Baby Checklist: Shopping Guide for Pregnancy to 12 Months

From burp cloths and formula to sippy cups and snacks, your shopping list will change as your little one grows.

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Most parents' new baby checklists include necessities as well as a few purchases that are over-the-top optional. Your baby really needs only enough clothing to keep him or her clean and warm, a comfortable environment, proper nutrition and plenty of love. Here's a look at the items you may want that are just the start of the cost of raising a child.

But chances are you want more than the bare minimum for your little one, so these lists err on the comprehensive side.

Nerd tip: Friends and family are often more than willing to spoil your bundle of joy. Even if a baby shower isn’t in the works, directing loved ones to a registry can make a big dent in your shopping list — and lessen the chance that you’ll receive unnecessary items.

Baby checklists: Pregnancy through homecoming

Baby checklist for pregnancy

The shopping began the moment you bought a pregnancy test. Now is the time to complete these financial tasks to prepare for a baby and purchase items crucial for parents-to-be.

Prenatal vitamins

Bras with added support

Maternity clothes and waistband extenders

Body cream to soothe stretching skin and dryness commonly caused by pregnancy hormones

Belly support band

Additional pillow(s) for support

Pregnancy books: You can’t go wrong with the classic “What to Expect When You’re Expecting.”

Budget tip: It's easy to find pregnancy and infant supplies secondhand, often used for only a handful of months. Check local exchange boards on social media, Craigslist and even yard sales.

Baby checklist for the hospital

Many of the items in the hospital bag will already be part of your layette — a fancy word for baby’s wardrobe — but you might have some purchases to make specifically for the time in labor and delivery.

For Mom

Warm, nonskid socks or slippers for walking the halls

Maternity bra and a few nursing pads

Maxi pads

For the baby

At least one outfit for the trip home: Pack a few different sizes in case junior is swimming in the 0-to-3-month gear or filling out newborn-size onesies.

A few warm blankets: You can skip these if it’s summer or you live in Miami.

Outdoor gear (if needed)

Diaper bag, including a few diapers, wipes and a pacifier

Nerd tip: Be conservative in buying clothing for your little one. Many babies wear “newborn” sizes only for the first few weeks, if at all. As your baby grows, you’ll know better which sizes you’ll need and when.

Baby checklist for the nursery & home

If budget isn’t a concern for your nursery, furnishings such as low-allergen wood or cork flooring, soothing paint colors and custom furniture are nice options. For the majority of expectant parents, however, there’s a happy medium between building your baby a dream palace and ensuring she has a safe and comfortable room. Essential buys:

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Crib, cradle or bassinet: Bassinets may be safe only for the first few months.

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Portable bed or playpen

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Moisture-proof mattress pads (1-3)

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Fitted sheets (2-4)

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Light receiving blankets (3+)

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Heavier blankets (2)

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Diaper pail/bin

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Changing table and/or changing pad

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Dresser/chest

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Humidifier/vaporizer

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Nightlight or lamp for checking on baby without waking him

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Infant bathtub

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Car seat

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Stroller (see: best strollers)

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Laundry detergent for babies or those with sensitive skin

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Nasal aspirator, less prettily called a “snot sucker”

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Thermometer

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Infant pain reliever/fever reducer, such as Tylenol

Baby checklist for breast- vs. bottle-feeding

Breast-feeding

Bottle-feeding

  • Nipple cream

  • Nursing bras

  • Nursing pads

  • Nursing pillow

  • Breast pump

  • Breast milk storage containers

  • 8+ bottles: Your baby will need 4-ounce bottles for the first several weeks and larger ones later on

  • Newborn-sized nipples

  • Several weeks’ worth of baby formula

  • Bottle cleaning brush and drying rack

  • Bottle sanitizer, if your dishwasher doesn’t have that setting

Breast-feeding moms might also want bottle supplies for times when they can't feed their babies personally.

Nerd tip: Manufacturers’ websites often offer free samples of diapers, formula and other baby care products, as well as valuable coupons.

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Baby checklists: 0-12 months

Baby checklist for 0 to 3 months old

This is the biggest list, because you’re buying items that will last well into baby’s first year. And you won’t want to run out on emergency shopping trips after bringing baby home from the hospital.

Aim to have the 0-to-3-month items purchased at least a month before the due date. If you’re considering any delivery services, such as Amazon Mom for diaper and formula deliveries, now’s the time to set them up, too.

Burp cloths

Hooded towels (2+)

Soft baby washcloths (4)

Baby wash or gentle soap for sensitive skin

Baby shampoo

Children’s nail clippers: Your own will be too big.

Soft newborn hairbrush

Two packages disposable newborn diapers or 24+ cloth

Diaper covers and fasteners, if you’re using cloth diapers

Wipes

Diaper rash ointment and powder

Newborn pacifiers (2+, because they will get lost)

Onesies (6+)

Several bodysuits/rompers

Several shirt and pants sets

Socks or booties (6+ pairs)

Sweater or jacket

Bunting (infant sleeping bag) or snowsuit, depending on the season and your location

Hats

Infant rocker, bouncing chair or age-appropriate swing

Toys: At this age, baby can’t use his hands for grabbing, but high-contrast colors and patterns get his attention. Visual stimulation, such as a mobile above his crib, and soft music are best.

Budget tip: If you purchase a stroller, crib or high chair secondhand, make sure it's safe. Examine all buckles, harnesses and moving parts, and perform a quick search on the Consumer Product Safety Commission's website to see if the product was involved in a recall.

We don’t recommend buying a used car seat because of the possibility that its safety has been compromised as the result of a car crash, but local law enforcement agencies often inspect them for free, so take advantage of this option if you must buy used.

Baby checklist for 4 to 6 months old

Much of what you’ve already bought will suffice as your baby grows. For instance, you won’t have to replace her blankets every few months. But some of her needs will change as she grows into new clothes, cuts her first teeth, begins grabbing objects and starts putting everything into her mouth.

Teething ointment

Teething rings

Spoons and bowls for soft solids, such as cereal

High chair

Stationary activity center for babies 4 months and older

Toys: Tactile stimulation is important at this age, and every touch brings about new sensations. Try toys with different textures, shapes and colors. Rattles are also good at this stage, as baby may begin to associate an action, such as shaking a toy, with instant sound feedback.

Baby checklist for 7 to 12 months old

Your baby is far more interactive now, and might soon be crawling. If you haven’t already, baby-proof the house and provide toys and activities that will nurture her exploratory nature.

Latches for kitchen and bathroom cupboards

Outlet covers

Gates to block stairways and rooms that are off-limits

Plastic guards and/or cushions for furniture corners

Small containers for finger-food snacks, as baby begins to feed himself

Sippy cups

Toys: Board books and busy boards engage her hand-eye coordination. Soft dolls, wooden blocks and squishy balls are also fun. When all else fails, your little mover will love playing with empty cups and containers from the kitchen.

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