Things You REALLY Need for a Baby In 2021: The Top Newborn Essentials

These Are The Things You REALLY Need for A Baby: Our Favorite Newborn Essentials

January 8, 2012 Updated March 16, 2021

Things You Need For A Baby / Newborn Essentials

Figuring out the things you need for a baby is one of the many stressful aspects of pregnancy, especially if it’s your first. Attempting to create a baby registry is overwhelming enough, and if you’re not even sure what you need, narrowing down newborn essentials is a task all its own. After all, there’s so much baby stuff you just don’t need, and it’s hard to see clearly when everything is so foreign and unfamiliar (and also teddy bear or fox-shaped or in the form of a dinosaur). So, what do you actually need for a baby? (Ah, the first kids riddle of parenthood … welcome to the club!) The truth is, you don’t need all that much as a new mom, so go ahead and breathe a sigh of relief. *Inhale … exhale.*

That said, there are some things babies need (of course), so make the task a bit easier, we’ve narrowed down the bare necessities for you and your LO so you’re not inundated with unnecessary baby stuff. Add these must-haves to your registry first, and your major boxes will be checked — the rest is extra. Now, you can spend less time stressing over newborn essentials, and more time eating ice cream from the carton. Because, girlfriend, those days are numbered, so enjoy them while you can.

Things Babies Need #1: Changing & Keeping Clean

Huggies Little Snugglers Baby Diapers

You need a tried-and-true diaper brand to rely on, and Huggies has been there for us for awhile. The brand offers diaper sizes for newborns up to 6. Parents love Huggies for their GentleAbsorb Liner which protects your little one’s skin while the Pocketed Back Waistband helps prevent, um, explosions from happening. Their Leak Lock System also helps eliminate leaks for up to 12 hours — so no matter what, you and Baby are protected from a big ‘ole mess, and your little one stays as clean and comfy as possible. Go ahead and sign up for Subscribe & Save on Amazon, because trust us, you’ll be using ’em.

$50.44 AT AMAZON

Huggies Natural Care Sensitive Baby Wipes

Again, we can’t stress *enough* how important wipes are. Huggies Natural Care Sensitive Wipes are fragrance-free and plant-based, making them perfect for delicate baby skin. They’re also super affordable and you can save even more when you Subscribe & Save — and you might as well, because trust us, you don’t want to run out.

$17.44 AT AMAZON

First Years Baby Bath Tub

There’s nothing in the world better than a freshly bathed baby. Nothing. And once you get past the first panic-inducing one, bath time is actually fun. You’ll want a dependable and easy-to-use baby tub, especially if it’s your first time dealing with one. Parents love The First Years’ tub because it’s durable and budget-friendly.

$20.99 AT AMAZON

Summer Contoured Changing Pad

Sure, you can get a changing table … or you can put a simple pad on top of a dresser. The budget-friendly Summer Contoured Changing Pad can be wiped clean, comes with a safety belt, is contoured to help prevent baby from rolling, and has crazy-good reviews. Just be sure that you thoroughly secure it to the surface you choose (there’s a security strap underneath), and NEVER leave your LO on it unattended.

$18.29 AT AMAZON

All Mighty Pacs Laundry Detergent, Free Clear for Sensitive Skin, Unscented

Much as we hate unnecessary laundry, it really is a must to wash clothes before putting them on your baby. (But don’t make the mistake of taking the tags off of every outfit and washing them all before the baby is even born. There’s a good chance the sizing will be off and once they’re washed, you can’t return them.)Baby-specific detergents cost a fortune, so most moms love All Free and Clear.

$34.99 AT AMAZON

Things Babies Need #2: Essentials For Feeding

Philips Avent Natural Baby Bottle (4-Pack)

At some point, you’ll most likely need bottles, and Phillips Avent bottles come with a natural nipple shape baby’s respond well to (its wide shape makes it easier for them to latch on to). Plus, these are BPA-free.

$39.88 AT AMAZON

Happy Baby Organic Infant Formula

Whether you plan on formula feeding (no shame in that, Mama!) or breastfeeding, having an extra tub of formula on-hand is always a good idea. Breastfeeding can be hard, so even if you plan on going au natural, having a back up supply *just in case* will give you some peace of mind. Happy Baby Organic is made to simulate breastmilk and has lots of great reviews from pleased parents with full-tummied babes. And, of course, there are plenty of other wonderful baby formula options for you to choose from.

$29.99 AT AMAZON

Boppy Original Nursing Pillow and Positioner

If you breastfeed, you’re going to want a nursing pillow. Is it *essential*? I guess not, the job will get done either way. Is it super helpful and make you and Baby more comfortable during feedings? Hell yes. Just get a good nursing pillow so that while your baby is eating for the 20th time, you can also get some rest (sorta). This one from Boppy truly gives your arms and back the support they need by helping you lift your little one more ergonomically. It’s machine-washable, too, so no need to worry about cleanup.

$39.99 AT AMAZON

The First Years 2-in-1 Simple Serve Bottle Warmer

When a hungry baby is crying, every second counts. Quickly and safely heat up refrigerated breast milk or formula with this best selling bottle warmer, which also doubles as a pacifier sterilizer. It’s compact enough to keep on the counter, plus it’s super affordable. While there are lots of unnecessary baby gadgets out there, this is one that you’ll definitely need.

$15.48 AT AMAZON

Philips AVENT Microwave Steam Sterilizer

New parents are always fretting about germs and sanitizing everything for their new little bundle of joy. For your own peace of mind, buy a sterilizer for bottles and pacifiers and let that do the work for you. There are plenty of microwavable and electrical options to choose from at a variety of prices. We like this one because it’s super fast, effective, and under $25.

$19.99 AT AMAZON

RELATED8 Mom-Approved Organic Baby Detergents That Are Gentle Enough for the Entire Fam

Things Babies Need #3: Sleeping & Lounging

Happiest Baby SNOO Smart Sleeper

Okay, yes. The Snoo is very expensive, but if you’re lucky, you can catch it on sale. And it seems that every single parent who invests in one cannot stop raving about it. The Snoo swaddles your baby to sleep and responds to fussiness with white noise and gentle motions that mimic your own. Babies (and parents) end up getting 1-2 more hours of sleep than they normally would.

Just read this raving testimony from one Amazon reviewer: “I really did not want to buy this since we were trying so hard to be minimalists and all-natural with our first baby girl. Then she came in like a wrecking ball. In her first 6 weeks I could count on one hand the number of times I got any more than 1.5 hours of sleep. Then one night at 3 am I started getting worried about what life would be like when I had to go back to work at 11 weeks. I have a one hour commute each way and I work in patient care and got more and more nervous about the potential of getting in a car accident or making a terrible mistake at work because of sleep deprivation. The internet led me to the SNOO. I couldn’t say no to the possibility of 1-2 extra hours of sleep a night, plus it was on sale and they have the 30-day guarantee. The Snoo came when she was 7 weeks old, and on the 7th day of using it, she slept a full 8 hours. By the time I had to go back to work she was consistently sleeping 9-11 hours every night. NINE TO ELEVEN HOURS EVERY NIGHT. “


SwaddleMe Pod

But if you don’t go the Snoo route, you can always swaddle your baby yourself. This helps keep your little one nice and snug and secure. The fabric is so soft, you’ll wish you were the one getting swaddled.

$26.99 AT AMAZON

Graco Benton 4-in-1 Convertible Crib

Get yourself a convertible baby crib so you don’t need to swap out a crib for something bigger for a toddler. This 4-in-1 easily converts from crib to toddler bed, daybed, and full-size bed.

$259.99 AT AMAZON

Hudson Baby Unisex Cotton Gowns

Outfits with buttons and snaps are cute and all, but when you’re seriously sleep deprived and your baby needs a diaper change every hour, quick and easy is the way to go. Your baby will most likely live in shoulder gowns because they’re just so easy. Here are some cute animal ones, but you can easily find others on Amazon.

$15.99 AT AMAZON

Baby Shusher

We’re going to consider a sound soother as “essential,” because many newborns can’t sleep without a little white noise. There are tons of sound machines to choose from, including ones that double as night lights, look like stuffed animals, and are portable for naps on-the-go. For some babies, the “shhh” noise is like a magic spell that puts them to sleep, and parents say that the Shusher is a nursery must-have that sounds like the real thing.

$36.99 AT AMAZON

Boppy Original Lounger

For those times when you just need a *hands-free* moment (like a bathroom run, perhaps?), the Boppy Lounger will come to the rescue. Placed on the floor or next to you on the couch (and under constant supervision, of course), Baby will be able to sit back and relax while you do, too.

$32.99 AT AMAZON

Graco EveryWay Baby Swing

Keeping baby quiet and content? Yep, definitely essential, and babies who constantly like to be swayed will love lounging in a baby swing or rocker. The Graco EveryWay will keep your little one on the move with 16 motions from rocking to swinging (to figure eight-ing, to bouncing …). A mobile and built-in tunes provide even more entertainment to keep Baby happy. And you know who else will be happy? You, because you’ll have both hands free.

$269.99 AT AMAZON

The Owlet

If you’re a high-tech parent, you’re going to want the Owlet. It’s basically a super smart baby monitor with all the bells and whistles. The camera records your baby while she or he is in their crib (or play pen, bouncer, nursery, etc.) and sends you a live stream directly to your phone. Parents love that the night vision is super high quality, with one member of the Scary Mommy team saying, “The camera is amazing. Picks up super high quality even in low light. Awesome resolution.” It’s also very sturdy; the magnetic base that allows for easy rotation, but still feels really secure like the camera won’t fall off the base. The team loved features like knowing how hot or cold the room is, health data, and the high-quality microphone. Plus, the Owlet is very compact, so it’s easy to travel with.


Things Babies Need #4: Newborn Baby Travel Essentials

Chicco Corso Modular Travel System

If you want to buy a car seat and stroller in one fell swoop, a travel system is the way to go. These come with said car seat and stroller, as well as a car seat base, ensuring that all the parts are conveniently compatible so that Baby stays safe and you stay sane. You can’t go wrong with a well-known, reputable brand like Chicco (bonus: It’s also on the affordable end) and their Corso Modular Travel System is one of our favorite picks.

When your baby’s a newborn, the carseat can click right into the stroller, and when they get older, the stroller seat can face frontward or back. There are more handy features like an adjustable footrest, a large adjustable canopy, and a handlebar, so your little one will always cruise in comfort. Plus, the stroller can be folded with one hand (!) for easy portability. Add to that easy maneuverability and good looks to boot, and the two of you will be strolling in style no matter where the day takes you.

$529.99 AT AMAZON

Ergobaby Baby Carrier

You don’t have to be an attachment parent to wear your baby, you just have to want to get shit done. If your baby wants to be held constantly, you can either hold him or her and do nothing, or wear him or her and do everything. Obvious choice, huh? Even better, dad can wear it, too. Ergobaby’s baby carrier is super high-quality and comes in a bunch of fun prints you can choose from.

$179.99 AT AMAZON

RELATEDThe Best Backpack Diaper Bags For Multi-Tasking Moms Who Carry A Ton Of Sh*t

Although we only recommend picks we really love, we may earn a commission on purchases made through links from our site.
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Huggies Little Snugglers Baby Diapers
Huggies Natural Care Sensitive Baby Wipe...
First Years Baby Bath Tub
Summer Contoured Changing Pad
All Mighty Pacs Laundry Detergent, Free ...
Philips Avent Natural Baby Bottle (4-Pac...
Happy Baby Organic Infant Formula
Boppy Original Nursing Pillow and Positi...
The First Years 2-in-1 Simple Serve Bott...
Philips AVENT Microwave Steam Sterilizer
Happiest Baby SNOO Smart Sleeper
SwaddleMe Pod
Graco Benton 4-in-1 Convertible Crib
Hudson Baby Unisex Cotton Gowns
Ergobaby Baby Carrier
Wansview Baby Monitor Camera
Graco EveryWay Baby Swing
Boppy Original Lounger
Chicco Corso Modular Travel System
Britax B-Safe 35 Infant Car Seat
Graco Modes Click Connect Stroller
RATIVE Newborn Baby Boys and Girls Glove...
Baby Shusher
VAVA Baby Monitor

Price reflects $30 off digital coupon (on listing)

The Owlet