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Ultimate Baby Checklist and Must-Have Baby Items

Ultimate Baby Checklist and Must-Have Baby Items

By now you've probably read What to Expect When You're Expecting back to front (if not twice already).

You've probably already dug through the bottom of your fridge, picking through fruits and vegetables to compare against the size of your growing bub.

(Husband: "Is he a carrot yet, honey?"

Wife: "No, I think he's still an apple.")

And you probably started scrolling through the first 10 pages of Google results for "baby gear" and got absolutely overwhelmed. (Who knew babies needed so much STUFF?).

But don't worry. We've boiled it down to the absolute basics here. No fluffing about recommending imported Tibetan yak-fur stroller inserts over simple 100% cotton ones. Or eco-friendly glass bottles, hand-blown by Amazon-dwelling orangutans, get the picture.

So here's your ultimate new-baby checklist - this will for sure get you through at least the first 3 months without repeat trips to the baby supply store (except for diapers, diapers, and diapers....).

1. A (very, VERY good) stroller

Head into a baby warehouse and try out a few different types. Don't just go for the fancy brand-name one, or the same one that your cousins/sister/brother-in-law/BFF has. Will it fit in your trunk? Your apartment building's elevator? Is it easy to fold (if it does at all)?

Also think about its components and parts - are they built to last, or are just made of cheap plastic? Make sure you're actually getting your money's worth.

2. Car seat - or capsule?

This goes hand-in-hand with your choice of stroller. There are parents who prefer a car seat that is permanent in the car, and those who prefer a capsule that can be fitted to their stroller (so, you know, you don't have to wake your sleeping baby when taking them out of the car).

Both have their pluses and their minuses - but make sure you and your partner both agree on what's best for your situation.

(Did you know we have a detailed guide about getting your car ready for your new baby? You can check it out here.)

3. Burp cloths

Doubling as a light summer wrap for baby, burp cloths are essential for protecting any and all of the following:

  • your clothes
  • your sofa
  • your bed
  • your car
  • your carpets and rugs
  • your family's clothes

Why? Because babies spit up at random. Placing one of these over your shoulder when you burp them - or underneath them when you lie them down on any surface, will help catch any drips.

It's always easier to toss a load of used burp cloths into the washing machine than your entire sofa's upholstery (or a mattress).

4. Towels

Likewise for towels. You'll need some good baby towels - probably 5 or 6 is a good start. No, not the fancy-shmancy kind of towels. Good, thick cotton towels that will stand up through repeated washing. (See Item #3, above.)

5. Bathtub or bath seat

Whether you're planning on bathing them in your tub, your sink, or a special baby bath, make your decision before baby makes his or her appearance. Nowadays there is a great range of options available.

No built-in tub? There are stand-up tubs that can be drained easily. Have a tub? Try a comfortable silicon or plastic tub insert, or a mini tub that you can place inside so you don't have to fill an adult-sized tub all the way.

6. Diapers and wet wipes

Have to state the obvious here, but make sure you have at least 1 bulk box of these.

Two boxes of Newborn diapers aren't necessary for two reasons -

(1.) Baby might grow faster than you think and will be into Size 1 before you know it. Don't overbuy Newborn size or you'll be left with a closet full of them in just a few short weeks.

(2.) Post-birth, you'll want a reason to get out of the house for some fresh air - and going for a short trip to the supermarket to get diapers is perfect for this.

7. Crib

Baby isn't going to sleep in the stroller all day. They need something for those long nights.

But be aware: though you might plan a lot, your plans may change post-baby. Suddenly, parents who were set on sleeping their babies in their separate rooms from day 1 find themselves pining for a co-sleeper bassinet. Or vice-versa.

8. (Appropriate) baby clothes

And last but not least - appropriately-sized clothes. Let's make one thing clear: baby will grow FAST. Don't buy everything size 0-3 months - buy some items up to 6 months (especially the basics - long sleeved cotton onesies and footed pants - come to mind).

9. Pacifier

Not every baby will use them. Even if you buy every single brand and try them out. Some babies just don't like them and are happy to fall asleep without them. You could always get one to try out, but you don't have to force your baby if it's not up their alley.

What do you think of our list? Is there anything you would add? Anything you'd change? Share your thoughts with us below!


Nov 12, 2016 • Posted by Jessie

I learned my lesson with burping clothes the hard way! Make sure you have them around at all times. Now that I am expecting my third child, I will be keeping some in the car, in my purse, in most rooms of the house… You never know when they will spit up and I have had clothing get stained from it. Great baby check list!

Nov 10, 2016 • Posted by Heather

What an amazing baby check list! I know this sounds silly but i had no idea where to even begin. Now that I am 7 months in, I have little time to actually prepare. I have all my house in line as far as safety goes but I don’t even have a stroller yet!!

Nov 08, 2016 • Posted by Jamie

I am a younger mother and I had no idea what to do or where to start. I am only 6 weeks out from giving birth. Thank you so much for this baby checklist! You have saved me wasting money on books. I am going to write these down!

Nov 07, 2016 • Posted by Sandy

When you said ultimate you meant it! This is the best one I have found outside of an expensive baby book. Thanks for posting this. I have it bookmarked. I am only a few weeks a long but I will be coming back it! It can’t hurt to have a baby checklist handy!

Nov 05, 2016 • Posted by Dave

Thanks for this. I am going to send this list to my wife. She has been freaking out because we are nearing the due date. I think this will help her relax a little but more. This is the easiest to read and most through baby checklist I have found.

Nov 04, 2016 • Posted by Sasha

When I had my first baby (currently pregnant with my second) I had a baby shower for him. Needless to say, I ended up with a lot of great things but also a lot of baby wipes. I just had this look on my face and the mothers at the shower said trust us, you’ll need them. BOY THEY WERE NOT JOKING! Stock up on wipes ladies! This is a good baby checklist.

Nov 02, 2016 • Posted by Sarah Peters

I have a friend who, God love her!, did not know how to dress her baby. She would always have her in something to tight or too large. Needless to say the baby cried a lot do to being uncomfortable. When she had her in big clothing, she just ended up getting caught on things. Great list! Specially for mothers like my friend haha

Nov 01, 2016 • Posted by Dora

Fantastic baby checklist! You have the essentials and why you need them in an easy to read way. I have read over some posts and books that are just so dang long that I forget half of the stuff I read! I am due in December so I found this post very very useful! :)

Oct 30, 2016 • Posted by Missy White

I am so glad to see you specified having a VERY GOOD stroller on this baby checklist. With my first pregnancy, I had no idea what to get so I just went with the stroller that was clearanced. I didn’t read the reviews but it looked “good enough”. It was so hard to fold and unfold, just fit in the trunk of my car, and it had these spots that would pinch my baby! If you are going to spend a lot on any on item, let it be the stroller!

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