Last updated: March 5, 2024

It will probably come as a surprise with all the baby gear listed on the baby registry checklists, but the reality is there are only a few pieces of baby gear you absolutely need when you have a newborn at home. If money or space is tight, it’s a relief to know you don’t actually need all that much. But, what exactly are the bare minimum baby essentials?

As a mom of 3, I am here to help you understand what baby gear you actually need for a baby during the first 6 weeks. The amounts listed below for diapers, wipes, and formula (if not breastfeeding) will get you started. Keep in mind that you will eventually need to stock up on more of these items.

With that said, I do want to point out that you will likely find other baby gear (that is not on the list) useful too. There’s a lot of baby items available that will make your life much easier.

But if you are trying save as much money as possible or have limited space, this list is a great place to start. I recommend focusing on getting the items listed below first.

Then, if you have the money and space, you can add in some optional items too. And as an added bonus, you only need to spend money on 8 items that are listed. There are two items you need that you can actually get for free!

Please note, there are affiliate links in this post. Read my privacy & disclosure policy at the bottom of this page to learn more.

Difference Between Bare Minimum Baby Necessities & Minimalist Baby Essentials

The below list of bare minimum baby essentials is just as it sounds. These are the only baby items you absolutely need to care for a newborn baby.

On the other hand when someone is wanting to live a minimalist lifestyle, there is more to it than just getting the least amount of items as possible. That is one aspect, but if you are a minimalist then you also believe in buying non-toxic, sustainable products as well.

A minimalist baby registry would include only the bare minimum newborn baby items, but the items selected would also be eco-friendly and sustainable. This article will focus on the actual bare necessities for a newborn. For more information on minimalist baby items, check out my minimalist baby registry article.

Bare Minimum Newborn Baby Essentials That You Have To Spend Money On

Let’s start with the bare necessity baby items you will need and that you will likely have to buy or receive as gifts. The included links are to the brands I personally used and recommend.

  1. (1) Stroller + Car Seat Travel System
  2. (2) 6-piece sets of Newborn Baby Clothes
  3. (1) case of Diapers – buy more as needed in the correct size
  4. (1) case of Wipes – buy more as needed
  5. (1) Crib – it can be useful to pick one that converts to a toddler bed
  6. (1) Crib Mattress
  7. (2) Fitted Crib Sheets
  8. (1) set of 3-4 Bottles – only needed if you will be formula feeding or pumping

You might have noticed some of the gear listed are big ticket baby items, but I guess no one ever said having kids would be cheap. Additionally, you could consider buying some baby items used to save money.

Or, better yet see if your friends or family have anything they are getting rid of or that you can borrow. And finally, there are often great baby finds in the Buy Nothing Facebook groups too.

Bare Necessities For a Newborn That You Can Get For Free

Hospital Blankets – take all the swaddling blankets you can get from the hospital cart. These also double as burp cloths. So, that covers two birds with one stone for items you will want to have on hand with a newborn. With the blankets from the hospital you can use them to swaddle your baby and as burp cloths.


Breast Pump – get a free breast pump through your health insurance. Typically the pump will come with a couple bottles that you can pump breast milk into as well. You will likely need to get additional bottles if you pump though.


Sign up for rewards at the Similac and Enfamil website before your baby is born. You should receive free formula samples in the mail to get you started. You will also receive a small amount of formula at the hospital too. Once you know the brand of formula you will be using, you can move forward with purchasing it.

Bare minimum baby essentials.

Is That All I Actually Need For a Baby?

The short answer is yes, that’s really all you absolutely need. However, as I look over the list above, there are plenty of items missing that can really help make life for parents of newborns a lot easier.

If you want to learn more on what else I recommend including on a baby registry, then fill in the form below for a FREE printable baby registry checklist (and a bonus trimester pregnancy checklist too). Good luck on your new adventure as a parent!


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