First-time parents often struggle with the challenge of preparing for the responsibilities that come with parenthood. Talking with other parents can help. They can help you develop a baby checklist by recommending support services such as childcare, medical care, products to use and parenting strategies. They can also give you many useful tips that you might otherwise overlook.
If your available resources are limited, you can check with your local pregnancy center, church, hospital or community organization to find out about parenting classes and other resources.
Parent’s Baby Checklist
Take Parenting Classes: Parenting classes can teach you the basics about childcare, discipline, and family relationships.
Get the Essentials: There are countless baby products in the marketplace, but only a few are essential for when you bring your baby home. Don’t feel the need to rush out and get everything all at once. However, it is good to be prepared.
Here is a list of things that are usually considered more essential:
- Car Seat and baby neck brace – Hospitals require parents to have a car seat for their baby before they take their child home.
- Diapers – Also make sure to have wipes, baby powder, and diaper rash cream.
- Bassinet or Crib and linens – It is important to have a secure and safe place for your baby to sleep.
- Formula and Bottles/Breast Pump – If you are not planning to breastfeed, you will need to buy formula for your baby. If you are planning to breastfeed, contact your insurance provider or your local WIC office to obtain a breast pump.
- First Aid – Learn CPR for infants and children.
- Maternity Leave – Most states have laws in place that require companies to allow working mothers and fathers up to 12 weeks of unpaid maternity leave for the birth of a child. The law is called the Family Medical Leave Act.
- Child Care: Decide ahead of time how you are going to handle routine and emergency childcare situations.
Other Essentials for mom and baby (less necessary, but helpful)
For the baby:
- (At birth) Swaddling and/or Receiving blanket
- Onesies & pajamas
- Burp cloths
- Socks, mittens, hats
- Diaper bag
- Grooming kit (baby nail clippers, nasal aspirator, thermometer, bottle nipple, etc)
- Baby wash and lotion
For the mother:
- Comfy clothes
- Maxi pads (NO tampons)
- Ice packs (for incision or vagina)
- (If breastfeeding) Nursing bras, breast pads, lanolin cream
Want to Know More?
Contact a pregnancy educator toll-free at 1-800-672-2296 to get connected to parenting resources in your area.
Compiled using information from the following sources:
1. The Mother of all Baby Books: The Ultimate Guide to Your Baby’s First Year. Douglas, Ann, Ch. 3.