My son just turned one and after surviving the first year, I finally feel like I am in a place where I can offer useful baby registry checklist suggestions to other new or soon to be new moms. This list is for new moms (or dads!) who want to know what they REALLY need when baby arrives.
In all honesty – you don’t need much. You could technically survive with just diapers and wipes, a few swaddle blankets, and a safe place for your baby to sleep. The rest is really just for your convenience, but your convenience matters!
Below is a list of all of the items that we regularly use and nothing more. The length of this list might surprise you considering the “minimalist” title, but if you’re planning on staying active and productive (running errands, eating at restaurants, getting stuff done around the house, etc.) while still caring for your baby then you will benefit from having some “stuff.” I consider every item on this baby registry checklist to be essential for making my life more efficient during the first 6+ months of motherhood.
FREE CHECKLIST SPREADSHEET: I explain each item in detail below, but I also created an easy to view Baby Registry Google Spreadsheet that lists each item, brand name, price, and link to make things simple! Feel free to make a copy (File > Make a copy…) then use it as a checklist by adding an “X” in column A next to any items you purchase.
(This post contains affiliate links. For more information, see my disclosures here.)
NEWBORN TRANSPORTATION ESSENTIALS
- CAR SEAT – A must have if you plan on traveling anywhere by car. You can go one of two ways here: convertible car seat or infant car seat (read more about the differences between the two on BabyList). I chose the UppaBaby Mesa infant car seat which attaches to our UppaBaby stroller. It can also be used to carry your newborn around outside of the car. This was handy when a stroller was too bulky and wearing the baby didn’t make sense (e.g. visits to the dentist or chiropractor). Also, some hospitals ask that you place your newborn in their car seat before discharging you from the hospital – check with your hospital beforehand to confirm their policy. Other great options that I considered are the Britax, Maxi Cosi, and Nuna Pipa. We were also gifted a Graco convertible car seat for when our babe grew out of his infant seat. *NOTE: If you are going for the ultimate minimalist car seat option I’d recommend starting with the convertible seat option – my son grew out of his infant car seat in 6 months!
- STROLLER – As far as I’m aware, there are three main stroller categories: modular, jogger, and travel. The best stroller for you depends on your lifestyle. Sometimes it can be nice to have more than one stroller (gasp!) – I was gifted a modular stroller (UppaBaby Cruz) and I purchased a jogger second-hand for us to use for weekend walks on the beach. Choosing a stroller was easily the most difficult decision for me. Something that helped was creating a spreadsheet with all of my “nice-to-have” features along the left column and all of my favorite strollers along the top. In the end I chose the stroller(s) that checked the most boxes!
- DIAPER BAG – I am still loving our $35 diaper backpack.
- CHANGING MAT – Our Skip Hop changing mat has worked great for us. It includes pockets that can store diapers and wipes so I can either fold it up in the diaper bag, or carry it on its own. This can be used on the go and at home in lieu of a regular changing pad if laid on a bed or the floor.
- CARRIER – A high quality baby carrier might be my #1 most valued baby item. Before I gave birth, I collected multiple second-hand baby carriers including a cute fabric baby wrap (I’ll say to you what many others said to me – cute, but not worth it). If I was to go back in time, I would have told myself to forget the rest and invest in the Ergobaby 360. I didn’t want to believe the hype (because $$$) but I finally broke down and purchased one (still cost me over $100 purchased second-hand) and it has seriously saved my back and shoulders. I still use this regularly and my son is now close to 25lbs. Don’t forget the infant insert for babies less than 12 lbs!
NEWBORN CLOTHING ESSENTIALS
- 5-10 ONESIES – The number of onesies you need really depends on how frequently you plan on doing laundry. I do a load nearly every day so we’re fine with just a few in each size. Sleeve length also depends on the climate/season your baby is born into.
- 2-4 LEGGINGS – Only necessary if you live in a cooler climate. My son was born in the summer and he didn’t wear leggings or socks until he was close to 4 months old.
- SOCKS – See above.
- BEANIE – My baby wore a beanie in the hospital but again, he was born in the summer and benefited more from a sun-hat during walks in the carrier for his first few months.
- SUN HAT – For summer babies, this one adjusts the size so it grows with your baby. A baby rash guard is also helpful if your baby is crawling / walking around during summertime (I try to avoid unnecessary sunscreen application where I can!).
- SLEEPERS (optional) – Again, optional depending on climate and desire for convenience. My newborn slept in a onesie and a muslin swaddle (or sometimes just a diaper and swaddle) most nights, but on cooler evenings, the sleep gown was our favorite since it enabled super fast diaper changes. With that said, you could also get by with your baby wearing a onesie, leggings, socks, and a swaddle if born during a cooler season and opt to avoid sleepers altogether.
- 7-10 SWADDLE BLANKETS – Some people swear by expensive velcro or zipper swaddles, we were just fine using muslin blankets. Plus, they can be used for SO many other things (stroller cover, nursing cover, burp cloth, play mat, etc.). Because we used them for so many purposes, it was nice to have a few extra on hand.
NEWBORN SLEEP ESSENTIALS
- PACK N PLAY – If I was to go back in time, I would completely forego a bassinet and instead opt for a pack n’ play. Many like this one include a newborn sleeper attachment, and can travel easily. You could technically forego a crib altogether and keep your baby in one of these until he/she is a few years old. 4moms has a very popular version that is attractive if it’s going to be used as a more permanent fixture in your home, but our Graco version has suited us just fine so far. *NOTE: If you don’t have space for a pack n’ play in your room AND you choose to invest in the UppaBaby Vista, you can buy an inexpensive stand for the bassinet that the stroller combo includes. I love a multi-use product!
- 2 PACK N PLAY FITTED SHEETS – Great to have 2 sets as new babies sleep around the clock so you’ll inevitably need to wash one set just as baby is going down for a nap (sheet options for Graco brand pack n’ play).
- NIGHT LIGHT (optional) – This isn’t essential, but a good night light was SO nice to have during the first 6-8 months! I can’t find our exact nidght light anymore but it is similar to this one in that you can press on and off and adjust the brightness level.
- BABY MONITOR – My husband chose this one because he was paranoid that wifi versions can be hacked. Regardless of cyber-security, we still use this one and it works great!
- WHITE NOISE MACHINE – It took us 9 months to get our son to sleep through the night. I don’t know why we resisted a white noise machine for so long but we started getting much better sleep very soon after we started using one. It also helps our son sleep better when we travel (maybe because it helps us mimic his home bedtime routine). Either way, I’d say this is a worthwhile early investment!
NEWBORN NURSING ESSENTIALS
- NURSING BRA(S) – Really nice to have a few comfy pairs.
- SLEEP NURSING BRA – Things were sensitive those first few weeks and soft sleep bras helped me deal at night. Also if you’re leaking a lot, sleep bras plus nursing pads are the way to go.
- NURSING PADS – Helpful in case of leaks.
- LANOLIN CREAM – Breastfeeding isn’t always easy or glamorous. I was gifted a tube and used it regularly during the first 6-8 weeks of breastfeeding when things were still sore. Bring this with you to the hospital too! Earth Mama Angel Baby has a nipple butter that’s also supposed to be great that I’ll probably try next time.
- NURSING COVER (optional) – If you plan on breastfeeding in public and want to keep things semi-modest, forget covering up with a flimsy blanket over your shoulder, these covers are SO much easier. I got two so I am never without a clean one. They also work as fantastic car seat / stroller covers that won’t blow away in the breeze or can be worn as a scarf accessory in-between feedings.
- 20 BURP CLOTHS – You will use these all the time, everywhere during the first 6 months. We still keep 1-2 stored in our diaper bag for emergencies!
- PUMP – I very highly recommend one with a rechargeable/portable battery so that you can be mobile while pumping. During my morning pump I was able to make myself breakfast, do the dishes, and answer emails without any problem. I used the Spectra S1 and had zero problems.
- HANDS FREE BRA – An absolute must if you want to multitask (which trust me, you will)
- 4-8 BOTTLES – Before you load up on bottles, make sure your babe likes the brand you choose. Our baby was SUPER picky when it came to bottles and after trying three highly recommended brands (Dr. Browns, Tommee Tippee, and Comotomo) we finally got him to take the Avent bottles. Avent bottles were also great because they’re the only bottle brand I found that directly attached to the Spectra S1 pump – super convenient to pump straight into the bottle that we used to feed him!
- BREAST MILK BAGS – Not much to say here other than I wish there were good options that weren’t single-use.
- GLIDER (optional) – Not an essential (I almost didn’t get one myself) but if you have the space and the funds, it’s really nice to have. I highly recommend something soft/upholstered with armrests and a high back to rest your head against (you will be SO grateful for this during those middle of the night feedings). To this day, one of my favorite parts of our sleep routine is cuddling in this chair and reading books.
NEWBORN DIAPERING ESSENTIALS
- CHANGING MAT – If you’re trying to keep things minimal, ditch the changing pad and just get a changing mat. You can lay it on a bed or on the floor for diaper changes, it wipes clean easily, and can travel in your diaper bag with you for on-the-go changes.
- DIAPERS – I am not loyal to a diaper brand, most worked just fine for our baby. I do wish I had tried cloth diapering at least during his first 6 months as disposable diapers are a leading contributor to landfill waste! Baby poop is water soluble while the baby is still exclusively breast-fed so washing dirty cloth diapers isn’t a huge deal. Watch this video to learn more about cloth diapering!
- WATER WIPES – These are nice if your baby has sensitive skin since they include just water and fruit extract. The only problem is they are a pain to pull out of the packaging one-handed, which brings me to my next suggested item…
- DESITIN – We are still using the same container we originally purchased on our son. Worked better than Aquaphor or other products to prevent diaper rash for us.
- DIAPER CREAM BRUSH (optional) – I say this is optional because you could technically apply that butt cream with your fingers… let’s just say it’s a very nice to have item.
- BORAX – Blow-outs will happen. I did SO much laundry during those first 6 months and a lot of it required pre-soaking to get rid of poop stains. Put a few tablespoons of borax in a full sink of warm water then let it dissolve before adding stained clothes for a few hours. Then wash regularly with the rest of your laundry to remove stains.
NEWBORN BATHING ESSENTIALS
- BABY BATH – You could technically get by with sink baths until your baby can sit up, but if you birth a giant baby like mine (10lbs) it might be helpful to just use a baby bath. I love that this one collapses so it can be stored away easily in-between bath times.
- SOFT TOWELS – The towels you already own are probably perfectly fine, save your money and skip the hooded towels (unnecessary!)
- SOFT WASHCLOTHS – Again, nothing fancy just something super soft. You could even cut up an old cotton t-shirt and use that as your soft wash cloth.
- EARTH MAMA WASH – I like the ingredients in this baby wash and it didn’t overly dry out my baby’s skin like other baby wash products did.
- COCONUT OIL – I swear this helped eliminate my baby’s acne and dry, flaky scalp issues. We didn’t use anything else to moisturize our baby’s skin until he started to get eczema on his cheeks. For that we used Eucerin cream.
- CRADLE CAP BRUSH – If your baby has cradle cap or a dry, flaky scalp this brush will help clear things up.
- NAIL FILE – Because clipping baby fingernails is the scariest, we have used this tool from day 1 instead.
- BABY NAIL CLIPPERS – The nail file only lasted us for about 3 months before I had to get brave and use baby nail clippers. We still use these (although I have to do it while our son is distracted by baby songs on the TV or else he won’t sit still enough!).
OTHER NEWBORN ESSENTIALS
- THERMOMETER – Our pediatrician recommended that we stick to the classic rectal thermometer for our babe, so that’s what we got. Luckily, we haven’t had a reason to use it so far but feel good that we have one just in case.
- PACIFIER – Like with bottles, you might need to try a few different pacifiers before you find one that your newborn likes. Our son HATED pacifiers until around 4 months old. Now he happily sleeps with his every night.
- PACIFIER CLIPS – These aren’t essential per se but they sure do come in handy if you want to avoid losing pacifiers everywhere you go!
- LOVEVERY PLAY MAT – Newborns don’t really interact much with toys, but they do start noticing contrast colors and become much more aware of their surroundings. I like this play mat because it will grow with my baby and doesn’t look hideous in the middle of our living room.
- BOOK – As mentioned above, newborns don’t interact too much but they will pay attention to contrast colors. If you want to introduce your babe to books right away, black and white books are what kept ours most captivated.
- BOUNCER (optional) – I say this is optional, but when our son turned 4 months old we were gifted this exact bouncer and it was honestly the best thing that happened to us. For 3+ full months our busy baby was able to happily entertain himself for 30+ minutes at a time in this thing which was such a relief! He is now one and still likes climbing on the outside of it and pressing the music buttons. This one also looks great because it converts as your baby grows – our one year old now loves standing to play so this concept is great. I also love that you can buy matching chairs as it converts to a table.
If you’d like to use this list as a starting point for your baby registry checklist, check out my Newborn Registry Google Spreadsheet. It lists each item, brand name, price, and link. Make a copy (File > Make a copy…) so you can add/delete items and make it your own.
My last tip would be to buy second-hand whenever possible. It will save you a ton of money and since a majority of baby supplies are made with plastic materials, you can feel good about not directly contributing to over-consumption / over-production of non-renewable resources. I personally love using Facebook Marketplace for this.
Above all, congratulations! Motherhood is the best 🙂
Want more? Click here to see our minimalist nursery.
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