What does a newborn baby actually need?
Following on from our last blog post 'What do you need for your hospital bag?' we bring you a checklist for another frequently asked question: 'What does a newborn baby actually need?’. We've simplified this list by covering off the first 3-4 months because 4mths+ is a whole other level (they start teething, they start interacting more, they grow lots and then they start eating solid foods!).
We have also created a print-ready PDF you can download here which has our personal ramblings removed. There is space to add your own extras too.
- 6 short-sleeved/long-sleeved onesies depending on the season (alternatively you can switch some of these for pant/T-shirt combos).
- 6 sleepsuits.
- Socks (we had a summer baby and had him swaddled for naps so we only used socks a handful of times but they are good to have just in case!).
- 2 beanies.
- 1 sunhat (babies should avoid the sun for the first three months but I found one of the soft flap style hats to be the best when taking my son out in the carrier).
- Cardigans (easy to take on and off).
- A few soft bibs to catch dribbles.
- A gentle laundry detergent that suitable for baby.
- A chest of drawers or somewhere to keep baby's clothes.
A note on sizing: You will need a mix of 0000 and 000. My tip would be to definitely be prepared with a few 0000 suits but don't take the tags off or wash until you have your baby because you may not use them (hopefully you can return them or regift! If you have been told your baby is measuring small or you are at risk of delivering prematurely then pick up a few 00000 sized suits (so teeny!).
- Bassinet or Moses Basket + mattress.
- 2 fitted bassinet size sheets (if you get a fitted + flat set you can also tuck the flat in and use like a fitted sheet!).
- 2 mattress protectors.
- Bassinet blanket.
- 5-6 swaddles.
- Cot + mattress.
- 2 fitted cot size sheets.
- Cot size blanket.
Nice to Have:
- White noise machine (this was a must for me but everyone is different!).
- Baby Monitor (our apartment is very small so we personally never used one).
- Blockout blinds (it depends on how dark baby's room is).
- Dummy (some babies love them, others aren't fussed. We sell the Natural Rubber Soother).
On the move
- Car seat OR car capsule. There are benefits to both. I opted for a capsule for the first 6mths as I liked the idea of not having to take my son out of his car seat if he fell asleep. I also bought one that could clip onto our pram which was SUPER handy. I then had to organise another car seat at around 6mths old when he outgrew the capsule.
- Car view mirror.
- Sunblinds for the car.
- A pram. There are SO many options. You definitely need to test a few out or better yet if you have a friend with a baby then offer to look after them for a few hours and test out their pram! You will soon realise what you will want in a pram and what you can do without. Things to consider: Weight, how easy they are to collapse and put back up again, the size of the basket, what terrain they can manage, how easy the seat is to recline, how the brake works and where it is located, whether they can be converted to a tandem if you would like a close age gap between kids.
- Carrier. I used a wrap for the first two months and while it was comfy around the house and for short trips I never felt it was that secure or comfortable for longer periods of time. I then moved on to the Baby Bjorn Mini which was SO easy to put on but baby's legs are quite straight in it, not bent like a wrap or the Ergo so my son outgrew it by four months (his feet would hit my thighs when we walked up hills!) so then I moved on the Ergo 360 which I found really hard to put on at first but then fell in LOVE with. I ended up using it daily until my son was 19 months (and I was 18 weeks pregnant and it started getting very uncomfortable for my bump!).
- Nappy bag. Yet again there are so many options. I went for the practical and somewhat daggy option of a backpack. I love having free hands. It was also much easier for my husband to pick it up and take it with him than having to transfer items if I had a handbag style nappy bag.
Nice to Have:
- Pram clips. Great for clipping a muslin cloth to your pram or car capsule to protect baby from sun/wind/nosy neighbours! Some prams have a very large hood or sun cover so don't need this.
- Portable waterproof change mat for your nappy bag. I found this to be a must!
- Nappies (disposables or reusable cloth nappies).
- Wipes (disposables or reusable dry wipes).
- Nappy cream.
- Change table with change mat OR portable change mat that you sit on top of a set of drawers/your bed for nappy changes.
- Baby bath (we have a collapsable one which was incredible for space-saving. I have friends who managed just fine initially bathing baby in the sink or a large flexible bucket).
- Terry towels (old fashioned cloth nappies). These were one of our most used items! I used one on top of the change table cover so that if we got a bit of a poo smear I just had to wash this and not the whole cover. Can also be used as a burp cloth, to help elevate babies shoulders during tummy time or keep a few in your nappy bag for on-the-go nappy changes and spills.
- 2 hooded bath towels (hooded to keep the heat in!).
- 15-20 baby washcloths. I found the muslin squares to be the best to get into little creases. Use one for cleaning baby (face first, then hands and body, then bottom) and one to lie over their chest and stomach (to keep them warm).
- Baby bath wash. We like the Nature's Child certified organic bath wash.
- Massage oil. Something natural like this one.
- Nail Clippers and file or a Haakaa nail file set (keeping their nails short so they don't scratch themselves or others is imperative!)
Nice to Have:
- Bath support. I didn't use it with the baby bath but when we started bathing my son in the big bath at around 4mths this was a Must Have for me (and my back!). It was also great to sit him in before a shower. I would then jump in the shower and lift him out of the bath support. When he was clean I would sit him back in it while I turned the shower off and got out.
- Bath toys (choose mould-free like these Hevea ones).
Must Haves if breastfeeding:
- 3-4 maternity bras or singlets.
- Clothing suitable for breastfeeding.
- Nursing/breast pads.
- Nipple cream.
- Breast pump (I only used a Haakaa pump).
- Freezer bags for storing milk.
- A bottle and a bottle brush (for giving baby expressed milk).
Must Haves if bottle-feeding:
- 5-6 bottles.
- Bottle brush.
- Bottle warmer.
Formula (start with just one tin and see how baby goes).
- Formula storage (for when you are out and about).
Nice to Have:
- Nursing chair (I just fed my son on the couch but out after 19 months of feeding on an uncomfortable couch with low arms my back was pretty sore! I plan to invest in a nursing chair this time around.
- Breastfeeding pillow (regular pillows can work just as well).
- Steriliser if you are breastfeeding (and only pumping occasionally or just using a Haakaa it's very easy to sterilise in a pot of boiling water).
- Bottle drying rack (I didn't have one but if you are exclusively bottle-feeding and therefore sterilising a lot it makes sense to have your bottles separate from your dishes).
- Playmat (it took me so long to find one I liked so for the first 3-4 months we just used a blanket).
- Bouncer (super handy for when you need to shower or make dinner and most babies love them. Especially good for babies with reflux as they often don't like lying down for very long).
- Toys. Newborn babies don't do a whole lot so they really don't need many toys at all! You will also probably be gifted a lot so I would just wait and see. An easy to grasp soft rattle with a bell in it can be mesmerising for a baby.
- Books. It’s a great idea to read to your baby from an early age. Babies respond best to high contrast simple illustrations like those of Wee Gallery. Babies also just love hearing your voice so books aimed at an older age group are great because they have more words! At around 4mths old they start to explore textures and object permanence sets in (a baby's understanding that when things disappear, they aren't gone forever) so books like 'Where's Mr Dog?' and those with different textures on each page are great.
What you don’t need
- Nappy disposal system. So bad for the environment and ridiculously expensive as you have to keep buying the special bin liners. Just use a regular bin.
- Wipe warmers. Just no.
- Baby shoes. Sooo cute but you really don't need them.
- Feeding equipment (a high chair, spoons, bowls, freezer pods, smocks etc.). You won't need these until 4-6mths.
- Additional sleep paraphernalia. Red Nose have written this article here. Safe sleeping guidelines have changed a lot over the years but Red Nose have written this article here to help you out. A well-meaning grandparent might suggest you buy something for your baby that is actually now considered unsafe (cot bumpers seem to be a favourite amongst the older generations!) so it’s worth having this article on hand to run through with them!