10 Must Have Items For Baby’s First Year

Top Ten Essential Baby Items For Your Little One

infant stroller - top ten essential baby itemsWe’ve created a list of the top ten essential baby items you will definitely use when your little on arrives. When you’re having a baby, whether it’s your first or your fifth, it can be easy to forget something essential when you’re preparing for their arrival. This is a list compiled of the main things you will need to ensure your baby is safe and happy in their first year.

There are many, many items available for your baby’s nursery and your home which will make your life easier and more convenient, but if you’re just starting out and want to ensure you’ve got the basics covered, this list is for you. Here is the short list, but there are further explanations below on essential baby items:

  1.  Baby Clothes
  2. Bibs
  3. Diapers
  4. Stroller
  5. Car Seat
  6. Feeding Accessories
  7. Crib & Mattress
  8. Bedding
  9. Monitor
  10. Pacifier

Essential Baby Items For Your Arrival

Baby Clothes

Baby sizes are generally categorized as preemie, newborn, 3 months, 6 months 9 months and 12 months. Your doctor can give you an indication, but you won’t actually know the size of your little one until they actually arrive. Many babies won’t need preemie clothes and some will even skip newborn sizes and go straight to the next size up. It can be difficult to predict so you should be sure to have a few items of smaller sizes just in case. Remember that babies grow very quickly, so don’t overdo it. You’re also highly likely to receive many items of clothing from friends and loved ones so as tempting as it is, go easy buying those lovely tiny newborn outfits. You will also want to be sure that you have a few items of the next size up ready to go.

  1. Ease and comfort
  2. Durability
  3. Plenty of room in the neck to easily slip over their head
  4. One pieces that open easily for a diaper change – without having to go over their head!
  5. Clothing that will layer to cool or warm your baby as needed
  6. Separates – leggings and t-shirts, pull on pants and turtlenecks allow you to keep some clothes on your infant when they have soiled the opposite end.
  7. Stretchy waistbands – your little one is going to gain weight
  8. Avoid choking hazards – ribbons, strings, tassels and pom poms.
  9. Lots of socks and booties to keep little toes warm – look for non-skid bottoms when your baby is mobile
  10. Sleepwear that lets you get to a dirty diaper easily and is comfortable for your little one. As tempting as it is, avoid adorable and go for practical at sleep time.


These are essential, like an apron in the kitchen they will protect your infant’s clothes from mess and grime. These are especially important when your baby is teething as they will drool almost continuously. You are sure to find a style of bib which suits your needs and personality (and that of your baby). While you wont really need them the day you come home from hospital, you’re going to realize rather quickly as your baby grows that these are one of your essential baby items.


There are so many options today – cloth, disposable or the in between option of a reusable outer and disposable inner lining and you are going to have plenty of use no matter your choice.

Your baby is going to have about 10 – 12 diaper changes per day at first. Like clothing, diapers come in sizes to suit your little one. Often friends and loved ones like to give diapers as a gift, they are thoughtful and useful presents. Be careful you don’t stock up on newborn diapers when you’re planning for your little one because they often grow so fast that you won’t use them all.

You will also need wipes, and you can buy these or use a washcloth and warm water. No matter your choice you will need more than one when you are cleaning up soiled diapers and it’s important to be prepared.

A changing pad or table can be useful, but they are not essential. Many parents use just a towel on the bed or floor. What is important is having a designated place for diaper changes where you can keep your supplies and its part of your little one’s routine. **Remember to keep your hand on your baby at all times if they are on an elevated surface when you’re changing them.

Strollers and Carriers

A baby carrier is lovely, it means your little one snuggles close to you and frees up your hands, but they aren’t essential. Some parents recommend slings, but please note that slings have been linked to injury and suffocation and should be used with caution. The US Consumer Product Safety Commission has some useful information on using slings you may like to read here.

A stroller is an efficient and essential baby item – it’s how you’ll get your little one around. Here are some pointers to consider when buying your stroller.

  1.  Easy to clean or launder
  2. No exposed springs or other areas little fingers may get stuck
  3. You can lift it, operate it and get it easily in and out of your car. You should ask the store assistant to help you and most stores will let you take a demo model out to your vehicle to check all of this.
  4. Consider your lifestyle:
  • Are you going up a lot of stairs?
  • Are you going no further than the grocery store?
  • Are you taking your stroller off road?
  • Are you wanting a stroller with extra storage space?
  • Do you want the option of facing your baby or having them face out?
  • Do you want a stroller with a detachable car seat?

 For more information check out our guide to buying a stroller here.

Car Seat

If your little one travels in a car, a car seat is mandatory. No matter how tiny your budget, avoid buying a used car seat. Safety regulations change, it may have been in an accident (which means it can no longer be used) or it may have gone over its use by date (there is a sticker you need to check).

One you have purchased your car seat you can opt to have it professionally fitted and checked to ensure your little one is secure.

Feeding – Breast or Formula

Whether you choose to breast feed or bottle feed your little one, there are a few essential baby items you are going to need. When you are first nursing your baby you may find that a nursing pillow helps you to support your baby and prevent you straining your neck and shoulders. A pillow off your bed can be just as effective if you’re on a budget, just shift it around until you and your baby are comfortable.

  • Sore nipples are a very common occurrence when you’re breast feeding, and you’ll definitely need something to soothe them. Lanolin ointment is a popular option available from your local drug store.
  • Breast pads – these are essential to keep your shirts and bra clean and dry. Your breasts will leak when you are nursing, it’s normal. You can get reusable or disposable breast pads.
  • Burp cloths are essential to catch all those baby fluids when they spit-up.
  • Bottles – if you’re feeding your baby from a bottle you will need to tart with a 4 ounce when they are a newborn and move on to an 8 ounce when they start to eat more. Remember that you will also need the nipples – at least as many nipples as bottles.
  • Formula is essential if you aren’t planning to breast feed. Talk to your health care provider about the options and what will work best for you.
  • Bottle brushes – for when you’re cleaning your infant bottles these will get into all of the small parts of bottles and nipples.

infant crib - essential baby itemsCrib & Mattress

I am sure there are many of us whose parents’ first crib was the bottom drawer of the bureau, and some parents will choose to co-sleep or sleep share with their infant but overall, a crib is considered to be an essential baby item.

Sometimes parents will use a bassinet or Moses basket initially with their newborn, but you can use a crib from the day you bring your baby home. There are many styles and colors for cribs and crib mattresses; you should choose one which best suits you. Talk to the store assistant and remember that drop side cribs have been banned in the US since 2010.

Crib Bedding

You will see hundreds of different baby bedding sets in stores while you are choosing items for your little one, and as sweet as they are they are essentially unnecessary. What is essential are a few fitted crib sheets, a waterproof crib mattress pad and depending on the weather a few blankets to swaddle your infant. The bumpers, pillows and quilts that make up baby sets are not recommended to be left in while a baby sleeps because they are linked to an increase in the risk of SIDS. (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome).

Baby monitor

These are devices which come with a transmitter and a receiver, allowing you to listen out for your baby while you are in another room. Generally used in your baby’s nursery, they can pick up sounds from within ten feet – far enough to keep cords out of reach but close enough to pick up your infant’s cries. Are they essential? Some would say yes and others not really, but they do give new Mom’s peace of mind.


Some parents don’t want to use a pacifier, and others will swear by them. Some babies are overly attached and others are indifferent to a pacifier. While they are not a necessity, it’s useful to have at least one. Even if you don’t plan on using one, they can be a lifesaver (and sleep saver) if you buy one and have it tucked away as a “just in case”.


Number eleven and it’s not an essential item, but a few play things are lovely to have. If you’re on a tight budget, your little one doesn’t need a lot of things but a few soft toys, rattles or chunky books are nice to include in your nursery.

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