Free printable: Minimalist Baby Essentials Checklist
Project time: 10 Minutes
Materials: Free Baby Essentials Printable Checklist + Printer + Pretty Paper
Finished product: Minimalist essentials checklist for Mom, Baby, and Household -highlighting baby gear used 0-6 months.
Use ideas: Helpful list for first time parents to sort through what’s actually necessary for a new babe
Note: I do have affiliate links throughout this post. The links provide me with a small percentage of commission, but do not cost you anything extra.
I’ve been wanting to make a minimalist-mom-must-have list since Essie was born. There is an outrageous amount of baby gear out there; and with your first babe, you can easily get overwhelmed when deciding what you need to aid the transition of a tiny human coming into your home.
I’m actually becoming a momma of two very soon. And I’m reminiscing on how much stuff we had prepped for Esther that we didn’t use, and how many things we forgot that we had actually needed!
I’m prepared now, and glad I don’t have to do that process again. But you my friend, might be in the middle of ‘First baby prep’ right now!
I consider myself to be a minimalist, or at the very least, a conscious consumer when it comes to bringing new items into my home. So keeping that in mind, I’ve made a complete list of the items I used during the first three months of my little’s life. (Bassinets, bottle racks, portable changing pads, bathtub kneeling pads, bibs, mits, pacifiers, nursing pillows, etc! - I didn’t forget them, they are not listed on purpose.) I’ve made it into this handy checklist printable, and added quick links and why we liked each item as well.
A good rule of thumb for baby purchases is: if you’ve got the essentials taken care of, buy on an ‘as needed’ basis.
All-in-all, I hope these checklists save you some research time, or maybe jogs your memory on an item you’ve forgotten! Here we go:
1. Pain Management
Tylenol . Let’s be real, they call it labor for a reason.
2. Pads and Undies
Extra long Free and clear pads worked best for my recovery. (Don’t forget sturdy undies that are suitable to hold your pads.)
3. Robes (2) I go by the one to wear, one to wash principle with most of these items.
For the first few days home, you're really not going to want to wear pants. I love the super soft ones from the Gilligan and O’Malley brand. You can get them at Target.
4. Large Water Cup with Straw
After birth, you can’t always hop up easily to grab some water. You’ve got to take care of yourself, and proper hydration is vital. You are kind of in a fog the first few months, and having a cute cup around will remind you to drink up! I liked using a cup and straw because it was easier to drink ‘over baby’ while feeding rather than trying to unsnap or unscrew a regular water bottle cap.
Keep taking your pre or post natal vitamins! You need them for recovery, and for nursing. I like the Smarty Pants brand because they don’t use any fillers, and let’s be honest, the gummys are delicious!
IF YOU’RE BREASTFEEDING
6. Lanolin nipple cream
Trust me on this one. Pack this in your go-bag.
7. Nursing Tanks (4)
Nursing tanks are a lifesaver. I slept in them, I went out in them, I did music gigs in them! If you’re breastfeeding, these will save you so. much. discomfort. Especially if you’re a first time feeder and you’re still getting used to the baby latching/shirt up/bra down/saga. Amazon has a lot of cuties, and Target’s tanks are super comfy as well.
8. Quick cover-ups
To dress up your nursing tanks and make them look like real clothing (for when you don’t want to wear a bra. #mealways) My favorite ‘cover ups’ are oversized cropped tees. They work great as a quick cover for nursing too!
9. Nursing Bras (2)
My favorite of all time is the Yootoo Maternity Bra - They are on the higher end price-wise, but they run amazing sales all the time. I have two, and combined with the nursing tanks they are enough. Super soft and ridiculously durable!
10. Breast pump
This little breast pump worked amazingly well. No charging, batteries, noise, or crazy cleaning. It’s a single piece, and super simple. It was perfect for travel, or discretely pumping when I was away from Essie and had a let-down. Note: I do work from home, so I didn’t have to stock up or store large amounts of milk. If you do need to pump and store for work, this one might not give you enough fast enough. But for intermediate pumping, stocking your freezer for a few weeks, and emergencies - it was perfect!
11. Milk storage bags
You can store breast milk in a deep freeze for up to 12 months technically, but 6 months is optimal use. These handy bags have a great seal and were easy to take on the go. They have a built in place to write their ‘pumped’ date, and ‘use-by date’ clearly so you’re not going over expiration dates too. More on storing/using frozen breastmilk here
12. Washable nursing pads (6 Pairs)
These bamboo based pads work so well. Super absorbent, soft and durable. I love that they were washable as well. I bought two boxes because in the early days I changed them twice a day.
13. Diaper bag
I use a medium size regular purse as a purse/diaper bag combo. Target has a lot of adorable options. Again, I work from home and don’t have to supply a daycare with a full day of supplies, so this won’t work for everyone. But I primarily stock it with:
Pack of wipes
An extra baby outfit, including socks (1)
Burp cloths (2)
Baby washcloths (1)
Receiving blanket (1)
Extra nursing pads (1 set)
NICE TO HAVE
14. Nursing cover
You can use one of your receiving blankets, or tuck them under your tee, but if you’re a first time nurser, a proper cover with a strap around your neck is a nice to have.
An extra note on the amazing, beautiful adventure of nursing. My babies were fine eating while covered, but some babies aren’t. Nodding to modesty is one thing, but feeding your baby comes absolutely first!
If your baby doesn’t like to feed while under anything, then don’t sweat it! Don’t feel pressure that you have to cover. Because guess what: Nursing is natural. The immaturity and pervasiveness of American society should not hamper your confidence and ability to feed your beautiful babe with your breast. #hatersgonnahate #whenwilltheworldgrowup #canwestopbeingafraidofboobsplease
We used the Britax B-Safe Elite Infant Car seat for baby number one, and it’s currently in use by baby number two. It’s super durable, easy to use, easy to install, clean, and above all - has amazing safety ratings.
We used this sturdy little Divinci mini-crib until our babe was big enough to hop into our bed comfortably. It’s a space saver, not too expensive, and easy to put together! I particularly like that the baseboard has a few different height settings, so as your little grows, you can lower the mattress and keep using the crib. You can also purchase a converter kit and make it into a twin size bed. Don’t forget the crib mattress
3. Crib Sheets (2)
Fun fact: Pack and Play sheets fit a crib mini mattress. You can measure yours to double check that the depth will work, but 99% of pack and play sheets will also fit a portable or mini crib mattress!
4. Free and clear laundry detergent
You’re going to be doing a LOT of laundry. And a new baby’s skin is super sensitive. My first day home anything that I had washed in my scented Dreft baby detergent was spreading a horrible red rash all over my new wee babe. I’ve been using free and clear ever since for our household and it’s been wonderful.
5. Baby bath sling
Word of caution; babies are SO slipery when wet! And they are held so much - our wee one always seemed happy that her little body could just sit and relax independently of arms in her bath. We were able to use this bath sling in our regular bathtub from the time the cord fell off, until she could sit up on her own. No separate baby baths, or newborn sink pillows - it made baths so easy! Her being able to relax in the water, and I could relax having a safe place to sit her.
6. Swing/bouncer combo (or somewhere safe to put the baby down in your home)
This is important. You will want a safe place that you can place baby without worrying about them rolling, or getting squished in older sibling hugs, etc.
We love the glider/removable bouncer combo by Graco. Our’s didn’t come with the bassinet like this one, but it was great because it was a compact two in one. We easily could detach the bouncer and throw it in the car when we visited friends and family, or have a place ‘up off the ground’ to set baby when we needed a safe spot. My kiddo liked to sit up and look around in hers from day one.
NICE TO HAVE
These items are not universally necessary, but we found each one to be extremely helpful for our lifestyle!
We had someone give us a playmat from Ikea, (much like this one) and I will be using it for baby number two! It’s so nice to have a stimulating, comfy place for baby to stretch out and relax their little body.
8. Baby Carrier
Tula carrier, free to grow I liked this one because there’s no extra insert you need in order to hold your newborn right away. If you’re looking to carry your wee one hands free, you don’t get any more comfortable then a Tula!
9. Rocking chair
We have this one from WayFair. Though you don’t necessarily need an entire new chair, I love my rocker. First babe is two and still loves it. It’s a great place to rest with baby, rock them to sleep, or just get in some comforting cuddles.
This little night light is amazing - especially for those first few nights home when you’re checking on every single noise new baby is making! It’s portable and cordless so it can be kept within arms reach. It’s rechargeable, easy tap on/ tap off, and it lends the perfect amount of light for nursing and late night diaper changing without having to flip an overhead light on.
11. Baby Monitor
We co-sleep so we didn’t use this too often, but when we did need a baby monitor, we used the Baby Monitor 3G app . It’s super simple to set up, secure, and worth the $5 to not have to carry another thing in the diaper bag! Also, if you are co-sleeping, be sure to follow safe co-sleeping practices!
We have the City Mini GT by Baby Jogger and I can’t say enough good things about this stroller. It’s super light, folds up into a tiny narrow rectangle; can be carried in one hand, closes with one hand, opens with one hand, and steers with one hand. This baby drives like those big wheeled joggers, but instead of those cumbersome bicycle tires - it has forever inflated tiny wheels. We’ve used it on NYC sidewalks without a hitch (and that’s saying something) Both my husband and I jog 5k’s with it every week, and have not had one. single. issue.
It has a simple, but top of the line construction. No extra heavy pockets or zipper pieces that come on and off. There are options for extras, (like cup holders and trays, etc.) but they are just that, extras. They don’t come pre-fixed, weighing down or bulking out the stroller. We bought the adapter brackets as well so it worked right away with our infant Britax carseat, no extra bassinet additions needed. This is the stroller, trust me.
Note about the brackets: The base of the Ultra car seat is the same as the older version of the car seat, which is the Elite. And those are the clips we use for our B-Safe Elite, and they work wonderfully.
13. Pack-N-Play Mini
We’re big outdoors people, and this little pack-n-play mini was baby’s personal, safe yard. We literally used it every day. Parks, backyards, friends houses, etc. I didn’t use the bassinet portion - just sat baby right in the play yard!
14. Changing Table
We tried to go without a changing table (because we can just use the bed right?) and our backs oh-so-ached. We caved within two days and bought this one, also from Wayfair. I like how it doesn’t look too much like a changing table, I think it will double as a shelf nicely in the girls room (or a bar cart for us?) later on! And don’t forget the Changing pad. Four walls on the pad help keep the ‘oh-my-gosh-the-diaper-is-off-accidents’ contained, and yes, no matter how fast you are at changing diapers, this does happen!
1. Soft receiving blankets for swaddling (8)
So about swaddling… There are a million different opinions, and about a million different pods, zipper bags, and velcro blankets to ‘help’ you swaddle your baby. I found the solution to avoiding a million different versions of a simple blanket in the house was - learn how to swaddle properly!
A normal muslin receiving blanket in a tight swaddle is the one my kiddo felt most comfortable in. The little sleeping pods had too much stretch and she would still move about and startle. And I honestly felt horrible snapping my kiddo into a stiff, velcro blanket. (Word of warning: ever undo velcro straps at 3am for a diaper change? It sounds like a jet taking off.)
She stayed swaddled for about three months. It helped her sleep so much better, and I didn’t have to keep buying ‘sleep pods’ as she grew. (She grew so much during those first three months, I’d have had to spend a fortune to keep up with her sizes.) Our favorites are the Aden and Anais classic muslins.
As always, be sure to follow safe swaddling practices!
2. Baby Hats
Baby hats are a must. Keeping them snug and sweet, my first babe still loves to wear a hat! These super soft baby beanies come in an awesome variety of fun colors and sizes. And they look so cute with the little top knot!
3. Reverse zip Sleep and Play Jammies (4)
The sleep and play jammies from the Cat and Jack brand at Target are my all time favorite. They zip from the bottom up so you don't have to expose the top half of their little baby body during late night diaper changes. Snaps are so cute in the daytime, but somehow turn into an ever changing puzzle at night, remember - zippers are your friend.
4. Basic white onesies (6) Each size, Newborn - 6 month
I love the simplicity of these classic Gerber onsies. You will have a plethora of cute clothing I’m sure. But white onsies really can’t be beat for those first few months. A lot of what I thought my babe would wear I didn’t end up putting her in because she felt to soft and delicate. These soft and delicate onsies were always a great fit. The newborn long sleeves onsies comes with cuffs too so you don’t have to worry about baby mits and that sweet face getting scratched before you cut their nails. Another reason I came to appreciate them so much was no matter how fast my baby out-grew her ‘cute’ outfits, (sometimes overnight!) I could be confident I’d always have something comfy she could fit into.
5. Soft Baby socks (6)
I liked these soft little ones from Carters, you can get similar ones from Target as well!
We breastfeed, but we did have some NUK Simply Natural bottles for days I wasn’t home or to give wee-one some water. It’s a good idea to have at least one bottle on hand for emergencies. These bottles were super simple, easy to clean, and didn’t give baby any gas. They come with two different types of nipples too so you can use the same bottle as baby grows and needs faster flow!
Nothing beats the Weleda Calendula Baby Care suite. First babe was SO sensitive to scents, and chemicals. This brand is all natural, and worked wonders when nothing else worked!
There are so many things that come in baby care starter kits that you’re probably not going to use. I bought my pieces individually as I needed them, and it came down to three:
8. Nail clippers
These from Summer Infant are still going strong for baby number two! (I actually gave away the second pair, and we’ve been good with just the one for about two years now.) Especially since we don’t use mits, we found it easier to just cut their nails asap.
9. Underarm Thermometer
Vicks digital speed read is the one we’ve been using for ages. Maybe it’s just the user Experience designer in me, but I love that the screen changes to green, yellow, or red depending on the severity of the temperature. It’s pretty clear on those foggy nights when you’re checking temperatures!
10. Soft Baby Brush
This lovely wooden brush is super soft and super cute. First babe didn’t need a brush for the first year of her life, but we had it for mini-scalp massages anyway!
11. Soft Baby Washcloths
I use these soft baby washcloths for so many things. Bathtime obviously, but they helped with spit-up, nursing emergencies - everything! They help cut down on the use of wipes as well for non-diaper related cleanups.
12. Burp Cloths
I use these soft Organic Gerber cloth diapers as Burp cloths primarily. They work great, clean easily, and dry fast. I also used them as a portable changing pad, or to cover my arms when feeding. They worked great to cover arms/shoulder of someone holding her to help cut down on dyes, people’s perfumes, or just someone else’s skin causing rashes on her delicate skin. Sometimes you just need a clean cloth, and the swaddle blanket is already busy!
13. Baby Bath Towels
For towels, we bought the Burt’s Bees hooded towels. You can just use the ones you have. But a new babies skin is so sensitive, if you’re not washing towels everyday, you really have to stay on top of which towel belongs to baby. I also found it simpler to get ‘baby towels’ because they are smaller and dry fast, I could easily throw them in with her other laundry and do separate ‘baby loads’ so I didn’t have to worry about dyes and perfumes (or finger paints and toddler dirt!) from our normal laundry loads.
We used Pampers Pure (newborn and size one) and be sure to size up folks, they are normally not in the newborn size long!
15. Baby Wipes
I like Huggies Natural unscented. They are durable, minimally processed, and work for everything, try me, I bet I can use a wipe to fix it!
16. Gripe water
Mommy’s Bliss Gripe Water was a lifesaver. It helps calm little bellies naturally. If I’d tried everything and she was still crying, this worked EVERY time.
17. Alcohol wipes for umbilical cord
You need to clean that tiny little cord after each diaper change, that means at night too! You can mess about with a bottle of alcohol and a cue tip, but these handy alcohol wipes were way easier!
18. White Noise App
White noise helps baby sleep deep, especially early on. It reminds them of your heartbeat and noises from the womb. This one, Baby Sleep is super simple and easy to use. Perks of sleeping with white noise: it also helps them sleep through daytime household noise. Maybe it’s all the years in NYC that drilled it into me, but we love and use our white noise app consistently!
Number one rule about baby gear - Use what works for you, your family, and your brand new baby. These opinions and suggestions above are what worked for my family and my wee babe. You may find that it’s under (or over!) the amount of things you need for your little.
- Quick Links:
Pain Management | Pads and Undies | Robes | Large Water Cup with Straw | Vitamins | Lanolin nipple cream | Nursing Tanks | Quick cover-ups | Nursing Bras | Breast pump | Milk storage bags | Washable nursing pads | Nursing cover
Carseat | Co-sleeper/Crib/Mattress | Crib Sheets | Laundry detergent | Baby bath sling | Swing/bouncer combo | Playmat | Baby Carrier | Rocking chair | Nightlight | Baby Monitor | Stroller/ Carseat Brackets | Pack-N-Play Mini | Changing Table/Changing Pad
Receiving Blankets | Baby Hats | Sleep and Play Jammies | Basic white onesies | Soft Baby socks | Bottles | Bath wash/shampoo | Lotion | Diaper Cream | Nail clippers | Thermometer | Soft Baby Brush | Soft Baby Washcloths | Burp Cloths | Baby Bath Towels | Diapers | Baby Wipes | Gripe water | Alcohol wipes for umbilical cord | White Noise App