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What You Need For Baby's First Night Home

As your due date approaches, do you know what essentials you should have on hand for baby’s homecoming? This go-to shopping list will help you ensure you have everything you need.

BABY NECESSITIES

The following items are absolute must-haves for you and your baby. Be sure to stock up on the following well before your due date.

A rear-facing car seat

This is one of the most essential items you’ll need for your baby’s first night home. Hospitals will not let families leave without checking to see that the family car has a properly installed car seat.

Baby clothes and storage

Your baby will need an outfit for traveling home. The Office of Women’s Health (OWH) recommends an undershirt or onesie, an outfit, socks or booties, a receiving blanket and beanie, and bunting or a heavier blanket if temperatures are chilly.

How much infant clothing to have on hand for baby’s first couple of weeks after coming home depends on how often you’re willing to do laundry. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) suggests the following to get your baby’s clothing layette started:

  • 3 or 4 pajama sets (with feet)

  • 6 to 8 T-shirts

  • 3 newborn sleep sacks

  • 2 sweaters

  • 2 bonnets/hats

  • 4 pairs of socks or booties

  • 4 to 6 receiving/swaddle blankets

  • 1 set of baby washcloths and towels (look for towels with hoods)

  • 3 to 4 dozen newborn-size diapers

  • 3 to 4 T- shirts/onesies with snaps between legs

Dresser and/or changing station

You’ll also need a dresser or wardrobe in which to keep baby’s clothing, blankets and supplies. You can get “two-for-one” benefits from these items by looking for a good dresser that can double as a changing station -- or a wardrobe that opens to reveal shelves and/or drawers and a changing area.

Emergency phone list

It’s a good idea for you and your partner to put together a phone or contact list outlining all your key contacts and keep it in a central area. Having your pediatrician, postpartum doula, breastfeeding coach, OB/GYN numbers handy can be helpful if questions or an emergency arises and you need to reach a professional fast.

Diapers and wipes

Plan on packing a handful of diapers and wipes with your hospital overnight supplies, prior to baby’s birth.

A safe sleeping place

Your little one will need a safe and secure crib, which to spend the night and take naps in. “Most brand new cribs and mattresses purchased in the United States are safe,” says the OWH.

Bottle and feeding supplies

Regardless of whether you intend to breastfeed, it is still a good idea to have several bottles, a bit of formula, and several sizes and styles of nipples on hand in case you become ill and can’t breastfeed or if breastfeeding becomes challenging. “Be sure to get the correct size of nipples, such as preemie, or newborn,” the OWH adds.

A bulb syringe

This item is helpful for suctioning baby's nasal passages if necessary, says the OWH. Because your little one can't blow her nose, having a bulb syringe handy can ensure she's breathing comfortably and easily after birth. Your baby's doctor will tell you if, when, and how to use a bulb syringe aspirator.

A week’s worth of pantry items

Your first couple of weeks home with baby can quickly turn into a blur of laundry, doctor's visits, and sleepless nights. Having go-to meals and snacks for you and your partner will keep you both happy and healthy. Stock up now up on healthy snacks (carrots, apples, celery), food that is high in protein (grilled chicken, turkey), and nuts.

“After the baby arrives, a good partner can provision this food and go the extra step by organizing snacks into baggies for snacks," says Seth D. Ginsberg, health advocate, social entrepreneur and new father (sethdginsberg.com). “Mom will crave food all the time, especially if she’s breastfeeding, and having these on hand will make all the difference. Water is a crucial ingredient, too,” he adds.

Rocking chair, glider or comfortable place to sit with baby

You'll need to have a comfortable place to sit with your baby during feedings. A comfy chair also gives you and your partner a spot to sit with baby and talk or read, too.

Rectal thermometer

Should you need to call your pediatrician for any reason, one of the first questions the nurse will ask is your baby's temperature. Be sure to have a trustworthy rectal thermometer on hand before returning home from the hospital.

ADDITIONAL BABY SUPPLIES

Although not completely necessary, the following items can help you care for your newborn with greater ease and comfort. Consider buying them before baby arrives.

  • Baby monitor

  • Baby carrier

  • Stroller

  • Baby carrier or sling

  • White noise device

  • Bouncy seats or baby swings

  • Diaper pail

  • Infant bathtub

Check with family and friends who’ve recently had babies and find out what supplies they loved and what they considered essential — and what items they just didn’t need.

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