What Essentials for a Newborn? From a Dad’s Perspective

What essentials for a newborn?

Becoming a father is one of the most profound transformations a man can experience. The practicalities of preparing for the arrival of a newborn can be overwhelming from taking care of your pregnant wife, getting the nursery ready, to having the car ready for the big day.

Drawing from my own journey into fatherhood, I’ve made a quick guide to what you’ll need to be prepared for your newborn. There’s a ton of guides out there, but this is from a dad’s point of view from late-night feedings, and unforgettable first moments. Here are the essentials for a newborn.

The Basics

The Nursery

Cribs and Mattresses: A safe, comfortable crib is non-negotiable. Opt for one that meets safety standards, with a firm mattress that fits snugly within. A waterproof mattress protector is smart, saving you from midnight laundry sessions. You’ll be the one cleaning up the linens while mom soothes baby back to sleep.

There are new breathable mattresses, and memory foam. They’re all fine, just make sure you get one that’s safe and comfortable for your little one.

Bedding: While elaborate bedding sets are tempting, keep it simple…

A couple of fitted crib sheets and lightweight blankets are all you need. Remember, less is more, you want a tight fitting sheet and no loose bedding so your little one doesn’t run into any issues with breathing.

Feeding Fundamentals

Breastfeeding Gear: If your partner is breastfeeding, a supportive nursing pillow, breast pump, and storage bags for breast milk can make all the difference. And don’t forget the backrubs – a game changer for your partner.

Bottle-feeding Supplies: if you’re formula feeding from the start or using it as a supplement, have a set of newborn bottles, and a way to sterilize, making feedings smoother for everyone involved.

Formula feeding can often be very tough on your partner if their goal was to breastfeed. They’ve just worked very hard delivering and now feel discouraged that they’re not giving the baby what it needs. Now’s your time to bring emotional support.

What are the essential Clothes for a Newborn?

Onesies and Sleepers: You’ll want plenty of these in various sizes. They’re easy to put on, comfortable for your baby, and make diaper changes less of a hassle. Trust me, you’ll appreciate the simplicity during those sleep-deprived nights.

For the love of pete, please just get zipper or magnet onesies and sleepers. The buttons may seem cute, but when you’re sleep deprived and trying to use one hand to get the baby dressed, you’ll be thanking me you’re not messing with snaps.

Hats and Socks: Babies lose heat quickly, so having a selection of hats and socks to keep them cozy, especially in the cooler months, is essential.

Health and Hygiene

Diaper Duty

Diapers and Wipes: Stock up on these – you’ll be going through them at an astonishing rate. You’ll wonder where your crate of wipes went! you just got them last week!

Whether you choose cloth or disposable, having a good supply on hand is key.

Try a variety of both. Not all diapers work with every baby, and some diapers will leave you with frequent blowouts.


Creams are a life saver. Now,  you want to wait at least a month, but I apply diaper cream nearly every changing. Nothing worse than diaper rash.

Changing Table or Pad: A secure spot for diaper changes is needed in every room or floor you’ll be with the baby. Whether it’s a designated table or a portable changing pad, ensure it’s stocked with essentials like diapers, wipes, and rash cream.

We even had a wheeled cart to keep everything together from wipes, diapers, snacks (for mom and dad), pacifiers, diaper cream, etc.

Bath Time Basics

Baby Bathtub: A small, infant-friendly tub with a contoured design can make bath time both safe and enjoyable. Add some gentle baby shampoo and washcloths to your list, and you’re all set.

What are the travel essentials for a newborn?

Car Seat: A high-quality, rear-facing car seat is perhaps the most crucial piece of gear you’ll purchase. It’s not just about compliance with laws; it’s about your child’s safety.

Stroller: From quick trips to the park to longer outings, a reliable stroller is indispensable. Consider one that’s easy to maneuver and collapsible for convenience.

Keep the stroller in your trunk if you can. You’ll never know when you need it.

Diaper Bag

Packing Smart: A diaper bag packed with essentials (diapers, wipes, a change of clothes, cream, snacks for everyone and a bottle or two) ensures you’re prepared for anything when you’re out and about with your little one.

Creating Comfort and Security

Soothing and Bonding

Swaddles and Blankets: Swaddling can mimic the coziness of the womb, soothing your newborn. Plus, cuddling up with your baby under a soft blanket is an unbeatable bonding experience.

Baby Monitor: For peace of mind when you’re not in the same room, a baby monitor is essential. It allows you to hear or even see your baby from anywhere in the house.

When shopping for one, do not get a WiFi enabled one. Sure it may be convenient, but if you’re network is not secure, or open. Someone can easily hack into and watch the camera. Watch the baby, mom feeding, anything…

Becoming a dad is an adventure filled with learning, love, and a bit(a lot) of chaos. You’re now ready to focus on what truly matters – the precious early moments and the bond you’ll form with your newborn. Embrace the journey; it’s one of the most rewarding you’ll ever embark on. Have your essentials in order before coming home from the hospital so you can focus on what’s important.