We all know the simple basics that a baby needs when they are first born: A place to sleep (we chose a crib, but you could also have your baby sleep in a bassinet or a pack & play or even co-sleep with you), diapers, wipes, changing table food, and clothes. We chose to get our crib used, we purchased natural diapers because our other children had chlorine allergies. If you are interested in using cloth diapers (see our post here). At our baby shower we were given many of our baby clothes as gifts and purchased the rest used. If you are a minimalist like me, here are my ideas of the ONLY other things you will need for your newborn up to 6 months. These are my own personal opinions on baby products and I have not been paid, given free products, or rewarded in any way to list the items below. These are all things our family really uses.
Fold Up Baby Bathtub and Bathing Essentials
I like having a fold up tub because it fits nicely under the kitchen sink for storage. We actually have this one only in a different color and it has lasted 12 years and through all 4 of our kids. At about 6 months, our babies graduate to the regular tub when they can sit up on their own.
I use this soap and this lotion. Do not ever use scented bath products on babies (even ones that say they are made for babies)… ever! They are so bad for the skin and can cause lifelong problems for your child. I used mildly scented products on my first baby and she has lifelong excema.
When your baby gets out of the bath, he will be freezing and will get chilled very easily. To help him stay warm, a very thick towel or a You can place a heating pad under his hooded towel if you wish. If you have any history of skin problems in your family, I would suggest organic cotton towels and washcloths for your baby. We use organic baby wipes to wash him in the bath and after he eats solid foods (at about 6 months).
We bathe our babies once to twice per week. For some reason, bathing them more often plays into their dry skin. So, we limit baths to when they really need it.
Bottles & Feeding Essentials
The Dr. Brown’s bottles are by far the best bottles to keep harmful plastics away from your baby and to ensure they don’t get air when they eat. It’s always nice to have a couple bottles around even if you are nursing. They are handy to have around if you pump your breast milk or if you are away and your spouse needs to feed your baby. I have had issues with breastfeeding. Even though I desperately wanted to breastfeed, it never worked out, so I bottle fed exclusively. Here’s the formula we use. Three bottles should be enough if you breast feed exclusively. If you bottle feed exclusively, plan on your baby eating about 8 times per day when he or she is first born. He will use the 4 oz bottles for a couple months and then move on to 8 oz. bottles. We have three 4 oz bottles and about nine 8 oz bottles and we run the dishwasher every other day now, but when he was first born, we ran it every day. If you prefer glass, they also make glass bottles in the 4 oz and 8 oz size.
We use these organic cotton burp cloths. They are pricey and my husband hates them (they are not the most absorbent) and I love them (because they are soft and small and easy to carry around). If you need something more absorbent, we also use the tri-fold baby diapers as well for spit up messes.
If you plan to use a pacifier, we have really liked these ones that fold up when they get dropped. These ones are fun too and are supposed to help baby be able to grab and find his paci earlier.
At about 4 months, you may want to start your baby on solids. You will need a chair, a bib, and a set of spoons (safe plastic) and bowls. The links are the ones we use and find to be very effective. We have never used a highchair because our kitchen is small. We have never missed it and the baby feels a part of things when he is on our level. Best of all, we can easily transport his feeding booster seat when we go to family’s house, etc.
We have these everywhere for the first year of life because there are so many messes and it’s a lot easier to wash the pad than it is to wash sheets, bedding, changing table covers etc. They are nice to have your baby sit on when he is on your lap if he is prone to blow-outs.
Blankets and Sleeping
At first your baby will want to be swaddled. Aden & Anais are my very favorite blankets to use. They are lightweight, easy to pack around, soft for the baby, and they make it easy to swaddle your baby and stay put because they are so large! They get even better after they are washed. I use these during the day. At night, when I don’t want to have to worry about the blanket coming undone, I use a swaddler or a wearable blanket when they get older. Wearable blankets can be purchased at Walmart for under $10 and they have sleeves which I really like. I use the swaddler for the first couple months, and then the wearable blanket until about 6 months, then the baby graduates to a “normal” blanket (but not a quilt).
This next item is an important foundational item for sleep training and it should be used from the very first day that your baby sleeps at night. It’s a white noise sound maker. I use the “rain” sound for my kids and they have all slept through the night at 6 weeks or sooner. My current baby (who is 6 months now), slept through the night at 5 weeks and it only took 1 day to train him. My other kids took a couple weeks. I plan to do a post on how to get your newborn to sleep through the night.
This is the carseat I have and this is the stroller I borrowed from my sister in law. The carseat snaps right into the stroller shell which is really handy. I feel like a travel system is pretty important to help you feel like you can get around town easily and still have a life even if you have a new baby. We chose the Graco Snugride Classic carrier because it was rated highly on Consumer Reports. We also use this carseat cover to keep our baby warm and free from over stimulation. It could also double as a blanket in a pinch or as a nursing cover.
As you may have noticed, all of my baby clothes have the mittens on them. Newborns constantly scratch themselves (and you), hit themselves in the face, hit you in the face, and get their fingers confused for food. These mitten cuff jammies and onesies are really nice to have them wear for the first couple of months.
IF YOU PURCHASE ALL OF THE ITEMS MENTIONED YOU WOULD SPEND ABOUT: $550 (not counting formula)
IF YOU ADD A USED CRIB, USED CHANGING TABLE, & CLOTHES YOU WOULD SPEND AN ADDITIONAL: $500 (approx. not counting diapers).
Not too shabby! Especially since many of the items recommended are organic.
Here are a couple “how to take care of a newborn” videos I have done this year. If this is your first baby, you might want to take a looksie.