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Your First-Baby CheckList

Perfect for soon-to-be-parents. Great list with substitutions for the non-essentials and ideas for lesser known must haves.
First-time parents-to-be… Here is a list of pretty much everything  you’ll need for your upcoming baby. Keep in mind all of these things are not necessary. When you see the word ‘SUB.’ I am meaning…  You could SUBSTITUTE IT WITH _______. When you see ‘MUST HAVE’ it is an item I feel very passionate about. While I do feel that anything on this list without the word ‘SUB.’ next to it is almost necessary, it’s the ‘MUST HAVE’s that people may not typically think of which I’ve found to be extremely useful. If there are things that you have thought of or other substitutions that I have missed, please comment below, I’d love to hear them.

  • Crib
  • Car Seat
  • Extra car seat bases for additional cars.
  • Stroller that allows the car seat to lock into it. Snap it in and stroll and when the baby gets older, snap baby in and stroll.
  • Bottles
  • Blankets
  • Avent Bottle Sterilizer- SUB.= (SUBSTITUTE IT WITH….) sterilizing with boiling water. Or SUB these amazing bottles.
  • Bumper Pad- SUB. don’t use one.
  • Becco or Bjorn- SUB. Buy a less expensive brand or use a wrap. UPDATE- With my second baby (who is very needy) I bought a used Becco Gemini and I LOVE it!! I just had to carry her around at a blogging conference for two days straight and with the Becco’s straps crisscrossed on my back it was super comfy and my 15 pound baby felt really light. A Becco carrier is a MUST HAVE for needy babies who always want to be held.
  • Baby Bathtub- SUB. Borrow, use foam pad, or use a sink.
  • Baby Changing Table- SUB. Use a dresser.
  • Clothes 0-12 month (you may need bigger sizes) we used up to 18 months in the first 12 months.
  • Boppy and cover- SUB. Use pillows.
  • Bumbo
  • Bouncer/jumper- MUST HAVE This is a life saver if you want to get something done, they’ll jump while they watch you or a show.
  • Baby Bullet- SUB. Use a blender.
  • Bibs
  • Diaper bag- SUB. Washable, easy to use bag.
  • Garbage can with a lid-If you can run poopy diapers out then a garbage can is great for peed on diapers. I recommend a smaller size like this one so you are forced to empty it before the diapers begin to stink. I’ve used this for the last 18  months and it has worked great! If you can’t run the poopy diapers outside each time then a Diaper Genie is probably the best bet.
  • Umbrella Stroller
  • Safety kit
  • Nursing cover- SUB. Big lightweight blanket like an Aden and Anais blanket worked great.
  • Breast Pump
  • Changing pad
  • Changing pad cover
  • Mattress
  • Mattress sheet
  • Nose Frieda– This is a snot sucker that actually works and can be easily cleaned. Forget those old school bulbs that rarely get the gunk out. At first sight this looks creepy. Once you have a baby who is congested and having a hard time breathing the creepiness turns into pure relief. I LOVED this tool. Our son had a congestion problem and this ALWAYS cleared him up. You don’t have to take my word for it either. Amazon has almost 3000 5 star reviews on it.
  • Nursery set- SUB. Go without, or make your own.
  • Mattress wrap SIDS protector- MUST HAVE for cribs.
  • Jolly Jumper Carseat Cover- MUST HAVE for cold climates. We had the coldest winter in years here in Utah and this always kept our newborn warm and safe from people who wanted to touch him without washing their hands.
  • Formula- SUB. Breast milk
  • Binkies
  • Baby wipes
  • Diapers- Huggies are my favorite. Post here on many ways to save on diapers.
  • Book shelf- SUB. Omit or use a box
  • Rocker- SUB. Use furniture you already have.
  • Rocker Foot stool- SUB. Use an ottoman you already have
  • Diaper Changing Mobile- SUB. You could omit these but I made one and it really entertained my son.
  • Shelving units- SUB. Dresser
  • 9 Linen storage totes- SUB. Dresser
  • Paint and supplies- SUB. Don’t repaint.
  • Graco pack and play
  • Jogging stroller- MUST HAVE, if you run a lot (which I was doing) you will want one.
  • High chair
  • Catch-all Mat for high chair- MUST HAVE. This item is a back saver. I can’t tell you how many pieces of food that I couldn’t clean up immediately have been caught by this mat; it has saved my back from scrubbing our floors repeatedly. SUB. You may be able to make something similar to this.
  • Fisher Price Swing This one comes with a Plug-in-Adapter- MUST HAVE. My son slept better in the swing than anywhere else.
  • Baby food
  • Vibrating/bouncer Chair- MUST HAVE. Denali loved to sleep in this chair too!
  • Baby Jungle Gym- MUST HAVE this entertained my son for months and months.
  • Car seatbelt covers- SUB. Make your own
  • Snuggle nest Co-Sleeper- MUST HAVE for co-sleeping! ... We used this and our swing for 4 months and LOVED IT.
  • Baby Blessing Outfit- If needed, wait until your baby is born and you know what size they need. SUB. And just borrow.
  • Bath lotions
  • Bath soap/shampoo
  • Desitin
  • Bath towel- SUB. Use a soft towel of your own
  • Bath toys- SUB. Objects that can get wet.
  • Baby Wash cloths- SUB. Use towels of your own
  • Baby Spoons
  • Munchkin Mesh Food Holders
  • Toys
  • Baby tube for the lake- MUST HAVE if you go swimming or to the lake a lot. We used this all the time and my son just loved it.
  • Medicine- MUST HAVE Tylenol for teething works wonders.
  • DVD CDs- SUB. Use library card.
  • Aden and Anais blankets-MUST HAVE…OR SUB. Make your own
  • A few decorations for the Nursery
  • Baby Changing Table Hampers- SUB. Just stack things on the shelves
  • Free and Clear detergent- SUB. make your own.
  • Baby Monitor- Sub. Leave door open or sleep in the same room or both.


I bought most of these items at a fraction of the price and saved $10, 516.37 in my son’s first year by following these 23 unique steps.

Is there anything I forgot? Please comment below, I’d love to hear your feedback.

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17 Responses to Your First-Baby CheckList

  1. Rachel says:

    Great list, happened upon it through pinterest.

    Just a question, when you say bumper pad do you mean a bumper for in the crib? I noticed that throughout your list you put a (well-deserved) emphasis on infant sleep safety, so I was surprised to see a bumper on the list and wondered if you were referring to something else? Bumpers are incredibly dangerous and discouraged by paediatricians, particularly in Canada where I live.

    • Anita Fowler says:

      Thanks for your comment. Yes bumper pads are dangerous and my son never slept in a crib at all until he was 4-5 months old. He slept in a co-sleeper or a swing. Once he was four-five months old he could easily move his head and roll over. At first I tried having him sleep without the bumper pad. He kept hitting his head and would wake up 10+ times a night crying in pain. As soon as we put the pad into his crib he slept for 4-5 hours and would wake up only to be fed. I put a bumper pad in the article because for us it was an absolute necessity. After a week of getting up every 45 minutes I put it back in and after a lot of research I found that they weren’t nearly as dangerous for babies that were old enough to roll easily and lift their heads.

      SIDS is a terrible thing. If you really look into it the American Dr.s and experts still cannot tell you what causes it. They say it is the bumper pad, loose blankets etc. but the professional journals admit to ‘not really knowing the cause’. Multiple professional studies in New Zealand and other countries found that SIDS has less to do with what is in the crib and more to do with the chemicals coming from the mattress’ which inhibit the baby’s ability to breath. Here is the link to the site with the official information They did a side by side comparison and not one baby died that used the mattress cover in the same time period that over 975 died without it from SIDS. The rate of reduction in New Zealand for SIDS once mattress wrapping became popular was 72%! Yes, I place a lot of emphasis on safe sleeping. I would never put an infant that couldn’t roll over or lift his head in a crib with a bumper pad but I believe that North Americans do not quite understand SIDS (as professionals admit to). It’s good to do research on the subject for sure. Do everything you see fit to keep your baby(ies) safe. Thanks for your comment. I appreciate your concern on the subject.

  2. Mollye says:

    I’m really enjoying your articles, especially as my husband I are weighing the costs of babies and me staying home, which I would love to do. I am a teacher at a children’s center, with 1-2 year olds, and I have found that placing a cute dollar tree vinyl tablecloth under the children’s chairs when they eat is a great substitute for a high chair food mat.

  3. Heidi L says:

    Instead of buying pre-made baby food, I love making my own using a Bebea Babycook food processor. It’s super easy to throw frozen fillets of fish and chunks of raw veggies (even hard carrots or potatoes) inside, press a button to steam them and then you press another button to puree them perfectly!

  4. Lisa says:

    Great list! I would add Nose Frida.
    Thankfully someone gave me one before my daughter was born. We still use it. She’s 4!

  5. Valerie says:

    Vitamin e oil can become toxic to the baby if you putting it on your nipples. One thing to try colostrum and let it air dry on there. The other thing is that your nipples shouldn’t get Raw, try to get the nurse to help you with the latch 🙂

  6. […] think we have approximately 5 things on this list. […]

  7. Em says:

    We’re tight on money and our son is due in a few weeks. I found someone selling their old changing table really cheap and bought it and are using the shelves below for his since we dont have the room or money for a dresser.

    • Anita Fowler says:

      great idea! Yeah using a dresser really only saves money if you already had it. In my first nursery here, I bought a used Changing table for $20 but then I gave it to a friend in need when he grew out of it. For our second nursery here I already had the dresser-type thing so I just used that to save money. Whatever is the cheapest will work!

  8. […] Before you get shopping, you will want to start off by making a list of things you will need for the arrival of your baby. If this is your first, your list is going to be quite long. You may need a swing, crib, changing table, changing pad, rocker, etc. Keep in mind that many of these items can be very pricey when bought new. See a Baby Checklist here. […]

  9. Susan Watson says:

    Good job buddy! I liked this checklist, we used a lot of the same stuff with our daughter.

  10. […] 95. Use different make shift items that serve the same purpose. Pillows worked better for me than the Boppy for nursing. Some people use a dresser instead of a changing table. You may want to use a blender instead of a baby bullet. We left our doors open instead of investing in a baby monitor. Any bag that you can easily get into and has pockets and can be washed will do for a diaper bag. Use a radio, iPod or whatever you have for white noise instead of the pricey white noise machines. Get creative and it will save you not only on money, but also on space. Here is a checklist with some legitimate substitutions you could make if you can’t find the items for super cheap. […]

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