Simplify your newborn preparations with this baby essentials checklist. Avoid unnecessary purchases, focus on the simple things and cut down on clutter.
I’m in a whirl of baby preparation. Baby will be here in just a few short weeks. There is something so gorgeous and exciting about washing tiny little clothes and seeing them dry in the sun and folding them carefully away in hospital bags and drawers. I like to prepare for my babies as simply as I can, without getting overwhelmed by all the choices of baby items out there.
It’s easy to think you need way more than you actually do, especially when you see all the cute and trendy items that are marketed for newborns. But the truth is, the essentials are a pretty short list in terms of what your newborn will actually need: a safe place to sleep, a car seat, nappies and some comfy clothes. And depending on how you plan to feed your baby, you may need some feeding and nursing equipment as well.
Doing this the second time around, I have a clearer sense of what the newborn baby essentials actually are. I’d love to share them with you in this blog post, where I’ll give you a baby essentials checklist that covers everything you need for your newborn.
Whether you’re a new parent or a seasoned one, I hope this list will help you simplify your preparation and enjoy this precious time before your baby arrives.
This post contains some affiliate links, which means I make a small commission at no extra cost to you.
When it comes to baby clothes, you’ll want to go for one-piece outfits that are 100% cotton or bamboo for breathability and comfort. These fabrics are gentle on your baby’s delicate skin and help regulate their temperature.
You might be tempted to buy some cute outfits (little suits, overalls or dresses) for your newborn, but trust me, you’ll want to completely skip them. They’re impractical, fussy and hard to put on and take off. Plus, your newborn will grow out of them in no time. Instead, focus on these items that will make your life easier and your baby more comfortable.
I plan on doing a lot of skin-to-skin for those first weeks, so I take a very minimalist approach to newborn babies’ clothes. When it’s time to dress bub, the only way to go in my mind is footed onesies with 2-way zips or kimono bodysuits. They’re super practical and easy to get baby in and out of and you don’t need to worry about socks.
Avoid any clothes that use press studs, because they’re an absolute hassle to do up (especially in the wee hours of the morning when you’re in the throes of sleep deprivation).
My favourite brands are PureBaby, Nature Baby and Bonds, but both Kmart and Target do 100% cotton ranges with zippers too. I recommend having 5-7 footed onesies in your baby essentials checklist, so you always have a clean one ready.
A packet of x5 body suits in either long or short sleeves (these are easy to pick up in packs at Target or Kmart) depending on the time of year. Summer babies can get by with these alone. For winter babies, they add extra warmth under a lightweight onesie. Bodysuits are great for layering and keeping your baby’s nappy in place. They also have snaps at the bottom for easy nappy changes.
Beanie or Baby Bonnet
To keep those precious little heads warm on outings, you’ll want to have a couple of beanies on your new baby essentials checklist. Beanies are especially important for newborns who lose a lot of heat through their heads. You can find some adorable ones on Etsy or make your own if you’re crafty.
A Note on Sizing
My first baby was born at 4.4kg, and completely skipped the 0000 newborn clothes and immediately was in 000. This time around I’ve got onesies in a few different sizes. It’s always good to have some backup options in case your baby surprises you with their size! You can always exchange or return clothes that don’t fit your baby, or pass them on to someone else who needs them.
Simple Baby Changing Table
Another baby essential that I like to keep simple is the changing table. Instead of buying a separate piece of furniture, I just use a chest of drawers with a changing mat on top. This way, I can store all the nappy supplies in the top two drawers and have easy access to them. I also have a little basket with some nighttime essentials (clean nappies, burp cloths, wipes, a foldable changing mat and some snacks for me) in my bedside table for those during the night nappy/diaper changes. In these top two drawers, I have:
Cloth Nappies/Cloth Diapers
We love and use EcoNaps and they are suitable for newborn size. If your bub is less than 3.5kg you may need disposable nappies/disposable diapers until they’re big enough (we love Tooshies). When baby is a little older and sleeping in longer stretches, we’ll use a disposable for nighttime use as they’re much more immune to leakages.
Tooshie’s baby wipes are our go-to or just a washcloth and warm water.
Nappy Balm/Diaper Cream
Weleda calendula nappy balm (doubles up as a great nipple cream!) – to be used when there’s any skin irritation or nappy rash/diaper rash, but if you’re using a baby powder, I have found this significantly decreases your need for it. I also received this herbal rash cream “Soothing Salve” from Blissful Herbs as part of my birth kit herbal order which I’ll be using too. The list of ingredients is exactly what I would be using if I were to make my own, so I’m excited to give it a whirl.
A single container of Burt’s Bees talc-free baby powder will last you ages and so good at preventing nappy rash! It is talc-free and made up of soothing slippery elm powder, corn starch and chamomile. Another option is to just pure corn starch. You can place a couple of tablespoons in a handkerchief, tie it up like a little dumpling with an elastic and use this to pat on your baby’s bottom. Both options are gentle on baby’s skin and great at preventing nappy rash from occuring in the first place.
There are all sorts of fancy nappy/diaper pails out there, but to be honest, a $15 pedal bin from Kmart has served us well. You will go through A LOT of diapers in the beginning months and it’s pretty straightforward to empty the dirty diapers/nappies into the main bin or laundry pail a couple of times a day.
A Nappy/Diaper Bag Alternative
One of the things that I stressed out about when I was pregnant with my first was finding the perfect nappy bag. There are so many options out there, and it’s easy to get tempted by all the extras (insulated pockets! hidden key compartment! secret zipper to store coordinating change mat!).
One of the best baby shower gifts I received was from my sister-in-law, who gave me a simple and beautiful solution: a pretty pouch filled with nappy bag essentials. It had everything I needed for a quick and easy nappy change, without the bulk and fuss of a big bag.
In the pouch, she had:
- A couple of nappies
- A nappy change mat
- A change of clothes
- Nappy bags
- A mini tub of Weleda calendula cream
- Hand sanitiser
This pouch has been a lifesaver for me. I can toss it into any bag or basket, or even carry it by itself. It’s perfect for those short trips to the shops, the park, or a friend’s house. It’s also great for travelling, as it takes up minimal space and weight.
This has since become my favourite gift to give to friends who are expecting babies (along with a batch of this healing postpartum chicken stew to put in the freezer and a tin of these lactation cookies). It’s simple, practical, and thoughtful. It shows that you care about their needs and their convenience.
Montessori Munari Mobile
This is not strictly an essential, in the Montessori world, it is considered one. I’ve hung a Montessori Munari mobile above our changing table. The high contrast mobile that gently moves is absolutely captivating for baby. I have found it’s better to have mobiles in playspaces or the nappy changing space over where they sleep as it can be too stimulating. It makes changing time more fun! I’m currently writing up a tutorial on how to make your own, so stay tuned!
Feeding and Nursing
One of the most important aspects of caring for your newborn is feeding and nursing. Whether you choose to breastfeed, bottle feed or a combination of both, you’ll need some baby essentials to make the process easier and more comfortable for you and your baby. Here are some of the items that I have found helpful.
For those first few months, having breast pads on hand is oh-so-useful as your milk supply adjusts to make the right amount of milk (which is constantly changing) and as a result, leakage happens. Soft and absorbent breast pads will cut down on laundry and save your sheets too.
I prefer reusable breast pads over disposable ones, as they are more eco-friendly and cost-effective. I use New Beginnings Washable Bamboo Nursing Pads that are soft, breathable and washable. They come with a cute laundry bag and a wet bag for storing them when out and about.
Haakaa Breast Pump
This is a marvellous little invention! When your milk lets down, it happens to both breasts at the same time, even if bub is only on one. The Haakaa pump captures that letdown, and through gentle suction will continue to draw down milk if you’d like to build a little stash of frozen breastmilk.
The Haakaa pump is made of silicone and has no cords or batteries. It’s easy to use, clean and store. It’s also great for relieving engorgement or mastitis.
Baby Bottles (if needed)
We loved the system of my husband Orlando doing one of the feeds with a bottle using the breast milk captured from the Haakaa throughout the day and stored in milk storage bags. He would typically do a 9-10pm feed, so I could get to bed early (8/9pm) and get a solid set of hours of sleep before the night feeds begin. Amazing for me to get that deep rest, and lovely for Orlando and baby to have their own feeding-bonding time together, especially if he was out of the house all day for work. We found the 120ml glass Avent Natural Bottle and teat to work perfectly, and we encountered no issues of nipple confusion. It’s also small enough to not need a bottle brush or any fancy cleaning equipment. We just have one bottle, but if you’re planning on or need to do formula feeding, you’ll need to get yourself a set.
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This is not something you need for your newborn, but definitely something you’ll need from about 6 months or when your baby becomes interested in solid food.
We have loved and used the Stokke Tripp Trapp chair and will be purchasing another one second-hand when we need it. It comes with various attachments so that you can use it to include your newborn at the dinner table with the family before they’re eating. It then progresses to a classic high chair with a harness and tray. Then you can drop the tray, then the harness, and it becomes a wonderful toddler chair that they can climb in and out of themselves and will last all the way up until they’re kiddos.
Everyone sitting around the table for mealtimes is very important to me, so this set-up works perfectly. It also looks stylish and blends in with our furniture. The chair is made of solid wood and comes in different colours and accessories. You can find out more about it [here]
Baby Wrap (an essential item for early months)
I use the Boba Baby Wrap which I consider a must-have item for the first 6 months before needing to move to a more structured baby carrier as they grow. This wrap will stay on me like a second top all throughout the day so that I can pop baby in and out. They can have their head out when awake, and when asleep can be tucked away. Wonderful for keeping them warm, close and snuggled and so helpful for going about your day once you’ve healed post-birth. Because this baby is a spring/summer baby, I’ve got my eye on the Solly Baby wraps as well, which are apparently more lightweight than the Boba Baby Wraps. An absolute essential!
Baby Sleep and Comfort
One of the baby essentials that I value the most is sleep. Sleep is vital for both me and baby, as it helps us to recover, grow and thrive. To create a peaceful and cozy sleep environment for my baby, I have some simple items that I use and love.
Cot or Bassinet (if you’re not co-sleeping)
For our first baby, we used the Stokke Sleepi cot, which lives next to our bed for baby’s first year. We just transitioned Massimo to a big bed, and the Sleepi cot has come back to our room already. While I’m open to co-sleeping, I wasn’t confident to do it with our first and he was a great sleeper in his cot from the beginning so it was never an issue. I love that this cot is appropriate for 0-10 years old, so it’s got a long career ahead of it!
Muslin Swaddle Blankets
These light, breathable and large muslin swaddle blankets from Romper & Co will be used daily for the first 3 months. I have found other brands are either too small or not stretchy enough to swaddle snuggly. They can also double up as a nursing cover, and pram cover for naps – a multifaceted newborn tool!
Ergo Sleep Pouches (from 8 weeks)
ErgoPouch is my hands-down favourite company for sleep pouches and sacks. They only use pure cotton and bamboo (no polyester filler), and have a great sleepwear guide with a thermometer that comes with each sleep sack you purchase, which takes all the guesswork out of what to dress your little one in so they stay snug. Where we live, the temperature drops significantly at night most of the year, so keeping safely warm is high on the priority list.
I use the ErgoPouch Cocoon Swaddle Bag for the first few months, as it allows me to swaddle my baby with their arms in or out. It also has a two-way zipper for easy nappy changes. Then I transition to the ErgoPouch Sleeping Bag when they are ready to move their arms freely.
Baby will sleep in our room for at least the first 6 months, but having a baby monitor is useful if they’re taking a nap lying down (and not in the baby wrap) and we’re in other parts of the house or out in the garden. We have loved the most basic baby monitor by Vtech. It doesn’t come with any bells and whistles, which is perfect. It just lets us hear our baby’s sounds and alerts us if they need us.
If you’re drawn to Montessori philosophy, the Topponcino is an essential baby item and a simple alternative to a baby bouncer or baby swings. It’s a soft, security pillow that serves as a familiar point of contact when in new environments. I’ve written all about them and how to make your own in this post.
Bathing and Bath Products
Another baby essential that I like to make myself is bathing and skincare products. I love making my own body care and household products in general, and I find myself coming back to these two simple baby wash and lotion recipes from Laura of My Oily House, a mama of 6. They include calming and soothing properties of plants, which makes bath time at the end of the day a lovely ritual.
Natural Baby Wash
We hardly wash baby with soap at all but when we do we just use a simple combination of Dr Bronner’s baby Castile soap with glycerin, jojoba oil and a couple of drops of lavender and chamomile in a foaming hand wash pump bottle that I picked up from Muji. A 250ml bottle lasts us for ages! You can find the recipe over here: How to Make All Natural Baby Wash.
Calming Baby Lotion
A simple recipe using shea butter, coconut oil and calming essential oils – Bedtime Baby Lotion. Great to use after bathtime and use some gentle baby massage techniques, especially of the belly.
We have loved and used the Stokke Flexi Bath, a foldable bathtub lasting from 0-4 years. It comes with a newborn attachment and a stand that you can use to elevate the bath and save your back. It’s wonderful for being able to store away when not in use and we take it when we’re travelling.
Baby Essentials When Out and About…
Another baby essential that I like to keep handy is a nappy pouch. This is a small bag that contains everything I need for changing my baby’s nappy when we’re out and about. It’s much simpler than carrying a bulky nappy bag that has too many things I don’t use.
I enjoy having nursing covers on hand that I can use if I want some privacy while breastfeeding. While I’m a big believer in normalising breastfeeding, I’m modest by nature and it makes me feel more comfortable in certain environments or certain companies to have the option of using this lightweight drape. I have made my own using this tutorial from Farmhouse on Boone.
Infant Car Seat
We have loved and used the Nuna Reve which is designed for 0-4 years old (a convertible car seat that can be used rear-facing or forward-facing), so we will re-use this with baby and move Massimo to a simpler car seat appropriate for his age, which is typically far less expensive.
Preparing Your Baby Essentials with Simplicity
Bringing a new baby home is one of the most exciting and joyful events. But it can also be a daunting task, especially if you’re not sure what you need to prepare for your little one.I hope this baby checklist will help you simplify your baby’s arrival and enjoy the early days with peace of mind.
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Remember, you don’t need to have it all; you just need to have what truly matters. Your love, attention, and these carefully chosen essentials will create the perfect environment for you and your baby to thrive.
What are your baby essentials? Please share them in the comments below.