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I’m sure you’ve heard it before… babies are expensive! and they are… but with a little planning and discipline, you won’t have to break the bank. As a mom of three, I’m here to tell you that you can actually get away with just a few key items which will save you loads of space, time, and money! In this baby essentials checklist, I’m going to walk through the items that I have found to be truly important “must-have” items that are also budget-friendly. I’ll also mention a few nice-to-have splurge items that you’ll want to put on your registry in case a friend is feeling generous! Whether you’re looking for what to buy for a new baby, need inspiration for your baby registry, or just want to do a quick inventory and make sure that you have everything, this post is for you!
Okay… let’s get started!
Let’s start with…Medication
it’s natural for babies to have trouble keeping their breast milk or formula down. If you’re familiar with Dr. Harvey’s book, The Happiest Baby on the Block, you will be familiar with the concept of the fourth trimester. It’s a great read by the way and I highly recommend buying the book! (Click here to buy from Amazon!).
In any case, the 4th trimester is a concept that basically says that babies are born when they are not yet mature. That they need another trimester in order to fully mature and be ready for the outside world. This is why babies need to be swaddled (to mimic the womb) and why they get so fussy from their food (they aren’t yet ready to eat).
To help with these issues, there are many options on the market. Most moms will say that you should use Gripe Water or Gas Drops and while those do seem to work for some babies, my doctor actually had a different recommendation that worked great for us! He said to use Mylanta! Crazy right? So my suggestion would be to have at least one of the next three items on hand for when your baby eventually gets fussy and gassy!
Quick Links to Information in this Post
Before using this or any medicine listed in this post, please contact your pediatrician! I’m just a fellow mom and cannot give you medical advice – just share my experiences. Our doctor suggested giving our baby 1mL up to 4 times a day and it did wonders! (If you can’t find Mylanta, my pediatrician also recommended Gaviscon and it works just as well!)
To order some from Amazon click here.
I used these with my 3rd baby with some success before we learned about Mylanta!
Click here to order this on Amazon!
Click here to buy!
This is a little device that you use to help you baby release gas and it’s a miracle worker! I highly highly recommend it!
Click here to buy yours!
Given the many recalls I’ve seen over the years, I choose to use this brand over many others.
Click here to buy some on Amazon!
When you suspect that your infant has a fever you want to know FOR SURE that the thermometer’s results are accurate right? I personally don’t like rectal thermometers and think that this one is the next best thing! Over the years we have bought many thermometers – sometimes because it looked new and cool or because we were on travel and forgot ours at home. We learned the hard way that so many digital thermometers are unreliable but NOT this one! For the past 8+ years, we have used this one and still love it! They have updated it a bit over the years but I hear the latest version is just as good!
Click here to buy yours!
Next on the Newborn Baby Must Haves List … Diapering (Of course!)
Diapers are an essential item for sure! While I love the idea of cloth diapering, it’s honestly not for me. I love how cost effective cloth diapering would be and how it’s great for the environment, but I just can’t imagine fitting cloth diapering into my life and routine.
Similarly, I love the idea of all-natural and organic diapers but the expense is SIGNIFICANT! That’s why I love that brands like Pampers are coming out with more natural and gentle diapers like their new PURE line!
According to their packaging, PURE diapers are:
- made without chlorine bleaching, fragrance, lotion, parabens, and EU 26 allergens
- made with premium cotton, soft plant-based fibers, and other thoughtfully selected materials
- clinically proven hypoallergenic
- up to 12 hours of trusted Pampers leak protection
- designed with adorable prints and Pampers reassuring Wetness Indicator
- made with 100% certified renewable electricity and sustainably sourced wood pulp
Plus, these diapers:
- are really soft and seem very comfortable
- have cute designs on them like the pricier ones
- haven’t leaked yet!
All-in-all, I am very happy with them! To order these click here.
And… if you want to save time and money, you can use Amazon’s “Subscribe and Save” option and get a box of these diapers AND Pampers Pure wipes shipped to your home each month plus up to 20% off! Just click the banner below and then click this link to order the combination box. It’s such a huge convenience… I’m in love!
I’m not typically all that picky about wipes but I do love the convenience of getting the Pamper Pure wipes from their combination box on Amazon (and I get 20% off using subscribe and save!). I also love that they are 99% water which makes them great for sensitive bottoms – even when they have a diaper rash! I’ve heard so many stories about moms using their baby’s wipes and finding that they burn so I always buy the most sensitive wipes I can find especially for those diaper rash periods.
If you want to get just the wipes, though, that’s obviously an option! Just click here to buy a bulk pack so you can save more!
Diaper Cream and Ointment
There are so many ointments on the market that it can often be hard to decide which one to use! I have probably come close to trying them all and I can tell you that they are all pretty comparable! There are also a number of homemade remedies that I see talked about or written about. One common one includes the use of cornstarch. Problem is… if the diaper rash is, in fact, a yeast infection, the cornstarch will actually feed it and make it much worse! It’s often tough to know if it’s a yeast infection or not so I strongly recommend against using these home remedies.
Since like I said all the products I’ve tried (including higher-end and organic ones) seem to all have the same effectiveness, I use the usual “go-to” products I remember my parents using!
When my baby doesn’t have a diaper rash, I put a tiny bit of A&D Ointment. This helps protect my baby’s skin and seems to minimize diaper rashes. It also helps make cleaning poop easier! (Seriously!)
Don’t forget to check out my Hospital Bag Checklist designed to help you pack what you need and avoid what you don’t!
Even as a mom of three, I find that I get a bit wrapped around the axel about soap. I used to have a soap making business so I know a thing or two about it. My latest favorite in Aveeno’s line of baby friendly soaps. Their body wash and shampoo is extremely gentle, made with mostly natural ingredients, contains oats (which is great for soothing diaper rashes) and it’s affordable compared to comperable products! It’s tear free too of course and smells great!
They also have other great types – pick the one that fits your needs and taste best and I bet you’ll love it too!
I like Aveeno’s baby lotion for many of the same reasons. This is the one I use.
Oh nail clippers… it’s so not fun to clip a baby’s nails! I usually ask my husband to do it! I actually have an order in for this nail clipping tool and cannot wait to start using it! It gets so many rave reviews from moms! This isn’t all THAT cheap but I’m sure it will be great for my toddler too who hates to have his nails clipped so it will save lots of tears and stress! Since this is a minimalist list in general, I think this is safe to include here even though it costs a bit extra. With all the stress we have to deal with as a mom, a few stress relieving items are so worth it! I hope it’s as good as all the testimonials I’ve heard!
Trust me when I say that trying to clip those teeny tiny nails with a baby nail clipper while they are instinctively making a fist or flailing around is not fun! Then they get older and freak out about nail cutting time… This tool should be a dream come true! I cannot wait!
Psst… This is a great item to put on your baby registry! (Don’t have one yet? Click here and you will be able to add almost anything you can think of to it!)
Comb / Brush
I love this comb because it also doubles as a cradle cap “scrubber”. When you wash your baby’s hair, just use the little soft plastic part to massage the cradle cap. Then after the bath use the comb part to comb their hair. This comb also slides onto your fingers easily to make it easier to use during bathtime!
Swaddling is such a must for newborns. You will likely swaddle your baby multiple times a day and night from the time they are born until they are around three months old.
Learning to swaddle with a blanket is one of my favorite ways but it takes some practice! Make sure to ask your nurse for a swaddling crash course before leaving the hospital!
You will want multiple swaddle blankets and different types because babies have a tendency to spit up as soon as you have them swaddled… just because! Also, every baby likes different types of swaddles so you will need to find out what your baby likes most. Here are the types I like most:
The Traditional Blanket
These are an AWESOME deal! I have lots of other great swaddle blankets but these are by far the best budget-friendly ones that are still super soft! They are also larger than most swaddle blankets which makes them easier to use! Nothing is more frustrating when you are desperate for a few moments of quiet than getting to the last step of swaddling only to find that it’s not long enough! Then your baby busts out and you start the whole process over again! Get your three pack for about $15 by clicking here!
A quick word about Swaddling
There are so many different methods of swaddling. At the hospital, you will likely see a nurse swaddle a baby with two blankets which is likely not a good approach when you’re home. I’ve learned a bunch of types and by far my favorite is the “Batwing Swaddle”. Watch this video to learn how!
Love To Dream Swaddle UP
This is by far my third baby’s favorite swaddle solution! He REALLY likes to have his arms up when he sleeps which is why I’m including it here. Unfortunately, this is also the most expensive one so we only have one. This is another item that I would highly recommend adding to your newborn baby registry! It’s a great option and lots of babies seem to love it but it is a bit pricey. Click here and read the reviews and you’ll see what I mean!
The SwaddleMe Pod
There are awesome because it takes just two seconds to put on. You just put your baby inside and zip it up. They are soft too and in some ways, I feel like they are safer than a swaddle blanket. Your baby cannot bust out and there is really no way for them to cover their face with it! They are also especially nice at night when I’m exhausted and don’t want to have to deal with being an expert at baby-origami (aka swaddling!). They are also well price. Get yours for about $15 for two.
You will definitely need somewhere for your baby to sleep unless you plan to cosleep from day one. While I have always had a crib for my babies, I have to admit that I didn’t use it for the first few months. With my third, I’m using the HALO Glide Bassinest and while we love it, it is definitely a splurge item! More on the HALO below. If you are truly on a tight budget or just love an amazing value, I would strongly recommend getting a travel pack ‘n play! They are often well priced, highly mobile, and will be useful even later as the baby gets old to give them a safe place to play. You will get the most bang for your buck with a pack ‘n play for sure! This one (also pictured) is the one I have used with three kids and I love it because:
- it’s small (so it fits in even small apartments)
- you can put it next to your bed like a bassinet
- it has a newborn component so you don’t have to reach all the way down and break your back
- has a nice cover to block lights if needed or to hang toys
- is big enough for a toddler to play or sleep in
- as the name implies – is great for traveling.
You will get SO much out of this as your crib! To get yours click here.
Blankets & Sheets
You will obviously need a blanket or two for your bundle of joy even if it will be hot out but… You can use your swaddle blankets as a regular blanket if it’s not too cold! Chances are that your friends and family will also buy you more blankets than you have room for in your closet so I don’t recommend buying any until after your baby is born! (I have donated so many baby blankets over the years because I had too many!)
Feeding is so key when having a baby! Whether you are nursing or formula feeding, you will definitely need the items below. If you are formula feeding though, you will also need formula of course. If you are breastfeeding, you will likely need a pump of some sort so that you can occasionally step away from the baby and have someone else feed them (even if only a few times).
Have you seen my post about spit up? It’s definitely something you’ll want to read before your baby is born or if you are already struggling with spit up! In any case, in it I explain why I actually use cloth diapers as burp cloths! They are by far the most absorbent and inexpensive! Get two packs of these and you will be good to go!
I know pacifiers can be a bit controversial. Here’s my take on it – having a baby is HARD! If giving your baby a pacifier for a few minutes will get you a moment to yourself, don’t you deserve that? The trick is to swean them off the pacifier before they turn about 3 months old. That’s the easiest time from what I’ve heard! Personally, my kids have not liked their pacifiers much and I could only get them to use it when they were a week or two old. I can tell you though from my own experience, that it did not cause my babies “nipple confusion” and I was able to nurse my second and third baby without any issues! I would recommend taking the pacifier they give you at the hospital home with you and giving it a try. If they don’t like it or you don’t need it, then you won’t have wasted money buying any!
Whether you are breastfeeding or formula feeding, chances are that you will need bottles at some point. I’d love to tell you “This bottle is great so stock up!” but the reality is that every baby is different. Then if your baby ends up with reflux, you will likely have different needs than if your baby doesn’t have it. I can safely say that I have tried most bottles that are on the market. My first son had a really bad case of reflux. My second didn’t have any specific needs and was pretty easy going about bottles. My third hasn’t started using bottles yet so I’m not sure how he will be.
Here’s what I suggest from my experience …Get a few types of bottles. Don’t buy value packs of them, just buy one or two of each. Then pick one type to try first and wash and sterilize it. Offer that type to your baby first. If they don’t like it, then open the second type and prep those to try. Do this until you find the type your baby likes best. Then, stock up on that type. The reason I suggest only washing one type to start is this – if your baby likes the first type, you can return the others! Also, some bottles have lots of parts and you could end up with a sink full of parts and not know which goes with which bottle (I and many other moms have been there!). By only prepping one at a time, you can return the unused ones and you can assemble the bottle more easily the first time.
Of the bottles I have tried, the following are my favorite:
For babies that aren’t picky:
These bottles from Gerber cost less than $5 for 3 and they are perfectly good basic bottles! Why pay more if your baby isn’t picky? What’s also great is that they are compatible with some pumps – like the Medela Pump In Style so you can pump directly into the bottles! Win!! These are great bottles to start with and if your baby doesn’t like them, you may be able to use them for pumping! Get your 3 pack here (I don’t think they come in smaller packs)
Your baby will need SO MANY CLOTHES! I remember my husband looking at me like I was nuts when I went shopping for our first born. “Babies don’t need that many clothes!”
Ha! Yes they do. Newborns spitup constantly. All. The. Time! If you aren’t familiar with this, then definitely read this post about spitup! Babies also have blow-outs. You will find yourself changing your newborns clothes all the time but have no fear! Baby clothes are so cute that others are going to buy you so many cute outfits because they can’t help themselves! So here’s my suggestion…
Before the baby is born, buy a few one-piece outfits and a small pack of onsesies. This is because when you are busy caring for your baby during those first few weeks, you will NOT want to search the house for matching tops, bottoms, socks and hats. Seriously. You want to make your life simple and easy! So buy a few one-piece outfits.
Then, after your baby is born, go through what you got as gifts and what you already have and then fill in the gaps. In fact, shopping for baby clothes is a great thing to do while you’re on maternity leave! Trust me, you will want to get out of the house or find yourself shopping online at 3 in the morning! So hold off on the clothes.
Once you start buying baby clothes, here is what you will need:
About bibs… Many bibs are too small for newborns BUT putting a bib on a newborn is so helpful for collecting spit up and drool! That’s why I love banadana bibs like this one! They are small enough and soft enough for a newborn to wear all day! This is one thing I’d suggest you get ahead of time – you’ll thank me once the baby is born! Click here to order a set.
Here’s a list of great and useful items that you *could* live without but you would be happy to have. If you can afford to splurge a bit or have friends and family who would like to buy you a present or two, then these would be some great items to get! I’d recommend adding them to your registry in case someone would like to get it for you!
Helpful for nursing or propping your baby up a bit when they get a few months old. We use ours a ton!
This is an amazing way to remove mucus from your baby’s nose and the day will come when you need to use it!! My kids love it and my 8-year-old even asks for it when he needs it! For more information about how it works, click here and read my full review!
I never thought that I would need a co-sleeper or bassinet and then HALO sent me one to review. OMG… my favorite baby item yet! I LOVE having my baby next to me and being able to easily move it up to the bed when I need to is such a great perk! I’m able to get in and out of the bed easily.
Plus, they have a “newborn insert” that makes the bassinet feel even cozier and it is amazing!! My son went from waking up constantly all night to sleeping 5-hour stretches thanks to this insert! I can’t say enough amazing things about it! Definitely something to add to your baby registry! newborn insert
Imagine a wifi-enabled baby monitor that will send you a notification on your phone when your baby cries (yes – it knows when your baby is crying vs. fussing!!!). Now add to that the ability to take photos of your baby from the monitor, review video of your baby when he or she cries, talk to your baby through the baby monitor and play white noise or classical music through it. Okay got all that? Now add amazing design – it’s super cute, very versile, easy to attach to many places and it comes with the smartest accessories ever! This is the coolest baby monitor I’ve ever seen and I love it! Definitely a key baby registry item!
Rock ‘n Play
So many moms swear by rock ‘n plays! Lots of moms even have their little ones sleep in them which isn’t recommended but seems very common. I like to use them when I really just need a moment and want to put the baby down but using the floor isn’t an option. The rock and play is comfortable and keeps the baby on an incline which is great for reflux!
I love baby wearing! It’s a great way to bond with your baby, get skin to skin time, keep them cozy and warm AND keep your hands free at the same time! My favorite of all time is the Baby K’Tan because its is soft and comfortable (for you and baby) like a traditional wrap, but it is easy to put on! It is basically “pre-wrapped” so you don’t have to fumble around and takes seconds to put on! the Baby K’Tan
So there you have it! Was this list useful? What would you add?
Comment below and let me know if this was useful! If you didn’t see something you think you might need, feel free to ask me about it! Maybe I can help you decide how useful it would be!
Congratulations on your baby to be!