So you’re having a baby, and with a baby comes LOTS of baby paraphernalia! You won’t be able to leave the house without a whole host of baby related items.
You will find everyone’s idea of “essential” is different – what one family can’t live without, another family wouldn’t even consider using. So I’ve put together a typical “essentials” list. There are some things that would be much better and easier if you buy before the baby arrives but you will probably find that your parenting style adapts as you get to know your baby, so it’s better to buy the bare minimum and then add to this as and when you find you need it.
- Something to wear
It’s good to have a few basics for the baby before he/she gets here. If you know what you are having, it can be easy to go over board with gender specific clothes – but be careful, as you don’t know how big (or small!) your baby is going to be, so don’t buy loads of newborn or tiny baby as it might not fit them for long! Get a couple of packs of vests and babygros, and then maybe an outfit or two – you will probably want a nice outfit for coming home in. Remember, you will probably get a lot of clothes as presents either at your baby shower if you have one, or once baby is born. Your baby will most likely just be wearing vests and babygros for the first few weeks anyway!
You may want to get some socks and/or tights if you are putting them in an outfit rather than a babygro with feet, and it’s good to have a couple of hats for the first few weeks, especially if you have a winter baby.
- Somewhere to sleep
Your baby is going to need somewhere to sleep. It is recommended that baby sleeps in your room for the first 6 months before moving them into their own room. Not everyone is able to do that, but you should try and keep baby close to you for as long as you can. Many people start off with a moses basket as they are nice and cosy, but you could also have a rocking crib or a bedside crib that attaches to your bed. These are especially good if you are breastfeeding or plan on co-sleeping.
If you have baby in your room when they are first born, then you don’t necessarily need to buy a cot for the nursery straight away – it’s completely up to you!
We bought a moses basket second hand, as we didn’t know how long baby would be in it for. We got a very good quality John Lewis one, and then just bought a new mattress for it (it is recommended for any second hand bedding you buy/are given, you always buy a new mattress). We then bought a Mamas and Papas Mia cot for the nursery with a Mothercare mattress (see my previous blog post about our nursery preparations here.)
You will also need some bedding for your crib or cot – for the first few weeks you will probably only need some cot bed/moses basket sheets. You won’t need a duvet or pillow for your baby until they are much older.
- Something to travel in (part 1)
If you have a car, you will definitely need a car seat. Even if you don’t have a car, if there is any possibility of you ever getting in a car, you will need a car seat. Buying your first car seat can be very confusing – there are a lot of options around! Luckily, we got a car seat with our pram as we bought a travel system, and my sister had used the same brand before so we knew it was safe and trusted. Our car seat straps in using the seat belt, but a lot of car seats use the isofix system, so you need an isofix base. We have all of that to research into when baby grows out of their first car seat!
- Something to travel in (part 2)
Most people will probably need a pram. We were luckily enough that my parents bought our pram for us, and again, it’s a bit of a minefield with all the different options!! My sister had bought the Mothercare Xpedior for her second baby and loved it! We used it often when we babysat, so decided to go for this pram for us. We bought the 2015 version with a Salsa Red colour pack. Unfortunately they have discontinued this pram now, otherwise I would 100% recommend it as it’s lightweight but sturdy, and comes with EVERYTHING (you will find with a lot of pram systems, you have to buy everything separately, such as car seat adaptors, carrycot, foot muff, rain cover). The only annoying thing is I wish I’d bought another colour pack as a spare but they’re now sold out everywhere.
- Something to change them with
Nappies. You will need a LOT of nappies. And there is a lot of choice! Some people say you should stock up whilst you are pregnant to help spread the cost, however, I’m not sure this is good advice, as you might stock up on lots of the same brand, and then find you don’t like them. You might stock up on lots of one size, and then your baby grows out of them quickly. So, my advice is get enough for a couple of weeks, but wait and see how they fit and suit your baby before stocking up. You may also decide you want to use cloth nappies – these are a whole different ballgame, with a whole new set of rules!
I decided that I wanted to try some cloth nappies, and was lucky enough to pick up some Bambino Mio prefolds in the Aldi baby event. We also bought a pack of Asda Little Angels, and I got given a couple of packs of Pampers to try.
You will also need some wipes – these can be disposable or reusable, and again you will probably want to try out some different brands, but you can often pick up a bundle on offer at the supermarket baby events. For the first few weeks, it is recommended that you use cotton wool and water, as baby’s bottom is very sensitive, but you can now get something called water wipes, which are a bit more convenient but still as gentle as cotton wool and water.
You may want to buy a nappy bin or pail for the changing room and will need nappy sacks for when out and about. We were bought a Tommee Tippee Sangenic bin which is designed to keep the smelly nappies from stinking out the whole room!
- Something to help with bath time
For bath time, you will need some kind of baby bath or seat to help clean baby. You may choose to buy a separate baby bath with a stand, or you may choose to get a bath seat that goes in your big bath. We chose the latter as it had been recommended by our friend.
It is recommended that for the first few weeks at least, you only wash baby in water, so you won’t need any bath products unless this is something you want to use.
- Something for your baby gear
You will need something to carry all your baby gear around when you are out and about, and most mums like to have a nice changing bag for this! There is an abundance of choice, and what you want in a bag is quite a personal choice – just like choosing your handbag!
I wanted something that was large, with lots of pockets and compartments, but also pretty! I search for quite a while to find something I loved but that was in my price range (no, I was NOT allowed to spend £250 on a changing bag!!) In the end I went for a babymel bag – it is grey with little flowers on it, so was pretty but not too girly that my husband wouldn’t want to be seen with it! It has two side pockets, one large front pocket, a large main compartment with two pcikets inside. It also came with a travel changing mat and a bottle insulator.
- Something to feed baby with
However you choose to feed your baby, you will need certain equipment to help you do this!
If you choose to bottle feed, you will need enough bottles to get through the day, a sterilising system, bottle brush to clean with and your choice of formula.
If you choose to breastfeed, you won’t need as much equipment, but it is advisable to have breast pads (this is true if you are bottle feeding, until your milk dries up!) and also a good nipple cream as it is likely to be painful for the first few weeks, and nipple cream will help to soothe sore and cracked nipples. You may also choose to express, so you will need a breast pump, bottles and a sterilising system.
During my pregnancy, I knew I wanted to breastfeed, so I didn’t buy any formula, but I did buy a breast pump and bottles so I could express if I wanted to (and was able to).
- Something to wrap baby in
You will need lots of blankets for baby! When you first bring them home, you will need some blankets to wrap them up in at night. Many babies like to be swaddled, for which you can get special swaddle blankets, or you can use a cellular blanket (the one with holes in!). You may also want a couple of warmer, fluffy blankets for when out and about in the car seat or pram.
- Something to clean up with!
If you speak to most mums and ask the number one thing they can’t live without, or can never have enough of, they will probably say muslins! They are fantastic for winding baby, catching spit up (or projectile vomit!), being used a light cover at night or when out and about, and being used as a cover when breastfeeding. There are too many uses to list, but it is recommended that you have a lot of muslins – I’d say at least 10, but you will probably find you need more!!
These are my top 10 essential baby items to buy before the baby is here – I’m sure once baby is here, you will find you need or want other essential items! I will do another blog post once baby is here to update how essential my essential items were, and if I have found anything else to add to the list!
Let me know below what are you essential items, and has this changed since baby has arrived?