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Newborn Checklist: What You Need Before Baby Arrives

The ultimate newborn baby checklist can help you determine what you'll need to purchase and prepare as you get ready for baby's birth.

Newborn Checklist: What You Need Before Baby Arrives

Photo: iStockPhoto

What you'll need to have on hand for the early days with your newborn. We listed some of our favorite newborn checklist essentials for you to stock up on. Make sure you sign up for a free Amazon Baby Registry so friends and family can help set your new bundle up with all the basics.

Feeding

If you're breastfeeding, there aren't quite as many items on your checklist for newborns, though there are plenty of items that you may like.

Some nursing mothers like to have these items:

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different breast pumps on background of mother holding child. Erstudiostok / Getty Images

If you are formula feeding:

Powder milk for baby and blue spoon on light background close-up. Milk powder for baby in measuring spoon on can. Powdered milk with spoon for baby. Baby Milk Formula and Baby Bottles. Baby milk formula on kitchen background dragana991 / Getty Images

Diapering:

If you are using reusable cloth diapers:

  • Several dozen cloth or re-usable diapers: These 10-packs of plain white cloth diapers are a good start.
  • 8 waterproof covers: Try decorative, memorable designs like these easily-snapped diaper covers.
  • Changing pad: This affordable waterproof changing pad secures easily to changing tables and dressers.
  • Baby ointment or barrier cream to prevent rash: Try this large jar of Aquaphor.
  • Snaps, Velcro or safety pins to secure reusable diapers
  • Disposable wipes or washcloths for cleaning baby's bottom: This 72-pack of sensitive skin wipes should last you through the first few months.
Cloth diapers hanging while drying under the sun on clothesline. Laundry of colorful reusable nappies for babies. beingbonny / Getty Images

If you are using disposable diapers:

  • Two boxes of newborn-size diapers: It's better not to buy too many in advance in case your baby is large or grows quickly. We like these Swaddlers that offer leak protection. Diapers, wipes and other baby items should top your personal newborn checklist.
  • Changing pad: Try this waterproof changing pad.
  • Baby ointment or another barrier cream to prevent rash: Doctor-approved Aquaphor is a good choice.
  • Disposable wipes or washcloths for cleaning baby's bottom: Again, this 72-pack of sensitive skin wipes should last you a while.
A baby in a diaper at the age of two months and a stack of diapers. Polina Strelkova / Getty Images

Clothing

  • 8 undershirts or onesies (mix of short-sleeve and long-sleeve): These organic cotton bodysuits are a good choice.
  • 5 nightgowns (for use until the cord falls off): Buy neutral, easy-to-wash gowns from Carter's for about $5 each.
  • 8 one-piece stretchy sleepers: Go for ones with zippers; new moms swear by them! We like bamboo-based Gunamuma sleepers. Make sure you have these on hand as you near your due date.
  • 5 pairs of pants: Buy them in curated multipacks like this set from Carter's.
  • 2 newborn hats: We love these with little teddy-style ears. They easily match most baby clothes.
  • 8 pairs of socks or booties, to wear with nightgowns and outfits: These fleece booties snap closed and come in plenty of colors.
  • 2 pairs of scratch mittens, to keep baby from scratching his face: These are especially useful for preemies and the first month. Try same-color multipack to minimize unmatched pairs.
  • 2 cardigans or jackets, more in winter: This top-rated duo of cardigans is gender-neutral and easy to wash.
  • Bunting bag or snowsuit for winter baby: A popular option is this trendy metallic bunting bag with nearly-perfect reviews.
  • Laundry detergent for infants: This fragrance-free and dye-free detergent from Babyganics is a winner.
  • 4 outfits for dressing up (optional): This one comes with matching scratch mittens and a little hat.
Mom breastfeeds newborn baby Mikhail Reshetnikov / EyeEm/ Getty Images

Blankets

  • 3 large cotton blankets: These Burt's Bees blankets are made of organic cotton and are easy to machine wash.
  • 8 receiving blankets: They also make handy burp cloths, which is why affordable options are best. We like these unisex cotton flannel receiving blankets that cost about $2 each. Budget-friendly pricing makes this one of our favorite newborn checklist items.
Women holding and looking at baby FG Trade / Getty Images

Bathtime

  • 1 plastic infant tub. You can also use a large dishpan in the sink, or take baby in the bath with you, but we like the safety of this supportive infant tub. Read our guide to the best baby bathtub picks.
  • 12 washcloths, not used on baby's bottom
  • Baby soap or cleanser: This all-natural, calming lavender baby soap for sensitive skin is Today's Parent-approved.
  • Baby soft-bristled hair brush: This Safety 1st soft brush is one of the most affordable items on the newborn checklist.
  • 3 soft-hooded towels: Wrap them in cuteness! This organic bamboo-based hooded towel is a bestseller and is only about $13.
  • Bath Toys

Bedtime

If you are using a crib:

  • Approved crib and crib mattress: Before you move to a kids' mattress, you'll need a crib mattress. We love the breathable, washable Newton crib mattress. Read our guide to the best crib mattress options on the market.
  • 3 waterproof mattress covers: This just may be one of the most important additions to the newborn checklist. If you're spending money on a mattress, you'll want to keep it in top shape. Consider these waterproof mattress covers.
  • 4 fitted cribsheets: This four-pack of bestselling crib sheets is under $30 and gender-neutral.
  • 4 light blankets that fit in the crib
  • Sleep sack: These Gunamuna sleep sacks are made of cozy, all-natural bamboo and are a cinch to clean.
Mother laying her newborn baby boy into crib Westend61/ Getty Images

If you are co-sleeping:

  • Firm mattress: Don't have already have one on hand? Consider making the switch to an affordable parent-approved favorite like the Zinus memory foam mattress that ships right to your door and costs less than $500 for a king size. It's also CertiPUR-certified, so you can feel good about it growing with your family.
  • 4 fitted cribsheets: Opt for this pack of bestselling crib sheets.
  • 3 waterproof pads to place under baby: You'll use this set of waterproof bed pads well through the days of potty training.
  • Light comforter (keep away from baby's head)
  • Sleep sack: Again, the baby sleep sacks are a fuss-free win.
Baby co-sleeping with parents in bed Karen Moskowitz / Getty Images

Other necessities

  • Approved infant safety seat for car: Check out our list of the best convertible car seats and rotating car seats for brilliant buys you'll love for years to come. It's one of the most important baby essentials and often a requirement when you leave the hospital or birthing center.
  • A stroller that reclines so newborn can lie flat: The UppaBaby stroller we like best easily transitions from newborn through about age 4.
  • Nail clippers or scissors: These affordable Safety-First infant nail clippers are some of the best on the market.
  • Bulb syringe for suctioning mucous: Choose a silicone-based model like this one that's developed for noses and ears.
  • Baby thermometer: This FridaBaby rectal thermometer offers a speedy read-out and minimal discomfort. Plus, it's far more accurate than skin readings. The American Academy of Pediatrics suggests keeping a baby thermometer in your first aid kit.
  • Eye dropper or medicine spoon
  • Baby monitor: We like the Cubo AI smart baby monitor.
Woman giving medicine, vitamin D and supplements to a 10 days old newborn baby Stefan Tomic/ Getty Images

Nice-to-have items

  • Changing table (or just use change pad on top of dresser or bed): This Delta changing table is an affordable piece that holds plenty of diapers and baby gear. Make sure to pair it with a contoured and strapped changing pad.
  • Rocking chair for feeding and swaddling: We love this trendy nursery rocker with added padding.
  • Playpen: This anti-slip playpen will serve you well for years to come. In just a few weeks this will be exceptionally useful.
  • Sling or baby carrier: We love the affordable KeaBabies sling. It's a one-size-fits-most wonder.
  • Diaper bag: This trendy, modern diaper backpack style is easy to carry and features stroller straps and plenty of compartments.
  • 2 portable change pads: Order at least a couple of these brilliantly designed, affordable changing pads for when you're on the go. Thank us later.
  • Baby hangers for closet: This pack of 50 velvet baby hangers is about $20 and works well through age 6 or so.
  • Sunshade for car windows: We like these from Munchkin. These are affordable and won't mess with your car's style.
  • 4 pacifiers (if you choose to use these): These Philips Soothies are what most hospitals suggest. In our experience, we agree. Babies love them. Order a few packs.
  • Rattles and other baby toys 
  • Mobiles
  • Night light: This egg-shaped soft-glow lamp is perfect for night feedings.
  • A play mat for tummy time
  • Teethers

And remember, you can always sign up for a free Amazon Baby Registry welcome box filled with loads of these goodies at no cost to you. Hooray!

Mommy and baby in a rocking chair AleksandarNakic / Getty Images

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This article was originally published on Nov 05, 2020

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Bryce Gruber is the Executive Editor at Today's Parent and a Jewish mom to five growing kids. She's based in New York's Hudson Valley, loves writing shopping and trend content and catching up on pop culture. When she's not raising her children, she can be found hiking local mountains, traveling to sunny beaches and trying to get a handle on the endless laundry life provides.

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