How to Buy for the Baby's First Year

Prepare for a new baby's arrival by creating a checklist of items you will need. Babies grow and change quite a bit in the first year, but there are some basic items you will use throughout the year. Here's how to buy for the baby's first year.


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    Set up your baby's nursery.
    • You may want your baby to sleep bedside in a cradle or bassinet for the first month or two, but when the baby gets bigger, you'll want to have a crib prepared.
    • Be sure your crib meets all safety standards and that there is no more than 2 3/8 inches (6 cm) between the slats along the sides.
    • Pick out a crib mattress that also meets all safety standards, which can be found on the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission website.
    • A musical mobile is optional.
    • You will need a chest or dresser for the baby's clothes.
    • A changing table or area should include a pad for changing diapers.
    • A rocking chair isn't a necessity, but can be used for feedings or rocking a child to sleep.
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    Prepare your baby's sleeping area.
    • You will need a mattress pad, several fitted crib sheets and several sheets for your bed-side bassinet.
    • Purchase at least 2 light-weight blankets.
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    Ready your diaper changing items.
    • Plan for about 70 to 90 diaper changes each week for the first 6 weeks, and then about 50 per week.
    • You will need disposable diaper wipes and rash ointment or cream.
    • Use rubbing alcohol applied to cotton swabs to clean the base of the umbilical cord.
    • Keep a diaper pail on hand for disposal of dirty diapers.
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    Purchase clothing with fast growth in mind.
    • It is a good idea to have at least five or six undershirts, commonly called "onesies," on hand. You may want to move past 0 to 3 month sizes and purchase 3 to 6 month and 6 to 9 month sizes instead.
    • Infant gowns are convenient for newborns who are going to have a lot of diaper changes. Purchase several.
    • Purchase several booties or socks to keep the baby's feet warm, and a hat to keep his or her head warm.
    • Mittens may be helpful to keep the baby from scratching himself or herself.
    • Keep several soft clothes available to catch spit up, and a few blankets to be used for warmth and any privacy needs for nursing.
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    Prepare for baths.
    • You will need a baby bathtub, which will be a sloping shape with a foam pad that the baby will lie upon.
    • You will need several bath towels and washcloths.
    • Purchase tearless shampoo and soap.
    • A baby brush and nail scissors will be needed for grooming.
    • When teeth begin coming in, you'll need a soft baby toothbrush and baby toothpaste. Before teeth break through the surface, you can use a finger brush to softly clean gums.
    • Bath time is often a good time to use a bulb syringe nasal aspirator to suction any excess mucus from the baby's nose.
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    Ready feeding items.
    • Buy 10 to 12 bottles with nipples and covers, even if you are breastfeeding. You can still use the bottles for pumped breast milk.
    • Have several burp cloths on hand.
    • Have a bottle and nipple brush on hand for cleaning the supplies.
    • Purchase several bibs.
    • At about 5 months, you may begin introducing solids into your baby's diet. So you may wish to purchase baby spoons, bowls and sippy cups as well.
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    Purchase a diaper bag.
    • Prepare the bag with several diapers, disposable wipes, rash cream, a changing pad, plastic bags (for dirty diapers), a change of clothes for the baby, a blanket, burp cloth and several diapers in the bag. Optional items include a pacifier and powdered formula if you're bottle feeding.
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    Wash baby clothes and other items using a baby-safe laundry detergent, such as Dreft.
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    Purchase items needed for travel.
    • You will need an infant car seat, which can also be used as a baby carrier.
    • You will be required to have an infant car seat secured into your car to leave the hospital with your baby after birth.
    • Purchase a stroller. Be sure the infant car seat you purchase is able to snap onto your stroller frame.
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    Have medications and other health care items ready.
    • Purchase a thermometer and teething rings.
    • Stock your medicine cabinet with acetaminophen infant drops, or infant ibuprofen for teething inflammation.
    • Small bandages, hydrogen peroxide and wound cream can be used to treat small wounds. Medications with neomycin shouldn't be used on babies less than 6 months old.


  • A nightlight can provide lighting for late-night feedings or diaper changes.
  • A CD player with lullaby tunes may make putting a baby down for a nap or for the night an easier task.
  • Talk to your pediatrician before giving your baby any medications.


  • Never take your eyes off your baby while changing him or her on the changing table.
  • Stuffed animals and pillow aren't recommended in a crib due to the dangers of suffocation.

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Categories: Babies and Infants