Choosing items for your baby can be overwhelming. Young babies, however, do not need most of the paraphernalia that is strewn throughout stores and geared toward expectant parents. Consider purchasing only what your baby will need during his or her first few months of life and waiting to buy the rest.
Diaper Changing Items
During your first weeks home with your baby, you will go through many diapers. If you are planning to use disposable diapers, buy one or two packages of newborn-sized diapers, and several packages of Size 1 diapers. If you will be using cloth diapers, have two to three dozen diapers and six to eight diaper covers on hand. Also stock up on unscented baby wipes or baby washcloths. Buy a tube of diaper cream and a jar of petroleum jelly.
If you plan to breastfeed your baby, purchase breast pads and two to three nursing bras. If you will be returning to work or would like to pump milk, invest in a breast pump and breast milk storage bags. You will also need to buy bottles; if you will be working full-time, buy at least six 4-oz. bottles and six 8-oz. bottles. If you will be bottle-feeding only occasionally, two 4-oz. bottles will be sufficient at first. If you plan to formula-feed your baby, ask your pediatrician for a recommendation as to which formula you should buy. Purchase only a few cans, in case your baby has a reaction and must switch brands. Buy a minimum of 12 baby bottles and newborn nipples. Also buy one or two bottle brushes to help with cleaning the bottles and nipples.
It is important to have a safe place available for your baby to sleep. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) recommends placing your baby in a crib with a firm mattress. Buy a new crib if at all possible; this will eliminate the possibility that the crib you choose does not meet federal safety requirements. If you must buy a used crib, look for slats that are no more than 2 3/8 inches apart; a mattress that fits snugly in the crib; latches that hold the side of the crib securely, and no loose or missing slats, screws or bolts.
If you plan on taking your baby in a vehicle, a car seat is essential. Buy a new car seat if possible; a used car seat may be expired or may not have up-to-date safety features. Many parents prefer an infant carrier car seat during the early months, as it makes it easy to transport the baby from the car to the house. Infant carrier car seats also fit into many grocery carts, making shopping more convenient. Read all of the instructions before installing your seat, and if possible, see a certified car seat technician to check your car seat installation before your baby is born.
You'll need to be prepared to dress your new baby as well. To get started you'll need around 5 to 7 infant gowns or sleepers, 5 to 10 baby t-shirts or onesies, 3 to 5 pairs of socks or baby booties, a couple newborn hats and cold weather sleepers if your baby is born in the winter.