As a first-time parent, it can be hard to know what you need. When finances are tight, it starts to feel like you may be buying things you don’t need. Often this is the case; other times, you shock yourself with how many you need (I’m looking at you burp cloths!). You’ll receive many of the same gifts (blankets!), and sometimes you don’t get the gift you want. Here is a list of the must-haves versus the nice-to-haves. Plus, a few don’t bother items.

If your budget allows for the nice-to-haves, they’ll make your life a little easier. But if you’re making these purchases on a budget, you’ll manage fine with these must-have baby items.

Here is a FREE printable version of the list below.

baby items checklist








Bassinet or crib
Crib mattress
Mattress protector
Baby Monitor (unnecessary for smaller houses and apartments)

Nice to haves/Makes a great gift
Bassinet (nice to have, but your baby will outgrow it in a hot minute)
Rocking chair
Mobile and fancy décor (makes a great gift- people love to purchase pretty items!)

Don’t bother:
Crib bumpers – They’ve proven themselves to be dangerous, and they’re useless, your baby will be fine.

Changing table – Once baby is rolling it’s safest to change on the floor or your bed, plus it’s easier to not be committed to one room for changing. Get yourself multiple changing pads and leave them around the house – you can change on the couch, the floor, or wherever is most convenient.


Diapers (2 packs to begin)
Healing/diaper rash ointment
Changing pad (or towel)
Wipes and washcloths (10)

Nice to haves/Makes a great gift
Diaper pail

Don’t bother:
Pee teepee
Wipes warmer (even the Queen of England never had a wipes warmer. Your baby will be fine)


Onesies (7 or more)
Rompers (2-4)
Pyjamas/sleeping gowns (7 or more)
Sun hat

Weather dependent:
Wool hat
Car seat cover

Nice to haves/Makes a great gift
Scratch-proof mittens (this is the type of item that you only buy once you realize whether you need it or not)
Shirt & pants/shorts sets/ cute dresses

Don’t bother:
Baby clothing hangers – you’ll likely just be folding and putting into a drawer, so as a newborn, don’t bother with the teeny tiny hangers.
Socks – Ok, maaaybe 1 or 2 pairs, but most baby clothing has feet. Socks don’t stay on and good luck finding them. If you do buy socks- make sure they all match, because you don’t want to waste your time matching pair.


washcloths (5 or 6)
Baby soap and shampoo
baby brush (if babe has hair!)
Nail clippers or file

Nice to haves/Makes a great gift
Infant tub
Hooded towels

Don’t bother:
Baby powder (why do they even make this still?)


Name Labels– because nobody wants a germy mix-up! Plus, you picked such a great name, show it off!
Baby car seat
Baby carrier/sling
Diaper bag

Nice to haves/Makes a great gift
Insulated milk carrier (otherwise, just use lunch bag and some ice packs)


Infant playmat
Pacifiers (and these!)
Nasal aspirator (this seems like you don’t need it- until you do)
Infant medicine (just a few basics to cover you until you can see a doctor: saline spray, infant pain meds, ointments)

Nice to haves/Makes a great gift
Nursing pillow
Swing or vibrating/ rocking seat


This list will change for everyone, some babies may need a nipple guard, some mamas might want to supplement. Here is a basic idea of what you need to be with, but your list may grow as your feeding needs change and you and baby find your own groove.

Must-haves for breastfed babies:
Burp cloths (6 or more)
Breast milk storage bags
Breast pump
Nursing bra

Must-haves for bottle fed babies:
Baby bottles (8 or more)
Bottle cleaning brush or a dishwasher basket
Formula (for a month)
Cotton bibs (6 or more)
Milk storage bags (if using expressed milk)
Baby bottle labels

Nice to haves/Makes a great gift for bottle fed babies:
Bottle sterilizer
Bottle warmer

Feeding is the most difficult to buy for, it’s best to get your journey started knowing you’ll need to make some runs to the store to try a new product or get what you need. Don’t stress about the feeding list, it’s going to change, and you can’t plan ahead for it.

Here is a great read if you’re struggling with baby bottles!

If you’ve read through the list, you’re likely feeling overwhelmed, well, welcome to parenthood! Kidding aside, this is a suggested list, everyone’s situation and priorities are different, and you’ll ease into what works best for you and your family. Regardless of what you buy – one thing is certain; parenthood will bring you many ups and downs, but the ups will be the moments you remember and cherish forever.


Mabel's Labels is the leading provider of personalized labels for the stuff kids tend to lose.

Write A Comment