Must-have baby items that first-time moms don’t want to forget to put on their baby registry.
In the first three months, babies essentially do four things all day (and all night) — they sleep, they eat, they cry, and they poop.
I mean, they do other things – they snuggle, they start to smile, they begin to coo at you. But in the beginning, these tiny little humans will mostly sleep, cry, and eat.
There are a lot of things that are nice to have and that make life with a newborn easier. This list, however, is a list of the essential baby items you need for the first three months. These are products you can’t (or shouldn’t) live without once you bring your baby home. If you’re working on building your baby registry, make sure you have these items on your checklist!
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Haven’t started your registry yet? Create a new baby registry on Amazon and start adding these essential newborn items to your list so you don’t forget anything.
Newborn Sleep Essentials
I know, I know. When you’re about to become a parent, everyone tells you that you’ll never sleep again. It’s true. BUT, in the first few months of life, your newborn baby will sleep quite a lot. From birth to three months, it’s normal for a baby to sleep up to 19 hours a day (source). Here are the most essential things a newborn baby needs for all that sleeping.
What You Need to Help Your Baby Sleep
Bassinet or Crib
The most important thing to help your baby get the sleep he needs, is to have a safe place for your baby to sleep. You may want to use a crib or a bassinet. Ideally, baby should sleep in the same room as the parents for the first several months.
There are many different bassinet options out there. We used this type of bassinet for both my babies and I recommend it to all my mom friends. I love this one because it can be used as a freestanding bassinet or as a bedside sleeper that attaches to your bed.
I read this book before I had my first baby and felt like it totally prepared me for what to expect during the postpartum period with my newborn. One of the main recommendations in the book is to swaddle your baby to help keep them calm and sleep longer. Swaddling can help prevent startling (the moro reflex), which can cause your baby to wake up often. The Moro reflex usually disappears around 3 to 6 months.
I love muslin swaddle blankets, which can also have many other uses. You can use them as car seat covers or nursing covers while breastfeeding. I throw them on the rug before putting my baby down for tummy time. My three year old even uses her old muslin swaddle blankets as sheets during the summertime.
I was always worried about the swaddle coming undone during the night while I was sleeping so I used velcro swaddles for my babies overnight. Plus if you have trouble figuring out how to wrap a traditional swaddle (like my husband), these are so convenient and easy to put on your little one.
Newborn Feeding Essentials
I breastfed both my babies and I believe breastfeeding has a lot of wonderful benefits for both mom and baby but I also strongly support the theory that fed is best.
Whether you breastfeed or formula feed, exclusively pump or do a combination of everything, here’s what you absolutely need in order to feed your infant during the first three months.
What You Need to Feed Your Baby
Bottles and Nipples
When registering for bottles, I highly recommend opting for a variety pack instead of investing in one particular brand. That way you can test out different bottles. Your baby may have a preference for certain bottles over others or you may need to use a certain brand for other reasons.
When I was pregnant with my firstborn, I researched forever about the perfect bottle and finally decided on Avent bottles. I registered for and received an awesome gift set. Then my baby was born four weeks early and needed preemie nipples. We ended up having to buy a whole set of Dr. Brown’s bottles for the special nipples.
Your baby may end up needing a special formula so I wouldn’t invest in anything until after they are born. What you can do though, is sign up for formula rewards programs to get free samples sent to your house. That way you’ll be able to test out different formulas without spending money on one that may not work for your infant.
Bottle Brush, Drying Rack, and Soap
Of course, you have to clean your bottles after each use. This is my favorite soap for cleaning bottles and pump parts.
A good bottle brush is also important. I love this one that comes with its own stand and has a smaller brush for nipples attached.
A drying rack is just as important since you’ll need somewhere to put your bottles when you’re done washing them. When breastfeeding/pumping, you’ll need a place to dry your pump parts. This affordable bottle drying rack holds a lot of items and it’s easy to clean. Plus, it won’t take up too much counter space in your kitchen.
Alternatively, if you want to throw all your bottles and parts in the dishwasher, make sure to get a bottle basket like this one.
In my opinion, you can never have too many burp cloths. I keep them all over the house, especially near where I usually feed the baby. Ironically, my son just always happens to spit up whenever I don’t have a burp cloth nearby.
If You’re Breastfeeding
Even if you plan on breastfeeding, it’s always a good idea to have supplies handy for bottle feeding, just in case.
My first was born four weeks early and I supplemented her with formula for a few weeks to make sure she was getting enough calories. With my second, I developed a horrible case of thrush and it was torture to breastfeed or pump. I made it through with my milk supply still intact but it was helpful to be able to give him a bottle when I needed a little break from the pain
In addition, breastfeeding moms will need a breast pump and supplies and breastmilk storage containers or freezer bags to store pumped milk.
While not a necessity, a breastfeeding pillow is really helpful especially when you’re not quite sure how to position your baby in the very beginning. The Boppy is a versatile option – it can be used as a nursing pillow, a prop during tummy time, and a support for when your baby starts to sit up.
Newborn Hygiene Essentials
Besides sleeping and eating, babies also need to be bathed, clothed, and changed often (of course). Here are the essential things a newborn needs to stay clean and healthy.
You probably don’t need to register for clothes because people love to buy baby clothes. However, they usually want to gift you those adorable but impractical baby outfits that look cute in photos but your baby will probably only wear once.
What you really need are comfortable clothes with easy access to your baby’s diaper. My spring and summer babies lived in onesies and zip-up pajamas. I also love romper style clothes like these for girls and these for boys because they look like you dressed up your baby, but still give you easy access for all those diaper changes.
Diapers and Wipes
Speaking of diaper changes, diapers and wipes are definitely a necessity during the first three months. Whether you use disposable or cloth diapers is a personal choice but you should definitely stock up on diapers and wipes. You’ll go through a lot of these during the first three months with your newborn.
You don’t necessarily need a dedicated changing table, but it will make it a lot easier on your back, especially during the early postpartum period. We have a changing table attachment for our baby’s dresser in the nursery. We also have a changing table downstairs since we spend the majority of our time there. If you’re looking for an affordable and convenient option, I highly recommend this foldable changing table.
You could also just use a changing pad and lie it on the bed or couch or floor whenever you need to change your little one.
Baby’s have sensitive skin that is prone to diaper rashes. There are a ton of different diaper cream options available. Your best bet – recommended by my daughter’s dermatologist – either regular petroleum jelly or diaper cream with zinc oxide and not a lot of other added ingredients.
Fever may have a viral infection like RSV or the flu or a bacterial infection such as a urinary tract infection. Fevers can be dangerous in very young infants so make sure to contact your doctor if you do notice a fever of greater than 100.4 during the first three months.
Baby’s nails grow insanely fast so you’ll need to clip them often in order to prevent your little one from scratching themselves. I received a few different ‘grooming kits’ with clippers as gifts but this nail clipper was my favorite for easily getting those tiny nails.
Bathtub, Baby Wash, Towels, and Washcloths
You only need to give your baby a full bath two to three times a week and you’ll want a safe place for bathing. Infant tubs that can fit over a sink are a great and convenient option. We use this one for my son which fits right over our double sink and is easy to drain and clean.
Don’t forget towels and washcloths to make sure your newborn is clean and cozy.
Essential Items for Traveling with Your Newborn
You will need a few travel items if you plan on going anywhere with your little one during the first three months. Here are the must-have items for taking your newborn out of the house.
The two main types are infant carriers and convertible car seats.
An infant carrier is great if you want to be able to keep your infant in it when taking them in and out of the car. This works well if they fall asleep and you don’t want to disturb them!
Most carriers are also part of a travel system and can fit into a stroller as well. Infant carriers can get heavy and be a pain to carry around. I always bring our stroller with us so I can just pop the car seat into the stroller. Pushing the stroller is much easier than lugging around a 15-pound carrier with a 10-pound baby.
The convertible car seat is great if you only want to have to purchase one type of seat. Your baby will outgrow their infant carrier around 30 pounds or 30 inches (check with your specific carrer’s recommendations). Convertible car seats can generally be used from 4 pounds all the way up to 120 pounds (as a booster seat). You will want to make sure you have a stroller or baby wrap or carrier to carry your baby in when you go places if you just have a convertible car seat.
The Murphy’s Law of New Moms is that if you forget to bring it, you’re going to need it. I always keep a diaper bag fully stocked with diapers, wipes, extra clothes, burp cloths, swaddle blanket, and pacifiers so I can just grab it and go if we have to be somewhere. That way I don’t have to try to remember everything I need to bring and won’t forget anything.
I had a traditional diaper bag with my first baby but got a backpack bag for my second. It’s much easier to wear while also carrying a baby and chasing a toddler.
Other Items You May Not NEED But Will WANT to Have
The following items are newborn essentials in my personal opinion. Sure, you could live without them but I wouldn’t want to!
Tummy Time Mat
As a former early intervention therapist, I am a big proponent of tummy time. I do recommend having a playmat for tummy time.
An activity gym is a great idea because you can use the mat for tummy time. As babies get older, their vision becomes more developed (link), and their motor skill improve (for swatting at toys), they will love playing with the hanging toys under the arches.
Sometimes you’re just going to need to put that baby down. A Pack N Play with an infant insert like the Grace Pack N Play On The Go Playard is a great safe choice.
I also love this seat which can be used from birth to toddlerhood. My baby sits in this all the time and my three year old still loves to get in too!
Newborn Essential Items for the First 3 Months
Those are the essential items you’ll need to care for your baby from birth to three months old. There are many other great baby products, but make sure these ones are on your baby items checklist or on your registry.
If you haven’t started a registry yet, create a Baby Registry on Amazon right now! After adding some newborn essentials and making your first purchase, you’ll receive a welcome box full of awesome baby supplies and samples.
Related newborn posts:
- Tummy Time Tips for Newborns
- What Can My Newborn Baby See?
- The Best Developmental Toys for Babies (A Month by Month Guide)
Related pregnancy posts
- The Glucose Tolerance Test in Pregnancy
- How To Relieve Constipation During Pregnancy
- From Water Breaking to Unexpected C-Section – A Second Time Mom’s Birth Story
- Being Induced for Preeclampsia: My Labor Story