These are some things you should think about for those first few weeks home with your baby (in our humble opinion). Also some things you might want to have in the house when the baby is born. If we’ve missed something that you think should be on this baby ready checklist — let us know!
Keep in mind, some of the accessories and gadgets are fun or can make your life easier, but YOU are all your baby really needs at this age to grow and flourish!
- Nursing pillow
- Washable nursing pads
- Soothing cream product for new to nursing sore nipples
- Nursing bras. Before the birth, get 2 well-fitting quality nursing bras — you can get more bras if you need to when your milk comes in, and after you know your postpartum size for sure. Stay away from thefancy clasps and hooks at first. You will want to get the hang of nursing and just focus with your baby before you add those in to the mix.
- To pump breastmilk you’ll need to to find a quality electric or manual breast pump or rent one.
- You’ll need a supply of milk storage bottles or bags.
- For bottle feeding, start with 4oz bottles, stage 1 nipples, and a bottle brush for cleaning. The number of bottles varies based on your circumstances, and be aware that nursing babies might be picky about bottle types, so perhaps get just 1-2 bottles in each of a few brands. A full-time bottle fed newborn will need about 10 bottles per day. Plan to buy at least a dozen bottles and nipples to account for washing and drying time. You can also air dry on a standard dish drying rack or take this opportunity to register for something fresh like Boon Grass.
Postpartum Mother Care
- Postpartum refreshing sitz herb spray and rhoid balm
- Some comfy nursing tops and/or a nursing shawl so you feel comfortable nursing when you have visitors or go outside.
- Especially for c-section mamas, a postpartum belly binder and scar healing cream.
You’ll need diapers! Buy organic cloth prefolds with covers, one size diapers, or set up local diaper service. Compare your options with help from our diaper choosing guide. A newborn normally needs 10-12 diapers per day. It is a very easy time to use cloth because they are not eating solids and poo and pee are very benign. Cloth diapers will save you a lot of money, and there are a lot of fabulous options out there now that are practically as easy as disposables. Since cloth diapers cost a little more up front and make up for it in huge savings later, they are an ideal thing to request on your gift registry!
- Cloth Baby Wipes (20-25) – With just some warm water added to a cloth wipe and a couple drops of diluted lavender essential oil if you desire you have a soft & natural baby wipe you can throw in the wash with your diapers.
- Diaper pail – We love the recycled plastic carbon filter pail. It is a nice size and completely eliminates the odor naturally without chemical scents to cover. Consider a washable cloth diaper pail liner if you don’t want to have to wash out your pail. Then you can empty the pail into the washer without touching the diapers and turn the pail liner inside out as you do and wash it also.
- Diaper bag – You will be bringing this with you everywhere you bring your baby so you may consider picking a color and style that works for your whole family.
Blankets & Burp Cloths
- Burp cloths or extra cotton diapers – These protect your clothes from spit-up, and also protect your baby’s tender skin from your own clothing (especially if you are not using only baby friendly soap). You’ll want to have a bunch handy.
- Receiving blankets and swaddling blankets – For swaddling, holding, changing, playing. You will appreciate having a bunch, as these will need to be washed often, and get used for more purposes and more often than you’d think!
- Cozy blankets – Avoid thick blankets in your baby’s sleeping area, but heavier blankets can be perfect for covering baby’s legs in the stroller, wrapping around baby when you go outside, laying baby down on when out and about, or general around the house coziness.
- Gowns/kimonos or newborn sleepers (4-6) – When you’re home, a baby gown is perfect for comfort and ease of diaper changes. A one-piece outfit with well-placed snaps is another sensible alternative. Keep it simple and comfy at first, and minimize the effort of buttons and other time-consuming dressing options. (If you’re having trouble getting your baby to fall asleep and stay asleep, click here.)
- Newborn socks or booties (4-6 pair) – Find ones that baby can’t kick off during the night, to keep her tootsies warm. Footed outfits also work well for keeping feet warm at night or when you venture outside.
- Newborn cap (1-2) – New babies have trouble maintaining their body temperature, and a light cap can help keep their temperature stable, especially at night.
- T-shirts or all-in-ones (4-6) – You will go through one or two of these a day at first, so stock up, based on how often you want to do laundry.
- Sweaters or a bunting (1-2) – depending upon season.
Health and Safety/Baby Care Products
- Diaper cream – Choose a product that is natural and doesn’t contain petroleum derivatives. Those actually leach natural moisture from the skin and damage cloth diapers.
- Baby nail clippers or safety scissors – Keep baby’s nails short to keep him from scratching himself (or you!). At the beginning, many parents find their baby’s nails are so paper-thin they can gently bite them off, but you’ll need clippers or scissors if you’re squeamish and for later on.
- Baby brush and comb – Your baby might not need them for a while but a fine-tooth comb comes in handy for cradle cap.
- A good baby friendly soap for washing all baby’s clothes, diapers, blankets, etc. Also- if baby is co-sleeping in bed with you or laying on your bed you may consider washing your sheets as well as your own clothes is a soft soap until you feel baby is ready for regular soaps.
- Digital thermometer – Best to get one that works both under the arm and rectally. A rectal temperature is best when checking temperature in a newborn, for which even a mild fever can be dangerous, or any time you need a more accurate reading.
- Nasal aspirator – To keep that little nose from getting plugged. New babies can’t easily breathe through their mouths, and it’ll be a while before you can say “blow!
- A baby bath or insert to bathe baby in tub or sink – At the beginning, a sponge bath on a warm towel can work, but you will appreciate having a baby bath when you want to give baby a real bath. If your baby hates her bath, take her in the tub with you!
- Hooded bath towels (2) and wash cloths (6-12) – You will use these a ton (till your little one is two years+), so get good ones! Wash cloths will be used later for cleaning baby’s (and even your older child’s) face and hands after meals. It is good to have special wash cloths for faces that are different looking than your diaper wipes if you are using cloth.
- Baby carrier (sling, wrap or pack carrier) – For the newborn period, the Moby wrap is super comfortable. Another option is a buckle carrier like Beco. At six months or so a frame pack like the Koko Pax becomes a different choice.
- Infant car seat – We like the Britax, Peg Pergo, and Maxi Cosi car seats, they always rank well in independent ratings, such as Consumer Reports. It is sooo convenient to have the kind that clicks in to the base and has a handle for carrying! When they are sleeping and you are running errands you will LOVE that feature. Also nice to consider getting a car seat/stroller compatible system.
- Stroller or carriage – Think about when you see yourself using this mostly and how you will use it. Do you like to run? You may want to make sure you can have a front wheel locking option. Do you live on a gravel road or like to hike trails where you need more off road tires? If you are thinking mainly to use your stroller in town where you will be getting in and out of a car often consider how lightweight it is and how easy to fold up and down.
Furniture and Accessories
- Bouncer seat or swing – Great to have somewhere to lay your baby where he can see you eating dinner, cooking, etc. This is a handy little tool for when you need to take a shower too and don’t have another pair of hands!
- Co-sleeper, cradle, or crib.
- Mattress, waterproof pads, at least two sheets and other bedding.
- A rocking chair or glider is really nice to have for long hours of nursing and calming baby/parents!
- Changing pad or other safe diaper changing area along with a changing pad sheet
- Mobile for the crib and/or changing area – Babies like the visuals, sound, and movement these offer. One thing to consider is how long the cycle lasts before it needs wound or started again and if you have a place for it.
Other Good Ideas
- Get a simple bedside night light. Having a low light near where the baby sleeps helps you check on the baby during the night, and having one in the changing area allows for unstimulated nighttime changes. I liked to have the tap on/tap off kind so we could actually have some dark sleep time after a point but I could turn the light on without having to do much.
- Pick out birth announcements and get the address list together before the baby comes, if possible. Another eco way to do this is to have emails organized and you can send out a beautiful e-card. Printed cards can be for those only that do not do email.
- Make a Belly Cast to remember this amazing time! Do a Belly Painting and take some special pictures.
- Line up friends and family who will bring meals or come help you out at home after the baby is born (and a good friend to coordinate) and/or hire a postpartum doula to help.