The really real checklist from a 2nd time mom!
Welcome Mama! Thank you for bringing the most precious gift of all into this world, life! I hope this is a happy and joyful time, but I also know there’s worry and stress in your heart. You’re researching how to prepare for your baby’s arrival so let me start by telling you, that you’re already a good mom. Just love this baby, love yourself, and know that you are not alone.
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I have a 2-year old daughter (how did that happen!) and I’m 6 months along with my second child, a boy. I was making a list of what we needed to prepare for his arrival and realized how different this list is than what I purchased for our first. I’m going to share the baby basics we’ll be preparing in the coming weeks. It will probably surprise you what little you need and will actually use with a newborn.
What clothes will baby wear?
Onesies – Have 6-10 in newborn size and 0-3 months, make sure they’re soft and stretchy
We bought the cutest outfit to bring our daughter home in. It was teal with silver sparkly hearts. It had a hood, was made from a fleece material, and did not have a zipper or snaps. Guess how many times she wore it? Zero! I took one look at this precious 7lb 1oz fragile child and knew there was no way I was shoving her little arms and legs into this doll outfit. Luckily, we brought a plain Gerber white undershirt onesie that was soft and stretchy. She wore that home, and I immediately bought a package in newborn, 0-3 months, and 3-6 months.
All-in-Ones/Footie Pajamas – Have 6-10 in newborn size and 0-3 months. Ensure they have snaps or a zipper, trust me!
Forget everything you think you know about pajamas. Both you and baby will be more comfortable if they become part of your wardrobe for the first couple months together. You may be thinking, “I’m going to have it way more together than that. I’m going to spend the few minutes it takes to get dressed, brush my hair, put on a little makeup, and maybe walk on the treadmill when baby sleeps”. Mama, that’s exactly what I thought! Humor me and buy yourself a couple pairs of matching PJs that are comfortable. I promise you won’t regret it.
Sleep sacks – Have 4-6 in the smallest size available.
These were pure gold! In case 30-million people haven’t already told you horror stories, blankets are the enemy! Sleep sacks allow for baby to be comfortable and warm, without the risk to baby’s breathing.
Receiving Blankets/Swaddles – Have 2-3 to start
You may have heard, babies loved to be swaddled. Well, not my daughter. You’ll see a theme throughout this post. Our little miss independent did not follow the same path as what most of the internet told me should would. We love our strong-willed little woman! Here are the receiving blankets and swaddles we were recommended from the hospital where we delivered. They worked great, our daughter just didn’t like to be constrained.
Baby socks – Optional!
I am going to pick some up for my son, but my daughter didn’t wear them. I let my daughter rock a onesie with no pants because well, we’re living our best life here. I only felt like she needed them when we left the house. Keep in mind, I live in the south and baby girl was born on a record 80-degree day in March and baby boy will be born right before summer begins.
Pro tip: Buy all white or all one color/print of socks. You will lose these, so giving yourself options to mix and match without anyone being the wiser.
No scratch mittens (socks work too!)
Little fingernails can be sharp, and baby will naturally put their hands near their face. The guilt I felt when a tiny scratch appeared on baby girl’s face was real. The mitten stage didn’t last long but it was more of a comfort to me.
Gentle baby laundry detergent – Small Bottle
- Baby’s skin is sensitive and may have a reaction to your home detergent. Wash all of baby’s clothes, blankets, and sheets in a special detergent. I recommend the small bottle because you’ll know quickly if the baby has a reaction to what you wash your clothes in. Our daughter was fine with our regular detergent and we ended up with an industrial size of baby detergent left over. It has an adorable but strong baby smell. I’m convinced when people say that newborns smell so good, they’re really referring to this detergent or baby shampoo.
What’s the deal with diapers?
Diapers – Have a big box of newborn and a big box of size 1
Most babies spend a short time in newborn before moving into size 1. There is some overlap between the two sizes, so I recommend getting a box of newborn and a box of size 1. The larger the box, the better the price per diaper.
Baby will go through 8-10 diapers per day when they first come home. I know the big 120 count of newborn seems excessive but it’s probably less than a 2 weeks supply. I remember stressing over what size to get, how many of each size, etc. We had two stacks of diaper boxes before baby girl arrived.
I learned a very valuable lesson… after you have a baby, stores are still open! Amazon still delivers! Just because the average baby goes through 1,100 size 1 diapers in the first year doesn’t mean you need to have them all in your closet when you bring them home. If they’re on sale though, girl, buy those diapers!
Wipes – Have 1 big box
Start with gentle or sensitive wipes until you know how sensitive baby’s skin is. A big box of wipes will last you a long time and give you the best value.
We purchased a simple and easy to clean changing pad that you can put anywhere. We put it in on top of her dresser. We also purchased this adorable soft mat to carry around the house for changing or tummy time. Bonus, just throw it in the wash when needed!
Do you need multiple covers? I wouldn’t say need. We have a single cover and when it gets dirty we put it through the wash and either used the changing pad from the diaper bag or put a blanket down on top of the changing pad until the cover was clean.
Many diaper changes happen in the dead of night. So, you’ll want to make sure you have soft light to see by.
Pro tip: Avoid turning on a room light at night with baby. They don’t understand the difference between night and day, and controlling the light helps them establish that.
Also, at night I didn’t interact with my daughter much more than to satisfy her needs and get her back to bed. During the day I’d be animated, playful, and make no attempt to get her to sleep unless she clearly needed it. I truly, truly, truly, feel this did wonders. She didn’t sleep through the night for a while, BUT, when she did wake up, we’d eat, change diaper, and be back in bed within 30 minutes.
Diaper Cream – Have 1 Tube
Start with a small tube of diaper cream. Luckily our daughter didn’t get a diaper rash until she went to daycare. We did make sure to have a tube handy, just in case!
Diaper Genie – Honestly!
Although this isn’t what baby wears, this is where you will dispose of the diapers they do! I didn’t originally think this item was necessary, but I was wrong. Your baby has a dirty diaper, you put it in this contraption, and your house doesn’t smell like, well, you know! I thought for sure, I’ll just throw the diaper outside in the garbage every time. Girl, 10 times a day? At 3am? In the rain? Get the diaper genie.
Where will baby sleep?
One of the biggest shocks when we found out we were first pregnant, was that the furniture we paid more than a mortgage payment for in the nursery, wouldn’t be used for months. I had no idea it was uncommon for babies to sleep in cribs in their own rooms right away. Some kiddos do, and you do you, but almost every single post I read or woman I spoke to informed me that the baby sleeps in your room for at least a short while.
When I brought our baby girl home, I found out why. I wanted to be near her all the time for convenience and so I could check her breathing every 5 minutes. Our daughter was not a fan of the bassinet we bought, and everyone said rock ‘n plays were the way to go. She loved it and slept great, however it was too low to the ground for my liking. I had to hang off the bed to see her, so that’s how I slept for a couple months.
For our son, we got this gem. Don’t get me wrong, I’m one of those parents that try not to sleep with the kids for fear of squishing them. Our daughter has never slept a night in our bed. I don’t particularly count this as he has his own walls to protect him and it’ll just be until we’re ready for him to move to his room. Some kiddos sleep in their parent’s room for a year+, some not at all. It’s whatever if right for you and your cub.
When you’re ready, here are the basics for baby’s crib.
Pro tip: Find your community’s Facebook buy/sell page and post an ISO (In-Seek-Of) crib. You can get a very nice crib and save a ton! We totally splurged on the crib and dresser and it was unnecessary. We were just excited! Someday, our expensive crib will be some smart Mama’s great find on our buy/sell site.
- crib and mattress
- Buy 3-4 fitted crib sheets
- Mesh netting to protect baby’s extremities from getting between crib bars
- Baby monitor
On-the-go with baby?
This is the most expensive required initial purchase. You’ll want 1 car seat, and a base for every vehicle baby will be in often. For us, this was 2 bases. If you have very involved Grandparents, Aunts, etc., I’d recommend getting them one too.
Diaper bag with changing pad
Girl, make this stylish because it will travel around with you like your purse, for years. Most come with a matching changing pad which will be a lifesaver in those awful public restrooms. I’d recommend stocking with sanitizing wipes and a soft blanket. My daughter never got comfortable with public restroom changing, but putting the pad down and then a soft blanket seemed to help.
We had a perfectly good diaper bag from our first child that we’ve been using for 2 years, but my husband just upgraded us to this backpack. I think he realized how much of an accessory this was and wanted something different the next go-around.
How to keep baby clean?
Giving this fragile child a bath was initially one of my biggest concerns. This tub was a lifesaver! The mesh net cradled baby gently so I could clean her little chubby folds. When she got bigger, she could sit up in the other end. We used this all the way up until using the full bath tub.
Baby washcloths – Have 3-4
Make sure they’re nice and soft.
Pro tip: When giving baby a bath, put a warm washcloth over their tummy. This help keeps them warm and comfortable while you wash their arms, legs, and hair (if they have any hair!).
Baby all-in-one soap – Have 1 bottle
My daughter is almost 2 and we still use all-in-one soap. We stocked up when she was born only to realize that you go through a pea sized amount for months. So, that bottle will last you a long time!
Baby lotion – Have 1 bottle
I recommend starting with sensitive and made just for little ones. After every bath and as needed, put lotion on that beautiful new skin. It’s totally normal for your baby’s skin to be a bit dry and flaky. Apparently, they have access to some high-end moisturizer when they’re being protected in the womb.
What will baby eat?
Bottles – Have at least 12, a mixture of 4oz and larger sizes
If you’re breastfeeding exclusively, I bow down. I started off exclusively pumping for my daughter and then moved to formula after I had mastitis. I’m planning to exclusively pump with my second and hope we can make it much farther on that journey. Which means we need bottles! Babies go through approximately 8 bottles per day, so the recommendation of 12 is because there may be a day you just can’t get to the bottles and I don’t want you to run out!
Pro tip: Buy only one kind of bottle. We purchased a few different types initially, whatever was on sale. Baby gets used to holding their mouths a certain way to eat and we had much more success after we stopped confusing out baby girl with different bottle/nipple types.
Formula – Have 1 container
Totally your call to skip this, however, this is my insurance to make sure baby is fed above all else. If my milk doesn’t come in right away, something is wrong with my pump, or I had to be whisked to the doctor suddenly, I want my baby to have a back up plan. My daughter was on formula for much of her first year, and she is absolutely fine y’all. We even used store brand at the end!
Also, I didn’t realize your milk doesn’t come in the second you have a baby. It can take days; it took 3 days to get more than drops for me, which is normal. Baby doesn’t need to eat much in those first few days but I couldn’t stand not having something of substance to at least offer her. The hospital sent us home with these and they were great until I increased production.
Burp cloths – Buy 6-12, recommended stock up
- These are so handy and used for more than burping in our household. They’re typically soft and cute so we use them for burp cloths, wiping baby’s nose, cleaning up something unmentionable, providing a protective barrier between baby and anything, etc.
What else should you get?
Pacifiers – Have 2-4 of the smallest size
One soothing recommendation for baby is something to suck on. A pacifier can be a big help, supposedly. Our daughter would have none of it! A NICU nurse we met recommended these, so we’ll be sure to have some ready to try with our son.
Nail clippers – Have 1-2 baby clippers
Pregnancy may be a little scary, child birth too, now… clipping infant nails! Some people use a file instead but if we were careful the baby clippers worked great. Pro tip: Clip their nails when they’re sleeping. They’re less likely to move and cause you to panic.
Thermometer – Sadly, babies can get sick easily. It’s important to know their temperature so you can communicate to your pediatrician accurately and if you dare to Google, you can read about what caused those temperatures in other parent’s situations.
A word on Google… Caution!
Google is amazing. It helped me understand what the little bumps on my daughter’s back were, tips for when she’d fuss and I didn’t know why, how to make tummy time fun, how to get more output pumping, etc. Google also told me I needed immediate medical attention, baby might be developmentally challenged, and I’m a horrible parent. So, take all things with a grain of salt because my daughter and I are wonderful!
What about keeping baby occupied?
Baby will be occupied for the first several weeks eating, sleeping, and being held and talked to by loved ones. It takes longer than you think for baby to start interacting with toys. Honestly, their vision even takes some time to develop. I’ll link to a few of our daughter’s favorites below that we liked having on hand to try to play and what she eventually began to love.
I researched and prepared for months before my daughter’s arrival, and still had to learn so much when she got here. Please put any questions or concerns in the comments section and I’ll be happy to answer them. If you need a safe place to ask questions without judgement and don’t feel comfortable leaving a comment, please email me instead through my contact info. Girl, I’ve got you!