New Baby Must-Haves

Updated on September 24, 2014
J.H. asks from Croton, OH
22 answers

I am pregnant with my first child and my husband and I were talking about when we should start buying baby stuff, and what we should get. So I'm curious:

When did you start buying things for your first baby? Did you buy big things (crib, car seat, etc) first or little things (clothes, bottles, etc)?

What things would you consider must-haves for a new baby? What things did you buy or get gifted that you didn't really use?


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Featured Answers



answers from Baton Rouge on

The only things you NEED are diapers, clothes, and a car seat.
Wipes, changing tables, cribs, pacifiers, are all nice to have, but optional.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

Car seat is a must immediately.
Crib and/or bassinet.
Sleep & plays
Onesie t shirts
LOTS of baby washcloths
Boppy pillow
Waterproof pads
Crib sheets

High chair
Bouncy chair.....

Babies need less than you'd think!

1 mom found this helpful

More Answers



answers from Boston on

You know what I used most for my babies? A giant lazy-boy type recliner in my living room.

You will get a ton of suggestions for baby products and even more ideas on how to decorate a baby's room, but the honest truth is I spent countless hours nursing and holding a sleeping/irritable/teething/feverish baby in a recliner in front of the TV.

Make sure you have a comfy recliner that rocks. Not a glider rocker, not a stuffed chair that looks cute in a nursery - a giant recliner that you'd be comfortable falling asleep in while nursing a baby at 3am. Believe me, you will spend more hours here than anywhere! It's the best baby product that's never on a registry!

T. Y
SAHM of 5
14, 12, 6, 4 & 2

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Detroit on

Congratulations! Having a baby is so exciting.:)

Baby wipe warmer. My friend gave me one because she didn't use it. At first I thought it was going to be a useless item; however, it became one of the best things I had for my baby.

I think you should go to a baby store and see what you like in terms of baby room theme, furniture, etc. Since this is your first child, more than likely, you will have a baby shower. So, plan on registering for things like crib, car seat, high chair, diaper bag, etc.

Enjoy this special time!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Norfolk on

You need a car seat/infant carrier - it's kind of hard to come home from the hospital without one.
We used our rocking chair a lot - I love that chair!
You get a lot of clothes if a friend of yours throws you a shower.
A stroller will come in handy.
We used a diaper genie and had no problems with it.
We really started buying things when I was about 7 months pregnant.
We knew we we're having a boy and told people soon as we knew so we didn't get any pink stuff.
We didn't get a bouncy seat till after our son was born but he used it a lot till he was too big for it anymore.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Beaumont on

I agree with Katrina on the must haves except I'd throw in that baby recliner that vibrates/plays music etc. (forgot the proper name for it.) That thing was a lifesaver when they were infants. I'd start buying around 5 or 6 months into your pregnancy. You are smart to think about the "must-haves" because that's all they really need. Start saving for college instead. Congratulations!!!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Grand Forks on

I waited to see what hand me downs I would be offered, then I started second hand shopping. I would start with the big things-crib, stroller, playpen, car seat. The rest you could wait until after you've had a shower and see what you still need. Don't buy a lot of clothes. They won't get used. Sleepers and onsies (diaper shirts) are most useful for the first three months. I bought a couple of soothers and some bottles. Neither of my kids were at all interested so they never got used. You can wait until baby is a bit older to shop for things like saucers, jumpers and high chairs.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from San Diego on

You honestly don't need a whole lot. A few things are nice to have to make things easier for you. That list they give you at stores like Babies R Us are absolutely insane though! We didn't even use a lot of things we got sucked into buying and didn't like a good many others.

You need a car seat. They won't let you go home with baby without one. We opted for a convertible one that does not come out of the car instead of a removable infant seat.
You need somewhere safe for baby to sleep. My kids had their crib. My third we had a moses basket that was used when we were downstairs and we could take it with us when we went out. That was, by far, one of the best things we had! They would also sleep with us on nights when nothing else worked.
We had both a stroller where the seat could go completely flat in the beginning since we didn't use a removable infant car seat (it was a simple Gracco) and a simple unpadded ring sling (My favorite was my Maya Wrap but I had a few others). Sometimes we'd just carry them if it wasn't going to be too long or we didn't need our arms free. The stroller and sling got a lot of use when we went out. The sling got a bit more than the stroller for daily running errands and such because it kept my hands free to push the cart, get the groceries or take care of my older kids. The stroller was for longer days or days when it was too hot and baby wearing was not going to work comfortably.
Unless you plan to formula feed from the beginning or have to go back to work right away and have to pump, don't waste money on a ton of bottles and stuff like that. You have no way of knowing what baby is going to like or what is going to work for you. With my 3 kids, not a single one ever needed a bottle. I breast fed and never once pumped. Just didn't need to.
It is worth splurging on a good glider. We bought Dutailiers for each kid and they were worth every penny. We had to buy a new one each time because each kid still used theirs in their room as they got older. My 13 year old still loves sitting in his to read.

One thing I hated was the Diaper Genie. Whatever artificial scent they use on those plastic bag things is so gross when it mixes with dirty diapers. We used one until I got pregnant with my second though since that is what we had. One day I was walking up the stairs and the smell got me so bad I thought I was going to be sick. I made my husband throw it out right then and there. They are also so expensive. Save your money and get something that takes regular trash bags and has a lid and just make sure it gets emptied on a regular basis.
We never bought a swing, never had any room for it and didn't want one anyway. Didn't buy a pack and play instead and just used the moses basket for our third and had something similar for our other 2.

We started picking up things here and there as we decided on exactly what we wanted. We waited on some things until after baby was born like high chairs and stuff that they don't use right away. We would put everything on the registry as we researched and chose the exact items we wanted so we had it handy. Our registry wasn't a gift grab, it was so we wouldn't loose it. We actually would put things on it after we bought them so we knew which things we bought and to give others an idea on how we were decorating if they wanted to know. I know I bought my daughters first dress a week or so after finding out she was a she :)

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Abilene on

My youngest is soon to be 11 so it's been awhile for me. I would begin looking at your bigger items and deciding what features you like. Also pay attention in public to strollers etc and don't be afraid to ask questions. I saw a stroller once and explained to the mom I was shopping for one and asked her what she liked about it. Most people are happy to share their experience. One thing that was helpful for me was 2 strollers. I had one for quick trips (took up less space) and one for longer all day excursions. Some of the strollers I see at our church look like luxury liners😉 so they have changed a lot in 10 years. Also the removable car seat was great for my daughter but I was only able to use for about 4 months with my son because he was a much bigger baby and him combined with the weight of the seat was too heavy for me.

You can always begin to buy diapers. That's so fun too. Buying a few boxes of each size especially when on sale. Keeping in mind that although the smaller ones are fun your kiddo will be in size 4 much longer than size 1. On that note I have two red headed kids with extremely fair skin. I used baby washcloths for their bums because all of the diaper wipes (even the natural ones) caused irritation.

Congrats to you on your pregnancy. Many blessings to follow.




answers from Minneapolis on

You don't need as much as you think:

Car seat
Baby bed of some sort. I used portacrib size due to space limitations, but baby mostly slept with me.

Diapers: I would buy the 1st 2 sizes

Clothing: buy 3 outfits of newborn and 6 of the next size. Some babies hardly fit in newborn size and you will need the next size quite soon. If baby is small, they can wear too big clothes until you wash or send someone to the store. (or have more newborn size clothes with the tags on to return if not needed)

3 hats
4-6 nice cotton blankets
1 bigger blanket
Set of bottles if bottle feeding
Breast pump and a couple of bottles if breastfeeding

For mom:
Sanitary napkins for 1st weeks
Breast pads and lanolin for nipples

Have plenty of high protein snacks for mom and dad to eat in the first days. I liked a hard boiled egg or cheese and fruit for snacks while breastfeeding.



answers from Louisville on

I never really used my diaper bag... Unless we were going on a long trip. Otherwise, I only needed a small diaper-changing kit I received as a gift. It folded into a little pouch, and had a changing pad, pocket that held around 4 diapers, a wipe case, and a zippered pocket on the outside that was big enough for a change of clothes. It was GREAT for going on errands or visiting a friend's house when you only needed to cart around the bare necessities.

I also want to point out that you don't want to buy a lot in the newborn size. My dd was born wearing 0-3 month... I couldn't even squish her into the adorable newborn-sized coming home outfit I had picked. (I was so sad.) even if baby is born small enough to wear them, they will be outgrown pretty quickly.

We slowly started getting small things from the time I entered the second trimester... If I saw a cute outfit I would pick it up. I also started buying the things I knew I would need in bulk- diapers (my favorites were the Pampers Swaddlers.) wipes, breast pads (DEFINITELY get at least one box, even if you don't plan on nursing. She your milk comes in you will need them, and I actually started dribbling a little bit several weeks before I went into labor. ) Etc.

We didn't start buying gear in earnest until about a month before my due date. By then, we had been given what people were going to give us, so we had a realistic view of what we still needed. We also bought a lot of things from secondhand shops, baby stuff is only used for a short time, so you can usually find pretty great deals. The only thing we actually paid full price for was a car seat.

Speaking of car seats- when you get yours, look online for seat inspection stations in your area. There are a LOT of people who think they installed their seat right, but didn't. They will instruct you on how to install your seat, watch you do it to make sure you are doing it right, and give you any advice you need. It is great for peace of mind to KNOW you have it installed correctly. It is especially helpful if your vehicle has stupid seats that don't cooperate with car seats like ours did... (Stupid fake leather. Lol.)

There are a couple things I wish I had gotten that I didn't... We didn't have a swing, and I think it would have been really handy to have had. I also plan to get a sling/carrier of some sort for my next kid.

Congratulations, and good luck!



answers from Rochester on

We had friends and family all over the country so we registered at Target and Babies r Us for things like onesies, bottles, bibs, sheets, blankets, things that were not super expensive and would be easy for someone to mail or that could be bought and shipped online. We bought the "big ticket" items ourselves. We tried to have everything in place at least two months before our due date just in case baby came early.

Must haves from the beginning--
Infant Car seat (NEVER buy used)
Crib or bassinet and sheets
Changing table
Diapers and wipes
Baby shirts that are not onesies (until the belly button falls off)
Burp clothes
Breast pump (if you plan to breast feed) and freezer bags
Childproofing things (start early you will continually find more to baby proof)
Nipple cream

Things I loved/was glad I had--
Boppy pillow
Lots of burp cloths
Clothes hamper with a removable bag inside (7 years later we still use it)
Playtex bottle bag (went in the freezer and kept bottles cold several hours)
Boppy bouncy seat
Stroller that the car seat fit on and could be used without the car seat later
Water resistant mattress pads
Booster seat that strapped to the chair (instead of a highchair)
Mabel's Labels for labeling things that went to daycare (still using them)
Books for baby (especially cloth ones at first)

Waste of money for us--
Baby swing
Medicines bought before we needed them (most expired before used)
Sling and baby carrier (both kids hated them and they killed my back)
Too many clothes
Too many toys
Glider rocker (not comfy for nursing)
Baby monitor (baby was in our room or just across the hall)

There were lots things on the "must have" lists that we never had or never used.



answers from Chicago on

My hubby and I loved the sleep sack ( not the ones that swaddle, but just a sleep sack) Simular to this .

I love my carriers, I had a bojourn when they were tiny, now I have a lile bebe/ similar to the ergo carrier- They go up to 45 lbs.

I would buy gift card to Target or Walmart, that you can use later for diapers and bottles n things.

If you are planning on nursing, and going back to work. Check with your insurance to see if they cover any costs for a Pump. My work did.




answers from New York on

things which you might not have considered but come in handy are-
1. wee wee pads (put them on the changing table to deal with leaks & mess)
2. spill proof travel mug, small high protein/ high fiber snacks (for the parents, because a newborn is a 24 hour job).
3. a totebag with diaper cream, sanitizer, nipple cream, wipes, and wee wee pads (you can take it from room to room and diaper baby that way.
4. we likes onsies and zippered sleep and plays (buy more than you think you need. We sometimes needed as many as 5+ changes of clothes a day.
5. you might want some sleep sacks.

Best with your pregnancy.
F. B.



answers from Los Angeles on

Get this book called Baby Bargains. My friend got it for me a few years ago when I was pregnant with my first. It was really helpful.

One thing that I bought then returned a week later was bottle sanitizer. It's totally unnecessary. Also, my husband and I saved some $ by buying a convertible car seat intead of an infant carseat from the get go.

We started buying stuff after the baby shower. Put everything you want on a registry and see what your friends/family will get you. Then you can go back and buy whatever you still need.

You should definitely buy a crib and mattress ahead of time. They release toxic chemicals so you need to air them out for a month or so before your baby starts using it.



answers from Lincoln on

Once we found out what we were having I of course starting buying clothes. But I didn't have to buy much as I had several friends that had bags of baby clothes left over from their children being babies. We ended up with a stroller too before we even found out what the baby was, as it was a good deal at a thrift store. Got the car seat too as there was a certain one I just had to have. I waited on a few things, as I knew there would be a baby shower, and wanted to see what I would get first before going out and getting it myself. Got baby a bassinet too, as I wanted one for the first couple of months, didn't want her to far away.

things to considering getting, which is always nice to have on hand, is baby tylonal, gas drops, baby shampoo. Things many don't often think to get you, or you might forget about.



answers from Oklahoma City on

I assume you and he have family and friends. When they start coming out of the woodwork to do a shower for you make sure you get that family will want their own and your personal friend will want their own and co-workers and people like that might even want to do something themselves too.

Most people will welcome a first baby and pour out the gifts. If you start buying stuff now you'll have so many duplicates and so much overflow.

Try to wait and see what is gifted from the showers.

I do think deciding on colors for the nursery, buying bigger furniture, and curtains, things like that is okay at any time.



answers from Seattle on

A co-sleeper, instead of a crib or bassinet to start, if you plan on breastfeeding and are open to co-sleeping. We didn't have this for our first, but it was a lifesaver for our second.



answers from Pittsburgh on

Here's my essentials list:
Crib and diaper changing station
Pack n Play (because I have a 2 story house, and couldn't go up and down steps much after a c-section, so I set up a changing station/crib downstairs using the pack n play in addition to the one in the nursery)
car seat
A lot of 0-3 month size onsies and baby socks
swaddling blankets
A good stroller that lays down
A case of newborn diapers
A play mat that you can lay the baby under and toys dangle over their head
A baby care set with a good temporal thermometer and baby nail clippers

Things I didn't realize until later that I shouldn't have bought right away:
- bottles (if you plan to nurse, or even if you plan to bottle feed, don't buy too many because some babies will only take certain nipples and you don't want to buy a lot of a kind your baby then refuses to take),
- high chair (babies don't use these for at least 6-9 months and I was gifted one that was too big for my kitchen. In retrospect, I which I had just gotten one of those inexpensive booster seats with a tray that straps to a regular chair),
- "cute" baby clothes (no point to them because babies go through a ton of clothes per day with spitup and diaper blowouts. Just stick with onesies unless it's a really special occasion)
- excersaucer (my kids loved this, but not until about 6 months old)




answers from Pittsburgh on

Must haves:
Car seat and stroller
Crib, crib sheets, mattress pads, crib mattress
Diapers, wipes, wipes and more wipes
Toiletry kit
Thermometer and infant tylenol
Changing pad and covers
Bottles & bottle brush
Baby wash
Sleep sacs!!!! be sure to buy the right weight for the season your baby will be born
Diaper genie!!!!! (if you are not using a service)
Dreft detergent

Things we never used :
Blankets - I counted, we received over 40 of these. I used one to tuck in around the stroller. Otherwise - what are they for? You can't put them in the crib.
Socks - wouldn't stay on more than 15 seconds
Hats - don't see the point - and every outfit came with one.
Toys that had batteries to make noise
Burp cloths - just got lucky there
Those bulb things to suction their noses - we had 4 and never used one
Baby monitor - tried it once - jumped out of our skins the first time he cried - took out the batteries right away. Babies are perfectly capable of notifying you when they need something.

Things we never bothered buying:
Changing table - a changing pad on a large dresser was just fine
Swing - got nauseous just looking at these
Glider - as above
Childproofing stuff - never did it. A baby's finger is too big to fit in an outlet and babies shouldn't be issued pointy metal implements to jam into outlets.
Pack & Play
Wipe warmer - really?
Bottle warmer



answers from Muncie on

We bought: For my daughter, we had a lot of family and friends give us things. She was a bit of a surprise and we didn't have a lot of time for shopping.
A Boppy Pillow
Pack and play
Baby swing
Stroller/car seat two-in one thing
A lovie blanket and a black and white plush cat

For my son, we found out that our cat's a bit of a *itch and had to re-buy things. We also got a lot of "soft" items donated to us from friends and family.
A new Boppy Pillow (the cat peed on the previous one)
A new Pack and play (cat got the old one)
A 3 drawer dresser that doubles as a changing table
Stroller/car seat two-in-one
A gliding rocker with foot rest (my previous nursing chair got cat-ed too)
A new alarm clock (after 6 years the cheap-o one died)
A new diaper bag (
A lovie blanket and a plush monkey(gift from Sissy)


answers from New York on

Things you use for an infant don't get worn out so they can be passed along (and since they take up a lot of space your friends love to pass them on). My daughter got hand me downs from a friend who had twins so she received 2 of everything. Worked out great as she had something for her house and mine too.

The things that were bought new were an infant car seat, a child's car seat, a couple strollers, crib, pack and play, and a changing table. Most were gifts at her shower along with clothes and toys.

Don't go crazy buying things before the baby. You really need very little and if you find that you need something that you don't have it's a quick trip to walmart or target to pick it up.

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