Essential Items For New Parents

One of the first things you realize as you begin to prepare for a new baby is that, wow, these tiny humans come with a lot of stuff! While some of that stuff is just decorative and nice to have, some of it is downright essential to making your life with Baby a little easier. While you can get by with the basics—a safe, warm place for your baby to sleep and plenty of diapers—there are a plethora of other items that make life better, both for you and for your little one. Let’s take a look at what essential baby items you should add to your list, without adding piles and piles of baby gear you might never use.

Determining What Essential Baby Items You Need

There are several categories to consider when deciding which baby items are essential for your home and your life with your baby. When you look at each category, think about how your baby’s needs will change as they grow. Your must-have baby items will change as Baby gets older. For example, while younger babies need feeding supplies for bottle or breastfeeding, older babies will need seating and supplies for beginning solids. And don’t forget—when you’re choosing your essential baby items, it’s also important to think carefully about your home and how much room you have to store certain items. Otherwise, you’ll quickly find you run out of room for all of your baby gear!

A bedroom with a baby changing station

As you make your list of essential items for a new baby, here are the categories to plan around:

  • Feeding: This can include pillows for breast or bottle feeding, bottles, bottle warmers, formula mixers, bottle drying stations, dishwasher baskets, dishes, cups, utensils, and more.
  • Seating: Seating options will change as your baby grows. While a bouncy seat might be all they need at the start, eventually, you’ll want a high chair or booster seat to help them sit with you for meals (and avoid giving them the opportunity to drag spaghetti across the carpet).
  • Sleeping: Tiny babies just need a small safe space to sleep, like a bassinet. As they grow, they’ll require a bit more room. Remember that you’ll be spending a good amount of time taking your baby out of that bed and putting them back in, so choose an option that works for you, too. You can consider a convertible crib, which will eventually convert to a toddler bed.
  • Diapering: So. Many. Diapers. You’re going to spend a lot of time changing diapers day and night. Definitely make sure you’re happy with all the diaper changing baby items you have to make a messy process as clean and easy as possible.
  • Clothing: Along with all those diaper changes will come many post-blowout or spit up costume changes, too. Choose simple, weather-appropriate clothing that you know will be comfy for Baby (and easy for you to change them out of).
  • Nursery: If you have room for a nursery, you’ll probably look forward to decorating it with baby-friendly furniture and other soft, soothing items for your little one. Even if you don’t have space for a dedicated nursery, you’ll need to create a safe spot for sleeping and for diaper changes. Think about everything you’ll be doing in whatever room you’ll be keeping Baby’s things, from sleeping to feeding to changing diapers, and buy accordingly.
  • Travel: Taking your baby out and about takes a few baby items to keep your little one comfortable and happy. Think about what kind of traveling you do, whether by foot, car, train, or plane, and get the right gear to keep you moving safely.
  • Bath: Bathtime can be a blast! And it can also be slippery and messy. Plan ahead with baby items that keep Baby safe and warm at bathtime.
  • Play: From soft lovies to balance bikes, and everything in between, your home is soon to be redecorated with your baby’s playthings.
  • Safety: Protecting your baby will be at the top of your list, so include some essential baby items for new parents to help you feel good about keeping Baby safe and healthy.
  • Potty: Once it’s time to potty-train, your kiddo will need kid-sized gear to make the process comfortable.

A living room with Prince Lionheart products displayed on the floor

Depending on the amount of room you have in your home, you may just want to start with the most important items for a new baby and continue to get what you need as Baby gets older. Alternatively, if you have the room, go ahead and get prepared. Whatever works for you and your home is best, and having a list of your most essential baby items will help you get ready.

Deciding What Baby Items Aren’t Essential

Here’s the honest truth: Baby stuff is adorable, but you just won’t need all of it. Are a teeny tiny suit and matching loafers for a 3 month old darling? YES. Will they actually wear them? Once or twice, tops. Is a matching set of furniture and bedding dreamy? Of course! Will it help your baby sleep any better? Nope! There are millions of baby items out there, but you really only need the essentials to get you through. And remember: Every parent may have a different list of essential baby items. Keep your budget, the size of your home, and your sanity in mind while you decide on your must-have baby items.

Since it’s easy to get buried under baby gear, if you’re not careful, be honest with yourself about your priorities and consider saving certain purchases until you know your baby’s temperament a bit better. Even if you have every single baby swing ever invented, your baby still might prefer a bouncy seat anyway. Family is a verb®. Life with babies is unpredictable, so be ready to adjust as necessary!

To help you choose the most essential baby items for new parents like you, talk to any friends or family members who’ve recently had a baby to learn what’s working for them. Feel free to ask your parents or older loved ones, too, but they might not think to suggest some of the things that they didn’t have when they were new parents. (Your mom may not have had a wipes warmer when you were a baby, but I bet she would have liked one on chilly mornings!) It’s also a good idea to check recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics to make sure you’re keeping safety at the forefront of your mind.

While everyone’s list of essential items for a new baby will be slightly different, here are some things that you can pretty much always skip if budget or room are a concern:

  • Crib decor: This can include items like crib skirts, quilts, and mobiles. They’re pretty and make your nursery picture-perfect, but they’re not required to take care of your baby. Sticking with the basics is just fine!
  • Fancy baby clothes: Kids are messy. So is parenting®. While that pristine white playsuit and bonnet are precious, it’s practically guaranteed that your sweet baby will have a giant blowout or spit up the second you get finished tying the final bow. Fancy baby clothes can be fun to look at, but they’re rarely as comfy as a good ol’ cotton onesie. Besides, you’ll probably get them from admiring loved ones, whether you want them or not.
  • Baby shoes: Baby shoes are adorable… and totally unnecessary for a little human who can’t walk. Besides, once you try to squish those sweet, chubby feet into a stiff leather shoe, you’ll see why we suggest skipping the shoes altogether.
  • Baby accessories: It’s hard to resist an adorable accessory like hair clips or sunglasses for an itty bitty person, but these little pretties are just as likely to spend more time on the floor after they fall off or your baby has ripped them off and tossed them over their shoulder. Keep your focus on what you actually need and let loved ones gift you the extras if you want them.

Essential Baby Items for New Parents

Now that you know a little more about what you’ll really need, let’s break it down to the essential baby items by category. Remember that your list of essentials items for your new baby might look a little different from your best friend’s or neighbor’s must-have baby items, so take your own needs into account as you build your list.

Feeding
You’ll be spending a lot of time feeding your baby, and you’ll want the process to be as stress-free and simple as possible. From breastfeeding and bottle feeding to baby’s first pasta, here’s what you’ll need.

Infant Baby Items:

  • 6 washable bibs
  • 6 burp cloths or cloth diapers
  • Insulated bottle carrier

If you breastfeed:

  • Nursing pillow
  • Breast pump (electric if you’ll use it daily; hand pump if only periodically)
  • Breast milk storage bags and containers
  • 2-8 bottles with newborn nipples for feeding Baby pumped breastmilk (the number you’ll need depends on how frequently Baby will get bottles)

If you bottle feed:

Dishwasher rack for baby bottles

Once Baby starts solids:

Seating
It’s surprising to learn how many seating options a baby can use as they grow. Still, think about mealtime, relaxing time, and times when you need to get something done (like shower or make dinner). In all these cases, Baby needs a safe, comfy place to sit!

For mealtime:

BOOST PLUS SQUISH™ Booster seat

For relaxing:

  • A swing
  • A bouncy infant chair
  • A stationary activity center/chair

For when you need to do something:

Sleeping
A safe and cozy place to sleep might be the most essential baby item. Think about where you want your baby to sleep in your home, too, when exploring your options.

  • Crib
  • Crib mattress
  • 2 fitted crib sheets
  • 2 waterproof mattress protectors
  • 2-4 thin cotton or muslin receiving blankets
  • Sleep sack or swaddler
  • Sound machine

If you want to room share:

  • Bassinet or portable crib

If you want to co-sleep:

  • Co-sleeper

Diapering
Diapers will take up a lot of your time and attention in the early months, so whether you use disposable or cloth diapers, make sure you have the must-have baby items that make diapering easier, less messy, and less stinky for all of you.

Twister diaper depot

If you use disposable diapers:

  • 2 packs of newborn diapers (about 120 diapers)

If you use cloth diapers:

  • 30-40 newborn cloth diapers
  • Wet bags (for storing dirty diapers on the go)
  • Diaper sprayer OR diaper service

Clothing
With all the leaking diapers, spit up, dribbling of milk, and smearable first solids, babies change outfits more than you’d think. Keep the season and ease in mind when choosing the essential baby items for your little one’s wardrobe.

  • 8-15 onesies (with the snap crotch)
  • 8-15 footie pajamas and/or sleeping gowns
  • 6-10 pairs socks or fabric booties
  • Several full outfits, ideally soft and cozy

If Baby is born in the summer:

  • Sun hat
  • 2-6 rompers
  • 2-4 baby tees
  • Several pairs of soft pants or shorts

If Baby is born in the winter:

  • Winter hat
  • Bunting or snowsuit
  • Warm cardigan or sweater
  • Warm booties
  • Warm sleep sack

Nursery
Your nursery might be a big, beautiful room decorated just for your baby, or it could also be a small corner of your own bedroom. As long as the space has the important items for your new baby, it’s perfect. Here’s what you need.

  • Changing table OR dresser with room for a changing pad
  • Rocking chair or glider for feedings
  • Dresser or chest for baby items
  • Hamper
  • Baby monitor (video or just sound)
  • Nightlight or dimmable light switch (for checking Baby and 3 am diaper changes)

Travel
Whether you walk everywhere, spend hours in the car or on the train commuting each week, make sure you have the right gear to travel comfortably with Baby.

A back seat travel kit with baby essentials

  • Car seat that works for a newborn (can be convertible that grows with Baby)
  • Stroller that supports a newborn OR fits your newborn car seat
  • Stroller hooks (for attaching toys and baby items)
  • Stroller bag or organizer
  • Front baby carrier
  • Diaper bag that fits spare outfit(s), extra diapers, wipes, travel changing pad and more
  • Travel bottle warmer (especially if you’re out and about frequently or have a meal-time commute)
  • Rain cover for the stroller if you walk a lot
  • Warm baby blanket for car seat or stroller in the winter

If you spend a good amount of time in the car:

Bath
Kids are messy, and bathtime is a must! Make sure it’s safe and fun to bathe your baby, too, with these items for new baby baths.

A mother bathing her child in a washpod

Play and Soothing
From comfort baby items to baby books, there will be no shortage of playthings to choose from for your baby. When you’re choosing the essential items for your new baby, find soft toys that offer comfort as well as brightly colored toys to help your baby learn.

  • Soft lovey for snuggling (purchase 2 if they become attached)
  • Pacifiers (try several kinds if you want to incorporate them)
  • Board books or washable books
  • A mobile for over the sleeping area
  • Rattles, soft toys, blocks, and musical toys
  • Playmat to put on the floor
  • Safe toy storage

Safety and Health
You’ll need certain essential baby items to help keep your baby well cared for, safe, and healthy. Some of these must-have baby items won’t be necessary until Baby is rolling, scooching, or crawling, but they’re good to have on hand for safety before you think you’ll need them.


For health and general baby care:

  • Digital thermometer
  • Nasal aspirator or bulb syringe
  • Infant acetaminophen
  • Cool-air humidifier
  • Baby comb and/or brush
  • Safety nail clippers or file
  • Sensitive skin or baby laundry detergent
  • Teething ointment or teether
  • Reference book for answering general baby health questions

For keeping Baby safe:

Potty
Since potty training is a while off, this is one category you can easily wait on until later. However, once it’s time to potty-train, your kiddo will need the right gear to make the process as easy as possible.

A bathroom with a potty seat and step stool

Getting Your Must-Have Baby Items

If you’ll be having a baby shower or loved ones ask you what you need, it’s helpful to prioritize the things you’ll need most or need right away. You’re sure to get adorable baby clothes and toys no matter what. Diapers and formula might be what you’re truly desperate for as your baby gets closer to arriving. Be honest with gift-givers. Don’t feel obligated to register for things you probably won’t use, even if they’re on this list. Every parent’s list of must-have baby items will be a little different, and there’s nothing wrong with that.

Bravery is inside us all®. If you want to cloth diaper, even though your best friend tells you it’s too much work, or you know disposables are right for you, even if your sister thinks they’re wasteful, trust yourself and choose what works best for you and your baby. You’ll be the one doing the work of caring for your baby day and night, so you should have the essential baby items that meet your unique needs.

At Prince Lionheart, we know that life happens everywhere®. That’s why we try to help you prepare for it all. We hold ourselves to a higher standard, our family’s standard, and we make each new product to be safer, better, or matter to your life with your kids. We’ve committed our lives to creating products that make a difference to families all over the world. Plus, we create each of our products to meet a need for you or your baby and to make your life together better and easier. We might not be able to feed your baby for you or change every dirty diaper, but we can make those processes as enjoyable as possible. We’re here because we want to help you with life’s grand improvisation—raising kids. And though we don’t have all the answers, we do work hard to make quality products you can count on to make life with kids as fun and easy as it can be. Because we answer to a good night’s sleep®... and we want to help you get as many as you can.

As you make your list of your own essential baby items, get ready for the greatest adventure you’ll ever have. We’re honored to be able to join you along the way.