Organizing sanely for a new baby: 4 easy shopping trips

You’ve no doubt got a handle on the fundamentals you’ll need for your new little one: crib, bassinet, stroller, changing table, and glider or rocking chair.

And your family and friends have probably showered you (or soon will) with sweet gifts like fashionable clothes, plush toys, DVDs, and soft blankets. But what else is essential to have in place before you head to the hospital? Trust us, there’s nothing more stressful than coming home with your new bundle of joy only to find that you don’t have what you need to care for him, her…or them!

Alicia on ‘Safety First’

‘There are so many things you could do to try and prepare for the arrival of your little bundle of joy that you could practically still be preparing when your child is applying to college. We strongly recommend focusing on the basics, like creating a safe environment. Baby proofing certainly counts as an essential. Cover those outlets, eliminate or round off hard-edged corners, put a gate in front of stairs, and lock those cabinets. Another essential is having an emergency plan and numbers handy. When was the last time you and your family ran through a fire drill, after dark? Or made sure you could find you way around with no power? The time to realize you are not as prepared as you like is not when there are little ones who are depending on you to know just that information.’

Sarah on ‘There’s No Such Thing as Perfectly Ready’

‘When my husband and I were expecting our first child, we had done what we thought was a pretty thorough job of setting up the nursery. We had a crib, changing table, diapers, clothes, soaps, lotions, a thermometer, toys, blankets — the works. But we were in for a rude awakening. The day we brought our son home from the hospital we found that the list of things we had forgotten was a mile long. You’ll get an avalanche of advice from doctors, relatives, friends, books, TV shows, and even total strangers.

So, no matter how prepared you think you are — you’re likely to fall short of the perfect mark. Rather than beating yourself up for being imperfect, focus on what is most important: providing a loving home. People worry a lot about the best way to raise a child but, at the most basic level, kids need love, time, and attention.’

The following lists cover everything you will need to have ready when you bring home baby. We’ve grouped the lists into logical shopping expeditions so you don’t have to cram it all into one day (unless, of course, that’s more fun for you!). If your family and friends are throwing you a baby shower, we recommend that you wait until it’s over to go shopping because you might be able to cross a few things off your lists.

Shopping Trip #1: The Super Store

  • Diaper Genie or diaper pail
  • Diaper Genie refills or a pack of garbage bags
  • Baby monitor
  • Night light or light dimmer
  • Baby hamper
  • Receiving blankets (get at least one 5 pack — you’ll use them for everything from swaddling to positioning the baby and covering yourself up while breast feeding)
  • Burp cloths (we recommend at least 6 because you’re likely to go through them at the rate of 2 per day and you don’t want to have to do laundry every day)
  • Bibs (we recommend at least three to have handy. And if you’re planning on bottle feeding — get ten — babies can be messy eaters!)
  • Hooded towel
  • Sleep positioner
  • Waterproof pad for changing table
  • 2 waterproof mattress pads
  • Diaper caddy
  • Plastic bowl for holding water (many pediatricians recommend using just water and a washcloth to clean newborn bottoms rather than wipes)
  • Washcloth — get two or more sets and keep one for baths and another for diaper changes if you’re not using wipes
  • Baby bathtub
  • Baby brush
  • 20 baby hangers
  • Dishwasher basket

Shopping Trip #2: The Grocery Store

  • 1 pack of diapers for newborns (don’t buy too many diapers in advance because you just won’t know what size your little one will be until he/she arrives!)
  • Baby shampoo
  • Baby soap
  • Baby lotion
  • Diaper rash ointment
  • Petroleum jelly
  • Baby laundry detergent
  • Ziploc bags (larger sizes are great for diaper bags, smaller ones for formula)
  • Bottles with caps and collars (we recommend having one or two 4 oz bottles handy even if you’re planning on breast feeding because you may want them for pumped milk).
  • Extra nipples (if bottle feeding)
  • Bottle brush
  • Antibacterial soap (especially great for guests to wash up before holding the baby)
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Extra batteries (AA, AAA and D)
  • Coffee! (or tea)
  • 3 gallons purified water (if planning to bottle feed)

Shopping Trip #3: The Drug Store

  • Baby nail clippers
  • Infant nasal aspirator
  • Infant thermometer (rectal or ear)
  • Infant Tylenol or Motrin (make sure it’s INFANT)
  • Little noses saline drops
  • Infant chest ointment
  • Cotton swabs
  • Large cotton squares or large oval makeup pad removers (you can use these with water to wipe the baby’s bottom instead of a washcloth if you want a disposable option)
  • Infant pacifier (you may want to consider getting more than one so you can keep one in the diaper bag, one in the crib, etc.)
  • Safety Q-tips
  • Nursing pads
  • Motrin (for mom!)

Shopping Trip #4: Clothing Store

  • 6 newborn sleepers or gowns (the ones that look like a sack are great)
  • 10 onesies (think about getting 6 short-sleeved and 4 long-sleeved ones)
  • 1 newborn cap
  • 2 or 3 pants made of soft fabric — look for ones with elastic waistbands that are easy to pull on
  • 4 or 5 side snap t-shirts
  • 2 sweaters
  • 2 or 3 all-in-one outfits
  • 6 pairs of booties or socks
  • Seasonally appropriate outerwear (sun hat, winter hat, mittens, coat, snow suit)

Shopping Trip #5: Miscellaneous

  • Rear facing federally approved infant car seat
  • Diaper bag
  • Baby swing or bouncy seat
  • Baby carrier or sling
  • Rain guard for stroller
  • Cup holder for stroller
  • Books on the basics: Baby CPR, Baby first aid, Sleeping, First months
  • Camera and film or extra digital card
  • Thank you notes (get a few boxes!)
  • Stamps