New Baby Checklist: Everything You Need for a New Baby

baby reaching for crib mobile

The “big day” is coming—your precious child is about to enter this world. Do you have your rubber duckies in a row for your newborn's arrival? Before you go shopping, take a few moments to consider what really needs to be on your checklist for tending to a new baby.

Most expectant mommies just love shopping for baby items. After all, you’re trying to prepare for the most amazing new individual to enter your life. Before you spend another second thinking about buying stuff for decorating the baby’s room, focus on what your newborn needs first.

Must-Haves for a “New Baby Basics Kit”

baby girl in car seat

1. Car seat – If you’re taking your baby home from the hospital or birthing clinic in your vehicle, you’ll need to have a car seat. In fact, hospitals or birthing centers typically check to make sure you have one before they will discharge you. You can check with Safe Kids USA for further information on specific child restraint manufacturers. The National Child Passenger Safety Board can provide further details on car seat safety.

2. Diapers – Decide whether to use cloth or disposable diapers. If you select cloth, then you can buy them yourself and wash them. There are many styles from which to choose, such as newborn contour-style, pre-folded, and all-in-one diapers. Or, if friends are asking for gift ideas, why not suggest a cloth diaper service for several months? Diaper-cleaning companies will deliver freshly washed diapers to your door and provide a receptacle for the soiled ones—picked up on a regular basis.

3. Bassinet or crib – Try a bassinet if you’re planning on keeping your infant in the same room with you in the early months. Your baby will likely take comfort in the bassinet’s cozy interior, and you may prefer its easy portability. When your baby gets bigger, you can move him or her into a crib.

4. Baby clothes – The newborn layette, which includes outfits of clothing and bedding for a newborn baby, is another essential. A layette consists of a few onesies (one-piece body suits with snaps at the crotch), a gown, blanket, pajamas, booties, mittens, and a tiny cap. It usually is sold as a prepackaged set and can be found in major department stores.
You’ll likely get plenty of hand-me-downs from friends who had babies recently, so you may not need to buy much yourself. It is also easy to get “gently used” baby items from consignment shops. Or, you can get some inexpensive onesies or footed pajamas from large department stores.

baby clothes

Other Essentials for New Moms:

Health & Safety Gear

  • Baby monitor

  • Baby shampoo/baby wash

  • Baby nail clippers

  • Night light

  • Pacifiers

  • Thermometer (digital)

Nursing Items

  • Breast pump – electric or manual (rented or purchased)

  • Feeding bottles

  • Nursing bras

  • Nursing pillow

  • Nursing pads

  • Storage bottles or bags (for storing pumped breast milk)

Formula and Feeding

  • Burp cloths (use cloth diapers)

  • Formula

  • Bottles (e.g. Platex plastic bottles & liners)

Diaper-changing Items

  • Baby wipes

  • Diaper rash cream

  • Diapers

  • Diaper pail


  • Baby bath towels and wash cloths

  • Blanket for crib or bassinet

  • Baby socks or booties

Baby Equipment

  • Baby bathtub

  • Baby carrier (such as a “Baby Björn” sling or carrier)

  • Bouncy seat

  • Diaper bag

  • Indoor baby swing

  • Infant seat

Furniture / Playthings

  • Changing table or changing pad

  • Colorful mobile for crib

  • Baby music CDs or audiotapes

  • Play mat, with fun (safe) toys

For Little Ones “on the Go”

  • Portable crib

  • Portable playpen

  • Stroller or carriage

  • Sun shields for car windows

A Well-Rested Mommy!

Of all these essentials, the one thing you shouldn’t do without is your rest. You will need to be well-rested so you have the energy to take care of your tiny charge. For those first few weeks after bringing your newborn home, allow the house be a little messier than usual. Also, why not try to accept the help of friends and family? Maybe they’ll even bring some homemade meals for you and help clean up afterward!