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January 02, 2017

What you'll need when you bring baby home from the hospital

Parenting Motherhood
010317_katiesbaby_KG Katie Gagnon/for PhillyVoice

Katie has used this Boppy newborn lounger since she brought Killian home from the hospital three months ago. While not an essential, she highly recommends it.

When I was expecting my son and entering into the unknown of having my first child, I needed guidance on how to prepare for and care for my newborn baby. One of the things I was most concerned about was ensuring that we had everything we needed when we brought our son home from the hospital.

This is a common concern for first-time parents. In fact, a friend of mine just asked me for a list of everything he should have as he prepares for his baby girl to arrive.

Adapted from the newborn baby essentials recommendations from Today’s Parent, here are my suggestions for what you need for your newborn baby. A few brands or products that I use and highly recommend are hyperlinked.


12 short-sleeved onesies: 6 in size newborn; 6 in size 3 mos

6 long sleeve onesies: 3 size newborn; 3 size 3 mos

6 coverall outfits: 3 size newborn; 3 size 3 mos

6 coverall pajamas: 3 size newborn; 3 size 3 mos

6 nightshirts: 3 size newborn; 3 size 3 mos

4 pairs of pants: size 3 mos

2 newborn hats (you’ll end up getting more of these as gifts)

12 pairs of socks

8 pairs of cotton mittens

2 cardigans or sweatshirts: size newborn to 3 mos 

Bunting bag or snowsuit for winter baby

5 nice outfits including home from hospital outfit: size newborn to 3 mos

Laundry detergent and fabric softener for baby clothes (wash everything before baby wears it!)


4 receiving blankets that can be used for swaddling

4 soft, cuddling blankets

2 stroller blankets

1 heavy knit floor blanket for tummy time


20 burp cloths

1 breast pump (covered by insurance – contact your provider!)

Milk storage containers

Nursing pillow with two washable covers

2 nursing bras

Box of breast pads

Lanolin ointment for sore nipples

8 four-ounce bottles with nipples

6 eight-ounce bottles with nipples 

Formula (ask your pediatrician for recommended brands) 

Thermal bottle carrier (or a smaller cooler)


2 boxes of newborn-size diapers (don’t buy too many to start in case you have a large baby)

1 box of size 1 diapers 

1 diaper pail

Changing table and pad with 3 soft covers 

Diaper cream to prevent rash 

1 large box of baby wipes

Baby wipe warmer

PeePee TeePees (if you’re having a boy)


1 plastic infant tub

1 baby sponge for inside tub 

12 soft washcloths

Baby soap/shampoo

Baby lotion 

Baby soft-bristled hair brush 

2 soft-hooded towels

Bath rinser

Bath kneeler

Nail file (better than nail clippers for infants)


Bassinette with firm mattress OR crib with firm mattress 

4 waterproof mattress covers or liners 

4 fitted crib sheets

4 Miracle Blankets

Other necessities

Approved infant safety seat for car (installed and inspected)

Car mirror (to see your baby while you’re driving)


Newborn lounging pillow

Infant chair

First Aid Kit that includes: baby thermometer, eye dropper or medicine spoon, bulb for suctioning mucous

Rocking chair for nursery

Pack ‘n Play

Sling or baby carrier

Diaper bag (fully stocked and ready to take to hospital)

Baby hangers for closet (will come with nicer outfits that are purchased/gifted)

12 pacifiers

Baby books

Rattles, baby toys and stuffed animals (you’ll receive many of these as gifts) 

Night light and sound machine

Germ-free humidifier

Baby monitor

It is one thing to have a list of all the things you need but it is another to determine which types and brands you want to buy. I did a lot of independent research, read product reviews online, and asked other parents which products and brands they preferred and why. Figuring out which car seat is right for your child could be a week-long project! Source recommendations from anyone you know who has children to assist in this process.

I created a comprehensive Excel spreadsheet with all of the items we need for our baby, listing preferred brands, cost and websites where to purchase (since I did a lot of my baby shopping online). This allowed for me to stay organized by keeping track of things purchased and received. I recommend compiling your own spreadsheet. It helped my husband and I understand what we needed and also helped with easily putting together our registry. We made an online baby registry to guide our friends and family who wanted to purchase presents for Killian using the website which allows you to register for items at multiple stores and online retailers like Amazon. I did not put everything we needed on our registry; rather I added items at various price levels that I thought people may want to give as gifts.

A few more tips that you may find helpful in preparing to care for your newborn baby:

     · Two things I realized we needed more of immediately: pacifiers and mittens.

     · Two things we were given a ton of and I am so glad we did not buy for ourselves: stuffed animals and non-swaddling blankets.

     · Two things I was sure that we needed but have not used are a bottle sterilizer and the Owlet baby monitor.

     · Take everything you can from the hospital! Long sleeve shirts, swaddling blankets, mini bottles of baby shampoo, diapers … it will save you some money.

     · Know someone who knits or sews? Ask for blankets, burp cloths and bibs as gifts!

     · You do not need everything brand new! We were so lucky to be gifted with great hand-me-downs from my cousins. I also recommend checking out children’s consignment shops. One I visited had many clothes with the tags still on.

Purchasing everything you need for your newborn baby can seem daunting. I recommend planning early, determining a budget with your partner, and buying a little at a time over the course of your pregnancy. This will help take some of the stress out of your preparation.

What items could you not live without when you brought your newborn baby home from the hospital? Is there anything you think should be added to this list? I want to hear from you! Share in the comments below or Tweet me at @ThePhillyVoice and @KathleenEGagnon.

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