Being pregnant is an exciting and unnerving time. So many changes are happening to your body, your emotions can be all over the place, and your mind is prone to anxiety as you await the big day and try to make sure you’re prepared.
Although we can’t prepare you mentally or emotionally - that takes a bit of self-work - we can help prepare you materially. The truth is, when your baby is born, he or she will need things, and as a new parent, you might be at a loss as to what your baby will need.
With this new baby checklist from the experts at JuJuBe, we give you a great starting point, so you can stop stressing over the “what” and keep your attention focused on more important things while collecting your newborn baby essentials. From specific baby clothes to a diaper bag backpack to the right car seat, discover everything you need to know!
Preparing for Baby Checklist
Though this list is by no means comprehensive, it should give you a good place to begin. Everyone has an opinion on how to prepare for a baby, and you may already be receiving a constant influx of well-meaning advice on what you need, when you need it, and where you should buy it. It can be overwhelming, so why not just start with essentials? (Also, yes, there can even be some debate on what the so-called “essentials” are, but everyone has to start somewhere!)
A Baby Bed
Some new parents prefer to start with a crib right out of the gate, while others prefer to use something smaller like a bassinet or three-sided co-sleeper. There are benefits to each. A crib obviously can grow with your baby, which means you may spend less money in the long run. Plus, it’s fun to buy a crib and matching baby furniture as you decorate and prepare your baby’s nursery.
A bassinet or co-sleeper, however, can be placed in your bedroom right next to your bed, eliminating sleepwalking down the hall for late night feedings. If you opt for a bassinet, it can also be placed throughout the house, like the living room or kitchen if you’re busy with company or taking care of something. There’s no right or wrong choice here, it boils down to what fits you and your lifestyle best. Some parents find they want both, just for maximum flexibility.
Whatever type of baby bed you choose, you’ll need to make sure you have linens for it that are sized appropriately. It’s also a good idea to use waterproof padding beneath the sheets to protect the mattress. Make sure you have a couple of light blankets to keep baby warm through the night, but remember that pediatricians advise to avoid pillows and comforters because they pose a suffocation risk.
Also in the interest of safety, skip the stuffed animals and crib bumpers as well. If you have a special blanket you want to be your baby’s “security” blanket, you can use that in the crib. Babies often get attached to one particular blanket and find it soothing when it’s time to sleep.
If you have a baby shower, you will often receive plenty of clothing for your little one! If you aren’t having a shower and are purchasing all the clothing yourself, don’t stress or go overboard. These basics are all you need, especially since your baby will grow fast and most of the time, new parents discover half the clothes they receive at a shower never get the chance to be worn.
The basics needed:
- Several onesies
- A couple zippered sleepers
- A pair of hand mittens
- A couple pairs of booties or socks
- One or two bibs
- A cap if the weather is cold
- A sweater if the weather is cold
- A couple receiving blankets for swaddling
- Two or three infant gowns that snap, tie, or zip at the feet
Note that often, hospitals will give you some of these items as well, including swaddling blankets. However, it’s still a good idea to buy them for yourself just in case.
A Diaper Bag
With all of the new things you’ll be buying for your baby’s necessities, the next item you’ll need if a bag for baby stuff! Diaper bags come in all shapes, styles, and sizes. Some parents prefer a sporty look in a neutral color, while others prefer diaper bags that look more like a purse. If your chosen diaper bag is very feminine, you might want to get a smaller, more “masculine” one for dad to carry around. Some new dads simply don’t care and will carry whatever bag you have!
It’s a great idea, if your budget allows, to get a larger diaper bag for longer trips, and a smaller diaper bag for quick runs to the store. Whatever type of diaper bag you get, make sure there are plenty of pockets for stashing everything you need. There aren’t any rules to this, so decide what works for you and your family and go with that.
Diapers are also a necessity. The hospital will give you some, but you should have your own as well. It’s up to you whether you opt for disposable diapers or cloth diapers. Both have pros and cons, so it really comes down to personal preference and budget.
When estimating how many diapers you might need, remember that infants need frequent changing because they have such tiny bladders. You should make sure you have enough diapers to make a diaper change every two hours or even more frequently, for at least the first two weeks. You can always buy more later.
Items you’ll need related to changing diapers are:
- A changing table for your home
- A changing pad for traveling
- Plenty of baby wipes (they are great for almost any kind of mess)
- A bucket for dirty diapers
- Baby powder and diaper rash ointment
Infant Carrier for Your Car
Infants are much too small for a regular, forward-facing car seat. You’ll need to invest in a rear-facing car seat to use until your baby is two years old (the standard in most states). These often come paired with a stroller they can attach to for travel purposes, or you can just get the carrier seat.
Many come with some kind of base that snaps into your vehicle and allows for easier removal when you have to leave the car and carry the baby inside. Once your baby outgrows this carrier, you will need to invest in a larger, more traditional car seat for safe travel.
Additional items you might want for your carrier include:
- A snug pillow brace for wobbly heads
- Soft bumpers for the straps (these also can help keep baby snug)
- A cover to block sun rays from your baby’s eyes
- Window shades to attach to your car windows
A Baby Bathtub
While you don’t have to buy a baby bathtub if you don’t want to, they certainly make bath time a little easier and comfier for baby. There are a variety of options available, including inflatable tubs, plastic tubs, and tubs that you place in your regular bathtub. The key is to not spend too much on this item, because your baby will outgrow it fast.
Other bath time items you’ll want to have on hand:
- Baby soap
- Baby lotion and powder
- A couple infant swaddling towels
- Several infant wash rags
- A baby hairbrush
- Baby oil for cradle cap
Baby Backpack Carrier or Sling
Many parents enjoy having some kind of backpack carrier or sling for the baby, to free up their hands as they do things around the house. Babies love to be snuggled up close to their parents - if it were left to them, you would never put them down!
A hands-free carrier allows you to keep them close, without getting in the way of you accomplishing other things. They are also great for short outings, and both mom and dad can wear them. You can go as fancy or as simple as you like, it all depends on how you intend to use it.
Although you don’t have to buy a stroller right away, many often come paired up with a matching infant carrier seat. A stroller is nice to have when you know you will be going somewhere that requires a lot of walking.
You can stash your diaper bag on it as well as push baby around without straining your back or wearing out your arms. Strollers come in all makes, models, and sizes. You should be able to find one that fits your budget. Make sure it’s collapsible and isn’t so high-tech you have trouble figuring out how to use it. Sometimes, simple is really just better.
For Breastfeeding Moms
You really don’t need too much if you plan to breastfeed your baby. A breast pump is the most essential item, so you can express milk and allow dad and family to help with feedings, as well as prevent your breasts from becoming painfully engorged. A breast pump bag will help keep your milk supply cool and bacteria-free while you’re on the go. Check with your insurance plan to see if they will cover the cost of your breast pump.
Beyond that, you will need:
- A couple bottles for your milk so dad can feed too (small ones are fine)
- A special nursing bra to make feedings easier
- Nursing pads to protect your clothing from leaks
- Ointment for sore nipples
Note that some moms like to have a special nursing cover for public feeding, but they’re not a necessity. A receiving blanket works just as well.
For Formula Feeding Moms
If you plan on feeding your baby formula, the shopping list gets a bit more complex. You’ll need bottles as well as formula. Some moms find they have to experiment with both the style of bottle as well as the formula brand, to find what their baby likes best. With this in mind, it’s better not to go overboard in this department.
Start with just enough, and then if you have to change things up, you haven’t spent too much money on items you can’t use. You can get different sizes, but you won’t need any of the larger ones until your baby is a little older and is eating more than 6oz in one sitting.
Other items to buy when formula feeding include:
- Several burp cloths
- A bottle sterilizer
- A bottle warmer (if you like)
- Bottle Brushes (including a small one for cleaning the nipples)
- Disposable bottle liners, depending on the type of bottle you’re using
- An extra set of nipples with appropriate flow for an infant
- A bottle dryer rack (to keep things organized)
- A pre-measure formula dispenser for travel
Mom and Dad Essentials
Of course, a new baby checklist wouldn’t be complete without the essentials for you parents! Some of the top necessities include clothes and any items to help make you more comfortable during labor. Other ideas include snacks, a nursing pillow, and a camera to make sure you get the photos you want.
Every newborn baby checklist can look different. There are so many things available today that weren’t around when we were babies, which can make shopping and getting ready for your new arrival feel a little overwhelming.
We believe the best thing you can do is to focus on absolute essentials like a quality diaper bag and get only what you think you’ll need for the first two weeks or so. With tons of styles, patterns and colors to choose from, Mom and Dad can share a diaper bag, or each get their own from our collections of women’s and men’s diaper bags. After your first two weeks, you will be feeling stronger, have a better idea of what your baby likes and dislikes, and can then make an informed trip to the store to get additional items. To get started, shop our collection of diaper bags today!