Baby Essentials ChecklistAs a fourth time mom, I sometime get asked for what you really need for your baby’s first year. In this post I am going to expand on a list created by Janet Lansbury into a baby essentials checklist with links to the products I actually have and use as a 4x mom.

I also included a few short lists at the bottom of things you “might want” and things you just “don’t need”.

If you have any suggestions or questions, please leave them in the comment section below.

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Baby Essentials Checklist

There are enough things on this list that I broke them down into 7 categories.


Babies spend a lot of time sleeping. I bed-share, so we don’t use our crib. If you aren’t sure if bed-sharing is for you or cannot follow all of the rules for co-sleeping safely, you will want a crib.



  • 10 Footed Sleepers
    • Long sleeved t-shirt material and covering the feet because baby socks don’t stay on.
    • I prefer the kind with snaps, because the ones with zippers only go down one leg and are hard to change diapers in. Some people prefer the zippers, so I recommend starting with a few of each and seeing which you prefer before you buy very many.
  • 3 Blankets
    • baby jackets are a pain since they can’t wear them in the car seat, so just get some blankets. My kids liked different fabrics as infants. One liked flannel, one fleece and two muslin.

Out and About

I never enjoyed lugging around the infant bucket seat. It was heavy and hurt my back. A good convertible car seat will last from newborn to age 6 or 7 when you can put them in a booster.

  • 1-2 Convertible Car Seats
  • 1 Baby Carrier
    • An ergonomic one like the Action Baby Carrier or the Ergo.
      • Janet Lansbury dislikes baby carriers. I understand her point of view, but I don’t use my carrier in the ways she objects to. I don’t use mine to involve baby in what I am doing. Actually, I rarely use mine in the house. I use it to and from the car, at the grocery store, or at church. Anytime I would otherwise already be carrying or holding baby.
  • backpack (for diaper bag)
    • The bigger the backpack, the more junk you try to cram in it. I prefer little backpacks for diaper bags for infants.


Health / Hygeine / Safety


I breastfeed when I’m with baby. I pump at work so baby bottle feeds at daycare. This is the stuff I have and use.


  • Books you enjoy reading
    • Doesn’t have to be baby books
  • Child directed / open ended toys

Baby Might Wants Checklist

Stuff you don’t need, but might want. I happen to have accumulated these things over the years, but the aren’t what I would consider absolutely necessary for everyone.

  • Playard
    • Especially if you have pets
  • Stroller,
    • If the carrier makes you and/or baby too hot
  • Baby Towels.
    • They are nice enough, but regular towels work just as good
  • Pail Liner
    • If cloth diapering
  • Diaper Pail (Diaper Genie)
    • Not needed if cloth diapering
  • Baby Monitor
    • Particularly if you like to spend time outdoors.
  • Play Mat (with removable toys)
    • I like ours with half the toys off so baby can choose to look away if they want to. It is nice with older kids to have a visual reminder of the arms to not run over baby if they were just on a blanket
  • Booster Seat for eating
  • Baby rocker, especially if baby has reflux
  • Changing table and 2 wipe down covers
  • Indestructibles books
  • Bottle Drying Rack
  • Hands Free Nursing Bra

Baby Don’t Need Checklist

  • Bassinet.
    • We had one for our oldest, but never used it.
  • Baby Bathtub.
    • We had one for our oldest, but never used it.
  • High Chair.
    • Never had one.
  • Bouncers, swings, walkers, jumpers, exersaucers.
    • Not needed and can inhibit gross motor skills.
  • Most Toys.
    • Especially toys with batteries. Seriously. Babies can entertain themselves with a everyday stuff around the house pretty much endlessly if you let them. The less active the toy, the more active (read self-entertaining) the baby.
  • Shoes.
    • Until baby is walking outside, which may not be in the first year.

Amanda is the founder of Survival With Kids. She is the mother of 4 kids (two boys and two girls). She became a brain cancer widow in April of 2017 at the age of 32. She writes about surviving and preparing for unexpected events.
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Do you use disposable diapers? What would you do if you couldn’t get them any more at the store? You could try stocking up, but disposable diapers are pretty expensive. Also if you were in an long term disaster situation, potty learning may not be an easy task with stress hormones running high.

The reality is that it would be hard to stock up enough disposable diapers. In this post, I’m going to discuss what you could stock up on in order to be prepared for baby cloth diapers, whether you use disposables or cloth for your primary diaper routine.

There are seven components to cloth diapering: a diaper (the absorbent part), waterproof cover, wipes, a place to store your dirty diapers, laundry detergent, a way to wash your diapers and a way to dry your diapers.

The Absorbent Diaper

Pad Folded Flat DiaperThe most flexible option is going to be two dozen flats. Two dozen will easily last 2-3 days for most babies. Flats are big (around 30″ x 30″ square) single ply pieces of fabric that you fold up into a diaper.

This can be a little bit intimidating at first when you see how some people fold their baby’s diapers. I personally don’t use any fancy folding techniques. I fold it in half, fold it in half again, then fold it into thirds. I then lay it into a diaper cover with snaps (I’ll discuss covers more in the next section).

There are lots of quality flats available online. I actually don’t own any of those. So especially for an emergency stash, I recommend you go to the kitchen supplies section of any of your local retail stores (Walmart, Target, Kmart, etc) and pick up two dozen 100% cotton flour sack towels.

Yes, I am talking about the kind people use to dry dishes. These are cheap, quick drying and can be used to dry dishes while you aren’t in an emergency. Unlike most other cloth diapering options, these are not sized and are therefore flexible enough that you can use the same ones for any size baby from newborn to toddler.

The Easy Snap Cover

Flip Diaper On ToddlerWhen it comes to covers, you have plenty of options, but for your emergency stash, I recommend a minimum of (6) one-size diaper covers with snaps. A quantity of (6) should get you through 2 days.

With this quantity you aren’t changing the cover every time you change the diaper. You wipe out the cover and reuse it with a new flat as long, as it didn’t get poop on it. If your baby poops frequently, you may want to increase the number of covers that you stock.

A one-size diaper usually means from average to large size newborn until from 30-40lbs, depending on the brand. You are going to want to pick a cover that lasts until at least 35-40lbs. I will write a product review soon for my favorite diaper cover, the Flip brand Diaper Cover.

Cloth diaper covers come with either snaps or hook and loop. The hook and loop fastener is more similar to a disposable diaper and you can get a better fit on smaller babies, but they wear out too quickly after being washed and open/closed on a regular basis. Snaps are much longer lasting.

Have You Ever Used Cloth Wipes and Wipe Solution?

Disposable wipes have much the same issue as disposable diapers. There aren’t a huge amount of other functions they can serve, so it would be hard to stock up enough. For reuseable wipes, all you need is any little bits of cut up cloth and a squirt bottle with a wipes solution.

A basic wipe solution has three ingredients: water, oil and baby wash (or any liquid soap). Just fill up the squirt bottle 2/3 of the way with water and put a couple tablespoons oil and a couple tablespoons of baby wash. The coconut oil or olive oil that you would stock up on with your long term food storage plans will work perfectly. Whatever baby wash you use on your baby to bathe them, stock up a little extra on that and you are set.

Dirty Diaper Storage

Diaper Pail LinerYou need to have a place to put the dirty diapers between washing. The easiest solution is to use an old trash can with good quality generously size pail liner, like the Kanga Care Cloth Diaper Pail Liner. I rotate two, one in-use and one being washed.

One of the best features is that this bag can be turned inside out and washed in the same laundry load as the diapers. Another function for this bag (so it isn’t necessarily just sitting in your emergency stash) is as a laundry bag when we spend the weekend away at your in-laws.

Washing Diapers Without Electricity

If you don’t have electricity, this will be tricky. I have read about a few different ways to do this, but don’t currently have a great solution. I am going to do some research and post back here with a link to a new post on how we could effectively plan for this.

Cloth Diaper Friendly Laundry DetergentFor now, we have switched to washing all of our clothes in a cloth diaper friendly laundry detergent and stock up a bit on just one detergent. For a nearly comprehensive list of detergents and a rating of cloth diaper friendliness, check out this Detergent Chart.

Drying Diapers

The best route for this (if no dryer is available) is an old fashioned clothes line. Get some durable paracord and 30+ clothes pins. Hang diapers and covers to dry in the sun. A benefit to drying in the sun, is that ‘sunning’ your diapers will really knock out most staining and keep your diapers bright and cleaner looking.

A Summary of the Cloth Diaper Emergency Kit

So in conclusion, a good emergency cloth diapering kit would include the following:

  • (24) flats or flour sack towels,
  • (6) one-size diaper covers with snaps.
  • A clean squirt bottle (wipes solution will be made from products included in your long term household and food storage)
  • (2) Pail Liners
  • Paracord and 30 clothes pins

The following are items needed from other long term household and food storage:

  • Water
  • Coconut or Olive Oil
  • Baby Wash / Liquid Soap
  • Cloth Diaper Friendly Laundry Detergent

So there you have it. The basic diaper emergency kit. Do you have any other tips or have a good non-electricity solution for washing clothes? Leave me a comment below.

Amanda is the founder of Survival With Kids. She is the mother of 4 kids (two boys and two girls). She became a brain cancer widow in April of 2017 at the age of 32. She writes about surviving and preparing for unexpected events.
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