Everything you will need for your baby for the first six weeks, and a few things you don’t.
Buying for a new baby can be overwhelming, especially for first time parents, as there are so many baby products and brands to choose from. It is a good idea to start planning what you need to buy for your baby early, so that you can purchase all the major items well before the birth.
That, and if family members want to buy a gift you can make helpful suggestions. From talking with other mothers for recommendations and my experience with my son often less is more—but where do you start, and exactly what do you need for a baby?
So, here it is: The bare-bones, nothing-but-the-basics list of baby items you’ll want to stock up on before your newborn arrives.
Sleeping-basket, bassinet, box, crib, carrycot or hammock?!
No, you don’t have to buy them all. You may have room to create a nursery, or you may not. A Moses basket with a new firm mattress is a cost effective first choice for a baby if you don’t have space for a cot. They are portable, but are only suitable for the first 3 months or so. Want a more modern choice why not pick a Dream baby Box inspired by the original safe sleep Finnish design which also provide all the essentials both mum and baby would need in the first months!
Don’t buy more than two fitted sheets as its likely you will not use them. You can rest a sleeper on a stable chest of drawers or buy a stand.
They often come with travel systems, but if you are going to choose this as the babies main sleeping option check with the manufacturer that the mattress is suitable for nigh time sleeping Cribs can be expensive and are soon outgrown.
When choosing a cot you you don’t need to pay through the nose to get one that is safe and durable. A product with removable sides that can be converted into a toddler-sized bed, with height adjustable base and teething rail can be budget friendly and long lasting. Check whether the cot conforms to British (BS EN) or European safety standards. If you buy second hand is advised you get a new mattress, buy a couple of blankets with holes but not a duvet, pillow or bumper (using these items in crib have been linked to SIDS).
Swaddling in the hands-over-heart position is the preferred sleeping position for babies and a good quality Swaddler is a great way to soothe a new baby (up until they can roll solo). The Ergo Swaddler with the beautiful Fly Me Away pattern has an easy to use design with a removable leg pouch to make nappy changing easy. The cotton fabric is so soft and machine washable for ease so a popular choice alternative for baby bedding. The design helps keep baby’s legs and hips in an ergonomic position to allow for healthy hip development and arms secure so the Swaddler does not come undone and be a danger to baby.
Out and about.
Buying a pram is dependent on your needs, buy for them. You may prefer a baby carrier and then to purchase a cheaper, lightweight stroller for when your baby is older. You may want a multi terrain or jogging buggy. Personally the best option for an all-rounder is a 3-1 travel system such as Joie or Cosatto which comes with a car seat, carrycot and front facing stroller one click which will be suitable for years. The downside is that they are sometimes bulkier, but positives are they often have space for shopping and have forwards and backward facing options. If you can pick an option with a rain cover and footmuff included. You will want to check the weight and that the pram has swivel wheels rather than fixed.
If you are buying a car seat separately Isofix and stand options do up prices and make it difficult to switch cars easily. Whatever option you choose ensure there is a 5 point harness on infant car seats. If you buy second hand ensure they are less than 6 years old and have not been involved in an accident. An easy view car mirror and sunshades are in car must haves.
Even little hands need to be kept busy in and out of the car. Newborn babies do not need a plethora of toys and rattles but a few choice options will see you through the first year. Lamaze are one of the most well recognised brands. To welcome a new baby’s arrival Born Gifted offers a gorgeous baby basket filled with #Mumpick recommended Sophie the giraffe goodies. Included is the popular Sophie toy made from renewable, flexible natural rubber and child-safe paint. My son had one of these from birth to one perfect for little mouths, as are the two soothing teething rings. I love that the comforter has a dummy attachment and like all the products can be washed to maintain hygiene. The rattle is lightweight and has an easy grip handle. The collection is value for money and a beautiful gift.
Watch and listen.
A digital baby monitor is useful, look at signal distance and battery life (I like those with mains options). Some mums love video or sensor monitors for reassurance but they can go off unnecessarily. Myself I prefer simplicity. First time I bought an expensive brand with lullabies, lights and sounds display, talkback function etc and never used any of the extras.
Buy a few larger capacity bottles (will last longer) with first stage teats to start. Electric sterilizers are my preferred choice, quick and easy, microwave sterilizers are cheaper but have less room and cold water options take up to half an hour! A bottle warmer is a lovely idea but if you are being budget conscious a jug of hot water did the job for me. Similarly with bottle prep machines, a lot of mums have recommended them for usefulness. The selling point is that they prepare a bottle in under 2 minutes and for any parent awake at 3am that is a godsend. Again though it is an expense so it’s more of a ‘you may like’ product rather than a must have. Starter bundle sets are often priced reasonably rather than buying products individually.
Buy a couple of comfortable nursing bras. I prefer those that are not underwired, best pick one that is your current size and one a cup larger to allow for breast pads and engorgement! Grab a good nipple cream.
There are disposable breast pads but a cost effective and environmentally friendly option is the Theraline Mamma pad. Instead of collecting milk in a fabric nursing pad (which I find can feel uncomfortable) a breathable silicone pad instead temporarily shuts off your milk ducts by gently pressing in the nipple. These can be repeatedly used, just wash with soap and water. One of the many benefits is that you don’t have to wear a bra to bed and don’t have to worry about leaking, the pad is discreet and doesn’t bulge out under clothes. The adhesive is gentle and the Mamma pads don’t crease or fall out. I am also finding them useful during pregnancy as I have been leaking since the second trimester! You do have to be careful when you remove them to not place them sticky side down.
Other items that are helpful and make life easier, but I wouldn’t consider necessity are; a breast pump if you plan on expressing. Lansinoh offers an inexpensive, manual pump reviewed here.
During pregnancy advice recommends sleeping on your side so a specialised v shaped pillow has dual use in acting as a support and as a breastfeeding pillow once baby is born. The Theraline Original comes with a huge choice of patterns on toxin free colourfast fabric and is multifunctional so has a purpose long-term. I like that it arrives with an information sheet on how you can best use it and the bean filled core comfortably moulds to your body. The inner and outer pillows can be washed in case of baby related spills. Theraline create a range of pillows in different sizes so if you were limited for storage you could pick a smaller option.
One of the most pointless things I ever bought was a nappy storage system. Best to buy a box of nappy bags from the pound shop, use a normal bin and empty it regularly if you are using disposable nappies. A change station can be an expensive bit of furniture and I found a plastic changing mat or towel much more use as I tended to change baby wherever in the house I was. If you do have a nursery or have had a C section changing can be painful so why not look into a topper that goes over your cot and costs around £20?
Baby wearing carriers come in a wide variety of styles to suit every taste and budget. Wraps are infinitely adjustable for age and position. The Ergobaby wrap offers a lightweight, soft and breathable support (so you don’t get overly hot) the Aura is easy to wear around the house and more comfortable than a carrier. Watch the instructional video before trying it to guide how to tie correctly. Another plus point is that slings are easy to wash (something essential with the amount newborns be sick!)
For outside and longer wear I would recommend a soft structured carrier which offers support over both shoulders, better ergonomically as your babies get bigger. I would recommend brands such as Ergo, Tula and Integra baby as the carry positions are best for babies hips.
A baby chair or electric swing are part of our #Mumpicks as somewhere safe and comforting to put baby. At this stage I prefer choices without 100 bells and whistles, a basic vibrating chair with a good seat strap works wonders.
Out and about.
A good changing bag will see you through a couple of years. You want one that has enough space to carry ALL the baby equipment and has sturdy straps to bear the weight from the newborn stage to potty training and weaning. The perfect combination of classic style and functionality, Mia Tui includes a change mat and doubles up as the perfect hospital bag. Your change bag will be filled to the brim of baby essentials.
What you can never have enough of is dribble bibs and muslins, they make the perfect ‘useful’ gift for family members to buy expectant parents. I favour ones with bright colours so when I am rummaging round desperately trying to find one they are easily seen. These Happy Jackson sets are available from Find Me a Gift and are made from 100% cotton, fixed with easy to undo Velcro for safety. The bandana style is perfect for practicality and for the 100 pictures you will be taking of your little one. The muslin pack is ideal as they are large (70 x 70 cm) so can be used as breastfeeding covers, they are soft and wash well.
Buying a bundle is more cost effective than buying singular cloths. Another perfect buy available from the website are these beautiful ‘Guess How Much I Love You’ booties that my son keeps putting on his dolly. They come in a gorgeous box perfect to reuse for baby keepsakes! The elasticated top means you won’t lose the bunnies and they are made of a soft flexible material as to not be uncomfortable.
It is easy to get carried away with what a baby needs for bath time but remember, keep it simple. Often you don’t need a mountain of lotions and potions (except a good nappy cream!) Buy a baby bath they are not expensive. Top and tail bowls are pretty pointless. Towels with hoods are useful but ordinary towels do the job just as well. A baby thermometer may be an expensive buy but one that I have found useful for years.
What did you use or not use with your new baby, were there brands you loved or products that you thought were pointless?