The Complete New Baby Essentials Guide + Printable Checklist
Congratulations! Your new bundle of joy is on the way! This is an exciting time where you are sure to have lots of questions about things like nutrition, sleeping, morning sickness, cravings and baby gear. Not only are you thinking about the best way to navigate through these next nine months, but you're also thinking about how to be prepared once baby arrives.
When it comes to your baby essentials list, it can be overwhelming to sort through all the options on store shelves, and just about everyone has an opinion or recommendation for you. What we’ve found is that even with the most well-meaning advice, it’s still a good idea to have a helpful guide to take you through this process of choosing the baby essentials that work best for you and your baby.
From sleeping to eating to playing, we’ve compiled a complete checklist of essential baby items and loads of helpful advice to help you start this journey of motherhood feeling prepared and ready for whatever comes your way.
Except diaper explosions-can we ever really be prepared for those?
Before buying for baby
The first and probably most important thing to remember is that every baby’s needs are different. You are unique, your little one is unique, so you should expect that your baby checklist will be unique from other baby checklists.
As tempting as it may be to fill your cart with all the cute baby products you see, try to only get things that make sense for your situation.
For example, if you plan to baby-wear for the majority of each day, it may not make sense for you to purchase a baby monitor. If you will be purchasing prepared baby food, then a baby food maker won’t be on your list.
Bottom line, don’t feel pressure to buy all the things people recommend or the shiniest new contraption you see. They may have worked for others but may be unnecessary for you.
Before buying anything, shop around and compare prices. Weigh the pros and cons and decide if it will be a good investment.
Check to be sure larger purchases will last by transitioning with baby as she gets older.
Ultra contemporary designs are fun in the moment, but will they still be in fashion when the next baby arrives? If you plan to pass baby gear from one child to the next, try to select classic designs that will stand the test of time.
When should you start shopping for baby essentials?
Now that you know being picky is totally ok, even encouraged, how should you approach shopping for the items on your checklist?
In the beginning of your pregnancy, you will be very excited! It’s going to be hard to stay out of stores because let’s face it – baby items are so adorable!
So go for it!
It’s totally fine to buy a few things early on. Just try to keep it to a minimum. One or two cute outfits or that fun giraffe blanket won’t hurt anything. We know it’s an exciting time and you should be able to indulge a bit.
Remember to keep items gender-neutral since you won’t know the sex yet, and try not to buy too many things since you won’t know what others will be gifting you at a baby shower or otherwise.
Once a few months have passed and you find out the gender of the baby, this is a good time to grab a few more baby essentials. Things like a box of diapers or a box of wipes are perfect purchases because you can never have too many and they are easily exchanged should you need a different size.
You’ll also likely have created a baby registry where you can see the items that were not purchased to help you stay on track with your purchases.
Wait unit after your baby shower to get most of your baby essentials so you won't risk someone duplicating what you have already bought.
How to save on baby essentials
Babies can be expensive. In fact, according to a 2015 USDA report, on average, parents can expect to spend over $12,000 per year on a child.
It can be easy to overspend on baby products when we think we need all the newest and latest gear. But by being aware of prices and where you get your baby items from, you can reduce your bottom line significantly.
Here are some of the best ways to save on your list of baby must-haves:
Registering for a baby shower
The question many moms have is, “Should I register for baby gifts?” The choice is a personal one and ultimately up to each mom to decide. Some moms don’t register past their first child, while some moms register for every child no matter if it’s their first or fifth. Some moms decide to have diaper showers where everyone brings a package of diapers instead of getting gifts from a registry. There really is no right or wrong way when it comes to making a baby registry.
There is also no hard and fast rule for when to start a baby registry. If you’d like, you can start one as soon as you find out you’re expecting and gradually add gender-neutral items as you do research and decide on things you like. Or you could wait until after finding out the sex of the baby. Either way, just be sure you register early enough so that friends and family have time to shop!
What are the best baby registries?
If you decide that you want to register for a baby shower, there are several online registries to choose from. We’ll highlight some of the best baby registries and the reasons they make great places to register for all your baby’s needs.
- 1Amazon Baby Registry
Amazon’s Baby Registry offers the following perks:
- 2Target Baby Registry
Target’s Baby Registry offers the following perks:
- 3babylist Baby Registry
BabyList’s Baby Registry offers the following perks:
- 4walmart Baby Registry
Walmart’s Baby Registry offers the following perks:
What baby items should you stock up on?
If there are things that you know you will need over and over again during the first few months or year of baby’s life, it’s a good idea to stock up on these items so you won’t risk running out when you need them most.
Stock up on these baby essentials so you'll be prepared when the time comes:
Purchase a mesh laundry bag to keep tiny baby socks and items from getting lost in the washer and dryer.
Complete new baby essentials checklist
Now that you know all about registering, buying, and saving on baby essentials, it’s time to start a checklist.
We’ve created the ultimate new baby essentials checklist to guide you through the process of picking out everything you’ll need. Remember, you don’t need to buy everything that is suggested. Pick out the things that will work best for you and baby and leave the rest.
HEALTH & SAFETY
Having a baby is an exciting time. And with a little preparation and forethought, you can get all the baby essentials you'll need to be prepared without spending a fortune.