There is an infinite amount of baby stuffthat is marketed to moms (and parents) as things babies will “need”.While preparing for your new baby to come home it seems like you are constantly purchasing things to prepare. Take a deep breath – as long as you can feed, diaper, cloth and love your baby, he or she will have everything they “need”. You may be surprised to hear that newborn babies actually needs very little the first few weeks, so don’t let this list overwhelm you. Purchase and register for what fit your lifestyle, not what you see on other people’s registries.
I came to learn how little babies need firsthand, and not entirely by choice. My husband, my son Charlie, and I lived in 6 homes in Charlie’s first 6 months of life. Yes, you read that correctly – SIX! Due to an unfortunate series of events that included a delayed apartment renovation and the pandemic, we have been bouncing around from place to place since December 2019. Not only did it show me how little a baby really needs (nope, he did not need a bottle warmer, wipe warmer, or even a fancy baby monitor), but also how adaptable a little one can be as long as he has his mommy, daddy, and lots of love.
On the flip side, this situation did allow me to test out a bunch of various options for the things we did need and recognize the items we just couldn’t live without. For example, baby activity gyms or play mats are something that I would suggest having from the beginning. They are a safe and easy place to put a newborn on and fun as an infant learns to sit and play. You can check out the ones I love here. I digress…
If you are creating a registry, getting ready for a baby or want to purchase someone a nice gift, here are the things that I suggest you should include. I’ve also created printable checklists at the very bottom of the page so you can physical check things off as you order and receive things (scroll down).
Save or pin the registry image below if you think you might need it for later!
A lot of parents, myself included, feel anxious around newborns and sleep due to the risk of SIDS. I think its important to note that SIDS is extremely scary, but also rare. It has also been steadily on the decline since the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has put out strict sleep guidelines which you can fine here: AAP Safe Sleep Recommendations
- Bassinet or crib – Many parents choose to have their newborn sleep in a bassinet in their room the first few months, as recommended by the AAP, so you may not need a crib right away. If space is an issue, I would suggest starting out with only the bassinet
- Bassinet or crib sheets – I’d suggest a minimum of 3 sets of sheets to prepare for a middle-of-the-night spit up or diaper accident. No one wants to do laundry in the middle of the night
- Crib mattress – A lot of mattresses are designed for infants to use on one side and toddlers on the other. This is a good 2-in-1 option so look out for this when picking yours, and make sure you are using the right side
- Mattress protector (waterproof) – This is important to keep your mattress in good shape.
- Swaddles – Velcro swaddles are life-changing. I could not figure out how to swaddle using a regular swaddle blanket if my life depended on it! These are fast and easy to use for those middle of the night diaper changes
- Swaddle blankets – These are so soft and great to drape over the stroller, put on the floor, over the couch, etc. My baby nurse was also a magician and swaddled Charlie like a little cozy burrito using these
- Wearable blanket – We transitioned Charlie into a wearable blanket pretty early and he is still wearing them to bed. We are lucky we are blessed an amazing sleeper!
- Sound machine – This is a must-have in a small apartment or busy house to drown out other noise. Charlie is a great sleeper and always has been, but I don’t take any chances by not using the white noise setting. Baby registry favorite!
- Video monitor or audio monitor – We travel with this audio monitor and its perfect. It is easy to get obsessed with watching the baby on the monitor and ruin your own sleep. Before Charlie was born, I was all about getting one of the monitors that track the baby’s heart rate, and my husband shut it down because he thought it would feed into my anxiety. I’m so glad that he made that decision for me and we went with a simpler option!
- Bottles – I have used these Avent glass bottles from the beginning, but some babies do have preference to which bottle they will accept. Before you purchase a 5-pack of one type of bottle, it might be a good idea to try out a couple and see which one your baby accepts
- Drying rack – Unpopular opinion alert: Do not, I repeat, do not get the grass drying rack because you have seen it on everyone else’s registry. The one I have linked takes up a third of the space and fits more bottles! Your mom friends are going to go right onto their amazon app and make this purchase when they see it at your house. Baby registry fave!
- Bottle brush – The drying rack above comes with this brush, so don’t double buy, but you definitely need a bottle brush
- Bottle soap – Pick something that is fragrance-free and safe for babies
- Formula – We use organic Similac, but you may need to choose a different type of formula based on your baby’s needs
- Cloth bibs – Formula, breastmilk, spit up…need I say more? (Tip: Check out the Best Bandana Bibs To Elevate Your Baby’s Outfits)
- Burb cloth – We used these under Charlie’s chin in replace of a bib sometimes. You really can’t have enough of these super soft burp clothes
- Electric breast pump* – Electric breast pumps are often covered by insurance – check out the Aeroflow Website to see if you qualify
- Nursing bra* – These are not sexy, but they are incredibly comfortable and get the job done. I’ll admit that when I was done breast feeding, I was sad to go back to normal, underwire bras!
- Hands-free pumping bra* – You have to have your hands free if you are going to pump. This bra kept the pump on tight enough to allow me to pump completely hands-free
- Nipple balm* – Breastfeeding hurts the first couple of weeks. This organic nipple balm really helped soothe me, but I’ll be honestly nothing completely helps the pain except time for your body to get used to it
- Nipple covers (protectors)* – These gave me LIFE. I was shocked by how much my nipples hurt from breast feed, and equally as shocked by how much these simple silicone protectors helped. These were given to me by my angel lactation consultant to whom I am forever grateful. I wore them day and night the first couple of weeks so nothing was rubbing against my nipples
- Milk storage bags* – If you are going to try to pump and build up a stash, these bags will be necessary for freezer storage
- Haakka Manual Pump* – I had a trouble producing in the beginning (most likely due to my induction and c-section). This thing worked like a charm and most moms have amazing success with it. I am sure that it helped me increase my supply in the beginning. Must-have for a breast feeding/pumping mama!
*only purchase if breastfeeding/pumping
- Diapers – Start with 1 Newborn pack and 1 Size 1 pack. You’ll see what size you need to continue to purchase after that when the baby is born – my little guy grew out of the NB size quickly
- Wipes – Going with a fragrance-free option reduces chance of a bad reaction on the babies tushy
- Wipes dispenser – This makes it easier to grab wipes with one hand and also keeps them moist longer
- Aquaphor tub for changing table and tube for diaper bag . We used Aquaphor for everything – diaper changing, dry skin, under the chin to protect Charlie’s skin from drool. This is good to have in the house
- Changing table / dresser that doubles as one (topper)
- Changing pad
- Changing pad cover – Changing pad covers can add a lot to the nursery design if you choose to get a colorful one. They are usually pretty soft. I’d suggest having a 3 on hand in case there are changing table accidents
- Changing pad disposable liners – This is the best pro tip from my baby nurse. I guarantee you will be running back to this link the first time your baby poops or pees on the changing table. Registry must-have right here!
- Diaper pail – A lot of diaper pails start to smell after a while – I think it is inevitable. This one seems to have the best luck keeping smells in and not holding on to them after the garbage bag is taken out
- Diaper pail bags – These fit in the pail above. Unfortunately, I don’t have anything exciting to say about diaper pail bags
- Everyday Stroller – If you live in a city, where you are NOT taking the stroller in and out of the car I recommend the UPPAbaby Vista. It’s the best out there and probably my number 1 registry must-have item. It steers like a dream. There is a ton of storage space below. The bassinet for a newborn is so comfortable, Charlie would pass out every time we went for a walk. It can actually be easily taken off the stroller and used as your bassinet at home if you purchase this bassinet stand. It comes in the most gorgeous colors and is perfect for a growing family who needs to transport more than one babe! Definite registry must have!
- Convertible car seat to stroller – This registry item is tied for 1st place with the UPPAbaby Vista. It’s a registry must-have for any city mom. The Doona makes traveling with your little one so seamless. The stroller folds right up into a car seat – or should I say the car seat becomes a stroller? Its hybrid functionality makes traveling with a little one so much less stressful. The car seat base can be kept in your car, but this car seat can also be safely buckled into your in-law’s car, cabs, Ubers, Lyfts, etc. with no base. Most importantly, it scored a 5-star safety rating for front collisions
- Car mirror – Since babies start out facing towards the rear, mirrors are really useful to see their little faces from the front seat
- Baby fleece wrap – I want this in my size! These are so cozy and warm, and fit in both the stroller and the car seat. This one specifically, is safe for car seats due to the open back – not all are. Registry must-have for winter babies!
- Stroller gloves – Are you even a Manhattan mama if you don’t have these stroller gloves?
- Baby carrier or baby wrap – I wasn’t initially sold on the baby carrier thing, until I had to fold a bunch of laundry and Charlie wouldn’t let me put him down. Carriers also make going for walks or errands much easier than a clunky stroller. Tip: I purchased a carrier without back support and my back started hurting within 15 minutes of carrying the baby; I recommend a carrier with lower back support
- Diaper backpack – There are so many cute ones to choose from, but whatever you decide to get, just make sure it is a backpack. You will want to be able to be completely hands-free to carry the baby and the bag, so you will be happy you went the backpack route
- Activity mat – If you read the intro to this post, you know about my love for activity mats. They start out as a safe place to put a newborn down and become a place for tummy time, play time, learning to sit – and just their own little place to have their stuff. I love the look of this playmat and Charlie loves it too. We have recently started to use the tent part of it and it makes for a fun game of peek-a-boo! You can check out the other ones I love here.
- Bouncer Chair – These chairs are another great place to put down your little one when you have to have your hands free. The slight bouncing motion calmed Charlie down so quickly. The Baby Bjorn Bouncer is a little expensive and I will warn that they grow out of these relatively quickly so if you are looking for a spot to cut back I would say go with this Fisher Price version. We had this in Florida and Charlie liked it just as much
- Boppy newborn lounger – This is a no-brainer. You will use this all of the time the first couple of months. At least half of the pictures of Charlie the first couple of months are of him on his Boppy lounger. This is a registry favorite must-have. Do not leave baby unattended and always refer to AAP for sleep guidelines
- Dock-A-Tot – I love the designs of the Dock-A-Tot, but it is more expensive than the Boppy. It’s a really nice option because it’s a safe place for a newborn to nap while you are watching. The sides make it cozy. We “docked” Charlie in it on the floor or the couch all the time in the beginning. My only complaint is that, unlike the Boppy lounger, it is completely flat. Not all babies like laying completely flat, especially right after they eat. Do not leave baby unattended and always refer to AAP for sleep guidelines
- Boppy pillow – I didn’t use this for nursing, but I know a lot of people who did. We use this as Charlie got older when he was sick of laying on his back, but not able to sit on his own yet. This is a great way to transition into sitting. Even once the baby starts sitting on their own, its useful to put behind them so they don’t bonk their head when they fall
Tip: Check out the Best Baby Carriers of 2020 on Babylist
- Towel – Clean, little babies cuddled up in a towel with a hood has to be the cutest thing of all time
- Washcloths – Pick out some soft clean washcloths to have when you bring the baby home. You’ll eventually use them in the bath, but you’ll use them for sponge baths the first couple of weeks before you are able to put your newborn in the tub (before their belly button falls off)
- Bathtub – There are so many different kinds. Don’t get the one you saw on your friend’s registry. Get one that works best for your living situation. Here are all of the best tubs for different set ups
- Shampoo/body wash – I recommend fragrance-free as not to irritate the baby’s skin
- Nail clippers or electric nail file – Baby nails grow so fast and they can easily scratch themselves. I clip Charlie’s nails and then buff them with the electric nail file which doesn’t seem to bother him one bit
- Brush – No need to get fancy with this purchase
- Lotion– I recommend fragrance-free as not to irritate the baby’s skin. Charlie’s skin was very dry when he was first born and we used lotion whenever he took a bath
- Pacifiers – We used this for bedtime because they stay in easier and can be handled by the baby easier too. These cute pacifiers were what we went with during the day. They come in the prettiest colors. I like them because they are easy for the baby to handle and they work with any pacifier clip – you can get a clip like this or a pretty silicone one that the baby can teeth on like this
- Laundry detergent – Any fragrance-free will work, but we used Puracy
- Stain remover – This gets out poop stains…enough said
- Thermometer – The hospital sent us home with one so we actually didn’t purchase one until recently
- Receiving blankets – I felt like I couldn’t really have enough of this type of thing in the beginning. We had anyone who held the baby put this over them to protect Charlie from any germs carried on clothes (I was a little neurotic, even before COVID, but in fairness it was flu season). They also protect your clothing and furniture from the endless droll and spit up that you will soon experience
- Baby Tylenol – Always good to have on hand, so no late-night, panicked pharmacy visit are necessary. You should still consult your pediatrician if you think your baby is sick and in need of Tylenol
- Baby nasal spray – My pediatrician recommended that I only use this if his congestion is bothering him, not if his boogers are bother me. I thought that was a good tip to not overuse this
- Humidifier – New York City apartments can get dry in the winter. We use liked this humidifier option, but like all humidifiers it is really important to clean regularly and properly
There are a bunch of other things that you could add to your registry if you wanted to prepare for the first year rather than the first few months. I preferred researching things and getting them as we needed them and as I got to know Charlie. You can always add Amazon or Buy Buy Baby gift cards to your registry so you can have the funds to purchase things later. Here is my add-on list of things that you definitely can get away without the first few months if you are short on storage space:
- Baby hangers – They are cheap and small, but of your little one’s clothes will be folded and put in drawers in my experience
- Umbrella stroller or Travel Stroller – The Baby Zen YoYo is a great travel stroller. It folds up to be really small and easy to carry, but its not nearly as comfortable for the baby as the Uppababy Vista. You should only be purchasing this stroller if you are constantly in and out of the car or want something that can be stored in the overhead compartment of an airplane
- Highchair – I love this 4moms magnetic high chair . One of the best features is that you can take the chair on and off with one hand, which as every mom learns is so necessary. There are not a ton of crevasses for food to get caught in and it keeps the baby sitting up straight.
- Spoons, bowls, bibs – Anyone who is familiar with my blog knows that I am a big Bella Tunno fan. They make the cutest bibs, plates, spoons and bowls, and donate 1 meal for every purchase. Seems like a win / win to me! I think these also make great baby gifts
- Sippy cups – These are not needed for at least 6 months and are easy enough to order on Amazon when you need them
- Baby gates – Similarly, gates are hard to store and won’t be needed for a while. They are also pretty specific to the place you are purchasing them for, so if you might be moving you should hold off on this purchase until you need them
- Cabinet locks & straps – These depend on the type of cabinets you have, but you won’t need these until your baby is mobile
- Kneeling mat – Most of the newborn bathtubs are placed in the sink or on the counter. Once your little one is moved to the tub, this will come in handy
- Bath toys – Make bath time fun! There are so many fun toys you can keep in the bath like this octopus, these floating bubble toys, or these squirting toys. Scoop them all up and store them in this hanging storage mesh bag
- Portable crib or play yard – This is a perfect overnight option if you are spending a night away from home. I can attest to its comfort. Charlie slept in this from March 7th-May 26th while we were in Florida during COVID, and we had absolutely no problems
Any must-have items that I missed?
Pin the below image or bookmark this page to save this list to create your baby registry or purchase someone a baby gift!
Print these checklists so you can check things off as you receive them!