What do you really need for a newborn?

Kerry Callahan Photography // West Boylston Family Photographer

Since becoming pregnant with my FOURTH baby, totally unexpectedly (haha you’d think by the time you’re in your 30's you would know how to not get pregnant unexpectedly) but IUD’s fail. Yes ladies, IUD's can sometimes not work. We are over the moon excited and this was the best surprise ever but…. We had no baby things. I had given away every single baby item I had because we were done. So I have been working on compiling a list of the essentials. Since this is definitely our last baby I don't want to waste money on things we don’t need and wont use for long. I have asked a bunch of other moms to see what their essentials were and here it is!


If you're breast feeding, you wont need a whole lot of anything in the beginning. Besides some breast pads and some nipple cream you mostly just need you! Eventually if you’re going back to work you’ll need a pump and bottles so baby can eat while your at work.

Bottles are hard to just buy a bunch before the baby is born because some babies are picky about their bottles. Usually you can just pick a brand and be all set but some babies like a certain nipple better, so you’re better off buying only a couple and seeing what baby likes and then invest in that one bottle.

Breast pumps seem to be mostly all the same or similar but after asking many moms and my own experience, the Spectra 2 came in as the most popular choice for moms. It’s got hospital grade suction and seems to help moms express the most milk. I pumped exclusively for a year with the spectra 2 and was very happy with it.


You need somewhere for the baby to sleep. If you plan on baby going right to their own room from the hospital then you really only need the crib. If you plan on having the baby in your room for a while (which I prefer since nursing every 2-3 hours is exhausting enough as it is) you need something for the baby to sleep in. I have never used a bassinet in my room before, with all three of my girls I used a pack n play in my room with the newborn insert. I loved the pack n play with the little bassinet on top and it has diaper storage on the side. I was given a bassinet this time around and have a pack n play so we we'll be using the bassinet for a while until he outgrows it. I will eventually have to switch him to the pack n play because we have no bedroom for the little mister as of yet, My husband is building a big addition and I cannot wait to decorate a boy nursery after having three girls!

Moms have been raving about the smart bassinets like the Snoo. I’ll admit I am intrigued but I don’t think I will spend the money on it. 

You need diapers and wipes! Diapers are also something that isn’t always the best to buy a lot of in advance. I am only getting a box of pampers in newborn and size one. Once the baby is here we can figure out what works best. Some babies have sensitive skin and can be allergic to certain brands, so you don’t want to have a bunch of boxes of that brand you can’t use!

You need somewhere to put the baby down safely. Lets face it, you’ll want to hold your baby all day but we have chores and things that will eventually need to get done. Having some safe places throughout the house that you can lay the baby down in is very helpful. I have had moms tell me they love the Doc-A-Tot and also the Boppy Lounger. They both seem similar so I think you could just choose between the two. 

Having a swing is great too. Sometimes the baby will be fussy and having a swing to sooth them is helpful! Swings seem to be mostly all the same. This time we went with a swing that is also a bouncy seat so we get two for one (great for space saving). A lot of moms love the mama-roo which we had for our third child. We liked it and she enjoyed it, but I don't think it’s worth the money for such a short period of time.

You may want a baby carrier. There are so many different types of baby carriers, the thought of choosing one is overwhelming. I have used wraps before ( trying to learn how to wrap and strap the baby on you is quite daunting but once you get the hang of it, it's pretty easy) I have also used more structured carriers. I like them both for different reasons, but this time I got a Lillebaby carrier and I am excited to use it. I got it for a great price on amazon. They’re all basically the same (i know people will criticize me for that) but it’s the truth. So choose one you think you might like and just go with it. Also see if someone in your community has one you can try out before you purchase! Sometimes that helps you decide what’s best for you.

Car seat and strollers! You’ll need a car seat to bring the baby home in as well as a stroller to make life on the go easier! There are so many car seat stroller options and honestly they’re basically all the same to me. I chose one that had good reviews and was affordable. There are jogging strollers and normal strollers so if you plan on running with baby or doing lots of long walks they might be a better choice for you. I absolutely recommend getting an infant bucket car seat because of the versatility and mobility of them. The forever car seats are advertised as an easy solution and only ever needing the one car seat but your baby will fall asleep in the car often and you’ll want to be able to take the whole car seat with the baby out and inside without waking the baby. Or if you're running to the store you can keep the baby sleeping in the car seat instead of having to wake when you get there. There's also the easy of not having to carry the  baby whenever you go somewhere. Taking the baby in the car seat and popping into the stroller when you get to the store or doctor's appointments is so much more convenient.

Sound machine! We've used sound machines with all of our children and all the moms I have asked have agreed! Having a soothing sound playing in the baby’s room is the best idea. It keeps the baby sleeping and they don't hear noises in the house. You can go on with your day or stay up later without having to tiptoe around the house. My four year old still uses her sound machine every night!

Clothing! You honestly don't need a ton of clothing. Sleepers are huge for newborns, mine basically lived in their sleepers. Definitely invent in the zipper sleepers. No one in their right mind wants to try to button a sleeper at 2 am. NO ONE. They even make zipper sleepers that zip from the bottom up so you can just pull out the legs to do a diaper change! Night time changes are an art form. I tried to be as quick and quiet as possible while doing nighttime changing and feeding so that I can keep the baby as sleepy as possible. Trying to start the dark nighttime routine is huge so the baby will learn to sleep at night!

That's it! There may be a ton of other things you may want to get and that's fine, but the actual necessities are pretty minimal. Let me know if you found anything that you thought was a necessity!