Basics for Baby

Basics for Baby

What do babies really need?

After having two babies and expecting my third (due in just a few weeks!), I’ve learned that babies really don’t need much at all.

With each baby, we’ve pared down more and more and now are left with the basics.

Here’s my list of basics for baby:


If you’re breastfeeding, you provide the food! (And, it’s nice to have a breast pumpand 2-3 bottles as well as nursing bras, camisoles and nursing pads for mama!)

For formula feeding you’ll need bottles, formula, maybe even a bottle warmer.

Diapers and Wipes

If you’re using disposables, you just need diapers, wipes and diaper cream!

If you’re using cloth diapers and planning to do it full time, I recommend a minimum of 20 diapers. Baby should average about 8 diapers a day so 20 is a good number with washing every other day. You’ll also need wipes, dirty diaper storage (either an actual diaper pail or a hanging wet bag) and a small or medium wet bag if you plan to cloth diaper outside the home. And, you’ll need a cloth diaper safe diaper cream and laundry detergent.


Baby clothes are adorable but there are a ton of clothes out there that are impractical and maybe even uncomfortable for a baby. For little bitty babies, I prefer cotton body suits, pants and one pieces.

Here are the basics for newborns:

8-10 bodysuits (long or short sleeve depending on season)
4-6 cotton pants
2-6 one piece outfits (long or short rompers)
6-8 sleepers (I personally prefer snaps, others love the zippers)
10 pair of socks
2-4 hats
2-4 pair of mittens

You can get by with less if you are washing clothes regularly. I do a load of laundry nearly every day to stay on top of laundry so we can get by with fewer clothes. If you do laundry less often, you probably will want to have more.

Baby clothes are definitely a fun part of having a baby (especially a first baby) but it’s good to have limits so you don’t get overrun with baby clothes!

A place to sleep

This just depends on your preference. If you’re setting up the nursery in your room, baby can sleep in the crib from day one.

With our first baby, we had a (borrowed) Pack ‘n Play in our room. With our second baby, we had a (borrowed) bassinet in our room. Our second son actually slept better slightly propped so we ended up using our Infant To Toddler Rocker and some nights he co-slept just because it was so much easier!

And you’ll need 2-3 crib sheets and 1-2 crib mattress pad covers. The fancy crib bedding is not necessary. We used bumpers for about 6 months with our first and never with our second.

Car Seat

Infant car seats are not an absolute necessity but are nice. If you have a winter baby, they are more of a need since baby can stay snug in the seat while out and about. For a spring and summer baby, you can get by without one and just start out with a convertible car seat. We have an infant seat that we received when our first baby was born. We used it with our second too since we had it. (Although, we got it out of the car maybe 5 times ever – thanks to a mild winter). We still have that seat so we’ll use it for #3 too.


I love muslin swaddle blankets, a four pack should be plenty. They’re great for swaddling, for nursing covers, and to use as crib blankets when baby gets older (My boys still sleep with them in the summer).

A quilt is nice to use as a play mat and thicker blankets (muslin, crocheted or knitted) are nice when it gets cooler. 1 quilt and 1-2 thicker blankets should be plenty.

Bibs/Burp Cloths

4-6 bibs as a minimum, if baby spits up a lot or is a drooler, you’ll need more.

10-12 burp cloths. I prefer thin ‘cloth diapers’, they make great ‘hankies’ too!

Baby Carrier

This is a must have for me because I believe having a baby in a carrier is much easier for mama than lugging a heavy infant seat around and baby would much rather be on mama than in a seat.

I had a Moby Wrap with my first baby. It was very comfortable but tying it up isn’t exactly easy, especially while out of the home.

For my second baby, I purchased a Baby K’tan which feels a lot like a Moby but is much easier! I used the Baby K’tan when he was tiny. When he was about 6 months, I switched to a soft structured carrier, a BOBA.

A bottle of baby shampoo & wash and baby nail clippers. Baby lotion is nice but I almost never use it.

Babies really don’t need much.

There’s no need to spend a lot on expensive baby gear, the latest and greatest baby gadgets and huge wardrobes for tiny babies. Stick to the basics, you’ll have more money and your home will not be overtaken with baby things!

What’s on your baby basics list?

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responses to “Basics for Baby” 10

  1. Because my babies both spit up constantly, we invested in LOTS of blankets. It took us awhile (because we were so sleep-deprived) to think of this, but we eventually got the great idea to put a blanket over the bouncy seat/infant to toddler rocker/pack 'n play/bassinet/swing/moses basket, you name it, and then put our baby on top of the banket! Then when they spit up, it was much easier to just wash the blanket than to wash the material on the actual item. 😛

  2. Buttons?!!! I have never heard of anyone liking buttons – why? Are they a better fit? I have been trying to weed out all my button sleepers, who has time to mess with them in the dark at midnight? I always seem to be one off 🙂 hehe!

    1. Oh gosh, I meant to write snaps, not buttons (I guess I can blame that one on pregnancy brain?)! Will definitely go update that! I cannot imagine buttoning up a sleeper in the dark either. I do prefer the snaps to the zippers because unzipping a sleeper exposes more of baby's skin versus unsnapping the bottom!

      1. lol! I was thinking snaps when I said button – can I use the post partum mommy brain?! I never thought of having to unzip everything but that makes total sense! Its cold here too…

  3. I don't know about all of you, but the snap sleepers I had for my kids were sometimes very difficult to snap, even in broad daylight! Down by the crotch area/legs. their was a weird way to line up the snaps (with some overlapping) and sometimes even during the day it took me several tries to line it up correctly. However, no matter how many stores I looked in or how many sleepers were gifted to me, I never found any other kind. So zippers were a MUST in our house.

    1. It's so interesting how we all have different preferences! I do know what you're talking about with lining up issues in the crotch area – I typically start snapping up at the feet and work my way up.

  4. Thanks for the nice summary. My Sister will have her first baby next week, so I currently look for ideas and presents to help her with. Now I know how to get started 🙂

  5. Love this list! One thing that we deem necessary is definately a luxury baby item vs necessity – a swing. Both of our boys slept in one for many months. In fact, Jackson is still in it! We rely on the swing to get sleep ourselves. Ours kicked the bucket a couple months ago and I panicked and almost ran to the store to get a new one. Instead I posted on Facebook what happened and within a half hour Jason was on his way to get one from a friend and they said to use it as long as we needed to! Theirs is battery operated where ours had a plug so we are spending $$$ on batteries but when we are done with it we don't have to store it – score!

    1. Every baby is different! We had a swing with our first and he wasn't a big fan of it. So we didn't try one with our second. Sounds like it's a miracle worker for your little one!

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