A New Baby Checklist – What You’ll Need!

New Baby

Are you welcoming a new baby to your family? If you are, there are a few things you’re going to need, and it’s best that you get as many of them before the baby arrives as you can. Life happens very quickly when a baby comes along, and advanced preparation is truly a virtue.

To make it a bit easier to keep track of what you need, we’ve assembled a list of the general categories of baby related needs, and a more detailed list within each category.

Printable Newborn Checklist

Feel free to read through the article for more details or you can just print off this Newborn baby checklist and take it with you to the store!

Printable New Baby Checklist

Clothing

Clothing for babies should be kept simple, with easy maintenance a high priority. You’ll be changing them frequently each day so quantity counts. Don’t spend a lot of money here – they’ll grow out of everything in a matter of weeks.

Furniture

Babies don’t need a lot of furniture, but what they do need is very specialized.

Sleeping Accessories

With sleeping accessories you’re trying to help the baby fall asleep as well as to be prepared for predictable nighttime disturbances, like feeding and diaper changing. It’s a combination of comfort and practicality.

Feeding Accessories

When it comes to feeding, babies progress very quickly from one stage to the next. Since you never know quite when a change will occur, you’ll need to be ready when it happens.

Changing Time

Once again, think quantity here. Babies have no control over bodily functions and it’s often only a matter of minutes between feeding and changing times.

Life Insurance

In addition, the family also requires greater contingency planning, and that means life insurance.

  • For mom and dad – increase your coverage, you now have someone who is completely dependent on you
  • For the stay at home parent – never underestimate how much it will cost to replace the services of the primary care-giving parent
  • For the baby – you’ll probably never need it, but rates are never lower than on infants

This is also an excellent place to remind you that you should add your new baby to your health insurance policy as soon as possible.

Health

A baby’s health needs are more basic than they are for adults, and you need to be prepared for anything.

  • A baby thermometer
  • Teething medication
  • Baby pain reliever (as recommended by your pediatrician)
  • Cotton balls
  • Your pediatrician’s phone number should be a contact on all cell phones and landlines in the household, and it’s not a bad idea to have it prominently displayed
  • Nasal aspirator (to clean out nasal passages when necessary)
  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Cotton swabs
  • Medicine droppers
  • Vaporizer and vaporizer fluid
  • Baby sunscreen
  • A very wide brim hat to prevent sun exposure

Bath Time

Bath time for babies is mostly about scaling everything down to their size.

Safety Equipment

It’s sometimes recommended that you get down on all fours and crawl around your house so that you can see your home as your baby will. This is good advice! There are danger spots for babies and toddlers all over a typical home that as adults we’ve long since come to ignore.

  • A baby car seat – you can trade up as the baby grows
  • Electrical outlet covers
  • Cabinet door locks – these will keep them out of the cupboards for a little while at least
  • Safety gates – there are certain rooms you won’t want them in for safety reasons
  • Smoke alarms – have them in every room of the house and be sure they work
  • Bumpers to cover sharp edges in the home
  • A top quality vacuum – to help keep any and all small objects that could be a choking hazard off the floor and out of the baby’s reach
  • A spout cover for the bathtub faucet

Miscellaneous

There are plenty of baby items that don’t fit into a specific category but they’ll be needed all the same.

  • Plenty of laundry detergent – don’t be fooled by a baby’s small size – you’ll be doing a lot more laundry
  • Ditto for dishwasher detergent
  • Baby stroller
  • Simple baby toys
  • A good still camera and video camera – you’ll want to get those milestone moments on film
  • A baby walker to help them get around when they want to walk but aren’t quite ready
  • Plenty of blankets and baby blankets – you never know where you’ll have to set up a makeshift bed
  • Playpen
  • A baby book to record events and milestones
  • An electronic baby swing to keep them busy when you need some time

Are there other items that you found either helpful or necessary with a baby?










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24 Comments
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  1. I have one thing to say. Thank you! I’m 22 and my wife is 20.

    • Hi Andrew–You’re welcome! You might want to bookmark this page then. And talk to others who have recently had a baby. There’s so much and believe it or not, the technology changes! When my kids were babies, wind up baby swings were a big thing. A few years later they were electric. I WISH we had those!

  2. Thank you for the article. Very helpful. I’m a mom of a 13 month old. Based on recent research, from a safety perspective, the following items are no longer recommended: bumpers (unless they are the breathable kind – made with small wholes to allow for air flow), side sleepers/loose sheets even if thin/loose blankets (crib should not have loose items inside that could cause suffocation), baby powder (could cause respiratory problems if inhaled), and walkers (jumpers / exersaucers are preferred as walkers have resulted in accidents). Thank you for reading this.

    • Thank you! I was just going to comment on the same recommendations. Plus, no one NEEDS formula. That’s what breasts were created for. And what’s the baby oil for? I thought baby oil went out of fashion in the 80s. There’s also no need to get life insurance on the baby’s life, unless he/she is likely to develop a condition that would preclude them from qualifying for insurance when they reach adult-age and actually have a family to protect.

      • Actually, some people DO need formula. When you fail to produce breastmilk, it’s formula or nothing.

        • Excellent point Andrea! In addition, not all babies breastfeed. My son didn’t. Our pediatrician recommended “nothing but breast milk for the first year”. Our son was slowly starving. We later found out that the pediatrician had no children of her own. Fortuanately we made the right decisions early enough in the game – add formula, ditch pediatrician.

          All “expert opinions” should always be taken with a grain of salt!

        • This was supposedly a general list of needs for most new parents. The 10% or fewer moms who medically cannot breastfeed or don’t produce enough breastmilk don’t represent most moms.

          • Yeah, but no one is forcing anyone to buy stuff on this list – it’s a comprehensive idea of what you MIGHT need. We had a list like this before my daughter was born, and we were all, “Haha, formula, who is going to need THAT, right?” and then it turned out that we did, and all the associated accoutrements. And a few other things that we thought laughable at first.

  3. This being a website for spending and living smarter, I have a few questions about this article.

    A bassinet AND a crib AND a side sleeper? I thought we were trying to spend less.

    A changing table is not a necessity. Yes, it’s handy, and the storage they usually come with is obviously designed for diapers & etc, but a curved changing pad properly strapped to the top of a dresser is much more affordable. Even better, a mattress pad designated for diaper changes only can be used on the floor, then folded up & put away with no danger of baby falling from the table.

    No mention of cloth diapers? (Larger cities have diaper services if you don’t want to wash your own.)

    Baby powder? Pediatricians stopped recommending it years ago. The fine texture can too easily be inhaled by baby.

    Why spend extra money for baby washcloths when you’ll use regularly sized (and regularly priced) ones anyway?

    Yes, this is a good list for soon-to-be parents, but doesn’t seem up to your usual standards.

    • Hi Leanne–This is a checklist, not a list of recommendations. As you see, it’s a very long list and not everyone will need or want everything on it. One of the purposes of a checklist is so that expecting parents can look at the basics and decide on alternatives.

      The missing cloth diaper recommendation is an obvious oversight. I haven’t seen a single parent use cloth diapers since I was a kid. I’m sure people do, and I should have included it, my bad!

      As to thrift, I’ll make a blanket statement that any furniture on here is better purchased second hand. Kids go through these so quickly that they’re never worth spending much time on.

      I’m certain that anyone who has had a baby would prepare a somewhat different list, but none of the recommendations here are in any way exotic. Thanks for weighing in.

  4. I also wondered about the recommendation to buy disposable diapers. Cloth diapers are much cheaper in the long run, and better for the environment.

    As a midwife, I’d also look into a midwife attended home birth. The entire cost of a home delivery can be less than a hospital birth even if you can’t use your insurance. Figure out how much that hospital birth will cost you out of pocket. Your deductible and co-pays may well add up to more than a midwife’s entire fee.

    Breast feeding is a huge money saver. Besides saving the cost of formula, bottles and so forth, breastfed babies are healthier in the long run and have less medical bills.

    Rather than lots of places to put your baby (exersaucer, bouncy seat etc;) try a ring sling. Baby is happier and mom can get lots of work done.

    • Hi Edie, friends of ours used a mid-wife and had a great experience. On the cloth diapers, as I commented above it was an oversight based on the fact that I don’t see anyone using them. Who knows, maybe they used disposables when they’re out, and cloth at home (just a guess)?

  5. Great list! On the saving money front, I found that washing in a sink with a pull-out spray faucet was easier for me than the baby bath tub. We also asked friends and family for used baby clothes and crib. Many people are willing to give you a great price or even donate or lend items to you.

    • Hi Alisha, we did the sink too, but the baby bath came in handy in the first few months when the babies could even sit. We also learned to swap baby clothes with friends or buy them at garage sales. They only wear them for a few weeks at at time so they’re not worth buying new.

  6. Bumpers for the crib? No thanks. I don’t want my baby to die of suffocation or SIDS.

    • Hi Kristin, no one is entirely certain what the cause of SIDS might be, but in my experience, bumpers are a must when the baby reaches the age when they can roll around. Bumpers can prevent a nasty head bruise or a limb that gets caught where it shouldn’t be.

      • Hey, Kevin,

        Actually, I’ve heard that bumpers are recommended against – not for SIDS, but for suffocation risk. Along with back sleeping (which we always thought was dangerous because of babies’ tendency to spit up), bumperless cribs are now considered a lower risk for babies. The risk of them getting a bruise is much less worrisome than the risk of them rolling over into a bumper and suffocating.

        Of course, every parent can make their own choices on the matter.

        http://www.cnn.com/2011/10/18/health/no-bumpers-cribs-sids-parenting/index.html

  7. The great thing about checklists is that you don’t HAVE to buy everything on them, so I’m glad you made this as comprehensive as possible.

    I was surprised, when I had my baby, at how many “luxuries” I suddenly needed. The one that made me feel the most guilty was the wipe warmer, but my baby screamed whenever I used a room-temp wipe on her.

    • Exactly Andrea, checklists are a starting point to modified as necessary. The one thing my wife and I found with our kids is the need for flexibilty. Not all babies will respond to all recommendations, and sometimes you have to think outside the box. Just as no two people are alike, no two babies are a like.

  8. I’ve done without most of this for my 19mo and haven’t missed any of it. A few outfits, a few diapers, carseat and a few toys were all we started with when she was born. She sleeps with me and I made plenty of milk. The rest just takes up space we (and costs money) that we don’t have.

  9. Wow – there certainly are many things to buy to support a new born.

    Hopefully your readers were smart enough to buy the right type of health insurance prior to getting pregnant: a plan covering normal delivery, with smaller hospital deductibles, and something to replace mom’s income while on maternity leave. Once expectant, these are no longer options.

    All these items will be very difficult to afford with one less income, and extra medical bills. Advance preparation should begin when baby is just a twinkling in the eye.

    • Kevin, I agree that advance preparation is wise. One good decision is IF POSSIBLE, don’t create a lifestyle that depends on both parents’ income unless mom really wants to work full time. More and more mothers are choosing to come home full time when children come along. I did…we have 8 kids now and I work only one day a week. We planned that I would stay home and have been living comfortably on my husband’s income for 13+ years.

      Re formula, I don’t recommend that anyone stockpile the stuff. I have breastfed all our children at least a few months…#8 only made it 3 months before I dried up (combo of being very busy and being an older mom, I think.) We’ve had to change formulas as he is apparently allergic to cow’s milk now, as were 4 of our older children. It would be annoying to have a bunch of formula that your baby can’t use. And most places have a store close by with plenty of formula.

      All in all, it is a very good list. Yep, these sweet little people need quite a bit of stuff though we don’t have everything you listed. I would say, don’t freak out too much about getting everything on the list, but it is useful in thinking about various areas of life where items will be necessary.

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