The 5 Necessary Things for Your Newborn


August 25, 2016 by CassieCravings

As our family inches closer and closer to the due date for our second child, we are receiving more and more of the question: What do you need for this baby?

With our first son (who is now 6 1/2), I wanted everything suggested on the gift registry website. While there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that, I found that I didn’t use a good portion of those items. They just weren’t necessary, or they weren’t convenient with a disgruntled newborn in my arms. My theory is that you won’t know unless you try. I tried, and now I know.

There are going to be many mamas that will want to add to or take away from this list. Please do! Everyone’s experience is different. There is no right way to prepare for a newborn. Start with this list, and then see what else you might need based on your baby’s preferences and your parenting style (i.e: attached parents may add a sling, etc).

In this list, I have compiled the absolute necessities that I found for surviving those newborn days. There is also a list under each necessity for “luxury items”. By luxury, I don’t mean expensive necessarily. They’re an added, comfortable bonus that makes life a bit easier, but they aren’t mandatory.


1 . A Way to Eat 

With  my son Eli, I breastfed. So, eating had pretty few accessories. When I went back to work I pumped. A breast pump was then a necessity for us. We had 3-4 bottles total that were washed each day to prepare for the next day. For us, that’s all we needed.

I’m not sure what to recommend for formula feeding only because I personally didn’t experience it. Mamas who formula feed or fed, how many bottles would you recommend? Which formula worked best for your little one? Is there any other needed item?

added “luxury” item: breastfeeding pillow. They sit up a bit higher than my bed pillow. While they aren’t necessary, I found mine to be quite helpful for positioning and for support.

2. A Place to Sleep 

We did purchase a crib for Eli, but we ended up co-sleeping. So, the crib wasn’t actually needed. Occasionally the crib was used for his naps. It was mostly a fancy laundry sorting station. For this pregnancy, we set up the crib again. I imagine it will get the same amount of usage as the first time around.

added “luxury” item: Rock and Play/Swing. So many of my friends swear by the Rock and Play. We didn’t have one for Eli (I don’t even know if they were a thing nearly 7 years ago.), so I can’t speak from my own experience. It’s one of those items that you can try and hopefully your baby will like it. From the continued rave reviews from friends, we will certainly be trying one.

3. A Way to Go 

A car seat is an absolute must for any baby on the go in the car. With Eli, we had a travel system which included the carrier/car seat and stroller. We really enjoyed it, but he grew out of it very quickly (by 9 months), and then we had to purchase another car seat. This is not the norm, and now travel system carriers support more weight than they did several years ago. However, my baby was a giant, and he needed a new seat. This time we’re opting for a car seat that will last him several years. It has rear facing, forward facing, high back booster and a low back booster.

Now the flip-side to this choice is that we will not have a car seat carrier. I rarely used mine to actually carry him, so this isn’t a deal breaker for me. I much preferred my sling. That sling was Eli’s bff. We didn’t go anywhere without it.

added “luxury” item: stroller. I say that a stroller is an added item, because we didn’t use ours very much at all. We used the baby sling instead. You may be the opposite and want to invest in a stroller and not a baby carrier. It’s completely up to how you want to mobilize your newborn.

4. A Wardrobe of Onesies and Pajamas

This is the item that you want to invest in multiples. Newborns go through several outfits per day. There are fluids everywhere….every. where. Pick items that are easy to dress and undress, especially in the middle of the night. While you don’t need a ton of onesies and pajamas, it’s convenient to have a few days worth. While one day of outfits is washing, another is being worn and another is on deck for use.

added “luxury” item: more baby clothes. Baby clothes and accessories are just plain fun! While it may not be necessary to put your infant in shoes or to have a hat for every outfit, it is quite delightful to have our own living baby doll.

5. A Collection of Diapers 

For this baby, we are going to cloth diaper. It’s a new adventure for us. I am currently creating a stash of diapers of different sizes and styles. While I haven’t cloth diapered yet, I have read from the experts (mamas who are already knee deep in the cloth diaper world), to have at least 2 days worth of diapers on hand. It’s the same concept as the clothing: one day in the wash, one day on the bum and one day on deck. While you can get away with less, it is ideal to have more than you absolutely need.

The same concept goes for disposable diapers. You only need so many, but these are the items that you want more than you need. There’s nothing quite like the panic of “I just used our last diaper, and it’s 2 AM.”

An item that you need to go with diapers is wipes. Whether you are using cloth or disposable, you will need something to get your little one’s tush nice and clean.

added “luxury” item: diaper pail. We didn’t use a diaper pail for Eli. We just used the outdoor trashcan. For this baby, we have a diaper pail with a cloth liner to keep the need-to-be-washed diapers.


Based on the list above: What would you take away? What would you add? Did you find your needs list changing from first to second child?



12 thoughts on “The 5 Necessary Things for Your Newborn

  1. Micki Allen says:

    Yes, yes, and yes! With our first child we had a crib. He slept in it one unbearable night and then it became a darling crap-catcher. We gave it away when I was pregnant with baby two and shared a family bed all the way through baby seven. BEST decision we ever made for our family. Diapers, diapers, and more diapers are always a wonderful gift for new moms. Also, I always tuck a pair of fluffy socks for Mom in every Baby Shower gift I give. You’ll never understand how COLD your feet can get while you’re in labor until it happens to you. If baby’s gender is known, I usually by in a coordinating color; otherwise, something fun in mom’s favorite color is always appreciated.

    Well done and best loving wishes, Mama!

  2. I am an expert at cloth diapering, if you would like any more help or advice. I never used disposables at all but I have heard that they go through less clothing when you use cloth, because it’s so much better at containing all the fluids.

  3. For the newborns: diapers, carseat, pack ‘n play, newborn gowns, sling or cloth baby carrier (I splurged and got a high-end one), waterproof lap pads, laundry detergent. Oh, and I did borrow a nursing pillow from a friend. For older babies: small high chair, umbrella stroller. We couldn’t use any other equipment because our house was so small we literally couldn’t fit anything else into it. “Did you use _____, Perfectpanicky?” “No!” “Why not?” “There was no room in our house!”

    One thing that changed between the first child and the second was recognizing that co-sleeping did not work for us (I should say for me; my husband never lost a moment’s sleep either baby) and arms reach co-sleepers are stupid because they’re stuck to the bed so you can’t move them. The pack ‘n play was a total lifesaver for baby #2 so I could have her nearby without actually co-sleeping, it could be moved out of the way so my husband could still get dressed in the morning, and we didn’t have room for a crib. She slept in the pack ‘n play until she was about 20 months old and then she moved directly into her sibling’s bed with a bedrail (nice item to have for a toddler) since we didn’t have room for another bed. We got the pack ‘n play for free from a friend whose toddler had outgrown it, but it would have been worth the money to buy one new if we had needed to.

  4. To add: Both of my babies were born in cold weather, so we used newborn gowns until their limbs straightened out, then switched to sleep ‘n plays. We didn’t use onesies until they were older. I like the little sunsuits they make for girls and boys that are cuter than onesies but just as functional. However, onesies are nice because you can buy plain white ones that are gender neutral. Also, another reason why arms reach co-sleepers are stupid is that the baby outgrows it at like 4 months, as opposed to closer to 2 years for the pack ‘n play. Of course, if you live in a house that’s large enough for a crib, like a normal person, this distinction is less important. 🙂

  5. mayarica says:

    So many things we wanted, but being minimalist I did not allow in the house. A good bit of the gifts were given away once we relocated (baby 1 was 4 months at the time), but this is what I swear by:

    1) baby sling/carrier: Beco gemini is my favorite, then the Ergo baby original. I love how both do back carry, as I am hands on and often need to see what I am doing. Baby 1 was in a bedsheet tired into a sling until 4 months, then we used the Beco gemini. back position we started at 6 months. baby 2 was on the back at 10 weeks. her head was strong, and again, mama has chores to do! And mama does them better when she can see.

    2) t-shirts in baby size (buy 3-6 to start, in size 3-6 months. And if dad is tall, chances are you do not need ANYTHING in newborn size). Never been a fan of bodysuits (known the world over as “onesies”, but that is the brand name, so I say bodysuits), but we received SO MANY from well-meaning relatives for baby 1. Again, we relocated, so most of his clothing was given to good will. brand new, still with tags, I hope they made some $$ from it all. With baby 2 we ordered 6 organic bodysuits. I was bored with them by month 4. so once again, we donated some super awesome threads. our local thrift store loves when they see me coming! I also ordered 3 organic shirts, plus one that says “born at home”. Baby 2 still fits her home birth shirt, and her organic shirts. I also had two summer babies, and live on an island, so clothing was only really needed if we went out on a cool night (which was rare), and then when winter kicked in (which in Bermuda is around mid-January, with the warmth returning around end of April, depending on who you ask).

    3) Baby bottles, 3-4 tops!! And do not waste your time on the big size. no baby in the history of the world is drinking 8 ounces in one sitting. so yes, 3-4 tops, and make the the small size, 5 ounces or less. We purchased two 3 packs, and never took them out the box. I preferred to nurse exclusively. less fuss, less stress. but for those who want to use bottles, 4 is the absolute max you need.

    4) nappies. we use cloth. we went the cheaper route and purchased 5 waterproof covers, and 24 Thirsties duo hemp diapers/nappies in size 1. we never got the size 2, as we found the nappies fit fine when folded in three. We essentially used them as soaker pads inside the covers. we managed just fine. we also had 6 FBs (FuzziBunz) in one size, which we eventually utilized once our son was mobile. they are softer than the Thirsties duo wrap, and so luscious on those fat baby legs! We have the covers with poppers. much longer life span. I swear by using covers and diapers – folded however you please. so much cheaper. they call that making your own “hybrid” system. And I am not a fan of the nappies where the insert snaps in, because I always feel like that popper on the inside has the potential to dig at my baby. and babies cannot say precisely what is annoying them, so I do my best to remove potential annoyances from the equation.

    5) car seat. both babies outgrew their seats by 6 months. again, tall dads usually produce tall babies. at least in my two experiences. both seats were bought second hand. less than $30. we keep it simple. so when our boy needed to go the next size up, we headed to the thrift store. so long as the expiration date has not passed, we prefer thrift. for our baby girl – baby 2 – we were given one from friends who were relocating. word of mouth can save you hundreds $$$. just need to be resourceful, and not so snoody about utilizing pre-loved items.

    6) cloth breast pads. these are the best! every mom has leaks. and those disposable brands are the worse. the end.

    Those are what I consider NECESSITIES/ESSENTIALS. x

  6. YES YES YES to #6. I had forgotten that! I could wear disposable pads for one day, but I tried to wear them two days in a row, I broke out in a rash. NOT a fun place to break out in a rash!! Lots of cloth breast pads FOR SURE.

  7. I think this list is great, and to each their own on carriers vs strollers, etc. I’ve been a minimalist for both my kids, so I really get what you’re saying. What this list is missing, however, is having a well-stocked medicine cabinet. Most of us get a grooming kit, a thermometer, and a nasal aspirator. But we’ve had so many occasions when we needed to run out and get things AFTER an accident or health issue. So, what I’d add:
    – infant Tylenol and Ibuprofen (assuming you agree with using these, and most people do)
    – baby Benedryl (per pediatrician’s use) in case baby has an allergic reaction to a food
    – liquid stitches (eg Dermabond or NewSkin)
    – bandaids, including butterfly bandaids
    – tweezers
    – cool mist humidifier … I resisted on this pre-baby, but it came in handy many times when baby had a cough
    – hydrocortizone cream for bug bites and rashes
    – petroleum jelly and A&D cream
    – baby lotion
    – baby sunscreen (safe to use on babies even younger than 6m now, if you buy the good natural brands)

    • mamacravings says:

      Ahhh! the cool mist humidifier. That was one thing we didn’t register for, but ended up buy pretty quickly on. We will probably need one for our winter baby.

      Thank for adding to the list!

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