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New parent checklist: Practical essentials for your new baby

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Welcoming a new baby and becoming a parent is a wonderful adventure. Your family is growing and with this comes exciting times and a little anxiety to go with them. As parents, the goal is not only to raise and love your child but to safeguard them as they grow into adulthood. Remember the practical things like babyproofing your home and insuring your family against emergencies with this new parent checklist.

When your bundle of joy does finally come, you’ll be too busy thinking about your baby to get these tasks done. Knowing that you’ve taken all the necessary steps to protect the special moments, you can focus your energy on enjoying them.

Is your baby already here, leaving you no time to read the post? Jump down to our printable checklists to take this information on the go!

 

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New parent checklist
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Preparing for your new arrival

Ooh baby, I love the way… you prepare for your new arrival. In addition to picking out clothes and toys for your newborn, it’s necessary to get practical things done like budgeting for your child or picking out a pediatrician. Keep reading to make sure you don’t miss a thing!

 

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Start a baby budget

Before you go shopping for your newborn, it’s important to have a budget. You’ll need to set aside cash for big investments like the crib and stroller; don’t forget to include the smaller things like clothes and toys, too.

In addition to budgeting for initial expenses, you’ll also need a monthly baby budget. The USDA found that the average middle income couple spent between $12,000 and $14,000 annually on child-rearing. Babies go through food, diapers and clothes quickly, and these expenses really pile up. Make sure you have the funds for these in advance by including them in your budget.

Talk with your partner about your current expenses and decide on how much to allocate each month for your baby. There are many ways to create a budget, such as the zero-based budgeting method or the 50/30/20 rule. Choose whatever works best for your family and financial situation.

Begin saving for long-term expenses

In addition to creating a baby budget, savings are necessary to help with big financial expenses as your child grows up. A dedicated college fund ensures that when your child graduates high school, they can get a good education and prepare to someday support themselves. Other large purchases you might make because of your new arrival are a family-friendly car or a new house. Savings will also help support you and your family’s big life experiences like vacations and even a wedding. Start saving before your baby arrives so your money can grow over the years.

Add your baby to your health plan

Another important step to preparing for your baby is adding them to your health insurance. You’ll want your newborn’s medical checkups to be covered by your policy, so it’s best to do this well in advance of their arrival date. If you need a plan that offers more coverage for your family, having a baby qualifies as an acceptable reason to change your coverage outside of a normal enrollment period.

Health starts at home and you’ll want to create a beneficial environment for your bundle of joy. Keep track of air quality and encourage good sleeping patterns with home wellness technology.

Find a pediatrician you trust

Once you have your baby added to your health insurance, start researching pediatricians. Babies need at least six “well visits” within their first year of life to make sure their health and development is progressing normally, and this doesn’t include unexpected visits, like if your baby gets sick. Pick a pediatric provider in your healthcare network and get some of those doctor’s visits scheduled so you have less to worry about later.

Obtain life insurance

Many parents would do anything to hold on to the precious time they have with their baby during infancy. Although time isn’t something that you can preserve, you can take steps to safeguard their livelihood from the unexpected. The birth of a child is a time when many new parents consider getting life insurance. In the event that you or your partner passes away, an active life insurance policy ensures that your family receives a monetary payout to help with any financial burden.

You have two main policy options: term and whole life. Term policies are only active for a set amount of time, and as such, they’re the more affordable option. Whole life policies are active for your entire life, and premiums are paid for the duration of your life. The benefits and drawbacks of each vary, so it’s important to evaluate your options and choose what is best for your family.

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Babyproof your home

Nobody puts baby in the corner, especially when it’s not babyproofed. Your home is the space where your child will experience a lot of important moments, so it’s critical that it’s a safe place for them to explore. You won’t need to bubble wrap your entire home, but you should pay extra attention to sharp corners, slippery surfaces, easy access pinch points and areas where falls can happen like on stairs. Here are some important babyproofing tasks:

  • Block off fall prone areas with baby gates
  • Cover corners or knobs
  • Use nonslip pads or rugs on the floor
  • Remove breakables from accessible areas
  • Lock toilets and easy to reach cabinets

In addition to babyproofing, make sure you take care of any home maintenance tasks or repairs that need attention. If your roof needs to be repaired or your home has foundation issues, it could be a potential danger to your and your family. Get these fixed before they arrive so you know that your home is safe.

Think about drafting your will

A will is an important document for both you and your partner to have in case of an untimely death. Your will leaves instructions for dividing up your assets and designates a legal guardian for your child. It’s important to write down what you both desire to happen for your child and your estate in an official way. You can get this done with a lawyer or even do it on your own.

Plan for emergencies

Don’t worry baby, your parents planned for emergencies. Take steps to cover your home and car to ensure that your newborn has access to safe shelter and transportation as they grow. Another way to help your family through the unexpected is to have an emergency fund. You never know what medical bills or other surprise living expenses might come your way, and an emergency fund helps with financial support during tough times.

Baby essentials to buy

When buying for your baby, it’s good to stick to the essentials (and your budget). To help you keep track of your purchases, we’ve outlined the major things you need to get ready for your little one.

 

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Baby essentials to buy checklist
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What to buy for the home

Show some baby love by stocking up on the essentials. Buy extra or nice-to-have items later once you have a feel for what your newborn needs and likes.

Nursery

  • Crib or bassinet
  • Changing table or dresser
  • Comfortable chair to nurse in (glider, rocker, etc.)

Feeding

  • Baby bottles
  • Formula
  • Breast pump
  • Nursing pads
  • Milk storage containers
  • Bibs and burp cloths
  • Bottle brush
  • High chair

Diapering

  • Lots of diapers in various sizes (start with newborn and stock a few months up)
  • Changing pads and covers
  • Diaper pail
  • Cloths or wipes
  • Ointment for diaper rash

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Sleeping

  • Crib mattress pads
  • Crib sheets or liners for bassinet
  • Waterproof liner or mattress cover
  • Cotton blankets (for receiving, swaddling and wearing)
  • Sleep sack

Clothing

  • Onesies (short- and long-sleeved)
  • Pajama sets or nightgowns
  • Infant t-shirts
  • Cotton pants
  • Sweaters, cardigans and jackets
  • Socks
  • Soft booties
  • No-scratch mittens
  • Knit hats

Bathing and grooming

  • Baby shampoo
  • Mild soap
  • Infant tub
  • Wash cloths
  • Cotton towels
  • Baby nail clippers
  • Nasal aspirator
  • Thermometer

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What to buy for travel

Although your baby will spend a lot of time at home, you’ll also want them to experience life outside of the house. Whether it’s their first stroll in the park or you’re driving around the neighborhood in an effort to lull your newborn to sleep, you’ll need some baby gear for when you’re on the go.

Mobility

  • Stroller
  • Sling, soft carrier or wrap
  • Travel bag

In the Car

  • Rear-facing car seat with head support
  • Sun shields
  • Portable bed
  • Mirror (to check up on baby in the back)

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Welcome baby printable and 10 wishes for our new baby printable
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Although budgeting and babyproofing might not be the most exciting parts of new parenthood, they’re still essential. Protect the special moments with a life insurance policy and ensure that your family is always taken care of no matter what comes your way. After preparing with this practical new parent checklist, enjoy this time as a new parent and cherish making memories with your baby.

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