The Only Baby Essentials Checklist You’ll Need

Baby girl holding stuffed animal while wearing Cuddle Sprouts pajamas

The Only Baby Essentials Checklist You’ll Need

Congratulations on your bundle of joy! We know welcoming a new life into the world is a beautiful and exhilarating journey. We also know it comes with a rollercoaster of emotions and a whirlwind of preparations As you mentally and emotionally prepare for the arrival of your new baby, you may feel overwhelmed trying to ensure you have everything your newborn needs to thrive, stay safe, and feel comfortable. 

From baby wardrobe and nursery essentials to feeding and diapering must-haves, and everything in between, we've got you covered. Keep reading for our comprehensive guide to save time and remove the stress of preparing for your newborn’s arrival. Use this guide to help you add to your registry or build the ultimate baby essentials checklist.

Mother-foldeing-baby-clothes

Baby Wardrobe Essentials: Dressing Your Bundle of Joy

Shopping for tiny adorable clothing can be a lot of fun—and surprisingly overwhelming. Afterall, it’s about more than comfort and style. You also have to think about safety, function, and practical design. As for the exact amount of clothing you need for your newborn—that will depend on a few factors, including how often you plan to do laundry and how often your baby needs changing due to spit up, blow outs, and other unpredictable messes. Regardless, plan for at least 2-4 outfit changes per day. 

As you build your baby's wardrobe, there are a handful of must-have clothing items you won’t want to live without. Here's a breakdown of baby wardrobe essentials that should find their way into your checklist:

Bodysuits 

A bodysuit, also referred to as a onesie, is a staple item in any baby’s wardrobe thanks to its convenient design and versatile style. The simple snap closure makes for easy and fuss-free changes. Additionally, these one-piece wonders can be worn by themselves, with bottoms, or as a base-layer under sleep sacks, swaddles, or other outfits. 

Build your baby’s wardrobe with a collection of 5-7 short sleeve and long sleeve bodysuits in each size to ensure comfort all year long while being well-prepared for any growth spurts or unexpected accidents. Additionally, choose bodysuits made from soft and hypoallergenic fabrics, like Tencel Lyocell, to provide gentle comfort to delicate newborn skin. 

Footies 

Footies are perfect for day or night, wrapping your little one in comfort from head to toe all day long. Thanks to convenient and practical built in booties, you don’t have to struggle with slouchy socks or stress about chilly toes. Plus, when it's time for a diaper change, some footies are designed with two way zippers to make the process hassle-free. 

By adding 4-5 footies to your baby's wardrobe, you're choosing both comfort and practicality. In those early days of parenthood, this cozy and convenient wardrobe staple is sure to be a go-to any time of the year. Cuddle Sprouts’ footies are available in a convertible design, allowing you to dress your baby with or without booties. Additionally, our smallest sizes come with fold-over mittens to prevent accidental scratching.   

Swaddles

Swaddles are a cozy baby essential during those first several weeks. Wrapping your infant in a swaddle creates a sense of security and comfort, reducing fussing.  Additionally, thanks to the snug wrap of a swaddle, babies will not be as susceptible to the involuntary startle reflex common in those first few months, promoting sound and uninterrupted sleep. 

While you should only swaddle a baby until they start showing signs of rolling, usually around 8 weeks old, it’s best to have 2-3 of these lightweight swaddle blankets on hand. Besides, swaddles make great play mats, nursing covers, car seat covers, and more. Cuddle Sprouts’ buttery soft swaddles are created with generous sizing and stretch for perfectly snug wrap every time. 

Knotted Gowns

Knotted gowns are as stylish as they are functional, making them a wardrobe necessitiy for newborns. Rather than fumbling with buttons, these gowns offer quick and easy access for diaper changes and umbilical cord care. Plus, the knot design allows for an adjustable fit as your baby grows, allowing you to make the most out of this wardrobe item for those first several months. 

We recommend having 2-4 knotted gowns ready for your newborn for convenient and practical style. Our knotted gown sets come with a matching hat or headband and are made with our signature TierraLuxe™ fabric to provide a buttery soft style that is as breathable as it is snuggly. Not only will your baby look stylish, but you can feel confident knowing our fabric is gentle enough for a newborn’s delicate skin. 

Pajamas

Considering your newborn will spend most of their day snoozing, selecting the right pajamas is essential. Whether you choose to dress your baby in one-piece footies or two-piece sets, opt for quality fabrics that are soft and breathable, like tencel lyocell to ensure all night comfort without disruptions from discomfort or overheating. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, pairing pajamas with an additional layer, like a cozy sleep sack, is a safe way to provide additional warmth at bedtime (1). 

Stock up with 5-7 pajama sets in your little one’s wardrobe, allowing you to keep up with daily changes and spares you from constant laundry. Keep in mind that babies can be messy, and having a few extra sets on hand can be helpful in case of unexpected spills or accidents. Additionally, while it’s smart to stock up on a size or two ahead, never dress a baby for sleep in oversized pajamas as the extra fabric can increase risk of suffocation. 

Other Baby Wardrobe Necessities 

In addition to the basic baby wardrobe essentials, here are a few more wardrobe items that are worth adding to your list: 

  • Matching newborn cuddle sets 
  • Leggings or stretchy pants
  • Socks or booties
  • Dressy outfits
  • Sweaters or jackets
  • Sun hat 
  • Bathing suit 
  • Baby hangers
mom-pregnant

Baby Nursery Essentials: Creating a Space for Sweet Dreams 

Designing a functional, safe, and serene nursery is essential for babies and parents alike. Not only is it a haven for your baby’s sweet dreams and sound sleep, but a place for you to enjoy all the newborn cozy cuddles during those first months and beyond. 

While many mamas love dreaming up an adorable nursery aesthetic, it’s important to keep safety and comfort top of mind and follow proper safety guidelines as you put together your baby’s room to prevent injuries and avoid hazards (2). Here are the must-have baby items for your nursery:

Crib or Bassinet 

Given that newborns sleep as many as 12 to 16 hours a day, a crib or bassinet should be at the top of any nursery essentials list. While the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends babies sleep in the same room as their parents for the first six months, it is perfectly safe and acceptable for your baby to sleep in a nursery crib from day one as long as it is free from loose blankets, pillows, and toys (3). 

If you decide to share your room with your newborn baby, a bassinet is a great way to save space while still giving your baby their own sleeping surface. As for cribs, opt for convertible cribs that will grow with your child over the years, allowing you to get the most out of a single product. No matter what crib or bassinet you choose, make sure it abides by CPSC safety standards.

Crib Mattress 

In accordance with CPSC safety standards, a firm, flat, and level sleep surface is best for your baby. Additionally, choose a crib mattress that properly fits the crib’s shape and size while being no more than 6 inches thick and leaving no more than a ½-inch gap between the mattress and crib perimeter. 

These CPSC safety standards reduce the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) while offering adequate support for a baby's growing body and bone development. In fact, in  2022, the CPSC instituted new crib mattress safety standards requiring mattresses to be tested for adequate firmness (4). To ensure safety, shop for mattresses manufactured and sold in the United States after August 15, 2022. 

Fitted Crib Sheets

When selecting bedding for your baby's crib, remember to prioritize safety and comfort. A safe sleeping environment for an infant should have nothing in it except for a mattress and a fitted sheet. Ensure the crib sheet fits snugly on the mattress to prevent suffocation or entanglement. Always choose sheets that are certified to meet safety standards for baby products. 

As for comfort, choose sheets crafted from soft, breathable, and thermoregulating fabrics, like Tencel, to provide a cozy and environmentally friendly option for your baby's peaceful sleep. Cuddle Sprouts’ buttery soft tencel fitted crib sheet has a secure 360° elastic trim to ensure a safe and snug fit on all standard crib mattresses while providing optimal comfort for sleep.  

Sleep Sacks

Since loose blankets should stay out of a baby’s crib for the first year, sleep sacks are wearable blankets that offer a safe and comfortable way to keep your baby warm and snug during sleep. To ensure utmost safety, choose a sleep sack size that allows your baby's hips to move comfortably. Moreover, check that the collar doesn't cover the baby’s airways when laying down and that the arm openings are wide enough for the baby to slip their arms inside the sack-like enclosure. 

Cuddle Sprouts’ sleep sacks are made with our signature TierraLuxe™ fabric, which is naturally heavier than other fabrics, to create a soft and cozy calming effect for babies. Additionally, our sleep sacks are made with breathable and thermoregulating tencel to provide optimal comfort without overheating.

Other Baby Nursery Necessities 

  • Baby monitor
  • Changing table
  • Changing pad covers
  • Waterproof mattress pad
  • Rocking chair or glider

Noise machine (save money and the planet with a pre-loved Hatch)

Baby Diapering Essentials: Keeping Baby Clean and Comfy 

Diapering is a significant part of parenting. According to Pampers experts, you can expect to change 8-12 diapers a day, or every 2-3 hours, in those first months with your newborn (5). Of course, there are plenty of days where you will likely change diapers even more often. Luckily, having the right essentials on hand can make this task easier and more efficient. Here's what you need to add to your baby diapering checklist:

Diapers 

When getting ready for your baby, you want to have plenty of diapers stocked up prior to your baby’s arrival. While many consider cloth diapers to be the most sustainable option, they aren’t for everyone. There are more and more sustainable options available for eco-friendly disposables. These options are gentle on your baby's skin, reducing allergies and rashes, while supporting a healthier future for both your little one and the environment. 

Our Top Picks for the Best Eco-Friendly Diapers

Parent tip: Since diaper costs can add up fast, they are a great item to add to your baby registry. After all, you can never have too many diapers!

Changing Pad Covers

Baby changing pad covers are essential for creating a comfortable and hygienic changing area for your infant. These covers are designed to fit over the changing pad and provide a soft, clean surface for diaper changes. Changing pad covers are easy to remove and wash, making cleanup a breeze when accidents happen. It’s best to have a backup pad cover or two for when you need to toss one in the wash.

When selecting a changing pad cover, look for ones with elastic bottoms to provide a safe and secure cover over your changing pad. Additionally, opt for soft, hypoallergenic, and breathable fabrics, like Tencel, to add extra comfort and care for your baby’s bare skin. 

Wipes and Diaper Cream

Wipes provide quick and efficient cleanups for diaper changes, messy feedings, and sticky hands, keeping both baby and parents comfortable and hygienic. Diaper creams, on the other hand, are a preventative measure to protect a baby's sensitive skin from moisture and irritation. However, it can also be used to alleviate discomfort and soothe painful diaper rashes. 

Opting for sustainable and plant-based wipes and diaper creams means choosing to forgo harsh chemicals and avoid common irritants, while also supporting ethical and sustainable practices. Not only are these products gentler on your baby's delicate skin, but they have a lower carbon footprint meaning they are gentler on the environment as well. Here are some of our favorites we recommend you stock up on: 

Our Top Picks for Sustainable Wipes

  • Coterie (Best Plant-Based Wipes)
  • DYPER (Most Sustainable Wipes)

Our Top Picks for Organic Diaper Cream 

Other Baby Diapering Necessities 

  • Diaper pail and liners 
  • Diaper bag (for on the go)
  • Changing pad

Baby Bath Essentials: Making Bath Time Safe and Enjoyable

Bath time can be more than just a routine for keeping your baby clean. It can also be an opportunity for bonding, fun, and exploration for both parents and babies. From gentle shampoos that soothe delicate skin to non-slip bath mats for added safety, stock up on the following baby items to ensure you have everything you need for a successful bath time. 

Baby Soap and Shampoo

Opt for gentle and hypoallergenic soap and shampoo to keep your baby's delicate skin and hair clean. Choose organic products formulated with natural ingredients to reduce the risk of irritations and allergies. Look for products that use fewer but higher-quality ingredients like skin-boosting and repairing beta-glucan, such as those in Dabble & Dollop’s Dabble Ducky line, to safely pamper your baby’s sensitive and eczema-prone skin. Additionally, plant-based shampoos, like EllaOla, and hypoallergenic formulas, like Tubby todd, allow you to clean your baby without harsh additives and irritating chemicals.  

Other Baby Bath Essentials

Baby Feeding Essentials: Nourishing Your Little One

Whether you choose to formula feed or breastfeed, being well-prepared is key to ensuring a positive and nurturing experience for both you and your baby. Regardless if you have landed on how you will feed your baby or not, the checklists below will lay out everything you need to nurture your baby with love and care.

Formula Feeding Essentials 

If you choose the path of formula feeding for your little one, it’s vital to have everything needed to ensure proper care and nourishment for your baby. In addition to selecting the right formula and learning how to prepare a bottle, here is a list of must-haves to help you make formula feeding a positive and nurturing experience.

  • Baby Formula
  • Bottles with nipples
  • Bottle-drying rack
  • Bottle-cleaning brush
  • Dishwasher basket

Breastfeeding Essentials 

Navigating the beautiful journey of breastfeeding your baby comes with its own set of joys and challenges. We’ve curated a list of essentials that can enhance the breastfeeding experience for you and your baby. In addition to the formula feeding essentials above, you will also want to have the following items: 

  • Breast pump 
  • Nursing pillow
  • Milk storage bags
  • Nipple cream
  • Nursing pads
  • Nursing bra
  • Nursing cover


Did you know? You can reuse and repurpose your baby’s swaddle blanket as the perfect nursing cover!

Other Baby Feeding Necessities 

Whether you choose to breastfeed, formula feed, or a mix of the two, the following are additional necessities you’ll want to have on hand: 

  • Burp Cloths (always have one with you!) 
  • Bibs (a lot of them!) 
  • High Chair (once baby is sitting up on their own) 
  • Bottle warmer (optional)

Baby Health Essentials: Prioritizing Your Baby's Well-Being

With the joys of parenthood comes the responsibility of protecting your little one in various situations and circumstances. Having the right items on hand will help ensure your baby's health and safety are well-protected in the event of unexpected accidents at home or on the go. This list includes the baby health essential items you need to prepare for general safety for your infant at home, during unexpected accidents, injuries, and illnesses, and while on the go. 

First Aid Must-Haves 

When expecting your firstborn, you may not know what to have on hand in the event of an unexpected accident. Being prepared with the right tools can make all the difference. From minor scrapes and discomfort to sudden fevers or congestion, being well-prepared with essential first aid supplies will allow you to address common baby health concerns swiftly and effectively. 

  • Pediatrician contacts
  • Nasal aspirator/ Bulb syringe
  • Baby thermometer
  • Baby nail clippers or file
  • Medicine syringe
  • Baby-safe medicine
  • Cotton balls
  • Saline nasal drops
  • Baby gas drops or gripe water

Safety Essentials 

While newborns aren’t able to get around on their own, it’s important to be readily prepared for when that day comes. Before you know it, your little one will be showing signs of rolling and, soon enough, they’ll be on the move! Therefore, it’s best to babyproof your home before your bundle of joy arrives. Here are a few of the baby proofing must-haves: 

  • Safety gates 
  • Outlet covers 
  • Cabinet and drawer latches
  • Smoke and carbon monoxide detectors
  • Furniture mounts 

Travel Necessities 

Whether you’re planning for a road trip, a flight, or just a day out, you’ll want to keep your baby's safety and comfort in mind while traveling. Plus, being prepared with these on-the-go essential baby items will help make your family adventures memorable and stress-free. 

  • Car seat
  • Stroller
  • Car window shade
  • Baby carrier/wrap
  • Portable crib 
  • Portable changing pad
  • Insulated diaper bag (for bottles/milk) 

Now that you know all the newborn essentials you should add to your list, you might be wondering…

What Should I Pack in My Maternity Hospital Bag?

First and foremost, pack a maternity hospital bag for yourself that includes essentials like comfortable clothes, a cozy robe, essential toiletries, and postpartum care products, including nipple cream if you plan to breastfeed. 

When it comes to packing for your baby, you may be wondering what essential items from the lists above should make the cut. First, make sure you have a securely installed car seat. Additionally, have your pediatrician’s contract information readily available to share with the hospital staff. Last but not least, pack 1-2 going home outfits for your bundle of joy. Our coordinating cuddle sets and knotted gown sets are perfect options that are both comfortable for your baby and adorable for photo ops. 

Beyond Baby Items: The Essentials for Parents 

Welcoming a new baby into your life is a joyous occasion that comes with its share of responsibilities. By following this comprehensive newborn baby essentials checklist above, you can find peace knowing you have everything you need to provide a safe, comfortable, and loving environment for your little one. 

As you approach the finals months or weeks before your baby’s arrival, here are some essentials to consider that are not necessary baby items, but are just as important for new and expecting parents:

  • Choose your hospital and pediatrician 
  • Create a birth plan, including a plan B
  • Pack your hospital bag
  • Share any fears or concerns with your partner 
  • Reach out for support as needed
  • Practice self care

Last, but certainly not least, take a deep breath. Take the time to honor your joys and fears. Acknowledging your feelings will help you embrace the changes you are about to experience. Despite any feelings of overwhelm you may be feeling now, welcoming your bundle of joy is a moment you will cherish forever. 

You’ve got this, mama. Better yet, now that you have this ultimate list, you can focus on embracing those final months of pregnancy knowing you have the newborn essentials covered.

Reference Links 

  1. American Academy of Pediatrics, Safe Sleep and Your Baby: How Parents Can Reduce the Risk of SIDS and Suffocation, 
  2. Consumer Product Safety Commission, Most Nursery Product-Related Infant Deaths Can Be Prevented
  3. American Academy of Pediatrics, Sleep-Related Infant Deaths: Updated 2022 Recommendations for Reducing Infant Deaths in the Sleep Environment
  4. Consumer Product Safety Commission, CPSC Approves New Federal Safety Standard for Crib Mattresses: Rule to Provide a Safer Marketplace for Parents
  5. Pampers, How Often Should You Change Your Baby’s Diaper?

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