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8 Essential Things You Need to Bring Home a Newborn
July 5, 2023

8 Essential Things You Need to Bring Home a Newborn

By Babylist Team
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8 Essential Things You Need to Bring Home a Newborn.
8 Essential Things You Need to Bring Home a Newborn

There are a lot of things we buy for our babies before they arrive. Some, like diapers, are super important. Others, maybe not.

If you’re hoping to take a minimalist approach to baby rearing or simply want to start with the basics and see what baby likes—and you too!—before you buy more, this list will help take you from the hospital to home. So you can handle most situations, from car rides to naps to feeding, that’ll come your way in those early days and weeks.

A Car Seat

For babies, car seats come in convertible or infant. An infant car seat is specifically designed for baby’s first year of life. It’s always rear-facing and is simple to click in and out of the car seat base, so you can transport baby easily. Be sure to check out our guide to the best infant car seats to help you with your research.

Convertible car seats, or infant to toddler car seats, have higher weight limits so you can use them longer. To see all the differences (and similarities) between convertible and infant car seats, see our roundup of the overall best car seats for all ages and stages. But keep in mind that no matter which one you choose, the hospital or birthing center won’t let you go home with baby in a car without one, so this is pretty essential.

A Safe Sleeping Spot

Nothing will guarantee you a full night’s sleep with a new baby, but a cozy, safe place to put baby down for some snoozing (even if it’s just for 45-minute spurts) is key. Many parents love using a bassinet or co-sleeper in their bedroom with a newborn.

You can also choose to use a full-size crib right from the start.

Tip: Purchase a crib mattress that fits your specific crib (most crib mattresses are double-sided, with a harder side for baby’s first months). And keep the crib or bassinet free of blankets, pillows and stuffed animals.


Whether you decide to use cloth diapers or disposable diapers, diapers are a must (babies go through 8 to 10 day). The hospital probably will send you home with a stack of newborn disposable diapers, but make sure to have some newborn and size 1 diapers waiting for you at home.

Tip: Stash multiple packs of wipes around the house, in your bag and in the car in case of diaper-change or other cleaning emergencies. Also have some diaper cream on hand to help soothe diaper rash.

A Baby Carrier

In the first few weeks (and beyond), nothing is sweeter than keeping your babe snuggled up against your chest. It can help your baby feel secure, like they’re still in the womb, and carriers let you have your hands free.

There are tons of baby-wearing options on the market, and you should try on some to find what feels most comfortable for you (though baby may have other opinions once they arrive).

A sling or wrap style are great for keeping newborns close.

Structured carrier styles tend to last longer, as you can usually use them until your baby is in the toddler years, but some need an infant insert to be used with newborns (and most inserts need to be purchased separately).

Be sure to check out our full guide to the best baby carriers for more options and to help you choose the right one for you (and baby).

A Stroller

While you’re car seat shopping, you may want to think about strollers too. Many popular car seat brands also make travel systems, in which your infant car seat connects with the stroller, so you can get moving right away. Once baby is able to sit upright, you can use the full-size stroller on its own. Be sure to check out of guide for the best baby strollers for even more expert-tested and parent-loved options.

Baby Clothes

You already may be eyeing adorable ensembles like frilly dresses and little jackets, but wait until your baby is bigger for those Instagram-ready outfits. New babies can go through lots of outfits in a day, so sticking to the basics is a great place to start: think wrap-front tops for quick changes, snap-crotch cotton bodysuits that come in multi-packs and swaddles for sleeping. A few hats and socks or baby booties can help keep them cozy.

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Bottles make it possible to share feeding time with other caregivers, whether baby is eating formula or breastmilk. Choose a slow-flow nipple for the early months—and know that some babies prefer certain bottles over others, so you might want to try a few before you commit to one brand. This starter pack includes five popular bottle brands so you can see which kind baby (and your whole family) prefers.

If you breastfeed, a breast pump can be useful to help get and keep that milk flowing. (You can also get a free breast pump through insurance with Babylist Health.)

Tip: Manual pumps are good in a pinch or if you’re not planning to pump a lot, while electric pumps are faster and more efficient, whether you’ll be pumping occasionally or all the time.

First Aid and Grooming

You may not need all of the items in this first aid and grooming kit right away (or even ever), but having them on hand just in case can give you peace of mind. Nail clippers help tame those tiny-but-sharp newborn nails, a rectal thermometer can help you determine if it really is a fever and a nasal bulb and saline spray can help relieve stuffy noses. Developed with ER doctors, the Babylist First Aid & Grooming Kit also comes with info to help you navigate things like infant CPR and when to call the doctor.

When it comes to getting ready for your baby, it’s the essentials that matter most at first. You then can decide on some of the other “nice to haves” once you’ve met your new little one.

This information is provided for educational and entertainment purposes only. We do not accept any responsibility for any liability, loss or risk, personal or otherwise, incurred as a consequence, directly or indirectly, from any information or advice contained here. Babylist may earn compensation from affiliate links in this content. Learn more about how we write Babylist content and review products, as well as the Babylist Health Advisory Board.