How can one little baby need so much stuff?

So you are having your first baby.  You know that all sorts of things under the sun are made these days for babies, but it can be very tough to tease out exactly what you need.  The truth is, initially, you need very little.  You hardly even need anything to dress your baby in to come home from the hospital because the hospital will put him or her in a little t-shirt and a diaper and then swaddle them up tight.  And you need a carseat, but that is really it.  Most people will not be such minimalists though.

One must is a night light.  It is never a good idea to turn on the lights in the middle of the night when you need to see to feed your baby.  This tells your child that it is time to be up and playing.  Keeping on a small night light at night helps so that you can see but the room will not be too bright.

What follows is a crazy list of all the things you could possibly need the moment you baby comes home from the hospital. Much of this you may get as gifts from well meaning friends and family.  Much of it can wait.  Much of this you can get used.  There is a great website called where you can trade clothes with people.  A friend of mine who is an amazing conservationist and environmentalist had a baby shower where she provided her guests with a list of all the things she wanted and asked that all the gifts be used.  I thought this was a fantastic idea.

Here is the list, try not to let it overwhelm you.  Click on the highlighted words to go to pictures on other websites.


Lanolin (made by Medela or Lansinoh)

Breast pump (most agree the good ones are made by Medela)

Medela sterilization bags

Nursing pads.  These come in disposable and non-disposable

Nursing bras.  I recommend getting fitted for these towards the very end of your pregnancy.

Nursing pillow.  Boppy/My Breast Friend.  A regular pillow will work too but sometimes they are too squishy.


12 or more plain burp cloths/cloth diapers

4-6 4oz bottles.  If you aren’t nursing, you will probably need more.  If you are using formula, you will need bigger bottles sooner than if you are nursing and feeding pumped milk in a bottle.

4-6 bibs


2 Waterproof pads for crib

1 waterproof pad for pack n play

2-3 crib sheets

2-3 pack n play sheets

Pack n Play

Crib and mattress.  If you don’t have a crib, you can easily use a Pack n Play for quite a while.

White noise machine.  I like this one made by Marpac but there are many out there.

Night light


Changing table pad

2-3 changing table pad covers

Diaper rash cream.  There are many out there.  I don’t like Desitin because of the odor.  Some people like Butt Paste.  I use something that you have to order at the pharmacy, it does not require a prescription.  It is called Calmoseptin.  It is great!

Diapers.  Initially they wear either a newborn size or a size 1.  Try not to buy too many because they grow out of them very quickly.  I am also a huge advocate of cloth diapering.  This no longer is such a chore as it once was.  If I could go back and do it all again, I would use cloth diapers.  But that is a discussion for another blog post…


4-6 washcloths

2-4 hooded towels

Baby body wash.  I prefer the Aveno.  This one has a fragrance.  There are fragrance free body washes available.

Moisturizer.  Eucerin/Aquaphor is very thick but good for babies with very dry skin.


3-5 hats

6-8 pairs of socks, depending on time of year

4-6 0-3 month short-sleeved onsies

4-6 0-3 month long-sleeved onsies (I would wait to buy 3-6 month clothing, much of this you may get as gifts)

2 sleep sacks

4-6 0-3 month sleepers with feet

2-3 “swaddlers”.  These are called “Swaddle Me“s or the Miracle Blanket.  These are tremendously helpful when trying to swaddle a squirmy newborn.


4-6 good receiving blankets for swaddling—the best ones in the beginning are the ones from the hospital.  Its a good idea to swipe a few extra of those.  There are now some great Muslin blankets by Aden and Anais that I wish I had used with my kids.  They are very light weight, an excellent size for swaddling and you can continue to use them as light blankets and loveys as your child grows up.

2-4 thicker blankets. These are good for putting the baby on the floor.  You may get several of these as gifts

Bouncy seat.  It’s good to have someplace to put the baby other than their bed, the carseat or the floor.

Baby swing.  Cradle swings can be a life saver because many babies can be put to sleep much more easily while swinging.

Newborn headrest for carseat if yours doesn’t come with one already.


Rectal thermometer

Baby monitor.  We love our video monitor but it is not necessary.  It’s likely you won’t really need a monitor for several months.

Baby scissors, baby nail clippers.  Soft nail file.  Nasal aspirator.  These things often come together as a set.

Stroller.  Which stroller you choose will have a lot to do with where you live and what kind of use you will get out of your stroller.

Diaper bag

Infant carrier such as a Baby Bjorn, a Moby wrap, or an Ergo Baby.  I love the Ergo, others prefer the simplicity of a wrap.  If you are using the Ergo with a newborn, you will need the infant insert.


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