Jun 17, 2024
June 17, 2024

Newborn baby essentials 101

Preparing for a new baby can feel overwhelming, especially if you're a new parent. There's a crib to assemble, baby gear to purchase, and plenty of diapering and sleeping essentials to set up in the nursery. To help you feel more prepared, we've created a list of everything you'll need once your baby arrives.
Dahlia Rimmon, RDN
Written by
Dahlia Rimmon, RDN
Content Writer
Dr. Marcy Borieux
Medically reviewed by
Dr. Marcy Borieux

Baby sleep

Even if your baby doesn't sleep in their own room right away, you'll need many things to ensure your baby has safe and restful sleep.

Crib or bassinet

Choose a crib or bassinet that adheres to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) safety standards to ensure a safe sleeping environment for your baby. Never use cribs that have been recalled, have broken pieces or parts, or are missing hardware.

Blankets, pillows, bedding, bumper pads, stuffed animals, and toys should be kept out of cribs and bassinets. Avoid attaching items to the crib slats, including toys or pacifiers, as they can pose a suffocation or strangulation risk. Never put your baby to sleep if any of these items are present in their sleep environment.


Crib and bassinet mattresses should be firm and fit snugly into the crib or bassinet.


Crib and bassinet sheets should be tight-fighting and the proper size for the mattress.


Blankets aren’t safe for infants, so try a snug-fitting swaddle to keep your baby warm. There is a wide range of swaddles available, from wrap-style to zippered or velcro designs. Choose one that's easy for you to use and ensures your baby stays securely wrapped without wriggling.

Sound machine

While sound machines aren’t necessary, they can be useful for blocking out noise and helping your baby sleep more soundly as they often mimic sounds from their time in the womb. This is especially helpful if you have older siblings running around or a noisy pet. Be sure to choose one with an adjustable volume, which can be modified to no more than 50 decibels.

Baby feeding

Whether you're breastfeeding, formula-feeding, or combining both, here are some helpful feeding essentials for your baby.

Baby bottles

It is hard to know what bottle your baby will prefer, so have a few different types on hand. Feeding is a new skill, and there can be some trial and error. Some bottles work better for certain babies than others. Our favorite bottles have anti-colic features that minimize air intake, helping to reduce gas and stomach upset. It’s also important to ensure you're feeding your baby with the newborn-size nipple to ensure the right milk flow.

As parents ourselves, we also recommend having a few extra bottles on hand so you don’t need to clean them after each use since you’ll need one every few hours in those first months.

Infant formula

If your baby is receiving infant formula, research the different types available. There are many options, from hypoallergenic to organic to hydrolyzed formulas. You may not know which one your baby will need until they arrive and what they might prefer as time passes, but it’s a good idea to research ahead of time so you know what your options are. If you have any questions about infant formula, reach out to your local or Summer Health pediatrician for individualized support.

Breastfeeding-friendly clothing

Purchase a few loose-fitting or button-up tops and nursing bras. Having a shirt that is loose or open in the front means you can feed more easily in public and will not need to change or remove your clothing every time you breastfeed. Nursing bras are helpful because your breasts will grow after birth as they fill with milk, and the support from a nursing bra can prevent back pain.

Lactation consultation

If you feel overwhelmed by the idea of breastfeeding, schedule an appointment with a lactation consultant to start your journey with valuable knowledge and support. They can teach you about feeding rhythms, latching techniques, and breastfeeding fundamentals to set you and your baby up for a successful feeding experience. If you need additional assistance after your baby arrives, lactation consultants are invaluable resources, especially if you suspect your baby has a poor latch or struggles with breastfeeding. Please contact Summer Health’s lactation team for individualized guidance and support.


With a newborn, you’ll be changing a lot of diapers, and you’ll need a few packs of diapers and wipes to keep by the changing table. Our favorite diapers and wipes are fragrance-free and hypoallergenic to minimize allergic reactions and rashes. Here are some other diapering essentials you'll need:

  • Changing pad
  • Diaper rash cream or ointment
  • Diaper pail

Bathing your baby

Since newborns still have their umbilical cord stump, giving them a sponge bath is the best to keep the umbilical area dry. Avoid submerging the stump in water until it falls off, typically around the 2-week mark. For sponge baths and regular baths, you'll need:

  • Infant bathtub
  • Soft washcloths
  • Gentle body wash or baby shampoo (fragrance-free and hypoallergenic)
  • Towel

Baby clothing

While it's tempting to dress your newborn in adorable baby clothing at all times, they really only need sleepers during the newborn stage. Babies can wear sleepers or onesies around the clock. Since babies are still learning to regulate their temperature, they may require additional layers like hats, socks, and undershirts to keep them warm.

You also never know if you'll have a "happy spitter," a baby that frequently spits up. If you do, you may need several changes of clothing and burp cloths.

Baby on-the-go

A car seat is the most important item when taking your baby for a ride or during travel. Your little one should always be securely strapped into a car seat when they’re in transit. It’s also the safest way for babies to fly. Here are a few more practical items to keep in mind:

  • Stroller
  • Diaper bag with baby essentials
  • Baby carrier or wrap
  • Portable crib or pack-n-play

Other baby essentials

Here are some additional baby essentials and less necessary but fun little luxuries for your baby:

  • Pacifier
  • Night light
  • Rocking chair or glider
  • Play mat
  • Baby toys
  • Nursing pillow
  • Bottle warmer
  • Bottle sterilizer
  • Breast pump
  • Bottle-drying rack
  • Baby bottle brush
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