The last thing you want to think about when you bring your new baby home is shopping for baby stuff. You also don’t want to go overboard buying things you may not need. Our list of essentials for month one is a simple guide to having just that — the essentials — so you can spend less time shopping and more time bonding.
For the nursery (crib, bedding, and other snooze-friendly items) start with this article.
For other essentials, read on! One of the best ways to check these off your list is to add them to your baby registry.
Whether you plan to breast- or formula-feed, you’ll want these on hand:
☐ Bibs — Grab a few for inevitable dribbles.
☐ Burp cloths — Grab a few for inevitable spit up.
☐ Highchair — You technically don’t need this until your baby starts eating solid food, but you might want to add it to your registry.
If you plan to breastfeed your baby, these items support the process:
☐ Nursing pillow — To help you position your baby properly.
☐ Breast pump and milk storage bags — For pumping and storing milk if you’re returning to work or leaving your baby with a sitter. You’ll also need bottles (see below).
☐ Nipple cream — To sooth your nipples as you adjust to breastfeeding.
☐ Nursing bras and shirts — For quick and easy access to your breasts.
☐ Nursing pads — To catch milk leaking from your breasts.
☐ Nursing cover — For privacy while nursing in public.
If you plan to formula-feed your baby:
☐ Formula — Start with one container so you can monitor your baby’s reaction. Some babies are allergic or sensitive to formula ingredients and require a different type.
☐ 2-4 bottles/nipples — We recommend starting out with a small number of bottles, simply because there are so many options and your baby may end up preferring one over another. Once you find a brand and type that works well, you can stock up. Bottles come in different sizes; the smaller ones work well for the first month, when newborns drink about 2-3 ounces per feed.
☐ Bottle brush with nipple brush — For cleaning bottles and nipples.
For the first month your baby will be sleeping a lot, so keep that in mind when you’re stocking up on clothes. She’ll also grow a lot! In fact, some babies outgrow a newborn size in just a few days. For all sized items, go for a mix of newborn and the next size up.
☐ Laundry detergent for sensitive skin — Be sure to wash new clothes before your baby wears them.
☐ 4-8 onesies and/or infant t-shirts
☐ 4-8 pants if needed for warmth — If it’s warm enough, go for just a onesie, t-shirt, or diaper; the fewer the clothes the better, developmentally-speaking.
☐ 4-8 pajamas
☐ 2-4 sweaters or sweatshirts
☐ Socks or booties — Use these when you need to keep your baby’s feet warm. Otherwise, keep her barefoot, it’s good for her development!
☐ Mittens — To keep her from accidentally scratching her face.
☐ Hat — For sun and/or cold.
☐ Outerwear — If you live in a cold climate.
☐ Outfits — This is up to you; as we mentioned your little one will be snoozing most of the time during the first month. If you do pick up a few outfits, be sure they’re development-friendly.
☐ 2 wearable or swaddle blankets — It isn’t safe for your infant to sleep with a blanket, but these will keep her cozy.
☐ 2 baby blankets — For swaddling, spreading on the ground for play, tucking around your baby in the stroller, etc.
When it comes to bathing your baby, what you need is simple and straightforward:
☐ Infant tub
☐ 2-4 baby wash cloths
☐ 2 baby towels
☐ Baby wash for sensitive skin
☐ Baby lotion for sensitive skin
You’ll be changing a lot of diapers during the first month. Here’s what you’ll need:
☐ Disposable diapers — You’ll go through at least 6 wet and 3 or 4 poops a day at first, but you may not want to stock up for an entire month because it’s hard to predict how fast your baby will grow. One large box of both newborn and size 1 diapers will get you started. If you plan to give birth at a hospital, ask on the hospital tour if they’ll send you home with diapers (many do).
☐ Cloth diapers — According to cloth diapering experts, the magic number to have is 24, but the number you get ultimately depends on how often you want to wash them. To read all about cloth diapering and items you’ll need if you go this route, head to this article.
Whether you go for disposable or cloth diapers, you’ll need these diapering supplies:
☐ Diaper rash cream
☐ Wipes — Unscented ones are gentler on your baby’s bum.
Getting Out of the House
Here’s what you’ll need for safety and comfort when you head out and about with your baby:
☐ Infant car seat — Be sure this is properly installed in your car at least one month before your due date.
☐ Stroller with infant car seat base — The car seat base will allow you to transfer your baby’s car seat from the car to the stroller. When she outgrows her infant car seat, simply remove the base.
☐ Baby carrier — These are great for a lot of reasons, which you can read about here.
☐ Diaper bag
☐ Portable changing pad
☐ Pacifiers, if you plan to use them – Start with 2 (so you have a backup), but don’t go overboard; pacifiers come in different shapes and you may need to try different ones.
Keeping Your Baby Groomed and Healthy
☐ Baby grooming and health kit — Be sure it includes nail clippers, a hairbrush, a thermometer, and a nasal aspirator.
During the first month your baby’s favorite “toy” will be YOU, which works out well because all the talking, singing and acting silly you do with her builds her brain. There are a few fun props to have, though, including these:
☐ Tummy time mat — To keep your baby comfy on hard floors.
☐ Unbreakable baby mirror — Mirrors are great for development in many ways.
☐ Rattle — She won’t be able to grab it yet, but she’ll love to hear you shake it.
☐ Board, cloth, or vinyl books — You can start reading to your baby from day one! Here’s how.
☐ Our BabySparks app – You can start using our program to support, track, and monitor your baby’s development from day one.
The American Academy of Pediatrics advises against toys that are overstimulating (think lights and sounds), as well as screen time.
A note on bouncy seats, swings, etc.
These can keep your baby safe while you do things that require two hands. We caution against overusing them, though. We’re all about development, after all, and these items can interfere with what babies need for optimal development — including being cuddled, interacting with caregivers, and having freedom to stretch and move.
Stocking up on essentials is just one important thing to do before baby arrives. You can find a list of other key to-dos here.