Preparing for a newborn baby can be both exciting and overwhelming. Take a stroll through the section for baby supplies in any store and you'll come across hundreds of products you could bring home. So how do you figure out which ones you don’t have to bother with, and which ones are very essential?
Here’s a list of the basic newborn baby essential products that you will need for the first few months after your little bundle of joy arrives. We have broken them down into these seven broad categories:
- Baby clothes
- Breastfeeding and bottle feeding
- Baby gear
1. Baby clothes
Newborn baby clothes must be comfortable, cotton-based and made of soft fabrics. Avoid those with any glitter, sequins, ribbons, ties and buttons, as these can be choking hazards and/or irritate the skin of your newborn baby. Also remember not to buy too many clothes as newborn babies grow fast.
Bodysuits (7 – 12): Better known as onesies, these are perfect for both sleeping and playing. They should have a zip or press-up buttons on the front and all the way down the leg for easy diaper changes.
Tops (5 – 6): These should be long-sleeved with envelope necks or open fronts to make dressing your newborn baby much easier for you and more comfortable for them.
Leggings (5 - 7): These allow you to chance just one piece of dirty clothing instead of the whole outfit.
Socks and mittens (3 - 5): You will need these to keep your newborn’s feet and hands warm, especially when the temperature drops or when going out.
Caps (3 - 5): These keep your newborn baby’s head warm and makes them feel more secure.
Swaddle cloths (2 - 3): This should be warm enough to keep your newborn protected from cold temperatures without affecting their breathing.
Sweaters/jackets (3 to 5): You need zip-up sweaters or fleece jackets that are easy to put on and take off. They should come with a hood that you can throw over your baby's head for extra warmth.
2. Breastfeeding and bottle-feeding
No matter which method you choose to feed your newborn baby, here are the essentials to remember:
Nursing clothes: New nursing mothers need light tops, either with buttons or loose enough to allow easy breastfeeding. Nursing bras, breast pads and nursing covers are also very useful to have. You should also have some lanolin ointment to relieve sore nipples.
Breast pumps: From electric to battery-operated to manual, there are different types to choose from depending on your budget, preference and need for convenience.
Feeding bottle: From glass to plastic to stainless steel to silicone, there are different materials to choose from. The key thing is to make sure that whatever feeding bottle you choose comes with anti-colic nipples to minimize the amount of air your newborn baby swallows.
Formula: You should ask your baby’s pediatrician to recommend a good brand of formula and then start with a single tin to see if your newborn baby suffers constipation or any allergic reaction to it.
Thermos flask: This comes in handy for storing hot, boiled water which is useful to have nearby all the time when you have a newborn baby, especially for mixing formula milk.
Sterilizer: All the teats, pacifier and feeding bottles you use need to be consistently sterilized. Thorough cleaning and rinsing in boiling hot water can do the job, but electric sterilizers are more efficient.
Bottle cleaning brush: You need to clear the feeding bottle of any leftovers after every feed. These brushes help you thoroughly scrub all the corners and crevices in bottles, bottle parts, and nipples.
Bibs and muslin cloths: Bibs are useful for catching any feeding spills and baby spits. Muslin cloths are perfect for mopping any drool, and keeping your clothes clean as you feed your newborn baby.
Nursing pillow: These are specifically designed to support your baby as you feed them, and they can help you avoid unnecessarily straining your shoulders, neck and back to find the right posture.
It’s no secret that newborn babies poop and pee a lot, so you’ll need the following:
Disposable diapers: Start with one sample pack each for three brands and try each on your baby to see which one is most comfortable for them. Once you figure it out, you can buy that brand in bulk.
Cotton nappies: These are great for sensitive baby skin but have to be changed immediately after being soiled, so you have to stock up enough of them so that you don’t run out before you can wash them.
Rash cream: Diaper rashes are common in newborn babies so make sure to ask your pediatrician to recommend a great rash cream and give you direction on how best to use it.
Wet wipes: These allow you to clean your newborn baby’s bottom both gently and hygienically. However, just like disposable diapers you should start with one sample pack each for three brands and try each on your new born baby to see which one best suits your little one.
Changing mat: These help you not soil bed linen or anything else as you change your baby’s diaper.
Diaper pail: You need an airtight pail with separate garbage bags in which you can store and seal those dirty, smelly disposable diapers until you're ready to throw them out all at once.
You have to wait until their umbilical cord falls off (can take up to two weeks) before you can start bathing your newborn baby. Before that, just focus on cleaning their diaper area and sponge baths.
When they are ready, there are some bathing and cleaning essentials you will need:
Bathtub: There are many choices of bathtubs available. Plastic tubs are easy to clean, convertible tubs can get bigger to match your baby’s growth and inflatable or foldable tubs are perfect for travelling.
Towels: These should soft and made from absorbent material that is gentle on the skin and soaks up water immediately as you dry your newborn baby after their bath,
Baby wash and shampoo: This should be mild, tear-free and fragrance-free shampoo. Just like wet wipes and disposable diapers you should sample a few brands first to see which one best suits your newborn baby’s skin before buying in bulk for long term use.
Massage & hair oil: Almond and coconut oil are great for massaging your newborn baby and if you want to buy bottled oils, make sure to ask your baby’s pediatrician for recommendations.
Baby cream: You need to moisturize your newborn baby’s skin with a good baby cream after every bath to make sure it doesn’t dry out. Once again, you should test a few brands first for any allergic reactions.
Washcloths: These are always useful, be it for diaper changes or to wiping your baby off after feeding. Just remember to designate one color of washcloths for each purpose so that they stay separate.
Sleep is very important for the growth of your newborn baby, it should be safe and comfortable.
Crib: You don't need this right away, a bassinet will do at first but once the baby outgrows it, you'll need to move your baby into a crib. It should be sturdy with slats that aren't spread too far apart.
Baby mattress: No matter how cute they may seem, you should avoid fluffy mattresses as these could be a smothering/suffocation hazard for the baby. Instead, choose firm mattresses as well as firm pillows.
Baby blanket and sheets: Choose light, lint-free, breathable blankets and light, quick-dry sheets to ensure that your newborn baby can always enjoy a dry, comfortable night’s sleep.
Mosquito net: There’s no such thing as being too careful when it comes to mosquitoes and newborn babies. A treated mosquito net and an ultrasonic mosquito repellent come in handy.
Baby monitor: If your baby sleeps in a nursery, you will need a rechargeable baby monitor (audio or video) with a long-lasting battery, to help you keep an ear and/or an eye on your sleeping child.
Newborn babies are vulnerable to sickness and getting hurt. Here are some health essential to have:
- Digital thermometer (rectal or under the arm) since an ear or forehead thermometer isn't accurate on babies less that a year old.
- Cool mist humidifier to ease congestion. However, it must be cleaned often to prevent mold.
- Bulb syringe and saline drops to clear your newborn baby's stuffy nose.
- Teething toys to help your baby deal with the discomfort of teething.
- Baby nail scissors, clippers and nail file to trim and smooth your baby's nails safely.
- Infant acetaminophen as most other over-the-counter medicines are not safe for babies under 6 months. Contact your pediatrician if your newborn has a fever or acts sick.
7. Baby gear
Here are the essentials that are useful when you need to step out with your newborn baby:
- Diaper bag with enough room and pockets to store all baby essentials while travelling.
- Insulated bottle carrier to keep bottles and/or breast milk warm or cool when you travel.
- Baby carrier to snuggle your baby close to you while keeping your hands free to do other things.
- Stroller to help you walk with your baby around town both safely and efficiently.
- Car seat: Avoid buying a used car seat as it might not meet all current safety guidelines.