baby essentials

Congratulations! You’ll soon be welcoming your beautiful little bundle of joy into the world. Awaiting baby’s arrival is both exciting and overwhelming. During my pregnancy, I remember looking at the plethora of baby things my friends had and wondering how much of it was really necessary. Despite my best efforts, I ended up with stuff I really didn’t need, and some things I actually needed but hadn’t purchased (see #6). As a single mom on a budget, I’ve realized there’s a big difference between what you truly need and what’s nice to have. I’m hoping this checklist of baby essentials will help demystify shopping for baby and help you spend your money wisely on the most important items.

Baby essential #1: Diapers

When I first brought my son home, I remember being amazed at how much pee and poop one tiny little creature could produce. Diapers are obviously a non-negotiable baby essential, but the type of diaper is your choice.

When we were going through 12 or more diapers a day, I breathed a sigh of relief that I’d chosen cloth. Cloth diapering is a fantastic way to save money and reduce your environmental impact. You have to throw down some money upfront, but in the end it could save you hundreds of dollars. Investing in cloth will cost you a few hundred dollars in total, while disposables can cost the same amount in just a few months.

baby essentialsAnother advantage of cloth diapers is fewer poop explosions! Speaking of poop (everyone’s favourite topic!), if you choose to cloth diaper, you’re going to need a diaper sprayer. Trust me, you do NOT want to be scraping off the poop with a spatula! (Been there, done that–it didn’t last long.) I have the Bumkins Cloth Diaper Sprayer and it’s awesome. It’s one of the most affordable diaper sprayers out there, and it’s incredibly easy to install! I did it in 15 minutes, and I can’t even figure out how to put furniture together half the time.

baby essentialsThere are many different kinds of cloth diapers, but pocket diapers are my favourite because they dry so much faster than all-in-ones (it’s not advisable to put cloth diapers in the dryer). I stuff them while I watch Netflix so they’re all ready to go when my son needs a diaper change. The Kanga Care Rumparooz Cloth Diaper is a one-size diaper, so it will fit your baby from newborn to potty training by adjusting the rise with the snaps on the diaper. Snaps are the way to go with cloth diapers, in my opinion, because velcro wears out a lot faster. One of the best parts about this diaper is that it comes with a one year warranty. And how adorable is this print? Your baby will have the cutest little fluffy bum!

Baby essential #2: Sleepers and onesies

The newborn stage is really hectic. Your baby won’t do much except for eat, burp, spit up, pee, poop, and repeat. As adorable as it is to put your baby in cute little outfits, it’s not practical. You will be changing his diaper 12 times a day or more, and you’ll probably go through several clothing changes as well because of spitting up, drooling, or diaper leaks. For the first few months, sleepers and onesies are the only way to go.

baby essentialsFor daytime, you’ll want a bodysuit with lap shoulders that you can pull down to get it off instead of over the head in case of a poop explosion. The Baby Essentials “Eat Sleep Cuddle Repeat” 4-Piece Layette Set has lap shoulders and comes with a matching onesie, pants, socks, and a hat. Newborn babies have a hard time regulating their body temperature, so it’s a good idea for them to wear a hat for the first several weeks. This is especially important if they were born in the winter. If you’d prefer something more gender neutral, the Baby Essentials “Mommy Loves Me to the Moon and Back” set is really cute too.

baby essentialsFor night time, a sleeper with built-in feet will keep your baby warm and cozy. I’ll be honest—I leave my son in sleepers most of the time because I love the convenience. I especially love pyjamas with zippers because they’re so much faster than snaps. The Juddlies Fleck Baby Sleeper has a zipper and is made of cotton, so it’s warm yet breathable. Throw a sleep sack on top and your baby is ready for a good night’s sleep.

Baby essential #3: Feeding accessories

Whether you’re breastfeeding or bottle feeding, there are a few key feeding essentials you won’t be able to live without.

baby essentialsIf you’ve made the decision to breastfeed, a good nursing pillow is a must. Without a proper pillow, your arms will get tired and your back will be sore from hunching over. Your baby may even have difficulty latching because she’s uncomfortable or not properly positioned. The ‘My Brest Friend Deluxe Nursing Pillow’ helps you nurse your baby in comfort and even has a pocket to put your water bottle (you need to drink a TON of water when you’re nursing!). The cover is removable so you can easily wash it.

If you choose not to nurse, you’re going to want to invest in some good quality bottles and a bottle sterilizer. The Philips AVENT Essentials Set will get you started with two BPA-free small bottles, two BPA-free large bottles, two pacifiers, a bottle brush, and a bottle sterilizer that fits in the microwave–everything you need to bottle feed your newborn.


Baby essential #4: Bassinet or crib

For the first few months of your baby’s life, you can expect frequent wake-ups at night. It’s nice to have your baby close so that you don’t have to traipse back and forth between your room and the baby’s all night long. The American Academy of Pediatrics also recommends sharing a room with your baby for six to 12 months to reduce the risk of SIDS. A bassinet or crib are the safest options.

baby essentialsA bassinet is a great option for co-sleeping, because it doesn’t take up as much space as a crib. We used the Halo Essential Swivel Sleeper Bassinest until my son grew out of it. This thing is the mother of all bassinets! The swivel feature and adjustable height allow you to pull the bassinet over your mattress so that you’re sleeping right next to your baby. When you need to get out of bed, you just swivel it to the side. It also features a storage pocket for easy access to baby feeding essentials like burp cloths. I loved the convenience of this bassinet, and the fact that it didn’t take up much space in my small bedroom. It gave me peace of mind to know that my son was safely sleeping right next to me.

baby essentialsWhen your baby has outgrown the bassinet and it’s time to transition to a crib (or if you prefer to use a crib right from the start), it’s a great idea to invest in a convertible crib. The Fisher-Price Lucas 4-in-1 Convertible Crib is a beautiful option that converts into a toddler bed, day bed, and double bed as your child grows. The mattress height can also be adjusted to three different levels to keep your baby safe as he learns to sit up and stand. I’m in love with the beautiful white colour and simplicity of this crib. It will look gorgeous in your baby’s room for years to come.

Baby essential #5: Travel system

Once you and your new bundle of joy have gotten over the initial overwhelm and you’re feeling like less of a “mombie”, you’re going to want to start getting out of the house. A travel system is a super convenient baby essential for on the go, because you can simply click the car seat into the stroller.

baby essentialsThe Chicco Bravo Trio System comes with a car seat base to quickly and easily get your baby in and out of the vehicle. The stroller folds up for easy storage. This is a luxury travel system with all the bells and whistles: a removable child tray with cup holders, a parent tray with cup holders and storage compartments, an extra-large storage basket, and an extendable canopy to shield your baby from the elements. The stroller can be used with the carseat while your baby is still using the bucket seat, or without the car seat once he graduates to a convertible car seat.

Baby essential #6: Nasal aspirator

This might seem like an odd final choice for a list of baby essentials, but hear me out.

baby essentialsMy little guy was born at the beginning of cold and flu season, so during the first three months of his life, he ended up with both RSV and a cold. I don’t know what I would’ve done without the NoseFrida Nasal Aspirator. This is the easiest and most effective way to remove mucus from your baby’s nose. It sounds gross, but you literally suck the snot out (don’t worry, there’s a filter so the boogers can’t get into your mouth!). A bulb syringe just isn’t as effective and takes way longer to remove the mucus. A stuffed-up baby won’t sleep as well and will have a very hard time feeding. I hate to say it, but eventually your baby will get sick, and you’ll be kicking yourself if you don’t have a nasal aspirator handy. This is hands-down my #1 favourite item for baby health and safety.


There are so many other great baby items out there that can be nice to have, but if you invest in these six baby essentials first, you’ll have everything you need to welcome your baby home.

Is there anything you would add to this list? Share in the comments below!

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Lindsay Syrett
I'm an elementary school teacher by day, meditation coach by night, freelance writer, and momma to a beautiful baby boy. When I'm not working, blogging, or hanging out at mom and baby groups, you can find me in the kitchen, on my yoga mat, or in front of my laptop searching for my next travel adventure. Check out my mindful living blog at for tips on everything from budgeting to stress reduction.