Baby Checklist: The Complete Shopping Guide For New Parents
Expecting a child is an exciting and busy time. Whether you’re pregnant or adopting, you’ll spend the months leading up to your little one’s arrival dreaming about what they’ll be like and preparing to have them in your home.
Getting your home ready for a baby means that you’ll need to make a baby checklist and do some shopping. But with so many baby products on the market, deciding what to buy can be overwhelming. To help, Newton Baby has created a list for you!
But before we get to our baby checklist, let’s talk about when to start shopping, where to do your shopping, and how to decide exactly what items your baby and your family will need.
When To Start Shopping
Once you’ve received the news that you have a little one on the way, you can start shopping as soon as you want! Some pregnant women wait until they’ve passed the 12-week mark, while others prefer to wait until they’ve found out if the baby is a boy or a girl.
Before you begin shopping for baby items, think about whether or not you’ll have a baby shower and what things you’ll put on your registry. Consider saving some items for later — the things your baby won’t need until they’re eating solid food, walking, etc.
No matter when you begin collecting baby things, make sure it’s all done well before your due date. If your little one comes a bit early, you’ll want to be prepared!
Where To Shop
Where you shop will often depend on what you’re buying, how much money you want to spend, and how much time you have.
First, decide what you want to buy used and what you want to buy new. Buying secondhand items or borrowing something you’ll only use for a little while can both be great options, especially if you’re pinching pennies.
But for safety and health reasons, keep in mind that there are a few items you should buy brand-new for your little one: the crib, crib mattress, car seat, breast pump, baby carrier or sling, nipples for bottles, and pacifiers.
For the baby items you’re buying new, you can opt for the convenience of online shopping or you can enjoy browsing in the store. If you’re shopping online to save money, remember to check for service fees or shipping costs.
Deciding What To Include On Your Baby Checklist
All babies — just like all families — are unique. What works for one may not work for another, so you’ll want to tailor your buying decisions to your particular situation.
Here are four factors to consider when deciding which items to put on your baby checklist.
1) The Size Of Your Home
When it comes to baby furniture, most of it will go in the nursery, and you’ll need to keep the size of the room in mind. One of the biggest decisions is choosing the style and size of your baby’s crib (mini crib, standard crib, or shaped crib).
Remember you’ll also need room in the nursery for other furniture, like a changing table, rocker, and dresser.
Finally, think ahead about how much room you have to store strollers and the like. If you’re dealing with a small space, opt for smaller or foldable items.
2) The Season When Your Baby Will Be Born
When you’re face-to-face with adorable baby clothes, think about the season and your baby’s age. Plan your baby clothing purchases around how old your little one will be during the coming seasons.
In other words, don’t buy that adorable three-month swimsuit that’s on sale if your baby will be nine months old next summer.
3) Your Family’s Future
If your future plans include another baby, keep that in mind when buying baby products. You may want to opt for something more durable — and possibly more expensive — so that you can use it for your second child.
Also, consider buying some of the basic items in gender-neutral colors so they can be reused regardless of whether your next little one is a boy or a girl.
4) What Your Baby Will Need Later
Buying new things for your growing, changing child is inevitable. But some baby items, like beds and car seats, are available in convertible options. This means they can be used for your infant and then converted to fit the needs of your growing toddler.
For example, if you’d rather not buy a baby bed now and then a toddler bed later, you can choose a special baby mattress and crib that's convertible.
Newton’s Crib Mattress, for example, is a two-stage infant and toddler mattress, so it will fit your child as they grow — even well into their toddler years.
The Baby Checklist
Now that you have an idea of when, where, and how to go about shopping, let’s get straight to the baby checklist.
Remember: adapt this list based on your particular lifestyle, parenting, and (once they make their appearance) your little one’s needs and habits!
Your baby will spend a great deal of time snoozing in the nursery. Safety and cleanliness are two of the biggest considerations when it comes to choosing nursery furniture, especially the crib and crib mattress.
Newton’s Crib Mattress is 100% breathable, which means your baby can breathe straight through it. Plus, the comfortable mattress is completely washable, from cover to core. Bye-bye mold, bacteria, and allergens!
Even better? You can protect your baby’s mattress while keeping it totally breathable by using Newton’s waterproof, washable mattress pad.
In addition to a breathable crib mattress and mattress pad, here’s what you’ll need to outfit your little one’s nursery:
- Bassinet, cradle, or crib
- Rocking chair or glider
- Fitted crib sheets
- Baby monitor
- Nightlight or lamp
- Dresser or chest
- Receiving blankets
- Changing table
- Clothes basket or hamper
An optional nursery item that you can add to the list is a white noise machine. These machines help create a comfortable and calming environment for little ones while they snooze.
Because babies sleep around 12 to 16 hours per day, and these hours are broken up into smaller chunks of time (think nap time and night time), the activity level outside their room may be very different at varying points in the day.
For example, you may be cleaning the house in the morning, doing activities with older children in the afternoon, or watching television in the evening. A white noise machine can help cancel out these potential sleep disturbances and allow your baby to sleep longer.
While there may be different explanations for your little one waking up from a nap prematurely (e.g., growth spurts, being sick, etc.), a common culprit is that babies cycle in and out of light sleep and deep sleep. During the light sleep period, it’s easier for them to suddenly wake up.
If this is the case or you simply want to help your little one fall into a deeper sleep right off the bat, add a white noise machine to your list!
Speaking of sleep, it’s also important that we highlight some essential safe sleep practices to get you ready for your little one.
Here’s a breakdown of all you need to know about creating a safe sleeping environment.
Baby Sleeping Safety Tips
One of the most important things to be aware of when putting your baby down to sleep is SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome.) In a nutshell, this is the sudden and unexplained death of babies under twelve months old.
The CDC has found that about 3,400 babies experience SIDS in the U.S. each year. Because of this, parents need to take extra precautions when they put their babies to sleep.
Here are a few ways you can reduce your child’s risk:
- Put your baby to sleep on their back. Avoid placing them down on their tummy, as this might restrict proper airflow and cause them to suffocate.
- If you will be swaddling, immediately stop doing so when your baby starts rolling over. This ensures that if they roll from their back to their stomach while sleeping, they can easily move themselves to a safe position without being constricted.
- Share a room with your little one for at least the first six months, but ideally a year.
- Share your room, not your bed. Babies need to sleep on their own, firm mattress. Depending on the size of your bedroom, you can opt for a bassinet, co-sleeper, or crib mattress.
- Keep all crib bumpers, pillows, blankets, stuffed animals, and extras out of the crib while your little one sleeps. The only things that should be inside are your baby and a fitted sheet.
Following the above guidelines will help ensure that your little one sleeps safely and comfortably every night.
Baby clothes are adorable and you’ll be tempted to buy all of them! There’s nothing wrong with stocking up on some cute non-essentials, but here are the basics you’ll want to have to get started:
- Sleep sacks
- One-piece pajamas
- Sweaters or jackets
- A couple of nice, dress-up outfits
- Several pairs of socks or booties
- Newborn hat
- Winter hat
- Summer hat sun protection
- Gentle laundry detergent
- Pants and shirts
- Hand mittens
- Baby hangers
Whether you choose the cloth or disposable variety, you’ll be changing diapers from day one, so it’s best to have everything you need for diapering on hand, including:
- Changing pad
- Diaper pail and liners
- Diaper bag
- Diaper rash cream
- Gentle baby wipes
- Diapers (cloth or disposable)
- Diaper covers (for cloth diapers)
- Diaper fasteners (for cloth diapers)
- Diaper stacker
Newborn baths are often short and sweet. But as your baby gets older, baths can turn into playtime. Here are a few things you’ll need for a clean, safe bathtime:
- Baby tub
- Baby washcloths
- Gentle baby soap or bath wash
- Baby shampoo
- Baby hairbrush
- Hooded towels
- Bath thermometer
- Faucet guard
- Bath toys
What you’ll need when feeding your baby depends on whether you’re going to breastfeed or formula feed. There are also a few items you won’t need until your baby starts eating solid foods, around four to six months old.
Below are all the feeding-time essentials for your little one:
- Bottles with nipples
- Dishwasher bottle basket
- Bottle-cleaning brush
- Baby formula
- Bibs (lots of them!)
- Burp cloths
- Bottle sterilizer
- Insulated bottle carrier for traveling
- Nursing pillow
- Breast pads
- Nursing bras
- Breast pump
- Breast milk storage containers
- Nipple cream
For babies eating solid foods:
- High chair
- Baby spoons
- Baby bowls
Health And Safety
Some of the items on the list below are must-haves to keep your baby safe and healthy from day one. Others won’t be necessary until you start baby-proofing when your little one becomes mobile (they usually begin rolling over around four months old).
Stock your home with these important health and safety items:
- Nail clippers (or nail scissors or a file)
- Bulb syringe
- Baby thermometer
- Medicine spoon
- Medicine syringe
- Cotton balls
- Cotton swabs
- Petroleum jelly and gauze (if you have a circumcised little boy)
- Baby medicine (talk to your pediatrician about what you should have on hand)
- Car seat
- Sunshades for the car windows
- Baby gates for the top and bottom of stairs
- Cabinet and drawer latches
- Outlet covers
- Fireplace bumper
A car seat is one of the most important items on this list since your little one will need one from the moment you leave the hospital with them and for every car ride after that.
When deciding which car seat is best, choose a rear-facing seat that is suitable for your little one’s weight and meets the latest safety standards.
It’s also essential to install your car seat base in the car before your baby arrives and practice getting the car seat in and out.
This will make it easier to safely secure your child when leaving the hospital. The last thing you want is to be trying to figure out the various straps and buckles with a newborn in your hands!
If you’re a family that travels a lot, then a portable crib is also something to consider. These can come in handy for family vacations or when your baby is spending time with their grandparents.
Just ensure that the crib you choose also meets the latest safety standards so that your little one can sleep safely, regardless of where you are.
Carrying And Playtime
Whether you’re strapping your baby to your back for a hike or letting them play during tummy time, these things may come in handy for keeping you and your little one busy and happy:
- Baby swing
- Sling or baby carrier
- Baby backpack
- Baby books
- Toys like soft blocks
- Toybox or basket
- Bouncer seat
- Lullaby music
Things That Often Get Overlooked
A baby checklist isn’t all about physical items. Here’s a closer look at other essentials to consider for both your and your baby’s health and wellbeing.
1) Find A Parenting Support Group
While parenting can be rewarding, it can also be challenging — especially when children go through different stages of development.
That’s why it’s incredibly helpful to have a group of people you trust and can confide in — people who understand the same struggles and can give you comfort and insight as you navigate this thing called parenthood!
Here are some of the most notable benefits of parent support groups:
- They help you realize that you’re not alone.
- They allow you to gather important information.
- They are a more affordable option than individual therapy.
- They allow you to express your feelings about sensitive issues that sometimes only parents can understand.
- They help you know that whatever stage your child is going through will pass.
- They help build a sense of community and belonging.
When looking for a parenting group in your community, the best places to start are your local libraries, community centers, and local newspapers. Online groups on popular social networks can also help you find a support group you can connect with, regardless of your location.
2) Book A Newborn Photoshoot Early
Newborn photoshoots have become very popular over the past few decades. So, while preparing for your little one’s arrival, consider booking a photoshoot for when they are finally here.
Capturing those tiny hands, feet, and everything else in-between is something you won’t want to miss! Babies grow up quickly, and a photoshoot allows you to remember every little detail of this special time.
If you have a favorite photographer, reach out to them sooner rather than later. You’d be surprised how many photographers get booked out for months on end.
3) Be Clear About Your Baby’s Immunization Schedule
While babies are tiny and adorable, they are also more susceptible to many viruses and diseases because they haven’t been exposed to them yet.
To help your little one grow healthily, there are many vaccinations they need, and these vaccinations will come at different stages of their development.
For example, your newborn will most likely get their first round of Hepatitis B on the day of delivery. Your healthcare provider will also perform newborn screening tests, including drawing blood to check for various medical conditions.
In addition, you will receive a vaccination card to help you keep track of the different shots they will need as they grow.
As a quick rundown, here are a few of the shots your little one will need in the first year:
- Two rounds of the Hepatitis B vaccination
- One round of the poliovirus vaccine (IPV)
- Diphtheria vaccine
- Acellular pertussis vaccine (DTap)
- Rotavirus vaccine (RV)
- Tetanus vaccine
- Pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV)
- Haemophilus influenzae type B vaccine (HIB)
If you feel unsure about a particular shot, take the time to speak to your healthcare provider about it. Ask all the questions you may have so that you understand the pros and cons, as this will allow you to make an informed decision that’s best for your little one’s health.
4) Take Care Of Yourself
Parenting is an exciting journey that’s difficult to prepare for. While buying parenting books and reading online blogs can help you understand a lot, there are some things that you’ll have to learn on the go. And one of those things is to look after yourself.
Taking care of yourself — whether it’s eating good food that gives you the fuel you need to push past sleepless nights or having “me time” as often as you can — is good for both your physical and mental health.
In addition, it’s essential to take it one day at a time. There will be challenges. There will be difficult stages. There will be times that no matter what you do, your child won’t stop crying. This is something all parents (and babies) go through, and it will pass.
Now that you know how to shop for your baby, it’s time to outfit your nursery with the essentials — like cute, breathable fitted sheets and Newton’s breathable crib mattress. Then, make sure you’ve got the other necessities to keep your baby safe as well as to diaper, feed, and clothe them.
In the midst of it all, don’t forget to take time to capture these special moments with your little one by booking a newborn photoshoot or snapping your own pictures. And reach out to fellow parents who can support you and celebrate milestones with you along the way.
Finally, adapt our baby checklist to you and your little one’s specific needs and preferences and get shopping — you’ll be prepared for your new arrival in no time!