Checklist for Baby Needs

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See also: Where to Buy Kids' Stuff and What's the one ''must have'' item?
Jan 2000

Does anyone know a good book or resource for a checklist of the things you need to buy in preparing for the new baby (e.g. car seat, bibs, etc.). Even if the checklist has more items than you really need, it would still be helpful. Thanks, Sharon

I found Girlfriend's Guide to Pregnancy not only humorous, but quite accurate in a good down to earth checklist for the basics for a new baby. Everyone's must have's vary, as I found out from consulting various friends, but this book's list gave me the basics and I added as I went along. Ann
There's a book I bought with my first called Checklist for a new baby by Dylan Landis. It had more stuff than most people need, but it had a pretty comprehensive checklist.
What to Expect the First Year has a good checklist. A couple of things I would add to it are What to Expect the First Year--it's a great book that answered (and still answers) a lot of my questions as a first-time mom. I would also add a bouncy seat with a vibrator. I don't think we could've have lived without it. My daughter has just turned four months and is just beginning to tire of it. It was great the first few months, because it was somewhere she could be besides laying down and the vibrator would often help settle her down. Karyn
Before our baby was born, my husband said he didn't want to buy much of anything until we had the baby and saw what we needed. I kind of wanted to have everything in place ahead of time, but I went along with my husband's request. For us, it worked out well. We ended up buying very few of the things that I would have thought we'd need; I just didn't know how it would be ahead of time. This even included never buying a crib; I didn't have any strong philosophical leaning toward the family bed, but we just ended up sleeping with the baby in our bed and liking it, so we never had to have a crib. Also, after the baby was born, lots of people, some that we didn't even know that well, just gave or lent us all kinds of stuff. We saved a ton of money over what I would have spent, got things that were really useful when we knew better what those would be, and didn't clutter up our house with lots of stuff that we didn't really want. Alexandra
I agree with the person who suggested waiting to see what you need, with a few exceptions. One being a car seat of course (and a snap 'n' go to go with it). And whatever you do get that needs ANY kind of setup or installation - do it ahead of time and PRACTICE (if applicable). Trying to do things like set up the diaper genie or unsnap the snap 'n' go - both of which are really really easy -- seemed impossibly frustrating and stressful on no sleep, with or without the baby squalling nearby. I'd also recommend lots of onesie tshirts, flannel receiving blankets, and those waterproof pad thing-ys (you need very few changing table covers or sheets if you use these). I bought some of each of those and went back to Target for more during the first week. Also, I struggled with my practical side which said take whatever used things you can get and my consumerist materialist catalog-reading side which said I want all shiny new perfect stuff for my baby. To encourage the former, I bribed myself - whatever I got used, I calculated what it would have cost new and put that in my baby's college fund. His first semester at Harvard (well, first two weeks) is paid for... Fran
Date: Fri, 10 Jan 1997 10:39:55 -0800
From: Kathy

I really enjoyed What to Expect the First Year. It is by the same authors as What to Expect when Your Expecting. It has a lot of good information about what you need for the baby (clothes, etc.) and talks about both breastfeeding and bottle feeding and follows the same month-by month format as the expecting book.

Happy reading

Date: Fri, 10 Jan 97 14:39:16 EST
From: Beth

I have a book called Check List for Your New Baby by Dylan Landis, Perigee Books published by Putnam, 1991. It's not bad, but it does encourage you to buy a fair amount of stuff, so if you're on a low budget you need to keep in mind that all you really need is a car seat (if you have a car) and, eventually, a crib. I have my own list that I've sent to a few friends, and I'll e-mail it to you if you ask.

From: Dawn (Jan 1998)

In answer to your question: So what don't I have that i will need immediately? -K Very little! Not as much as the books say. In the first days, I found I needed: *LOTS of receiving blankets (5 to 6) *diapers & wipes *alcohol and q tips, or alcohol swabs (for cord care) *several Newborn size sleeper outfits (sacks are great for home (easy diaper changes), but not good for the car seat) *some place for the baby to sleep (could be your bed) *car seat *warmer blanket for car ride *burp cloths (I had a dozen, which was NOT too many) *1 teeny tiny hat for baby for car rides *comfy clothes for Mom that open up the front (if you're nursing) *at least 2 nursing nightgowns for Mom (ditto) Really, I can't think of much else that we actually USED. We never used the bassinet, for instance, because she slept with us. Toys are irrelevant, as are mobiles, etc. Your little one won't need them for a couple of months at least. And you can bathe the baby in the sink (after the cord falls off). Let me know if you plan to breastfeed, and I can get you contact info for La Leche League. Their next evening meeting is next Thursday (1/15, at 7:00 at Mt. Zion Church on Park in Oakland), and I plan to go. I'd recommend attending before the birth if you can. That way, you know some of the folks, and don't feel so strange calling during those critical first days of nursing. Likewise, if you will be having a girl, and would be interested in buying or borrowing a few clothes, let me know. Good luck! Dawn Step Mom to Victoria (age 13) Mom to Allegra (age 11 mos)

From: Naomi (Jan 1998)

The only other thing I would add that we used is onesie type undershirts, and I think that was because our son was born in early December. You'll need a bunch, if you do use them, because they get soiled almost as often as the diaper covers, but it does cut down on changing the outer clothing. I didn't like the regular undershirts nearly as well- always bunching up and exposing tummies. You might want some booties or socks if you have non-footed garments. Oh, and rubber coated lap pads were very useful (especially with boys, since they have a tendency to wet everything in sight while being changed!). Have fun!

From: Fran (Jan 1998)

When I attended a breastfeeding class, the teacher recommended that you get flannel-coated rubber sheeting and put it under your bottom bed sheet so that when your milk leaks it doesn't go to the mattress. These come in various shapes and sizes. I had two that were about 18x18 and two that were large enough to wrap around a basinette mattress. (They make good mattress protectors for babies.) The flannel keeps you (or a baby) from getting sweaty from the rubber. I also used it under my sleeping baby when he wasn't in his bed. Someone recommended to a friend of mine that they can be used as changing pads, too. I think they're machine washable. I think we got ours at Target on San Pablo in El Cerrito.

From: Mari

to the woman who wanted to know what she needed for a newborn that she doesn't have:

I just read a great article in the latest Mothering, the Magazine of Natural Parenting on this subject and it's pretty novel. This person asserts that we need neither crib nor stroller!! She also strongly recommends having a DIRECT dial to LaLeche League on your phone if you're considering breast-feeding. As the mother of a seven-year old, with whom breastfeeding was a scant three-week exercise in frustration and regret, I wholly concur.

And to add my two cents, you may want to subscribe to Mothering - it's I believe bi-monthly and is such a blessed relief to the glitzy more mainstream mags. Best of luck to you!!! Mari Shine, LBNL

Date: Mon, 20 Jan 1997 17:09:10 -0800 From: Heather Hi Everyone, My little guy is now 10 months old, so this felt like a great time to reassess the lists of What to Buy for the new baby that my mailing list constructed while the participants were pregnant. I've posted bits from these lists here with my own notes marked with my initials, in response to Debbe O'Brien's post of January 10. Another member of that mailing list just subscribed and maybe she could say if she thinks I missed anything; Carrie's Stella was born 8 days before my Alan. These lists for expecting parents are the greatest if anyone hasn't found them yet. Heather What to get for the Upcoming Baby (HL: first thing on my list would be _The Baby Book_ by Sears and Sears. Indispensable instructions for how to do everything with a new baby; I found it much more useful than _What to Expect_] Onesies--you can never have too many of these little one-piece snap-up suits. You CAN have too many of the wrong size, however, so don't buy too many until you know how big the baby really is. Little t-shirts are also nice, but require little shorts or pants to make them look complete. Unless you just LOVE dressing and undressing, dressing and undressing, dressing and un...(repeat ad nauseum) small babies, clothes should be kept minimal (and really, at home, most days, just a diaper will do). [HL: the cheap ones get too small _really_ fast, so stock up in the 3 month and 6 month sizes. Alan at 10 months fits in mostly 24 month clothes] [HL:Footed pajamas--Alan almost lived in these for the first couple of months. I prefer the terry cloth ones since the fuzzy acrylic ones are soft and cute at first, but developed pills rapidly. Carters makes great and cheap footed pj's.] Receiving blankets--lightweight blankets (heavier if it's very, very cold and you live with the heater turned down, but never let the baby get OVERheated) that can be tossed over your shoulder and over baby while nursing, tossed over a visitor's shoulder and under baby to catch drool or spit-up after feedings (though cloth diapers do nicely for this, too), and tucked around baby for warmth and coziness. (HL: The kind I liked best were the waffle textured ones you can get at Target. They do well with lots of washings and they're very warm) [HL: Some dinky socks to go on with the onesie and bottom sets: Lucky has really cheap ones] About 6-10 SMALL waterproof pads (soft, not rubbery) to place on top of sheet and under baby at night. Makes accidents easier to clean up--often eliminates middle-of-the-night linen changes. Soft washcloths and towels (baby washcloths and towels are optional in my opinion), hooded towels or terrycloth after-bath wraps for babies are nice (but should go under Nice to have. (HL: I bought a couple of the dozen washcloth packs at Costco, and we're still using them. We hardly ever use wipes except when we're out travelling) [HL: Pack of disposable diapers. Even if you'll be using cloth diapers, as we do, you will want disposable diapers and wipes for when you're going to be out of the house for some time. I bought the size 1 and they were too big for Alan, who was born at 6 pounds 1 oz. so we had to go and get Newborn size his first night home.] Very gentle soap and/or shampoo--babies don't tend to get very DIRTY and require little cleaning, and you don't want to rob their skin of what little natural oils it possesses. [HL: Baby Magic is all we've used so far] Tiny nail clippers (Take the clippers with you to the hospital since your baby's nails may be long when s/he emerges and the hospital staff probably won't give you clippers) Q-tips, mild lotion or vaseline (Sheila--it's waterproof, and your diaper creme would do as well, but vaseline isn't medicated, it just provides a moisture barrier to PREVENT diaper rash.) Trash can, bags, LID. (A diaper pail would work fine.) Clothes hamper for dirty clothes. Any necessary feeding supplies, including a comfortable chair and footrest (preferably kept in the nursery or close to it). Thermometer, diaper rash ointment, Syrup of Ipecac, Band-Aids--make a little first-aid kit and ask your doctor what else, if anything, he or she would recommend. Infant tylenol pediacare or sudafed infant decongestant drops [we use saline drops, called Na Sal] (HL: I still haven't used these and you should be sure to check with your pediatrician before using them, I think) mylicon drops (for gas) thermometer isopropyl alcohol for the umbilical stump [or alcohol wipes] hydrogen peroxide polysporin or similar antibiotic ointment cotton balls a bottle of pedialyte (for preventing dehydration) a medicine dropper or syringe Infant car seat. (of course) Baby sling to carry baby. I used the Over the Shoulder Baby holder, which has a URL I could find for you. It's great. Look at Sears and Sears to see how you can use one. EASY-TO-ASSEMBLE travel crib/playpen--baby is still to little to NEED a playpen unless it's for protection from animals and other children (and that's a questionable use for one if ever I made one up), but a travel crib that can double as a small playpen is wonderful if you're planning on visiting anyone for more than a couple of hours with baby in tow. Make sure it's easy to set up, take down, and store, and that it meets current safety standards. Katie uses her old blue Fisher Price travel crib as a toybox for her stuffed animals even now! Baby wipes/wipes warmer--a little clear water and mild soap on a washcloth will do, but wipes are nice and don't add to the laundry. I forgot to mention a dim lamp or nightlight in the nursery, and nightlights in the hallways and/or bathrooms. Saves everyone from having to wake up fully during night-time feedings and diaper changes, and eliminates a lot of stubbed toes, banged up knees or shins, etc. Another item to add (now that you mention the phone) is a low rolling utility cart (ours is white metal with two shelves and handles at each end) that can double as a sort of end-table next to the chair where you nurse. On it, you can keep a drink for yourself, some extra cloth diapers, a phone, or anything you might want handy while you nurse or bottle-feed your baby. [HL: stuff we have yet to use: Bassinet (loaned to us) and the mattress and sheets we bought for it) - Alan has slept in our bed since he was born Baby bath and bath sponge - we progressed from sponge baths on the table to his taking baths with me, which is what we still do. He loves it! The Vaseline still sits upopened as does the alcohol, since the hospital gave me enough wipes to use for his umbilical cord]

Date: Mon, 13 Jan 1997
From: Sophie

There have recently been two posts to this list by parents-to-be requesting information on what to buy and what to read. Here're some of my recommenations. Keep in mind that this is all very much MNSHO (My Not-so-Humble Opinion).

There's another organization called Birthways that is also good for classes and referrals.

Cody's bookstore has a very thorough collection of child-rearing books, the only problem is that every time I go there they are sold out of the Sears' book so I wind up going to the Barnes and Nobles on Shattuck.

One piece of advice I got when pregnant that I wish I had heeded more closely is to go to at least one La Leche League meeting before the baby is born. Not only is it a great resource for new parents but it's also a great place to meet people.

Another good place to know about is a Baby Outlet Center near the Coliseum off of 880. They sell usefull stuff at reasonable prices. We got our stroller there.

Regarding videos: There were two videos on breastfeeding (from B) that I found extremely useful. One of them showed how to arrange pillows so that you can nurse and sleep at the same time-- a definate life and sleep-saver. Most of the other videos were pretty lame but if it makes you feel better to watch them, go ahead.

Books for Pregnancy and Labor: I read six of these cover to cover. Of those I recommend reading one of these:

Pregnancy and Childbirth by Sheila Kitzinger (great pictures too)

The Birth Book by William and Martha Sears

Active Birth by Janet Balaskas

There's also an FAQ with reviews of birth books maintained by someone on the newsgroup Go to and if it hasn't been posted there recently, look in the index file for the URL.

Books for Baby: An absolute must-have is The Baby Book by William and Martha Sears. It covers the first two years of life and is really all you need. My advice to expectant parents is to make sure to read the chapters on Nighttime Parenting and Parenting the High Need/ Colicky Baby *before* the baby is born. Even if your child doesn't wind up falling into the latter category, the tips they give there are quite useful for any child.

For breastfeeding either one of these will do:

The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding , from the La Leche League

The Nursing Mother's Companion , by ?Higgins?

Another book I found exceptionally helpful is Miranda Castro's Homeopathy for Pregnancy, Birth and Your Child's First Year. Even if you aren't into homeopathy, she gives some great and thorough hands-on advice for treating most ailments. The kind of stuff doctor's should know and recommend if they'd ever spend more than 15 minutes with you.

The Penelope Leach books are pretty decent, though you should disregard any of her advice on breastfeeding

Others you might want to consider: How to Raise a Healthy Child In Spite of Your Pediatrician , by Dr. Robert Mendelsohn- radical and a bit dated but quite amusing and Taking Charge of Your Child's Health by George? Wootan.

What to Buy : Keep in mind that first-time parents are the target for a tremendous amount of marketing of products that are absolutely useless. Also, hospitals give out things such as diaper bags, thermometers and bulb-suctions so you shouldn't make a trip to Payless until after you're home (if you're giving birth in a hopsital that is :-)). Because I come from Eastern European Jewish stock, we observed the superstition of not getting anything until the baby was born. We did get some second-hand stuff that we cleaned and immediately put away so that it was out of site. Among these were:

Infant Carseat

Newborn clothes (buy only 100% cotton. Don't get sleepwear that's made of polyester, it's uncomfortable and they make it out of polyester because polyester is easier to make fire-retardant. I hear that they just repealed the fire-retardant law which is great because cotton burns cleaner than polyester anyway)

Nursing Tops for mom (well worth it in my opinion)

Sling (this was a life-saver for me in the first few months. I would slide my screaming colicky child into it, start to walk, and he'd be asleep in seconds. They do take a bit of practice and experimenting in different positions. If you're baby doesn't like it at first, try again with the kangaroo hold once they can hold their heads up. The Over The Shoulder Baby Holder is much better quality than the NoJo , you can get it at Rockridge Kids on College Ave.)

Diaper Covers (for cloth diapers)

High Chair (you won't need it right away)

We also borrowed, soon after birth:


Swing (a nicety. Some kids love'em, some hate'em. Might not be worth buying)

Little Bath Tub

Other recommendations:

For receiving blankets get the large cotton Carter's brand ones. The Toys 'R Us ones were too small for good swaddling. Don't bother with the fancy ear thermometer's unless you get one as a gift. They're not accurate past 103 degrees which is when you need them most. We got a diaper pail when we signed up with our diaper service ( ABC ) so if you're going to go this route, you might want to wait. We spent $400 on a crib that could have been spent better elsewhere had we known that we'd be family bedding it. I'd rather have put it towards a King size bed or a Glide-Rocker . You can always start with a basinette and then decide later. Another useful item is one of those combination quilt-gym-activity combination things; it folds up so you can take it with you and if it's summer you can put it on the grass.

Hope this Helps,