It’s the question we all ask. The phrase we all Google. “What do you need for a newborn?”
I was lucky enough to be sent a few very well thought out lists from friends, relatives and friends of friends. People are hugely obliging when it’s your first baby (thank goodness!) and always happy to share knowledge.
Over the next year I added my own findings to these lists, removed a few things that didn’t quite work for us, and have ended up with an enormous, but highly comprehensive and organised, list of newborn essentials. As every baby is different (something you’ll get very sick of hearing) there will of course be things that work for you and things that don’t. I’ve tried to include information that covers not only what worked for us, but also what I know has worked for other people.
- Maternity pads – for the hospital. You might also want to get some big grandma undies for this time too.
- Nappies – at least 1 to 2 boxes of newborn nappies (and a few of the next size up, if you see them on sale).
- Wipes or Chux – Huggies are nice and have some extra sensitive or bamboo wipes for the early days. Some people say it’s best not to use pre-packed wipes when they’re newborn as their skin is so sensitive. Chux cut up into squares and wet with water is a good alternative, but it’s up to you and your baby’s skin. FYI: we’ve used the standard Huggies wipes from day 1 with no issue.
- Nappy cream – Sudocream or similar zinc oxide cream. PLUS have Bepanthan and baby powder on hand. Sudocream is for the beginning of nappy rash. It may stop it from progressing. But if it does progress, then use Bepanthan.
- ** Nappy rash tip: clean the bum with wet Chux. Avoid wipes as it can sting. Put on the Sudocream or Bepanthan, THEN put a few puffs of baby powder over the cream. It will stop it absorbing straight into the nappy**
- Cloth nappies – the old fashioned kind. You can get them from Big W in packs of 12. you have now idea how often you will need them. Keep one in your nappy bag, one in the car etc. You’ll use them for poo/spew/milk etc etc. Constantly.
- Wraps/swaddles – for swaddling (obviously), but also out and about in the pram, as a make shift play mat, as a breastfeeding cover etc. Muslin wraps are good for at home, but jersey or waffle ones are warmer for out and about if it’s cold. The thicker ones also double as bassinet blankets!
- Bouncer – these range from $20 to $800. We used a standard $80 model from Baby Bunting, and Everly hated it. We used it three times, so I was glad we didn’t go for something more expensive.
- Bumbo – some people swear by these! Others say they’re bad for hips and posture… we didn’t use one because the physio in hospital said not to, but I know SO many others who swore by them! Ask around and make your own choice.
- Onesies – Make sure they have two way zips. Bonds Zippies are great, but Big W, Target, Kmart etc have the same style much cheaper. Having said that, Bonds always have online sales! Babies can’t regulate their temperature when they’re newborn so even if the weather is warm they will need the full length onesies. **Don’t get too many 0000 size as sometimes they may only last you a few weeks. You can always buy a few more if you need them, but you’ll be kicking yourself if you have drawers full that never get worn.**
- Mittens (newborn nails are so sharp and they are always scratching themselves!)
- Towels – You’ll need a few hooded towels and face washers.
- Brush, comb, nail clippers.
- QV Wash – most doctors recommend this. QV has a baby range, but in the very early days all you need is water and a washer. As they get bigger you can choose a brand you like- we use Organic Care Baby range and Eco Store; both are organic and gentle.
- Baby bath – if you can get a cheapie on Gumtree, do this! Look for one on a stand so you’re not hunched over on the floor.
- Bath toys – nothing fancy to begin with! A plastic cup and a rubber duckie will keep them entertained.
For the nursery:
- Sheets x 3 – get at least 3 sets of bassinet sheets and cot sheets. **Make up your cot/bassinet like this: mattress protector, sheet, mattress protector, sheet. That way when bub pukes/poos etc in the middle of the night you just whip off the top sheet and mattress protector and you have a made up cot ready to go. This may well be the single best piece of mothering advice you ever receive – you’re welcome.**
- Cot blankets – a couple of light blankets so you can layer them. You can also use jersey or waffle (heavier) swaddles for this.
- Night light/room thermometer – if you’re just using a lamp, make sure the lamp has the lowest level bulb in it. If you’re having bub in your room to start with, change your bedside bulbs to the lowest level.
- Change table (or a chest of drawers/with a change mat on top.)
- Bassinet – there is a model with a zip up mesh hood over it if you’re worried about pets. We used this and it was a godsend with our cats.
- Feeding chair (or just comfy arm chair.)
- Sleeping/swaddle bags (or you can keep swaddling with wraps, but sleeping bags are much easier once you’re home. ErgoPouch and The Love to Dream are amazing!
For out and about:
- Carrier – we use a Baby Bjorn which is EXCELLENT. A few friends have the Ergobaby and they love them.
- Porta cot – get one with a bassinet insert if you can. We have the Steelcraft one which has been great. Again, use Gumtree if you can! Porta cots are expensive but there’s honestly no reason not to get a second hand one.
- Nappy bag – I still use mine now, it’s the best bag I’ve ever owned.
- Pram toys
- Car seat
- Pram – we have a Steelcraft Agile. Just make sure it is light, manouverable and folds up easily!
For when bub is sick:
- Paracetamol – Panadol/Dymadon you can use from 1 month. Panadol makes Ev gag. Most bubs tolerate Dymadon betterbecause it’s a nicer flavour. Both do the same job.
- Nurofen – can be used from 3 months.
- Snot sucker – this sounds horrendous and it is, but when bub can’t feed/sleep/breathe properly you will be SO glad you have it.
- Thermometer -we have a forehead one that you touch to the forehead and temple. There’s so much debate on which type is the most accurate. Tbh every doctor and nurse I’ve seen has said something different, so it’s hard to know.
- Vaporiser – the Vicks vapouriser is great and easy to use. Some people get the Euky Bear – I’ve heard that one is also excellent!
- Infants Friend/Infacol – helps when bub has wind in the early days. Make sure you know the other things to do like “bicycle legs”, stretching them out after a feed, belly rubbing etc.
If you plan to breastfeed:
- Breast pads – Buy up if you find them on sale, you will need LOTS.
- Lansinoh – from the pharmacy. Don’t believe what you read; breastfeeding HURTS at the beginning and cracked/grazed nipples are just part of it all. This will help a little as your nipples adjust. **On another note: breastmilk will repair cracked/bleeding nipples better than anything else. After a feed, squeeze out a few drops and wipe over your nipples then let them air dry for a few mins. Sorry to be so graphic, but this WORKS. Breast milk really is liquid gold!**
- Nipple shields – HAVE THESE READY in case you’re having feeding issues in the early days. They are a life saver for so many people, and you can usually stop using them after a few weeks when bub has the hang of feeding.
- Breastfeeding clothes – Bonds singlets/anything that you can access your boobs from easily. Target has some really great, cheap, simple breastfeeding tops and dresses.
- Breast pump – you may or may not need one. I had a Medela swing double and it was worth its weight in gold. Don’t hesitate to borrow one from someone, or hire one. They are expensive, and you may not need it at all/or for long.
- Steriliser bags – depending which pump you use, you can usually get bags that will screw straight on to the pump so you can pump straight into them.
- Bottles – whether you plan to breast or bottle feed, if you want to be able to leave the baby for more than 2 hours you’ll need bottles.
- Steriliser – for pump equipment and bottles. We didn’t use a steriliser. I sterilised bottles and pump parts in a big pot of boiling water at the end of each day. That worked for us, but I know other people prefer steam sterilisers or ones that you put in the microwave.
**After 6 week vaccinations you really don’t need to sterilise, just wash bottles in hot soapy water.**
- Even if you plan to breast feed, it won’t hurt to have one tin of formula in the cupboard just in case!
- Make sure you have the Wonder Weeks app downloaded- you need the paid version. This will be like your Bible.
- Have the Raising Children site bookmarked on your phone/computer. It is incredible!
- Same with the Precious Little Sleep site. Sooooo good for a one stop shop for sleep info. It’s not a sleep program or sleep training but it’s informative, non judgy and very useful.
- Kinderling Radio app is great. Kids’ music interspersed with kid-friendly adults music.
- White noise apps – I use Sleepy Sounds. We have an old iPad under Ev’s cot permanently for this. You can also get little white noise machines. They’re great for sleep, but there’s also evidence that it makes them calmer/keeps heart rates steadier/feel more secure and comforted.
- Baby feed/sleep tracking app – lots of people don’t use one, but if you’re as organised (pedantic) as me, you might find it useful. I used FEED BABY, but there are so many different ones.
Make sure to email me if you have any suggested additions to the list!! xx