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A Checklist of Essentials for a Newborn Baby

Updated on January 16, 2019
veemcdonald profile image

Veronica is the mother of two small children with a baby on the way. She loves babies, coffee, and Jesus.



Stores and websites often have huge comprehensive lists to help you build your baby registry. It can get a bit overwhelming as you surround yourself with items that may or may not be essential to caring for a baby. After looking at all the toys, blankets, cribs, sound machines, clothes, etc. you have probably asked yourself: what do I actually need for my baby's arrival?

What is essential and what can wait?

Every mother and baby are different, and may have different ideas of what is essential, but here is a starting point for what you'll likely want to have on hand when your newborn arrives. Some are absolute must-haves, while most are designed to make your life as a mother much easier.

5 Essentials for Newborn Care

Before we get into the specific items, this is what you'll need in a nutshell:

  1. A place to sit for feedings: Most registries have some kind of glider or rocking chair on them, and there is a reason behind that. Where are you going to sit when you feed your baby?

    It may seem like an easy question, but give it some thought. Wherever you decide, you are going to spend a lot of time in that spot. Gliders are a comfortable choice, they offer good back support and put you in a good feeding position, but there are other options if this isn't right for you.

  2. A place for the baby to sleep: Your baby needs a flat surface to lay on. You may want to plan to have your baby in the same room as you for the first few months, possibly up to six months or older. This is why bassinets or similar sleepers are often preferred in the early months over large cribs.

  3. Diapers: Whether cloth or disposable, you absolutely need diapers. Babies tend to grow out of newborn-sized diapers fast, so it's helpful to have a variety of sizes.

  4. Clothes and blankets/burp cloths: Babies spit up and diapers leak, and sometimes you may go through several outfits in one day, so have a fair amount of clothes on hand. However, keep in mind that newborns will grow out of tiny clothes quickly.

    Blankets and burp cloths can be used for swaddling, spit up, to keep baby warm in his/her car seat, as changing pads, to keep the sun out of the baby's eyes, as a nursing cover, etc. There are unlimited uses for cloths and light blankets, so make sure you have a few on hand.

  5. Car seat: This is how your baby will get home from the hospital, so don't forget to purchase this!

If you have only these items on the day you go into labor, you'll be ready to take care a newborn, especially if you're breastfeeding.

Everything else on the following list is designed to make your life as a mother easier.

Remember, babies don't demand much at first. They only want food, sleep, a fresh diaper, and love.

Checklist of Items for a Newborn Baby

The following list is designed to help you keep track of the items you'll want to have on hand with a newborn.

Each section of the list is divided into categories:

  • Essentials are most likely to be used right away with your newborn.
  • Good to Have are items that you may not need right away, but maybe need down the line.
  • If You Want are a few suggested items that are NOT crucial, but you may want anyway.

Furniture / Bedding


  • Glider or comfortable chair
  • Dresser/Chest/Closet Space
  • Bassinet or other Flat sleeping surface
  • Swaddling/Receiving Blankets (3-6)

Good to Have

  • Crib
  • Crib mattress
  • Fitted Crib Sheets (3-4)
  • Mattress Pads / Waterproof Pads (2-4)

If You Want (Not Essential)

  • Changing Table
  • Crib Bedding Set
  • Breathable Crib Bumpers
  • Bassinet Sheets
  • Playyard
  • Playyard Sheets
  • Portable Mattress (for playyard)



  • Car Seat
  • Car Seat Base
  • Travel Mirror
  • Stroller

Good to Have

  • Baby Carrier
  • Sunshade for Car


The essentials in this category will vary depending upon your needs, and whether you plan on breastfeeding, pumping, and/or formula feeding. Adjust as necessary.


  • Nursing Pads
  • Nursing Bras (3-4)
  • Nipple Cream
  • Nursing Pillow / Boppy
  • Nursing Pillow Covers (2-4)
  • Bottles - 4 or 5 oz. (6-8)
  • Slow-flow Nipples (6-8)
  • Bottle Brush
  • Bottle Warmer
  • Breast Pump (electric recommended)
  • Breast Milk Storage (containers/bags)
  • Formula
  • Burp Cloths / Cloth Diapers (6-12)

Good to Have

  • Bibs (8-12)
  • Pacifiers (3-6)

If You Want

  • Nursing Cover
  • Nightlight (for nighttime feedings)

Diapers / Changing


  • Diapers - Newborn (up to 8 lbs)
  • Diapers - Size 1 (8-14 lbs)
  • Baby Wipes
  • Diaper Rash Cream
  • Multi-Use Waterproof Pads (2-4)

Good to Have

  • Diaper Bag / Large Purse
  • Changing Pad (this can be used without a changing table)
  • Changing Pad Covers (2-4)
  • Travel Changing Pad
  • Diaper Pail and Refills
  • Diaper Baggies (Doggie-poop bags also work great. These are life-savers when disposing of a poopy diaper when you're out of the house)



  • Baby Bath Tub
  • Wash Cloths
  • Shampoo and Body Wash
  • Rinse Cup
  • Hooded Bath Towels (3-4)

Good to Have

  • Baby Lotion

If You Want

  • Bath Toys
  • Bath Toy Storage



  • Side-Snap Shirts - These are especially helpful while baby still has umbilical cord stump
  • Onesies
  • Sleep N Plays
  • Caps
  • Mittens
  • Socks / Booties
  • Pants

Good to Have

  • Onesies, Pants, Sleep N Plays, and Outfits in the next sizes

If You Want

  • Dresses
  • Headbands
  • Cute Outfits

Health / Grooming


  • Nail Clippers
  • Digital Thermometer
  • Nasal Aspirator

Good to Have

  • Comb / Brush
  • Q-tips
  • Petroleum Jelly
  • Pain Reliever
  • Gas Reliever
  • First Aid Kit
  • Baby Gates
  • Baby Proofing Kit

If You Want

  • Humidifier

Napping and Playing


  • Baby Monitor
  • Soft/thick Blanket for Tummy Time
  • Bouncer or a safe place for baby to sit

Good to Have

  • Sound Machine / White Noise Machine

If You Want

  • Swing
  • Age-appropriate Toys
  • Books
  • Mobile
  • Play Mat / Gym



  • Hangers

Good to Have

  • Parenting Books
  • Good / Reliable Camera
  • Storage Baskets/Bins

If You Want

  • Mobile
  • Nursery/Wall Decor
  • Baby Book / Photo Album


Keeping it simple and sticking with the essentials can keep you from becoming overwhelmed. So make sure you have what you truly need, and the rest can be added as you need it.

Have fun shopping or creating your registry!

© 2018 Veronica McDonald


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