Essential Items to Have Before the Baby Comes

By Lisa Pecos

If you are a soon-to-be first-time parent, you are probably already working through your checklist of items you will need for the new baby. But these things can add up quickly, and you have so much to think about right now that it is easy for little things to slip your mind. And it is best to get these things taken care of as soon as possible, because once the baby comes you are not going to have nearly as much time to get your shopping done.

In the nursery

For the first couple of years, the nursery is the room where your child is going to spend most of her time. Obviously, you are going to need a place for the baby to sleep, which may be a cradle, crib, or bassinet, and you are going to need a mattress. Make sure the mattress is firm and fire-retardant, and complete the bedding with fitted crib sheets, waterproof mattress pads, and light blankets (avoid fluffy items). Doctors recommend keeping stuffed animals out of the crib.

The nursery is also the best place to have your baby-changing station. You can use any table or dresser for this, but there are also baby-changing stations specially made for this purpose. You will also need some storage for the baby’s clothing and toys as well as for the diapers and other changing-related items. These may go in the baby-changing station or in a nearby dresser. It is best to have everything within reach of where you will be changing the baby.

Speaking of baby-changing materials, you are going to want to start out with an ample supply of diapers. You will use about 50 per week later on, but for the first few weeks you should plan to have a little extra. You will also need alcohol-free diaper wipes, rash ointment, a pad for the baby to lie on during changing, and a wastebasket for soiled diapers.

Baby clothes

Infants do not need too much variety in their wardrobes, but it helps to have a lot of redundant items because things tend to get soiled quickly. You will need at least five onesies, although it cannot hurt to get 10 to 15 of them. You will also need a few infant gowns for the baby to sleep in, a few pairs of booties or socks, some blankets for holding the child in, a sweater, and a hat. Also, many parents like to have a special outfit or two for social occasions.

Bathing and feeding

Some parents opt to bathe their infants in the sink, but there are also specially designed baby bathtubs that make the process much easier and safer. For the bathing, you will need a set of washcloths and terry-cloth bath towels, as well as some baby soap, tearless shampoo, a comb, and clippers for trimming the baby’s nails.

When it comes to feeding, the good news is that you will not need too many supplies until a little later on. For now, you will need a full set of bottles and bottle nipples, a measuring cup for infant formula (if you are using it), a few bibs, and a set of burping cloths.

Diaper bag and miscellaneous essentials

For when you are out and about with your baby, you are going to want to have a bag with all the supplies you need. These supplies will include about 5 diapers, some disposable wipes, a pad to lay your baby on for changing, plastic bags for dirty diapers, a change of clothes, a pacifier, a toy or two, and some sunscreen. Invest in a nice stroller where the baby can be comfortable and that has room to store your traveling bad. Meanwhile, for those car trips, it’s essential to have an infant car seat.

Other items you will want to have on hand include:

  • Thermometer
  • Pain and colic reliever medicine
  • Teething rings
  • Hydrogen peroxide for cleaning wounds
  • Small bandages
  • Infant sunscreen
  • Baby monitor
  • Small swing
  • High chair