A Newborn Essentials Checklist: Things You Need before the Baby Arrives

baby bag check list
Photo by Natalia Deriabina/shutterstock

If you’re preparing to have a baby, congratulations! As you study and prepare to become a parent (or perhaps become a parent again), it can be helpful to have a checklist to go over in order to make sure all of the logistics are taken care of before the new baby arrives. Let’s take a look at the basic items you’re going to want to have on hand.

A Newborn Essentials Checklist

Here are several of the most important things you’re going to want for your newborn.

Diapers, Wipes, and Diaper Rash Cream

As soon as your child is born, the threat of an accident begins. You’re going to want newborn diapers ready to go! Even if you’re planning on cloth diapering, you may want a pack of disposables on hand for those first few days while you’re getting your sea legs.

Baby Furniture

This category can vary depending on your needs, but there are a few basic items you’re going to want to have either way. You’ll want a crib, cradle, or bassinet already set up, along with a baby-safe mattress and appropriate bedding — no pillows or loose blankets! You may also want to have a glider or rocking chair and possibly even a baby swing and baby bathtub, although these aren’t absolutely required and can be purchased later if needed.

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In addition to baby clothing in general, make sure you have plenty of short and long-sleeve onesies and one-piece sleepers. Newborn hats, socks, and scratch mittens are also helpful. As a side note, remember to get a gentle, baby-safe detergent, too!

Other Cloth Items

Swaddling blankets are always a good idea. You’ll also want a zip-up infant sleeping bag or sleep sack to help your newborn stay warm without having to use a loose blanket. Don’t forget bibs, wash clothes, and a hooded towel too!

Baby-Safe Toiletries

Baby-size nail clippers, a thermometer, baby lotion, baby wash, and a sterile bulb syringe aspirator should all be on your list.

A Monitor System

You’re going to want to have a way to monitor your baby when you’re not in the room. A white noise machine may be a nice added touch as well.

Baby Gear

A highly rated car seat is important. Make sure to read the manual and properly install the seat. A quality stroller and baby carrier or ring sling are also items you’re going to want to consider getting beforehand as well.

A Breast Pump or Bottles

If you’re bottle feeding, make sure to get bottles and cleaning gear. If you’re breastfeeding, get breast pads, a breast pump, and storage containers.

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A Quick Note on Finances

Having a baby is a blessed experience, but it can also be an expensive one. The pressure to not be a “bad parent” is intense and can push people to run out and purchase the best, most expensive version of every possible baby item in existence. The truth is, though, you’re not trying to keep up with the Joneses here. You’re trying to prepare for your own family’s experience.

Resist the temptation to follow preconceived notions…

…of what you need to get in order to look like a good parent. The biggest and best version of everything is not your only option. Instead, make sure you have a list of essential, then work from there.

It can also be extremely helpful to set a “baby budget”

Break down what cash you have to work with and the costs of each thing you need. A shocking 59% of Americans reportedly don’t use budgets in the first place, so that alone will put you ahead of the majority of people as you navigate the financial waters of pregnancy, birth, and family life.

Finally, consider how your income will be affected by your pregnancy.

Because employers in the U.S. are not required to pay maternity leave, you may need to take additional measures to ensure you are financially able to care for your new child. A short-term disability policy can help cover this potential gap in income, giving you some much-needed financial stability at a crucial moment in your life.

Don’t Worry — It’s Not Worth It

As you prepare to take on the various challenges and changes of parenthood, it’s important to try not to stress out about all of the coming changes and the unknown elements of your new parental life. That’s not to say that you won’t feel stress and emotions as you go. That’s perfectly normal. Simply do your best to resist that temptation to worry. If you calmly gather up everything on this list before your baby is born, you’ll likely find that you’re as ready as you’ll ever be to launch into the parenting journey that lies ahead.

baby shower
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Sam Bowman writes about families, wellness, and how the two merge. He enjoys getting to utilize the internet for community without actually having to leave his house. In his spare time he likes running, reading, and combining the two in a run to his local bookstore.

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