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Newborn Baby Checklist

Nothing can really prepare you for becoming a parent for the first time. You can read every parenting book, watch every parenting video and talk to family/friends with children. The knowledge you gain from those resources will definitely be beneficial but you wont fully grasp it until you've lived through it. One of the biggest changes you have to adapt to, especially in the first couple of months, is an entirely new sleeping paradigm. You can consider the first couple of months as sort of a ritual hazing experience that all new parents have to go through. Sorry but there's no shortcuts or free passes to this one. Your new family member needs to be fed and changed every two to three hours. Sleeping through the night becomes a distant memory as you spend your nights waking up two to three times. Some people seem to manage this better than others but in any case it does wear on you. Whenever possible it helps if you can take turns with your spouse so you're not both waking up for every single feeding/changing.
Before you reach the zombie sleep-deprived state it's a good idea to make sure you have everything your new baby will need before you bring them home from the hospital. A lot of the items you need to buy are pretty obvious but some things might come as an afterthought if you're a first-time parent. Let's review some of the more common items that you will or may want to purchase for your newest family member. We'll break out the items into the following categories:
- Feeding and Changing
- Clothes
- Bath Time
- Furniture
- Miscellaneous

Baby Feeding and Changing Items

You're going to spend a lot of time feeding and changing your little one. Here are some of the more commonly used items you're going to need in your survival kit.
Philips Avent Natural Baby Bottles
Source: Amazon - Philips Avent Natural Baby Bottles
Bottles - You'd think that this would be a really simple item to pick out but there are literally dozens of bottle designs and nipple designs/sizes. The one thing that several bottle designs will try to help with is reducing the likelihood of the baby sucking air from the bottle will just make them gassy and very unhappy. If you're not sure what bottle to get it's probably a good idea to steer towards one that has a reputation for preventing this. We would also recommend you have at least three bottles. This way you can have one in use, one on standby in the refrigerator and one clean bottle as a backup.
Bottle Warmer - When babies are breastfeed they're obviously getting warm milk. Whenever you feed your baby refrigerated breast milk or baby formula you're going to want to warm that up as well. You should avoid using a microwave and although you could use warm water from the tap the most consistent way to warm your baby's food is with a bottle warmer. Most bottle warmers have an adjustable temperature setting so you can fine tune the temperature to you and your baby's liking.
Bottle Cleaning Brush - All of those bottles need to be cleaned after every use. Yup, there's lots of cleaning to do for your little one. We recommend you purchase a cleaning brush, if your bottle didn't come with one already, so that you can thoroughly scrub the sides and bottom of your bottles.
Formula/Breast Pump - If breastfeeding isn't an option you're going to be buying lots of formula. When you first start out its best to buy small quantities until you find out what works well with your baby's digestive system. We had to try five different formulas with our first born before we found one that worked for him. Even if you intend on breastfeeding your baby you might still have some dependency on formula for the first week or so as it can take several days after birth for the breast milk to come in.

If you're planning on breastfeeding your baby you might seriously want to consider purchasing a breast pump. They aren't cheap but there are some big advantages to using one. They allow you to collect milk when its most convenient for you, work efficiently, allow you to stockpile milk and wont try to bite your nipples off. We purchased a pump for our second child and would do it again in a heartbeat. It was worth every penny.
Boppy Pillow - With all the time you're going to spend feeding your little one in the first couple of months you should try to make it as comfortable as possible for you and the baby. One item that can help do that is a Bobby Pillow. This will provide support for you and the baby during feeding time. Sure you could probably get away with a big blanked or maybe a couple of pillows but the Bobby Pillow is purpose built and does a great job.
Diapers/Wipes - All that formula and breast milk your feeding your baby has to go somewhere. This means you're going to need a ton of diapers and wipes. Similar to formulas it might taking some testing to find out what combination of diapers and wipes work best for baby. You may come to find that your baby breaks out with a rash when certain diapers or wipes are used. Don't hesitate to try another brand or variety as that might yield better results. A comfortable baby means less crying.
Diaper Bag - Unless you plan on staying home until your child is potty trained you're going to need a diaper bag. Don't let the name fool you though. The diaper bag is like your baby on the go survival kit as you'll being storing all sorts of baby paraphernalia in there. We would recommend you keep some small plastic bags in there so when your baby does go while your out you can bag a dirty diaper and take it with you in the event there is no trash. I know the idea of walking around with soiled diapers isn't very appealing but that's parenthood for you.
Diaper Bin - It's nice to have a dedicated diaper bin where you can toss soiled diapers. A few dirty diapers in your kitchen or bathroom trash can and the surrounding area will start to get very uninviting. Most diaper bins are purpose build to seal up really well and in some cases dispense baking soda to help control unpleasant odors. Keep in mind that some diaper bins use proprietary bags so you should make sure they're readily available to you and not egregiously priced relative to the other options that are out there.

Baby Clothes

Having your first baby usually means buying all new baby clothes unless you have a family member or friend that has some hand me down clothes to offer up. Some special occasion items might only be worn once while some of your baby's clothes will be worn week after week until they no longer fit. You might be surprised just how quickly that happens. Here are some of the most needed clothing items.
Gerber Baby Boys' 8-Pack Short-Sleeve Onesies Bodysuit
Source: Amazon - Gerber Baby Boys' 8-Pack Short-Sleeve Onesies Bodysuit
Onesies - These little button-uppers are like baby blue jeans. It's like a right of passage to wear a onesie when you're a baby. You could very well find yourself going through two or three of these a day depending on messy your little one is.
Shirts/Pants/Socks - You can't rely on onesies alone to dress your baby especially if you live in a colder climate. You need to purchase some shirts/pants/socks to go along with the onesies.
Bibs - With all the money you just spent on clothes you're going to want to buy bibs to protect them as much as possible. You could easily go through two or three of these in a day. You might find yourself changing your definition of what dirty is and try to get an extra use or two out of bib before you toss it into the laundry basket for washing.
Burp Clothes - Having a baby doesn't mean just trying to keep them clean. You have to try to keep yourself clean too. Using a burp cloth after feeding is a must. There's going to be plenty of spit-up an drool stains looking for a target. Burp clothes are the best way to prevent yourself from getting hit. The bigger/wider the burp cloth is the better.
Baby Hats/Caps - Unless your baby has a ton of hair or you live in a hot climate zone you're going to want to get a couple baby hats/caps to keep their little bare heads warm at night.
Swaddler Wraps - Newborns are use to sleeping warm and snug inside their moms. A swadler wrap is easy to use, especially at 3 AM in the morning, and is a great way to recreate that feeling for your little one so they can rest easy and sleep safely.
Mittens - If your baby likes to fidget with his/her face through the night you might need to get a pair of mittens or two. They'll let your baby move their arms and hands around while protecting their gentle little faces from getting scratched up.

Baby Bath Time

Nobody wants to hold a stinky baby so regular baths are a must to keep your little one fresh and clean. Here are some of the more common bath time items you'll need.
The First Years Sure Comfort Deluxe Newborn To Toddler Tub
Source: Amazon - The First Years Sure Comfort Deluxe Newborn To Toddler Tub
Tub - Washing a baby in a full size tub isn't very practical and potentially very dangerous. Same can be said with trying to wash a baby in the shower. You need to be especially careful with newborns because it takes very little water to create a drowning hazard. Using a baby tub is the most practical and probably the safest thing to use. If you grew up in the 80s or earlier you probably have a picture of yourself in the kitchen sink. Although you survived that experience it's probably not worth repeating with your baby.
Wash Cloths/Towels - You need some wash clothes to gently scrub and clean those hard to reach places. You need some towels too for drying off your little one. Remember that baby skin is very sensitive so softer is better.
Baby Body Wash - Since baby skin is very sensitive its best to use a body wash that's been specifically formulated for baby skin. Using an adult variant might leave your baby with a rash or dried out skin.
Lotion - To make sure your baby's skin doesn't get dried out using a lotion, especially after bath time, is a good way to help prevent that from happening. This is especially so during the winter if you live in a cold climate because the air is drier.
Gentle Detergent - Another an item you may want to purchase for your little one is a gentle/hypoallergenic laundry detergent which contain little to no brighteners, fragrances or dyes. The fewer chemicals you expose your baby to the better.

Baby Furniture

Your baby is going to need some specialized furniture for their new room. As your baby grows the items will become outgrown only to be replaced by something new. Here are some of the more common items you'll need for your newborn.
Delta Children Sweet Beginnings Bassinet
Source: Amazon - Delta Children Sweet Beginnings Bassinet
Bassinet/Crib - Your baby needs a safe place to sleep and the most convenient place for them to sleep in in your bedroom. Getting a bassinet, which has a smaller footprint than a crib, will make it easier for your newborn to sleep in your room. The last thing you want to do is put the baby in your bed which is very dangerous for them. Make sure you understand all the dangers that exist and how to avoid/prevent creating a dangerous sleeping environment.
Baby Swing - Motion is magical for little ones. After 9 months of moving around with mom they're used to the feeling of moving around. A baby swing can be very soothing for them as can car rides. Taking your baby for car rides all the time just for naps isn't very practical though but a swing is.
Recliner Chair - Having a recliner chair is really for you and not your baby but you have to pamper yourself too. The recliner will give you a comfortable place to feed your little one or sit in their nursery if they're fussy and need constant attention. You should avoid sleeping with your little one in the chair though. If you fall asleep holding the baby he/she could slide out of position and end up with an obstructed airway.
Pack N Play - A pack n play is your crib on the go. It's like a mobile sleep/play station for your newborn as you travel or visit with family/friends. You probably wont your newborn on the floor of everyones house, especially if there are pets or other small children around. Some pack n plays also include a changing station which gives you a stable/clean surface to do your diaper changes on.
Music/Sound Machine - A music/sound machine can help fill the room with soft sound to help your newborn rest more easy. This is especially useful if you live somewhere with a lot of exterior noises or have a generally noisy/busy house.

Miscellaneous Baby Items

There are a few other items that don't really fit into just one the categories above but are things you may want/need nonetheless.
Itzbeen Baby Care Monitor Blue
Source: Amazon - Itzbeen Baby Care Monitor Blue
Multi Timer - With the nonstop changing, feeding and sleeping its can start to feel like the movie Groundhog Day where you're reliving the same day over and over. This can make it really hard to keep track of how long the baby has been sleeping, when was the last feeding and when was the last diaper changing was. Getting a multi timer eliminates the need to try to keep track of that in your head. All you have to remember is to press the button when one of those events takes place.
Pacifier - If your baby is regularly upset just before feeding time or is a little restless at nap time giving them a pacifier might help calm them. As your baby gets older you may want to wean them off of a pacifier or eliminate it altogether so they don't get too attached. There have been several studies that suggest increased pacifier usage can result in increase risk of ear infections.
Car Seat/Stroller - Sooner or later you're going to venture out of the house with your newborn so you need to make them mobile. The best way to do that is with a car seat and stroller. There are some combination items out there that allow you to snap the car seat into the car and right into the stroller. Not having to move your newborn from one to the other is a big convenience especially in poor weather. This is definitely an item you need before the baby arrives because many hospitals wont let you take the baby home unless you have a newborn approved car seat.
Thermometer - Being a new parent can be a little scary at times. I think every new parent has run over to check on their little one while sleeping just to make sure they were still breathing. If your baby feels unusually hot you may want to take their temperature. For newborns and small children the two ways to check temperature are under the arm and rectally the ladder is considered to be more accurate. Make sure the thermometer you purchase can be used for those tests.
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