Baby Things to Buy Before Birth (practical baby items list)

Baby Items list: Practical Baby Shower Gifts & List of Things you Need for a Baby

Do you know which baby things to buy before birth?

What DO you need for a baby? Like, what are really the things needed for a baby?

Well, Mama, I’m right in the thick of it, with a 4-month-old and a toddler, so I thought I’d share my baby items list of baby things to buy before birth.

These are items you need for a baby from day one (or soon after) and they are seriously life-savers.

What you really NEED for baby. This list of practical baby items is what a new mom actually must have. These are essentials that you probably won't get at your baby shower and you definitely don't want to go without once your newborn arrives. Prepare for baby with these excellent tips...

This post may contain affiliate links. See my disclosure for details.

List of Things you Need for a Baby

Quick note on your baby shower gift list:

Baby showers are awesome (and let’s face it, one of the few upsides to being miserably pregnant,) but people tend to get caught up buying the cute onesies or the fun accessories, right?

Some wise mother might be thoughtful enough to make you a new mom gift basket of the practical items you need for a baby, but more often than not nobody’s got time for that.

When you’re seriously in need of baby items take all you can get, but sometimes if you want something done right, you gotta do it yourself.

The practical baby items aren’t as fun to buy as gifts, but they’re going to meet baby’s basic needs so you want to cover your bases.

So, I lovingly refer to this post as:

What you won’t get at your baby shower…


I realize and HOPE that there are some truly awesome friends reading this in search of practical baby shower gifts for your pregnant bestie.

Please prove me wrong here!

This list is full of perfect baby items and, in my opinion, some of the best baby shower gifts you could give.)

Generally, it’s best for mamas-to-be to be safe and stock up on some of these simple and cheap necessities now, because girl, when you need these baby items, you need them RIGHT then.

Babies don’t tend to wait patiently for you to run to the store and grab what they need real quick…and they’ll TELL you about it if you’re not prepared.

Luckily, we are spoiled with the ability to stock up on what we need with a few clicks.

You can avoid waddling through a store in your third trimester trying to get the last minute items you need for a newborn baby.

When to start buying baby stuff during pregnancy?

A good rule of thumb is to have all of your basic items for Baby ready to go by around 36 weeks pregnant.

You never know what surprises may be around the corner and better prepared than caught of guard, right?

So here’s the best checklist of less flashy, but super-needed baby must haves for you to stock your home with as you prepare for baby.

Baby Checklist: List of Things You Need for a New Baby

Before you do ANYTHING else (if you haven’t already,)

Start your Amazon Baby Registry.

EVEN if you register other places!

Here’s why:

  • Take your time choosing items & change your mind easily
  • Read real reviews from REAL mamas
  • Your friends & fam probably already shop there anyway
  • 2-day shipping is helpful for procrastinating loved ones
  • Long-distance friends & fam can just ship their gift

Mmm hmm.

Just by completing a baby registry on Amazon, you get a FREE Welcome Box full of little goodies for new parents and Baby.

Also…you’ll get 10% off of items that are left on your registry after your baby showers (make that 15% if you’re a Prime member!)

Sooo, why would you NOT do this?

Start your free Amazon Baby Registry here.

Now then…

Let’s start with the basics, shall we?

These are items that should be on EVERY baby shopping list for first time moms (and exactly which items to buy!)

1. Nail Scissors

Nail clippers may be one of the MOST essential things a newborn baby needs.

And they make the best practical baby shower gift!

I know those little kits come with nail clippers…

But Mama, those things are CHEAP-O.

Plus, good luck using those big clippers on a newborn’s tiny nails.Baby Things to Buy Before Birth with pictures (the practical baby things) These scissors are fantastic.

They are tiny, but so precise. You get so much more control over where you’re clipping.

That’s important when you’re trying not to cut that sweet little babe’s itty bitty fingers.

And best of all, they’re crazy inexpensive!

I’ve been using my pair for over 3 years.

Love ‘em.

These might be my number one recommendation for what new moms need for Baby. Definitely put these on your list of things to buy when pregnant.

Another really good option for infant nail clippers is:

Baby Things: Baby items list with picturesThis handy little invention

New moms RAVE about this. Pretty dang cool.

2. Sassy Sacks

I lovvve these. Grab several packs. Babies poop. A lot. And it stinks.

A lot.

These little bags are great for tossing diapers in when you can’t get to a trash can, like in the car.

We use them at our Pack-n-Play changing station in our bedroom, so we can load up several loads without making a thousand trips to the trash can or stinking up our room.

Definitely put this on your list of things you need for a baby!

3. Boogie Wipes

These are AMAZING.

You want these wipes in your baby’s bag. Trust me.

Messes are inevitable with babies.

These face wipes are super soft and gentle and won’t leave a disgusting chemical taste in Baby’s mouth.

Plus, they have saline to help keep Baby’s nose clean when wiping away dry boogies and snot.

Definitely add these to your essential baby stuff list.

4. Water Wipes

Speaking of wipes, you’ve got to try these.

They are fantastic.

Water wipes are made with 99.9% water and a drop of fruit extract. They are:

  • hypoallergenic
  • free of fragrances
  • free of parabens and sulphates
  • perfect for a newborn’s sensitive skin

I love these for wiping down sticky hands, dirty bottoms, and even surfaces before and after Baby plays or eats.

These wipes a MUCH better than popular name brand wipes.

Let’s face it, wipes are one of the most essential things a newborn baby needs…let’s make sure we know what’s in them!

5. Nasal Aspirator

Speaking of boogies, this nasal syringe is the best.

I know, you’re thinking, “I got one in my Baby Grooming Kit at my last baby shower.

Let me tell you, those kits are cheap because they are CHEAP-ly made.

Those booger suckers just don’t work. 

Ask any seasoned mama.

Even the one we got from the hospital was sub-par.

But this thing works like a charm for grabbing stray boogies that are clogging baby’s nose.

It’s one of those must-have baby items when feeding a sick baby who can’t breathe through their nose.

It’s also great in case baby starts gagging on spit-up.

The best part is it comes apart at the top so you can actually clean it.

Of alllll the stuffs for babies out there claiming to be “life-savers”, this one really delivers (excuse the pun.)

It is totally worth the extra few bucks to upgrade, trust me. I really consider this a necessity in my baby gear.

This other kind (the kind you actually suck through a straw thingy) is also super popular, if you’re into that kind of thing.

6. Hand Sanitizer

During the newborn months, I like to have sanitizer at each diaper changing station and in the kitchen and living room.

My son was born at the start of flu season and people lovvve to come visit.

Having hand sanitizer on the table is a great reminder for them to wash up before asking to hold your baby.

And it takes the awkwardness out of asking them to wash their hands.

Look for a great alcohol and dye-free option like this kind to protect Baby’s sensitive skin.

You can also MAKE your own natural hand sanitizer using essential oils.

I have this handy little kit.

It has my favorite oils for cleaning our home too (which is a great switch to make from the toxic cleaning stuff as you step into motherhood!)

7. Teething Relief

Did you know babies can start teething as early as 3 months?!

Yeah…neither did I.

Thankfully, I still had this amazing stuff from my toddler’s baby days when my new baby started cutting teeth out of nowhere.

I recommend ALL mamas buy this before birth because those 3 months FLY by! I was sooo glad I had it already.

It’s natural and reallllly soothing for baby.Baby Things to Buy Before Birth (practical baby items list)This is a really great alternative to the unsafe teething gel options that have recently been proven dangerous for babies.

This contains NO benzocaine and is belladonna-free. 

The company who makes it is my favorite (especially for sleep products,) so I highly recommend them.

You can find the teething gel on Amazon, but you get a better deal if you get it here. (Use my code for a discount! Ashley20)

I just couldn’t believe it when I felt that tooth coming through at 3-months-old. Poor baby! Be ready just in case, Mama.

Here’s my full review of the teething gel, if you want to know more.

This belongs at the TOP of your list of things you need for a baby!

And it’s seriously the one of the best practical baby shower gifts a new mom could ask for.


Speaking of tiny teeth, did you know you’re supposed to start brushing Baby’s teeth as soon as the sprout up?

I definitely didn’t know this and my first got his teeth in pretty early and almost all at once.

Thankfully, a sweet dentist’s wife gave me an infant toothbrush as a gift.

I thought it was more of a little joke and cutesy thing, but I ended up being so glad I had it already!

We later got this one as a teether/toothbrush and I really like it.

I feel like it’s brushing away plaque while my baby is gnawing on it for fun. This is a relief when you start solids.

And of course, it’s great to have a teether ready for babies like my second who puts EVERYTHING in his mouth.

(Oh, this is the toothpaste we use, if you’re curious.)

I also have a whole post that has more info on natural relief for teething.

9. Thermometer

Don’t skimp on this one.

You want to KNOW if Baby has a temp.

Get a thermometer you can trust.

Splurge the few extra bucks, because using a kind like this is a lot more pleasant than taking a Baby’s temperature from the other end while they are screaming.

A solid thermometer is one of those undeniable baby must haves.

10. Baby Tylenol

Baby fevers are scary and unpredictable.

You do not want to be unprepared for this one.

Babies get fevers.

Thankfully, most of the time it’s nothing too concerning, but when Baby is cranky and hurting, you want to have meds ready to dig out of the cabinet if needed.

Always talk to your baby’s pediatrician when they are sick. They will advise you on what action to take.

11. Gas Drops

Another thing you do NOT want to NOT have.

Even in the first few weeks, babies get gassy and may need a quick middle-of-the-night dose to settle their poor tummies.

Don’t wait until your first stressful event of not having these drops to buy them.

Get them now, you won’t regret it.

12. Gripe Water

Same idea.

Gripe water is great for when you have NO IDEA why baby is crying.

Which can happen…often.

A lot of babies love this stuff.

It’s gentle on their tummies and the taste really helps them reset when they are inconsolable.

It’s also pretty effective for those obnoxious, sleep-interrupting hiccups.

Go ahead and have it ready to grab in the middle of the night when nothing is working to soothe your little one.

It’s one of the essential items for baby that’s inexpensive and totally worth buying for “just in case.”

13. Natural Bath Wash

baby things



I realize that everybody gets baby bath wash and shampoo as baby shower gifts…

But have you ever read the labels on those popular name brands???

Those chemicals are NOT something we want soaking into our babies’ sensitive skin.

(Not sure why they are “the” thing to buy.)

Instead, use something natural and safe.

We LOVVVE this foaming bath oil. It’s natural, smells amazing, and even works as a bubble bath!And it comes in a pretty big bottle which lasts foreverrr, so we get a ton of bang for our buck. It’s a no-brainer for us.

(Here’s a code for a great discount: Ashley20)

14. Hangers

Boring, I know…

But these are some of those often-forgotten, but always needed items off the list of baby things you need.

You can never have enough baby hangers.

Even if you get a couple packs at as a practical baby shower gift, I’m willing to bet you’ll get like 5 times as many clothes.

I recommend this kind or this kind.

Go ahead and have hangers ready so you can wash and hang all those cute outfits now and get them out of the nursery floor.

One less thing to do while waiting to go into labor.

Anyway, Hangers. Simple and practical, but important baby things to buy before birth!

15. Pocket BibsBaby Things to Buy Before Birth (practical baby items list)


This is the ONLY kind of bib I like to use now.

It’s one of my FAVORITE baby things.

When the 2 we have are dirty, we kind of sigh about having to use a regular cloth bib.

I know everyone loves buying cutesie bibs, but you know what?

They STAIN instantly and are no longer adorable.

And most of them are too tiny to do much good.

These bibs are amazing.

They rinse off so easily and CATCH the little bits of food that would fall in the floor or Baby’s lap.

Sooo much better.

16. Car Mirror

This is one of the BEST investments new parents can make.

Some babies HATE the car, and even the ones who don’t have their moments.

A baby car mirror is an excellent way to check on Baby safely.

It’s also super handy when you’re trying to see if your little one fell asleep in the car.

Sometimes it’s worth cruising a little longer to make sure they get some extra Z’s.

17. Sound Machine

This is something we had to buy for ourselves with both babies.

I guess it’s not a fun gift to give, but when you’re a new parent there’s nothing more fun than getting SLEEP.Baby Things to Buy Before Birth (practical baby items list)This one is amazing.

Unless your house is somehow silent (no pets, no cars driving by, no creaky floors or loud flushing toilets) you will NOT regret buying a sound machine.

Don’t crank it up, just play some soft noise near Baby’s bed to help them sleep through background noise.

This would actually be a really good practical baby shower gift if ya ask me.

18. Floor Mat “Rug”


I searched forevvverrr for a good solution to laying my baby down on our hardwood floors.

Blankets aren’t soft enough and I kind of hate those bright puzzle piece things.

I wanted something soft, but not baby-looking in our family room, but rugs stain and aren’t great with pets.

Anyway, this is the perfect solution.

This thing is amazing.

It’s large like a rug, soft and cushy for Baby, and comes in different patterns and colors.

And it’s sooo much easier to clean than a rug, so you know your little one is rolling around on a clean, soft surface.

I love it so much. I honestly want 2, one for Baby’s room and our living room.

Check out the rave reviews on Amazon.


Let’s talk about non baby things to buy before birth.

Practical Non Baby Things to Buy Before Birth:

You also want to stock up on a few household essentials and basic need items before baby arrives.

These are some non-baby items I highly recommend grabbing real quick while you’re prepping.

1. Laundry Detergent

Some people will tell you that you need special “baby” laundry detergent, like Dreft, but I disagree.

You really just want something safe and free of chemicals.

I actually like using the same detergent for my whole family.

This way, we are all using less chemicals and if Baby’s sock gets mixed in with our laundry, it’s no biggie.

Plus, your little one will be all snuggled up against your clothes.

Definitely buy this before baby is born. Use a good free and clear brand like this one.

2. Grocery Pick Up/Delivery

Girl, do this.

Seriously, this is probably one of the best mom decisions I’ve ever made.

No more rushing through the aisles at the store to get home to breastfeed or abandoning the cart to go change a poopy diaper.

This is also AMAZING during the first few weeks when you don’t want to get out of the house unless you HAVE to.

Find a store on your man’s route home from work so he can just pick groceries up real quick on the way.

It also saves me money, believe it or not. It’s awesome.

3. Safe Cleaning Spray

Once baby arrives (or really while you’re preparing,) you want to switch to all natural cleaning products as much as possible.

All those yucky chemicals are no no’s for tiny humans.

Find a simple cleaning all purpose cleaning spray for all those messes babies can cause, plus just general clean up.

This is a good pre-made option, but I really like to use essential oils to make my own.

You can also use this great essential oil cleaning solution.

4. Glass Food Storage

After you have a baby, your appetite may be unpredictable.

Not to mention the fact that just because dinner is ready, doesn’t mean Baby thinks it’s time for you to eat.

Get some glass storage containers.

(You want glass, Mama! Microwaving in plastic can put a lot of bad chemicals into your food, then your body…then your breast milk)

Get containers in different sizes to put away all the extra food people may bring you.

You can grab it and warm it up whenever you have a spare 2 seconds to eat.

These are also great for quickly loading up hubby’s lunch for the next day.

5. Condoms

Or whatever form of birth control you intend to use once you resume physical intimacy.

I know, last thing you want to think about late in pregnancy and definitely not after having a baby…

…but eventually it’ll happen…and you want to be ready.

Relying on postpartum and breastfeeding hormones to prevent pregnancy is risky.

Talk to your OB/GYN, but mine recommended using protection from day 1 after starting up again.

I actually know someone who got pregnant 6 weeks after having her first baby.


I also highly recommend using extra lubricant during your first time back in the sheets.

It can be nerve wracking and possibly a little uncomfortable.

This will help.

6. Cheap Towels

Between postpartum messes and newborn messes and just hectic new baby life messes, you might want some extra towels that you don’t mind trashing later.

This is great for after showers during the first few days of postpartum when things are extra heavy.

Get a dark color and don’t feel bad about throwing them away when things settle down.

I like these because they are cheap, have dark color options, and different sizes for various needs.

Practical Items for New Moms:

So, I’ve decided to throw in a few more items that I personally LOVE using after having a baby.

If everything is already checked off of Mama’s newborn baby shopping list, focus on buying these new mom necessities before birth.

These are things that would be GREAT baby shower gifts for MOM not baby.

Even better, right?

1. Nursing Bra

I remember being pregnant and awkwardly asking a new friend what nursing bra she used.

This isn’t something to mess around with!

You’re wearing this thing every day and you want something comfortable and functional.

This bra is a great day-to-day option, especially for maternity leave and stay-at-home moms.

2. Breast Pads

I also recommend getting some great breast pads to help with any unexpected leaks as your body adjusts to breastfeeding.

This disposable kind as worked great for me.

Or if you prefer something cloth, these washable breast pads are a good option.

3. Water Bottle

Can’t stress this enough.

The need to drink tons of water doesn’t stop after your pregnancy. In fact, I think it’s even more important when you’re breastfeeding.

Get a great water bottle that you can keep with you, grab easily with one finger while juggling your stuff, Baby’s stuff, and oh yeah, thingsI love this one.

It keeps my water cold and chemical-free, it’s cute, and I can just loop in around my finger as I’m heading out the door.

This is a new mom must-have.I wrote a whole post on the best water bottles for pregnant and new moms.

4. Extra Panties

This is a favorite tip of mine to share with mamas-to-be.

Without going into detail, you’re gonna need great pads (like these) after you have your baby.

To minimize feeling super gross and also ruining your favorite undies, I recommend grabbing some inexpensive, size-up, basic panties like these.

I like that these are super comfortable for a postpartum mama, they rinse easily and if things get really messy, you can just toss them because they were cheap.

This makes things sooo much easier, trust me.

Oh, and if you have a C-section, try these extremely comfy mommy undies during the first few weeks.

More New Mom Tips:

I actually have a bunch more great tips on items that expecting mothers should stock up on and other last minute ways to prepare for Baby.

Read my post for tons of really clever tips on what to get done before birth. But first…

ONE more genius tip

Learn HOW to give birth (and a bunch of other labor tips.)

I really wish I had done this online pre-labor course instead of the ALL-DAY-LONG course that the hospital had (it was sooo boring.)

But this Prenatal Course is wonderful and can be done totally at your own pace.

Hilary is a Labor and Delivery Nurse in real life and she walks you through what to expect during your 3rd trimester, going through labor, delivery, and the basics of newborn care.

She answers A LOT of questions, like:

“Um…what if I POOP while pushing?!”

Plus, it’s a couples class so Baby Daddy will be well-prepared for the big day too (super important!)

Here’s my full review with more details on the class. 

Baby Things to Buy Before Birth

So, there’s my baby checklist of practical baby shower gifts and what baby things you need for a newborn, as well as items you need for a baby as they get a bit older.

From my first-hand experience, it’s totally worth grabbing these cheap things things to stock up on before baby arrives. You’ll be glad you did!

So add these baby must haves to your list of baby things to buy when pregnant.


Start your Amazon Baby Registry here to get TOTALLY FREE BABY STUFF!

More Tips for Pregnancy & New Mom Life

So there ya go. Your curated What to Buy Before Baby is Born Checklist, complete with essentials, must-haves, and nice-to-haves.

Things are about to get wonderfully crazy, Mama.

If you’re on Baby Number 2 and you’re looking for what to buy before birth, be sure and check out my Second Baby Checklist.

And if you liked this list of things to buy before baby arrives and you’re looking for other ways to prepare for baby…

Check out these resources:

Prepare for Breastfeeding

Prepare for Postpartum Recovery

Things to do Before Baby Arrives Checklist

Hospital Bag Checklist

Fun Things to do While Pregnant

And Follow me on Pinterest for more helpful tips about pregnancy and life as a new mom!

Baby Items List: List of Things You Need for a Baby

Baby Things to Buy Before Birth (practical baby items list)Baby Stuff to Buy While Pregnant:

Baby things to buy before birth (with pictures!)


  1. Whitney

    Such a great list! I have a 4 month old and these are definitely things that people don’t gift at baby showers! Some others are:

    Baby Towels – like the good ones! Those cheap ones from Walmart are like wrapping your baby up in a sheet of notebook paper. They always have cute hooded ones on sale for like $12 at Carter’s. I know that sounds expensive for a towel, but you only need 3 or 4 and they are so warm and worth it!

    Burp Cloths – Not the cute ones. I love to use the old Gerber 3-Fold Cloth Diapers for this.

    Plain White Onesies – You can never have enough of these in my opinion! Especially in the winter, I liked putting them under my baby’s sleepers/outfits for some extra warmth!

    • ashleybbass

      Sally, that’s awesome! Yay for those girls getting what they actually NEED at their baby showers! 😉 Thanks for reading!

  2. Bridget

    I actually didn’t use any of these products with my baby haha. I did need to buy an oogie bear which works way better for the hard boogies which is what my girl always had. But we never used any of the other stuff here. Maybe I got lucky because my baby didn’t need any of it lol

    • ashleybbass

      That’s great, Bridget! I think the less stuff you need the better for sure. We use all of this stuff, but every baby is totally different. I’ll have to check into that oogie bear! Thanks for reading!

  3. Lisa

    Good list. One thing I appreciated were swaddling blankets actually big enough to swaddle a baby! My babies were all between 8.5-10 lbs and a receiving blanket just doesn’t cut it. Although, large muslin blankets do seem to be fashionable right now.

    • ashleybbass

      Lisa, yesss. I know exactly what you mean! Once mine quickly outgrew the tiny receiving blankets, we were stuck with only one or two blankets that were big enough. That’s when we switched to using SwaddleMe swaddlers, which I LOVE. Either way, the big blankets are a must. Great tip!

  4. Claudia

    We made a hamper for our friend with dish soap, laundry detergent, pet food and kitty litter. We absolutely got some raised eyebrows at the baby shower but it’s a pain to load up a new born to get one bottle of dish soap. I got a text about a month after the birth thanking me for the gift. The Mother needed kitty litter and dish soap and she said it was such a blessing to have a box in the garage to just go to. I know a lot of people have groceries delivered but a lot of the time you need to spend $30 or $50 dollars.

    • ashleybbass

      Claudia, what great ideas! Any little bit of help is huge for a new mom. And this is such a creative and thoughtful way to help. Love it!

    • Mel

      I did this for my friend too!!!! Her husband works away, they have 2 big dogs and a cat, the cartons of dog food were getting too heavy for her to carry and she was buying 4 tins a day. I bought a months worth of pet food and kitty litter. The funny thing is, she still talks about it now, her baby is 2 years old. I’m due in a few weeks and I have a plastic tub with laundry detergent, toothpaste, dishwashing tablets, tea/coffee/long life milk etc.. All the things that aren’t perishable that I know we will need.

  5. Kelky

    Great list!! I’m expecting and my daughter’s are 18 years apart!! So it’s been a long time. I’m trying to figure out what I actually need to buy and register for and it can get overwhelming! These are great suggestions!! Thanks so much!!

  6. Brittany

    My favorite things to gift for a shower for a breastfeeding mom are nursing pads, nipple cream, and milk bags! Not many people think to give those to the moms! Mommies need care too!

  7. Michelle Larson

    A friend of mine gave me a beautiful nightgown and robe. She said I needed to feel “special” after the birth. ( of course I wore it after it was safe so I wouldn’t ruin it) Thanks for all the great ideas!

  8. mary brayboy

    I always make a basket why invited to baby showers.I always put gas drops, tylenol, motrin, pedialyte,thermometer. Poop bags,whipes,Johnson &Johnson travel kit.Theses are all the necessities a mom needs .

  9. Felicita

    My favorite baby shower gift is a basket filled with Tylenol, gripe water, saline nose drops, thermometer, nasal aspirator, Matty’s Baby rub, diaper cream, feeding bowls, feeding spoons, mesh laundry bag for the baby’s socks, and the book, “What to expect the First Year.” I have put together several of these and eventually get told how much of a life saver this kit was. One friend said to me that I saved her life that night because her baby was colicky and she was able to look through the kit and find what she needed so that they could all sleep through the night. Lol

  10. Wow. I am one of THOSE friends who gives cute onesies, Even after 2 of my own, I would never have thought of most of these great ideas for a gift. Thank you so much for the info. I am sure my future mom friends will love them too.

    • Ashley

      Terrie, haha yeah onesies can totally be great gifts too! I think every new mama loves to get a mix of both the cutesie stuff and the practical baby items. Thanks for reading!

  11. Allie

    I love all these ideas. In the past I have put a basket of mommy care items, epsom salt, fuzzy slipper socks, dry shampoo and sometimes either a prenatal massage or mani pedi gift card.

  12. Sue

    Offer a free babysitting evening so new Mom & Dad can have a date night without the bundle of joy. By the end of the second month they’ll both appreciate the break from this life changing addition to their lives.
    If your really generous, include a gift card to their favorite restaurant or other sociable spot to reconnect with other adults.

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