A New Baby Checklist – What You’ll Need!
by Kevin on December 17, 2012
Are you welcoming a new baby to your family? If you are, there are a few things you’re going to need, and it’s best that you get as many of them before the baby arrives as you can. Life happens very quickly when a baby comes along, and advanced preparation is truly a virtue.
To make it a bit easier to keep track of what you need, we’ve assembled a list of the general categories of baby related needs, and a more detailed list within each category.
Clothing for babies should be kept simple, with easy maintenance a high priority. You’ll be changing them frequently each day so quantity counts. Don’t spend a lot of money here – they’ll grow out of everything in a matter of weeks.
- “Onesies” – simple one piece baby outfits designed to make diaper changing easy
- Baby caps – you’ll need these for the first few months to keep their head warm
- Gowns – for boys and girls, these are perfect until the baby learns to walk
- Jackets and coats, as seasonably appropriate
- Socks and booties – for as long as they’ll keep them on
- Receiving blankets
Babies don’t need a lot of furniture, but what they do need is very specialized.
- A good glider-rocking chair – motion helps put a baby to sleep
- A crib (for later) or bassinet (for now)
- A good crib mattress and mattress pads
- A changing table – this will get a good workout!
- A simple dresser to hold their clothing
With sleeping accessories you’re trying to help the baby fall asleep as well as to be prepared for predictable nighttime disturbances, like feeding and diaper changing. It’s a combination of comfort and practicality.
- Night lights – for the baby’s room and the hallway outside
- A baby monitor
- Mechanical/musical mobiles for over the crib
- A side sleeper
- Bumpers for the crib
- Mattress pad
- Sheets and light blankets
- An inexpensive music system and peaceful CDs to quietly play your baby to sleep (I recommend anything by Yanni)
- Baby sleeper outfits (blanket sleepers in Winter, lighter sleepers in Summer)
When it comes to feeding, babies progress very quickly from one stage to the next. Since you never know quite when a change will occur, you’ll need to be ready when it happens.
- Drop/burp cloths – you’ll need plenty of these at feeding time
- Breast pump
- Baby bottles
- Baby plates and utensils
- Lots of covered “sippy cups” for when they’re done with bottles but not ready for open cups (these can save your carpets)
- A baby carrier/bouncer – to feed the baby before it can sit in a high chair
- High chair
- Bibs, at least a dozen
- A large supply of baby formula, as agreed upon by you and your pediatrician
- Bottle brushes (to clean the bottles)
- Baby bottle drying rack
- A bottle sterilizer
- Bottle warmer (that standing a bottle up in a pot of warm/hot water on the stove thing never gets it quite right)
- A good supply of pacifiers for those long stretches between meals
Once again, think quantity here. Babies have no control over bodily functions and it’s often only a matter of minutes between feeding and changing times.
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- Disposable diapers (estimate at least 8-10 a day for the first few weeks)
- Baby wipes
- Baby-sized wash cloths
- A sealed diaper pail (you don’t want to put used diapers in the regular trash, and never, ever try to flush them down the toilet)
- Baby powder
- Baby oil or ointment
- A diaper bag (larger is better)
- Changing pads for at home and on the road
In addition, the family also requires greater contingency planning, and that means life insurance.
This is also an excellent place to remind you that you should add your baby to your health insurance policy as soon as possible.
- For mom and dad – increase your coverage, you now have someone who is completely dependent on you
- For the stay at home parent – never underestimate how much it will cost to replace the services of the primary care-giving parent
- For the baby – you’ll probably never need it, but rates are never lower than on infants
A baby’s health needs are more basic than they are for adults, and you need to be prepared for anything.
- A baby thermometer
- Teething medication
- Baby pain reliever (as recommended by your pediatrician)
- Cotton balls
- Your pediatrician’s phone number should be a contact on all cell phones and landlines in the household, and it’s not a bad idea to have it prominently displayed
- Nasal aspirator (to clean out nasal passages when necessary)
- Rubbing alcohol
- Cotton swabs
- Medicine droppers
- Vaporizer and vaporizer fluid
- Baby sunscreen
- A very wide brim hat to prevent sun exposure
Bath time for babies is mostly about scaling everything down to their size.
- A baby bath tub
- Hooded bath towels
- Baby bath toys
- Baby soap and tearless shampoo
- Baby washcloths and sponges
- Baby nail clippers
- Soft bristle baby brush
- More baby powder
It’s sometimes recommended that you get down on all fours and crawl around your house so that you can see your home as your baby will. This is good advice! There are danger spots for babies and toddlers all over a typical home that as adults we’ve long since come to ignore.
- A baby car seat – you can trade up as the baby grows
- Electrical outlet covers
- Cabinet door locks – these will keep them out of the cupboards for a little while at least
- Safety gates – there are certain rooms you won’t want them in for safety reasons
- Smoke alarms – have them in every room of the house and be sure they work
- Bumpers to cover sharp edges in the home
- A top quality vacuum – to help keep any and all small objects that could be a choking hazard off the floor and out of the baby’s reach
- A spout cover for the bathtub faucet
There are plenty of baby items that don’t fit into a specific category but they’ll be needed all the same.
Are there other items that you found either helpful or necessary with a baby?
- Plenty of laundry detergent – don’t be fooled by a baby’s small size – you’ll be doing a lot more laundry
- Ditto for dishwasher detergent
- Baby stroller
- Simple baby toys
- A good still camera and video camera – you’ll want to get those milestone moments on film
- A baby walker to help them get around when they want to walk but aren’t quite ready
- Plenty of blankets and baby blankets – you never know where you’ll have to set up a makeshift bed
- A baby book to record events and milestones
- An electronic baby swing to keep them busy when you need some time
Thoughts? What is really needed from this list? The absolute basics...