DiaperingFirst you'll need to decide if you're going with disposable diapers or if you want to use cloth. Some people use both. I have just stuck with disposables although I have thought a lot about trying cloth.
2 packs of newborn sized diapers. Baby may grow out of Nb fairly quickly so I want to have enough for the first week or two, but it also depends on Baby's size and that's not something you can be certain of before you deliver. More can be purchased if you need them when the time comes. I prefer pampers swaddlers.
1 case (each) of size 1 and 2. Again, you're prepared for the next size, but purchase more when or if you need to continue using them. I was happy with pampers swaddlers and Huggies little snugglers.
Size 3 diapers. This is the size my kids wore the longest during the first year. (basically any brand will do, although one of mine had more rashes with a certain brand so when switching between brands you might want to buy a small pack first before you invest in a huge box)
Diaper rash cream/ Skin Ointments I like Aveeno diaper cream and Aquaphor Ointment, but store brands have been just as effective and a lot cheaper. I will say that Aquaphor is awesome for all sorts of uses for adults and baby and it lasts a long time. I bought a few travel sizes for purse, diaper bag and medicine cabinet and they lasted for months.
Wipes I avoid any scented wipes because I never know if my kid's skin will have a bad reaction. Our family seems to have sensitive skin so I only buy Huggies Natural Care wipes or the store brand equivalent.
ClothingIf you're having a baby shower be prepared for an excessive amount of clothes up to around 6 months. People can't resist cute baby clothes. If you have friends with babies ask if they will let you borrow clothes that their baby has outgrown. In any case be sure you have at least these items...
8 body suits (onsies) Depending on season long or short sleeved. Try to find a few kimono type (side snap) for baby's first dressings, no struggling with getting anything over a wiggly baby's head.
8 sleepers Sometimes referred to as "Sleep-n-plays" they are full body, footed pjs. If your baby is a summer baby you might not need 8 as you may use more onsies.
3 shirt and pant outfits Probably not essential, but nice if you want to "dress up" baby for any outings. Pants are nice to pair with onsies.
6 pairs of socks Make them cute!
2 hats 3/4 of mine are winter babies so hats/caps were essential. The hospital will probably provide one knit cap. Summer babies might want a sun hat of some sort if you are the outdoorsy type.
FeedingYour baby won't eat solid foods for at least four months. Do not worry about spoons, baby food or serving bowls for bringing baby home. You can buy these things as you get closer to that time.
4 bottles (+ bottle brush) Even if you plan on breastfeeding have a few bottles on hand. You may want to pump and let someone else feed the baby and it's nice to be prepared in case you suddenly need to bottle feed. Even for formula feeding, which I did after a certain point with all mine, I didn't need 12 bottles.
Formula This one totally depends on you. I always had a couple sample cans hanging out and I breastfed, so I didn't worry about it until I had to. My kids didn't need a special kind so I don't have a lot of experience here besides that I used one can/container per week when they were about 7 months old.
Burp Cloths (10) I love using prefold cloth diapers for burp cloths. Very absorbent and versatile.
2 nursing bras I wouldn't buy more than two right away because of fluctuating size. Buy towards the end of pregnancy and talk to a sales person! They will (hopefully) be very helpful. I liked having a regular one and a sleep bra which looks a lot like a sports bra and is very accommodating during that first week of nursing.
Nursing pads Leaking is going to happen. Don't be alarmed- be prepared. I would recommend washable pads; they are softer and more economical than disposables.
Breast Pump & storage bags or bottles I was able to pump with a medela handheld manual pump (I received at hospital when my second was born) with wonderful results. I had a terrible double electric with my first and trashed it. Research, think about how often you'll need to use it and decide from there. Ask around if you have friends or family that have recommendations, too. They are often the most helpful and honest. I loved the bottles with caps that you can freeze and then warm and top it with a nipple... no transferring the milk between a storage container to a bottle.
Nipple Cream/Balm There are many options out there and I had good results/relief with Lansinoh.
Nursing Pillow If I didn't have something to rest/prop my arms on while holding a baby for 20 minutes or more my arms would have fallen off. I used a boppy and loved it, but I'm sure any fluffy pillow would be helpful.
Gas drops You never know when baby will get gassy so it's better to have some stashed away than be driving to the store at 2am.
Pacifier(s) Have a couple of different styles... We were fortunate to receive a Soothie paci at the hospital and then I had been gifted other kinds. They worked for around 6 weeks until my kids decided they liked their thumbs better.
Nail Clippers or Emory Board These are my favorite and I have 3 pair because I am always misplacing them!
Baby Shampoo/Body wash/ Lotion Any gentle cleanser will work. You should sponge bathe until your baby's umbilical cord stump falls off. (Here is where I will say that baby towels are cute and so are tiny washcloths, but guess what! Full sized ones work just as well if not better.) As for lotion... I liked Aveeno.
Gear (must have)
Car seat It's required by law. I recommend going gender neutral on this.
A place to sleep It doesn't have to be a crib, you could use a pack-n-play for six months like I did with our third baby before you purchase anything else.
Blankets Though a little pricey (to me), my favorite swaddling blankets are these. I bought a four pack after I had my second baby and I love them because they are big and you can swaddle longer with them. I never bought more because I always had an abundance of other blankets. We have an excess of cozy blankets (my fault), but one or two soft plush blankets are very nice to have.
Everything else is extra, really. A baby sling/ carrier is nice if you actually use it. Baby bath tubs are convenient, but you could get by without one if you have a real bath tub. A swing can be a lifesaver if your baby loves it (mine did- it's on my personal must have list). Strollers are, once again, convenient especially if you go out frequently. A high chair or some sort of booster seat (we'll be going with a space saving type this time) is a good investment, but you aren't going to use it right away so that's something to plan on purchasing when your baby is 4 to 6 months old.
I feel like I'm forgetting some things, but that's what I have written down on my list for this baby and I've checked it against other lists... Anyhow, all this to say if you're expecting your first or your fourth there is no need to be overwhelmed with registry's or feeling like you're skimping if you don't buy the entire line of matching gear that's being shoved in your face. Your baby needs a few things and YOU. Try not to get caught up in stuff and just focus on what your baby needs most. Food, clothing, shelter, love.
Any essentials I forgot? Any suggestions? Leave them in the comments!! I'd love to know what you think!