Everything You Need for Your Newborn Baby

Essential Baby Products for the First 3 Months

Checklist for basic baby needs

Verywell / Brianna Gilmartin  

As you prepare to bring your sweet newborn home, you may be asking yourself: “What does a baby really need in the first weeks at home?” The answer is: not much.

Of course, if you consult a baby registry suggestion list, or ask a baby gear store, it probably sounds like your baby needs everything under the sun! Some parents want all of those cool baby products and gadgets that can make life with the little one more convenient. But for minimalists, parents on a budget, or new parents who are a bit overwhelmed, it's OK to stick to the basics. We promise—your baby won't notice the difference.

That said, being prepared with the following items will get you through the first days and weeks without having to make any last-minute runs to the store or online purchases, and will ensure that your baby is comfortable, well-fed, and has everything they need.

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How to Prepare for Baby: What Do You Really Need?

Baby Essentials for First 3 Months

  • Car seat
  • Onesies, or other soft outfits
  • Baby sleepers or sleep sacks
  • Baby socks
  • Newborn hats, depending on climate
  • Disposable diapers or cloth diapers (and detergent for washing)
  • Disposable wipes or 12 cloth wipes
  • Diaper rash cream
  • Waterproof pad for diaper changes
  • Diaper pail or receptacle
  • Baby washcloths
  • Hooded towels
  • Baby sponge
  • Baby bath wash
  • Baby lotion
  • Baby bath tub
  • Baby nail clippers
  • Digital thermometer
  • Medicine dropper
  • Bulb syringe/nasal aspirator
  • Crib, cradle, or bassinet
  • Fitted sheets and mattress cover for crib, cradle, or bassinet
  • Burp cloths
  • Bottles, if you're bottle-feeding and bottle brush
  • A variety of bottle nipples, in different sizes
  • Breastfeeding pillow, nursing pads, and nipple cream
  • Breast pump

Clothing and Layette

Although you may want a few cute outfits to show your little one off, your baby doesn’t need anything fancy in those first few weeks, so sticking to simple, plain, budget-friendly clothing is fine.

It’s best not to buy too many newborn clothing items because your baby will outgrow them at lightning speeds. At the same time, you will be going through lots of outfit changes, as newborn clothing can get messy, quickly.

What You Need

  • 5-8 onesies, or other soft outfits, depending on how often you want to do laundry
  • 3-4 baby sleepers or sleep sacks
  • 5-7 pairs of baby socks
  • 1-2 newborn hats, depending on climate

When making these purchases, take into consideration how often you plan on doing laundry, and what the weather is going to be like when your baby will be born.

Most doctors still recommend newborns wear hats outdoors in the first few weeks of life, but if you live in a warm climate, you can usually forgo the hat.

Keep in mind it’s now recommended that newborn not sleep with blankets, so having some baby sleepers or sleep sacks on hand is essential.


Diapers are an obvious newborn basic, yet choosing the best kind of diaper for your baby can actually feel confusing and stressful—who knew?! If you are torn between using cloth diapers or disposable, try to remember that at the end of the day, both have their pluses and minuses and doing what works for your family and your lifestyle is always the best choice. That said, many families do a combination of cloth and disposable, so you can try out both and see what you like best.

What You Need

Newborns can go through 8 to 10 diapers a day, so make sure you have plenty of diapers on hand. Remember, too, that they will outgrow the newborn size in a matter of weeks, so don’t stock up too much.

Bath Items

For the first week or two, until your baby’s umbilical cord falls off, doctors recommend giving your baby a sponge bath. After that, you don’t really need to bathe your baby daily—three times a week or so will suffice.

Bathing your baby too often can dry out or irritate their skin. Don’t worry, though, between spit-ups and diaper changes, there will be lots of opportunity to do a little “spot cleaning” in between baths.

What You Need

You can go minimalistic with your purchases here. That said, you want to have newborn-friendly soap and lotion, as baby skin can be very sensitive. Many of us bathe our babies in baby bathtubs, but using the kitchen sink is just fine, provided it’s been recently cleaned.

Grooming/First Aid

At first, you don’t need to stock your cabinets with a ton of baby grooming products or a full-fledged first aid kit. You will definitely need a way to trim those baby nails (they grow so fast!). You’ll also need to be able to take your baby’s temperature, and clean snot out of their nose, should the need arise. Babies can be very stuffy at first!

What You Need

  • Baby nail clippers
  • Digital thermometer
  • Medicine dropper
  • Bulb syringe/nasal aspirator

You can hold off on purchasing baby pain relief medicine until your baby is a little older, as it is not recommended that newborns receive OTC pain relief medicine until after 3-6 months of age, depending on the medicine and doctor recommendations.

Bedding and Sleep Needs

Whatever bed you choose for your newborn (crib, cradle, bassinet, co-sleeper), it is recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics that your baby sleep in the same room with you for the first 6-12 months of life. In addition, bumpers, blankets, pillows, and soft toys are no longer recommended in baby beds. Talk about going minimalistic!

What You Need

  • Crib, cradle, bassinet, co-sleeper, or other safe sleep space for baby. If the crib has been used before, make sure it has all of its pieces and meets current safety standards
  • Crib mattress, or a mattress that fits properly in the cradle or bassinet
  • 3-4 fitted sheets for crib, cradle, bassinet, or co-sleeper
  • 1 waterproof crib mattress cover, unless your crib mattress is already fully sealed, or a waterproof pad to lay under the crib sheet
  • Baby monitor

These days, diapers are pretty absorbent, so you shouldn’t have to be cleaning up too many middle-of-the-night messes. Still, make sure you have waterproofed your mattress, and that you have several sheets available for bedding changes. Make sure to have a baby monitor around, too, as you will want to closely monitor your (hopefully sleeping!) baby when you leave the room.

Feeding Supplies

If you are breastfeeding, you don’t need much more than your breasts—and the contact information for a good lactation consultant or breastfeeding support group should you encounter a breastfeeding challenge (as we almost all do at some point).

If you plan on formula feeding, it’s good to discuss formula brands and types with your doctor as well as how much formula to have on hand when you bring your baby home.

However you feed your baby, you will need a lot of burp cloths. Trust us.

What You Need

  • 10 burp cloths
  • 5-8 bottles, if you're bottle-feeding
  • A bottle brush, if you'll need to wash bottles
  • A variety of bottle nipples, in different sizes
  • Breastfeeding pillow, nursing pads, and nipple cream
  • Breast pump

If you plan on bottle-feeding, make sure you have a handful of bottles available to avoid middle-of-the-night washing. A bottle brush is essential, but you can wait to see if you’ll need a bottle drying rack or bottle washing dishwasher basket.

Breastfeeding moms don’t need much, but you’ll want a few useful tools like nursing pads and nipple cream—and a breast pump in case you need to pump for your newborn.

Gear and Furniture

Contrary to popular belief, the only furniture you truly need for your newborn is a place for them to sleep and a place to store their clothes. Many of us opt for much more than that—a changing table, dresser, nursery gliders, toy bin, bouncy seat, baby swing, etc.—and decorating the baby’s room can be a highlight. But if you wish, you can hold off on those things until your baby is older, and you have a better idea of what they truly need.

You do need a way to transport your baby around. Car seats are mandatory, and hospitals won’t let you leave unless you have a properly installed car seat in your car. Beyond that, a stroller or a baby carrier are awesome and necessary for many of us, but you can also wait on those if you choose.

What You Need

  • Car seat

You can purchase an infant-only or convertible model with a lower weight limit appropriate for newborns. Your baby will be rear-facing, and the Academy of American Pediatrics recommends, "children remain in a rear-facing car safety seat as long as possible, until they reach the highest weight or height allowed by their seat."

A Word From Verywell

That's it! See, it wasn’t as overwhelming as you thought it would be, was it? While there are many baby products on the market that make a parent's life easier, the truth is, most are wants, not needs. And while it may be tempting to buy every gadget on the shelf, remember your baby mostly needs a loving and attentive parent and will be just as happy with the basic items.

You can fill your registry list with these baby essentials and add on anything else you find and love. And remember—you can always add more baby clothes and other products to your registry, or just shop for the bonus items after your baby arrives.

6 Sources
Verywell Family uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
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  2. Thaman LA, Eichenfield LF. Diapering habits: a global perspectivePediatr Dermatol. 2014;31 Suppl 1:15–18. doi:10.1111/pde.12468

  3. Ayyildiz T, Kulakci H, Niyazi Ayoglu F, Kalinci N, Veren F. The effects of two bathing methods on the time of separation of umbilical cord in term babies in TurkeyIran Red Crescent Med J. 2015;17(1):e19053. doi:10.5812/ircmj.19053

  4. Ziesenitz VC, Zutter A, Erb TO, van den Anker JN. Efficacy and safety of ibuprofen in infants aged between 3 and 6 MonthsPaediatr Drugs. 2017;19(4):277–290. doi:10.1007/s40272-017-0235-3

  5. Moon RY; TASK FORCE ON SUDDEN INFANT DEATH SYNDROME. SIDS and other sleep-related infant deaths: Evidence base for 2016 updated recommendations for a safe infant sleeping environmentPediatrics. 2016;138(5):e20162940. doi:10.1542/peds.2016-2940

  6. American Academy of Pediatrics. AAP Updates recommendations on car seats for children.

By Wendy Wisner
Wendy Wisner is a lactation consultant and writer covering maternal/child health, parenting, general health and wellness, and mental health. She has worked with breastfeeding parents for over a decade, and is a mom to two boys.