- Only the most essential things a newborn baby needs included
- Blankets and bibs
- What your baby needs to sleep
- Basic Baby Bath Time Needs
- Get around in a stroller and car seat
- Diaper bag – convenience or style?
- Diapers and baby wipes
- Clothes: zippers or buttons?
- Feeding baby DIY
- Furniture will you use it?
- Final thoughts
Only the most essential things a newborn baby needs included
You tell yourself every day, “I am going to make my baby registry.”
But the days tick away because preparing for your baby is overwhelming!
You do not know what to buy because you have never had a baby and yet you have a ridiculous amount of items to choose from.
You think, do I really need burping cloths, bibs, swaddle blankets, and receiving blankets? What is a burping cloth? All these things look the same.
Then you see the cost of everything. And you realize having a baby is beyond expensive and people keep recommending all sorts of things to buy.
I am here to show you ONLY the most essential things you need for your baby. So when you come home from the hospital, you have just what you need and not an abundance of stuff you will never use.
Especially if you are on a budget, you must see what your baby responds to first before you invest in additional items.
For instance, did you know that blankets and bedding are not needed or recommended in a crib? If I knew that I could have saved over $130 by not buying bedding for the crib! By the way, I am talking about the crib that has never been used.
Another example is everyone told me to buy swaddles, that I would need many because I would swaddle my daughter every time she slept. She hated being swaddled with a passion and to this day hates having blankets on top of her. So those six fancy, pricey swaddle blankets with velcro never got used.
Of course, I made a traditional nursery room with a crib, decorations, and all the trimmings. Since it is upstairs (and my bedroom is downstairs), it is basically a baby museum/storage room.
A fancy nursery is not necessary, on a similar note read why you should Stop Comparing Your Pregnancy to Celebrities (like Meghan Markle)!
Learn from my expensive mistakes and read on about the absolute basics of baby essentials. I am serious, there are absolutely no extras on this list.
Heads up! This post contains affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, if you click through and make a purchase, I may receive a commission.
Blankets and bibs
First, let’s answer the questions from above.
What is the difference between a burping cloth, bib, swaddle blanket and receiving blanket? Here is a break down of all things blankets and bibs.
- Burping cloths – for feeding they are thick like bath towels and much smaller than a blanket; I did use these often even when I breastfed, I also used them when I burped my baby and for messes in general
- Bib – they stay on your baby at feeding time around his or her neck and protects their clothes; I did not use these often because my daughter did not like them around her neck, but plenty of people use them often even for drool, for some these are essential
- Swaddle blanket – a blanket that wraps around the baby while they sleep; we rarely used them
- Receiving blanket – a medium sized blanket that is pretty thin, we rarely used them
- Fleece baby blanket – used it to cover the car seat when outside, or for tummy time and on the floor to play, its good to have a few
- Baby sack – A wearable blanket for cold nights since babies can’t use blankets while sleeping, we rarely used it, instead, we kept the room warm and she wore footsie pajamas
- Baby comforter and bedding set – as mentioned above, babies can’t use bedding, it is purely for decorations, never used
What your baby needs to sleep
It is tempting to want an entire nursery for your baby like they have in magazines and picture perfect blogs. They include a crib, changing table, chair, and the most adorable theme. I put together a nursery, and I have friends and family who did too.
Every one of us ended up using that room for storage during baby’s first year (and most longer).
If you’re breastfeeding or co-sleeping it is easy to have your infant next to you. It beats waking up every two hours at night and having to walk across the hall (or upstairs) to another room. Even if you are bottle-feeding the same concept applies.
Having your baby in your room makes life easy. If you’re like me, you’re going to just randomly wake up in the middle of the night to make sure your baby is okay. Plus room sharing is recommended to prevent SIDS.
Once they are in your room, they usually stay longer than you expect.
What should I buy?
A pack n’ play.
I love pack n’ plays because they are versatile during baby’s first year.
They don’t take up as much space as a crib, and they are a lot more affordable. If you search pack n’ play on Amazon, you’ll get a ton of results.
It all comes down to what you’re looking for and your price range.
If you’re looking for something affordable, small, and compact like a bassinet, the Delta Children Sweet Beginnings Bassinet (Affiliate Link) is the solution. This one comes recommended from a fellow mom I know personally, and it has excellent online reviews.
An alternative is the Graco Pack ‘n Play Newborn Napper DLX Playard, Manor (Affiliate Link). I own this one. The top portion is perfect for baby’s first 3 months, and afterward, the bottom portion works perfectly for sleeping and playing.
It comes with a changing station, bassinet, storage, vibrations, and music. It’s a whole entertainment system for newborns and babies. We used to put our daughter in the bassinet it came with all the time while we cleaned and did things around the house.
She slept in a separate bassinet at night in our room, but if I knew better, I would have just bought this one. Having both was overkill at our house although it was convenient.
Basic Baby Bath Time Needs
Bathing a newborn can be terrifying. They are so tiny and fragile.
You want to make sure the option you choose allows you ease of comfort and safety. At my baby shower, I received one of those tubs with a sling. Personally, I was not a fan of it and felt that my baby was going to slide right off.
I’ve also seen other options that allow you to bathe your baby in the sink. While those are practical for a newborn, it really won’t last long enough to justify the expense.
I ended up using the Angelcare Baby Bath Support, Aqua (Affiliate Link). It has a grippy surface so my daughter never slipped. It worked great, and my daughter was comfortable in it. To this day she still loves baths and showers.
In addition to a tub, you’ll also need some towels, body wash, lotions, nose bulb suction, and a grooming kit (nail clippers, brush, etc.).
For my baby shower, I received probably a year’s worth if not more of baby body wash and lotions. Unfortunately, my daughter has eczema, and once I made this realization, I gave everything away.
I can only bathe her in Aveeno Eczema Body Wash, and then I lather her in the Aveeno Night Balm cream. When she was a baby, I would switch between giving her oatmeal baths and using the Aveeno Eczema Soothing Bath Treatment with colloidal oatmeal.
You never know how your baby is going to react to specific products. Try not to spend too much money on bath supplies while you’re pregnant. Once your baby is here see what works best and go from there.
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Get around in a stroller and car seat
Invest in a travel system. The system is costly upfront, but it is a worthy investment. Plus, your car seat and stroller will be compatible.
You want something that is going to be lightweight and easy to carry and store. Carrying a baby in a car seat can get really heavy, especially as they grow.
Infants love sleeping in car seats, and you don’t want to wake your baby up every time you put them in the stroller. Travel systems allow you to connect the car seat to the stroller with one simple click.
You’re going to have a lot of options! So many it is overwhelming. Again it comes down to your budget and your preference. A fellow trusted mom recommends the Graco Aire3 Travel System Stroller, McKinley (Affiliate Link) because of the price, and it is lightweight. I have a travel system as well, I bought a Graco one at Babies R Us so it is no longer available – but I really like it.
Diaper bag – convenience or style?
When we first went shopping for a diaper bag, I was lured in by the beautiful designs of the bags. Many of them look like handbags for stylish women.
I was excited to pick something cute, but then I thought, if I get a girly bag I like – my husband will probably make me carry it around. He would be embarrassed to use or will carry it reluctantly.
I did not want to carry the load alone.
So I gave my husband the option to pick the bag out, he chose the Columbia Summit Rush Backpack Diaper Bag, Navy (Affiliate Link) a backpack looking diaper bag. Which is fine with me, that bag has lasted us a year and a half and still counting.
It has been everywhere with us from hiking trips to daily shopping trips. We carry the load together on our back, so we always have our hands free to carry stuff (mostly a baby).
Diapers and baby wipes
Don’t go overboard on the newborn diapers, you do not want any left over once your baby outgrows them.
Everything from size one and on I bought at Sam’s Club or Costco. I also did the same with baby wipes. They are worth buying in bulk.
Like most parents, I bought and tried out every brand of wipes and diapers to see which one worked best for my daughter. I was also given a variety of diapers and wipes at my baby showers.
Some of the brands I tried out leaked, left marks on my daughter, did not seem comfortable, or ripped from cheapness. After much trial and error, I ended up sticking with the Huggies brand. They work consistently well and kept her dry while containing some huge messes.
The diaper brand and style I like are the following:
- Newborn and size 1 – Huggies Little Snuggler has Winnie the Pooh designs
- Size 2 – Huggies Snug & Dry has Mickey Mouse designs
- Size 3 & 4 – Huggies Little Movers has Mickey Mouse designs
- Swimming – Huggies Little Swimmer has Nemo designs
- Wipes – Huggies Natural Care Baby Wipes comes in a green box
Potty training starts soon, I bought some Huggies training pants and will let you know if they work!
I like Huggies wipes because they are thick and have a quilted texture. I found wipes that do not have texture and cost less are too thin when wiping.
I even used some that just rip while wiping and trust me, I do not wipe her hard or rough. When dealing with a poop explosion, you want a thicker wipe that contains the mess. Huggies wipes do that. They also do not dry when you put them in the wipe warmer (non-essential but useful to have).
All the clothes I received at my baby shower were various sizes with a few sized newborn. Everyone told me, you do not need too many newborn clothes, so I did not worry. However, when my baby was born she was six pounds and petite, so she did wear newborn clothes for well over a month.
Since newborns sleep a lot, focus on getting warm footsie pajamas.
The pajamas with buttons can get confusing at times, but you will figure it out. The benefits are that you only have to unbutton the bottom part to change the diaper.
The pajamas with zippers are much easier to put on and take off, but when you change the diaper, you do expose the body more.
For the first six months, my daughter wore onesie shirts and matching pants for the most part. They were the easiest type of outfit to go out in. She looked cute in dresses but had a hard time playing, moving, and crawling in them.
Buy plenty of socks! You will use tons of socks, way more than shoes. Shoes are cute but not necessary before a baby can walk. Plus, they fall and get lost all the time, so you always have to track them down.
Feeding baby DIY
The ‘not so secret’ to feeding a baby on a budget is to breastfeed. It is basically free, you pay for it with your time. However, time spent with your baby is priceless, so it evens out.
I am going to tell you now breastfeeding is hard. It’s even harder for some than others, but it is worth trying and giving your 100% effort. Here are a few articles on breastfeeding to help you out:
If you do not exclusively breastfeed, then you will need to buy some formula and a few bottles to get started. As mentioned above, figure out what works best for your baby. Some babies may not like a particular bottle or formula, that is why there are so many kinds. Do not buy anything bulk until you are confident you will use it.
Furniture will you use it?
Since our daughter is in our room, we cleared out drawers from our dresser and made space in our closet for her. She has her own dresser and closet upstairs that rarely get used.
To save space and money, we bought the HOMZ Plastic 5 Drawer Medium Storage Tower, Black Frame, Clear Drawers, Set of 2 for our bedroom (Affiliate Link). We store only clothes in it, nothing heavy duty. It is not the best quality by any means, but it does what it is supposed to do for us.
This will give you an idea of what furniture I bought vs what I use:
- Crib/mattress – never used, it converts to toddler bed there is still hope
- Bassinet (standalone) – used for the first 4 months daily, but would rather use pack n’ play
- Diaper changing table/mat – always use, still do, it is non-essential, but I love it
- Rocking chair – used for 5 months (I used my nursing pillow and my bed much more to breastfeed her)
- Swing – rarely used
- Dresser with drawers – rarely used but may use in the future
- High chair – used after she was 6 months old, now I use it often
As mentioned above, these are the ABSOLUTE basics. If you had only an hour to prep for your baby, these are the things to focus on to survive. Everything else is for convenience, things like the baby wipe warmers and bottle warmers of the world – are not necessary, but some people love them, and some people say they are useless.
If you are on a budget or trying to save money, these things are a priority. You will learn what your baby needs, and if you need more convenience in your life – you can buy as you go.
That is the thing about parenting, you really do learn from day to day. I thought over preparing would be the best, but instead, I had lots of things I did not need and ended up buying things I actually needed once I learned more about my baby.
What works for one baby will be different for the other. Nonetheless, keep doing your research and be smart future moms and dads of the world!