It’s taken several years, three kids and many changed routines before my husband and I really discovered what worked for us regarding our baby needs. And one of the most important things we learned was this: you need a lot less than you think you need.
So what are the basics? Look no further than these ideas.
The Top Baby Essentials for Every New Parent
For the first few months, it’s all about comfort, comfort, comfort. Save dresses and fancy outfits for later and stock baby’s closet with soft cottons and snug-fitting knits. Keep in mind that during the early months, baby will grow out of things quicker than a blink and you’ll be doing a lot of middle-of-the-night changings, so don’t buy too many things that you won’t use long and choose things with easy access to the diaper.
Cotton Snap Onesies
The snaps keep them from riding up baby’s chest — and onesies are incredibly versatile. Wear alone, wear with leggings, or wear under gowns and sleepers for extra warmth.
The wrap style is great when you don’t want to slip something over baby’s head.
Great for sleep and daytime, easy access to diapers, built-in mittens to keep baby from scratching his face.
The comfiest and warmest thing for your baby. Snap versions are great, but zip-up sleepers make it even easier to do a quick diaper change in the middle of the night.
Caps and Hats
Socks and Booties
Even if you don’t use cloth diapers, there are a lot of cute diaper covers or bloomers that you can slip over onesies, especially on hot days, to complete an outfit.
6-, 9- and 12-Month-Old Outfits
Even though shopping for baby calls for instant gratification and buying all the tiny outfits, remember that they grow out of them so quickly — and you’ll be glad that you tucked away some bigger things when the time comes.
Crib Mattress and Mattress Pad
Crib Sheets and Bedding
Bassinet or Moses Basket
Perfect for mom and dad’s room during the first weeks and for moving around the house during naps.
Light, gauzy receiving blankets are great for swaddling, a little warmth and also serve as nursing covers.
Changing Pad and Cover
These days, most fasten to dressers to save space.
Optional: Travel crib (most hotels offer them if you’re traveling) and a sound machine
Out and About
Infant and convertible
There are a number of different carriers available. Slings and wraps work great for younger babies, and a versatile soft carrier that you can wear either in front or in back can be a life-saver for traveling and exploring.
Companies continue to improve their stroller designs to make things more convenient for parents, offering everything from built-in phone chargers to push-button opening. If you can, visit a store that allows you to try different models out to find what’s best for you. While there are a lot of fancy strollers out there, when it comes down to it, you’re going to want something that steers smoothly, fits in your car and isn’t too heavy to lift.
A little heavier than a receiving blanket, these are great for colder months and traveling.
If you’re short on space, you can opt for a clamp-on version that you can transport to restaurants and to the homes of friends and family when you visit.
If you’re planning on primarily breastfeeding, consider this as an investment and spend a little extra money to get a good one.
Milk Storage Bags
Not all babies take them, but if you’re planning on introducing your baby to one, buy a few different kinds because your baby may not take the first one you offer, but like a different type.
Optional: Nursing cover
Great to take with you when you visit friends, family or go for an outing to the park.
Once baby can sit up, these are a great way to keep baby happy.