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Registering for your baby gear is an exciting time. I remember spending hours (and when I say hours I mean days and days) looking for anything and everything I would need. It can be easy to get handsy with the clicker because who doesn’t think they need that 100th super cute newborn outfit. Yet, living in a one bedroom apartment leaves very little room for ‘extra’ stuff because, face it, babies have a lot of stuff. My sister-in-law, Marie, is having her first baby this coming May, and she asked about the essentials she was going to need. Therefore, I thought I ought to write a post on essential baby items to have before you bring baby home.
Don’t be brainwashed into believing you need that extra item ‘just in case’. Even though I have only been mom a short time and I know I am not as pro as I will be on our 2nd, 3rd, 4th, or 5th child, I have compiled a printable checklist of essential baby items I have found to be important.
Anything starred has been a lifesaver.
You can also read my post here about how Andrew and I have made a one bedroom apartment work with a baby.
Before we begin, here is your Free Printable Essential Baby Item Checklist.
Essential Baby Items for Sleep
Crib and Crib Mattress
We personally skipped the bassinet. We have a one bedroom apartment and our room has become John’s room. Also, bassinets only last so long.
Other items for the crib…
You will want to have two waterproof crib mattress pads and at least two crib sheets. When one has been soiled in the middle of the night, have no fear! Just throw on the spare waterproof crib mattress pad and crib sheet.
Swaddle Sleep Sacks
Babies love being swaddled. Swaddles sleep sacks help babies feels tight and cozy and help prevent them from startling themselves in the middle of the night.
Living in a one bedroom apartment, this is a must. We wake each other up enough at night, I can’t imagine how it would be without this. The sound mimics a mother’s womb, which is very comforting to baby.
I know what you are thinking. Why in the world is a security camera on the list of items I need for my baby? From my research and experience, video baby monitors are high priced for low quality. You can just as easily get a higher quality security camera that connects to your phone for a better price than those fancy video baby monitors.
Optional: Crib Mobile
Crib mobiles give your baby something to look at and I even have a post of how to make a beautiful Woodland Crib Mobile here.
Essential Baby Items for Diapering
**Burt’s Bees Diaper Rash Ointment
This. Is. The. Best. John gets rashes with ANY other diaper ointment I have ever tried. Three applications of anything other than Burt’s Bees and his bottom looks like he was stung by a swarm of bees.
These have also saved us from a bum looking like it was attacked by a swarm of bees. Often times the chemicals/fragrances in wipes are irritating to soft skin. These are the only wipes I have found that keep John’s rashes at ease.
I bring this up because I know a lot of people skip on this. However, I think that would kill your back. Sure you can change your baby on the floor, but you change a newborn diaper on average 10-12 times a day. That’s is a lot of time spent changing a diaper and if your little one is like ours, you have a pro explosive pooper and sprinkler on hand. I did not want that on my carpet and couch. Yuck!
Waterproof Changing Pad
I feel like it goes without saying, but a changing table can be a messy place, and you don’t want your changing pad ruined in the first 24 hours. Waterproof is a must.
Changing Pad Covers
Changing pad covers make the changing table a warmer place for baby and also help protect your changing pad. But I will let you in on a little secret. I didn’t start using the covers until John was about 7 months old. It was so messy so often that I would have been washing 3+ changing covers a day. It was honestly easier to just wipe down the changing pad.
Backpack Diaper Bag
Backpack diaper bags are so easy to cart around and it has lots of pockets. I love that a bag isn’t constantly slipping off of my shoulder while I’m trying to manage John.
So. Many. Diapers. Thus far, we have needed size 3 diapers the most, but you will definitely want to have some newborn diapers. No one wants to run to the store those first few days for diapers, but you also don’t need an excessive amount of newborn diapers.
Essential Baby Items for Health and Hygiene
You MUST get one of these. This helped me keep my sanity when John has had a cold. I can sleep better knowing his nose has been cleared. It might seem gross, but there is a filter to catch anything, so no worries. You need this in your life.
Baby Bath Tub
Opt for a bathtub that can be used in the sink or in the bath AND accommodates newborn to toddler. I use the one found in most Walmarts.
Soap and Lotion Without Alcohol
Johnson and Johnson is extremely popular and everyone loves the smell. However, I live in a very dry climate and the alcohol does not help with dry skin. Choose a soap and lotion that are easy on the skin.
Not only are hooded towels adorable, but they keep your little one’s head warm.
You will need plenty of wash clothes for baths and meals. Mealtime is exciting, but it is also messy, especially if your baby’s favorite food is yogurt and cottage cheese.
No one ever told me how sharp baby’s nails are right when they come out of the womb! You will need clippers to keep up with those sharp daggers. Trust me!
This is one item you do not care about having until you need it. Then it is a huge mistake to not have it.
Essential Baby Items for Transportation
Getting outside is one thing that has helped me keep my sanity. It is important to take care of yourself. Fresh air is good for you and the baby. A stroller that can adapt with a car seat is best so you don’t have to break the golden rule of waking a sleeping baby. I have loved my BOB jogging stroller a lot. I would highly recommend this to anyone looking for a stroller.
I originally did not buy a Moby because I thought the Ergo would be better. I was wrong. For a newborn the Moby wrap is more useful. I found it was easier on my back and John liked the soft material. Now that John is older and can be put on my back, the Ergo is a better option.
Do you plan to drive home from the hospital? Then you will need to have a car seat ready to go. The hospital staff will not send you out the door without one. I bought the Chicco Keyfit 30 based on the safety ratings.
Car Seat to Grow Into
You may be surprised how quickly your little one may become scrunched in the infant car seat. It is really nice to be ready when this happens and have the next size up. We have the Graco 4ever 4-in-1 Car Seat. This car seat can convert from a newborn into a booster seat.
Essential Baby Items for Nursing
I love the pedal shirts from Motherhood Maternity. Having easy breastfeeding access either at home or when you go out is a sanity saver. Don’t forget to also grab a few nursing bras and tank tops while you are it.
Before John was born, I was that mom who was never going to use a pump. Yet, I still decided to get the free pump from my insurance provider. Best choice ever. If you read my blog on Surviving Your Stay at a Children’s Hospital (NICU), you know my plans didn’t quite go as I wished. I had to pump to get my milk in. Then John and I struggled with breastfeeding and I had to feed him expressed milk. On top of that, I had an over supply and had to pump for comfort. Better safe than sorry with this one.
I have always just used a large scarf. You can get actual nursing covers, but I found this works just as well if not better.
You will need several boxes of these right away. Have 2-3 boxes on hand for the first few weeks.
There are many different nipple creams available. However, after talking to a lactation consultant, I decided coconut oil was the best option. It is natural. You know what your baby is consuming. Unlike lanolin, coconut oil acts as an antimicrobial and antifungal. It contains healing properties.
If you want additional information on using coconut oil as a nipple cream, look at this article Romper posted. https://www.romper.com/p/can-you-use-coconut-oil-for-nipple-pain-lactation-consultants-explain-3250526
It is inevitable that you will get some spit up on your clothes, but you can protect yourself and others better with burp clothes.
Not everyone will need this, but John and I struggled with breastfeeding. Without the nipple shield, I do not know if I would have continued breastfeeding.
I know you are thinking a Kindle has nothing to do with nursing, but in the middle of the night when all the lights are off to get the baby to sleep, reading can help you keep your sanity. The Kindle provides the opportunity to read in the dead of the night.
Essential Baby Items for Feeding
Folding High Chair
Although this item is not used until around the 6 month mark, it is an essential item because your sweet little nursing baby will become a sweet giant solid food eating mess maker before you know what happens. (But really, feeding solids has been a blast!) I say to get a folding high chair because it makes it significantly easier to travel with and store in small spaces. We have the Joovy Nook and love it! It folds easily, comes with a removable tray, and wipes down well.
Mess Mat (Under High Chair)
This is a must if your high chair happens to be over carpet like ours. Our spill mat has protected the carpet from yogurt and cottage cheese galore.
Invest in waterproof bibs and bibs with catchers on the bottom for the win. John would just spit out his water and completely soak his entire outfit. He also drops about ¾ of his meal into the catcher. The waterproof bib with a catcher has been very helpful.
2 Sippy Cups
We love our Munchkin Miracle 360. We have 2 cups, so one is always clean. Also, they are dentist recommended.
Essential Baby Items for Play
Having quality literature in the house is very important. Having books a baby can handle is also a must. My son agrees. Just look at that serious face.
Our bouncy seat came with our Pack and Play and we loved it at the beginning. John (and Mom) enjoyed many hours of the bouncy seat. Life does not stop when you have a baby and you want a nice, safe place to put your sweetheart down. Also, we used it one night when John was having troubles breathing from a stuffy nose so he head was elevated and not laying flat.
As soon as baby becomes more aware, he will want more stimulation. The play mat is a great place for baby to hang out while being stimulated.
Pack and Play
We have loved our Graco Pack and Play. It is perfect for traveling and even for sleeping on a regular basis. Some even come with a bassinet feature. So handy!
You will need a place to organize toys and books. Baskets help you maintain order.
I know a box sounds a little silly, however, when John was sitting up mostly unassisted, it was really helpful to have a place to put him where I knew he was safe and wouldn’t tip over. It also acted as a good storage place for toys when not in use.
Essential Baby Items for Clothing
Check out this post from Mom Smart Not Hard for ideas on clothing. I am a bad person to ask regarding clothes considering John lived in sleepers for the first 8 months. 🤣
Wow! Can you believe how many essential baby items there are? You may need to home-brew this Irish Red Ale to get through this all! Can you think of any other essential baby items?