It’s time to bring home your long-awaited bundle of joy. You are elated, exhilarated, and exhausted all at the same time. During these early days of emotional rollercoaster moments, the last thing you want to do is have to rush out of the house or send your tired partner out to the store for a forgotten essential baby item, or something you didn’t even know you needed.
While it’s difficult to predict everything a baby could possibly need during those first days at home, it’s important to be as prepared as possible.
So just how much stuff does an eight-pound human need? After all, don’t they just eat, sleep, and poop?
Some practiced parents share their tips for how to stock your home with everything your tiny new family member needs for those first days in her new home.
Yes, babies spend a lot of time eating. And breastfed babies spend a LOT of time eating. While formula fed babies typically eat on a schedule, with a bottle every two to three hours, a breastfed baby will spend most of their early days on the breast.
There are some essential items that moms need whether they chose to breastfeed or formula feed.
Formula-fed infants will need at least 12 baby bottles. This allows you to have plenty of bottles available in between washings. You will also need a good infant formula—typically one recommended by your baby’s doctor—and some individual formula packets to keep in your diaper bag.
Breastfeeding mothers will need a nursing pillow, a breast pump, milk storage bags, breast pads, nursing bras, and nipple balm. Breastfeeding moms may also want a nursing cover if they prefer to cover when feeding in public.
Both bottle-feeding and breastfeeding mothers will need about a dozen burp cloths and a dozen receiving blankets.
Your newborn will need a place to sleep. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that babies sleep on their backs on a safe sleeping surface such as a bassinet or crib, with no pillows, blankets, or stuffed animals. Instead, you will need an infant sleep sack to keep your baby warm and cozy while sleeping. Swaddlers are also helpful for newborns to help them sleep comfortably.
The AAP also recommends that parents sleep with their new baby in their room for the first six months, so you will need a bassinet or crib with a good approved mattress and snugly-fitted sheets. You should have three or four crib or bassinet sheets handy in case of emergency diaper leakage.
You may also wish to have a good baby swing in your home. Baby swings are a new-mama must-have. Nothing calms, soothes, and settles a fussy baby better than a swing, and it can give a tired new mother some much-needed hands-free time.
A good video baby monitor is also important. Even while your baby shares your room, you will want the monitor for nap times, or for those occasions when you are lucky enough to get your baby to sleep at night before you go to bed.
Newborn babies poop. A lot. Breastfed babies, in particular, tend to poop every feeding in their first weeks home, and their poop is very liquidy in texture which means you will experience baby-poop blow-outs. It’s important to be well-stocked with your diapers of choice. Newborns will typically dirty about 12 diapers a day. While it’s great to have plenty of disposable diapers on hand, don’t make the mistake of buying tons of diapers in the newborn size—you’ll be shocked at how fast they will be outgrown.
Cloth diapering parents should have about two dozen cloth diapers on hand to allow for enough time for laundering.
You will also need baby wipes, both for home, and in a travel wipe container in your diaper bag. If your baby is born during the winter, you may also want to have a baby wipe warmer. These keep your wipes warm so the baby won’t be startled by a cold wipe on their sensitive parts.
You should also have a good diaper cream available to stop any diaper rash in its red, bumpy tracks. Cotton balls are also handy for dabbing on diaper cream and to pat dry your baby’s umbilical cord stump during diaper changes and after a bath. (Yes, an infant bathtub and some cute hooded towels are also a newborn necessity!)
Newborn Travel Necessities
Besides eating, sleeping, and pooping, your new baby will have to occasionally travel—on the way home from the hospital, for example. You will need an infant car seat or a good convertible car seat. Be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions to install your car seat. You can also find a certified car seat technician in your area to check that your baby’s seat is correctly installed, and to show you how to secure your baby safely into it.
A great diaper bag is another baby essential item because, when you leave your house, your baby still needs a ton of things. Keep your baby bag stocked with six diapers, wipes, a spare outfit, a change mat, two receiving blankets, two burp cloths, a zippered bag to store any dirty clothes or cloth diapers, and anything you need to feed your baby while you are out.
A Wee Wardrobe
Your baby won’t need a huge variety of clothing items in the first two months, but he will need some basic, comfortable clothes that are easy to maneuver through diaper changes. Typically, you will want your baby’s new dresser to be stocked with 4 to 8 onesies—some with short sleeves and some with long sleeves. 4 to 8 infant gowns are also a must-have for middle-of-the-night diaper changes. 4 to 8 one-piece footed pajamas are another baby basic for those early days. Baby blanket sleepers or sleep sacks will be needed for nighttime, rather than blankets. You should have at least three cute outfits for going out in public, or for outings to church or social events. You’ll need 4 to 7 pairs of baby booties or socks, and some baby mittens and hats if your baby is born in winter.
The last thing you want to do if your baby starts sniffling or develops a fever is to have to run to the corner drug store for medicine or to have to find an all-night superstore at midnight. Be sure you have some baby medicine essentials in your medicine cabinet, including infant acetaminophen drops, gas drops, infant cold remedies, and a good infant thermometer.
Finally, the only other essential you need for your new baby is lots of time. You will need plenty of time for holding, cuddling, and loving your new addition—and time to show her off!