Before Harper was born, I was completely at a loss as to what I would need when she arrived. I mean, I knew she needed clothes, some diapers, a crib (?) etc., but I was stressed to the max worried about what I was missing. Of course, it all came together just fine, but I really wished I’d had a comprehensive list like this one to help calm my fears.
Sure, there are other lists on the web, but in my opinion, many of them tell you way too much stuff to get. Plus, they don’t explain from an experiential standpoint why certain items are (or aren’t) needed. So, I kept detailed notes on everything so I could send my list to several girlfriends who were having babies shortly after I was.
Lucky for you, here is that list!
- Crib or cosleeper – This depends on if you plan on sleeping with the baby. I LOVE sleeping with Harper, but it is difficult with both Scott and me in a queen-size bed. Good for late-night nursing and cuddling but otherwise kind of a bummer. I put her in the crib most of the time at night until early morning when I’m not so sound asleep that I might crush or smother her. I got my crib at Ikea for about $70.
- Crib mattress – I got an organic one from Baby Natura that was pricey – about $500, but I made up for it with the cheap crib and changing table.
- Sheets – I accidentally bought four sheets from Ikea but really only need two. Two is plenty in my opinion – one on the bed, one in the wash.
- Waterproof cover for mattress – I have two. When one’s washing, the other one’s on.
- Waterproof cover or pad for YOUR mattress if you plan to let the baby sleep or nap with you. You will not be happy with pee/spitup/poop on your bed. Trust me. Also, your boobs will be pretty leaky in the beginning. I would often wake up in a pool of milk if I forgot to put on a nursing bra and pad.
- Changing table – I got a cool antique one at DI for $5. I was going to strip and refinish it, but ultimately, I just cleaned it. Time didn’t allow for anything more. The changing table isn’t really necessary, but mine has storage shelves which are really nice. Bending over the crib constantly to change the baby makes your back hurt. And it’s just nice to have a spot with all your crap organized.
- Receiving blankets – I made a bunch of these out of flannel (just serged the edges), but you can buy them cheaply. These are great in the early days, but Harper has already grown out of them for swaddling. Now I just use them to cover her legs when she’s playing or in the stroller. I would say five or so of them is plenty.
- Fleece blankets – these come in handy when swaddling the baby, putting her down to sleep, etc. I think I have about five that I rotate. You can also just make them out of fleece bought at Joann’s or something. You can finish the edges however you like. I crocheted around mine but it won’t ravel regardless. The edges will just curl. Of course, you could just buy a few.
- Onesies – The newborn size only fit for a week or two. She was quickly in 0-3 mos and was already in 3-6 months at 5 weeks old and 9.5 pounds. However, we use cloth diapers which are pretty bulky.
- Footed pajamas – for night, obviously. I always give her a bath around 8pm and put one of these on her before rocking her/nursing her to sleep.
- Pants – buy a few pair to go with the onesies if it’s chilly.
- Shirts – you can get buy with just onesies, but I like shirts so sometimes she can just wear her diaper with a shirt. It’s easier to change her that way, and cooler in the warm months. Shirts do ride up though, and that is a pain. They are nice if you are cloth diapering because onesies tend to be a little short for the bulky bottom.
- Socks, especially if your baby will be born in the cooler months. I bought a pack at TJ Maxx for pretty cheap, or you could get them at Wal-Mart, Target, etc. Babies grow out of these quickly, so don’t stock up on tiny sizes.
- Baby tub – I have the Whale of a Tub from Fisher Price and love it. I just put it over the kitchen sink.
- Bathcloths – you only need 3-5 of these. I do laundry every night, so I really rotate two of them for the most part. Occasionally I will give her a rag bath in between real baths, so a few more are handy. OR, you can just use adult bathcloths if you already have them. There’s not much difference except the baby ones are a little thinner.
- Baby shampoo/soap – I use California Baby. It’s sort of pricey, but it lasts a long time and smells nice. It’s also super gentle on the skin. My midwife told me that Baby Magic etc. are bad for the baby. I looked it up here on the Cosmetics Database and confirmed her warning. I also use the California Baby products on her butt when changing her. You can buy it at Whole Foods, Target or on their website.
- Alcohol – to clean the belly button area
- Q-tips – to clean the belly button area, ears, etc.
- Brush – optional. I am vain and like to brush my baby’s hair. She
hashad a lot of it.
- Nail clippers – I didn’t use these much at first because Harper’s nails were paper thin, and I could just pull them off. I did use it a lot after the first month or two though.
- Nasal aspirator – good for removing boogers. I know, I know. Gross. But it happens.
- Burp cloths – OR, if you are cloth diapering, just use diapers or wipes. I usually just use a diaper. If you aren’t cloth diapering, you could still get some cloth diapers for this purpose.
- Car seat – D U H. You have a few options here – you can get a travel set with a stroller, or you can get a car seat that will last from birth all the way up to toddlerhood. We opted to get a used travel set off of Craigslist, and we’ll upgrade to a bigger carseat when Harper hits 22 pounds. (She is now almost six months and about 18 pounds, so we will be upgrading soon.)
- Towels – don’t waste your money on the hooded ones specifically for babies. We have some of those but always use our regular adult ones.
- Stroller – we got a travel set off of Craigslist for $95. It’s a Babytrend jogger complete with infant carseat. Works just fine for us.
- Baby wrap – I loved the
Sleepy WrapBoba Wrap (they recently changed the name). Cheaper than the Moby and stretchy. However, Harper didn’t love this wrap once she got a little bigger (she’s doing okay with it now that she’s waaay bigger). To be honest, I have four total infant carriers that were given to us by friends and family, and they all have been great for a particular purpose and at a particular age for Harper. My suggestion is to try out other people’s or go into a store and see which one your baby likes after he/she is born. The others I have are the Kelty Kangaroo, a BabyHawk MeiTei and a Playtex sling.
- Pacifiers – do not waste your money on anything other than the Soothie. Looks funny; works like a dream (especially if you plan on breastfeeding). I didn’t give Harper a bink until she was about three weeks old. I could have saved myself a lot of heartache and nipple pain if I had done it sooner…FYI: we tried several kinds before we found this one. And from what I have read online, the same is true for many other first-time mommies. They sell these at Wal-Mart, Babies R Us and Target for a few bucks/two pack.
- Diaper bag – I have this one and love it.
- Changing pad covers and and liners – I have two of the covers and like 8 of the liners. The liners seem like overkill, but trust me, they are awesome. I keep two of them on the changing table at all times so if she soils one while I am changing her (it happens), I can slide it out and have a clean one ready-to-go. They keep you from having to wash the cover all the time. I have these flannel ones that were hand-me-downs and prefer them over the Boppy ones because the Boppy ones have a slippery vinyl backing that gets all bunched up when I am changing Harper.
- Changing pad. You can use this with or without a changing table. You can also make a changing table out of something else by just putting this one top f it. I have this one.
- Baby swing – optional, but my baby loves to sit in it and rock. I bought it used off a friend. The seat detaches and vibrates for an additional thing to put her in when mommy needs to cook dinner or whatever.
- Play yard/pack & play – totally optional but nice-to-have. We used ours as a crib the first few nights since we were in the middle of moving. I also used it throughout the summer while sitting on the porch with Harper.
- Play yard sheets (if you get a play yard). You might want some waterproof pads to go under them, too. The ones they sell at Ikea are the perfect size.
- Activity mat like this one by Skip Hop - optional at first but will entertain the baby after she is a few weeks old.
- Noise maker like this one from Cloud B. I have the giraffe model. This was great when on shopping trips, etc., when the baby wanted to sleep, but noises kept startling her. This provided a nice background noise to drown everything else out. It seemed to soothe her, too.
- Books, toys, etc. – The baby won’t use them at first…but eventually he/she will.
- Rocking chair/glider – If you can afford it, buy a nice one. I spent a ton of time in mine when Harper was tiny (and still do!), so your back will thank you for it. I got a Best Chairs model from Babinski’s Baby here in Salt Lake City and love it.
- A mirror for the headrest on the seat the baby’s chair is in – we have one of these, and I love it because I can see her, and she can see me. It has saved us a lot of headaches in the car. I have this one from Babinski’s Baby in SLC, but anything will do.
- Clothes hamper – I bought a really inexpensive one at Ikea. Of course, you can always put the baby’s clothes in your hamper, but I like having one right next to her changing table.
- Maxi pads for you after the birth – You will need the gargantuan, long, overnight ones with wings for the first week or two. After that, you can probably get away with regular pads or the long ones.
Cloth Diapering supplies:
- Butt spray – I use California Baby Diaper Area Wash. I spray it directly on her bum and wipe it off with a cloth wipe. It’s great because you don’t have to have wet wipes all the time. Seriously, if you are skeptical about using reusable wipes – don’t be. Baby poop is nothing scary…at least, not if they are breastfed. I use only one wipe per change, and it’s plenty. I keep one bottle in her changing bag and one on the changing table. This stuff is a little pricey but worth it…I bought it in bulk directly from California Baby after I realized I loved the stuff.
- Wipes – I use the cotton velour wipes from Green Mountain Diapers. I have 24 of them.
- Prefolds – I use Green Mountain Diapers prefolds. Harper could wear the newborn ones until she was about six weeks old. We then switched to yellow-edge, and we’re now in red-edge at almost six months.
- Diaper covers -four or five in each size is ideal. There are a LOT of diaper cover options out there (wool, polyurethane laminate or PUL, etc.). I have a combination of PUL covers that I made myself using this pattern from La-Di-Da Diapers. I also have Bummis Super Lites, Bummis Super Brites and Thirsties Duo Wraps. The Bummis Super Lites are a great deal for the low price. The Bummis Super Brites are what I use the most and are great with their gusseted legs and cute prints. Thirsties Duo Wraps also have super cute prints and are economical because they adjust to fit babies size newborn through 9 months using a lot of ingeniously placed snaps. (Now that Harper is 18 lbs and 6mos, we are using the 9-18mos size).
- Snappis – because pins suck. I recommend getting a package of two or three. They will last several months, but I am currently down to one (at six months) because we have lost one and broken another one. The one I’m using now is actually broken but working, so I need to order more.
- Laundry pail – I just bought a cheap one at Wal-Mart that opens with a foot pedal thingy.
- Two laundry pail liners (one in the pail, one in the wash). This particular one is really nice because it’s so versatile.
- Purex laundry detergent – get the kind that’s free and clear of dyes and fragrance.
A NOTE: I made a ton of pocket diapers before Harper was born, and they just don’t work for her. I really love using prefolds with covers even though they are kind of old-school!
- Nursing bras for daytime. My all-time favorite is this one from Bravado, but I also have Nummies and Motherhood Maternity. Get what’s most comfortable for you.
- Sleeping bras – I like these from Motherhood Maternity and have one in every color.
- Disposable nursing pads – Lansinoh are the best in my opinion. I tried Medela, but they didn’t stay in place as well, and they aren’t as soft. You will use a lot of these; BUY THEM.
- Nipple cream – I started with the Lansinoh Lanolin but switched to Motherlove ointment at the suggestion of a lactation consultant.
- Soothies gel pads for the first couple weeks – My boobs hurt like a bitch the first two weeks. These kept me sane. The Medela ones are not as good. Buy a couple or three pair to get you started.
- “My Brest Friend” – This thing is completely optional, but it really helped me those first few months. It prevents back pain since it supports the baby for you.
- Breast pump – optional depending on your lifestyle. I have the Medela Pump in Style for everyday use and the Harmony Manual Breast Pump for travel and quick expressions. I also bought milk bags for storing the milk. Honestly, I don’t use this thing nearly as much as I thought I would, but I am with Harper almost all the time. I also don’t use the plastic bags because I usually only pump enough milk to fill the six bottles that I have on-hand. They stay in the fridge and are usually used within the eight-day limit.
NOTE: The reason you will need nursing bras if you are breastfeeding is that your boobs will leak all the time. You will get your clothes wet and gross if you don’t wear pads on your boobs. Yes, even at night. DO IT.
ANOTHER NOTE: Don’t waste your time on reusable breast pads. I know, I know…killing the environment and all. But trust me – I tried to use organic cotton ones and soaked through them constantly. Very annoying and embarrassing.
FINAL NOTE: Don’t waste your money on nursing-specific apparel. At first, you will be self-conscious…but you get over it. I just pull up my shirt and go for it now. Plus, nursing apparel is ugly.
Thing I bought but have not used:
- Nursing bibs
- Lily Padz – I used them one day, and my breasts started itching like mad. Also, they leaked a lot. They might work a little better now that my milk production has regulated itself a bit.
- Tons of newborn size clothing
- Newborn hats (she wore one that I knitted home from the birthing center and for about a day after that). Harper was born in the summer though, so a winter baby might need more hats.
- Belly Bandit – okay, I used it occasionally. However, it’s wasn’t very comfortable, and I’m still skeptical as to whether or not it works any more than exercise and proper diet.
- Hip Shrinkx – see “Belly Bandit”
- Nursing covers – I made two really cute ones, but I never really used them. I either throw a blanket over me or whip it out. With motherhood, my modesty went out-the-door.
- Swaddle-Me’s – Harper just didn’t like these. I know some moms swear by them, but we weren’t fans.
Aaaaaaaaaand, some tips:
- DON’T spend a bunch of money on baby clothes. I recommend buying used stuff or going to Wal-Mart/Target for cheap stuff. They puke and poop all over it, and you will be washing it constantly. And if you buy Gerber onesies or other outfits, don’t get the newborn size. They run really small. I used 0-3 mos in the beginning.
- Don’t buy shoes for a newborn. Serious waste of money.
That’s it! Please let me know if you have any questions or suggestions for my list.
Disclaimer: There ARE some affiliate links in the list above, but I added them AFTER writing everything. In other words, these would have been my suggestions regardless of whether or not I can make some cash off them. Hey, I’m a stay-at-home mom with a serious knitting problem…every extra penny is a contribution toward my yarn budget! Help a mama out!