The upcoming birth of a new baby is one of the most exciting times in a family’s life.
As absolutely unforgettable as that time is, it can also be a tad bit (sometimes overwhelmingly) stressful. There are so many things to do to prepare and so many supplies to get…
Or are there?
As a mom of two little ones, I’m here to share what you actually need for when the baby is born.
I’ll also explain which items can wait and why I think other popular products are completely unnecessary. For now, it’s time to destress and focus on your health in preparation for your sweet babe. Don’t worry, here are the only 6 items your newborn actually needs!
*For the full list of products I have used and recommend, check out the Newborn Essentials Shopping List.
Now, before I jump into the list… CONGRATULATIONS!
If you’re reading this post, it’s probably a safe bet that you’re expecting, have someone close to you who’s expecting, or perhaps you’re planning for the future. Either way, congratulations!
And if not, well, you must be a very dedicated reader and I thank you for that (hi, Mom!).
Registries, recommendations & reading – oh my!
If you are indeed expecting a new arrival soon, then I’m sure you’ll be reading a bunch, checking all of the baby lists to see what you need to get, and perhaps trying to put together a registry. It can definitely be overwhelming trying to get everything in place, all before the little one comes.
When you’re having a baby, everyone is recommending all their favourite must-have items. You’re following blogs and websites to figure out what gear you should be picking up. And your browsers have ads popping up left and right telling you what you need to buy.
You just want to have absolutely everything in place. A perfect nursery. And every item your little love may need or want. You want to soak up all of the special moments with your little sweetie, not to mention recover.
BELIEVE ME, I get it!
40(ish) weeks is a long time and you want to be the best prepared new mom. I’ve been there… twice.
But in reality, you don’t actually need everything you think you do for your newborn. In fact, you’ll be surprised to know that there are only 6 things you really need.
Stop stressing, everything else can wait.
What will my newborn actually need?
- Place to sleep
Your baby will need a place to safely sleep. I am not here to judge how or where you decide is best, but your baby will need a safe place to sleep.
You can get a crib, bassinet, cradle, or even a cosleeper.
If you opt to put your baby to sleep in a bassinet, cradle or cosleeper in the beginning, then you can always shop for the perfect crib once the baby is around 2-3 months old.
Make sure whatever option you go with meets the safety regulations for your country. Plan in advance to have a safe sleep situation for when your baby arrives. There’s some great information on how to provide a safe sleeping environment for your baby on the Public Health Agency of Canada’s website.
For now you can hold off on the extra sleep options (such as a crib or rocker) and cute bedding (blankets, pillows, quilts, lovies) and sleep accessories (mobile, white noise, nightlights).
- Car seat
Unless you know that you will not be taking any sort of vehicle home from the hospital or ever needing to bring your baby in a vehicle, an infant (newborn) car seat is a must for when the baby comes.
Take some time to do your research so that you get a good car seat from a trusted brand with a high safety rating. Don’t get caught up with all the accessories and add-ons available. Spend the time looking into the infant passenger safety recommendations for your area.
By now you’re probably starting to notice a trend in my advice… you don’t need anything fancy. You don’t need all the extras. Just get safe and practical items for your newborn.
Tip: Before the baby arrives, check out the proper way of strapping your brand new babe into the car seat to reduce stress when it’s time to actually transport them from the hospital. This will also give you the chance to confirm all the pieces are in their correct place and position, or seek help if needed!
Another tip: Also check that the car seat you decide on can be properly installed into your car and inserted into your stroller model. If not, there may be adapters available.
Since we’re on the topic, you’ll likely want a stroller. They may not be an absolute necessity for everyone. But strollers are pretty fundamental vehicles for transporting little ones.
Not all strollers have newborn inserts or bassinets, so that’s definitely something to consider if you can’t use your car seat.
I won’t get into what you need to look for in a stroller since I’ve dedicated an entire post to it here.
Newborn clothes are the cutest little things ever. They are so tiny with the sweetest colours and prints and it’s hard to resist not buying out the entire store.
Yes, your baby will need clothes BUT keep in mind that they are also popular items many families receive as gifts.
Also, most newborns do not stay in the newborn size for long (cue the momma waterworks who can’t believe her little one is ALREADY 9 months old!).
Ok, I’ll keep it together…
I know I mentioned newborn clothes being oh-so-cute (and they are) but I really recommend getting mostly onesies or sleepers (depending on the temperature of your location/house).
The super sweet baby styles are adorable but 9 times out of 10 they are not practical or even that comfortable for a brand new baby body who needs to be changed a zillion times per day and mostly sleeps. Leave the fashion pieces for special occasions or when they’re a little older.
Stock up on multiple sweet sleepers and get a few sizes (NB, 0-3months, and 3 months) and you’ll be good to go for a while.
Yes, you will need diapers. Not sure if you’ve been warned (you probably have) but babies pee and poop a lot. Like a lot.
You’ll need diapers.
There are different options for the kind of diaper you choose: disposable, cloth, eco-friendly, compostable… that’s your prerogative. But unless you’re looking to try out elimination communication or something of the sort 100% of the time, you’re going to need diapers!
Be sure to ask your medical provider which products they recommend having in your medicine cabinet. Now I’m not a medical professional but the one thing I found really useful to have on hand is a thermometer. Be sure to get one that accurately reads infant temperatures.
I’m only mentioning a thermometer as a necessity because many pharmaceutical products aren’t actually safe to be used until the baby is a little older but PLEASE double-check with your doctor!
Other items to consider?
I’ll include two bonus items that you may want to consider but aren’t absolutely essential:
Bonus 1. Feeding gear
Feeding newborns can be a sensitive topic and in my opinion, fed is best. There’s no doubt about it. You do you, and whatever is right for you and your baby is the right choice.
I personally have had the absolute privilege of breastfeeding both my babies. It’s something I wanted to do. It’s something I was able to do (with help from lactation services, donor milk, and a little formula with my first). And it’s something I feel really grateful to have been able to do with my two girls.
I understand this is not the reality for all moms and I am in no way judging how you feed your baby!
If breastfeeding is not the way that you’ll be nourishing your baby then you’ll likely want to have this product. If you’re able and planning to breastfeed your baby then you may not need this product. If you’re able and planning to breastfeed your baby then you may choose to have this product on hand anyways!
So what are we talking about? Feeding gear!
It may be an idea to get some bottles for your newborn, even as a “just-in-case”.
Breastfeeding, if you’re planning on doing so, can be unpredictable in the beginning. Some people may need, or choose, to use donor milk or formula for their newborns. I personally just felt more comfortable having some backup bottles (which we did end up using) in case you do in fact need it or choose to use it with your little one.
Many 24-hour pharmacies or drug stores (in Canada at least) sell several infant bottle options if you really find yourself in a bind so don’t stress over this one.
Bonus 2. Bathtub
In my experience, a proper bath (or sink/bathtub insert) makes your life easier from day 1 and therefore I’ll include it as a bonus item.
Newborns aren’t actually as easy to bathe as you’d think. Yes, they lie pretty still as you sponge their fresh little bodies (not like my wild 9-month-old or 2-year-old) but they are also tiny and floppy. Mix tiny floppy soft skin with some sort of bath gel: you get one slippery little fish!
Showering with my babies was never as relaxing or sweet as I had imagined it to be.
I’d say get a tub. Something simple, something easily cleaned and/or dried, and something (wait for it)… SAFE!!!
But I thought I needed…
- Change table/pad – Sure, a change pad will be useful eventually, but when you have a teeny tiny newborn, a towel on the bed will do just fine.
- Baby books or toys or teethers – Will you load up on these items eventually? Absolutely! But your newborn doesn’t need them for the first while. These are also other popular gift items you may receive.
- Wipes – Ok, I didn’t include wipes on the newborn list because my two girls did best with cotton pads or washcloths and water for the first month or so. Their skin was so sensitive as a newborn that this really helped them avoid getting such red sore tushies that many wipes would cause.
- Wipes warmer – Unnecessary! I have nothing else to say on this one.
- Diaper pail – One day this will become a necessity (unless you’re using cloth or taking the dirties out daily) but it’s definitely not a “must-have” to start. Newborn diapers barely smell anyways (9-month-old stinkers are a different story!)
- Swings & bouncers – I’d call this one a luxury item, not a necessity.
- Pump – Some may consider a pump a must-have. Some may include a pump in the bonus section of “feeding gear”. Pumps are really useful whether it’s to feed via bottle or increase your milk supply but I don’t think you should stress about getting one before the baby comes. My experience is only based on Canada’s practices but if you need to pump while in the hospital, the hospital will provide you with one. Once you’re out and you know whether you need or want to pump, you can purchase one then or many pharmacies and stores actually rent them out as well.
- Wrap or carrier – I love babywearing. You may want to pick one of these up, but I don’t consider it a necessity for when you bring your baby home.
- Cutest outfits ever – So many people get too many clothes. Whether gifted or bought or hand-me-downs, many people don’t get as many occasions to dress their newborns in fancy outfits as they think they might.
- Shoes – This could go into the cute outfits category but I thought they deserved their own bullet point. Let’s face it, infants don’t walk and they’ll just fall off then you’ll lose them. They’re cute but pointless.
Now’s the time to focus on your and your baby’s health while preparing for a sweet cherub to show up, so don’t fret about everything everyone is telling you you MUST HAVE. As you see from the list there aren’t that many things that your newborn actually needs during the first few weeks when you bring them home. A few essentials and an abundance of love will suffice.
Enjoy this time – it flies by!
Anything else you’d add to the newborn necessities list? Leave it in the comments below!