Your new baby checklist: all the baby essentials you’ll need for the first six months
Preparing for baby’s arrival? From dreamy cots to smart baby monitors, here’s all the kit you’ll need
Figuring out just what to put on your new baby checklist can be a tricky task for a new parent. If you’re expecting your first baby, chances are you’ve already been given a lot of (mainly well-meaning, sometimes conflicting) advice from friends and family about what to buy.
It can get a bit overwhelming, but fear not, we’re here to help. Here’s our definitive new baby checklist to put your mind at ease, safe in the knowledge that you have everything in place for your new arrival. Plus, if you’d like some hands-on tips and direction, book in for a free virtual appointment with one of our Nursery Advisors. Our specialist Partners will help you navigate all the information, give impartial advice and help you devise a personalised shopping list to suit your budget and lifestyle.
Moses basket or crib
The NHS recommend that your baby sleeps in the same room as you for the first six months. Moses baskets are a good option when your baby is tiny – they’re small enough to be kept next to your bed and carried around with you as you go from room to room. Alternatively, a bedside crib like SnüzPod is designed to be kept right by your bed with the side down, meaning your baby is at arm’s length – helpful for night feeds.
Cot or cotbed
Babies usually grow out of their Moses basket or crib by the time they’re about six months old, at which point they can be moved into a cot or cotbed. So what’s the difference? A cotbed is slightly larger than a standard cot, and has removeable sides, so it can be made into a toddler bed when your baby gets older. The NHS recommend you buy a new mattress for every baby, so even if you’re reusing a crib or cot, a fresh mattress is key.
Duvets, quilts and pillows are not recommended for babies under one year old, so buy a couple of blankets that can be layered up depending on how cold it is. Cellular blankets are great as they allow air to circulate – perfect for regulating a baby’s temperature. This soft and tactile cellular blanket is made from pure GOTS certified organic cotton and makes a great gift for a newborn.
If you have a wriggly baby who likes to kick off their blankets, a sleeping bag is a safe option for keeping them warm all night.
For peace of mind, a baby monitor is a must. Choose from an audio model, so you can hear your baby if they wake up at night, or a video monitor, so you can keep an eye on them via a small screen. Many monitors have temperature displays included too, so you can ensure your baby’s room is comfortable. Smart baby monitors like the Bluebell smart baby monitor go one step further and link up to an app so you can monitor baby’s heart rate and oxygen levels on your phone. For further advice read our guide to smart parenting gadgets.
If you’re breastfeeding, nursing bras are essential, as they are specially designed for comfort and have handy clips for easy access. To make sure you find the perfect fit, visit our bra fitting service three or four weeks before your due date. Add breast pads to help deal with any leaks when your milk comes in. And thanks to new technology, breast pumps have become easier and more efficient than ever before – Elvie’s single electric breast pump is a silent, wearable pump so you can go about your daily tasks as you express.
Bottles and accessories
If you’re bottle feeding, you’ll need a selection of bottles with slow-flow teats, but be prepared to try a few different brands before finding the one your baby prefers. And to keep everything clean and safe, you’ll need a bottle brush and steriliser. Choose from an electric one (which uses steam to kill germs), a microwave one (which works by heating up water to sterilise) or a cold-water one, which you use with sterilising tablets.
Such a simple item but so essential. These large cotton squares are real multitaskers. At John Lewis & Partners you’ll find a selection of muslins including the stylish Aden + Anais (a great new baby gift) so you can choose a print or colour scheme to suit your style.
Baby bath or bath support
You might feel a bit nervous about bathing your baby for the first time, but once you get used to it, you’ll find it becomes a lovely, relaxing way to end the day. There are two main options – a baby bath, which is a small, plastic bath-shaped tub, which can be used in the bathroom or anywhere in the house if you prefer. If you’re looking for something that doesn’t take up much space, a bath support might be better – they’re designed to be used in your existing bath.
A changing station
Babies need a lot of nappy changes – and chances are it’ll happen at the most inconvenient times, like when you’re about to leave the house. The key is to set up an organised place to change them so you always have everything to hand. A changing mat, with a basket of wipes, nappies, cream, and a nappy bin is all you need. Some people also like to have a changing table, depending on space.
Cuddle robe or towels
Nothing is cuter than a baby straight out of the bath. Choose a soft towel with a hood to keep their head warm if they have wet hair. You’ll find all the baby towels and robes you’ll need here.
You’ll need a baby hairbrush and shampoo, to get them used to hair washing and brushing from an early age. And nail clippers or scratch mitts will help stop them scratching themselves (those little nails grow fast!). Again, it’s worth getting all bathing and changing kit before the big day so you’re fully prepared.
A rear-facing infant car seat is essential to take your baby home from hospital and you won’t be able to leave by car without one. Here at John Lewis & Partners we stock a selection of all the most trusted car seat brands from Maxi-Cosi to Silver Cross. Take a read of our handy car seat buying guide to help you decide on the right one.
Think about the kind of pushchair that will suit your lifestyle. A travel system is a good idea if you are in and out of the car and want something that will last until your child is a toddler. Travel systems usually consist of a base, a carrycot (for a newborn baby), and a pushchair seat (for when they can sit up). Some come with a car seat, otherwise you can choose a car seat that can be attached to your base with special adaptors, for if your baby is asleep and you need to move them from the car to the house, for example (although babies shouldn’t be left too long in a car seat). Our prams and pushchairs buying guide will help direct you. Most importantly, you’ll need to check that the pram you buy is suitable to be used from birth (and can be reclined fully). Some models are only suitable for babies over six months old.
Baby carrier or sling
A baby carrier is ideal for parents who want to keep their baby close when they’re on the move (and they take up a lot less space than a pushchair if you’re just popping to the shops).
Considering how tiny they are, babies need a lot of kit. From nappies and wipes to changing mats and a spare set of clothes, a changing bag with lots of compartments will be your best friend. Happily, the new generation of changing bags are also high on style.
You’ll be surprised how many times you have to change your baby’s clothes in a day. But as they grow so fast, you don’t want to buy too many things, as they’ll be out of them in a matter of weeks. As a rule, 10 bodysuits and 10 sleepsuits should be enough. Then perhaps three or four cardigans that can be layered over the top if it’s chilly. Lots of sleepsuits have built-in socks and scratch mittens, but if not, get a few pairs of each. And for when you’re out and about, take a pramsuit and a hat. The full range of newborn clothes gives you plenty of choice to get your new arrival kitted out practically and with maximum cuteness.