Here’s my complete list of newborn essentials and everything we use for our baby, from my favourite diaper cream to the stroller we use!
Our little lady is now 5 months old and it’s due time that I share all of my newborn essentials — a list that many of you have requested!
Before having a baby, it can feel overwhelming to figure out everything you need. There are so many kinds of baby products. I remember being particularly confused when it came to clothing (what do babies even wear?! There are so many options!).
You hear that babies “don’t need much”, but when you factor in things like a carseat and sleepers and blankets and diaper cream and wipes, things really do add up.
My husband and I like to keep things as minimal as we can, and this is true for baby items as well. But, it’s totally OK to stock up on things (or receive various gifts) only to learn later that it’s not something you personally found useful. As a first time parent, you really can’t know what will be most useful for you until you’re giving things a go, hands-on.
With that said, this list covers what I have found to be my favourite staples Everything on this list is used on a regular basis, truly, nothing listed is superfluous! If you’re expecting, I hope this list is helpful! Many of these items are great for adding to a baby registry or even getting secondhand.
I’ve categorized the below list into Hygiene, Sleep & Comfort, Clothing, Play, Feeding and Travel. I’ve also listed a few extra bits and bobs that we have in our nursery, as well as a few items I thought I would’ve used but never did!
1. Burp cloths: Spit up. It’s a thing and you’re gonna need cloths handy for cleaning it up when burping baby after feedings and at random times of the day. We keep these in every room where we spend the most time: on my bedside table, in my living room, by her play gym, in the nursery, diaper bag (and on my shoulder!) I like these super absorbent muslin cloths.
2. Diapers: We’ve tried a variety of eco brands including Hello Bello, Seventh Generation, Happy Little Camper and Rascal + Friends. We’ve used Pampers Pure a few times as well (though I wouldn’t consider them to be an eco brand). We tend to use Hello Bello the most.
3. Wipes: I like the brands Water Wipes (made with a cloth, water, and grapefruit seed extract) and Happy Little Camper.
4. Diaper cream: We use diaper cream by the brand Attitude and it’s been great. Sadie has never had a bad rash.
5. Baby powder: I switch between using diaper cream and baby powder (or sometimes nothing) depending on if she looks a little red or not. She’s never had a bad rash though thankfully. Baby powder is great for absorbing moisture and keeping things nice and dry. I like Hello Bello baby powder, but any talc-free one will do. You can even just use corn starch.
6. Moisturizer: a must-have for after bath or anytime baby’s skin needs a little soothing. Sadie has had some dry skin during the winter as well as a bit of cradle cap. We like Earth Mama’s lavender lotion and Primally Pure’s baby oil (their balm is great too) which we’ve used on her scalp (use the code 15MEGHAN for 15% off Primally Pure site-wide).
7. Nail file: Baby nails grow fast and they’re razor sharp! Sadie has cut her face a few times, so I try to stay on top of filing her nails often. You can get baby nail clippers, though I’ve actually just used a fine grit crystal nail file (not an abrasive emery board) that I’ve had for a decade. It’s gentle and does the trick, and I find it easier than fiddling with clippers at her age.
8. Thermometer: We don’t use a thermometer all the time or anything, but there have been times when we’ve wanted to take her temperature and having one on hand for baby is smart. We have this one by Safety 1st.
9. Hair brush: Okay, to be fair, Sadie is basically bald so the cute soft-bristled brush I got her isn’t totally necessary. But I still use it to brush her fuzz! You never know how much hair your baby will have until you meet them.
10. Vitamin D: We give Sadie a 400IU drop of Baby Vitamin D regularly.
11. Changing pad: This pad sits anchored on top of her dresser. Definitely a must-have for diaper changes! Hot tip: I originally had these cute floral covers for it that looked nice in the nursery before she was born, but we quickly learned that they get dirty real fast when doing diaper changes multiple times a day. We don’t use the covers anymore and just simply wipe the pad down as needed.
12. Diaper pail: We have the Ubbi diaper pail. Does the trick! And we like that you don’t have to purchase specific bags for it, you can use any garbage bag.
13. Infant bathtub: We got our infant bathtub secondhand, and it’s been great. We do baths regularly as part of our bedtime routine and having a proper tub setup (with a little seat insert for baby to lay on) makes bath time nice and easy.
14. Baby soap: I like Carina Organics Baby Shampoo & Body Wash. I use their face wash myself! Simple, natural ingredients.
15. Baby wash cloths: These come in handy for bath time. They’re smaller and very soft and gentle. You can get a pack of them for a pretty reasonable price.
16. Hooded baby bath towel: Another bath time essential.
Sleep & Comfort
17. Bassinet: We used the Halo Swivel Bassinest that we got secondhand from family. It was a fine bassinet! We used it in our bedroom for about 6 weeks before transitioning her to her crib. She slept really well in her crib early on which is why we didn’t keep her in our room longer.
18. Swaddle sleep sack: This velcro swaddle sleep sack is by far a favourite! When Sadie was first born, we had no idea what a sleep sack really was let alone a swaddle sack. But it’s gold. I can’t recommend this enough for newborns. You just zip them up then snugly velcro the swaddle around them. Way easier than fiddling with the tucking and wrapping of large swaddle blankets. We transitioned her out of the swaddle sack around 3 months and she now sleeps in a regular sleep sack (without the velcro swaddle part).
19. Blankets: these are must-haves for sure. We use them for all kinds of things and in different places. On the floor to lie on, for tummy time, to wrap them in, for warmth in the stroller and the carseat, etc. We received tons of them as gifts, but you really only need maybe 3-4.
20. Baby monitor: There are so many baby monitors on the market. I knew that I wanted a basic monitor with no Wi-Fi connectivity. This simple V-Tech one has been excellent.
21. White noise machine: Before Sadie was born we didn’t think we’d necessarily use a white noise machine. But we quickly learned that loud rushing water noises (like turning on the tap full blast at 1 o’clock in the morning!) was instantly soothing for her. That’s what convinced us to start using one and it’s been a must-have for naps and bedtime ever since. We have this one.
22. Soothers: Soothers (pacifiers, binkies; so many names for them) were another item that I was unsure “how much” I wanted to introduce but I quickly learned, my friends, that they sure do soothe. And soothing a baby is a very nice thing when you’re a new sleep-deprived parent. Not every baby takes a soother, but Sadie took them early on. These Bibs soothers are a favourite.
23. Nightlight: Handy for middle of the night feeds, a nightlight with a soft, warm glow allows you to see what you’re doing without turning on a bright overhead bedroom light. I’ve heard some people using a red lightbulb in a lamp as well, as a way to keep the atmosphere dim.
24. Baby Tracker App: A baby tracking app is used for tracking things like naps, feedings, and diaper changes. For the first couple weeks after Sadie was born I used it for all those things to help me try to understand her patterns, but now I only use it for keeping track of her naps and it is incredibly useful. This way, I don’t have to try and remember how long she’s been sleeping for or how long her wake window has been. 10/10 would recommend! I use the app called Baby Tracker.
The clothing you use for your baby will depend on where you live and time of year (Sadie was born in the fall/winter). I highly recommend getting as many secondhand clothes as you can! They outgrow them freakishly fast. Sadie outgrew newborn size around 4 weeks old.
25. One-Piece Sleepers: If there’s just one type of clothing you need for a baby, it’s a one-piece sleeper. They sleep in these but can just as easily be worn during the day. Zippers are especially convenient vs. button-up.
26. Bodysuits: These are little t-shirt or long sleeved shirts that button up around the diaper. They’re a staple for general daily wear and usually pair with pants overtop.
27. Pants: a small selection of pants are good for wearing over onesies.
28. Socks: a few pairs of socks are good to have around too.
Other (For Cold Weather)
- Hats: for outside mostly. Didn’t really use any as daytime indoor use.
- Baby snowsuit or bunting bag: We used to put Sadie in a little fuzzy “polar bear suit” for outside when we’d take her on winter walks in the stroller.
29. Baby Bjorn bouncer: I didn’t realize just how much of an essential our bouncer would be! We got it secondhand and it was so useful for popping Sadie into. She loved the bouncy motion. It’s not ideal to have babies spend too much time in bouncers or similar “containers” (as it’s not great for their gross motor development) but we did still use a bouncer and found it very helpful in the early days.
30. Toys: Newborns don’t need many toys, but there are still some things that are good to have. Black and white contrast cards are great for helping baby to focus (since they can’t see very well as newborns) and other little things like rattles and crinkly cloth books. Lovevery is a fantastic option for developmentally appropriate toys. We have a couple of their Play Kits and Sadie has made great use out of them. Their Play Kits are a subscription service (sent every 2-3 months) that provide stage-based, Montessori-inspired play essentials for little ones ages 0-4 designed by a team of experts.
31. Play gym: Lovevery sent us their Play Gym and we use it literally every day. It has all kinds of features for baby to explore including different colours and textures on the mat, and interchangeable mobiles above. We also use a blanket on the ground sometimes too to let Sadie move her arms and legs around if we’re in different spots of the house.
You can learn more about Lovevery here.
I exclusively breastfeed (with some pumping here and there) so the below items are based on that.
32. Breastfeeding pillow: I only used a breastfeeding pillow for the first few weeks. There are many different brands of nursing pillows. I have the My Brest Friend Pillow that my sister-in-law gave me. It’s really helpful for having support under your arms. I don’t use it anymore though I do usually prop a cushion under my elbow when nursing still.
33. Breast pump: It’s hard to know what your approach to pumping will be until you have your baby. Some people end up exclusively pumping, others just here and there, and others use it as a way to build up a freezer stash to give you a bit of freedom to leave baby with somebody else. I got the Medela Pump In Style secondhand. It’s pretty comprehensive so it’s a good option if you end up pumping regularly. I’ve used a manual hand pump too that has been fine and is a good option if you only pump once in a while. Breastmilk storage bags are also good to have if you plan on storing milk in the freezer.
34. Glass bottle: I have one small Phillips Avent glass bottle. Again, Sadie is primarily breastfed but good to have a bottle so someone else can feed her if I go out.
35. Lanolin nipple cream: Nursing for the very first time can be quite painful which is why having a nipple cream is so useful. I used the Lansinoh Lanolin nipple cream for the first couple of weeks after birth and it was incredibly soothing.
36. Stroller: I spent so much time researching strollers and we landed on the Nuna Mixx stroller. We love it! A very smooth ride, plus the seat can be reclined into a bassinet position for baby to sleep, and can be turned forward-facing when they’re a bit older.
37. Carseat: We have the Nuna Pipa carseat. It’s great, and is compatible with the stroller so it can be put in and out.
38. Carseat mirror: This mirror attaches to the back seat so we can see Sadie in the rear view mirror while driving.
39. Diaper bag: good to have a bag for putting all the baby things in on the go! Ours came with a travel changing pad as well. The diaper bag I have is a little clunky and cumbersome. A simple backpack diaper bag would be a good option.
40. Baby Carrier: The world of baby carriers and baby wearing wraps is another big one. I was given the Beluga Baby wrap from a friend. It takes some getting used to wrapping the stretchy fabric around you, but it’s work great once you get used to it. We also have a Contours Journey carrier that we use a bunch. The Ergobaby or Baby Bjorn Mini are other good options.
Additional Nursery Items We Use
- Crib: Sadie slept very well in her crib early on so we transitioned her out of the bassinet sooner than we thought we would (around 6 weeks old). Along with a crib, we have a mattress, crib sheets and a waterproof mattress protector (though she has never had any nighttime leaks, yet anyway!).
- Blackout curtains: We don’t make the room pitch black during day but it does reduce bright light, especially as her room gets direct sunlight in the morning into her crib.
- Clothes hamper: The hamper I got has a lid and I later realized how smart that choice was. Babies go through tons of laundry (from all the spit up and poo-splosions) and being able to shut a lid is nice in case there are any smells while you wait for laundry day.
- Armchair: I got a simple armchair for our nursery from Facebook Marketplace and I use it every day, multiple times a day as I feed Sadie right when she wakes up from a nap. I do wish I had a foot stool though. If it reclined, that would’ve been great too.
Baby Items I didn’t use
Here are some of the baby products that I never used, but thought I might have.
- Haakaa/Milk Collection Cups: These are used for collecting milk that can leak out of the opposite breast while nursing. Now, I actually have leaked a ton and honestly should have used these things, but if I’m being honest, I’ve been too lazy. I’ve just put a burp cloth in my bra to absorb any leakage and that’s been fine for me. I also had a bit of an oversupply (though this regulated around 4 months postpartum) so I didn’t want any kind of device that would encourage more milk production by suctioning it out. Fortunately I don’t leak as much as I used to, but I still will use a burp cloth if I need to. I do think these collection cups are very smart though so it may be something for you to consider!
- Breast pads: These are used for absorbing any milk leakage. Once again, I just never used them even though I was given a big box of them! The only time I leak is while I breastfeed, so that’s when I’ll just pop a burp cloth in my bra if I need to.
- Nursing bras: This is something I definitely thought I would use and even had them on my registry. The ones I received ended up being t too small (surprise!) and I just never replaced them with a proper size. Instead, I just simply use my regular bras and I’ll lift them up or pull them down as needed. They’re ultra comfy, stretchy bras though so it’s never been an issue to move them around.
- Frilly baby dresses: I received a few absolutely adorable baby dresses as gifts and I couldn’t wait to use them. They were so cute. But I quickly learned just how impractical they are! Unless I was bringing Sadie to some sort of event, they just weren’t something that got used and unfortunately remained hung up un-used in her closet. Onesies are where it’s at!
- Swaddle blankets: We got several large swaddle blankets (a thin, stretchier material) and I even put them on my baby registry. But, my husband and I never really got the hang of how to swaddle Sadie and never ended up using all those blankets. However, we did use and love the swaddle sleep sack I mentioned earlier.
That’s it for my list of newborn essentials! I really hope this post is helpful if you are expecting, or even if you already have a baby. Let me know in the comments below if you would add anything to this list!