Nowadays if a thought can be had, a product can be made. In a sea of never ending consumption, it’s overwhelming with what’s necessary and what’s simply excessive for your newborn nursery. Here we’re going to run through a nursery checklist and break down what first time parents need and should register for when preparing for their new bundle of joy.

Infant Sleep Items

  • Bassinet: The AAP recommends that a newborn sleep in your room, but in their own safe space, for at least the first 6 months. Pick a quality item that is suitable for baby to be close at hand with a flat firm mattress, and nothing inside. Take a look at the Halo Bedside Bassinet.
  • Crib: This is often one of your bigger purchases and potentially shared baby to baby. You want to always make sure your crib meets current AAP standards.  Slats need to be 2 3/8 inches or less to be considered safe. Up and down sliding sides are no longer safe.
  • Crib mattress: You should be seeking a firm flat mattress. Make sure it is new, as these expire over time.
  • Waterproof mattress pad: It’s inevitable, baby is going to have an accident of some sort. Having a good quality waterproof mattress pad is a must. Two is better, one to wash and the other to replace.
  • Crib sheets: Three sheets, maybe four tops is all you need. Even if baby has an accident you’ll still have at least a few on hand until you do your next wash. Just a flat fitted sheet is recommended for safe sleep.
  • Swaddle wraps: Muslin, breathable blankets are great to have on hand. They’re great to have for swaddling and keeping in your diaper bag so you’ll have something to lay baby on at a park or playdate. You can also use one over your shoulder while breastfeeding or even over the carriage should the sun be out. This is a versatile must have on your nursery checklist.
  • Sleep sacks: If you’re uncomfortable swaddling on your own, there are many options that are safe with velcro for self swaddling. Keep in mind the AAP does NOT recommend weighted sleep sacks or sleep blankets. Try Halo or Sleepea sleepsacks.
  • Sound machine: One of the best things you can do for baby is start good sleep habits from day one. This includes baby sleeping in a dark room with a white noise machine no higher than 50 decibels. You can find night lights and sound machines sold separately or in one.
  • Baby monitor: Ideally your monitor is used to alert you as to when baby is awake. Nowadays a baby monitor can alert you to baby’s heart rate, their last minute of sleep, show a live video,  or simply just transmit audio. Do your research to find out what is right for your family and aligns to your price point.

Feeding Supplies on your Nursery Checklist

  • Breast pump: If you’re choosing to breastfeed, most likely you’ll want a breast pump. Check with your insurance company to see what is covered and view these top 5 breast pumps in 2024.
  • Breast pad inserts: These help to absorb any leaking milk when not feeding. Take a look at these Bamboobies to add to your nursery checklist.
  • Bags for storing breast milk: If you’re going to pump, you can use bags to store and freeze for a later date.
  • Bottles: If you’re going to formula feed or pump, you’ll want bottles. For the first few months the small ones are good, but as baby grows they’ll drink more ounces of milk and you’ll want the bigger bottles. You can buy a starter kit that has both sizes. You’ll want an elongated nipple for peak performance and to mimic breastfeeding. Additionally, you’ll want to watch nipple sizes as baby grows.
  • Bottle washing station: A bottle brush, is all you need. However, a bottle station includes a place for all the bottles to dry upside down to air dry. It also includes a spot to hang the nipples and covers to dry. Check out Munchkin’s high capacity drying rack and OXO space saving rack.
  • Bibs: Newborn bibs are very different from toddler bibs. An infant doesn’t have the needs of too many in the beginning. If going on the lean end, four cloth infant bibs are all you need for a newborn. Talk to your Boston newborn care expert to see when you should get more bibs and what kind for a teething baby.
  • Burp cloths: It used to be that mothers would simply throw a cloth diaper over their shoulder to burp baby and catch any spit up. Today there are burp cloths available in every size and color to suit your taste.

Diapering Needs

  • Diapers: Nowadays diapers can be on a subscription service, such as Dyper, making it easier to never run out. Don’t forget to watch for baby’s growth to order the next size up in advance. On your baby registry you can ask for multiple sizes in multiple brands to find the one you like best. There are the well-known Huggies and Pampers, but also Honest, Hello Bello, and Bambo Nature. You’ll soon learn that a nursery checklist can never have too many diapers!
  • Diaper rash cream: You can use a barrier cream after every diaper change, such as Aquaphor. It will coat the baby’s bottom and create a barrier between the skin and stool. Aquaphor is great because it’s an all-purpose ointment that can be used for chapped cheeks, moisturizing baby’s feet, and even for cradle cap. A second kind of cream helps when your baby already has a diaper rash. This cream is white and contains zinc oxide such as Desitin or Burt’s Bees rash ointment.
  • Diaper changing table: You’ll be using this every day for several years. Pick a piece that accommodates baby’s growth and gives you access to all necessary supplies. You can purchase a removable changing tray to place on top of a bureau or even a non-skid changing pad by SkipHop and Munchkin to place anywhere in the nursery.
  • Wipes and holder: Just like diapers, you can get wipes through subscription which makes things so much easier. When the wipes arrive, they come in a soft package. This makes it great for throwing a pack in your diaper bag. However, it can be a little tricky at your changing station. A hard-cased wipe container makes it easier to grab one wipe at a time.
  • Diaper bags for BM diapers in public: Imagine you’re out and your baby has a large, stinky bowel movement. Are you going to place it in the trash for all to smell? Baby diaper bags look like doggy bags and some even have a fresh scent to contain the poopy diaper.
  • Diaper pail: Diaper pails are a necessity, day in and day out you need a place to hold the never ending diapers. This could be an extra trash-can to only place diapers in, however a diaper pail is better at containing the smell. Don’t forget to purchase extra bags that fit the diaper pail you pick. Review the well-known Diaper Genie, Diaper Dekor, and Ubbi to decide which to add to your nursery checklist.

Hygiene

  • Washcloths: Add soft, gentle washcloths to your nursery checklist. Infants have such delicate skin, so your adult washcloth is probably too rough for getting into all of baby’s folds. You’ll be surprised how many washcloths you can go through during the day, especially as they get older and begin feeding on solids.   
  • Baby tub with newborn insert: A good quality baby tub will come with a newborn insert to help hold baby up while washing him. When your baby outgrows the insert, you will still get use out of the baby tub until baby is almost 1 year old. Even when your baby is able to sit on his own, it is still hard in the bath due to buoyancy.
  • Shampoo and body wash: Baby wash and shampoo is often combined as one. Purchase a gentle, mild soap that won’t irritate baby’s eyes and skin. Be sure to look for one that is fragrance and dye free. Check out these brands: Babyganics, Honest, and Burt’s Bees.
  • Baby towels: Ever wonder why baby towels come with a hood? It’s to keep your baby’s head warm and wrap them up. You’ll want at least two. One to use and one to wash.
  • Baby clothes in various sizes: To start you’re going to want to have five onesie pajamas and five onesies with pants in newborn, 0-3 month, and 3-6 month sizes. Pants with feet attached are great to keep baby warm, as well as onesies with fold-over mitt cuffs.

Other Infant Needs outside of the Nursery

  • Carriage: Another large purchase is going to be your carriage or stroller. There are many brands and options out there. Perhaps you want to be able to set it up with one hand, or maybe you want a bassinet adapter. How about your infant carrier locking into the stroller? You’ll want to do your research, and work within your price range.
  • Car seat/infant style: You won’t be able to leave the hospital if you don’t have an infant car seat. Never take a hand-me-down car seat; they have expiration dates and it is recommended you follow manufacturers recommendation to register your product for safety callbacks.   
  • Baby carrier/wrap: Did you know that babies that are worn tend to be happier and calmer? We’re meant to keep our babies close, on us. Both mothers and fathers are able to do this, giving your baby a special bonding experience. There are many options to “baby wear.” Review these from a true baby wearing expert.
  • Diaper bag: You’ll want a bag that’s roomy with lots of pockets. What you pack will change as baby grows so you’ll want to keep that in mind. Ask your friends what diaper bag they love and check out both the Skip Hop and BabbleRoo.

Preparing for your New Baby

While this nursery checklist is considered the basics, there is a whole host of items out there that could be added from bottle sanitizers to sleeping sensors. By doing a bit of research you will quickly come to see that most items have a short shelf life and you can get by without buying every baby product on the shelf.   

People love to give baby gifts. If you should find you’ve been given things you have no intention of using, donating is a great way to give to others.

Parents, if you are overwhelmed or just want some help, Boston Baby Nurse & Nanny has newborn care specialists that can help. Our Boston newborn care experts can tell you the best products out there and help organize your nursery so that you can spend more time snuggling and bonding when your newborn arrives.

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About The Author

Nancy Infant Massage InstructorNancy M. has worked with children for over 25 years, with all ages and stages. She has been a Nursery/Pre-school teacher, an international and domestic travel as well as live-in Nanny, and House Manager. Nancy is an Advanced Newborn Care Expert, Certified Lactation Counselor, Postpartum Doula, and Certified Infant Massage Instructor. She is Mom to one daughter and volunteer foster Mom at her local animal shelter.

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