You can go nuts and spend thousands outfitting the baby’s world, but you don’t need to. Below is a list of the basics of what you’ll need before you bring baby home.
You need diapers, of course, and clothes, but stuff like strollers, swings, toys and activity centers and play mats can wait until after the baby’s born: stores will still be open and it’ll be easier to shop for baby after you have a sense of his or her size and what he or she finds interesting.
When it comes to bedding, less is more. Pediatricians caution against using fluffy quilts, crib bumpers, pillows, stuffed animals or any other fluff in the crib. Dress baby in a bodysuit, sleep sac, pjs or bunting for bed– enough to keep her comfortable at the same temperature you’d find comfortable if you didn’t have any blankets and had a fan in your room.
Just the must-havesThere's so much baby gear out there, what do you really need to buy? Here's a quick chart of stuff that's essential, with minimum amounts.
|Diapers||at least one package of size one diapers (10+ pounds).||You'll probably be given newborn diapers at the hospital, so don't buy more than a small package of them (if any).|
|Clothes (see our article, "How Many Onesies?")||Bodysuits (10), nightgowns (6), socks (a lot), sweaters, a few hats, some bibs, and a coat for cold weather.||It's not a bad idea to buy a few different brands of bodysuits (onesies) to see what kind fits your baby best.|
|A car seat||1||Consider skipping the "baby bucket" for a seat with a large size range (some go from 6-to 70 pounds!)|
|Crib, Crib Mattress, cover,sheets (see article, "Crib-Shopping Tips"||1 crib, 1 mattress (see this article on picking a mattress), 2 or more fitted sheets, one mattress-protecting cover (optional)||Note your crib mattress can also be used for a toddler bed, so expect to keep the mattress until your future child is ready for a twin bed or larger.|
|Chair for baby's room||1||It's optional, but it's very nice to have a rocking chair in the baby's room for rocking baby or keeping him or her company in the bed or crib.|
|Changing table/table pad/pad cover(s)||1 table and pad, one or more covers||Go for a changing table with rails, a durable-looking pad that will last two years or more, washable covers in any color but white.|
|Soft carrier||1||Your baby will go through a stage of wanting to be held all the time. You'll appreciate a carrier that distributes baby's weight evenly onto your shoulders and hips and lets you keep your hands free.|
|Bassinet or co-sleeper||1||It's optional, but a lot of parents appreciate being able to keep a newborn close at hand in the bedroom. Note that a *lot* of bassinets and sleepers have been recalled; search online for recalls before buying any model or using a secondhand bassinet or sleeper.|
|Feeding supplies: bottles, nipples, a bottle brush, and/or breastfeeding and/or bottlefeeding supplies||at least 6 bottles and nipples for storing/feeding pumped milk or formula, one bottle brush and (optional) a drying rack and/or ring-and-nipple "cage" for the dishwasher.||If you know you're going to formula feed you'll need formula, of course, see this article, "How Much Formula Can I Expect to Buy?"
If you plan to breastfeed, here's a list of recommended breastfeeding supplies.
|Fan||1||Studies have found that having a fan in the baby's room reduces the risk of SIDS by 72 % (see this article on safe sleep). If you have a ceiling fan just set it to low to keep air moving. If not, a simple desk fan will do to help eliminate the pockets of CO2 that are thought to contribute to baby deaths from SIDS.|