As the time for you baby’s birth gets near, your friends and family may give you a baby shower or baby gifts. We’ve put together a list of very basic supplies you need for your baby for the first weeks or months. If you can afford it, you may want to add extra items. Get things ahead of time so you will feel ready to care for the baby. You can buy additional items as you need them. Keep in mind everything does not have to be new—just safe and clean. Go to garage sales, second-hand stores, special sales, or swap items with family or friends. There are plenty of baby clothes that never get worn because babies grow so fast or the outfits we bought for the wrong season.
Make a list of the things you would like to have—then take that list with you to a local baby store and register your list of items. There are also websites that will allow you to register online so your friends don’t even have to leave home to shop. When someone asks what you need, tell them where you have registered. They can buy what they can afford and you will be getting items you really need. If you know ahead of time whether you are having a girl or boy, then be sure to register that, too. It’s more fun to buy baby outfits made for a boy or girl than one that will work for either a boy or girl.
If you’re buying a baby gift
If you’re buying a gift for a newborn, keep in mind that babies grow very quickly at first. Buy gifts of clothes, blankets, etc. for the season the baby is born in and are appropriate for temperatures outside. One-piece outfits with feet are best for bedtime because newborns shouldn’t have blankets in the crib. Undershirts that snap under the crotch are warmer and neater than short undershirts. Make sure that clothing labels show that the clothes are flame retardant.
If you’re buying disposable diapers, be sure to buy the newborn size with the cut-out in front for the belly button. If the mother knows the gender of the baby, by diapers for a boy or girl. Boy diapers have padding in the front; girl diapers have padding in the back. If you buy diaper pins, make sure to buy the kind with safety heads that won’t pop open and stick the baby.
Baby Care Supplies
See Bathing Your Newborn
• Rubbing alcohol/cotton balls for cord care—1 bottle/1 package.
• Petroleum jelly (Vaseline) for lubricating rectal thermometer and circumcision care—1
• Sterile gauze pads (if baby is a boy and will be circumcised)—1 package.
• Ointment for diaper rash (such as A&D Ointment or Desitin)—1 tube.
• Diaper wipes—1 box (nice to have but not necessary) Use soft, cotton wash cloths and water, or cotton balls and water, for diaper changes for the first couple of weeks—commercial wipes can cause rashes. You can use soft, paper towels to clean up after poopy diapers—then just wrap them up inside the diaper and throw it all away.
• Rectal thermometer
• Bulb syringe for cleaning stuffy noses
See Dressing Your Newborn
Don’t buy too many newborn sizes—babies outgrow them so quickly.
• Shirts (tie front or snap)—6-8.
• Sleepers, kimonos, nightgowns—4-6.
• One-piece rompers (above the knees; snap at the crotch; for spring or summer baby)—4-6.
• One-piece stretchies (long pants; with or without feet)—4-6 (fall or winter baby); 2-3 (spring or summer baby).
• Pairs of booties or boot-like socks—4-6.
• Caps (knitted for winter; brimmed for summer)—1.
• Bunting or hooded jacket (winter)—1.
• Blanket sleepers (winter)—2-3. These are great for newborns so you don’t have to put a blanket in their crib. Be sure to read SHHH, We’re sleeping link about putting your newborn down to sleep to help prevent SIDS.
See Changing Your Newborn’s Diaper
• Diapers, washable—3-4 dozen. If you use disposable diapers, cloth diapers make good burp cloths, at least a dozen are helpful to have.
• Diaper pins for cloth diapers—8-12
• Diapers, disposable—12 per day.
• Waterproof pants (if using cloth diapers)—3-4.
• Diaper bag for supplies—1.
See Shhh! We’re Sleeping
• Receiving blankets—4-5.
• Flannel waterproof pads—3-4.
• Fitted sheets—3-4.
• Bumper pad—1.
• Lightweight blanket—1-2.
• Quilted mattress pad (nice but not necessary)—2.
See Bathing Your Newborn
• Hooded towels—2-3.
• Wash cloths—8-12.
• Mild soap—1 bar or bottle.
• Oil or lotion—1 bottle.
• Baby bathtub (optional)—1.
• No-tears baby shampoo—1 bottle.
See Feeding Your Newborn
• Bibs, washable (protect baby’s clothes from spit-up)—4-6
• Cloth diapers make good burp cloths, at least a dozen are helpful to have.
• Support/nursing bra—3-6.
• Bra pads—5-6 washable; 2-3 dozen disposable.
• Breast pump if you’re going back to work or you’re away from home a lot—1.
• 4 oz bottles, nipples and caps even if you’re breastfeeding—4.
• 8 oz bottles, nipples and caps—4-8.
• Extra nipples and caps—2-4.
• Disposable bottle inserts (if you’re using this type bottle)—1 box of each size (4 oz. and 8 oz.).
• Formula (as prescribed by your pediatrician)—1 week supply to start with.
• Boiled sterile water for mixing with powdered formula or liquid formula concentrate—1 gallon.
Nursery Furniture and Supplies
See Keeping Your Baby Safe
• Crib/bassinette/cradle with firm mattress: be sure to get one that meets the current federal safety standards.
• Changing table (nice to have but not a must)
• Diaper pail with cover
• Fever thermometer
• Infant carrier/car seat: be sure to get one that meets the current federal safety standards, you can’t take your baby home from the hospital without one. Other reviewed car seats here: USA B-Ready
• Bunting or hooded jacket (winter)
• Stroller (optional and is a great item to register at the baby store)
• Baby swing (optional and is a great item to register at the baby store)
• Rocking chair (optional and is a great item to register at the baby store)
• Portable crib or playpen (optional and is a great item to register at the baby store)
• Baby monitor
• Soft carrier or backpack (optional and is a great item to register at the baby store)
Finishes on new clothing and soap residue on used clothing can cause rashes. To help prevent rashes, wash and rinse well all of his clothes, crib sheets, and towels before your baby uses them for the first time.