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Getting Ready for Baby

Try to have everything you need before you bring your baby home. Talk to other parents about what you may need. What you decide to buy will depend on your lifestyle, personal preference and budget. What babies need most are loving parents. With careful planning, you can prepare to care for your new baby in comfort and in style.


Baby will grow out of the newborn or first size very quickly. Clothes should be machine washable. Babies can go through a large number of full changes in a day. We suggest you start with:

  • 4-6 sleepers
  • 10 shirts or onesies (diaper shirts)
  • 2-4 pairs of booties or socks
  • 2-3 sweaters
  • 1-2 hats depending on the season
  • Outer wear – snowsuit, jacket or bunting bag for colder weather


Baby needs a place to sleep. Check under the “Babies and Sleep” section if you are considering sharing a bed with baby. When baby is sleeping alone, consider the following:

  • Cribs must meet safety standards (see “Safety” section).
  • The mattress should be firm and tight against all four sides of the crib.
  • A bassinette with solid sides is not safe.

Bed Linens

  • 2-3 fitted sheets
  • 1-2 tightly woven blankets
  • 2-4 receiving blankets


Supplies for breastfeeding are not required, but having these on hand may be helpful:

  • Breast pads
  • Head of green cabbage (for engorgement)
  • Containers to freeze excess milk either glass or food-grade and BPA-free plastic
  • Pump
  • Nursing pillow


You may choose either cloth or disposable diapers, or you may choose to combine them. Many parents use cloth diapers at home and save the disposables for when they are out.


  • Have at least 2 dozen on hand for when you first come home.
  • A new baby will go through 8-10 per day.
  • If you buy diapers ahead of time, keep the receipts in case you need to exchange them for a larger or smaller size.
  • Some babies react to disposable diapers and wipes, so be prepared to change brands.

Cloth Diapers

  • You will need 2-3 dozen
  • babies must be changed as soon as diapers are wet or soiled to prevent a rash
  • choose a detergent without added perfumes, oils, or softeners if possible
  • diapers must be washed daily in hot water, and put through an extra rinse cycle to remove residue. Do not use bleach as this may cause a rash. Dry diapers on hot cycle as well.

Diapering Extras

  • 6 washcloths
  • Disposable wipes (optional)
  • Diaper pail or nursery garbage
  • A diaper cream (for diaper irritation). The Health Unit recommends one that has zinc oxide
  • Plain petroleum jelly (for dry skin)

Do not use talcum powder, baby powder or corn starch. Baby will breathe in the fine dust, which is not good for his or her lungs.


  • Extra soft baby face/wash cloths
  • Extra soft baby bath towel
  • Mild soap
  • Baby shampoo

Car Seat

  • Baby must have this to be in a car
  • Equipment must meet Canadian safety standards
  • Additional information is in the “Safety” section

Baby Gate

  • If you have stairs, you must have a gate that attaches to the wall
  • Equipment must meet Canadian safety standards
  • Additional information is in the “Safety” section

Entertaining/Playing with Baby

  • You will be baby’s favourite entertainment
  • Play is how a child learns
  • Some toys for a newborn: books, rattle or mobile over crib
  • Babies should not be put in front of the TV

Nice Things to Have for Baby, but Not Required

  • Diaper bag or diaper backpack
  • Change table (you can use the crib or the floor)
  • Baby bathtub
  • Baby brush and comb
  • Stroller
  • Cloth carriers or sling
  • Activity saucer
  • Mild laundry soap
  • Nasal aspirator
  • Baby swing or baby bouncy chair
  • Cool mist vaporizer
  • Calibrated dropper, syringe or spoon for administering medicine
  • Thermometer
  • Playpen (or playpen/crib combination)
  • Baby monitor


Caring For Kids (online) 2013

No bumper pads, pillows, comforters or soft mattresses in the crib. These increase the risk of SIDS and/or injuries.

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