Newborn Baby Checklist—The Must-Haves and More

Newborn baby checklist

There’s a lot to do as the birth of your baby nears, and assembling all those necessities for your newborn can be a daunting task. Use this newborn baby checklist to discover what you’ll need during your first three months with your baby, plus some other “nice-to-haves” to consider. Our list includes items your baby will need in the nursery, plus clothing, feeding, diapering, and bath time essentials, and helpful gear for when you’re out and about. Once you have these necessities, you’ll feel more prepared for the day you get to bring your baby home.

Nursery Checklist

For many (if not most) parents-to-be, the nursery becomes the most important room in the house! If you’ve been enjoying your time nesting but aren’t sure if you have all the essentials, use our baby nursery checklist for a complete list of things you may need for your little one’s arrival:

Crib. When it comes to newborn baby necessities, the crib tops our checklist. Your baby will need a safe crib to sleep in, as they’ll be snoozing at least 16 hours a day, or more, in the early days and weeks! A crib can be expensive, but you can get many years of use out of it if you choose a style that converts into a toddler bed and then a daybed. Some models can even convert into a full-sized bed later on! With cribs, it’s safest to buy new; that way, you’ll know that your baby’s crib meets all the latest safety standards.

Crib mattress. One of the most important newborn baby essentials is a firm mattress that fits the crib you’ve bought perfectly. This is the safest surface for sleep.

Bedding. You won’t need much bedding—just a waterproof mattress cover and several fitted sheets that fit your crib mattress perfectly. Keeping your baby’s crib bare (free of any other type of bedding, including blankets, top sheets, pillows, and bumper pads, as well as toys) helps reduce the risk of suffocation and sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).

Bassinet. Although this item is optional, we added it to our newborn checklist because some parents prefer to use a bassinet in the first few weeks. Bassinets are small and portable; they take up less room than cribs and can be moved easily from room to room. Of course, your little one will eventually need a crib, too.

Night-light. You’ll be thanking us for adding this newborn baby essential to our checklist! When you’re making your way to the nursery in the middle of the night for feedings, a night-light is a true newborn necessity. It lets you see where you’re going and what you’re doing without having to turn on any bright lights. As your little one gets older, a night-light may also provide reassurance when they wake up in the middle of the night.

Clothes storage. You’ll need a place to put your newborn’s clothing, even if you’ve assembled just the essentials. In some cases, the drawers or shelves that come with the changing table may offer enough storage. Alternatively, you can use baskets or tubs to organize clothes; chests of drawers or wardrobes are also good options.

Nursery glider or rocking chair. A comfy chair in the nursery is the perfect spot for breastfeeding, a bedtime story or lullaby, and a last cuddle before sleep. It may help make nighttime feedings less disruptive for your baby, and the rocking motion may help calm you and your newborn.

Pacifiers. Newborns may want to suck on a pacifier to soothe themselves, so this may be an essential item for you. Keep in mind that pacifiers have a way of disappearing, so you may like to have a few on hand! Pacifiers come in several sizes—double check the manufacturer’s guidelines to make sure you get one that’s appropriate for the newborn stage.

Toy basket. Although a toy basket is probably not an essential per se, your newborn baby might acquire some toys, and it's handy to have someplace to put them. If you have shelves, you can also store toys there.

Mobile. A colorful mobile (that's safely hung up high, out of reach of your baby) will help entertain your little one. A mobile with a variety of shapes and bright colors (especially red, as it’s the first color babies see) is a good option.

Need some nursery décor inspiration? Take our quiz below!

Playtime Checklist

Our newborn baby checklist would not be complete without toys and baby gear items for playtime. Here are some things you could buy for your baby, or include on your registry, for playtime:

Baby swing. Swings sway or vibrate to help soothe your little one. Unlike a bouncer, a swing typically moves without your newborn having to create the movement with their legs; instead, you use the sway or vibration setting. Keep in mind that baby swings have a minimum and maximum weight limit, so make sure you choose one that suits your newborn’s size. Swings often have toys that hang overhead and some even make sounds or play music.

Baby bouncer. Bouncers are similar to baby swings, but your baby’s leg movements cause it to bounce. A bouncer could very well be an essential item for you, as it makes it easy for you get things done nearby while knowing your baby is safe and entertained. Bouncers have minimum and maximum weight limits, so take a look at the manufacturer’s guidelines before buying one.

Portable play yard. This can provide your newborn with a safe, enclosed place to snooze or play, all while you do things nearby. A portable play yard is great because you can move it around your home according to which room you’re in.

Toys. Newborns and very young babies won't enjoy that many toys just yet, other than things like simple rattles or books with high contrast patterns. Before long, soft toys that make sounds, stacking toys, push-pull toys, and busy boxes with lots of exciting features can be good choices to help entertain and support your older baby's development. With all baby toys, it’s important to ensure there are no small parts that could be a choking hazard.

Play mat. Newborns benefit from a little tummy time each day. You can place a thin, soft play mat on the floor to give your little one somewhere to enjoy a few minutes of tummy time a couple of times a day. Always closely supervise tummy time.

To learn more about the benefits of allowing your little one to play during tummy time, watch the video below.

Feeding Checklist

Feeding your baby is an essential part of parenting, and there are many items on our newborn checklist that can help make the process go more smoothly. Consider the following necessities for baby feeding time:

Burp cloths. These are designed to protect your clothing when you burp your little one, in case they spit up a little (or a lot!). You could also use a receiving blanket for this, but a burp cloth is smaller, making it easier to manage.

Nursing cover. A nursing cover helps shelter you and your little one while breastfeeding. It typically comes with a strap you can tie around your neck to keep it in place. You can also use a receiving blanket as a nursing cover, but as it doesn’t have a strap, it may slip off more easily.

Receiving blankets. A receiving blanket is a thin blanket that’s often sold in packs of two or more. We’ve added them to your newborn baby checklist because they are so versatile. These blankets can work as nursing covers and burping cloths, and you can also use them to swaddle your baby.

Nursing pillow. For some extra comfort for both you and your little one, consider getting one of these U-shaped cushy pillows. These firm pillows give your newborn somewhere to rest other than your arms, which can also take some of the weight off your body, too.

Bibs. Bibs are certainly an essential item, as they can help protect your baby’s clothes from milk, formula, and drool.

Bottles and nipples. Whether you plan to breastfeed or formula feed, baby bottles are must-haves for your newborn checklist. You can choose from glass and plastic options; some of the plastic varieties come with a bottle liner insert to reduce the amount of air your newborn swallows. When choosing a bottle, consider the nipple shape and size. You may need to try a few different nipples before finding one your newborn likes.

Breast pump. You can use a manual pump or one that's electric or battery-powered to express breast milk when needed, such as if you return to work or if you’ll be away from your newborn for longer stretches. Some models pump both breasts at the same time.

Formula. Your baby’s healthcare provider can help you choose from the many types and brands of formula.

Bottle warmer. It can be tricky to safely heat your baby’s stored breast milk or formula. A bottle warmer can be a true time-saver, and therefore, a baby essential, as it helps ensure the milk is evenly warmed.

Milk storage bags. These little bags help you compactly store breast milk. They’re usually single-use products and may allow you to store milk without having to use bottles for storage purposes. As a bonus, you can usually pump directly into the bag.

Bottle brush. This will help you thoroughly clean the inside of the bottle.

Bottle sterilizer. You may like the convenience of a sterilizer to keep things like bottles and nipples hygienic, though washing them thoroughly by hand or in the dishwasher works just as well. Some sterilizers come combined with a bottle warmer.

Bottle-drying rack. This is not an essential item, but you might find it helpful as a designated space to dry your baby’s bottles, especially if you don’t tend to have much room left on your dish-drying rack.

Diapering Checklist

Get ready for lots of diaper changes! It may not be the most glamorous part of parenting, but it’s an essential routine for your baby. Luckily, you can earn rewards for all those diaper and wipes you purchase with the Pampers Club app. Here is a comprehensive list of the items you’ll need (or might like to have) for diapering your baby:

Changing table. You’ll need a safe space to change your little one’s diaper. Changing tables usually have drawers or shelves so you can reach things like diapers, wipes, and fresh clothes without taking your hand off your baby. Just make sure these items aren’t within your newborn’s reach. Some changing tables come with a strap you can use to help secure your baby and prevent falls in case they roll over unexpectedly. Even if you've fastened the strap, always keep at least one hand on your newborn whenever they’re on a raised surface.

Changing pad. Having a changing pad helps keep your baby comfortable and the changing table clean. Some pads can be wiped clean, whereas others have removable covers you can machine wash. If you’re looking for convenience, this is certainly an essential baby item!

Diapers. You’ll definitely need diapers, and lots of them! Your newborn may go through something like 70 diapers a week. It’s impossible to know ahead of time what size diaper your newborn will need, so it’s worth buying small packs of a few different sizes. Choose between Swaddlers, Baby-Dry, and Pure. Then, once your baby is born, you can stock up on more of the right size. Read about how to select the right diaper size.

Wipes. Gently clean your newborn’s diaper area with wipes. Select from Pure Protection, Aqua Pure, and Pampers Sensitive.

Washcloths. Wet a washcloth with warm water and use it to wipe your baby’s diaper area. You can also use a washcloth for cleaning your baby at bath time.

Diaper rash cream. It’s not uncommon for babies to get diaper rash from time to time. Ask your baby’s healthcare provider for advice on which cream or ointment is best.

Diaper pail. Although optional, diaper pails made it onto our newborn checklist because they help contain smells from dirty diapers. There are many diaper pails on the market, but a key choice is whether you want one that works with regular trash can liners or one with a special liner ring that the manufacturer sells separately. The special liners are better at trapping odors but will cost more overall.

If you’re new to parenting, and, therefore, new to diapering, fear not! We’ve got you covered with our downloadable new parents’ guide.

Clothing Checklist

It’s fun to shop for (or be given) adorable, mini-size baby clothes. Keep in mind that newborns grow out of smaller-sized clothes quickly—sometimes in a matter of days—so you might want to buy bigger sizes, too. Besides being cute, newborn baby clothing is an essential item for your checklist. Don’t forget to include layers (unless you live in a particularly warm climate). It’s usually best to dress your newborn in one more layer than you’re wearing yourself.

The following are the most important things to buy for your baby’s wardrobe:

Swaddle blanket. During the first few weeks, you may wish to swaddle your baby, and a special blanket can be helpful. Although you can use a receiving blanket, there are other options available, including ones that have a hook-and-loop fastener for more convenience.

Pajamas, sleepers, or sleeping sacks. Your baby will spend much of their time snoozing, so sleepwear is certainly part of the newborn essentials. Whatever type of sleepwear you choose, you'll probably want a style that covers your baby's feet—some pajamas do, as do sleepers and sleeping sacks. Some sleeping sacks allow babies to also wear pajamas underneath.

Undershirts and one-piece outfits. Some styles close with snaps between the legs, which offers easy access for diaper changes. Depending on what the weather will be, choose items with short or long sleeves, and choose between ones that keep your newborn’s legs entirely exposed or full-body options that cover the legs and feet.

T-shirts. During the day, if you plan to dress your newborn in leggings or pants, you’ll need tops such as T-shirts to go with them.

Leggings or stretchy pants. Whether you’re a new parent or an experienced pro, you’ll appreciate how essential comfy pants are for your newborn!

Sweater or jacket. To keep your little one warm, nothing on this newborn baby checklist beats a sweater or a jacket. Cardigans and jackets are easier to take off than pullover sweaters and can be left open at the front if the weather fluctuates.

Socks or booties. You’ll need lots of socks and maybe some booties, too. Your newborn doesn’t need real shoes yet—these won't be necessary until they start walking outside.

Hat with brim. This will help protect your little one from the sun.

Knit hat or cap. If it will be cold when your baby is born, have one of these on hand to ensure their head is kept nice and warm.

Bunting bag or snowsuit. Another cold-weather essential you'll want to have is a bunting bag or snowsuit! Some designs even come with attached mittens.

Mittens. Cute little mittens are great for the cooler months.

Special outfit. This is an optional item, but we wanted to keep it on our newborn checklist in case you’ll need something for a holiday or special occasion. Just keep in mind that your little one will soon outgrow what they’re wearing, so take lots of pictures while you can!

Bath Time Checklist

During your baby’s first year, they may only need about three baths a week. However, even a minimal bathing schedule requires some newborn baby essentials! Our checklist includes everything you’ll need for your baby’s bath time in the first few months:

Baby bath seat or tub. Your newborn will have sponge baths at first, until the umbilical cord stump has fallen off; but, eventually, you'll need some sort of seat or tub for bathing. Just make sure it works for newborns or that it comes with a newborn insert to suit your baby’s small size.

Shampoo. If your newborn has hair, you can use a shampoo designed specifically for babies.

Soap. Choose a mild soap designed for newborns and young babies.

Cup. A plastic scoop or cup helps you gently pour water over your baby’s hair or skin to rinse out the soap or shampoo. Just be extra careful not to get soapy water in your little one’s eyes!

Towels. You’ll want a soft towel—perhaps even one that comes with a hood for easier drying.

Washcloths. These can help with gently wiping your baby.

Baby moisturizer. A newborn doesn't usually need special lotions, but if your little one has dry patches of skin, you can apply a non-perfumed baby moisturizer.

On-the-Go Checklist

You might be surprised by how much you need when you take your little one out and about. To make sure you have the essentials, our newborn checklist includes all the gear you might need when you’re out with your baby:

Car seat. A car seat is one of the most important essentials on our newborn baby checklist. Your baby will need one the moment you ride home from the hospital and for every car ride thereafter. Choose a rear-facing car seat that meets the latest safety standards and is suitable for your newborn’s size and weight. Ensure the car seat is properly fitted to your car, and installed facing the back, all before your due date.

Stroller. There are many stroller styles on the market, including car seat carrier strollers, travel systems, and full-sized strollers, all of which can work from the newborn stage. Check that the stroller you like meets the latest safety standards.

Baby carrier or wrap. This item can be super useful to keep your baby close as you move around, while also leaving you with your hands free. Baby carriers come in several styles, including wraps, slings, front packs, and backpacks. Keep in mind that some baby carriers need a newborn insert to be used safely for this age group. Follow the latest safety guidelines when using your carrier.

Diaper bag. It's one of the most important baby essentials, and you’ll be thankful you have a diaper bag that fits all the things you need when you’re away from home with your little one. Diaper bags come in designs that range from functional to fashionable. With a backpack diaper bag, for example, you won’t even look like you’re carrying baby gear.

Sun shade for car windows. It’s important to keep your newborn out of direct sunlight to protect their delicate skin. You might like to cover the back-seat windows of your car with a shade cover to keep your newborn out of the sun.

Portable crib. If you’re planning to travel or take your baby to Grandma’s, a portable crib may be an essential item for your lifestyle. Check that the portable crib you’re considering meets the latest safety standards.

Portable changing pad. A portable changing pad can also help ensure you always have somewhere clean to change your little one’s diapers. The pads usually roll up quite compactly to fit in most diaper bags.

Disposable diaper pail. These are great for having somewhere to store your baby’s dirty diapers, no matter where you are.

Stroller rain cover. You may like to buy this accessory when you select a stroller. If the manufacturer doesn’t sell one, universal models are available.

Still on the hunt for a baby name? Get some inspiration with our Baby Name Generator and filter through thousands of titles to find the perfect match!

RELATED PREGNANCY TOOL

Baby names - Tool Icon

Baby Name Generator

By gender:

Girl

Boy

Unisex

By theme:

Cute

Royal

Nature

Mythology

Health and Safety Checklist

It’s helpful to have a good supply of newborn health essentials, as at some point you’ll need to take your baby’s temperature or put a bandage on a small scratch. These are some basic items to have at home:

First-aid kit. Stock this with basic items like a baby thermometer, tweezers, antibiotic ointment, adhesive bandages, and petroleum jelly, all in one place. You may wish to have another first-aid kit in the car or the diaper bag so you have some of these essentials when you’re on the go as well.

Bulb syringe. You can gently remove mucus from your baby’s nose with one of these handy syringes.

Nail clippers or a soft emery board. Your little one’s nails will need trimming from time to time, which will also help prevent accidental scratching.

Soft-bristled hairbrush. Even if your little one doesn’t have much hair, a brush can help loosen scales if your newborn ends up with cradle cap.

Sunscreen. Generally speaking, you should keep your little one out of direct sunlight for at least the first six months. However, you may apply a little sunscreen to any exposed areas, like the face and hands, if adequate clothing and/or shade isn't available.

Gentle detergent. You can use gentle detergents to wash all of your newborn’s clothes and bedding for the first few months. If your baby’s skin shows any signs of irritation, try a hypoallergenic alternative, perhaps one designed especially for babies and recommended by pediatricians, such as Dreft.

Babyproofing supplies. Although your newborn won’t be independently moving around for a while, babyproofing tools and supplies are an eventual must-have on your newborn checklist. It may even help to tackle some babyproofing chores ahead of time.

Sleep Checklist

Sleep may be a top concern on many new parents’ minds. Everyone talks about the sleep disruption that comes with a new baby, but almost no one talks about the things you can do ahead of time to help nurture your baby’s sleep to get them sleeping—like a baby—from day one. Use this sleep checklist from our resident pediatric sleep coach to help you establish healthy sleep habits: □ White-noise machine or music player. White noise mimics the sound of the womb and can help comfort your newborn adjust the world outside of the womb, helping them fall asleep faster.

Humidifier. A humidifier helps moisturize the air. Your baby’s healthcare provider may recommend getting a cool mist humidifier one for the nursery if the air is particularly dry. Avoiding overly dry air may help keep your newborn comfortable, especially if they have a cough or cold.

Blackout shades. Since the body’s circadian rhythm is largely governed by light, even the smallest crack of light can cause short naps, early wakeups, or bedtime resistance. A good set of blackout shades are worth every penny when it comes to quality of sleep.

Smart Sleep Coach by Pampers. To help create your baby’s customized sleep plan, this app features a smart sleep scheduler that updates with each naptime and bedtime you track. It also offers sleep support and advice from pediatricians and sleep experts.

Watch this short video for sleeping tips from pediatric sleep coach Mandy Treeby cofounder of the Smart Sleep Coach app:

Education and Preparation

Although the following items are not physical things to buy for your baby, preparing to become a parent and educating yourself on childbirth and baby care deserve a place on any newborn checklist. Before your baby arrives, soak up the wealth of information that will best prepare you for the months ahead with your sweet newborn.

Here are a few suggestions that parents often find invaluable:

Childbirth education classes. Gain practical knowledge and get a hands-on understanding of the entire process of birth. Classes generally cover relaxation techniques, the stages of labor, pain relief options, birth planning, and more.

Prenatal breastfeeding classes. These can help increase your confidence when nursing your newborn. While breastfeeding is considered one of the most natural things in the world, it’s still a learned behavior. Your baby may be born with all the natural instincts to help them latch and nurse; however, there may still be a learning curve for both you and your little one. Investing time in a class now may prove beneficial later on. Download Your Go-To Breastfeeding Guide here for some helpful guidance.

The Bottom Line

Preparing for the arrival of your newborn can be both fun and exhausting. By following this checklist, you’ll have all the things you’ll need for your newborn baby. To make it a bit easier, download a simplified version of this checklist to have on hand while you shop and prepare for your little one’s debut.

And if you're still working on your baby shower registry, you might like to add some of these items so that your loved ones know what you actually need!