What do babies really need? Here is the most basic list of real baby essentials.
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As a first time pregnant mom, there is a very good chance that you are going to be completely overwhelmed by the insane amount of things people say babies need. From wipes warmers to diaper genies to playmats to boogie wipes. Some things are unnecessary and waste your money. And if you are a new mom with no idea what you will need, those posts on Pinterest that claim to have “baby essentials” are going to lead you astray, and you are going to be left asking “What do babies really need?!” I thought it would be helpful to write a list of real baby essentials for all those moms who want to know the basics of what babies really have to have.
I can assure you that this is the most basic of lists, and it only includes things you absolutely have to have to take care of your baby. There are other things (like burp rags or baby shampoo) that are nice to have, but you can substitute things laying around your home already (hand towels, regular shampoo). These are things that I really think are absolutely essential to taking care of a baby.
1. Diapers. Obviously, your baby is going to need diapers. Whether you choose cloth or disposable is up to you. I prefer disposable because I don’t want to have to clean the cloth ones (especially with two in diapers), but it’s really up to you. And if you are going to do disposable diapers, Pampers Baby Dry are my absolute favorite. I have tried store brands, Huggies, and Luvs, and Pampers have won out every time.
2. Wipes. Baby wipes are another thing you are going to have to have. They wipe up your baby and leave their skin clean and fresh. You can’t substitute toilet paper or tissues for wipes, so don’t even try. Baby wipes are very much essential, and they work great on cleaning up messes and spit-up, too!
3. Clothes. At the very least, you need some bodysuits for your baby. And depending on the season your baby is born on, you might need a hat and coat for him, too. Carter’s has my favorite little bodysuits for baby boys and girls. They are so cute and I love all the bright colors they have.
4. Place for baby to sleep. You will need to get either a crib, a bassinet, or a pack ‘n play for your baby to sleep in. Please do not sleep with your newborn baby in your bed. Babies who sleep in the same bed as their parents have a higher risk of dying from SIDS. You can use a co-sleeper (like a mini pack ‘n play) that attaches to the side of your bed, but don’t put your baby in bed with you. Anyway, you need a designated place for your baby to sleep. There are several options, so just find what works for you.
5. Car seat. You have to have a car seat. Seriously, there is no way around it. A lot of hospitals make sure you have a car seat to bring your baby home, but they can’t legally prevent you from taking your baby home without one. It is against the law to have a baby in your car without a car seat, though. So make sure you have a rear-facing car seat properly installed in your car (and make sure you aren’t making any of these 8 common car seat mistakes). I don’t know in what situation you wouldn’t ever drive with your baby, especially since you have to take your baby to the doctor several times their first few months. Anyway, car seats are 100% essential.
6. Formula or breastmilk. Babies have to eat. So you either need formula (and a bottle) for them, or you need to breastfeed them. I feel like I don’t need to explain why this is essential.
There are a lot of things you don’t need to stress over buying because they aren’t absolutely essential. Changing pads (lay your baby on the floor on a blanket), rocking chairs (just sit in a regular chair), a swing or bouncer (nice, but not essential), a chest carrier (again, nice, but not essential), a baby bath (just lay baby in the bath with a very low amount of water and a towel under their head), and even a diaper bag (use a regular bag) are all things that are not essential for raising a baby.
Honestly, if you look at this list, babies do not HAVE to have a lot of things. Most of what people get for their babies are things to make taking care of their baby easier. So next time someone asks you “what do I need to buy for my baby,” please don’t tell them that a $50 playmat is essential. I can assure you, it’s not.