Whichever way you plan to source things for your baby, a list of things you'll need will always help. To get you started, here is a list of 15 necessary and essential items for newborn baby.
1. Nappies: New-born babies need 10-12 changes a day. That's a lot of nappies! If you're planning to use cloth nappies, buy at least 20-25, so that a few can be washed and dried while the others are being used. It always helps to have disposable diapers handy for when you have to go out with baby, or for those times when you run out of cloth nappies. If you are planning on using only disposable diapers, buy small packs of new-born diapers of two or three different brands, to see which one suits your baby best.
2. Wet wipes, or cotton: wool and water to wash your baby's bottom. Wet wipes are available in pharmacies. If you prefer to wash a baby's behind with moist cotton-wool, buy at least two packs. A pack of wipes might come in handy if you need to change diapers when you go out.
3. Changing mat, or a sheet made of rubber/plastic is essential to place under the baby during changing, or even otherwise, so that the bed doesn't get dirty when the baby pees or poops. A mattress protector, or sheet that is spread over the whole mattress under the sheets also keeps the mattress clean and safe.
4. Washcloth: Small, soft pieces of absorbent cotton cloth are great for wiping a baby's nose, or face. They can also be used to give baby a sponge bath. Any number of these comes in handy!
5. Bibs: for when baby spits up or burps after feeding!
6. Clothes: Most people tend to gift the baby clothes. So don't buy too many clothes yourself – tempting as it may be to see those adorable little clothes in the shop! A few vests, some long-sleeved shirts, pyjamas should do. Body suits (sleep suits, all-in-ones) are really convenient too. The baby stays warm, and it is really easy to handle the baby too in these clothes.
7. Warm clothes: A baby needs socks and booties, especially until it adjusts itself to the slightly cool environment outside, after being in a warm cocoon for so long! Mittens and cotton/knitted hats are also useful. For winter babies, cardigans are a must!
8. Cot: If you are planning to put baby in her own cot or crib right from the beginning, you'll need a sturdy crib that will last you for several years. Buy a firm good-quality mattress too. One that can be attached to your bed is very useful in the early months.
9. Sheets: You'll need many, many sheets. Babies are prone to dirtying their diapers and everything around them, and they spit up quite a bit. Sheets are bound to get dirty. So keep a good stock of them.
10. Blankets: Having been in an enclosed atmosphere for a long time, babies love to be swaddled in blankets – they find it soothing and familiar. So buy blankets (woollen or cotton, depending on the weather).
11. Baby bag: Going out with a baby is quite different from going out alone! You'll need to carry a host of things that the baby will need – and a good, strong baby bag with lots of pouches and pockets is very useful. Go for a sturdy one, so that it will last you for several years.
12. Mosquito net: Mosquitoes are a frequent problem in a warm country like India. A mosquito net for a cot, or for the bed, or even just a foldable umbrella-like mosquito net that can be just placed around the baby is absolutely essential to protect the baby.
13. Toiletries: Baby needs her own grooming kit! A soft-bristled hairbrush, soap, shampoo, lotion, nappy rash cream, powder, massage oil, nail-clippers are essential!
14. Feeding: If you are breastfeeding exclusively, you don't need any equipment, but if you aren't, or if you are supplementing breast milk with formula, you'll need the appropriate new-born formula powder, bottles, nipples and sterilizing equipment.
15. Storage: All the extra stuff that comes with a new baby means that you'll have to make arrangements for a place to keep all that. And it has to be handy too, within reach. Buy or install shelves, or get an almirah or a changing table with lots of shelves for convenience.
There are of course, other things that you'll need in a while, like a pram or a carry-sling, a car-seat, etc. As your baby grows, you'll need many more things that are unique to your baby. Meanwhile, this list should give you a rough guideline!