My first baby was born in 2001. Yikes! I’m sure baby stuff has changed a bit since then, ha, ha, but one thing for sure hasn’t changed—this question: What do I REALLY need for my first baby? (and the essentials haven’t changed)
I remember being so overwhelmed with the lists of things I would need from the BIG BABY STORE, but certainly felt like I could get by with much less. A baby is already such a life-changing experience. Simplify what you need to start; test some things to make sure the baby likes it; wait on things you won’t need for a few months; and you’ll have a great beginning to being new parents.
I was so very grateful to my older sister, who by the time I was expecting my first baby, she already had three children. She is a savvy and frugal shopper when it comes to her family. She gave me a list of essential items that I would need for my first baby. After having three children of my own, I updated this list in 2006 and have given it to any friend expecting their first baby since. Today, I would like to share it with you. I pray blessings for you and your new little one. Just a reminder: most important of all, that bundle of joy needs focused love & attention from you.
____ BIBS (4-5; pullover elastic neck; vinyl-backed)
____ DISHWASHER BASKET (for bottle parts & pacifiers)
____ BOTTLE & NIPPLE BRUSH (to clean by hand)
____ BOTTLE & NIPPLE DRAINER
____ SOFT BITE BABY SPOONS (2)
____ HIGH CHAIR (at approximately 6 mos.)
____ BOTTLES (4, 8 oz. / 4, 4 oz.; I preferred Avent)
____ NIPPLES (make sure baby likes before buying a bunch….if breastfeeding, never go above the 0 level)
TIP: Even though you’re breastfeeding, don’t wait too long to try a bottle (about 3 – 4 weeks old) or the baby may not take it
____ MICROWAVABLE BOTTLE SANITIZER (optional; I found very helpful)
____ BOTTLE WARMER (great for heating bottles because you can’t use microwave to heat breast milk)
____ CRIB / CRIB SHEETS (2 is probably enough; any kind, t-shirt knit would be best)
____ SMALL LAUNDRY BASKET (keeps babies clothes separate for the first couple of months)
____ BLANKETS (2-4 each of varying types; cotton knit, flannel, fleece, thermal)
____ SPIT RAGS / BURP CLOTHS (10-12; cloth diapers work best)
____ ONESIES (all sizes eventually; good in summer & winter)
____ BABY BATHTUB (without a sponge back)
____ BABY BATH TOWELS (3-4) These do work better than regular towels.
____ BABY WASHCLOTHS (5-6) These do work better than regular towels.
____ BABY SHAMPOO (generic brand works just as well as brand name; Pump bottles are easier to use.)
____ BABY BATH (I usually bought the bath that works as shampoo too)
____ BABY LOTION
____ LARGE SPONGE (to lay baby on after bath and even to sit on in tub when 6 mos.+)
____ RUBBING ALCOHOL (for cleaning umbilical cord & stump)
____ Q-TIPS (for cleaning umbilical cord & stump) (I found the larger, baby-safe kind great for ear cleaning)
____ VASELINE (for circumcision, dry skin & rectal thermometer)
____ NASAL SYRINGE (make sure it has long, pointed end, hospital usually gives you one)
____ BABY NAIL CLIPPERS (easier to use than baby scissors)
TIP: The first few times, you may want to bite off the baby nails because they are really soft on newborns
____ ORAJEL (optional; never really helps for very long)
____ CHILDREN’S TYLENOL (generic is fine)
____ CHILDREN’S COUGH & COLD MEDICINE
____ INFANT GAS DROPS (Mylicon is most expensive, I used store brand)
____ COOL MIST HUMIDIFIER
____ DIAPER RASH OINTMENT (generic, I preferred A&D)
TIP: Use diaper rash cream/ointment for the first month with every change to prevent rashes
____ PACIFIERS (these vary in style, but buy only 2 to make sure baby will even take)
____ PACIFIER LEASH (Keeps pacifier attached to baby so it won’t fall; don’t let them sleep with it unless you are watching)
____ DIAPERS (I liked the store brand, you don’t have to buy brand names; After 1st month you will use about 1 pack a week)
____ WIPES (Any kind, but Target has a good, inexpensive one that comes in bulk. Only buy the storage container once, and then refill)
TIP: Don’t use a warmer, because then baby will always expect it….this also holds true for baby food.
____ WATERPROOF PADS (I used in crib, on couch and changing table)
____ BABY LAUNDRY DETERGENT (I only used for first month or so)
____ SMALL & LARGE DIAPER BAGS (I used the large free one you get in the hospital)
____ TRAVEL WIPES CONTAINER (for diaper bag; I use a pencil box because it holds a lot, especially for long trips)
____ INFANT CAR SEAT / STROLLER SYSTEM
____ BREAST PUMP (Good electric one)
____ SNUGLI CARRIER (optional; forward & backward facing)
____ BOUNCY SEAT
____ TOY GYM (hangs over them when they are on the floor)
____ EXERSAUCER (better than old walkers)
BONUS: BREASTFEEDING TIP
This essentials list is obviously for a mom who plans to breastfeed her baby. I would recommend breastfeeding but no one told me before my baby was born that it’s not an automatic process. There are great lactation consultants at the hospital…use them and consider their advice. With my first baby, I even had to hire a private, in-home, lactation consultant who was a huge help, but it was even still a struggle. I managed to breastfeed my first child for only six months. The best advice I got was before my second child was born. My sister-in-law advised to feed him for 10 minutes per side…that’s it….then pull him off. Don’t become his pacifier. He’ll learn to eat quickly and you will be less sore and able to produce more milk. Some may argue this point, but it worked for me. You will find out rather quickly that everyone has differing opinions about breastfeeding…just like they’ll have differing opinions on how to parent! The great thing is…you’re the boss…take advice, but decide how you want to handle it and trust your instincts. Each child can be different too, so relax and take heart that millions have gone before you and survived!
If you’re looking for a special baby shower gift, check out our Mama & Me collection of matching mother and child shirts.