What you REALLY need for your new baby (a minimalist approach)

What you REALLY need for your new baby
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I don’t know about you, but when we created our baby registry, I was totally overwhelmed.

There are about a million different baby products that you “need” and about a trillion options for each product type. Or at least that’s how I felt when I set foot inside Babies R Us. In preparation for creating our registry, I read tons of “what you really need for baby” lists from Pinterest (these were the most helpful – 1, 2, 3), but we still ended up with way more than we truly needed.

So… I wanted to put together a list of what we actually use (and how many of each item!) while we’re still in the thick of this newborn phase of life. Hopefully this will be helpful to any of you who are preparing for your first little one, or even those of you who are looking at your friends’ registries at a total loss for what to buy them. Here’s the scoop:

Clothing + Accessories

Sleepers (8) – Adeline lived in these things for the first couple weeks! They are so easy for the million diaper changes each day, but especially the night time changes when you’re a little foggy brained and your patience is a bit thinner. I’ve found we like the sleepers that snap down both legs to be the easiest to deal with during the night time changes. The sleepers that zip down one leg are super hard to get on and off her at night and the last thing we want is to be up longer than necessary. Also! Those mid-diaper change pees soak the puddle pad as well as the sleeper…. So a simple diaper change often becomes an outfit change. And that happens a lot. Hence the need for 8 so that I’m doing laundry about every other day and we aren’t left in a pinch in the middle of the night.

Onesies (5-7) Two things: only register for or buy onesies that have the crisscrossed head openings (they are bigger than the plain circle openings) or that button or tie down the side and don’t stock up on plain white ones. Now that I have an actual baby to dress, I’d rather put her in the patterned or colored ones because they are more fun! And since we do laundry so often, she honestly doesn’t need more than 5.

Jackets/cardigans (5) – This is obviously seasonal, but for my early spring baby, I love layering these jackets over her cute short sleeved onesies! We have two hooded sweatshirt jackets and one cardigan, but I think we’d be set with a total of 5. I feel a little like she wears the same outfit every day with the 3 options we have now.

Pants (5) – Five pairs of pants in colors to coordinate with your onesies and you’re set!

Socks (3) – these can totally be re-worn between washes, but I haven’t even done a load with 3 pairs of socks in it yet! Several of her pants have feet built in, which helps.

Hats (3-5) – Again, this is mostly to have enough options to coordinate with outfits :)! Adeline still wears hats most days and nights due to the chilly spring weather and her small size, and I like to change them each day/night to keep her hair looking fresh between baths. PS – this hat of hers is my FAVORITE and it’s on sale!

Swaddle blankets (3) – These are great for swaddling, of course, but also for snuggling, covering the car seat, using as a nursing cover and as a light blanket throughout the day! We got tons of these (like more than 10), but I’ve found 3 seems to be the magic number for having them when I need them. I can have one dirty, one in the wash and still have one when I need it!


Baby towel (2) and washcloths (3-4)  – Since you give newborns baths every 2-3 days, there’s no need for tons of towels. We use 2-3 washcloths with each bath for blanketing her to keep her warm during the bath and for sudsing/rinsing.

Baby bath tub (1) – We use the Puj and love it so far! It’s small and easy to store as well.

Baby lotion (1) – Newborns often have dry skin, and Adeline definitely does!! We lotion her after every bath and with every outfit change each day.

Bath soap (1) – A little goes a looooong way, so don’t worry about stocking up. Registering for just one bottle will last you quite a while!


Car seat/stroller travel system – This has got to be the most convenient thing in the world!! I looooove how easy it is to get Adeline into the stroller by myself with the car seat/stroller combo. The stroller folds and unfolds with the pull of one strap, the car seat clicks right in and off we go to run our errand! She snoozes through the whole thing! It’s all super light weight and compact so we just keep the stroller in the trunk of the car, ready to go.

Rock n play – This thing is amazing. I originally got it to use downstairs for napping during the day, but Adeline has been sleeping in it at night as well for the past couple of weeks. A few weeks ago she decided she was done being swaddled and did not want anything to do with the bassinet, so out of desperation we put her in the rock n play and all of a sudden we got to sleep again. Praise God! It’s also incredibly portable, so I can easily move it to the bathroom or up and down the stairs throughout the day!

Crib – She can only sleep in the rock n play or bassinet for so long;). But! The crib doesn’t have to break the bank. We got ours brand new and on sale for under $100.

Carrier – I can’t recommend my favorite yet because I’ve only used our Happy Wrap a couple times, but so far I’m really enjoying it! (I hear it is more lightweight and has less fabric than the comparable Moby wrap). We also have a Tula, but I bought the wrong infant insert and am waiting to get the correct one in the mail, so I haven’t tried it yet. I’d also really like to try a ring sling because they seem so much more simple than the Happy Wrap style carriers. Regardless, being able to wear Adeline some during the day is HUGE for me. I don’t like putting her down in the rock n play much throughout the day because she already spends all night in it, so the carrier enables me to keep her close while also accomplishing a few things during the day. 😉 ( PS – Check out this post for some great tips on how to safely baby wear!)


Puddle pads (6) – We go through these like diapers, except they aren’t disposable ;). Our little one loves to pee while we are mid-diaper change, so all of ours cycle through the wash about every second or third day. We have two “changing stations” in our house – one in the nursery and a small diaper caddy downstairs – so we have two puddle pads in use at a time. It’s so nice to just change the puddle pad instead of messing with the changing pad cover in the middle of the night! And it’s especially nice for the puddle pad to catch the pee when we’re using a more portable changing pad – those things are usually water resistant, so the pee would just run right off! The puddle pad keeps that from happening.

Changing pad and table – We have converted an old desk to a changing station in Adeline’s room. We keep a changing pad and puddle pad on it and I love having a place to change her at night that’s not the floor. After many changes on our table, I’d recommend you make sure yours is a good height for you! Ours is a bit short, since it’s actually an old desk, and my back hurts if I’m bent over for too long.

Diapers – You can’t have too many. Plain and simple.

Wipes – Ditto.


Nursing cover – Learning to nurse modestly was quite the challenge for me! There’s just so much to maneuver underneath these covers: my shirt, bra, disposable leak pad, nipple shield, MOVING BABY…. all the while making sure none of my skin is exposed. How do people make this look so easy?!? I tried using a “nursing infinity scarf” first and that was a joke. I couldn’t figure it out to save my life, so I quickly bought this out of desperation. I like that it hooks around my neck and covers my front and sides so easily. However, I did cave and buy this Copper Pearl nursing/car seat cover for more 360 degree coverage, which I love due to ALL THE THINGS you have to maneuver under there. The full coverage option also lets me wear any type of shirt to nurse, since it won’t matter if it pulls up in the back.

Disposable leak pads – I wear these pretty much all the time with my nursing bras. I haven’t had a soak-through-my-shirt experience, but out of fear I wear these just in case!:) I do leak when I let down, so anytime she cries or while she’s nursing the other side will leak bit. These pads are great – they also keep your bras cleaner longer between washes!

Soothie gel pads (always have an extra set on hand) – Man oh man. There are two things I’ve called “life changing” in pregnancy/postpartum: the epidural and these soothies. I have (thankfully!!!!) had a pretty smooth breastfeeding experience so far, but about two weeks in I experienced extremely sore nipples. One wear between feedings with the soothies and all was right in the world again! I can’t recommend having these on hand enough!

Nursing bras (2-4) – I have only tried this kind from Motherhood Maternity, but I love them! They are super comfortable and easy to use. I have 4 – three nude and one black – and wash them all about twice a week… You could probably get away with only two, though. 

Lansinoh cream – Like I said, my breastfeeding experience has been relatively painless, but I wouldn’t be surprised if this cream had a lot to do with it. I religiously apply this after every feeding and I bet it’s why I haven’t experienced cracks or much soreness!

Burp cloths (3) – With the amount of laundry I’m doing already, 3 is just enough. I typically use the same burp cloth all day and change them out each morning. However, Adeline literally never spits up, so I just use these for wiping excess milk off her face during and after each feeding. If your baby is a big spitter, you may go through more than one in a day. I looooove these burt’s bees cloths because they are super soft!

Breast pump – If you plan on being away from your baby at all, this is a must! And now that they are covered with insurance, there’s no reason not to have one! I just started using mine last week and I’m happy with it!

Breastmilk storage bags (can’t have too many) – These are a must have for freezing milk for later!

Hands free pumping bra – Before I got this bra, I had to pump one side at a time, so it took twice as long and I couldn’t do much with only one free hand! It is soooo nice to have both hands free to write thank you cards, read, etc.

Bottles – We have really only used the bottle/nipple that came with my pump/the extra medela accessories I bought, so I can’t recommend a brand or type. But! I’d say you need 2-6 of these on hand, totally dependent upon how often you plan to bottle feed and how often you do the dishes.


Soothies pacifier (2) – This is the only pacifier we’ve tried with Adeline because she takes it, but having a pacifier has saved my boobs! There have been several times Adeline would cry and I’d try nursing her, but she just wanted to use me as a paci… In comes the (real) pacifier.

Baby grooming kit – Ours has come in handy multiple times! We use the oral thermometer to check the bath temperature (ha!), the hair combs and nail file often! I’ve found filing her nails while she is sleeping is easier than clipping them – just a personal preference.

Baby book! – I know, this may seem unqualified for the “must-have” list, but I beg to differ. I want to remember my baby’s “firsts” for forever! I love this book because it’s calendar-style, so it’s easy to read as I look back to see all the notes! It also limits space so I can’t over record things ;).

Clorox 2 Laundry Stain Remover – THIS GETS STAINS OUT OF EVERYTHING. EVERYTHING, Y’ALL! I’m talking mustard yellow poop out of white onesies! This stuff is life changing and I’ve used it on something in almost every baby laundry load so far.

Baby Tracker App (it’s free!) – This app helped me keep track of Adeline’s feedings, diaper changes and sleep in the early days of her life. In the hospital, the nurses always wanted to know if she had dirty diapers, when she nursed and for how long on which side, etc. It was impossible for my  foggy new mom brain to remember her nighttime feedings come morning, so this app was a lifesaver. I love that it helps me track which side I started on last and it times her feedings for me. I still use it to track her feeding schedule almost 6 weeks later!


Essential Guide to Breastfeeding – This book prepared me so well for breastfeeding! I read it shortly before Adeline was born, but have referenced it again many times since. It has answered all of my questions about breastfeeding, pumping, milk storage, etc.

Heading Home with Your Newborn: From Birth to Reality – I borrowed this book from a friend and read it after Adeline was born. This is a staple in my opinion – I have looked up many questions in this book to find answers quickly! It has been extremely helpful and I’d tell all my friends to register for these two books!

Not “Necessary” but items I do love…

Diaper caddy – We have a two story apartment and Adeline’s nursery is upstairs. We spend most of our day downstairs, though, so we keep a small caddy with diapers, wipes and a foldable changing pad (came with the caddy!) under our end table by the couch. Since she goes through about 16 diapers a day, I enjoy not making 16 extra trips up the stairs to change her.;) But as someone who also hates clutter, the compact nature of this makes me incredibly happy.

A more “hardy” blanket for travel – We got this blanket from Etsy (PS it’s on sale!) and I love everything about it. One side is super soft with nubs on it and the opposite side is a little more durable. It’s a great blanket to cover Adeline in her carseat for chilly days or in the rock n play while she naps. It’s the perfect size and we take it with us everywhere!

Carseat Mirror – Like most first time moms, I sat in the backseat with Adeline for probably the first 5 weeks of her life. That is, until I had to drive by myself. In comes the car seat mirror… this comforted my paranoid mom heart because I could still see her!

Boon Drying Grass – There are so many small parts to my pump and bottles that I love having a separate place to dry them. Since we don’t have a dishwasher, I hand wash everything and this rack allows me to keep all those pieces together and away from our regular dishes.  

Okay mamas, is there anything you would add to the “must-have” section of this list? What about the “nice to have” part??

  • Pinning this for when I have a baby in like. . . 5-7 years. 🙂

  • Sarah King

    I can’t believe this is a minimalist approach!!! Haha. The idea of acquiring all of these things is completely overwhelming. I’m glad the Lord gives us the grace we need to handle each circumstance he sends our way! <3

    • Ha! The amount of stuff you need is a little crazy… But you will be so blessed by your friends and family around you when the time comes!!! Having a baby makes you really appreciate the gift of

  • We’re expecting our first baby in october, and I’ve been wondering and researching just how many clothes and blanekts we need. I haven’t found a list this detailed yet! I’m so thankful for it!

    • Rebekah, congrats!! That is soooo fun and exciting!! I’m glad this list was helpful… I had similar issues when looking for specifics so I feel your pain! Good luck with your registry!!:)