pregnant woman contemplating the things to stock up on before baby arrives

21 Things to Stock Up On Before Baby Arrives (& What NOT to Buy)

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Check these essential items off your list of things to buy for baby when you’re still pregnant

Knowing what to buy for your baby when you’re still pregnant can be overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be! That’s why I’ve put together this list of things to stock up on before your baby arrives.

Today, we’re going over the ultimate baby essentials list for your first year with the new little one. Plus, I’ll share some things you shouldn’t waste your money on.

Trust me, babies cost enough money as it is — you don’t want to waste money on baby gear that you’ll never use.

pregnant woman holding a glass of water; text that reads: 21 things to buy for baby when you're still pregnant

But First, Have You Set Up a Gift Registry Yet?

Most of the items in this post can be found on Amazon. So make sure to set up your baby registry now and you’ll be able to easily add anything you need to it.

Plus, you’ll get a discount when you “complete” your registry. This just means you’re ordering anything you didn’t receive but really need. And they’ll also send you a box of really cool free gifts for your baby!

If you already have one, or perhaps you don’t plan on creating a registry, don’t worry. We’re moving right along to the list of things to buy before baby arrives!

Things to Stock Up On Before Baby Arrives

While there may be other “nice to have” things, this list covers just the absolute necessities. The things you’ll want to have before your baby arrives.

These are things you’ll probably add to your registry. But if you don’t get them as gifts? You’ll definitely want to buy them after your baby shower.

And, yes, there will be additional items that you’ll need (or want) to buy throughout the first year, and that’s fine. The purpose of this list is to make sure you have the absolute necessities ready for baby’s arrival.

Without further delay, here’s that list of things to stock up on before baby arrives.

Diapering Supplies

You’ll definitely want to have diapering essentials on hand before your baby arrives.

You might get some fancy accessories, like a wipes warmer or diaper cream spatula, for your baby shower. However, they’re definitely not necessities.

  • Diapers

Don’t stock up on newborn diapers! Trust me, your baby will outgrow them FAST, and those things aren’t cheap.

You’ll definitely want a small package of newborn diapers on hand. Make sure to grab a box of size 1 as well, just in case your baby is a little on the bigger side at birth.

For newborns, we prefer Huggies Little Snugglers because they’re so gentle on delicate bottoms.

You might also enjoy: Are Cloth Diapers Worth It? Pros and Cons of Cloth Diapering

  • Wipes

Guaranteed: you’re going to go through A LOT of wipes right from the get-go! Trust me on this one. You’ll want to make sure you have plenty of wipes on hand.

We like Huggies Natural Care Sensitive Baby Wipes because they contain plant-based ingredients. They’re 99% purified water and 1% skin essential ingredients.

  • Changing pad

A portable changing pad is an inexpensive solution if you want to forgo the fancy changing table.

Wherever you plan on changing diapers, you’ll want a protective pad to put under your baby. If you’ve never experienced the power of a diaper blowout, I can promise that you will soon.

  • Diaper cream

There are a lot of diaper rash creams, ointments, and salves out there. However, I’m pretty cautious about what I put on my babies’ bottoms.

We like Earth Mama Bottom Balm as well as Motherlove Diaper Balm (similar to Earth Mama, minus the essential oils). Both are cloth diaper safe, by the way.

Sleep Essentials

Eventually, you might want to invest in a sound machine and blackout curtains to make sleeping easier. But for the meantime, these essentials will cover you.

  • Sleep sack

You might be tempted to cover your baby in a blanket to keep warm overnight. But because of the suffocation risk blankets pose, you’ll want to grab a cozy sleep sack instead.

Keep in mind that if you end up safely bedsharing with your new little one, a sleep sack could cause overheating. In which case, skip it and rather dress baby in a couple layers of snug-fitting clothing.

  • Sleeping space

Of course, you’ll need somewhere for your baby to sleep. You might choose to safely co-sleep (recommended for the first year) or put your baby in a separate room.

When co-sleeping, you have a number of options. Bedsharing is one, and you’ll definitely want to follow the Safe Seven guidelines.

Other options include: a separate bassinet, side-carring the crib, or using an Arm’s Reach co-sleeper bassinet.

  • Night light

We didn’t have a night light in the bedroom after having our first baby, and that was a huge mistake! It meant having to turn on the lamp for middle-of-the-night feeds.

With our second, we used an ultrasonic diffuser as a night light (and we still use it to this day). However, any night light that works for you is fine.

ultrasonic diffuser

Travel gear

Even if you don’t plan on traveling right away with your newborn, you’ll want to have a few items before baby’s birth. This way, you can travel to and from the hospital or well-baby checkups.

  • Diaper bag

In all reality, you can use any type of bag you like as a “diaper bag”. This backpack style diaper bag is really popular right now.

You’ll just want something to contain diapers and wipes, even for quick outings.

  • Car seat

Because safety is the #1 priority when it comes to traveling with our children, a good quality car seat is a must.

For a newborn, you might choose a carrier style seat, which may or may not be part of a travel system. Or you can start with a convertible seat from the get-go.

We used a carrier in the beginning because it’s really handy to pop in and out of the base. (And onto a stroller when you’re out and about!)

But a convertible is fine, too, especially if you just want one car seat that will grow with your child. We have bought a couple of the Safety First Continuum 3-in-1 and love them.

  • Stroller and/or carrier

Haven’t thought yet whether you want to get a baby carrier or not? You should know about these 21 benefits of babywearing.

And a stroller will come in really handy on those post-birth walks.

We like our Baby Trend jogging stroller. No, not because I love jogging while pushing my babies (please wait until your baby is at least six months old to do so!). But because they maneuver soooo easily.


Of course, clothing is a must, and babies outgrow their clothes incredibly quickly.

You’ll probably get a lot of adorable outfits from loved ones. But you’ll want to make sure you have the essentials on hand before your baby arrives.

  • Footie sleepers

Some days, you might not even bother getting your baby dressed in those super adorable outfits that were gifted to you. And that’s totally okay!

In fact, I loved keeping my second born in footie sleepers all day long in the early months of her life! (So cozy.)

Some people swear by zippered pajamas, but honestly, snaps are the way to go — at least, for the first six months to a year.

Here’s why:

  • trying to squeeze baby’s legs out for diaper changes actually pains me
  • you can just unsnap the legs without having to expose baby’s belly to the cold air
  • you don’t have to worry about catching the zipper on your baby’s delicate skin

I understand the effort that goes into snapping up every.single.snap but, in my opinion, it’s still worth it.


Often called “onesies”, bodysuits add an extra layer under your baby’s clothes to help keep them warm.

You’ll probably want to start out with half a dozen or so in the first few sizes (newborn, 0-3 months, and 3 months).

  • Socks

Of course, you’ll want to keep those cute little tootsies toasty warm. Make sure you have at least a few pair of socks in the first couple of sizes.

Feeding Supplies

It doesn’t matter whether you’re exclusively breastfeeding, pumping, or formula feeding… You’ll need to have all the feeding supplies ready to go while you’re still pregnant and waiting for baby’s arrival.

  • Nursing pillow 

If you’re breastfeeding, you’ll want to skip the regular nursing pillow and go straight for My Brest Friend. Your back will thank you if you do!

It’s made of firm foam for extra support. Plus, you can strap it around your waist, so you don’t have to worry about it sliding around.

my brest friend nursing pillow - great to have before baby arrives
  • Muslin blankets

These blankets are SO versatile! You can use a muslin blanket as a nursing cover, swaddling blanket, burp cloth, and so much more.

Plus, they’re pretty thin, so your kiddo won’t overheat in the warmer months.

  • Nursing bra and pads

Look for a seamless sleep bra with removable padding. A nursing bra with a good clasp is easy to open with one hand while holding baby with the other.

You’ll definitely want to have a couple on hand before baby arrives. You’ll also want reusable cloth nursing pads to catch any leaks.

Take the quiz to find your top 3 maternity and nursing bras.

  • Bottles and formula / breast pump

If you don’t plan on breastfeeding, then you’ll definitely want to have some bottles and formula. And, if you’ll be exclusively pumping, then you’ll need bottles and a breast pump.

A few of the top rated bottles to consider:

Philips Avent

Dr. Brown’s

Tommee Tippee

  • Bottle brush

Again, if you’re bottle feeding, you’ll find yourself washing LOTS of bottles in the early days! Make sure to grab a bottle brush or two before baby’s arrival.

You might also enjoy: Top 5 Breastfeeding Must Haves: What to Buy for Breastfeeding Your New Baby

Bath Gear

Finally, you’ll want to have a few bath time essentials ready to go. This is the absolute bare minimum to get started with bathing your baby.

  • Baby tub

First of all, you’ll need somewhere to bathe baby, whether it’s the kitchen sink or a baby tub. This is the tub we used for all three of our babies, and it has served us well.

And it still has plenty of life left in it!

baby bath tub - make sure to have one handy before baby arrives
  • Washcloths and towels

Baby washcloths are a must, since they’re softer than regular ones. You’ll need at least a few, although I’d recommend starting out with at least a dozen.

We used a baby washcloth to clean our babies’ faces daily, plus 2-3 to clean them during bath time.

Hooded towels are oh-so-cozy, but those thin newborn ones just don’t cut it after the first month or two. Make sure you have a couple bigger hooded towels to keep your little one toasty warm after a bath.

  • Shampoo

In reality, you could use any ol’ baby shampoo you want. However, I’m really picky when it comes to skincare products.

I have used Dr. Bronner’s Baby Mild soap in the past. It’s gentle, although it can be a little drying. For both of my two eldest daughters, I ordered shampoo and lotion from a brand called Dolphin Organics.

(Update: They have since shut down, so I use various natural brands now.)

You might also enjoy: Stress-Free Newborn Bath: How to Bathe Your Baby in 5 Easy Steps

What NOT to Buy for Baby

Now that we’ve gone over a list of things to buy for baby when you’re pregnant… Is there anything you shouldn’t waste your money on?


Here are a few examples of what NOT to buy for baby:

  • crib bedding sets
  • shoes
  • wipes warmer
  • stuffed animals
  • baby powder
  • baby food processor

First off, things in the crib, like bumpers, are dangerous and unnecessary. You’ll only need a fitted sheet and a mattress protector.

And while we’re on the subject, you might not even want to bother with the crib if there’s a chance you’ll end up co-sleeping.

You won’t need baby powder. Just do frequent diaper changes and use a good diaper rash cream as needed.

And things like wipes warmers and baby food processors? Trust me, we didn’t have them, and we got by just fine.

News flash:
Fancy gadgets might be nice to have a for a little while, but they’re not at all necessary.

Oh, and stuffed animals… While it may be tempting to stock up on all the cutest ones, I promise… In just a couple years, you’ll have so many, you won’t know what to do with all of them.

Newborn shoes are adorable, too, but you won’t need them until toddlerhood, so I wouldn’t bother. If you need something to put on your baby’s feet, grab a cute pair of moccasins like these and you’ll be set.

Pro Mom Tip: Received some “unnecessary” things as baby gifts? Save your favorites and put them in your baby’s first birthday time capsule!

Newborn Essentials List

There it is: my list of things to buy before baby arrives, plus recommendations on what NOT to buy for baby.

Are you missing anything on the list? Be sure to add it to your Amazon gift registry!

Read more:

Newborn Care Tips for New Moms (to Help Ease Your Worries)

How Soon Can I Travel With a New Baby?

21 Breastfeeding Tips for First Time Moms Who Want to Exclusively Nurse

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