So, you’re having a baby? Congratulations! One of the most exciting—yet overwhelming—parts for any parent can be preparing for your baby. The floor-to-ceiling warehouse of baby items you’ll encounter when you register for baby gear can leave you feeling overwhelmed. Here is a cheat sheet with 10 must-haves and don’t-need items so you can shop smart and not break the bank.
1. Infant Car Seat
One of the most important items you’ll need to get is a car seat that fits your newborn. In fact, you won’t be able to leave the hospital without one! When looking for a car seat, Tracey Fejt, RN, trauma outreach and injury prevention coordinator at Banner Children’s at Cardon Children’s Medical Center says that a convertible car seat may be the most affordable.
“There are convertible or 3-in-1s that work for both infants and toddlers that transition from rear-facing to forward-facing,” Fejt says. “These often can be more economical for parents and saves them from buying an infant seat. Just make sure to follow the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s recommendations.”
For tips on purchasing a car seat, check out “3 Tips for Finding the Perfect Car Seat.”
2. Diapers and Diaper Bag
Newborn babies go through a lot of diapers during the first few weeks—typically 8-10 a day and 300 a month! It is important to be ready with disposable diapers or newborn cloth diapers and have a diaper bag and wipes for when you are on the go. Your little one (LO) will grow roughly two pounds a month, so you want to plan accordingly. You can join a diaper subscription and save on not only diapers, but also on wipes and formula too!
3. Baby Crib or Bassinet
For many parents, they start with a bassinet for the first few months before transitioning their baby to a crib. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends babies and parents sleep in the room for at least the first six months but moving from bassinet to crib is based on several factors, such as your baby’s weight. Your LO will be up quite a bit those first few weeks and months, so it’s good to have your LO close by.
Suzanne Clinton, RN, nurse manager for women and infant services at Banner Desert Medical Center, does caution not to co-sleep.
“The safest place for baby is in a bassinet or crib and not your bed,” Clinton says. “You may put your baby at risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome by putting them in bed with you.” Clinton also recommends purchasing a firm mattress and to forgo the crib bumpers and comforter sets.
You’ll want a stroller that you can use both with the infant seat and once your LO outgrows it. For the biggest bang for your buck, consider a convertible stroller that can grow with your baby.
5. Feeding Supplies
Whether you nurse and/or bottle feed, you’ll need supplies to make sure baby is well fed. Depending on your preference, here’s a list to help you choose what type of bottle is right for your LO. You’ll also want to purchase a nursing pillow (for both breast and bottle feedings), nursing bras and pads, nipple cream and burp cloths.
6. Baby Carrier or Wrap
If your baby wants to be held constantly, you can either hold your LO and do nothing, or you can wear your baby and do everything. Even better, daddy can chip in too. There are lots of options for babies from infant to toddler to help you find the perfect one.
7. Bath Supplies
There is nothing like the smell of a freshly bathed baby and a good baby tub can make a world of difference. Although the kitchen sink is still an option, it doesn’t provide your LO with best support. And, even at two or three months old, your LO can be squirmy. Here are some recommendations from Babylist.com.
Those first few months, you may be surprised just how much a baby needs to be changed—both diapers and clothing. From spit-ups to blow-outs, they can get pretty messy quickly. Aim to buy the following items:
- A couple packs of snap-crotch bodysuits/onesies
- 7 sleepers
- A couple sleep sacks or gowns
- Several rompers and shirt/bottom sets
- 7 pairs of socks to keep their feet warm
- Baby hangers
- And a sun hat or cold-weather hat, depending on the time of year.
9. First Aid Kit
Look for first aid kits made by the American Red Cross. Most of these include everything you’ll need to help care for baby, including infant tooth brush, baby nail clippers, baby brush or comb, medicine dropper, bulb syringe and baby thermometer.
10. Laundry Detergent
You don’t need to spend extra and purchase baby detergent, but if you have a family history of skin sensitivities, you should definitely consider a detergent that is dye and scent-free to limit skin irritations and allergic reactions.
Those Don’t-Need Items
According to Statista, the baby care products market is a $109.13 billion industry. But that doesn’t mean you need to buy everything in the store to make your LO happy. Here are some items you may not need.
- Crib bumpers
- Comforter sets
- Sleep positioners
- Second-Hand Crib
- Diaper warmer
Whether you’re having your first child or your sixth, you are going to have questions. Banner professionals welcome your questions and concerns. Set up an appointment with your pediatrician to make sure that you are prepared with everything you need post-birth.
Haven't found a pediatrician yet? Watch this series of videos for things to consider and questions to ask when picking a pediatrician.