When you’re expecting your first baby, the thought of bringing your little bundle of joy home for the first time can both exciting and overwhelming. On the one hand, you can’t wait to meet him or her and on the other, you’re leaving the hospital with a new human being and that’s the start of a whole new chapter. Don’t worry if your nursery isn’t completely decorated. Your baby really only needs a few vital things when they first leave the hospital. Here is a quick checklist for bringing baby home.

Car seat

The first thing you need to get before your baby is born is a car seat. In order to leave with your newborn, most hospitals will check that you have a car seat for your baby. They will inspect it and make sure your baby fits inside and is properly secured in it before you can leave. This is a great time to ask any questions about how to strap in your baby. It’s a good idea to install the car seat a few weeks before your due date so you don’t have to worry about it when you’re rushing to the hospital. Baby’s can come on their own time so you never know if you have less time than you think. If you need help installing your car seat and the car seat base, you can check with your local fire department or a police station. They often offer help and safety checks to new parents.

Crib or bassinet

Newborn babies should sleep in a bassinet or co-sleeper in the same room as you for at least the first few weeks. After that, you can move them to a crib still in your room or in their own room. Having a separate place for your baby to sleep is crucial for both of you. Bed-sharing with a newborn isn’t recommended due to the increased risk of sudden infant death syndrome also known as SIDS. In those first few weeks, you’ll both need a lot of rest so make sure you never let your baby sleep on a soft surface such as a couch, armchair, or your bed if you may also be sleeping. A bassinet or crib with only a tight-fitting sheet is all they need.

Swaddle blankets

Swaddle blankets are another crucial item for newborn babies. Newborns have a strong startle reflex which can cause their arms to fly up while they are sleeping and this will startle them awake. Once they startle themselves, it’s only a matter of time before that little baby will start to fully wake up and cry for your attention. You’ll both get more sleep if you can tightly and safely swaddle their arms down on their chest. This also helps them to feel warm and cozy like they did in the womb. Swaddle blankets are great for a million other reasons as well. You can use them to cover your baby while in the car seat or stroller, and as a floor cover while you change their diaper or they kick around on the floor next to you.

Diapers

Diapers are one of the most important things on your checklist for bringing baby home. Babies go through a lot of diapers. Especially in the beginning, you’ll want to make sure you have enough diapers to get through the first few weeks. Don’t go too overboard buying newborn diapers if your baby is full term. They will grow out of them quickly so have some size one diapers on hand as well. The last thing you want to do is have to run out for more diapers in the middle of the night so it’s best to be prepared. If anyone asks you what you need for your new baby as a gift, always say diapers. You’ll always need these and the cost can really add up over the next two to three years.

Wipes

Aside from diapers, wipes are pretty crucial for every new parent. Stock up on wipes and buy in bulk if it makes sense financially. The great thing about wipes is that your baby will never grow out of them. These also make great gifts. You can also use wipes for your baby’s hands and face down the road so you’ll use these up pretty quickly.

Hand sanitizer

Hand sanitizer is another must-have for new parents. You’re constantly wiping little behinds, changing diapers, wiping noses and so on. Keep a small bottle near your changing areas and in your diaper bag for times when you’re not able to wash your hands in a sink. It’s also nice to have hand sanitizer on hand for when guests come over to meet your new little one. Don’t feel bad keeping some out on the counter so guests can use a little before holding your baby. People understand the importance of keeping their germs away from your newborn.

Burp cloths

Babies spit up, throw up, and drool often. Don’t get caught in the line of fire without a burp cloth or something to wipe it up. Keep a few burp cloths in your diaper bag and around the house so you can always grab one in a hurry if you need to.

Easy to eat food, snacks, and coffee

One of the most important things for a new parent is to have food and drinks for yourself at home. If you aren’t taking care of yourself it can be near impossible to properly take care of a newborn baby. Before your due date, stock up on some snacks you can eat quickly. Nuts, fruit, or granola bars are easy to have on hand and eat in a hurry. If you’re into caffeine, stock up. You’ll need that cup of coffee after being up with a newborn baby. As stressful as it is, enjoy those first few weeks home with your little one. Time goes fast and it gets easier. Welcome home, baby.