How to Prepare for a Newborn Baby

Having a baby is one of the most exciting times in your life. It can also be one of the most nerve-wracking experiences, however. Even if you’re experienced with caring for children, things are different when you’re bringing home your own infant.

You want everything to be perfect, yet it’s hard to decide exactly what you need. Prepare for this milestone by purchasing major items for your infant ahead of time. Don’t be left in the lurch by neglecting to bring the essentials to the hospital. Make sure that you’re equipped with the right newborn care items when you bring baby home so that you can devote your time to loving your new bundle of joy.

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Bigger Baby Purchases

Some of these major items for an infant are obligatory. For example, you’ll need a safe place for your baby to sleep at night and during naps. Some parents prefer to have the baby sleep in their room until they’re ready to move the little one to the nursery. If that’s the case, consider getting a small bassinet or compact rocking sleeper to set next to your bed. An app-enabled video monitor can help you keep track of your child when you’re at the other end of the house.

Most hospitals won’t let parents leave without a properly installed car seat. Setting that up before you’re in labor lets you check one requirement off your list. Something that will soothe your infant when he or she is fussy, such as a swing, rocking chair, bouncy seat, or baby carrier, can save your sanity.

  • Crib: $100–$500
  • Mattress: $30–$300
  • Bassinet: $50–$200
  • Rock ‘n Play Sleeper: $60
  • Pack ‘n Play: $60–$200
  • Car seat: $55–$200
  • Baby monitor: $20–$200
  • Breast pump: $30–$300 (often covered by insurance)
  • Rocker/glider: $100+
  • Swing/bouncy seat: $45–$150
  • Soft baby carrier: $55–$250

What to Pack in Your Hospital Bag

When the time comes to head to the hospital, you don’t want to stress out about packing your bag. Preparing it ahead of time can alleviate some anxiety surrounding your labor. The hospital will usually have items like towels, washcloths, blankets, cold packs, heating pads, and pillows. However, many don’t provide toiletries, toothbrushes, or sleeping items for your support people.

Make sure that you bring everything that you and your partner need to stay comfortable. Because the laboring mother will usually be able to adjust the thermostat to suit her needs, her birthing support should bring layers of clothing that they can put on or remove if they get hot or cold.

Although it may seem insignificant, lip balm can be soothing when your lips get dry from dehydration during labor. You might also want to bring swimwear for you or your partner if you’re planning on using the shower or tub throughout the process.

Relaxation aids, like soothing music, birth labyrinths, or affirmation cards, can help you manage your labor. Even mints, gum, or hard candies can give a birthing mother something to focus on during the experience. Energy gels or honey sticks can provide energy during a long birth.

You may also want to find out what the hospital provides for your baby. Diapers, wipes, diaper cream, and pacifiers may be available to you. The facility should also provide nursing pads, nipple ointment, menstrual pads, and disposable underwear.

  • Music: Free
  • Toiletries: $5–15
  • Lip balm: $3
  • Massager: $5–10
  • Relaxation aids: free–$10
  • Mints/hard candy: $3
  • Snacks, energy drinks/gels: $5
  • Clothes for you and your support people: Bring from home
  • Clothing that can get wet: Bring from home
  • Eye mask: $3–7
  • Ear plugs: $1
  • Slippers/socks: Bring from home
  • Clothes for baby: Bring from home
  • Charging cables: Bring from home
  • Camera: Bring from home
  • Birth Plan: Free

What You’ll Need When the Baby Comes Home

Some of the best advice for preparing for a newborn is to stock various areas of your home with supplies. Place a diaper changing station in at least two rooms or floors. Put a perineal bottle, lidocaine spray, and menstrual pads in each bathroom. Set out baskets of burp cloths wherever you might be feeding or snuggling with your baby. You’ll be grateful when everything is on hand and you don’t have to spend time searching for necessities.

Store a few boxes of diapers in different sizes, but don’t open them until you need them. Many parents are surprised when they have to move up a size, and you don’t want to be stuck with diapers that are too small when your infant has a blowout.

  • Nursing pillow: $30
  • Nursing wear: $10+
  • Breast pads: $5–$10
  • Burp cloths: $5–$25
  • Receiving blankets: $10–$30
  • Swaddling sacks/blankets: $12–$30
  • Feeding supplies: $5–$25
  • Formula: $15–$40
  • White noise machine: $15–$50
  • Diapers: $10–$50
  • Wipes: $7–$12
  • Diaper bag: $30+
  • Diaper cream: $5
  • Digital thermometer: 7–$50
  • Nail clippers: $3–$12
  • Stroller: $15–$300