With so many baby products on the market, it can be hard to know what you really need and what is just a nice extra. Perhaps you want to buy everything brand new, or perhaps you are lucky to have family and friends to pass things on, to help reduce the costs. Here’s a rundown of the essentials to help you with your shopping list.
A mimimun of eight all-in-one suits will be very handy. Small babies tend to live in these during their first few months and really don’t need to wear anything else, apart from a vest underneath in winter and a cardigan over the top if it is cold.
A mimimun of eight six vests, also known as body suits, with envelope necks and poppers underneath. These can be worn under all-in-ones, or on their own if it’s hot. Short and long-sleeved versions are available for different times of the year.
Depending on the time of year, you might need to invest in cardigans, hats, and a pram/snowsuit (if only they made them for adults!)
TIP: Don’t use washing powders with enzymes (bio powders) or fabric conditioner, as they may irritate your baby’s skin. Always rinse baby clothes thoroughly. It is recommended to wash baby’s clothes separately to yours for the first 6 months.
As newborn babies will need their nappies changed 10 times to 12 times a day, buy enough to keep you going for at least the first few days or so. You will also need nappy sacks and wet wipes (or cotton wool).
TIP: The packaging for nappies looks the same to the untrained eye, make sure you buy the right size for your baby!
If you are planning to use reusable nappies, you will need at least 15 nappies suitable for your newborn baby. You will also need a bucket, nappy liners, and some nappy steriliser. It’s also probably a good idea to have at least one packet of disposable nappies handy too, in case you get behind with the washing during the early weeks.
If you’re breastfeeding, you will need nursing bras and breast pads.
Bottles, teats, bottle brushes, and a steriliser or some other sterilising method are vital if you are bottle-feeding.
Cotton bibs and muslins are very handy too.
A Moses basket, crib, or cot – with the appropriate sized mattress
You will need bottom sheets, top sheets and blankets for the baby’s early days. As they get older, you can let them sleep in a baby sleeping bag – these are very practical, especially when they start to wriggle at night, so that they don’t get uncovered.
TIP: If you are borrowing a crib or a cot, or using one that has been used by another of your children, you should ideally buy a new mattress. Mattresses should always be firm, flat, fits with no gaps, is clean, and waterproof.
Don’t use pillows and duvets – they are not safe for babies who are less than a year old due to the risk of suffocation.
And as pretty as they are, baby bumpers around the cot can cause suffocation.
A baby bath can be useful, but they do take up a lot of room if space is limited. A newborn bath support will hold your baby safely in the main bath and is much cheaper.
Baby towels are useful, but not essential. A small bath towel will work just as well.
A mild, liquid baby soap or bath emollient to protect your baby’s delicate skin, cotton flannels and/or cotton wool.
In the early weeks, the baby needs to lie flat in the travel system that you choose. There are many models on the market that grow and adapt with your baby, that go from pram-style to buggy.
You’ll also need a raincover and, in summer, a sunshade.
If you are travelling by car, you will need a rear-facing car seat (some travel systems have the car seat as part of it).
TIP: Even when leaving hospital the baby must be in a car seat, so make sure you have this ready in advance.
Sun blinds for the car are useful in the summer as well as winter (when the sun is lower on the horizon).
Baby carriers (also called slings) are attached with straps and your baby is carried in front of you. Most babies like being carried like this because they’re close to you and warm.
TIP: Whichever style you choose, always make sure the baby’s head is supported at all times.
A changing bag is essential for holding all the bits and pieces you now need to take with you whenever you leave the house. Choose a bag with a changing mat and space for wet wipes, lots of nappies and your baby’s bottle (if you’re bottle-feeding). If you’re very organised, you may prefer a bag with lots of compartments. Otherwise, choose a simpler style, as you can end up wasting a lot of time looking for that vital, but buried, item!
TIP: It is likely that you will ditch your handbag (so that you have one less thing to carry), so choose a style that you will like – and that your partner is also happy to carry.
You will always want one to hand when your baby is poorly, to keep an eye on their temperature.
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