Newborn Necessities

When you’re preparing for the arrival of your newborn, getting more than 10′ into the baby store can be overwhelming. There is so much stuff! How can such a tiny, stationary person need so much? To be quite frank, they don’t.  While a lot of the items in your local baby store can be helpful, you don’t actually need the majority of the items you encounter.  Besides diapers, wipes, a blanket and breasts, there is not much that you need to take care of your newborn.  I’m going to break this post down into three topics: things you need, things that make caring for a newborn easier, and things you absolutely do not need.

Newborn Necessities

At a bare minimum, these are the items you will need for your newborn.  Remember, bare minimum.

  • Diapers & Wipes
  • Lightweight swaddling blankets
  • Onesies/Body suits/Clothing
    • Newborns grow fast, but they can also dirty their clothes fast.  At a minimum 5-10 items
  • Firm, flat surface for sleeping
    • A crib or bassinet
    • The American Academy of Pediatrics no longer recommends crib wedges – even for babies with reflux.
    • The Rock n Play is not designed for sleeping.
  • Car Seat
    • Convertible seat or a bucket seat
    • The brand is not as important as a proper installation by a CPST. Most police or fire departments have a trained technician who can help you get a proper fit
  • Baby Wrap or Carrier
    • Newborns like to be held. A lot. A wrap or carrier can free up your hands so you are able to eat a meal while meeting your baby’s need to be close.
    • Every baby and parent is different in the wrap/carrier that works best for them. Try different carriers to see what works best for you. Some of our favorites are:
  • Breasts
    • Exclusive breast feeding is recommended for newborns up to six months, with breast milk being the primary source of nutrition/calories for the first year
  • Nursing Bra
    • You’re going to be taking your breast out a lot. Having a bra that makes your breasts quickly accessible is a plus. This is one of our favorite as it can be used for breastfeeding AND pumping.
  • Towels, Wash Cloths, and gentle baby soap
    • Make sure to wash your baby from the face down
    • Infrequent bathing is preferred so you don’t cause your newborn’s delicate skin to get dry
    • This towel is AMAZING because it helps keep your clothes dry.
  • Support
    • A doula, lactation counselor and physician (OB/GYN and pediatrician) as your first choices for professional advice and informational support
    • Partner and/or family members for physical and emotional support

Making Life with a Newborn Easier

These items can help make caring for your newborn easier, though they are in no way absolutely necessary.

  • Nursing Pillow
    • While this isn’t necessary for nursing, some women find it helpful. Others find nursing pillows too cumbersome (and prefer a regular pillow or no pillow at all)
    • I personally prefer the two-sided pillow from Boppy.
  • Baby carriage
    • If your newborn car seat fits into the carriage, secure it appropriately.
    • Can make it easy to run errands with a sleeping baby, but be mindful of how long your baby is in the car seat and do not let your baby sleep in his car seat when there is a designated safe sleeping surface available.
  • Changing Pad
  • White noise machine
    • This can be great for blocking out noise.
    • If you want a small, portable noise machine, try this.
    • I like this noise machine to keep at home.
  • Breast pump
    • A pump can be helpful to express milk to ease discomfort, or to build a freezer stash for when you return to work.
  • Pacifiers
    • Some babies love them, some hate them. Don’t go overboard buying them before baby is born as they may have a preference for one nipple shape over another.
    • Size up when appropriate – small pacifiers can cause marks and rashes to form on baby’s face.
    • Pacifiers with an attached stuffed animal are adorable, but not safe for sleeping. We like the Zooawa pacifier holders because the stuffed animal comes off for washing and for when baby is unattended.
  • Baby tub
    • This tub is great for newborn through the independently sitting stage.

Newborn Items You Do Not Need

  • Wipe Warmer
    • When you first grab the wipe, it’s warm, but it quickly gets to room temperature. However, if your baby is born in the winter you may want one. We like this one because it is space-saving.
  • Pee Pee Tee Pees
    • A strong urine stream will cause them to go flying!
  • Rock n Play
    • Not only does the Rock n Play pose the risks of positional asphyxiation (suffocation) and plagiocephaly (flat head), but your baby will become dependent on sleeping in that position, making transferring out of it difficult
  • Dreft
    • This is probably the worst detergent that anyone can use. That “irresistible scent”? All chemicals! It gets a F from the Environmental Working Group.
    • Detergents that are free of dyes and fragrances are better for everyone.


What products did you find helpful for your newborn? Which, in retrospect, could you have done without?

Additional Reading

You may also find the following posts helpful:

Cloth Diapers – The Down and Dirty

Hospital “Go” Bag – What Do I Need to Bring to the Hospital?

Postpartum Plan – What it is and Why You Need One



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