The things you really need for a newborn baby

newborn

A newborn baby is the cause for much joy – and worry! I remember thinking, what do I need to buy for him? Do I have enough money (I worried about this one a lot!). Will I buy a lot of stuff I don’t need?  And how long until I have to buy it all again?!

With both our grandparents living in different states it was hard to get solid advice. Like most people, we resorted to a lot of internet searches. We have put together this list to cover the items that newborns need. Of course, people were having babies long before many of these things on our list existed. The things a newborn really needs are you constant care, love and attention. And lots of milk!

You can click the title below to skip to the sections you are searching for.

The Newborn Clothes You Really Need
Infant Activity Toys
Breast Feeding / Nursing Supplies
Things for the Nursery
Feeding & Nursing Supplies
Newborn Bath & Nails Baby Travel

How much does a newborn cost?

Some estimates put the price of things to buy for a newborn at $10,000 for the first year. Fortunately, our friends and family hep us out with some of these things. However, if your friends don’t have children they might think buying little cute shoes is a good idea!

We have put together this rather long list for the things a newborn needs. You can always share it with your friends and family, too.

Does a newborn need a lot of clothes?

Guessing the right number of baby clothes you’ll need is a tricky business. Much will depend on whether you want to do laundry every day or not!

And a quick note about that. “Baby Detergent” is more expensive than regular detergent. Usually, a non-toxic, eco-friendly, fragrance and dye-free detergent (try saying that after a few drinks!) such as Rockin’ Green or Eco-Sprout can help you save a few bucks.

Newborn Baby Sizes

Before the baby arrives it’s probably best not to buy a wardrobe full of newborn clothes. The size “Newborn” covers up to 21.5” long and from 5 to 8 pounds. Now, the average weight for full-term newborns is around 7.5lb, but the average range is from 5 lbs – 10lbs! The average length of a newborn is around 20”. So you can see the newborn size covers the averages well.

The next size, 0 – 3 months is good for 8lb to 12.5lb babies. This means if your new arrival is a bit on the big side, it could fit a newborn at the hospital. It’s also annoying to find that not all manufacturer’s sizes are the same. How quickly your baby grows into the bigger size will also depend on their feeding habits.

How quickly your baby grows into the bigger size will also depend on their feeding habits.

Newborn Weight Loss

After leaving the hospital it’s actually common for a newborn to lose some weight.  Expect around 5% for a formula-fed baby and as much as 10% for a breastfedd baby.

The reason for the weight loss is not exactly known. It’s likely that babies carry a bit of excess weight to prepare them for birth. A mother’s milk does not come in for 3 – 5 days as well.

Clothing & Laundry

Guessing the right number of baby clothes you’ll need is a tricky business. Much will depend on whether you want to do baby laundry every day or not!

When buying baby clothes, it’s a good idea to read consumer reports and avoid baby clothes that shrink in the wash. You be surprised hoe many do (and that’s probably why a lot of brands make them a bit bigger).

You’ll also find “Baby Detergent” is more expensive than regular detergent. Usually, a non-toxic, eco-friendly, fragance and dye-free detergent (try saying that after a few drinks!) such as Rockin’ Green or Eco-Sprout can help you save a few bucks.

 The Newborn Clothes You Really Need

One-Piece Outfits

(7 Recommended)

“Onesies” are essential for babies of any age. Some leading brands are Disney, Cartier, Little Me and SpaSilk. Look for soft, 100% cotton and double-snaps at the crotch (like Disney) is great because they’ll fit for longer.

Shirts

(5 or 7)

Shirts that have snaps at the side are the best for newborns and first-time parents. You just have to worry about getting your baby’s arms through. Gerber’s Unisex Newborn ones are especially soft and this will stop your little one’s umbilical cord becoming irritated and their navel after it drops off, too.

Leggings or pull-on pants

(Also around 7).

Carters, Gerber and Loveable Friends are among the best brands for pants. You need to be careful as many pants are “not true-to-size”. They are usually bigger and wider (think “Genie Pants”). I recommend reading consumer reviews to hear what other parents say about a particular line.

Wearable blankets / Sleep Sacks

(2 or 3)

When babies work out how to kick off their swaddling, many parents like to use sleeps sacks. They provide good peace of mind from SIDS as they stop infants being covered by loose blankets.

Pyjamas and Sleepers

(4 or so)

For newborns, the main style of pajamas are one-piece outfits with or without booties (a.k.a “footies”). There are many brands (even department stores have their own) but some leading ones are Carters, Gerber, Kickee and Hudson Baby. Prices range from around $10 to $30 for organic cotton.

Socks

(At least 5 pairs)

If your newborn was like mine, getting socks on and keeping them on is a tricky business! When you can, many parents recommend either trumpette, robeez, zutano and Hanna Anderson for the best first socks.

Hats

(2 Minimum)

Baby hats are great for keeping your newborn warm and protecting their ears. When buying a hat you want one that won’t slip down and cover their eyes. The organic cotton ones from BabySoy and L’ovedbaby are well recommended. The baby beanies from FUNOC are great and available at a budget price, too.

Swaddling Blankets

(2 Minimum)

Swaddling Blankets are great. They can also be used as a stroller cover, nursing cover when you breast feed and a burp cloth. The 100% muslin cotton ones are very breathable and prevent overheating. Take  a look at our page on the best swaddling blankets for more information.

Things for the Nursery

Bassinet / Moses Basket

A bassinet / Moses basket is usually a baby’s home for the first few months. They are basically the same thing. Sometimes the Moses basket is more portable so you can take your baby wherever you go. You can also buy a stand for many of the well-known brands. Bassinets and Moses baskets can range from around $30 all the way up to around $200 for the Halo Bassinest.

A Comfortable & Safe Crib

Assembling a crib is synonymous with a newborn baby. A good crib can be a baby’s home until they’re 2 or three years old. It’s important to buy a new one that is both comfortable and safe. Stability, wide slat spacing, and safe corner posts are factors to consider.

Another important consideration is how much space you actually have? If you live in the city, or have a small appartment, check out our page on cribs for small spaces.

There are a lot of great cribs in the $100 to $200 range. Solid wood cribs can cost a bit more and unfortunately only a few are made in the USA. If you’re looking for the best crib for twins we’ve got you covered!

And don’t forget a good crib mattress! Quite often, the free ones are not up to scratch and many parents choose to upgrade to non-toxic, dual core ones that will last a while.

Infant Thermometer

Rectal thermometers have long been considered the most accurate thermometers for newborns. For comfort and convenience, a lot of parents prefer the latest dual “Ear and Forehead” thermometers that allow you to take a baby’s temperature even when they’re sleeping. Take a look at our page “The best infant thermometer” for more details.

Video Baby Monitor & App

A video monitor makes it (slightly) easier to be away from a sleeping baby.

The latest video monitors have a smart-phone / tablet app with wi-fi / 4G connection. They also have motion / sound alarms so you don’t need to always watch the screen. For under $70 they’re pretty cheap as well and

At around $70, they’re pretty cheap as well and multi-room baby monitors can be had for under $150.

Be sure to also check out our page “Which Baby Monitor Is Safe From Hacking

Co-sleeper

Sometimes parents (and it’s usually the mother) will prefer co-sleeping to using a conventional crib. A co-sleeping cot is the best of both worlds as it lets you lie next to your baby with one side down.

Arms Reach have a great line of co-sleepers and also sell leg extensions to ensure it fits flush with the mattress. The snuggle nest infant sleeper and co-sleeping pads are also popular with parents.

A safe alternative we at kidsaversnetwork really like is the Halo Bassinest.

Nursery Mobiles

No nursery is complete without a mobile. They help soothe a baby and the music lets them know it’s time for sleep. The top-rated brands Fisher Price and Tiny Love dominate the best seller charts for mobiles. For around $40 or less and you’ll get endless music and a nightlight for your little one, too.

Changing Pad

Baby changing pads are often preferred to a changing table. Parents naturally worry about their baby falling off them.

A changing pad can convert any flat surface to a changing table. There’s some great “wiggle free” pads which help get the job done fast. And even round changing pads that transform into stylish clutch bags!

Newborn Swings/ Rocker / Glider Sleepers

A rocker / glider is a great way to soothe a newborn and send them off to sleep. You can get a good bounder from “Bright Starts” for under $30. $50 will get you the Fisher Price “Rock n Play” which is well reviewed. For over $100, both Baby Bjorn and Fisher Price have multi-function rockers and gliders.

Check out our page on “The Best Portable Baby Swings“, too.

Just bear in mind these products are perfect for newborns but usually too small for toddlers.

Play Yard

Play Yards (or “Baby Jail” as I like to call them!) are great for keeping your child safe. Many are portable so you can use them in your backyard, when visiting friends or even at the beach! Graco have a best selling range of playards. Playards range in price from around $40 to $90 for the popular “Pack n Play” model which includes a diaper changer. Ideal for newborns!

Humidifier

A humidifier is a scientifically-proven way to reduce the levels of germs and harmful particles in a nursery. There are 4 main types of humidifiers, warm-mist, cold-mist, evaporative and ultrasonic.

Traditionally, Honeywell are the premium brand but they have stiff completion in Crane, Vicks, and Taotronics. Expect to pay between $40 to $80 for a humidifier for your nursery.

Diaper Pail Disposal System


Our newborn was going through about 10 diapers a day. Sometimes you would just get one on and he’d go again!

Rather than keep running out to the trash, a diaper pail helps make things more convenient and sanitary. Some top branded diaper pails are available for under $50. Also, the “Diaper Dekor” is a bargain at under $15. Their “tie off” bags for easy diaper disposal make a lot of sense.

Infant Activity Toys

Infant Play Gyms / Mats

Play Mats and Gyms provide great stimulation for infants. They also promote sitting, “tummy time” and reaching and grabbing to help a newborn’s development.

Some top rated play mats from the likes of Fisher Price, Infantino, and Baby Love are around $30. The slightly more expensive ones can be twisted and folded always for easy storage.

Soothers

A soother helps keeps your baby relaxed and into a sleep schedule. Many parents are using the white noise sound machine from marpac. Others use a “Susher”, which I think was advertised in “The happiest baby on the block”.

There’s also the cloud b soother which doubles as a cute and loveable cuddly toy sheep! Expect to pay around $30 to $50 for these products.

Jumpers

In the time before an infant becomes a toddler, they’ll really love baby jumpers. Not only are they great fun, but they get our little ones used to standing on two legs. For more ideas, check out our page on the best baby jumpers.

Activity Cubes / Triangles and Balls


There are loads of great activity toys on the market that are fun and help an infant develop hand and eye coordination. Some of the better ones are the Munchin Mozart Activity Cube, the Infantino Activity Triangle, and the Baby Einstein Bendy Ball.

Feeding & Nursing Supplies

Baby Bottle Sterilizer

A bottle sterilizer helps keep your newborn’s bottles clean and safe. Germs and bacteria grow quickly in milk. A good sterilizer can kill 99.9% of them and take just 6 minutes. The three main types are electric steam sterilizers, cold water sterilizers, and microwave sterilizers. The top-rated brands are Dr Brown, Avante and Munchkin. Prices range for around $15 to $60 depending on type.

Bottle Warmer

A good bottle warmer can heat your baby’s milk in as little as 4 – 6 minutes. Many mothers prefer bottle warmers as they are quicker and safer than warming bottles in pans of water. You can pick-up a top-rate bottle warmer for around $30 and under. Brands to look out for are Avant, The First Years and Dr. Brown. For more tips and info, check out our Bottle Warmer Reviews.

Bottles and Nipples

Parents usually try out a few different brands of baby bottles and nipples until they find the perfect combination for their baby. Most recommend the wider “Anti-Colic” bottles and of course it’s important they are BPA free. You can get a set of 6 bottles from around $10 from brans like Medela, The First Years, Avant and Comotomo.

Multi Booster Seats & High-chairs

It seems many parents are moving away from the traditional high-chair to the latest booster seats / “multi chairs”. They cost a fraction of the price and your baby can use them from newborn to aged 4. The top-selling brands include Graco, Fisher Price, Bumbo and inglesina.

Food Storage Pouches & Freezer Blocks

If you plan on making and freezing your own organic baby food, storage pouches will be essential. You can buy disposal ones for around 30 cents a pouch from Infantino. However, a more eco-friendly option is the re-usable blocks pouches made by brands like Squooshie, Oxo and 5 little sprouts.

Plastic Baby Feeding Bibs

When it comes to babies and food, a good bib is worth it’s weight in gold. . They are easier to clean (no laundry required), don’t stain and have adjustable straps to fit a growing baby. Top-rated brands for plastic bibs are Baby Bjorn, Tommee, OXO and Summer Infant and cost from $5 to $10 each.

Burp / Drooling / Teething Bibs

A good bib makes it easy to wipe an infants mouth, especially when they are teething and drooling a lot. Ensure the bib you choose doesn’t have velcro or buttons which are easy for a baby to take off themselves. There are two main types, waterproof bibs and Terry Cloth machine washable bibs. Some top-rated bibs include Dreambaby, Charis Kid, Green Sprouts and Neat Solutions.

Breast Feeding Supplies

Breast Pump

A breast-pump is essential if you want to express and store milk. It’s also good if you have more milk than your baby needs in one feeding. The two main types of breast pumps are electric pumps and manual pumps. Electric Pumps are quicker, more powerful but a little more expensive. You can expect to pay around $150 for an electric one, whilst a good manual one is only around $30. Brands to look out for are Lansinoh, Electra, Medela, and Avent.

Nursing Pillow / Breast Feeding Pillow

A nursing pillow helps support you and your baby during feeding. A lot of the pillows are “Multi-use” and can also be used as “positioners” to prop up your baby and also a sitting cushion. Look for ones with removable slip-covers so they are easier to wash and keep hygienic. Top-rated pillows are made by Boppy, Nursit, My Best Friend and Dr. Brown.

Nursing Pads / Breast Pads

Nursing pads are an unfortunate necessity for breastfeeding moms. It’s hard to find ones which fit well and are not too uncomfortable. They have to be absorbent enough whilst remaining discrete under clothing. Fortunately, brands such as Johnsons, Lansinoh, and Medela make good disposable ones. If you would prefer washable breast pads, then check out the line by Bamboobies.

Milk storage bags

A milk storage bag is needed if you are freezing your breast milk. Some bags will directly fit onto the type of breast pump you have. Other things to consider is how much milk can they hold (some are 6oz, some only 5oz) and can they lay flat or stand up in the freezer for easy stacking / thawing? Top-rated storage bags are available from Lansinoh, Dr Brown’s, Gerber and Medela.

Nursing Bras

Finding a nursing bra that is comfortable, stylish and functional isn’t an easy task. A good nursing bra should have strong yet easy to undo clasps, supportive cups and fit as expected! Some bras have conversion kits so you can use them as maternity bras, nursing bras and a regular bra. Check out Bravado!, Lamaze, Medela and Simple Wishes for top-rated bras.

Sore Nipple cream


All first-time breastfeeding Moms know the pain and discomfort of having sore (or in my case bleeding!) nipples and trying to get your baby to latch. Doctors do say breast milk is good for cracked and sore nipples. However, I found a good nipple cream is good for soothing the pain. I can really recommend Earth Mama Nipple Butter, and some other good ones are Lansinoh Lanolin and MotherLove Nipple cream.

Bath and Grooming

Newborn Bath Tub with Sling

Bathing newborns definitely takes some getting used to and a good bath tub definitely helps. Some newborn bath tubs come with slings with is like putting your baby in a hammock. This makes them easier to hold and wash. Features to also look out for are plugs that change water if the water is too hot. If the tub doesn’t have it, there are many cheap bath toys that do. When your baby can sit up at around 6 months they can move on to an infant tubs. They are also convertible tubs which you can use for newborns and infants. Some top rated newborn bath tubs include The First Years, Munchkin, 4Moms and Summer Infant.

Features to also look out for are plugs that change water if the water is too hot. If the tub doesn’t have it, there are many cheap bath toys that do. When your baby can sit up at around 6 months they can move on to an infant tubs. They are also convertible tubs which you can use for newborns and infants. Some top rated newborn bath tubs include The First Years, Munchkin, 4Moms and Summer Infant.

They are also convertible tubs which you can use for newborns and infants. Some top rated newborn bath tubs include The First Years, Munchkin, 4Moms and Summer Infant.

Baby Nail Clippers & Baby Scissors


Newborns nails grow quickly and need cutting to stop them scratching their face. Unfortunately, they don’t know this and will resist your grooming attempts by wriggling and fidgeting. It’s best to cut their nails when sleeping with some good baby nail clippers or baby scissors. Some top-rated clippers are made by The First Years, Piyo Piyo, Pigeon and Safety 1st.

Baby Travel

Newborn Stroller

A newborn baby needs to lie flat in a stroller until around 4 – 6 months. This makes buying a newborn stroller a tricky business. For us, it made sense to buy a stroller that could recline and also be used once he could sit-up safely. Another option is the “Travel Systems” which are very popular.

My personal piece of advice is to look for strollers that can fold-up one handed. Our Graco one often needs two hands and a lot of force. Also, how bulky is it when folded? If your trunk space is limited (and with all the other baby stuff you need it may well be!) slimmer is better. If you have twins, or an infant and toddler, buying a stroller gets harder. Fortunately, our

If you have twins, or an infant and toddler, buying a stroller gets harder. Fortunately, our page on double strollers can really help you.

Some great newborn strollers are made by The First Years, Britax, Bugaboo. Chicco and Joovy. Expect to pay around $100 for a top-rated stroller.

Newborn Car Seats

It’s US Law to have a rear-facing car seat until your newborn is 1-year-old and at least 20lbs. Some recommend keeping an infant rear-facing until two years old. There are some great convertible infant seats on the market, but sometimes they don’t fit newborns as well as an “infant only” seat.

Many parents also prefer an infant carrier-type car seat with handles. It definitely makes moving a baby a lot easier, especially in the rain. Head and body support pillows (a.k.a “headhuggers”) are also a great idea for newborns in car seats.

Some top rated brands include Graco, Chicco, Evenflo, Britax and Maxi-Coco. Expect to pay anywhere from just under $60 to $200 for a good one.

Diaper Bag

A diaper bag must be big enough to carry all the things a newborn needs. It also helps if it’s both stylish and practical. Fortunately, there are a lot of diaper bags to choose from to suit all budgets.
Some of the latest diaper bags even attach to the handles of strollers which is a great idea. Also look for bags that have “Easy access” pockets on the front that can easily fit a 10 oz feeding bottle. A cellphone pocket is great as you will lose things with a newborn…

Skip Hop, Munckin, Soho and Ethan & Emma all make best-selling diaper bags. Some great bags can be had for just under $30.

Baby Carrier / Baby Sling / Baby Wrap

For places which are narrow, have steps or just too many people (like Grocery Stores) a baby sling or infant wrap is ideal. They are also a fabulous way of letting your other half bond with the baby, and we looked at slings for Dad here.

When buying a baby sling safety and comfort are two of the main considerations. It was my personal nightmare that the clips would fail and our little one would tumble head-first to the floor.

Luckily, they are many safe, reliable baby slings on the market. Some best-selling brands are Baby Bjorn, Infantino, Ergobaby, and Snuggbugg. Average prices are from $20 to around $150.

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