Basic needs for newborns

I had a very hard time weeding through all the “lists” of what you need for the new baby’s “layette.”  Here, now based on experience, is  what *I* think you will need for a baby born in the midsouth in October:


          A half dozen or more “nightgowns” with mitten sleeves for the first month.  They have to wear something loose that “breathes” until the unbilical drops off, and the “mittens” make it easier to keep hands warm and scratches to a minimum.  You can also use “t-shirts” – but they don’t have mittens, you need to then find “newborn pants” or keep them swaddled all the time. I found this to be too cool/cold for indoors (the A/C made her hands and feet cold).

          Twice as many pairs of socks as nightgowns.  They will get eaten by the washing machine, the bedcothes and, evidently, air.  They will keep her feet warm and, more importantly, you from worrying.  Get the kind that look LONG and pull them up to the knees, otherwise they will be wiggled off by the time you turn around.

          A dozen plain cotton diapers – as burp cloths.  The cute peanut shaped burp cloths they sell just aren’t as good for “all purpose” wiping, and don’t cover anywhere near enough of your shoulder or back. Babies can spit up ALL down your back.

          ONE package size one diapers. I do not recommend cloth diapers as diapers for newborns.  Really – you don’t need to deal with this as well as a new baby. Experiment with cloth diapers LATER, after you have got a handle on changing, feeding, & sleeping basics. Disposables – Don’t buy a lot of size one disposable diapers.  If your child is 8lbs or more, you may use them for less than a month. Get folks to buy you size 2 and 3 – you’ll be sure to use way more of these. We used the local grocery store’s generic – they worked fine.

          A half dozen or more *large* thin receiving blankets.  Get an experienced nurse to teach you how to “swaddle” – it is an art, and is easier with a larger blanket (or smaller baby). Practice a LOT – all parents. (Neither dad could really swaddle well and I had to re-swaddle all the time).

          4-6 baby towels and washcloths – be sure to get the towels with the little head pockets.  One bottle of Johnson’s baby wash (head and body) will do for all baths in the first 2-3 months.  Avoid baby bathrobes.  By the time you get their arms in the sleeves – the baby is howling and already dry.

          A half dozen or so sets of “footie pajamas” – for the 2nd month (or after the umbilical drops off)  I found these to be good all purpose clothes – kept all parts warm, easy into and out of for changing.  NOTE – onesies and t-shirts and nightgowns are great, but when “poopy” still have to be removed over the head.  Footie pajamas do not.

      Minimal skin care products: All the reading I have done says that baby powder and lotion are a crock – and can even be harmful. Mostly, baby’s skin will break out at random and heal itself without any assistance. You want something like Eucerin (plus intensive repair) for lotion on the occasions baby needs it (rare for WCB), Balmex for general diaper area redness, and some TOPICAL miconazole nitrate 2% (the topical cream for yeast infections) for the really bad bumpy rashes.*  The Eucerine will come in handy for *your* hands as well – you will be washing them ALL the time. The thicker the lotion the better – less bad things in it for your baby.

          A few small bibs to start. You will likely need more in the 1st months if you are bottle feeding than if youare breastfeeding. I used them rarely in the first 2 months. But around the end of month 3, WCB started pouring drool – which is when we needed like 3-4 good absorbent bibs a day. The really big bibs are “eating” bibs.  You’ll not need those until you are feeding solid foods.

          2-3 hats with brims – essentially sunhats to allow you to take baby outside without getting sun in his/her eyes.  You will also want a sweater or 2, or a warm suit for later (like December). We had a “hoodie” that was WCB’s all purpose jacket for months 2-6.



Everything else is really an extra – and sometimes an annoying or exhausting extra. “Fancy” clothes are cute for special outings, portraits, Thanksgiving and Christmas, but really, folks should spend their money for you on diapers, formula, or giftcards to your preferred baby supply store/web site.   


* My Pediatrician said to use a thin layer for 5-7 days. Honest – really, he did. yes I know it is designed for adults and that there are “prescription baby creams” available.  It worked, each of the 3 times we’ve used it.  Use it for 1-2 days after the bumps go away or it will come right back. (5-10-20100) Later note – we’ve now used this regularly over WCB/WST’s life so far and it has WORKED with no harmful side effects.)


2 Responses to “Basic needs for newborns”

  1. Florencio Rong Says:

    Great post, thanks a lot!

  2. Random Tips I had to Learn the Hard Way – #2 « One Lucky Mommy Says:

    […] Old Fashioned Cloth Diapers Never Seem to Become Obsolete:  In my newborn post on “basic needs” I recommended cotton cloth diapers as superior burp cloths. Ok, I don’t need them for […]

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