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All the essentials you need to prepare for your newborn baby

Sarah Wiltshire,
Partner & Editor

Not sure where to start? Follow our straightforward list of baby essentials to help you get organised for new parenthood and beyond

Children's bedroom

If you’re expecting a new baby, and it’s your first, it’s highly likely that you’ve already been inundated with well-meaning advice reminding you of the things you simply must buy before the baby comes.

It can feel overwhelming and seem like you have to buy an awful lot of ‘stuff’ in preparation, so it helps to have a newborn baby checklist that you can go over and work through, as well as your hospital bag checklist.

Baby sleep essentials

Sleep is probably the most talked about topic as a parent ('how can I get my baby to sleep?' and 'will I ever get a lie-in again?' are both common concerns) and there’s all sorts of advice and theories out there on what the best way is to approach it. Do you follow a routine or not? Should I wake a sleeping baby? What’s the difference between a crib, a cot and a cotbed?

Moses basket or crib – The NHS recommend that your baby sleeps in the same room as you for the first six months. A Moses basket or crib is small enough to have your baby right by your bed and because of their size, they’re also fairly portable too, so you can move it around your home as you go from room to room. A bedside crib like the SnuzPod is specifically intended to be used right up against your bed with the side down,  so you can keep your baby close and within arm’s reach all night long – really helpful for night feeds.

Cot or cotbed – Babies usually grow out of their Moses basket or crib by about six months, at which point they can be transferred to a cot or cotbed, if they’re not in one already. A cotbed is a cot that can be changed into a toddler bed for when baby gets a bit older, meaning you won’t have to buy a separate bed when they’re ready to be a bit more ‘grown-up’. 

New mattress for your Moses basket, crib, cot or cotbed  - The NHS recommend a new mattress for every new baby.

Fitted sheets – You’ll be changing sheets a lot in the early days so 3/4 is a good amount to start with.

Swaddling blanket or 3-4 blankets – You shouldn’t use both at the same time. When your baby’s born, the midwives will probably show you the technique of swaddling – wrapping baby up so they’re snug and secure. This can help to calm and soothe, and stops them being woken up by their startle reflex. If you want to continue to swaddle at home, you can use a standard blanket or buy a special blanket specifically intended for swaddling. 

Baby sleeping bag – A great solution if your wriggly baby kicks the covers off.

Room thermometer – The Lullaby Trust recommends a room temperature of 16-20°C with light bedding or a lightweight, well-fitting baby sleep bag which is comfortable and safe for sleeping babies.

Digital thermometer – Get a fast and accurate reading of your baby’s temperature.

Night light  – A friendly glow during those night feeds and a reassuring light when your baby gets a bit older.

Baby monitor – For peace of mind whilst your baby is sleeping.

Baby feeding essentials

How you feed your baby is up to you. You may have an idea of what you’re going to do before your baby’s born, or you may prefer to go with the flow and see what happens after the birth.

Muslin squares – These will be indispensible from birth till they are eating with cutlery and you'll get through a few a day.  They are top of every parent’s list, and for good reason. These basic large squares of cotton have a multitude of uses, from mopping up milk and accidents, a cover-up for feeding time (it’s fine not to cover-up too) and a sun shade. 

Nursing bras – If you’re breastfeeding, nursing bras are a must, as they have handy clips for easy access. We can help you find the right size for you with our free in-store Bra Fitting Service. Come and see us two-three weeks before your baby’s due.

Nipple shields and breast pads – Breast pads will help deal with any leaks when your milk comes in and nipple shields can help with any discomfort when you’re getting breastfeeding established.

Bottles and teats – If you’re bottle feeding, you’ll need a selection of bottles with slow flow teats, but be prepared to try and test a few to find the one that your baby prefers. You’ll need a steriliser and bottle brush to keep things nice and clean too. A bottle warmer is really helpful when you need to warm your baby’s milk up quickly.

Steriliser – Choose steam, microwave or cold water to keep all your bottles sterilized. 


Baby changing and bathing essentials

Baby bath or bath support - You might feel a little unsure about bathing your newborn for the first time. Depending on how you feel, you can go for a separate baby bath that means no leaning over the side of the big bath and bath time doesn’t have to restricted to the chilly bathroom, or a bath support that’s designed for use in your main bath and takes up little space. With a bit of practice, bath time will form a well-loved part of your child’s bedtime routine for years to come.

Changing mat and travel changing mat – Babies need a lot of nappy changes and sometimes at the most inconvenient times, like when you’re just about to leave the house or when they’re just nodding off to sleep. The key is to set up an organised place to change them so you always have everything to hand, so if you’re in a rush or it’s the middle of the night, you know where everything is.

Bath thermometer – Make sure the water’s at the right temperature for your baby.

Toiletries, cotton wool and flannel – Use gentle products for baby’s delicate skin.

Cuddle robe or towels - Nothing is cuter than cuddling your baby straight out of the bath. Choose a soft baby friendly towel. 

Nappies – As many as you can store for several days at a time plus a nappy bucket and nappy sacks.

Baby wipes - Essential for the next 5 years - stock up in advance.

Baby hair brush and gentle shampoo - Get them used to hair washing and brushing from an early age.

Nail scissors - Keep those little fingernails short (they grow fast!) to avoid scratching.

Baby travel essentials

It can be a little overwhelming to think about what you’ll need when you’re on the move with your baby. What kind of pram shall I get? Do I need a buggy too? And what’s a baby carrier for? When your baby’s born, you won’t need an extensive list, so it’s best to focus on the basics.

Infant carrier or car seat - An infant car seat is essential to take the baby home in from hospital and you’ll need a pram or pushchair for those first outings. It's not recommended to use a second-hand car seat.

Pram/pushchair -  This must be suitable from birth. It's a good idea to think about the kind of buggy that will suit your lifestyle. For example, if you do a lot of walking and spend lots of time outdoors, you may want a buggy with big, textured wheels that can handle uneven terrain, or, alternatively, if you travel a lot, a lightweight buggy will make life easier.

Baby carrier or sling - Great for parents who want to keep their baby close to their body when they’re on the move.

Parasol - Or sun canopy in for the summer that can be attached to a buggy. 

Rain cover - For your car seat and pram or pushchair (if not included in package).

Travel cot – Indispensible for when you hit the road and can be useful around the house too. Alternatively you could use a Moses basket.

Sun blinds - For your car windows in summer.

Changing bag - You'll be grateful for a decent changing bag when you are out and about. Most come with a pull out changing mat and lots of useful pockets for bottles and nappies. There's an amazing range of styles to choose from, from simple to the stylish. 

Our Nursery Advisors can take you through the different types of prams and travels systems available so you can decide what’s best for you.

Baby clothng essentials checklist

You’re likely to be given a lot of clothes as gifts in the days leading up to your due date and after the baby’s born, but there are some basics that you’re going to want make sure you have, so you’re fully prepared.

Bodysuits x 10 – You’ll be surprised how many times you’ll have to change baby in a day

Sleepsuits x 10

Cardigans x 2 and other layers

Scratch mittens x 2 pairs –their hands flail about a lot – these will stop those little scratches

Socks - Little feet get cold too!

Hat - All important for leaving the hospital and going out and about