Gearing up for a new baby is one of the most fun, exciting, stressful and expensive parts of the whole parenting process. If you walk down the halls of the local department store, you’ll be overwhelmed with all of the different baby products on the shelves.

So, how do you know which baby items you need, and which are just there to make your wallet lighter?

I’ve created this guide to help you in gearing up for your new baby, telling you exactly what you should get, and what’s better left until they’re older (or not at all).

Diapering

When sorting out your diapering situation, it’s actually pretty straightforward.

What you’ll want to get is:

  • Diapers – They’ll outgrow the newborn diapers fast, so don’t get too crazy with buying a mountain of them right away. I’d recommend getting a few packs and going from there.
  • Wipes – Some people will tell you these aren’t necessary, but save yourself some time and energy and get some.
  • Changing pad – While I wouldn’t recommend a whole changing table, a changing pad is very helpful, because you can throw it anywhere it fits, and presto, you have a place to change diapers!
  • Ointment – Diaper rashes happen, and having an ointment on hand is always a good idea.

Don’t get a changing table. While they seem like a good idea, they end up being a big, bulky and expensive piece of furniture that you really don’t need. Chances are you’re going to be changing diapers everywhere, not just in the nursery.

The Nursery

Setting up your little one’s nursery is one of the best parts of the whole experience, and it’s easy to blow a lot of money in doing so. Here’s what you should get:

  • A crib and mattress – Your little one needs somewhere to sleep, and you can’t really get away with not having a crib and mattress.
  • Bedding – Get a few crib sheets, but please know that you’re not supposed to use pillows, blankets or any kind of loose material in the crib.
  • Dresser – Somewhere to store the cute little duds and diapers, since you won’t have a changing table.
  • Baby Monitor – To keep an eye on them during the night.
  • Nightlight – This is more for you than for them, so you can see where you’re walking during those 3AM feedings (good luck!)

As for what you don’t really need to have: some parents will recommend a noise machine, but don’t rush out to get one unless your child has trouble sleeping. Also, a humidifier can be helpful, but you don’t need one unless the air in your home gets dry.

Clothing

It’s easy to go crazy and overboard and get a ton of cute clothes, but remember that they’re going to outgrow them quickly. Plus, you’ll be surprised at how many free clothes you get as gifts!

  • Onesies – Get a few pairs of these.
  • Pajamas – For bed time, get a few pairs of these, too.
  • Socks – Once agian, you’ll need socks, so get some cute ones.
  • Wide-brimmed hat – Sun protection is key, so a wide-brimmed hat is a good idea if you’ll be outdoors with your little one.

At this point, I’d recommend against getting shoes, because they’re going to outgrow them quickly. Also, like I said, you’ll probably get a lot of clothes as gifts, so don’t get too many things yourself!

Feeding

Whether you choose to breastfeed or bottle feed, there are a number of things you’ll need to pick up for your little one.

  • Bottles – This is an obvious one. I recommend glass bottles over plastic, as they’re more sturdy and safe.
  • Nipple cream – If you’re going to breastfeed, then trust me, your nipples are going to get sore.
  • Nursing pads – Leaks happen, and you’ll want these.
  • Burp cloths – These go over your shoulder, and protect it from the inevitable spit up that happens during feedings.

Don’t bother getting a high chair just yet. You’ll need one, but not until your baby starts eating solids. The same goes with anything else that they’re not going to need right away: sippy cups, food storage, and the like.

Bath Time

Bath time is fun time! There aren’t many things you’ll need to stock up on here, but there are a few important ones.

  • Washcloths – For gently cleaning them during bath time. Get a bunch of these, so you always have some on hand between laundry days.
  • Warm towels – They also make some that have hoods, which are perfect for baby’s bathtime.
  • Toiletries – Baby-safe shampoos and soaps and lotions should always be on hand.

Don’t bother getting a special “baby” bath tub. They really aren’t necessary, and you can bathe your baby just as easily in the regular ol’ tub without one.

Infant Health

Sometimes infants get sick, and it’s a good idea to have some items around to keep a close eye on them or help ease their suffering.

  • Thermometer – Every parent should have a thermometer on hand. Don’t cheap out on these, because you need it to be accurate.
  • Nasal aspirator – If your little one gets sick, an aspirator helps clear out their nasal passages, making it easier to breathe again.
  • Pain relief – Get a bottle of baby aspirin, but please be sure to ask your doctor about it before giving it to them.

Once your child starts teething, you’ll need things like teething toys and gels, but there’s no point in picking those up until later.

On the Go

There’s a lot of baby gear you need to get for outings, and it’s easy to blow your entire baby budget on just this stuff alone!

  • Car seat – I recommend getting a convertible one that will work for your baby as they grow. For example, they can go from an infant seat, all the way through to a booster seat for when they’re a toddler.
  • Stroller – Another necessity. Trust me, you’ll be thankful you have one.
  • Baby carrier – These are great for when you don’t want to use a stroller, or just want to wear baby around the home while you clean up.
  • Diaper bag – Somewhere to keep diapers and bottles and all that fun stuff when you’re out and about.

Wrapping it Up

With a little planning and budgeting, anyone can have a simple and stress-free time getting ready for their new baby. I hope this guide has been helpful in making it easier for you to do so!

Jennifer Taylor can usually be found doing one of two things: writing for her blog, or attemping to retrieve whichever object her children last flushed down the toilet. Follow her on Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest!

If you found this collection of baby essentials to help prepare for your new baby helpful, please share them on Pinterest!

Bringing baby home from the hospital can be frightening and overwhelming, especially for new parents, but thanks to this fabulous list of baby essentials, preparing for the big day doesn't have to be stressful. From feeding and diapering to bath and safety, we're breaking down which baby products are essential, and which are a waste of your hard-earned money.

And if you’re looking for more parenting advice, please follow our Parenting board where we share all kinds of helpful tips and tricks!

Dani
Founder and Editor at Meraki Lane
Dani is a 30-something freelance writer and social media consultant who has an unhealthy love for makeup, hair, and fashion. She lives with her husband and 4-year-old daughter in Toronto, Canada and hopes to move to a warmer climate someday. Preferably tomorrow.

This is an excerpt from the article Baby essentials: what you really need to buy for your new baby which originally appeared on http://www.cloudywithachanceofwine.com/.