Getting ready for a newborn is exciting -- and a little daunting. Walk through the "baby" aisles in any store and you'll see hundreds of products you could bring home. Aside from a safe car seat, which ones do you really need?
WebMD asked experts, including parents, to weigh in on the baby basics every new mom or dad should have, plus which ones deserve a pass.
Cloth or disposable diapers? Relax, there's no right answer. "Each family should decide what works best for them," says Allison Coleman, founder of Austin Baby Guru, which offers early parenting support classes in Austin, TX.
Whatever you choose, stock up! By the time your baby's a week old, she’ll be having at least four poopy and six wet diapers each day.
You'll also need a diaper pail with a tight-fitting lid and a diaper bag with room for:
You'll need to hold off bathing your newborn until her umbilical cord falls off and the area heals. That can take a week or two. Until then, clean her diaper area well and stick to sponge baths. Have on hand:
In case baby gets sick or hurt, these first aid basics are good to have ready:
Before your baby arrives, decide if you're going to breastfeed or use formula. "Building your support system is important," Coleman says. Then, stock up on:
If you're breastfeeding, you'll also need:
Formula feeding? Talk to your doctor or other parents about brands to try.
Sure, it's fun to decorate your baby's new room, but when it comes to her crib, "keep it as bare as possible," Fisher says. Extra items like blankets, pillows, and toys are dangerous -- they can stop babies from breathing in their sleep. All you need:
You could also choose a bassinet to go next to your bed. The important thing, Fisher says, is that it's a safe sleeping space. To reduce the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), always place your baby on her back to sleep.
Newborns are made to be cuddled, but you'll need your hands free at some point. Parents suggest:
No need to buy too many newborn clothes, parents caution. Your wee one will grow out of them faster than you think. What you will need:
Some products you may want to pass on:
Remember: Babies don't have to be pricey, says Catherine Barrett, mom to three girls. "The very basics will keep your baby happy and healthy without breaking the bank."