) from day one. Baby proofing becomes even more critical after the baby starts crawling and can get places unassisted. Some basics include tap covers, corner guards, gates, power outlet covers and safety locks and latches
  • Baby first aid kit
  • Thermometer: There are many different types of thermometers that you can chose from:
    • Rectal thermometers: Probably the most accurate but some people prefer the other options as they are less intrusive
    • Ear-canal thermometers: These are fairly accurate but are expensive and you need to understand how to use them properly
    • Armpit thermometers: Less accurate than rectal and ear-canal thermometers and can be difficult to use on a wriggly baby
    • Temperature strips: These are easy to use. However, they are less accurate than rectal and ear-canal thermometers
  • Nasal aspirator: This is essential to draw mucus out of your baby’s nose. If you are using the regular bulb aspirator, make sure you understand how to use it to avoid any tissue damage in your baby’s nose. You can also use Osefrida The Snotsucker, which features a tube that is placed against, instead of inside, a baby’s nostril


Essentials for mom


The following items are essentials for the new mommy and can make her recovery as well her breastfeeding journey a lot easier.

  • Sanitary napkins
  • Pain killers: Some acetaminophen or ibuprofen is needed for the aches and pains after the birth of a baby. If mommy had a C-section, she will probably need to get some prescription pain medication
  • Breast pads: There are a lot of breast pads in the market but only a few adequately absorb milk without itching too much. Try a few brands before investing in too many of one kind
  • Nursing bras: Get 3-4 nursing bras that can be worn by mommy around the house and that can be worn on trips outside. Generally, the nursing bras should provide a lot of support, should preferably not be under-wired, and be easy to undo when it is time to nurse


Photograph Credit: Copyright (c) <a href=’http://www.123rf.com’>123RF Stock Photos</a>

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Contributed by saimaismail

Saima is the Editor-in-Chief, and co-founder of Bright Babyhood. She is a management consultant and a Columbia University alumni. She currently spends her days managing and writing for Bright Babyhood, and brainstorming ways to convince her toddler to eat. You can find her writings at www.BrightBabyhood.com.

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