49+ Essential Items To Stock Up On Before Baby Arrives

Today, I’m sharing my must-have list of items to stock up on before baby arrives. From household items, to toiletries, baby items and pet supplies, I’ll have you feeling stocked, locked and loaded so that you can spend your time on the important stuff – like soaking up all of those sweet, sweet baby snuggles!

Let’s dive in –

Before Hudson was born, my girlfriend introduced me to the idea of the first 3 months being dubbed the ‘fourth trimester’. Essentially, she explained that as babies make their entrance into this great big world of ours, they go through a bit of a transition period.

And it’s really tough.

I swear at many times, it can feel like a struggle to keep your head above water. From the endless feeding, to burping, to diaper changes, to washing breast pump parts and bottles, and then trying to squeeze in a wink of rest, it is a challenge.

One of the sweetest, most special, and rewarding challenges of your life, but a challenge nonetheless.

While I didn’t exactly get around to preparing fully (I developed preeclampsia and had to be immediately induced almost a month early!), I sure did have the chance to think about all of the items I wished I’d had time to buy!

So –

What should you stock up on before baby arrives?

Here’s my answer:

Household Items To Stock Up On

  • Paper towel – Besides the 101 uses I’m sure you’re already aware of, I also keep a roll in Hudson’s dresser which doubles as our change table in the nursery. Paper towel works great to soak up any spills on our changing pad (we have the Keekaroo peanut changer, so any liquid or messes just stay on the surface for an easy clean up!)
  • Toilet paper – We buy ours from Costco – the large package size means fewer trips and less worrying about if you’re stocked up, and I’ve also found it to be the cheapest and best quality at Costco, too! Plus, I mean if the great toilet paper shortage of 2020 wasn’t enough to scare you into buying in bulk… lol.
  • Microfibre cloths The holy grail of cleaning – microfibre cloths. If you’re still using those heavy, soggy dishcloths, you’ve got to try microfibre cloths instead! They hold less water than regular dishcloths, and can be used for so many different tasks. If you ever run out of glass cleaner, or are simply looking to make the switch to a more low-tox lifestyle, a lightly damp microfibre cloth works wonders to polish bathroom mirrors and glass throughout your home. I also use a super basic Swiffer mop and attach a damp microfibre cloth for washing our floors as well.
  • Dish soap – Grab two jugs of your go-to dish soap, storing one in the kitchen and one in your pantry or basement.
  • Dishwasher tabs or soap – A back-up box of dishwasher tabs is a must.
  • Laundry soap – I was surprised – almost shocked – at how much laundry there was in the first 3 months once Hudson was born. While my hubby and I did our best to make use of all of the swaddles and burp cloths we have to catch our little guy’s spit up, it definitely took a bit of practice and our clothes were often casualties. Beyond clothes, I was also washing and swapping out our bedding pretty often because it would get totally drenched in sweat overnight. Do yourself a favor and have a second container of dish soap on the ready.
  • Stain spray for laundry – I don’t really know why our lives felt like they got 100x messier once we became a family of 3, but somehow, they did. Since having Hudson, I’ve come to keep a bottle of stain remover up in our kitchen so that the times that I do spill something, I can just take it off and spray it and put it aside – because we all know – I’ve definitely got my hands full and don’t have time to throw in a load of laundry right away! We use Shout! for stains, but a Tide To Go pen also works.
  • All-purpose disinfectant spray – Keep an extra bottle of whichever spray you use for your kitchen counters, bathrooms and surfaces at the ready.
  • Garbage bags – Make sure to grab both of whichever type of garbage bags your household garbage cans require (like your kitchen garbage bin) as well as some big, black garbage bags. Nesting is no joke – I am pretty sure I cleaned out every single nook, cranny and drawer in our home from bedroom to basement while I was awaiting our little guy. With that, comes lots of items to toss. In addition, if you’re having a tough time blocking out all of the light in your little one’s nursery once they’ve arrived, you can tape a few black garbage bags up on your windows with duct tape for a short-term solution.
  • Recycling bags – From the big cardboard boxes that diapers and wipes come in to all of the boxes your baby gear comes in, you’ll need more recycling bags than you have before. Recycling bags are just another item to stock up on before baby arrives.
  • Doggy poop bags It’s a total mom hack to keep a small roll of doggy poop bags in your diaper bag or in your vehicle for on-the-go diaper changes. A blow-out can strike at any time and having something to put baby’s soiled clothes is a total must-have! You can pick up a 5-pack from the Dollar Store or of course wherever you buy the rest of your home supplies.
  • Zip-topbags – A kitchen staple. Grab a few boxes of whichever sizes you use most often.
  • Freezer bags – Beyond all those soups, casseroles and freezer meals most mama-to-bes like to stock up on, I always stash a few large freezer bags in the bottom of my diaper bag to put wet or soiled clothes in after a blowout or even pool day. Small freezer bags can also work in a pinch if you run out of breast milk freezer bags. (Which isn’t going to happen because you’re using this list to get totally prepared, right?) 
  • Parchment paper – Roasting veggies and potatoes, baking healthy breakfast cookies, separating homemade burger patties that you intend on adding to your freezer stash – there are so many uses for parchment paper. I always have a few rolls on hand.
  • Tinfoil – Tin foil is great because it’s such a quick way to wrap up leftovers when all of your resealable food containers are dirty.
  • Saran wrap – Wrap up leftover avocados, lemons and limes with cling wrap.
  • WD40 – I don’t think I’ve ever noticed a squeaky door until I had a baby. But, let me tell you… when you’ve spent two hours trying to shush an overtired baby to sleep, completely coated in breast milk and spit-up and postpartum sweat, only to have the door creak on the way out and wake baby… you’d probably pay just about anything for a good can of door lubricant.

Toiletries & Self Care Items To Stock Up On

  • Toothbrush – Snag an extra toothbrush to have on hand just so that you have one less item to think about restocking as a new mom. For those planning on breastfeeding, consider an electric toothbrush. A common problem that breastfeeding moms face, unfortunately, is a clogged duct in your breast. Essentially, if there’s too much pressure on your chest or if your breasts stay full for too long, the fat from your breast milk can build up and get ‘stuck’. It can be super painful, come on completely unexpectedly and has the possibility to turn into mastitis (an infection) if it isn’t treated. One of the home remedies for loosening the clog is to hold an electric toothbrush on the area to try to loosen the spot up, so why not get ahead of the game by having one at the ready? I love this simple, modern electric toothbrush by Quip. I mean pastel pink? I’m in. They’ve even got an auto-renew membership that ships fresh toothbrush heads, floss and mouthwash to your door. It’s almost too good to be true!
  • Toothpaste – Don’t forget to stock up on this essential hygiene item.
  • Sulcabrush – I’m surprised at how many people don’t know what a Sulcabrush is. Essentially, it’s just like a toothbrush, but with smaller, pointed, angled bristles meant to clean along your gums. It’s used without water and without toothpaste, so it’s super handy for when you’ve got time to kill. I like to keep one beside our swivel glider in the nursery as well as in my bedside table for those times when I’m stuck under our little one.
  • Dental flossers – I’ve stashed dental flossers in the same two spots.
  • Face cleanser – For mamas with eyelash extensions, be sure to opt for an oil-free cleanser.
  • Moisturizer – Consider a tinted moisturizer or one with SPF coverage. I’m telling you, new mom life is all about efficiency.
  • Body wash – Try to find one that can wash away numerous layers of breastmilk, sweat, spit-up, and occasionally neon yellow baby poop. Just kidding. They can all do that.
  • Razors/refill blades – There’s no doubt that your first level 3 shower (where you wash your body, wash your hair, and shave) postpartum will be nothing short of magical.
  • Shampoo & conditioner – Store a back-up bottle of your favs in your bathroom.
  • Hair spray – Tame the postpartum flyaways with a good hairspray. This Davines medium hair spray is my all-time go-to – it smells heavenly, is nice and light, never sticky and keeps those baby hairs down all day.
  • Dry shampoo – I would argue that dry shampoo is one of the most important items for new moms. This Kevin Murphy Doo-Over spray is my fav!
  • Heat protectant spray – For the odd time you are actually able to get a full blow-dry and – gasp – flat iron or curl in uninterrupted. (Lol. I kid… kind of.)
  • Hair elastics  – If there’s one thing you won’t have time for, it’s searching around your house for a hair elastic when you need it. Stock up and keep that hair out of your face.
  • Scrunchies – Things I didn’t realize would be considered a total luxury once you have a baby: being able to shower, brush your hair, actually using the styling products I own, a blow dry and a style. Let’s just pretend a cute scrunchie can fix all of that. These Uplifting Bow Scrunchies from Lululemon that come with a little bow are a staple. I think I have one in. every. color.
  • Bobby pins or clips – Postpartum hair loss is real! Pick up an extra pack of your favorite hair clips to keep all those crazy flyaways at bay.
  • Pain killers – Depending on how your labour & delivery goes, you may be prescribed strong pain meds, which you’lll have to get from the hospital or pharmacy. Beyond that, be sure you’ve got some regular painkillers for the occasional I-was-up-all-night headache.
  • Prenatal vitamins – Did you know it’s important to keep taking a prenatal after baby’s born if you’re breastfeeding? I definitely didn’t – but quickly figured that one out at my 6-week postpartum visit with my doc. Because the process of producing milk is so demanding, your body is still in need of the extra nutrients that the vitamins provide, so grab an extra bottle for the postpartum period.
  • Prescription meds or supplements – Try to pick up enough of the medication or supplements that you need for at least the first month postpartum, if not 2. If your pharmacy won’t dispense your following month’s medication early, you can ask if they have an auto-renew program or free delivery. For supplements, consider setting up an automated monthly delivery on Amazon.

Baby Items To Stock Up On

  • Diapers – After experimenting with a whole bunch of different diaper brands including cloth diapering, Kirkland brand, The Honest Company, and Rascal + Friends diapers, we’ve come to decide that our favorite are the Huggies Little Snugglers Plus from Costco. (I tried buying them from somewhere other than Costco, and apparently, they aren’t quite the same, so something to be mindful of if you find some that you really like!). One question that I had as a new mommy is how many of each size to buy. The answer is – it depends. Ha! So helpful, right? Because our little guy was almost a month early, we ended up going . For that reason, I think your safest bet is to buy one box of newborn-sized diapers and one box of size 1 diapers to get started.
  • Wipes – I like to purchase the boxes that come with around 1,000 wipe refills and I would say that having two boxes of 1,000 is well enough. Because the wipes just come in sealed bags that you aren’t meant for dispensing, make sure you grab a few of the plastic wipes boxes, too, then just refill those as needed. I would also recommend buying 2 or 3 of the small packs of baby wipes which are smaller and perfect to keep in your diaper bag.
  • Baby wash – We absolutely *love* this Baby Foaming Wash from local Canadian business, Rocky Mountain Soap Company. We use it both as a gentle soap all over baby’s body as well as a shampoo to wash his hair. While the big marketing forces in the baby world will convince you that you need all sorts of cleansers and salves and lotions for keeping baby clean and happy, I really feel like the dynamic duo (baby foaming wash + baby bum balm) will have you covered!
  • Bum balmThis baby bum balm from the same company is one of my favorite baby products. I swear, once you try it, you’ll never go back to those widely-available grocery store brands. It’s so silky soft, so lightly scented, made of totally safe ingredients, and creates a really great barrier between baby’s bum and their diaper to keep diaper rash at bay.
  • Gentle laundry soap – One of the first things you’ll notice as a new mom is how many polarizing opinions there are on just about everything having to do with baby. And baby laundry soap is one of them. If you ask your parents, aunt, or grandma, they’ll most likely tell you they swear by a laundry soap sold as Dreft in the USA and Ivory here in Canada. While it *does* smell halfway angelic (at least to me, it does!), many non-toxic mommies will warn of the harmful fragrances in it. That’s a whole separate topic that I’m not going to get into in this post – but for now, just choose whichever one you like best and buy 2 of them. You can always switch brands later!
  • Saline nasal spray – This super gentle, fine mist nasal spray is sprayed up baby’s nose to loosen any mucus or boogers that are hampering baby’s ability to breathe. It’s a pretty common situation and I can almost guarantee you’ll need this spray!
  • Baby Tylenol – If you’ve got a little guy and you’re opting to circumcise, you’ll definitely need some Tylenol (😢). Alternatively, I think it’s probably just a good idea to have on hand for when teething strikes, which can be as early as 3-6 months.
  • Anti-itch ointment – Newborn babies poop and pee a lot, and sometimes, if their diapers aren’t changed frequently enough or for a number of other reasons, they can develop a diaper rash. Make a quick trip to the pharmacy and ask your pharmacist to recommend an anti-itch ointment for a diaper rash so that you’ve got what you need when it happens.
  • Anti-fungal ointment – This is another part of the ointment pairing your pharmacist will recommend for diaper rash.

Pet Items To Stock Up On

  • Dog or cat food – I like to open our bag of kibble as soon as we get it and separate it into the extra large Ziploc bags so that they stay fresh longer and are easier to grab to refill the jar we have on our kitchen counter. Trust me – having to try and balance a gigantic 20 pound bag of dog food while you’ve got a fussing baby that’s begging for attention and a hungry pup is not something you want to have to deal with.
  • Treats – Whichever treats your pet loves, grab an extra bag to have on hand.
  • Poop bags – Our stroller (UppaBaby Vista) has a small compartment in the bottom of it that I keep a roll of bags in for on-the-run pick-ups, but you could also stash one in the bottom of your stroller organizer if you take your pup out for walks with baby outdoors often.
  • Cat litter – I don’t have a cat but… I am pretty sure this would be a good idea for those of you who do!

Ready To Stock Up Before Baby Arrives?

And there you have it.

Why not make a day of it?

Dress that baby bump up and enjoy one of your last solo Target hauls or Costco runs!

And get it done sooner rather later.

Because it’s no fun sobbing that you still have to order knobs for the dresser in the nursery while you’re being induced a month early.

Read Next: 

Baby Swing vs. Bouncer: Which One’s Right For You?

The Ultimate Hospital Bag Checklist [Printable PDF]

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