Things we couldn’t have done without:
First few weeks onwards:
Baby grows with feet… lots of them (babies feet get cold and socks fall off!)
That’s actually all you need, as long as you’ve got a blanket to wrap baby up in if you’re going outside or its particularly cold inside, everything else is kinda just for fun!
Size 0 nappies for about 1 week (8lb baby) though we got away with folding down size ones
Size 1 nappies from about week 2 to week 5
Size 2 nappies from week 6 (he’s now 9 weeks and we’re still using them)
Padded changing mat
|Buy this mat|
A soft hand towel for baby’s head and shoulders to rest on
Loads of cotton wool
An ice cream tub half filled with cooled chamomile and honey tea, cotton wool torn into handy sized pieces already soaking in the liquid (the tea is amazing on nappy rash!)
A roll of toilet tissue for drying botty
Sudocrem when nappy rash is bad
Aloe vera gel when skin is just a little bit pink
|Buy aloe vera gel|
25l bin with sealable lid and a roll of bin liners handy
|Buy these bins|
Moses basket/ pram bassinet with rolled up towels round the edges and a stretchy blanket over them to make a nest: a cosy bed that you can move around the house with you= you’re not stuck in one place!
|learn how to make a makeshift baby nest|
4 large muslins for swaddling (thicker blankets are too hot) Not all babies like swaddling but for us it has been essential for getting baby to sleep for longer than an hour at a time, if he can’t move and feels secure and snug, he doesn’t wriggle himself awake!
|Buy these muslins|
Something padded like a baby duvet to lie on
You might feel safer with a waterproof sheet over the mattress but in all honesty we haven’t needed it. (Tip: buy a big one and cut it up! So much cheaper)
A couple of stretchy cotton-knit blankets and a couple of big towels for your baby-nest, so you can wash one while you use the other
A couple of blankets to go over baby if it’s cold (remember to tuck them in under baby’s arms so they can’t be pulled over his head!
A portable speaker and a device to play water sounds (we use an app on our phones)… a life saver when baby’s refusing to fall asleep!
A bedside light within easy access, with a dull warm glow: you won’t want to use the big light for nightime feeds
|Buy this lamp|
Internet access for entertainment during nightime feeds… this is when having a whatsapp group with my antenatal class girlfriends kept me sane! Headphones for watching videos if you’re sharing your bed while feeding at night… you really won’t want to keep your partner awake, you’ll need them to be as refreshed as possible during the day, because you probably won’t be!
Dummies with dummy clips. We swore we wouldn’t use dummies but our little monster just wanted to suck and suck and suck in the early days. A dummy saved my nipples and probably saved my ability to breastfeed in all honesty. Before long he started spitting it out and we gradually stopped using them… but at one point we couldn’t have done without. Try a few different types if you’re having trouble. Our baby liked Nuk- they’re not too bulky. Oh, and the clips save you from constantly steralizing because if they’re not clipped to something they will just end up on the floor!
|Buy this dummy|
|Buy these dummy clips|
Don’t bath baby until the umbilical cord drops off. After that:
A baby bath you can put on a surface you can reach easily. Having said that we just have a bath with baby… so even that isn’t essential if you’re a bath-lover!
'Simple' soap. We chose to avoid almost all ‘products’ as we think they’re unnecessary and we don’t want to put chemicals on our baby’s skin. We just use a teeny bit of coconut oil in the bath, and a few drops of lavender essential oil mixed with a little milk to stop it floating on the surface of the water. Sometimes we put some porridge oats in a sock with some chamomile and calendula petals too- makes the water lovely and soft and it’s great for sensitive skin! If we feel he needs a proper wash we use a little of the soap, just on his botty really- where else does a baby get dirty anyway?!
A hooded towel to cuddle baby up in afterwards
A baby carrier. If you want to be able to get on with stuff… get a stretchy wrap and learn to use it… being able to use both hands is a luxury you won’t want to miss out on trust me. We used a simple backpack-style carrier to start with while we got used to just having a baby in our lives (it’s all such a big learning curve it’s a lot to take in at once) but the day we were shown how to properly use the stretchy wrap, our lives got a whole lot easier. They feel so secure compared to all other carriers, and they’re really supportive on your back. We also have a mei tai which is a great in-between for when we need to get him in and out of the carrier quickly… the stretchy wraps are a bit fiddly.
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|Learn how to wear a newborn|
|Learn how to use a mei tai|
Car seat… obviously
A bag you can keep packed ready to go. Ours contains:
Bottles (ready steralized of course)
Small pot of powdered formula (if we’r e not out for long we just make a bottle up)
Dummy in a little travel pot
|Buy these dummy cases|
Changing mat wrap with a couple of nappies, couple of nappy sacks, and baby wipes. We found a really good one that has all of these things inbuilt, so you just unfold it and hey presto… portable changing unit!
|Buy this changing wrap|
We also always make sure we’ve got the speaker and water sounds in case of meltdowns!
An umbrella for rain and as a sun shade
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This depends on whether you’re going to be exclusively breastfeeding. We are combination feeding, so for us it was:
Anti colic bottles, we love Latch
|Buy Munchkin Latch starter set|
Proper baby bottle cleaner, because they get blocked quickly if you don’t use one of these. We bought a set that came with one… probably one of the best things we bought!
Microwave sterelizer… the easiest way to do it.
Nanny Care goats milk formula… so much easier on little tummies than cows milk. There are apparently some queries on the level of nutrients in goats milk formula but don't believe everything you hear... Nannycare has more iron than Aptimil for a start, and overall there's barely any difference in the levels of nutrients if you compare the lists on the back of the packs. My baby and many others I know are thriving on it, and if you’re breastfeeding as well there’s no need to worry. It’s so worth the extra few quid.
|Buy Nannycare Formula|
Muslin squares to throw over your shoulder when you burp baby.
Lansinoh cream… oh my days, if you’re breastfeeding you need this stuff!
In-ear thermometer. We haven’t actually used it but if baby got poorly it would definitely come out. You don’t take any chances if your baby gets ill!
|Buy this thermometer|
And that is it!
Honestly, you don’t need any more than that for a newborn. They will just want your cuddles, unless they’re sleeping… and probably then too!
From about 5 weeks onwards:
When baby starts getting a bit more independent and interested in learning and interacting, you’ll start wanting a few more things but I’d highly recommend holding off until you get to this stage: each baby is different so it’s worth learning a bit about yours before you buy stuff for them. Try things out at friends houses if you can- there were times I bought something and then realised he liked theirs better!
Bouncy chair/ rocker. There are so many different types but our simple rocker does the job perfectly! Some babies go crazy for the vibrate function- it’s worth trying before you buy! We love our Babymoov though because it’s really light and has handles so you can carry baby around the house in it. We use it at bathtime to put him in (on a towel) after he’s been washed. And when it’s not in use it folds away, which is great because seriously, your space starts filling up with baby stuff very quickly!
|Buy the Babymoov rocker|
Hanging toys for the chair. I’d say opt for something bold and bright with spots or stripes (babies love staring at these patterns, especially if they’re black white and red). Think areas of colour and contrast that your baby can see easily. Toys that make a noise are good, something they can reach out and bat or grab, and a mirror… they love mirrors!
|Buy this hanging toy|
Playmat with hanging toys. So much choice! We were given one which saved us the decision making!. And he only looks at the mirror!
Tummy time pillow… we just used a rolled up towel to start with and that worked fine… but it was great to be given a proper one as a present!
|Buy this tummy time pillow|
Interactive sensory playthings. This can be anything that has high contrast patterns, interesting sounds or is interesting to touch. I have a brilliant rattle that I’m so glad I bought. We also printed off and laminated some patterns for baby to look at. He loves cheques, and the smiley face. Bear in mind you don’t actually have to buy anything, there’s plenty of stuff around your home already that they’ll be interested in!
|Buy this rattle|
|Print this pattern|
|Print this pattern|
Cot. When they get bigger you’re probably going to want them to start sleeping in a cot. We still make a nest in the cot for baby to sleep in though.
Baby monitor. We only really started using our monitor at about 5 weeks, when baby became just a little more independent and we could leave him in his cot and go do things in other rooms. Suddenly we were able to have an evening meal together in the kitchen! Luxury! You don’t have to spend loads, ours is a budget video monitor and we’re generally very happy with it.
|Buy this monitor|
Things we didn’t need:
Gro egg. People love these. To be honest, I do like ours but really… not essential! If you’re cold, your baby’s probably cold. If you’re hot… ditto. If you’re unsure feel baby’s neck or ask someone else to. And the colour changing light is nice but only gives off a very dull glow- its not going to illuminate anything and anyway- teeny babies don’t tend to be afraid of the dark.
Toys. Apart from a few sensory aids, he is indifferent to almost all toys.
Baby cleaning/moisturising products. I don’t personally agree with putting chemicals on a tiny baby’s skin… but that’s beside the point. You just don’t need them unless your baby has a specific skin disorder and a lot of those will often clear up on their own. We were given loads of products. I might just use them on myself eventually!
Flannels and sponges. Why exactly are we supposed to need so many? You might want one to clean down baby in the bath. I bought a lifetime supply and haven’t used them at all!
Pram. Never thought I’d do without one but we’ve barely used it! We’re just in love with our carriers! I’m sure this will change when he grows but honestly… after all the stress and hastle of chosing the right one… it just sits in the car boot!
Baby bath seat. We used it once. For 2 minutes.
Baby shoes. Oh my goodness they are SO cute. But we’ve been given about 6 pairs and even though I love them to bits, we’ve never used them except to try them on, go ‘aaaahhh’ and then take them off again because they’re so impractical.
Those cool bandana type bibs. I can’t wait to get them out when he actually starts needing bibs, but until now they’ve just sat on the shelf with all the other bibs we’ve been given!
Fancy bottle with disposable liners. Gimic.
Tommy Tippee nappy bin. So much plastic. So little need. You have to empty it into a binliner anyway, and if your nappy bin has a sealable lid then it won’t make the room smell- just don’t leave it open!
Sleeping bag/sleepsuit. I’m so glad I only bought one. These are so overpriced and really unnecessary!
Sleepyhead. I reeeeally wanted one of these but they’re about £100 and you can get the same affect with rolled up towels and a stretchy blanket!
Rocking Chair. Oh, I did love my little rocking chair- it made me feel special that I had my own baby-feeding throne! But actually, I mostly just sat on the sofa…
Grooming set. A friend gave me this tip: bite your baby’s nails for them! So much easier than trying to cut and file them and their nails are so soft it’s very easy to do. I do have a soft goats-hair brush, and he enjoys having his hair brushed… but he doesn’t need it!