As you get ready to welcome a new baby into the family, shopping can be overwhelming, especially with the abundance of baby products on the market today.

Before you start filling out your baby registry, you have one very important task to tackle first: determine the difference between needs and wants.

While it would be great to have the prettiest diaper bag on the block and the latest technology to monitor your baby, there are certain things you need before you can even step foot out of the hospital with baby.

Here at Babywise, our product experts have identified the six basic necessities every parent needs to prepare for baby: clothes, diapers, food, sleep, bathing supplies and, of course, the car seat in which to get home!

Our Top Picks for each Basic Need

Need #1: Infant Car Seat

Before leaving the hospital, you are required to have your car seat safely installed in your car. The Chicco KeyFit 30 is rated by Consumer Reports as a Best Buy for its affordability and performance.

For more information on car seat safety read our car seat articles

Need #2: Clothing

Baby needs to be in clothes that are soft and cozy, but also practical. These convertible rompers are the perfect all-in-one outfit: a gown for easy diaper changes at night and romper for daytime play and riding in the car seat.

Need help with dressing baby in winter? Check out these related articles. 

Need # 3: Diapering

Whether you are going with disposables or the cloth diaper route, we have you (or more accurately, baby) covered:
Disposable: Aleva Naturals Bamboo Baby Diapers are made from unbleached bamboo fibers and contain a natural anti-bacterial agent. They are soft and sensitive on baby’s delicate skin.

Cloth: bumGenius New Elemental One-Size-All-In-One Diapers are made from organic, natural fibers and the new design is more absorbent while fitting better than before.

Need #4: Feeding

Breast feeding, bottle feeding, or both? We have what you need:
Bottle feeding: Born Free Breeze Glass bottles have two easy-to-clean pieces, can safely go from the freezer to boiling water, and are compatible with standard breast pumps for pumping directly into the bottle.

Breast feeding: A good nursing pillow is a must have. My Brest Friend Feeding Pillow (despite its giggle inducing name) was my favorite for comfortable nursing. It fit snugly around my body and firmly supported baby.

For more tips on breastfeeding read these articles: Newborn Breastfeeding Basics, Must-Haves When Breastfeeding, and 14 Common Breastfeeding Problems & Solutions

Need #5: Sleeping

Once baby is home, sleep is going to become a top priority (for everyone in the house). To help baby sleep comfortably and for ease of middle of the night feedings, the multipurpose Graco Pack-n-Play Napper Elite is our top choice.

All your sleep related questions are answered on our Babywise sleep page.

Need # 6: Bathing

You may not think of a baby bathtub as a need, but the longevity and versatility of the Newborn to Toddler Bath Center & Shower will soon convince you otherwise. The portable motorized shower unit is convenient for years of easy and enjoyable bathing.

Uncertain about giving baby his first bath? Read 5 Tips on How to Bathe Your Baby Safely.

Now that your needs are covered, there may be a few items that you just really want. These are the three baby items we constantly see rise to the top of registry wish lists.

Top 3 wants for your wish list


When you start with what you need for baby, the shopping list doesn’t seem as daunting. Once those items are covered, you can then look at things that would be nice to have and determine if your budget allows you to buy items in your “want” category.

Ready to start your registry? Download our free registry printable.

If you're looking for more financial help when it comes to planning for baby, check out these articles:

Shop even more of our Babywise team's favorite products below:


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Annie Wiesman

Annie Wiesman is the co-author of “Education Begins at Birth: A Parent’s Guide to Preparing Infants, Toddlers, and Preschoolers for Kindergarten.” She is a former kindergarten teacher turned stay-at-home mom who enjoys traveling, hiking in the mountains, and creating memories together with her husband and little girl.

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