Equipment must-have items
- Infant car seat: A properly installed car seat is required for you to drive your baby home from the hospital. Questions about how to install it? The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has a directory of certified car seat technicians around the country who will inspect your seat and check for proper installation for free.
- Stroller: You’ll want to get out and about with your baby, whether it’s a walk around the neighborhood or a trip to the market. Look for a stroller that fits your lifestyle. You might want a super-lightweight umbrella stroller or a more heavy-duty jogging stroller for outdoor activities.
- Diapers: No one wants to run out of diapers (especially at that 4 a.m. feeding!), so stock up on extras, including a variety of sizes. You’ll use the extras eventually, and since babies grow fast, you might need the bigger ones sooner than you think. Plus, most retailers allow you to exchange unopened boxes for different sizes. Need more help planning? We’ve got an easy diaper calculator to help.
- Hygiene items like baby wipes: Experienced moms will tell you that you can never have enough baby wipes. Baby wipes come in handy for all sorts of things, from cleaning spit-up in the car to wiping down a high chair after your baby’s meal.
- Two sets of baby bedding, including fitted sheets and a mattress protector: Baby safety experts recommend keeping baby’s sleep area simple and streamlined. According to the National Institutes of Health, “Infants should be placed to sleep alone, on their backs, on a firm sleep surface, such as on a mattress in a safety-approved crib, covered by a fitted sheet.” The organization recommends keeping toys, quilts and comforters away from the crib for safety.
- A selection of baby wraps: Some babies love to be swaddled, so look for lightweight muslin or cotton wraps. These can also come in handy to mop up the occasional mess.
- Soft baby towels and washcloths: These essentials can help make bath time a fun experience for you and your baby.
- Baby soap or body wash: Some parents favor soothing scents such as lavender or all-natural formulations.
- Diaper rash cream: When your baby is uncomfortable, you’ll want to soothe him, stat. A go-to diaper rash cream can take away the discomfort of a sore bottom.
- Round-tipped nail scissors or baby nail clippers: keeping your little one’s nails neatly trimmed can help prevent accidental scratches.
- Thermometer: if your baby’s feeling under the weather, a no-fuss thermometer (such as a forehead scanner or a digital ear thermometer) can help you know how to proceed.
- Pacifiers: the choice to use or not use a pacifier with your little one is completely up to you. If you do decide to soothe your baby with a paci, there are a wide range of options available in a variety of shapes, sizes and materials.
Equipment nice-to-have items
- Baby carrier (this might come with your stroller)
- Baby bath
- Diaper bin and stacker
- Baby bouncer, soother or swing
- Safety equipment, such as gates, child-resistant locks and catches, stove guard and door knob covers
- Baby monitor
- Colorful rattles and other toys to entertain your baby
- Portable diaper changing mat
- Car window shade
- For breastfeeding moms:
- For bottle-feeding moms:
- Bottles with a variety of nipples, bottle brush and bottle drying rack
Furniture must-have items
- Bassinet or crib: We all want our own place to sleep, and baby is no exception. Look for one that’s safe and secure, so your little one can get the best possible sleep.
- Changing table and mat: As a new parent, you’ll be changing a lot of diapers, so you’ll appreciate having a dedicated spot to make diaper changes safe and efficient. Even if she can’t say so, your little one will appreciate this, too!
Furniture nice-to-have items
- Rocking chair or glider chair for feeding and soothing
- Highchair for easy, secure feedings
- Night light
- Sound machine
Clothing and accessories must-have items
- Bodysuits: Choose a variety of styles, such as long-sleeved, short-sleeved and ones with and without pants, based on the season when you’re due. Most parents say their babies live in bodysuits for much of their earliest months because they’re so comfy.
- Sweaters or jackets: Depending on your home’s climate, you might need to bundle baby up for chilly days.
- Hats: Pick up a soft sun hat for shading your baby’s sensitive skin in the summer and a beanie or two for keeping warm in the winter. Even if these items weren’t so functional, we can all agree that babies look adorable in hats!
- Socks and mittens: Socks will keep baby’s feet warm, and mittens can help keep your little one from scratching herself.
- Bibs: Infant meal times can be messy, but a selection of easy-clean or washable bibs can help.
Clothing and accessories nice-to-have items
- Dresses, pants and tee shirts for various occasions
- Baby sleeping bag, sometimes called a sleep sack, with a fitted neck, arm holes and no hood
- A few cute outfits for your outings together
- Breastfeeding bras, tops and support pillow
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