Newborn Must Haves

Clothes, cribs and car seats… oh my! When you’re expecting, the list of things you need for your baby can feel pretty overwhelming. The good news is it doesn’t have to be. While I was pregnant, I read every list of baby “essentials” I could find and really tried to narrow my checklist down. Now that we are out of the newborn stage, I felt like we had everything we could possibly need for a newborn and not much that we didn’t! Below I’ve shared my list of newborn must haves and shared how often we used each item. If you’re starting to buy items for your baby or building a registry, this list can help you prepare for the first few weeks.

A quick note: this is just a list of what we consider essentials! Every baby is different, and what worked for us may not work for you.

Sleeping Essentials

  1. Bassinet
    • Used multiple times daily
    • We are room sharing and love ours! I can pull it right up to the side of our bed. Because one side folds down, I can easily access Emma for night time feedings.
  2. Crib
    • Used multiple times daily
    • While you could probably get away without one right away, we’ve found it super helpful to have ours set up in the nursery. We use it as a dressing area and Emma takes at least one independent nap per day in it. I mentioned in my nursery post that we chose a crib that will grow with Emma. If you’re looking to minimize the amount of purchases, this crib could be a good option for you!
  3. Crib Mattress
    • Used multiple times daily
    • I feel like it goes with out saying that if we’re using the crib, we’re using the mattress.
  4. Crib and Bassinet Sheets
    • Used multiple times daily
    • Same concept here, but I will say buy more than you think you’ll need! I have two sheets for the bassinet and three for the crib and am getting by, but depending on how frequently you feel like doing laundry you may want more.
  5. Waterproof Mattress Protectors
    • Used multiple times daily
    • See above ūü§£
  6. Zip up/Velcro swaddles
    • Used multiple times daily
    • Honestly, at the very beginning, Emma was too small for these and we used receiving blankets to swaddle her. However, once she was a little bigger, these made life 1000 times easier!! We use the Aden + Anis swaddles, and I highly recommend! The fabric is soft and the zipper bottom means you can conveniently change a diaper.
  7. White noise machine
    • Used multiple times daily
    • My cousin LOVES her Hatch sound machine, so that’s what I registered for. However, it was only available in Germany on Amazon Deutschland for more than double the original cost. As an alternative, I found this cute little Sleep Sheep! It is battery operated, so it’s portable and can be attached to a crib, stroller or car seat by a little Velcro hanger. There is a bigger version available, but I find the smaller size to be perfect.

Nursing Essentials

  1. Nursing Pillow
    • Used multiple times daily
    • I went with the Ergobaby nursing pillow. It is much firmer than other options, but so far has worked really well for Emma and me.
  2. Bottles
    • Used weekly
    • I am mostly breastfeeding Emma, but I do pump occasionally. Our bottles came in this starter kit. If you’re only going to occasionally need bottles this is a great way to get all the basics together.
  3. Bottles Sterilizer
    • Used weekly
    • Same as above!
  4. Breast Pump
    • Used weekly
    • Our pump also came in the starter kit, but a hand pump takes a lot of time and work! This is one item that I am considering buying something else. A hands free pump would make it much easier to get a stockpile of milk going!
  5. Milk storage
    • Used weekly
    • After pumping you’ll need to store your milk. I have these containers for short term storage in the fridge, and these bags for freezing!
  6. Burp Cloths
    • Used multiple times daily
    • Holy cow, Emma spits up A LOT. We have a whole drawer of burp cloths and yet every time I see some while out shopping, I consider buying more. These babies are multi purpose and are available at a variety of price points.

On the Go Essentials

  1. Car seat
    • Used daily
    • A newborn must have you can’t go without. We are using a hand-me-down so I can’t link ours, but I had to put it on my list!
  2. Stroller
    • Used daily
    • A good stroller is a must! Definitely consider where you’ll be using your stroller before buying. We wanted something we could take into a city but also on the trails by our home. The Mountain Buggy Urban Jungle and carrycot has been perfect for us!
  3. Baby carrier
    • Used daily
    • I use my Babybj√∂rn carrier ALL. THE. TIME. During the newborn stage, I wore Emma for at least one nap a day so that I could get things done around the house. It is also ideal for running errands or traveling.
  4. Diaper Bag
    • Used daily
    • Finding a diaper bag that works for you can be tricky, but I’m very satisfied with our Herschel Supply bag. When it arrived, I was honestly shocked by how big it is. At first I didn’t think I would like the size but it filled up fast! Another plus is that this bag came with a folding, wipeable changing mat.

Baby Care Essentials

  1. Diapers
    • Used multiple times daily
    • Duh. No matter if you’re using cloth diapers or disposable, be sure to have some on hand when you bring baby home!
  2. Wipes
    • Used multiple times daily
    • Diaper changes are super easy with wipes, and they were a must for us.
  3. Diaper Cream
    • Used multiple times daily
    • Protect your baby’s delicate bum with a good cream. Our Hebamme recommended using Lanolin cream.
  4. Nail kit
    • Used weekly
    • Baby nails can be like little daggers. After a few weeks they’ll be hard enough for you to cut, and the right tools will make this event less traumatic for both of you.
  5. Thermometer
    • Used multiple times daily
    • Okay, you may not be as crazy as me, but I use our infrared thermometer multiple times a day to check Emma’s temperature. Her temperature is almost always normal, but for the one time it was a little heightened it was good to have a traditional thermometer on hand. Just to double check.
  6. Baby bath tub / Bath insert
    • Used multiple times weekly
    • We don’t have a (useable) bath tub and our kitchen sink is a little small, so we found a baby bath tub. Additionally, we have an insert for Emma to sit in. It helps keep her comfortable and safe!
  7. Bath and Room Thermometer
    • Used multiple time daily
    • Especially here in our old home with no central heat (or AC), knowing the room temperature is vital to knowing how to dress Emma. We registered for this cute two in one thermometer and love it!
  8. Shampoo / Soap
    • Used multiple times weekly
    • Our Hebamme gave us a Boep soap/shampoo bar and we haven’t looked back! I am unsure if this brand is available in the US, but I definitely recommend looking for a perfume free, natural shampoo bar for your baby.
  9. Soft bristle brush
    • Used multiple times daily
    • Emma was born with half a head of hair, but we brushed what she had! Now her hair is growing in nicely. A soft bristle brush can also help with cradle cap!
  10. Oil
    • Used multiple times weekly
    • I bought Burt’s Bees oil before our Hebamme recommended using almond oil from the Apotheke. Use it in place of lotion after your baby’s baths.
  11. Nose Clearer
    • Used rarely
    • Honestly, we didn’t use our nose clearer until after we were out of the newborn stage. That being said I wouldn’t want to be caught in a situation where I needed it and didn’t have it. We bought this one from Beaba, and a friend gave us the NoseFrida. We like both.

Nursery Essentials

  1. Diaper changing pad
    • Used multiple times daily
    • We decided to make Peter’s old dresser do double duty in the nursery! In addition to providing storage, we are using it as our changing station. It is pretty narrow and finding a pad that fit was a challenge, but I found this changing basket on Etsy. We use disposable liners for the pad, but you can find plenty of great options that you can just wipe down.
  2. Drawer organizers
    • Used multiple times daily
    • Baby clothes are so cute, but so hard to keep organized! Built in closets are not really a thing here in Germany and our nursery space is relatively small, so keeping our drawers organized is a must for me!
  3. Hamper
    • Used multiple times daily
    • Babies go through a lot of clothes in a day. Even though we switched to using baby friendly detergent for the whole family, I still like having a separate hamper for Emma’s clothes.
  4. Diaper pail
    • Used multiple times daily
    • There are lots of fancy options for diaper disposal out there, but this simple pail does the job perfectly. There are no expensive cartridge refills and the smaller size keeps anything from sitting too long.
  5. Baby monitor
    • Used multiple times daily
    • Before we had our baby, people told us that a video monitor wasn’t necessary. However, I’ve found having video EXTREMELY helpful. It keeps us from popping up at every sound AND I can shower in relative peace with it on the sink. I only look every five seconds or so.

Awake Time Essentials

  1. Play gym / Activity mat
    • Used multiple times daily
    • Play gyms are so good for a baby’s development! I’m not qualified to talk about all the benefits, but you can read about them here!
  2. Toys
    • Used multiple times daily
    • Truthfully, a newborn doesn’t need many toys. We found high contrast cards and soft books to be most interesting for new newborn Emma, and later O-balls were her favorites. Teethers are so cute these days, but honestly they’re still not doing much for Emma at 3.5 months.
  3. Books
    • Used multiple times daily
    • It’s never too early to start reading to your baby. We’ve been building up our bilingual library, but I’m definitely taking the opportunity to read Emma my favorites from childhood.
  4. Bouncer
    • Used multiple times daily
    • We got the Babybj√∂rn bouncer as a hand-me-down from my sister-in-law, and we use it EVERYDAY. It’s easily moved from room to room and great for the baby to sit up and see more of what’s going on. Also, this particular bouncer collapses for easy storage and transport, and the cover is machine washable. 10/10.
  5. Safe space to put baby down
    • Used multiple times daily
    • If you have dogs, you’ll need a safe space to put your baby down where the dogs can’t get to them. Upstairs, we have the bassinet and the crib, but in the living room we are using a playpen on loan from a friend. It’s large enough to put our play gym in and has an adjustable height platform that can grow with a baby.

Other Essentials

  1. Clothing
    • Used multiple times daily
    • This one is obvious, but a topic worthy of it’s own post!
  2. Baby Tracker App
    • Used multiple times daily
    • This may seem like something you could skip, but trust me when I say it is essential! From keeping track of wet diapers to tracking sleep times, I rely on my (free!) baby tracking app for EVERYTHING. We’ve been following the Taking Cara Babies plan and I find it especially helpful for that. I downloaded Huckleberry, forgot, and downloaded and started using Baby Tracker in the hospital. I think Huckleberry is maybe more aesthetic, but I am very pleased with Baby Tracker.

That’s it! That’s my comprehensive list of everything I think are newborn must haves. What do you think? Did I miss any essentials? Let me know below!