Nine months might sound like a long time but with scans to get to, friends and family to tell your good news to and food cravings to satisfy, the time can fly by.
One of the million things that’ll be on your mind is the long list of items you’ll need to care for your little one once they’ve arrived and thinking about all this stuff can quickly become overwhelming.
The first thing to remember is not to put too much pressure on yourself. It’s unrealistic to try and get everything in one go which will be stressful and expensive. If you pace getting items and give yourself time to think about what you really want, you’ll find buying for your baby a much more enjoyable experience.
There are some things you’ll probably want to have in place before baby arrives (think car seat). Others you can think about once you’re starting to settle as a family.
To make things easy to plan well in advance, here’s our new parent checklist:
Newborn baby essentials for sleeping
- A baby cot or Moses basket (many parents opt for a Moses basket at first)
- A firm, waterproof mattress
- A set of sheets that fit the mattress
- A set of cellular blankets
- A set of newborn sleepsuits
- A set of dummies/pacifiers
- A baby monitor
Essentials for feeding your baby
This will depend on how you choose to feed your little one. If you choose to breastfeed, we recommend:
- A set of receiving blankets
- A breastfeeding pillow
- A nursing bra
- Breast pads
- Nipple cream
If you choose to bottle-feed or hybrid-feed, we recommend:
- A set of baby bottles
- A set of teats suitable for a newborn baby
- Formula milk
- A bottle warmer
- A bottle steriliser
- A bottle brush for cleaning your bottles
If you choose to express milk as part of your feeding, make sure you get:
- A breast pump (electric breast pumps are more convenient than manual breast pumps, but can be noisier)
- Milk storage bags
Whatever form of feeding you choose, we also recommend
- Muslin blankets
Baby essentials for dressing
For most things in this dressing list, you should try and buy around three to five items (we’ll let you know if you need more or less in the list below). Aim to buy 0-3 month size clothes. Cotton is the most suitable material, as it’s soft, comfortable and breathable.
Bodysuits and clothes that fasten up the front are also the best choice as these are easier to get on a wriggling baby than clothes that need to be pulled over their heads. In general, fiddly clothes really aren’t your friend when it comes to caring for a newborn.
Aim to buy:
- Baby onesies/long sleeve and long leg bodysuits
- Short-sleeve and short-leg bodysuits that can be worn under onesies and other clothes
- Baby trousers
- Baby socks
- Baby mittens (these can help stop babies scratching themselves too)
- Two or three tops
- Two or three jumpers or cardigans
- Two pairs of booties
- One coat (to suit the time of year your baby is born)
- Two hats (to suit the time of year your baby is born)
- A wipe-clean waterproof changing mat
- A set of baby towels
- Newborn nappies
- Baby wipes
- Cotton pads
- Barrier cream to protect skin and sooth nappy rash
- A nappy bin
- A baby bath suitable for newborns
- Newborn bodywash and shampoo
- A baby sponge
- Baby moisturiser
- A soft towel
- A soft hairbrush
- A waterproof thermometer to make sure bathwater is at a suitable temperature
Newborn baby essentials for on the move
You’ll be driving your little one home from the hospital and likely be on the move fairly regularly in their early weeks. Make sure you have:
- A car seat suitable for a newborn baby
- A pram, pushchair or travel system that has a bassinet suitable for a newborn baby
- A baby bag for you to carry nappies, milk and other essentials
Essentials for playtime
In the first few weeks, your baby will be mostly focussed on sleeping and feeding. But as your little one grows they’ll spend more time awake and will start to explore the world around them.
Whilst your face will be the most interesting object in their world, you can begin to introduce some simple toys and items to entertain them and to help with their development. Make sure you start off with:
- A playmat (ideal for tummy time too)
- Simple, soft newborn toys
- A baby mobile that fits a crib
Health and safety essentials
A first aid kit
Baby nail clippers or nail scissors
The best way to shop for newborn essentials
It’s so easy to overbuy when you first have a newborn, and there are no right or wrong answers when it comes to what you need for your baby. You’ll buy some things you think are absolutely essential that you never end up using. Other times a last-minute off-the-cuff buy is the best thing for your little one.
We’ve tried to keep this list as clear and simple as possible, covering just the essentials.
If you try and buy everything in one go, it’s also easy to feel overwhelmed. So, opt for smaller amounts of items at one time, but over a longer period. Starting early in your baby essential shopping can help you adjust to the idea of being pregnant and having a baby too.
To make your shopping organised, you can even focus on buying each category of newborn essentials before moving onto the next. But the most important thing is to enjoy this exciting time as you wait for your little one to arrive.