9 Bare Minimum Baby Essentials – The Only Things You Need for Baby!
Usually, I’m not the type of person who will tell you that you NEED something, for anything, ever. I consider myself somewhat of a minimalist, though not in the strictest sense. But newborns bring a whole new set of needs to your home. And with them, you might want a few things to help ease your journey into motherhood. And so I have compiled a list of bare minimum baby essentials!
These essentials are the bare bones of what helped us on our journey with both boys. The items that are on this list, both of our kids have gotten a lot of. We have other things, of course, but they were items that we didn’t use as frequently.
I am not going to including diapering. We did a combination of cloth and disposables based on money savings or convenience needs. I’m also not going to be including any food/eating items. I exclusively pumped for 4 months with my first, and I’ve been breastfeeding my second. If you breastfeed and stay at home, you don’t need any feeding items for 6 months! How awesome is that?
Here is my list of bare minimum baby essentials!
Carter’s Onesies & PJs
I find that Carter’s brand were the ones with plenty of stretch that also fit the boys the best. Other brands can be somewhat baggy, or ride up in the crotch.
You can find them in packs, boy’s and girl’s styles, short or long sleeved. Start with 10 onesies and 4 PJs and go from there. You’ll be amazed at how many your newborn will go through in his or her first few months!
And obviously, depending on the time of year, you’ll also need pants, winter bunting, etc. But start with the basics, especially when the baby and you are just around the house.
Just watch the sizing. 3mo doesn’t mean three months… it means 0-3 months! Both of my boys were in the next size at least a month before, so these can run small. Check out the sizing and weight & height charts here.
You can even find these at TJ Maxx and Marshalls on discount. Stock up while you can!
Basic Crib & Accessories
There is always somewhat of a debate about whether co-sleeping or sleeping in a crib is best for babies. We went the middle route and fastened a side car crib to our bed. This ensured that I was always an arm’s reach away, but that both our boys had their own space. D doesn’t always sleep in it (he’d rather be cuddled up next to me on the bed) but he’s getting better.
We specifically chose a simple crib that we could use as a sidecar crib, then regular crib, then toddler bed! That way, we had one item that he could sleep in for a couple years at least.
You don’t need any other sheets or blankets until a baby is much older. Don’t get bumpers or put ANYTHING else in the crib! They can contribute to SIDS and suffocation.
We skipped the infant carseat. We knew that it would just be more things to purchase, and also I wasn’t particularly excited about lugging a carseat around on my arm. I opted instead for a baby carrier. (See below)
So we went right for the convertible carseat.
I highly recommend investing in a higher quality model carseat. The Safety 1st model is AWFUL! It keeps M safe, so if you’re budget-conscious, it’s an okay choice. But the straps constantly wind up, get caught, and make it difficult to strap him in snug. It’s difficult to secure and get in and out of the car.
The Evenflo is fantastic. It makes strapping D in super easy. The clips for securing the carseat are simple and easy.
Both of them are built for children 5 lbs through 40 or so. (Check specifications for more details.) So they will last you a long time!
And don’t forget to learn how to secure the 5 point harness!
We tried 4 different carriers and this was by far my favorite. I could haul around our first son when he was a year old, at 24 pounds, without killing my back and shoulders! It’s ergonomically correct for baby, and will help you keep your little one close!
If you’re planning on using it with your newborn, make sure you get the one with the newborn insert. Without it, your baby could actually slip out the leg holes. Keep your baby safe!
Also, make sure you only use the carrier in the front position, with the baby facing toward you until he or she can hold their head up (around 4-5 months). After that, you can successfully turn them to face out. Don’t carry baby on the back until much later.
This is another expensive item, but be sure to look on Craigslist, ebay, or Facebook if you have a tight budget. I managed to find a used one on Facebook Marketplace for $50! Win win!
These are absolutely essential and can be used for so many different things! The muslin swaddle blankets can be used to swaddle, of course, and they’re great because they’re big enough to make swaddling a breeze.
They can also be used as receiving blankets (as in, to receive spit-up), as a cover for breastfeeding, and a cover for a carseat or stroller!
While Aden and Anais are popular, I found them to be a little rough. I found these Margeux and May swaddles on Amazon and I very much recommend them! They are cute and SUPER soft! Boys can appreciate florals too!
I know you’re thinking that this shouldn’t be an essential since they hand out those bulb syringes at the hospital. Uck. Don’t even think of using those bulb syringes for baby’s nose! First, they don’t work very well, and second, you can’t clean them well and they need to be replaced every month or so.
Invest in the Nose Frida. It works like a charm, and if your baby gets a cold, this is going to be a life saver. M hated it, but D doesn’t mind it so much. Pair it with saline spray to make sure you get everything out and keep baby’s nasal passages moisturized during dry and cold weather!
Basic Pack n Play
This is another highly versatile item!
My husband and I like traveling a lot, so this was M’s crib on many trips. We also have used it as a diaper changer, a play place, and storage. It served as a crib when the boys were young enough to take naps in the bright light of our family room.
We have one of the most basic models, and it was all we needed. But it was great to have a place to put M or D that we knew he would be safe. It was his own space!
Boppy Pillow Lounger
We actually used this quite a bit! I put both the boys in it on the bathroom floor when I showered. I put them in it on the floor to hang out while I exercised or did yoga. They lounged in it in the pack & play when they were newborns and we needed a break from holding them!
If you don’t go with the boppy lounger, you could get a swing or bouncer… somewhere they can be safe and hang out. Many parents get all of them! I didn’t want the boys to get used to falling asleep while in motion (except in our arms), so the swing and bouncer were no-go’s for us.
Plus, the elephants are pretty cute, and it’s easy to wash/clean!
A few toys
Yes, toys are essential. I mean, don’t get a million of them. But babies, especially when they reach about 3 month, do need to be entertained and have something to stimulate them. They need something to engage their brains and work their bodies. And believe me, they will find items and turn them into toys, including your glasses, nose, a spoon, and whatever else they can get their hands on.
The two toys that were the most versatile for us were the wheel with suction cup and an exersaucer.
We loved the wheel because it’s portable, it can be manipulated and it makes noise! Oh, and it makes a great chew toy too!
The exersaucer is amazing for when baby can hold up his head but isn’t walking yet. His mind is developing SO fast, and he needs things to play with and manipulate. We use the exersaucer to put D in when I’m making M’s lunch or if he just needs some stimulation.
Make sure you don’t get one that baby can push around on the floor… it can delay walking!
Honestly, these are the only items aside from useables like diapers that we use on a daily basis. Contrary to popular belief, you don’t actually need a lot for baby! Just a few essentials and you’re really set to go!
Some other items you might want to consider:
- high chair
- books (babies are never too little to read to!)
- cloth diapering supplies
- diaper pail (we had one and never used it!)
- bibs (good for when baby starts eating solids at 6 months)
But these meet the needs of specific families and their choices for baby. The 9 items listed above were absolutely essential for us.