baby on changing table being changed by mombaby on changing table being changed by mom

The essentials of what baby really needs

If you’re navigating the ins and outs of what’s deemed “essential” for baby, you have our sympathies. It’s a tough nut to crack. But we’re here to put your mind at ease. Because when it comes down to it, a baby’s needs are quite simple. Aside from love, attention and inexhaustible adoration (those cheeks! those toes!), their bare necessities are actually pretty minimal. And you can take it from me, a bona fide New York City mom who has had to pare down to the barest of essentials. Because, space (there’s not a lot of it). Things I’ve learned? There’s so much you (and baby) can live without.

It’s easy to get caught up in the world of social media, a game of constant revision and analysis that implies everything is imperative, a have-to-have, a can’t-live-without for an expectant mom. Want to know a little secret? Only some of it is true.

I’ll tell you this: a baby doesn’t need much. This is wisdom gathered from my own mother, insight I can now attest to be true having crossed the year benchmark with my first and expecting another shortly. So if you’re ready to Marie Kondo (now a verb) your way through motherhood, join us. We’ll let you in on what’s absolutely and without a doubt necessary for surviving those first few months of being a new mom.

Aside from the basics like a crib, stroller and baby carrier, the modern parent can also plan on buying or adding to their registry:

newborn clothing

You’ll be surprised at how quickly they grow out of them, but for bringing baby home and those first couple of weeks, they’ll need something properly proportioned to their tiny frames. There’s no need to overindulge as they won’t be in them long, but remember that these little guys make big messes – a surprising feat for their size. Laundry upkeep will not be your top priority (especially if you don’t own a washer and dryer, like me), so keep roughly a week’s supply on hand for those early days at home.

…and clothing beyond 0-3 months

Your loved ones (and perhaps you, too) will be completely enamored by the cute factor of tiny clothes. But as we mentioned before, you would be surprised at how fast babies grow. Sometimes there is a noticeable difference literally overnight. I know it sounds crazy, but by portioning out sizes based on age, I was able to ensure that my baby was covered his entire first year of life. The alternative? Running out of everything at 6 months and having to scramble to buy things in rush. Spread your sights on having clothes for the first 12 months (and even see what baby can fit in sooner, like a 6-9 month outfit when they are in the 3-6 month range to make things last longer).


Whether choosing cloth diapers or disposable diapers, pick what’s right for you – and then have as many on hand as possible. (Insider tip: you can never have too many.)

bottles (but not a lot)

Whether breastfeeding, bottle-feeding, or some combination of both, bottles are a crucial piece of the parenting puzzle. The thing with babies is that some are pickier than others. So before creating an arsenal fit for all their feeding frenzies, get to know what they like – and then stock up.

bath toiletries

After that little umbilical cord falls off, nighttime starts with bathtime. Keep a collection of baby washcloths and a multi-functional product, like hair + boby wash, close for convenience (and your sanity).