Just the essentials: The only 7 baby items you really need

No, you don’t “need” a baby wipe warmer, but you do need a carseat.

Just the essentials: The only 7 baby items you really need

During the second trimester, you will probably be belly-deep in decisions, from birth plan choices to nursery designs to what to buy.

Even if the weeks are flying by, you'll be ready for baby's arrival by focusing on the only seven things you really need.

Car seat

This is top on the list because you really won't be able to leave a hospital without it — a staffer will probably even check to make sure it's properly installed.

Research is key

Start doing your homework early to wade through safety reviews and the various types of seats available. Then install the seat well in advance of 40 weeks, preferably with the help of a certified car seat technician.

Compatible stroller

From there, you might consider investing in a compatible stroller adapter, which is basically the best thing in the world when you're running an errand and don't want to disrupt baby by moving the little one from the comfy car seat.

Baby food


If you decide to breastfeed, you may benefit from using a breast pump to stimulate supply or to store milk if you plan to go back to work while baby is still nursing.

Many insurance providers cover the full cost, but be sure to check with them before purchasing a pump in case there is fine print about how to go about it.

Formula feeding

If you plan to formula feed, you will also need to stock up on some good bottles with varying capacities for your growing baby.

Make your life a little bit easier by getting some bottle-specific cleaning brushes, too!


Whether you opt to go with disposable or cloth diapers, you will want to keep that baby's bum covered!


For disposables, stock up ahead of time by keeping in mind that newborns can easily go through 10 diapers in a day.


If you're considering reusable cloth diapers, there are a number of different types, so do some homework before deciding what might work best for your family.

The up-front investment is a bit greater, but should pay off if you stick with cloth.


In either case, you will also want plenty of wipes, a good surface for diaper changes and probably a stink-containing trash can.

Sweet little baby clothes

As cute as a nakey baby may be, a baby in clothes is even more adorable. Besides that, clothes are essential for regulating the little one's temperature.


You'll definitely want a supply of onesies (long sleeve or short sleeve, depending on the season), pants and sleepers.

Hats and socks

Regardless of where you live, you'll also want a couple of hats and socks to keep baby from losing too much body heat.

Sensitive detergent

To clean it all—which you'll be doing a lot!—you want some unscented or baby-specific detergent, depending on how sensitive mini's skin is.

Baby blankets

For many babies, “security blanket" has a very literal meaning.

Swaddle blankets

Swaddling babies replicates the way they felt in the womb and helps prevent the so-called Moro reflex, which can be triggered by his or her own sudden, involuntary movement.

However, you might hold off on stockpiling too many types of swaddlers because babies can be picky about what they like or may refuse them all together.

Receiving blankets

Even in that case, you'll want a few receiving blankets to help keep the babe warm, clean up some little messes in a pinch and even serve as burp cloths.

Burp cloths

Warmer blankets and actual burp clothes can come in handy, too.

A place to sleep

Although you may want to get a crib to complete the look of baby's nursery before the due date, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the American Academy of Pediatrics both recommend putting the baby in a separate sleep area in your bedroom for the first few months to reduce the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).

Bassinets are a good go-to, but explore your options and be prepared to go with a safe Plan B if baby is picky.

Safety gear

This one is pretty broad, but we're grouping these items together because you can find some super-helpful baby kits out there.

Baby kits

Look for something that includes a good thermometer, a nasal bulb syringe, a medication spoon and baby nail clippers.


Figure out who you'd like to use as a pediatrician so that's one less thing to worry about about after baby's arrival.

Phew. That wasn't so bad, was it?

We know there area lot more products that many mamas love, but we also love remembering to keep it simple when it comes to baby.

Share with Motherly: What are your baby essentials?

My village lives far away—but my Target baby registry helped them support me from afar

Virtual support was the next best thing to in-person hugs

They say you shouldn't make too many major life transitions at once. But when I was becoming a mama for the first time nearly five years ago, my husband and I also moved to a new town where we didn't know a soul, bought our first house and changed jobs.

To put it mildly, we didn't heed that advice. Luckily, our family and friends still made it feel like such a magical time for us by supporting our every move (literal and otherwise) from afar. They showered us with love through a virtual baby shower (expectant parents nowadays can relate!) featuring the unwrapping of gifts they were able to ship straight to me from my Target registry.

Here's one piece of advice I did take: I registered at Target so I could take advantage of the retailer's benefits for registrants, which include a welcome kit valued over $100, a universal registry function and more. Fast-forward a few years and Target has made the registration perks even better for expectant parents: As of August 2020, they've added a Year of Exclusive Deals, which gives users who also sign up for Target Circle a full year of savings after baby is born on all those new mama essentials, from formula to diapers and beyond.

Honestly, even without the significant perks of a free welcome kit with more than $100 in coupons, additional 15% off coupons to complete the registry and a full year of free returns, registering at Target wasn't a hard sell for me: Even though the experience of shopping for baby items was new, shopping with Target felt like returning home to me… and the comfort of that was such a gift.

And of course, Target's registry plays a vital role right now, as expectant parents everywhere are being forced to cancel in-person baby showers and navigate early parenthood without the help of a hands-on village. A registry like this represents a safe way for communities to come through for new parents. If you're anything like me (or any of the other mamas here at Motherly), you certainly have emotional ties and fond memories associated with Target.

What to register for at Target was also an easy talking point as I began to connect with moms in my new community. I will always remember going on a registry-building spree with my next door neighbor, who had young children of her own. As we walked the aisles of Target back in 2015, she suggested items to add… and we laid the foundation for what has since become one of my most cherished friendships.

Even as I made connections in my new hometown, I was nervous that expecting my first baby wouldn't feel as special as if I were near family and friends. But my loved ones exceeded all expectations by adding the most thoughtful notes to gifts. They hosted a beautiful virtual baby shower and even encouraged me to keep the registry going after my baby made his debut and new needs arose.

In the years since, "community" has taken on a wonderfully complex new meaning for me… and, in these times of social distancing, for the rest of the world. I've come to cherish my newfound friends in our local community alongside those long-time friends who are scattered around the county and my virtual mama friends.

Now, as my friends' families grow, I'm so grateful that I can show them the same love and support I felt during my first pregnancy. I sing the praises of Target's baby registry—especially in light of the pandemic, since I know mamas can do everything from a distance thanks to Target's website and the added benefit of getting trusted reviews and helpful registry checklists.

And now that I'm on the gift-buying side of the equation, I've found new joy in picking thoughtful gifts for my friends. (Because goodness knows Target has something for everyone!)

For my friend who is a fellow runner, I teamed up with a few others to give the jogging stroller she had on her registry.

For my friend who is a bookworm, I helped her start her baby's library with a few books that are also well-loved in our home.

For other friends, I've bundled together complete "sets" with everything they need for bathing or feeding their children.

I know from my own experience that, yes, the registry purchases are so appreciated, but the thoughtfulness and the support they represent means even more. Because although my village may have been distant, the support they showed me was the next best thing to in-person hugs.

Start your own Target Baby Registry here to experience a Year of Benefits including a Year of Exclusive Deals through Target Circle to enjoy for a full year following your baby's arrival, a year of free returns, two 15% off completion coupons and a free welcome kit ($100 value).

This article was sponsored by Target. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

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