SPECIAL OFFER: - Limited Time Only!
(The ad below will not display on your printed page)

Say YES to your FREE SUBSCRIPTION today! Simply fill in the form below and click "Subscribe". You'll receive American Baby® magazine ABSOLUTELY FREE! (U.S. requests only)

Email:

First Name:

Last Name:

Address:

City:

State:

Zip:

Mother's Birth State: 
Is this your first child?
Yes
No
Due date or child's birthdate:
Your first FREE issue of American Baby® Magazine packed with great tips and expert advice will arrive within 4 to 6 weeks. In the meantime, your e-mail address is required to access your account and member benefits online, but rest assured that we will not share your e-mail address with anyone. Free subscription is subject to publisher's qualifications. Publisher bases number of issues served on birth and due dates provided. Click here to view our privacy policy.

Baby Shopping Guide

Register at a baby gear store and you may be given a list that's even longer than this one. Of course, they want you to buy everything they've got! Try to keep in mind that all you really need for baby is diapers, a place for him to sleep, and a blanket to bundle him in.

But we know you're not living in the Stone Age. You need and deserve the accessories that will make your job as parent a whole lot easier. We've listed those as "necessities." Other things that you might appreciate (but which some parents have found to be a waste of money) are listed as "It's nice to have." Items that are merely decorative or not very useful are categorized as "strictly optional." Products that are unsafe appear under "no-nos."

Nursery furniture

The necessities:

____ Crib or co-sleeper

____ Crib mattress

It's nice to have:

____ Changing table

____ Bassinet (though it's only safe until 3 months or 15 pounds)

____ Rocking chair or glider

____ Humidifier or vaporizer

____ Dresser/chest

____ Hamper

____ Baby monitor (if you have a big house)

No-nos:

  • A secondhand crib (get a new one for safety)

Linens

The necessities:

____ 2 fitted crib sheets

____ Crib bumper that ties on securely (this is controversial -- some people worry that they're a SIDS risk; others say they keep baby from banging into the bars)

____ Several thin cotton receiving blankets

____ 2 waterproof mattress protectors

Strictly optional:

____ Matching quilt or a crib skirt (they're only decorative)

No-nos:

  • Pillows (a SIDS risk)
  • Sleep positioners (yet another SIDS risk)
  • Mattress padding (ditto)

Babyproofing

The necessities (not an issue until 4 months or later):

____ Gates at the top and bottom of all stairs

____ Cabinet latches

____ Drawer latches

____ Outlet covers

____ Fireplace bumper

____ Furniture anchors

It's nice to have:

____ Toilet lock

____ Corner guards for low tables

For formula feeding

The necessities:

____ 8 or so bottles with newborn nipples (try several brands to find the one your baby prefers)

____ Bottle-cleaning brush or a dishwasher basket

____ Bottle-drying rack

____ Several weeks' worth of baby formula to start

____ 6 or more cotton bibs

____ 6 or more burp cloths (cloth diapers do the job)

____ Insulated cooler/carrier for outings

It's nice to have:

____ Dry formula dispenser

____ Bottle sterilizer

Strictly optional:

____ Bottle warmer (heating in hot water takes the same amount of time)

____ Bottle proper (unless you have multiples and use it sparingly when you can't otherwise feed all the babies at once)

For breastfeeding

The necessities:

____ Nursing pillow

____ 2-3 nursing bras

____ 2-3 boxes of nursing pads

____ 6 or more cotton bibs

____ 6 or more burp cloths (cloth diapers do the job)

It's nice to have:

____ Breast pump (electric if you'll use it every day at work, otherwise a hand pump is fine)

____ Breast milk storage bags or containers

____ Several bottles and nipples if someone else will be feeding baby pumped breast milk

____ Nipple cream (for the first few weeks)

Solid-food feeding

The necessities (not an issue until 4 to 6 months):

____ High chair

____ Plastic bibs

____ Infant feeding spoons

____ Infant bowl

It's nice to have:

____ Mess mat for under the high chair

____ Baby food mill (if you're ambitious enough to puree your own baby food)

For diapering

The necessities:

____ 2 packs of newborn diapers to start

____ Wipes

____ Diaper rash ointment

____ Waterproof changing table pad

____ 2-3 changing table pad covers (usually cotton or terry cloth)

____ Diaper pail or trash can with a lid

It's nice to have:

____ 4-5 waterproof square or rectangular pads for under baby's bottom (protecting the cover that's protecting the pad -- you won't be sorry)

____ Baby cream (if your baby has dry skin)

____ Non-talc powder (to help the diaper area dry faster)

Strictly optional:

____ A wipe warmer

____ A diaper stacker (though they're pretty)

For bathing and grooming

The necessities:

____ 2 hooded towels

____ 4 washcloths

____ Infant tub (for after the umbilical cord falls off)

____ Bath seat or inflatable tub-within-a-tub (for after 6 months)

____ Baby bath wash

____ Baby shampoo

____ Baby comb and brush set

____ Nail scissors/nail clippers/nail file set

____ Cotton swabs

____ Cotton balls

It's nice to have:

____ Bath toys

____ Mesh bag to hold bath toys

____ Bath thermometer

____ Faucet guard

Strictly optional:

____ A baby-size robe (it's hard enough to get baby dressed in her real clothes!)

Clothing

The necessities:

____ 7 or more snap-crotch bodysuits/onesies

____ 3-4 T-shirts and/or side-snap shirts

____ Several snap-up rompers

____ Several shirt-and-pant sets

____ 7 pairs of pajamas and/or sleeping gowns

____ Sun hat

____ Cold-weather hat

____ Cardigan sweater

____ Bunting or snowsuit if it gets cold

____ 6 pairs of booties and/or socks

____ Baby hangers for the closet

It's nice to have:

____ A special outfit to bring baby home in and/or show her off

____ Several diaper covers

____ A wearable sleep sack, to use instead of a blanket

Strictly optional:

____ Shoes (until baby is walking outside, i.e., the toddler years)

The necessities:

____ Car seat that fits a newborn

____ Stroller that accommodates a newborn

____ Diaper bag filled with diapers, wipes, and a spare outfit

____ Front carrier, like a Snugli or Baby Bjorn

It's nice to have:

____ Sling (for the newborn stage)

____ Baby backpack (for after 6 months)

____ Stroller that your car seat fits onto

____ Rain cover for the stroller

____ Infant headrest for the car seat (if it doesn't come with one)

____ Warm blanket or "boot" to wrap baby in during winter strolls

____ Sunshades for the car windows

____ Big diaper bag for overnight trips

No-nos:

How to Pick the Perfect Stroller for Your Baby
How to Pick the Perfect Stroller for Your Baby

  • Mirror to see baby in the car (it can be a hazard if there's an accident)
  • A secondhand car seat (always get a new one)

First toys

No necessities, but it's nice to have:

____ Soft books and board books

____ Rattles

____ Plastic links

____ Soft blocks

____ Activity gym/play mat

____ Crib mirror

____ Toys that attach to the stroller

____ Something plush that crinkles, rattles, and squeaks

____ Baskets to store toys in all the key places: baby's room, the living room, the kitchen

No-nos:

  • Car seat toy bars (an added risk if there's an accident)

For sitting baby in

The necessities:

____ Bouncer seat or infant seat

____ Stationary activity center (once baby is 4 months old)

____ Heavy blankets and quilts to lay on the floor

It's nice to have:

____ Swing

____ Moses basket (though only usable until baby reaches 3 months)

____ Portable play yard

No-nos:

  • Walker (get a stationary center instead, for safety)
  • Jumper (also generally considered unsafe)

For soothing

The necessities:

____ Several pacifiers (try different brands to see which one your baby prefers)

____ Mobile for over the crib or changing table

____ Lullaby CDs or other soothing music

It's nice to have:

____ Music box made for the crib

The medicine cabinet

The necessities:

____ Thermometer

____ Petroleum jelly

____ Infant Tylenol

____ Nasal aspirator

____ Electrolyte drink (such as Pedialyte, to treat dehydration)

It's nice to have:

____ Teething ointment or other teething remedy

____ Vapor cream and/or vapor bath

____ Saline nose drops

____ Antigas medicine

All content here, including advice from doctors and other health professionals, should be considered as opinion only. Always seek the direct advice of your own doctor in connection with any questions or issues you may have regarding your own health or the health of others.