Newborns can be fickle little beasties. Luckily, after nine months of anticipation building up before we are able to meet our newest little ones we are often softhearted enough to let them be a bit picky about what they decide to like and dislike… much to the pain it causes our wallets sometimes.

One day baby may like taking a binky and then tomorrow not so much. Your best friend’s daughter may have loved the rock ‘n play, but your little one screams every time you sit her down in it. Big brother may have needed rocked to sleep every single day in his swing, but baby sister will only nap in the Tula. They’re unpredictable, those precious, new little babes. So how do you know what qualifies as a newborn essential?



The moment you and your spouse announce that you’re expecting, everyone suddenly has an opinion about what works best. How do you decide who’s right and who’s wrong when everyone has the best intentions at heart? In my opinion, a newborn essential is any baby item that can be used in many different ways and also by babies with many different preferences.

Let’s being by talking about what newborn essentials you actually need. When I was pregnant with my first child, it was really easy to fall victim to advertisements telling me what I needed to buy in order to properly raise a baby and why I needed their specific product. I had no idea what I really would need. My girl was the first baby born into our family in 15 years!

Advertisers recognize this fear expecting parents have about preparing for baby and use it to their advantage. If you want to raise the happiest, healthiest, smartest kid on the block you NEED what they have. Maybe. I admit, there are a few baby products we used with our kiddos that I absolutely stand behind and I love to share those products with my friends when they find out they are expecting their first baby. That list of products, however, is not as long as you may be led to believe.

If you are looking for a more detailed list of baby items and newborn essentials, read this post that lists everything a Minimalist needs for a new baby.


When preparing for baby, the basics are truly the only items you need to buy before baby arrives. These include:

  • a new car seat Yes- it needs to be new. If a car seat is in any kind of accident, even a small one, it is no longer safe for baby to use. You also do not know if the seat was properly maintained by the previous owners. We use this one and this one. The first one is a breeze to install and that comes from someone who sucks at installing car seats. The second one is one of the safest seats currently on the market, in my opinion, and it allows your child to extended rear face up to 50 lbs. Both seats are long-lasting and may be the only car seat you ever need. I can’t say enough good things about both of those seats.
  • clothing I suggest reading my post about creating capsule wardrobes for kids and allow that to guide your spending in the clothes department. Washing all those adorable onesies may not sound like a big deal, but it gets frustrating fast!
  • a place to sleep I suggest buying a crib even if you think you may bed share. You can use it as a playpen or for naps. I parked our cribs beside our bed until our babies were almost a year old. I needed to have them close, but I slept better when they weren’t in our bed. The Boy insisted he sleep in our bed with us for almost all of his first year. Don’t even get me started on his terrible sleep.
  • diapers We love cloth diapers because they are budget-friendly, but we use our fair share of disposable diapers, too. I wouldn’t recommend getting too stocked up on disposables (ask for gift cards instead!) because you won’t know what works best for your baby until you meet her. The brands that worked so well with our oldest failed miserably with the youngest one. With The Girl, we exclusively cloth diapered until one year then we started using a disposable diaper at bedtime. The Boy had issues with leaks for so long that I finally gave up cloth diapering until I discovered these. You can read more about them in the diapering section of this post.
  • food Breastfeeding Mamas will need accessories for easing breastfeeding like nipple cream, an excellent breast pump, breast milk storage bags and possibly a nipple shield for the first weeks. A water bottle isn’t a bad idea either because you are gonna need to drink lots of water, Mama! If you decide to formula feed, you’ll need bottles (these are great bottles for breastfed babies, too!), a bottle brush, sterilizer, and a bottle drying rack.
  • swaddle blanket Swaddling baby will help her sleep through the night and rest more soundly. You can also tuck her swaddling blanket around her after she is secure in her car seat to help keep her warm or use it as a lightweight nursing cover for breastfeeding. As much as I loved our swaddling blankets, I loved our HALO Sleep Sack more. The Halo Sleep Sack made it easy to swaddle and my Mama brain worried less because I knew it wouldn’t come loose and cause any problems during the night.
  • baby carrier Some may argue that a baby carrier is not necessary and those “some” would be men. Just kidding! 🙂 But seriously- although a baby carrier may sound like something “extra” when you’re preparing for baby- it isn’t. Trust me, Mama! Hands-free is the way to be! Hold those babies close.

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After your newborn is in your arms, and every day after, you will begin to learn his personality and may discover one-by-one the things which will make your job of mothering 24 hours a day and 7 days a week a bit more comfortable. Until then, this list of newborn essentials will help you be prepared and ready for the arrival of your new little one without going overboard.

What newborn essential did I forget to add to the list? Share your favorite newborn essential in the comments!

And if you’re ready for the next post in the Preparing for Baby the Minimalist Way series, you can find it here! It shares the one thing every Minimalist wishes they had went a little overboard on before bringing home a new baby.

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