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Newborn Care: What You Need for Baby

What do you need for good newborn care when baby comes home? Moms, dads, and pediatricians offer their quick tips.
WebMD Feature
Reviewed by Roy Benaroch, MD

Baby’s on the way and it seems there are dozens of newborn care "must-haves" on your long list.

At the top are modern necessities like infant seats, baby strollers, and cribs of course, but what else do you need to take care of your newborn?

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To find out, WebMD went to the pros -- pediatricians as well as new moms and dads in WebMD’s parenting community -- and asked them what items they found indispensable for newborn care.

From baby carriers to cameras, here’s a simple list of baby gear that got the thumbs up from new parents -- and a few items that didn’t make the grade.

Newborn Care: Diapers and Diaper Bags

Along with a safe car seat and a great crib, two baby care basics are diapers and a diaper bag. The question is, what kind, and how many?

  • Diapers: New parents are pretty evenly divided: Some prefer the lower-cost of cloth diapers, while others enjoy the convenience of disposables. Whichever you pick, you’ll need about 10 to 12 diapers daily.
  • Diaper Bag: Here you should think small, say moms in the know. Because your hands will be busy with a baby, less is more in the diaper bag department, with some moms raving about sleek, backpack-style bags.
  • Diaper Bag Basics: A well-stocked diaper bag holds more than just diapers, says Atlanta pediatrician Jennifer Shu, MD. Think a small camera for sweet moments, snacks for mom, and sun protection, too. Shu, co-author of Heading Home With Your Newborn, also recommends:
    • Baby wipes
    • Diaper changing pad or towels
    • Plastic grocery bags for messy diapers
    • Baby pain reliever, like acetaminophen
    • Baby food
    • Extra change of baby clothes
    • Diaper cream
    • Hand sanitizer

Newborn Care: Bathing

Newborns need a bath two or three times a week, says the American Medication Association. The AMA recommends sponge baths only for baby’s first two weeks, until the umbilical cord falls off. Bathing items that topped the list of moms and the experts include:

  • Baby tub or small plastic basin
  • Washcloths or bath mitts
  • Soft towels (hooded baby towels work well)
  • Baby shampoo
  • Baby soap

Lots of parents forgo a special baby tub and instead share a bath with baby. Though you can use mild adult soaps in those instances, products made for infants are best in the early months to avoid irritation, Shu tells WebMD. “When in doubt, talk to your pediatrician.”

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