It takes time to prepare yourself, your home, and your family for the arrival of a new baby. There is so much to consider when planning baby’s arrival. Everyone has a different opinion on what exactly is needed to prepare yourself to bring your baby home, so I have compiled the checklist that I used when we brought home our two children. It is a checklist that is practical and will come in handy as your due date approaches. This baby checklist has items ranging from big baby equipment, baby essentials, baby clothes, and goes all the way down to the smallest baby items.
Baby Checklist: Big Baby Equipment and Baby Furniture
o Car Seat – This is the single most important item on your checklist that you must have prepared for your baby’s homecoming. The hospital will not let you bring home your newborn unless you have a properly installed car seat in your car. The car seat must be rear-facing and have a five-point harness. Most communities have a car seat installation program if you are unsure how to install it. To find a program near you check with your local fire station or hospital.
o Crib – Your newborn needs a place to sleep. You can decide if you like the crib or a bassinet better for your newborn. Your baby should be moved from a bassinet as soon as she is able to roll over.
o Crib Sheets – I would suggest you have at least three, clean crib sheets available at all times. This way you can easily change your newborn’s bedding in the middle of the night if necessary.
o Bassinet – Both of my children slept in a bassinet for their first two months. I think that they felt more secure being in closer surroundings than they did when I put them in their crib.
o Bassinet Sheets – As with crib sheets, you will need at least three bassinet sheets.
o Stroller – A stroller may not be necessary right away depending on where you live.
o Changing table or pad – A changing pad goes on top of a small dresser. The changing table or pad should have straps so you can secure your baby without worrying about him inadvertently rolling off the table.
Baby Checklist: Feeding Essentials
o Breast pads
o Breast pump – Not all mothers who are planning to breastfeed are able to. If you are looking at breast pumps you may want to wait to purchase a breast pump until you are sure that breastfeeding is going to work out for you and your newborn.
o Breast milk storage bags or containers
o Nursing pillow
o Bottle feeding
o Bottles – Your newborn will start with the small 4 oz. bottles. Make sure you purchase the newborn nipples with small holes.
o Formula – It is hard to say which formula your baby will like or tolerate. Do not stock up on any particular kind in case your baby develops and allergy or intolerance to certain types of formulas. You will still need to have a small supply on hand for when you bring your baby home.
o Bottle sterilizer – You will need to sterilize your bottles and nipples after every feeding in order to prevent mouth diseases such as thrush.
o Bottle drying rack
o Bottle brush
Baby Checklist: Essential Baby Items
o Diapers – Whether you decide to use clothe or disposable diapers you need a healthy supply on hand when you bring your newborn home.
o Baby wipes – You will need at least one tub of baby wipes to start.
o Pacifier – Newborns have a natural sucking reflex which may be confused with hunger.
o Blankets – You will need a few styles of blankets that consist of different materials depending on temperature.
o Thermometer – You never know when a baby will get sick.
o Infant’s acetaminophen – Again, you never know when a baby will get sick.
o Diaper rash cream – Babies do not necessarily cry when they are dirty, after all, they’ve spent the last nine months in fluid. Diaper rash cream is a necessity just in case you miss a diaper change.
o Bathtub – Make sure it is an infant tub that will support your newborn.
o Baby bath wash – The baby wash needs to be hypo-allergenic.
o Washcloths and towels – You will need at least four sets of washcloths and towels.
o Burp clothes – All babies spit up, these are essential.
o Baby Monitor – A baby monitor is only essential if you are planning on having your baby sleep or nap in a separate room from you. There are so many styles to choose from including audio, audio-video, and just video.
o Batteries – Check all of your baby equipment to find out which things need batteries. You don’t want to get stuck running out for batteries late at night in order to sooth a crying baby. Our oldest son was a week old when we discovered that his swing needed batteries. My husband rushed out before the store closed in order to sooth our crying newborn.
Baby Checklist: Baby Clothes
Your baby’s clothes should be appropriate for the season. Select cooler clothes if your baby is born in the summer and warmer clothes if your baby is born in the winter. It doesn’t matter which season your baby is born in, you will still need:
o Onesies or bodysuits
Baby Checklist: Hospital Bag
The outfit and accessories that your baby will be going home with will depend on the weather and temperature. For your hospital bag consider:
o Receiving blankets
o Going home outfit
Baby Checklist: Gifts and Older Siblings
o Gift from baby to older siblings – A gift from your baby to your older children will help your kids understand that they are still a special part of the family, even if most of the attention is going to the new baby.
o Gift to baby from older siblings – Have your older children pick out a gift that they can give to the new baby as soon as she is born. This will help your older children accept and adjust to a baby brother or sister. You may consider getting a book to give to the new baby and have your older child read it to the baby to promote bonding between them.
o Books – Reading stories is important in helping children understand that there is going to be a new addition to the family. This will help with their comprehension that a new baby is not a replacement.
Baby Checklist: The Extra Baby Items for Convenience
o Baby sling, backpack, or carrier – These devices may free up your hands while still keeping your baby close to you.
o Swaddler – Swaddlers take the place of receiving blankets. They are pre-formed to swaddle your newborn.
o Playpen or travel yard – Most travel yards come with a bassinet that may be needed in the first couple of months.
o Infant Swing – A swing may sooth a cranky baby with motion and music.
o Infant chair – This is also more popularly known as a bouncy seat. Many of these seats play music and vibrate in order to keep your baby entertained.
o Infant sized hangers
o Bottle warmer – Bottle warmers are important for heating formula and breast milk to the correct temperature.
o Bottle drying rack
o Diaper pale
o Infant mittens – Babies have a tendency to scratch their faces. Mittens will help protect them from scratches.
Baby Checklist: Mom and Dad’s To-Do List
o You will need to wash all baby clothes, blankets, and bedding in a hypo-allergenic laundry detergent such as Dreft.
o Get your car seat checked for proper installation.
o Put together a gift registry if this is your first baby.
o Once your hospital bag is packed, put it in the car. This is one less thing you will have to remember when you go into labor.
The list of baby supplies can be endless. This baby checklist will help you prepare for the first few weeks after you bring your newborn home.