In this post, discover the things you actually need for your newborn so you can keep your list to a minimum as well as your stress!
Getting ready for a new baby is pretty stressful and overwhelming, especially if it’s your first baby. The list of things you “need” to get seems never-ending. While there are a lot of baby things that are fun to have and might make life easier, there are only a few things you actually need for your newborn in those first few weeks.
Of course, if you’re having a baby shower you can register for all the things! I actually have a post on everything I recommend soon-to-be mamas should add to their registry. However, we all know that people attending baby showers love buying the “cute stuff” and most of the real essentials are left for us to check off the list.
When you’re preparing for the arrival of a new baby, try not to think too far ahead because that’s when you’ll get overwhelmed. Just focus on those first few newborn weeks and your list of things to get will be so much smaller!
For example, do newborns need toys? Nope. They spend most of their time eating and sleeping. Do they need cute little outfits and tiny little shoes? Although precious, they really don’t need them. They need comfortable outfits that make diaper changes easy and socks to keep their feet warm.
I will be the first to admit that I got sucked into the tornado of thinking I needed all the cute baby things right away. And to be honest, I have beautiful baby blankets that never even got used and cute little outfits that were never worn. It was such a waste of money on things that were not really needed.
What are the 23 things you actually need for your newborn?
Those first few newborn weeks will mostly be spent at home. The only time you will be leaving the house is to go to doctor’s appointments, maybe run some errands or go for walks. So you don’t really need much when it comes to travel.
1. car seat
You can’t leave the hospital without an infant car seat so it’s a must-have, obviously. If you are having a home birth, you still need a car seat. If there is an emergency or you need to leave the house for some reason, you need a car seat right from the start.
2. Diaper bag
I debated if I should add a diaper bag to the need list because I have yet to own an actual diaper bag for my 19-month-old and we are surviving just fine. However, you do need some kind of bag to keep diapers, wipes, change of clothes, etc when you leave the house. That bag could be a paper bag, I mean I don’t recommend that (lol), but the bottom line is you will need some kind of bag to keep all the baby stuff in.
I honestly don’t think you need a stroller those first few newborn weeks. Personally, I never wanted to put my baby down for long periods of time. If you want to go for a walk, you can always wear your baby. The only time I would say a stroller is absolutely needed is if you had a c-section and shouldn’t be carrying your baby for long periods of time. Otherwise, you could probably wait a few weeks before purchasing a stroller.
This one is obvious, but I had to add it to the list. I also wanted to point out that there are so many things you could get related to diapering (changing station, wipe warmer, diaper caddy, etc), but the only things you really need are the things directly involved in changing a diaper, like diapers and wipes.
Whether you choose to use cloth or disposable, diapers are one thing you can feel comfortable stocking up on. If you were wondering, Bambo Nature is the diaper brand we use and love, I highly recommend them.
Once again, what route you choose to take is not so important but you’ll defiantly need wipes regardless. Of course, if you’ve read any of my other posts you know I am passionate about using non-toxic products on my daughter. So I have to throw out there Honest Wipes are the wipes we always come back to no matter how many others we try.
5. Diaper cream
Because newborns are constantly getting diaper changes it’s really easy for their little bums to get irritated. I don’t like to recommend baby powder of any sort, because the risks just don’t outweigh the benefits in my opinion. I do highly recommend this Sensitive Baby Diaper Cream because it’s so gentle on newborn skin.
Optional: Diaper Pail
I say a diaper pail is optional because you don’t technically need one. You can always throw diapers away in the trash outside or in a regular trash bin. However, if you don’t want your house to smell like baby poop and you don’t want to constantly have to run outside to throw away diapers then I recommend getting a diaper pail.
Another super obvious one. Babies need to be bathed and you’re going to want some gentle soap to bathe them with and some lotion to keep their skin baby soft. You can read this post I wrote if you would like some more information on how to create a bathing routine to keep your baby’s skin super healthy!
6. Body Wash/Shampoo
This newborn foam body wash and shampoo would be my number one recommendation for a gentle and mild newborn-friendly soap. Also, if your newborn is suffering from a case of cradle cap this moisturizing shampoo got rid of my daughters in less than three days!
Once again, you’re going to want a very mild and non-toxic lotion to make sure your newborn’s sensitive skin stays hydrated. This Daily Hydra Lotion is amazing for newborns as well as older babies. I still use it for my 1-year-old and we love it.
If you listen to one piece of advice I offer in this post, make it this section on clothing! I think clothing is the number one thing parents waste money on when preparing for their new arrival.
Here’s my tip: The only clothes you need for your baby in the newborn and 0-3 month sizes are footed pajamas, onesies, kimono tees, socks, and mittens. That’s all! If family and friends would like to gift you with cute little baby outfits, ask them to kindly only buy sizes 3 months and up.
I had so many cute little outfits for Lily that I never put her in because they just seemed so uncomfortable, the fabric seemed irritating, or diaper changes were too difficult. If you’re doing a family photo shoot or have a special occasion to attend then that’s different. Otherwise, stick to the easy-to-change, practical, soft, and comfy baby clothes.
8. Footed Pajamas
When Lily was a newborn I practically just switched her from one footed pajama to the next. I highly recommend the L’oved Baby footed pajamas. They are made from organic cotton and have built-in hand mitts.
There are some instances where the weather may not be ideal for footed pajamas or maybe you just want to switch things up. In either case, I recommend getting some basic short sleeve onesies and long sleeve onesies.
10. Kimono Tees
Kimono tees, either long or short sleeve, are the perfect articles of clothing for those first days before your baby’s umbilical cord falls off. They are loose-fitting and won’t rub against their belly button and cause irritation. Also, because kimono tees tie or snap, you won’t have to put anything over your baby’s head.
If your baby is not wearing their footed pajamas you’ll probably want to have some socks on hand to make sure their little feet don’t get too cold. You don’t need anything super fancy. Just basic cotton socks will do.
12. Baby Mittens
I am just going to assume every newborn is like mine and has super sharp nail-growing powers and a tendency to touch their face. If you don’t want your baby to look like they got a facial from Edward Scissor Hands, stock up on some organic baby mittens.
This was one item I did not anticipate needing as much as I did. As a result, my poor baby ended up wearing socks on her hands when her other mittens were being washed because she could have her hands out for more than two seconds. No matter how short or how often I cut her nails my daughter would scrap her face up like crazy. Save your baby’s face and get lots of mittens.
I say hats are optional because I didn’t use them very often when my daughter was a newborn. The first few days after going home I used the free hats they give you at the hospital when my daughter seemed like she was getting cold.
Other than that I never really used the twenty hats I was given as gifts. So if you’re having a home birth and won’t be getting any free hats or you just want a couple on hand, then here are some great organic cotton newborn hats.
Out of all the things you need to get for your newborn, I feel like this category is the most important. Having a newborn is really hard no matter how many times you’ve done it, but even harder if your new baby isn’t feeling well or is uncomfortable because of gas or congestion.
If you haven’t heard this weird fact about newborns yet, let me tell you: newborns don’t start to breathe regularly through their months until a few months after they’re born. That means it’s our jobs as parents to make sure those little nostrils are nice and clear!
13. Saline Spray or Drops
Having saline drops when my daughter was a newborn and well into infancy was a lifesaver. All I had to do was squirt a few drops into her nostrils and she would immediately breathe easier.
14. Nosefrida SnotSucker
If your baby’s nose is super stuffy and the saline drops aren’t doing the trick, then you can use the genius contraption called the Nosefrida Snotsucker. It is exactly what it sounds like; you suck the snot out of your baby’s nose. Don’t worry it’s completely hygienic.
This is one item I never had and really wish I did. Having a humidifier can really help keep your baby from getting congested. This is especially important if your baby is born during cooler months when you might be running the heater and the air in your home becomes too dry.
16. Rectal Thermometer
It is very dangerous for your newborn to have a fever and having the correct thermometer on hand is so important. You should take your baby to a doctor immediately if they have a rectal temperature of 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit or higher. That means you’re going to need a baby rectal thermometer. Not one of those fancy infrared thermometers. You can get one of those later if you want.
17. Gas Passer
The Fridababy Windi gas passer is such a cool product that doesn’t require your baby to ingest anything for gas relief. The Windi gets inserted into your newborn’s bottom and helps them release gas. Since gas can be the culprit of fussiness and colic having these around can be so helpful.
Optional: Boogie Wipes
Boogie Wipes are basically just wipes made with saline water and a bunch of good stuff like chamomile. You don’t need them per se, but I think they’re great to have around as backup when you need something gentle to wipe your baby’s nose with.
After you have your new baby, it will feel like you’ve never done so much laundry in your entire life! Maybe that’s a little bit dramatic, but between spit-up and blowouts, you will be going through outfits like crazy. Which means lots and lots of laundry. It’s important to make sure you have gentle, non-toxic detergent on hand when you wash your baby’s clothes.
18. Non-Toxic Laundry Detergent
One very important thing to do when choosing the perfect detergent for your baby’s clothes is your research. A lot of the supposedly “gentle” laundry detergents recommended for babies are actually full of chemicals. You can read this helpful guide if you want to dig deeper, or you can take my recommendation and get this non-toxic laundry powder.
19. Stain Remover
My daughter had a least one blowout a day from the day I brought her home to around six months old when I luckily switched to Bambo Nature diapers and the blowouts stopped. But six months of blowouts meant six months of yellow poop stained clothes. The only thing that ever worked to get the stains out was this Oxyclean Stain Remover. Although, I really hate how full of chemicals it is, using it as a last resort was better than throwing away clothes.
Update: I have since found a DIY all-natural solution for removing stains in my daughter’s clothes. It has a 99.9% success rate! Just make a paste by mixing equal parts dish soap (I like to use this dish soap) and baking soda. Then rub the paste onto the stain and let it soak for at least an hour. Then throw that clothes into the wash as usual. I also heard that leaving baby poop-stained clothes in the sun all day will also remove the stains.
Baby Gear and Accessories
The world of baby gear and accessories is a beautiful thing. It’s full of helpful, fun, exciting, genius inventions that lure you in and make you think you can’t live without it all. Well, let me tell you, in those first newborn days, you can. There is only a hand full of baby gear items and accessories you really need for your newborn and I list them below.
20. Receiving Blankets
I received dozens of receiving blankets as gifts while I was pregnant. I didn’t really know what I would use them for and debated just getting rid of some because there were so many and I didn’t think I would need them. Well, to this day I still use them and they are by far my most used baby item. During those newborn days, I used them for everything and anything. As a blanket, spit-up cloth, diaper changing “station”, clean up towel, nursing cover, and so much more!
I am including pacifiers as an item you need because I don’t know how I would’ve survived without them in those early days. Now, not all babies take to pacifiers, so you may not need one after all if your baby doesn’t like them. However, I still recommend having a few on hand. Because if your baby does end up liking them, they will be your best friend. We like the Natursutten brand the best.
22. Soft-Wrap Carrier
Babywearing your newborn is so beneficial in many ways. You can read all about babywearing and the benefits it provides here. There are so many different types of carriers and eventually, you’ll probably want many different kinds, but in those early days, I think that all you really need is a soft wrap carrier. Soft wraps hold your baby flush against your body and in my opinion is best for newborns. My favorite brands for soft wraps are Solly Baby and Wildbird.
23. Bouncer or lounger
As much as you’re going to want to hold your baby 24/7, you just can’t. You will need at least one place to safely put them down from time to time. Notice that I said one place? You don’t need a swing, bouncer, lounger, bassinette, etc. While you can accumulate all those things over time if you’d like, you don’t need them all right away. My recommendation would be to get either a Snuggle Me lounger or a BabyBjorn Bouncer Bliss.
Optional: Baby Bath
Most people will probably think I’m crazy for saying a baby bath is optional but I never used one during those newborn days, so for me it was. I used to just shower with Lily and that is what worked and was the most convenient for me.
Now, I realize that might not be everyone’s cup of tea. So if that’s the case, you’ll need a baby bath. I love the Blooming Bath Lotus. It’s easy to plop into a sink and it’s cozy and supportive for your new baby.
That’s it! It seems like a lot, but it’s actually a pretty short list considering everything could possibly get for your newborn. I hope you’re not feeling overwhelmed and that this helped you narrow down your list a bit.