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Newborn Essentials 2022: Nursery, Bath & Other Essentials for Your Baby

nursery
Written By
Parachute Team
Photographs By
JESSICA SCHRAMM FOR PARACHUTE
@parachutehome
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With a little one on the way, your nesting instinct might be kicking into overdrive. Still, it's normal to feel overwhelmed trying to figure out what you need. The baby products market is undoubtedly saturated, making it hard to distinguish the must-haves from the nice-to-haves.

So, what stuff for your newborn do you actually need, besides the obvious things like bottles, diapers, wipes, a stroller and a car seat? This comprehensive newborn checklist will go over nursery essentials, bathtime products and various other newborn necessities for feeding, playing and on-the-go use.

Here's what we'll cover in this newborn checklist:

  • Crib

  • Crib mattress

  • Crib sheets

  • Crib mattress cover

  • Swaddles

  • Mobile

  • Dresser

  • Changing table and pad

  • Diaper pail

  • Laundry basket

  • White noise machine

  • Humidifier

  • Blackout curtains

  • Baby monitor

  • Nightlight

  • Feeding chair

  • Soft rug

  • Washcloths

  • Hooded baby towel

  • Infant tub

  • Gentle bath wash

  • Bandana bibs

  • Burp cloths

  • Feeding and support pillow

  • Bottle warmer

  • Bottle-washing essentials

  • Tummy time mat

  • Soft rattle

  • Small stuffed animals

  • High-contrast board books

  • Toy baskets

  • Bouncer

  • Gentle laundry detergent

  • Diaper bag

  • Travel changing pad

  • Baby blanket

  • Mini crinkle toy

  • Nursing cover

  • Baby carrier

  • Portable crib

Keep reading for insight into why you'll need these products and how you'll use them, along with tips for selecting high-quality materials that are safe for your baby. Let's get started.

Newborn Checklist for Nursery Essentials

First up on our newborn essentials checklist is a roundup of things to put in your nursery. This includes key furnishings, cozy baby linens and a medley of items designed to help your little one sleep soundly. Here's what to consider when shopping for these items.

Crib

Every nursery checklist starts with a crib. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) says infants can sleep in cribs or bassinets. Newborns often start in bassinets because they're smaller and more portable, fitting easily in parents' bedrooms, per the organization's recommendation for the first six months.

This high-quality birchwood crib is the perfect versatile option. You can adjust it to three different heights to accommodate each infant stage and beyond. The wood is ethically sourced from lumber managed by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) and finished with a non-toxic, water-based lacquer.

When Should Your Baby Make the Transition From Crib to Toddler Bed? Read our blog for answers.

Crib Mattress

Of course, you need a crib mattress for the crib. The standard size is 52 x 28 inches and roughly 5 inches thick, but they're not all created equal.

Greenguard certified for safe sleep, this thoughtfully designed crib mattress is made of plant-based foam with cotton batting and a naturally breathable, certified-organic cotton cover. In line with the AAP's recommendation for sleep on a flat surface, it's firm on one side for newborns and infants and softer on the other for toddlers.

What Is Organic Cotton? Learn more about why this sustainable fabric is best for your newborn. 

Crib Sheet

A fitted crib sheet is really the only baby bedding your newborn needs in the first year of their life. (The AAP discourages pillows, blankets, stuffed animals and anything else that could pose a suffocation risk.)

With that said, natural fabrics are ideal, as they're soft, breathable and gentle against delicate skin. Consider percale, brushed cotton, linen or an organic cotton crib sheet. You're wise to keep at least two on hand. That way, you'll always have a clean one in the event of inevitable blowouts, spit-ups and the like.

When Can Newborns Sleep With a Pillow and Blanket? Our baby pillow and blanket guide has insight.

Crib Mattress Cover

Speaking of soiled crib sheets, you might also want to get a crib mattress cover. This will provide an additional layer of protection against diaper leaks and other messes. Many are designed to be waterproof and machine-washable for your convenience without sacrificing breathability.

Swaddles

Having recently moved out of the womb, newborns are used to tight, cozy-warm sleeping quarters. That's why swaddles are at the top of the list of baby sleep essentials during those first few months. These newborn necessities help keep your little one's arms tucked in while they doze safely on their back.

Breathable materials are ideal, like this gauzy muslin swaddle blanket. Measuring 45 x 45 inches, it's made of pure cotton and Oeko-Tex certified to ensure the fabric is free of chemicals that could harm your baby.

Mobile

A hanging mobile is a tried-and-true way to capture a newborn's attention and entertain them while they lie safely on their back. Hang this decor piece securely over the crib, and watch your baby marvel at the colors as it spins gently around.

Dreamcatchers make great mobiles. If you have a DIY spirit, see our guide on How to Make a Dreamcatcher for step-by-step instructions.

Dresser

Your baby's clothes might be tiny, but you'll still need somewhere to keep them. This six-drawer dresser has plenty of space not only for clothing but also diapers, wipes, rash cream and other newborn essentials.

Made of FSC-certified birchwood, it has a counterweighted back panel and comes with anti-tipping hardware for added safety. Beyond durability, the neutral, minimalist design is versatile enough that your child can continue using it for years to come.

Changing Table and Pad

A changing table and pad are nursery essentials you really can't go without. You can get a free-standing changing station, but if you're short on space, consider a dresser/changing table combo. And don't forget washable covers for the pad!

Diaper Pail

You'll also want to get a diaper pail, which is essentially a large, lidded trash can designed to conceal odors. Diaper bins usually call for special liners that are highly durable to prevent rips while helping trap odors.

Laundry Hamper

A laundry basket can be placed near the changing table as well, allowing you to easily toss in dirty clothes and soiled linens. Aside from a traditional laundry hamper, you might consider a woven lidded hamper basket or a canvas bin.

This canvas floor basket comes in three sizes. The largest is perfect for dirty laundry, and the smaller ones make excellent toy bins or blanket holders.

White Noise Machine

In addition to being wrapped up in swaddles, white noise machines are nursery essentials that can comfort newborns and help them sleep soundly. The soft frequencies and ambient sounds can mimic the noises heard inside the womb while drowning out other disturbances.

Humidifier

This depends on where you live and the time of year, but some people consider humidifiers nursery essentials. These devices moisturize the air, which can prevent a baby's sinuses from drying out and help relieve stuffy noses, coughs and other cold symptoms.

Speaking of breathing easy, house plants might help purify your indoor air. These are the Best Plants for Bedrooms.

Blackout Curtains

Newborns sleep 16 hours a day (sometimes more). To ensure your baby gets all the rest they need, consider getting blackout curtains for the nursery. In addition to blocking out every last sliver of outdoor light, the thick, heavy panels can help absorb sound and insulate the room.

Read our blog to explore the Dos and Don'ts of Hanging Curtains.

Baby Monitor

A baby monitor will also come in handy, allowing you to see and hear your infant at night and during naps. Consider getting one with a night-vision camera. That way, you'll have a clear view even when the room is completely dark.

Nightlight

Though newborns don't have the cognitive awareness to be afraid of the dark yet, a nightlight can be helpful during after-hours feedings and middle-of-the-night diaper changes. It'll provide you with enough illumination to see what you're doing without stimulating your baby with bright overhead lights.

For more guidance, see our article, Newborn Sleeping Habits: Sleepytime Tips for Your Baby.

Feeding Chair

Whether you're feeding your baby by breast or bottle, you'll want to have a good chair set up in the nursery. Beyond comfortable cushioning, many new parents opt for rockers or gliders, as the back-and-forth motion can help soothe fussy infants.

See what furniture pieces Parachute founder and CEO Ariel Kaye chose in her Nursery Reveal

Soft Rug

If your nursery has hard floors, you'll definitely want to get an area rug, like this pebbled wool number. In addition to providing a soft surface for tummy time, a rug will help with sound absorption and insulation.

Most of these items are considered newborn necessities, but don't be afraid to have some fun with decorating. If something catches your eye, by all means, make a place for it in the nursery.

Here are 17 Rug Styling Ideas to get you started.

Baby Bath Checklist for Newborns

Though newborns typically don't have their first bath until they're a few weeks old, you can prepare with a few baby bath essentials. So, what baby bath products do you need? The basics include washcloths, a hooded towel, an infant tub and gentle bath wash.

Washcloths

Measuring just 12 x 12 inches, this baby washcloth is the perfect size for cleaning your newborn's tiny body. It's made of ultra-soft, long-staple Turkish cotton and features an absorbent terry cloth weave.

You might want to get a few washcloths. That way, you'll always have a clean one on hand, plus they can double as dribble towels for feeding.

Hooded Baby Towel

to toe from the moment they get out of the bath, and keep them cozy during the transition to the changing table.

This hooded baby towel is made of high-quality Turkish cotton and woven at 380 grams per square meter. The lightweight design is meant to be soft against your child's skin without weighing them down.

What Is a Baby Hooded Towel? Can Babies Use Regular Towels? Read our article for answers to these questions.

Infant Tub

Newborns can be bathed in sinks, but a sturdy infant tub can make the process easier and safer. These small basins typically have a backrest to support your baby's head and prevent them from slipping into the water. This gives you a free hand while washing their body.

Gentle Bath Wash

Whether it's cradle cap shampoo, baby soap or an all-purpose bath wash, look for a mild cleaning solution that's unlikely to irritate your newborn's extra-delicate skin.

Check out our Baby Bath Guide for more tips on how to bathe your newborn baby.

Other Newborn Essentials for Around the Home

What else should you get to prepare for your baby? When buying newborn necessities for around the home, consider getting bandana bibs, burp cloths, a nursing pillow, bottle accessories and tummy time essentials.

Bandana Bibs

Babies don't need feeding bibs until they start eating solid foods at about six months. However, these bandana bibs are great for drooling newborns and teething infants.

Featuring cute patterns and easy snap closures, they're crafted from multi-layered gauzy cotton for ultimate softness, breathability and comfort around your baby's neck. They're also Oeko-Tex certified for safety and conveniently machine-washable.

Burp Cloths

Also known as burp rags, burp cloths are essentially small, lightweight towels designed to collect spit-up and milk dribble. You can drape one over your shoulder to protect your clothes while burping your baby and use it to dab your baby's mouth during feeding sessions.

These burp cloths are made of the same gauzy cotton as the bandana bibs. The soft, fluffy material is lightweight yet absorbent, soaking up all liquids while remaining gentle on your child's skin.

Explore our guide to Baby Bibs & Burp Cloths for more on these staple baby essentials. 

Nursing Support Pillow

A feeding and support pillow (or nursing pillow) is a U-shaped cushion you wrap around one side of your body while feeding your baby. Whether you're breastfeeding or bottle feeding, it helps prop up your arm and your infant's head to optimize comfort and minimize fatigue. You're wise to get one with a washable cover to easily clean inevitable spills, dribbles and drool.

Bottle Warmer

Microwaving breastmilk and formula isn't recommended, and heating it on the stovetop can be inconvenient. The solution? A bottle warmer. This countertop gadget makes heating your baby's milk quick and easy — a must for late-night feeding sessions.

Bottle-Washing Essentials

You'll also want to have a few bottle-washing essentials at the ready. In addition to dish soap, consider getting a couple of bottle brushes and a drying rack. Baby bottles can go in the dishwasher, but with several feedings a day, you'll probably find yourself hand-washing them more often than not.

Tummy Time Mat

Newborns can start practicing tummy time when they're one or two weeks old. You'll want to place them on a firm surface but not directly on the floor. Hard floors and carpets are usually too dirty and potentially irritating for an infant's skin. That's why it's good to have a designated tummy-time mat. You can pull it out a few times a day, tuck it away when it's not in use and wash it as needed.

Soft Rattle

Small, soft toys are ideal for the newborn stage. This little handmade pig rattle is a nursery essential that will spark your infant's interest with a light shaking noise, and they can practice grabbing and holding it as their motor skills develop. You can also place it on the tummy-time mat to encourage movement.

Small Stuffed Animals

You might want to get a couple of small stuffed animals as well, like a mini teddy bear, giraffe or rhino. These plush toys are soft, grabbable and safe for playtime. But as mentioned above, they're not recommended for sleeping until your child is at least 12 months old.

High-Contrast Board Books

Newborns can't see as far or as clearly as older children and adults. High-contrast imagery is easier to focus on as their vision develops, which is why many board books for infants feature black, white and red shapes and patterns.

Toy Baskets

Handwoven nesting baskets are just the thing for storing and organizing your baby's toys in the nursery or living room. You can put away their stuffed animals, rattles, books and even the tummy-time mat and tuck the baskets inside each other for easy storage.

Here are 23 Basket Decor and Storage Ideas to get your wheels turning.

Bouncer

With a wide variety of bouncers on the market, the choice is mostly a matter of preference. Whichever style you choose, the idea is to provide a safe place for your infant to sit while they practice movement and observe their surroundings. 

Gentle Laundry Detergent

You'll also want to get some gentle laundry detergent. Naturally derived, fragrance-free formulas are usually best, as they're less likely to irritate your baby's delicate, sensitive skin.

For more tips, read our blog on The Best Way to Wash, Dry, and Care for Baby Bedding and Baby Towels.

On-the-Go Checklist for Newborn Essentials

Aside from a stroller and car seat, there are a few things you'll want to get for your newborn for on-the-go use. This includes a diaper bag, a travel changing pad, a small blanket, a crinkle toy, a nursing cover, a baby carrier and a portable crib.

Diaper Bag

A diaper bag is one of those baby necessities you really can't go without. Whether you're heading to the grocery store or traveling by plane, this designated carrier will help ensure you're always prepared with diapers, wipes, binkies, bottles and other newborn essentials.

Travel Changing Pad

Your newborn needs a clean place to lie down for on-the-go diaper changes, and this travel changing pad is just the thing. The quilted design features cotton padding and a soft linen exterior, and it folds up neatly for easy packing.

Baby Blanket

Infants aren't supposed to sleep with blankets in their cribs. However, baby blankets come in handy for car rides, stroller walks on chilly days and snuggling up on the couch with your bundle of joy. 

Check out this cashmere baby blanket from Parachute. It's just 38 x 32 inches and features an ultra-soft honeycomb-knit that both you and your baby will love.

Mini Crinkle Toy

You might want to pack a small toy to entertain your infant on the road. This handmade mini sensory elephant features crinkly ears and a soft yet durable cotton shell. At just six inches tall, it's the perfect size to pack in a diaper bag.

Nursing Cover

Where to Buy High-Quality Baby Items and Essentials for Newborns

This newborn checklist should give you an idea of all the baby essentials you'll need during those first few months. You’ll find many of these must-haves at Parachute, including nursery furniture, crib mattresses, crib sheets, washcloths, small plush toys, swaddle blankets, bibs and burp cloths — to name a few. Whatever you choose, you can count on safe materials and high-quality designs.

Shop the baby collection today!

Read Next:

External Sources:

1. https://www.aap.org/en/news-room/news-releases/aap/2022/american-academy-of-pediatrics-updates-safe-sleep-recommendations-back-is-best/

2. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/common-cold/in-depth/humidifiers/art-20048021

3. https://www.stanfordchildrens.org/en/topic/default?id=infant-sleep-90-P02237

4. https://publications.aap.org/aapnews/news/12480

5. https://www.fda.gov/food/people-risk-foodborne-illness/once-baby-arrives-food-safety-moms-be