What Baby Needs

A newborn baby comes with so many supplies and needs! Clothing, diapers, bath items, grooming/first aid tools, bedding, feeding items. . . . . so much to think about. Well have no worries; we have you covered.

Baby clothing and layette, bedding and sleep needs, feeding supplies, diapers, grooming items, bath supplies and infant car seats are some of the things you need for your baby. Much of what a baby needs is dictated by the parents’ lifestyle. The more traditional or trendier the family is the more they will need of certain items.

It’s time to stock up on all the things you’ll need for your newborn baby in preparation for their arrival. Here’s what you need on your list, including items every baby will need, such as diapers, a car seat and stroller, and bath basics; items that you may need based on your home environment, climate and lifestyle preferences; and nursery essentials

The essential newborn baby supply list for your first year A new baby changes your entire life, and one of the most exciting parts is bringing home your precious bundle of joy from the hospital. But if you’re anything like me, it can be easy to read through lists or look at an empty nursery and become overwhelmed by how much STUFF a newborn needs. I mean, sure, they’re only a few pounds when they’re born (and even less than that on the day they come home). It may seem like there are enough swaddles, onesies and diapers to last them a while. But as someone who’s already been through two babies in six months, I can tell you that this is not the case! Here’s a round up of all the must-have supplies you need before your baby arrives — my take on the basic newborn checklist.

A newborn baby is a demanding proposition, but you can make your life easier with the right resources. Many parents find that making a list of what they need for a newborn baby before going shopping helps them stay focused and not get sidetracked by products that don’t make the cut.

Ready to shop for your new baby? This first-time parent’s guide will help you find everything you need – from diapers and cribs to bottles and bibs.

As you prepare to bring your sweet newborn home, you may be asking yourself: “What does a baby really need in the first weeks at home?” The answer is: not much.

Of course, if you consult a baby registry suggestion list, or ask a baby gear store, it probably sounds like your baby needs everything under the sun! Some parents want all of those cool baby products and gadgets that can make life with the little one more convenient. But for minimalists, parents on a budget, or new parents who are a bit overwhelmed, it’s OK to stick to the basics. We promise—your baby won’t notice the difference.

That said, being prepared with the following items will get you through the first days and weeks without having to make any last-minute runs to the store or online purchases, and will ensure that your baby is comfortable, well-fed, and has everything they need.

Stay Calm Mom: Episode 7

Watch all episodes of our Stay Calm Mom video series and follow along as our host Tiffany Small talks to a diverse group of women and top doctors to get real answers to the biggest pregnancy questions.https://imasdk.googleapis.com/js/core/bridge3.507.1_debug_en.html#goog_922411510 seconds of 6 minutes, 32 secondsVolume 90% 6:32

Feeding

If you’re breastfeeding, you don’t really need any equipment.

Some nursing mothers like to have these items:

  • Lots of bibs
  • Burp cloths
  • Breast pump
  • Milk storage containers (here are some essential safety tips on storing breastmilk)
  • Nursing pillow
  • Nursing bras (if buying before baby is born, buy one cup size larger than your pregnant bra size)
  • Breast pads (disposable or washable)
  • Lotion for sore nipples

If you are formula feeding:

  • Lots of bibs
  • Burp cloths
  • Bottle and nipple brush
  • Formula (be sure to check expiry date and note the lot number in case of recalls)
  • Thermal bottle carrier

Diapering:

If you are using re-usable cloth diapers:

  • Several dozen (4 or 5) cloth or re-usable diapers
  • 8 waterproof covers
  • Changing pad
  • Baby ointment or other barrier cream to prevent rash
  • Snaps, Velcro or safety pins to secure re-usable diapers
  • Disposable wipes or a couple dozen washcloths for cleaning baby’s bottom

If you are using disposable diapers:

  • Two boxes of newborn-size diapers (it’s better not to buy too many in advance in case your baby is large or grows quickly)
  • Changing pad
  • Baby ointment or other barrier cream to prevent rash
  • Disposable wipes or a couple dozen washcloths for cleaning baby’s bottom
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Clothing

  • 8 undershirts or onesies (mix of short-sleeve and long-sleeve)
  • 5 nightgowns (for use until the cord falls off)
  • 8 one-piece stretchy sleepers (go for ones with zippers; new moms swear by them!)
  • 5 pairs of pants
  • 2 newborn hats
  • 8 pairs of socks or booties, to wear with nightgowns and outfits
  • 2 pairs of scratch mittens, to keep baby from scratching his face
  • 2 cardigans or jackets, more in winter
  • Bunting bag or snowsuit for winter baby
  • Laundry detergent for infants
  • 4 outfits for dressing up (optional)

Blankets

  • 3 large cotton blankets
  • 8 receiving blankets (they also make handy burp cloths)

Bathtime

  • 1 plastic infant tub (or use a large dishpan in the sink, or take baby in the bath with you)
  • 12 washcloths, not used on baby’s bottom
  • Baby soap or cleanser
  • Baby soft-bristled hair brush
  • 3 soft-hooded towels
https://youtube.com/watch?v=9HMRCFRlw4E%3Ffeature%3Doembed

Bedtime

If you are using a crib:

  • Approved crib and crib mattress
  • 3 waterproof mattress covers
  • 4 fitted cribsheets
  • 4 light blankets that fit in the crib
  • Sleep sack

If you are co-sleeping:

  • Firm mattress (not a waterbed)
  • 4 fitted cribsheets
  • 3 waterproof pads to place under baby
  • Light comforter (keep away from baby’s head)
  • Sleep sack

Other necessities

  • Approved infant safety seat for car
  • Stroller that reclines so newborn can lie flat
  • Nail clippers or scissors
  • Bulb syringe for suctioning mucous
  • Baby thermometer
  • Eye dropper or medicine spoon
  • Medication in case of fever
  • Baby monitor

Nice-to-have items

  • Change table (or just use change pad on top of dresser or bed)
  • Rocking chair for feeding and swaddling
  • Playpen
  • Sling or baby carrier
  • Diaper bag
  • 1 or 2 change pads
  • Plastic hangers for closet
  • Sun shade for car windows
  • 2 or 4 pacifiers (if you choose to use these)
  • Rattles and other baby toys
  • Mobiles
  • Night light

What Baby Needs First Month

The ultimate newborn baby checklist can help you determine what you’ll need to purchase and prepare as you get ready for baby’s birth.

What you’ll need to have on hand for the early days with your newborn:

Clothing and Layette

Although you may want a few cute outfits to show your little one off, your baby doesn’t need anything fancy in those first few weeks, so sticking to simple, plain, budget-friendly clothing is fine.Featured Video

It’s best not to buy too many newborn clothing items because your baby will outgrow them at lightning speeds. At the same time, you will be going through lots of outfit changes, as newborn clothing can get messy, quickly.

What You Need

  • 5-8 onesies, or other soft outfits, depending on how often you want to do laundry
  • 3-4 baby sleepers or sleep sacks
  • 5-7 pairs of baby socks
  • 1-2 newborn hats, depending on climate

When making these purchases, take into consideration how often you plan on doing laundry, and what the weather is going to be like when your baby will be born.

Most doctors still recommend newborns wear hats in the first few weeks of life,1 but if you live in a warm climate, you can usually forgo the hat.

Keep in mind it’s now recommended that newborn not sleep with blankets, so having some baby sleepers or sleep sacks on hand is essential.The 12 Best Sleep Sacks of 2022

Diapers

Diapers are an obvious newborn basic, yet choosing the best kind of diaper for your baby can actually feel confusing and stressful—who knew?! If you are torn between using cloth diapers or disposable, try to remember that at the end of the day, both have their pluses and minuses and doing what works for your family and your lifestyle is always the best choice. That said, many families do a combination of cloth and disposable, so you can try out both and see what you like best.

What You Need

Newborns can go through 8 to 10 diapers a day,2 so make sure you have plenty of diapers on hand. Remember, too, that they will outgrow the newborn size in a matter of weeks, so don’t stock up too much.The 11 Best Diapers of 2022

Bath Items

For the first week or two, until your baby’s umbilical cord falls off, doctors recommend giving your baby a sponge bath.3 After that, you don’t really need to bathe your baby daily—three times a week or so will suffice.

Bathing your baby too often can dry out or irritate their skin. Don’t worry, though, between spit-ups and diaper changes, there will be lots of opportunity to do a little “spot cleaning” in between baths.

What You Need

You can go minimalistic with your purchases here. That said, you want to have newborn-friendly soap and lotion, as baby skin can be very sensitive. Many of us bathe our babies in baby bathtubs, but using the kitchen sink is just fine, provided it’s been recently cleaned.The 9 Best Baby Bath Products of 2022

Grooming/First Aid

At first, you don’t need to stock your cabinets with a ton of baby grooming products or a full-fledged first aid kit. You will definitely need a way to trim those baby nails (they grow so fast!). You’ll also need to be able to take your baby’s temperature, and clean snot out of their nose, should the need arise. Babies can be very stuffy at first!

What You Need

  • Baby nail clippers
  • Digital thermometer
  • Medicine dropper
  • Bulb syringe/nasal aspirator

You can hold off on purchasing baby pain relief medicine until your baby is a little older, as it is not recommended that newborns receive OTC pain relief medicine until after 3-6 months of age, depending on the medicine and doctor recommendations.4The 6 Best Thermometers of 2022

Bedding and Sleep Needs

Whatever bed you choose for your newborn (crib, cradle, bassinet, co-sleeper), it is recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics that your baby sleep in the same room with you for the first 6-12 months of life.5 In addition, bumpers, blankets, pillows, and soft toys are no longer recommended in baby beds. Talk about going minimalistic!

Although the AAP doesn’t recommend sharing a bed with your baby,5 most breastfeeding mothers will fall asleep with their baby in their bed at some point, so it’s wise to keep a checklist of safe bedsharing guidelines on hand.

What You Need

  • Crib, cradle, bassinet, co-sleeper, or other safe sleep space for baby. If the crib has been used before, make sure it has all of its pieces and meets current safety standards
  • Crib mattress, or a mattress that fits properly in the cradle, bassinet, or co-sleeper
  • 3-4 fitted sheets for crib, cradle, bassinet, or co-sleeper
  • 1 waterproof crib mattress cover, unless your crib mattress is already fully sealed, or a waterproof pad to lay under the crib sheet
  • Baby monitor

These days, diapers are pretty absorbent, so you shouldn’t have to be cleaning up too many middle-of-the-night messes. Still, make sure you have waterproofed your mattress, and that you have several sheets available for bedding changes. Make sure to have a baby monitor around, too, as you will want to closely monitor your (hopefully sleeping!) baby when you leave the room.The 7 Best Video Baby Monitors of 2022

Feeding Supplies

If you are breastfeeding, you don’t need much more than your breasts—and the contact information for a good lactation consultant or breastfeeding support group should you encounter a breastfeeding challenge (as we almost all do at some point).

If you plan on formula feeding, it’s good to discuss formula brands and types with your doctor as well as how much formula to have on hand when you bring your baby home.

However you feed your baby, you will need a lot of burp cloths. Trust us.

What You Need

If you plan on bottle-feeding, make sure you have a handful of bottles available to avoid middle-of-the-night washing. A bottle brush is essential, but you can wait to see if you’ll need a bottle drying rack or bottle washing dishwasher basket.

Breastfeeding moms don’t need much, but you’ll want a few useful tools like nursing pads and nipple cream—and a breast pump in case you need to pump for your newborn.The 9 Best Burp Cloths of 2022

Gear and Furniture

Contrary to popular belief, the only furniture you truly need for your newborn is a place for them to sleep and a place to store their clothes. Many of us opt for much more than that—a changing table, dresser, nursery gliderstoy binbouncy seatbaby swing, etc.—and decorating the baby’s room can be a highlight. But if you wish, you can hold off on those things until your baby is older, and you have a better idea of what they truly need.

You do need a way to transport your baby around. Car seats are mandatory, and hospitals won’t let you leave unless you have a properly installed car seat in your car. Beyond that, a stroller or a baby carrier are awesome and necessary for many of us, but you can also wait on those if you choose.

What You Need

  • Car seat

You can purchase an infant-only or convertible model with a lower weight limit appropriate for newborns. Your baby will be rear-facing, and the Academy of American Pediatrics recommends, “children remain in a rear-facing car safety seat as long as possible, until they reach the highest weight of height allowed by their seat.”6The 8 Best Car Seats of 2022

A Word From Verywell

That’s it! See, it wasn’t as overwhelming as you thought it would be, was it? While there are many baby products on the market that make a parent’s life easier, the truth is, most are wants, not needs. And while it may be tempting to buy every gadget on the shelf, remember your baby mostly needs a loving and attentive parent and will be just as happy with the basic items.

You can fill your registry list with these baby essentials and add on anything else you find and love. And remember—you can always add more baby clothes and other products to your registry, or just shop for the bonus items after your baby arrives.

How to talk to your kids about sex: An age-by-age guide

Talking to your kid about sex can be daunting. So we asked the experts how and when to cover everything from sex and puberty to gender identity and consent.

Lindsay KnetemanSeptember 24, 2021Mother learning how to talk to kids about sex through conversation with daughter

Photo: iStockphoto

Three years ago, while Lisa King* was pregnant with her first daughter, her then six-year-old nephew became fascinated with her growing belly. “He’d ask, ‘How did the baby get inside your tummy?’ and ‘How is the baby going to get out?’” When King left those inquiries with her nephew’s mother and grandmother, “Words like god and magic were thrown around,” recalls King. She told herself that, when it came to how to talk to kids about sex, she would be open and honest. Now a mom to a 10-month-old and a two-and-a-half-year-old, King wants to keep that promise. There’s just one problem: “I need some basic guidance, an outline perhaps, of what to talk about and when,” she says.

King’s uncertainty is hardly unique, says Nadine Thornhill, a Toronto-based sex educator and mom to an 11-year-old. “This is what I do for a living and I still struggle to have these conversations with my own child.” She notes that, while it’s normal to feel awkward and nervous, it’s important to focus on being honest. “There’s more risk with not telling them enough than telling them too much,” she says, adding that it’s OK to admit that you don’t have all the answers. Just before you tackle any of your child’s sex-related inquiries, Cory Silverberg, sex educator and author of Sex Is A Funny Word: A Book About Bodies, Feelings And Yousuggests you first ask a clarifying question such as “Where did you hear that word?” in order to give an appropriate response.

While pop culture likes to portray teaching kids about sex as just one big “talk,” experts agree that sex is something kids should always be learning about. They recommend weaving sex into everyday discussions, layering in more information over time and introducing certain concepts at specific ages. With that in mind, we’ve put together this age-specific guide to help you learn how to talk to kids about sex.

How to talk to kids about sex from birth to age 2

“The process of talking about sex should start before they’re verbal,” says Silverberg. That means incorporating the proper names for genitals into everyday activities like bath time. While Silverberg isn’t against also using cutesy names, “Penis, vulva, vagina, clitoris, bum and nipples are all terms that every toddler should know,” he says, explaining that they need these words to communicate health issues or injuries.

Teaching your baby the anatomically correct terms for her genitals might sound daunting, but Thornhill says to be casual and treat those terms as you would the word “arm” or “ankle.” She also recommends avoiding connecting sexual biology to gender. For example, drop the idea that all boys have penises and all girls have vaginas. Instead say, “People with penises” or “People with vaginas.” Thornhill explains that by watching your language now, you set the groundwork for easier conversations about gender roles and identities later.

Closer to age two, you can start talking to your kids about when and where it’s appropriate to explore their bodies. If your toddler has the tendency to touch his genitals—which is perfectly normal—use it as an opportunity to explain how that’s something we do in the privacy of our bedrooms. “You want to be really gentle,” Thornhill says, explaining that you don’t want your child to feel like he’s doing something shameful.

How to talk to kids about sex when they’re 2 to 5 years old

A major focus for this age group is learning about boundaries and what is and isn’t appropriate when it comes to touching—or being touched—by other people. “This is fundamental to consent,” says Silverberg who explains that it’s crucial that even young children learn to ask before they touch someone else. Lessons around sharing, touch-based games like tickling, and asserting your own boundaries, such as telling a child when it is and isn’t OK to climb onto your lap, all help to create a more intuitive understanding of consent.

Establishing that kids have a say over their own bodies also helps with keeping them safe. While you can skip the explicit details, now is when you should be telling your child that others should never ask to or try to touch their genitals. Thornhill says it’s important to convey that your kids can tell you about inappropriate actions at any time, even if they’ve previously kept it a secret.

At this age, kids can be very curious about each other’s bodies. Thornhill explains that it’s important to acknowledge this inquisitiveness and use it as an entry point to discuss your family’s rules and values. “Talk to them explicitly about when it’s appropriate to be naked,” she says. And if you do catch your kids playing doctor, don’t freak out. Instead, discuss how it’s not appropriate to handle other people’s genitals, as these are very special parts of the body that shouldn’t be touched by others.

At this age, your child might begin asking how babies are made. For Silverberg, the easiest and most inclusive answer is, “There are lots of ways.” The author, whose first book What Makes a Baby answers this question for the preschool set, explains, “The amount of detail one goes into really depends on how much you think your child can comprehend.” If your child wants more information, you might try something like, “Two grown-ups get their bodies together and share the sperm and the egg to make a child like you, or sometimes they get the sperm or egg from someone else.” Silverberg adds that it’s fine to tell your child that some details, like how sperm and egg meet, will be discussed later. “It’s just important not to lie.” He adds that it’s important to actually follow up with those questions and not just refuse to talk about certain things.

Thornhill suggests exploring how babies are made by telling kids their own birth story, which lets you tailor the details to your family’s specific situation. Just be sure to note that your child’s birth story is just one of many ways that families are made.

It’s important to introduce kids of this age group to the idea that families and relationships can be built in various ways. If your kids are part of or are regularly around non-traditional families, they’ll naturally pick up on this, explains Silverberg. But if they aren’t, “Make sure that you have a few good books that aren’t just on nuclear, heterosexual families.”

And bring inclusive language into your everyday speech. For example, says Silverberg, swap “Welcome, boys and girls” for “Welcome, kids” or “Welcome, friends.” While subtle, this small shift teaches children that gender isn’t binary.

How to talk to kids about sex when they’re 6 to 8 years old

At this age, it’s important to discuss how to safely explore digital spaces—even if your child won’t be using the internet unsupervised for a few more years. Establish rules around talking to strangers and sharing photos online, as well as what to do if your child comes across something that makes her feel uncomfortable. Thornhill notes that while you don’t need to pre-emptively explain pornography to kids, be prepared to have them stumble across it. “Calmly explain that those sorts of websites are about grown-ups doing grown-up things,” she says. While there’s no need to present pornography as something bad, you will want to state that that these types of websites are just for adults.

This is also a good time to revisit masturbation, since by age eight most children have begun to explore their bodies. Frame it as something that, while normal, is done in private, and don’t forget to address proper hygiene.

At this age, you can also speak more explicitly to kids about sexual abuse. Silverberg explains that it’s important for kids to know about this unfortunate reality in order to protect themselves or help a friend who experiences abuse. How detailed this talk gets really depends on your child. Silverberg recommends starting with the basics, such as how no one should be touching them without their permission, then revisiting the subject a few days later to gauge what they understood and how they feel. If your child gets upset, you may want to hit pause on this topic until they’re a little older.

By now, it might be time to explain the actual mechanics of sex to kids. Silverberg notes that there’s nothing wrong with introducing this information earlier if your child seems ready for it, or delaying it a bit if you think they won’t comprehend it. To make this discussion easier on you, he suggests incorporating a good book that’s aimed at anticipating your child’s many questions.

Talking about sex can go hand-in-hand with another key topic: puberty. Thornhill says when kids are around age six, this can be a simple discussion about how bodies change as we grow. For example, you could compare photos of when they were little with what they look like now.  Silverberg recommends saving the more detailed puberty talk until just before your child or those in her peer group start experiencing it. Otherwise, he says, “It seems like you’re talking about an alien planet.” Children with vaginas can expect to start puberty between nine and eleven. For them, a key indicator that this change is underway is the development of breast buds, which usually starts before age 10. Menstruation follows a few years later, usually around age 12 (though earlier isn’t uncommon). Children with penises tend to start puberty closer to 10, with pubic hair growth being the first clear sign.

When it comes to discussing puberty, Silverberg recommends sharing a good book with your child that can walk you both through puberty’s more technical aspects, such as the differences between testosterone and estrogen, and why and how our bodies undergo changes in hair, genitals, voices, etc. He also says to make this a general talk. “It isn’t that girls get one lesson and boys get one lesson.” Kids should learn not only about their own bodies, but also other bodies. While the detailed mechanics of puberty might be limited to one conversation, the impact of this transition should be an ongoing discussion. 

“Kids of this age also need to learn more about the range of gender expression,” says Silverberg. If it’s a topic you’ve been shying away from, educate yourself first. Thornhill suggests starting the conversation with how you can’t tell someone’s gender based on their genitals.

How to talk to kids about sex when they’re 9 to 12 years old

Silverberg explains that now is when you should start talking about sexism and sexualisation. Use examples found in the media or even in your own community—for example, a grandparent who thinks boys should only have short hair—to spark discussions. These chats can be depressing, but support kids to find their power, and point out positive examples of individuals who have overcome stereotypes. Also, point out how progress has been made; for example, with more women working in STEM fields.

This age is full of emotional and social changes, and girls in particular may struggle with body issues. Thornhill encourages parents to check in with their children about how they’re feeling and what they’re wondering about. “At this age, it’s really just emphasizing over and over again that it’s normal,” when it comes to how their bodies are changing.

Something else you want to normalize is safe sex. “By 11, you want to start having conversations about sexual choices and safer sex,” says Thornhill. She admits that, as a mother herself, this idea is a bit jarring, but it’s also crucial, since research shows that teens make better choices when they know the risks. Thornhill says you should highlight different types of birth control and explain the basics of how they work.

Since this age group generally has more freedom online, it’s a good idea to periodically chat about internet safety and to build on your already established digital rules and values. For example, talk frankly about how sharing nude or sexually explicit photos of themselves or their peers may be illegal. “They could be charged with making or distributing child pornography,” explains Silverberg, “even if everyone involved is okay with it.”

Ask your child “What do you think it means to be respectful on social media?” And when high-profile stories on sexting or online bullying are in the news, use them as jumping-off points to ask your child how they would handle similar situations.

How to talk to your teenager about sex

Talking with your kids about sex and sexuality early in life really pays off once they’ve hit their teens. If you’ve established yourself as open to discussing those topics, “your kids are probably going to feel more comfortable talking to you and asking you questions,” says Thornhill.

But if you’ve been quiet on the subject of sex up till now, she recommends sitting down with your teen and stating that you’re changing your ways. “Even just hearing that is really reassuring for most kids,” Thornhill says.

While you generally want to minimize the lectures, teens need real talk about birth control, says Thornhill, who adds that you might even want to supply condoms or set up a doctor’s appointment for hormonal birth control.

It’s also important to frequently discuss consent in sexual relationships. “You need to be thinking about how to help them protect themselves against pressure and dating violence,” says Silverberg, adding that conversations around these topics should include the impact drinking and drugs can have on judgement.

Frequent conversations around healthy relationships are crucial. If your child is reluctant to talk about herself, Silverberg recommends that you talk about “friends at school” instead. You may also want to share relationship stories from your past.

Ultimately, when it comes to teens, you want to empower your child to be able to evaluate risks and make good decisions. “Helping kids understand that they have a gut, an inner voice, and they can and should listen to it, is a big part of what sex education is about,” says Silverberg. And by discussing the right topics at the right ages, you’re setting your child up to do just that.

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