Shopping for your newborn

As you near the end of your pregnancy you may start to worry about whether you have everything that you will need for your baby once you bring him home. Here we aim to advise you on all of the essentials and a few extras that you may want, to help take the worry away so that you can concentrate on you and your pregnancy.

1 Bathing


  • Soft towels – you do not need special baby towels, a normal soft towel will do.
  • Flannel or sponge – again a normal flannel or a soft sponge will do.
  • Cotton wool – to clean baby’s bottom before bathing and to clean eyes and face.
  • Cotton buds – do not clean inside the ear canal as you may damage it, clean only the outside lobe.
  • Nail clippers and/or scissors – baby scissors are easier to use as they are smaller.
  • Brush and comb – baby brushes are better as they are softer and won’t scratch baby’s delicate head.
  • Baby bubble bath – use one specifically for babies, as it is gentler on their skin.
  • Baby shampoo – this will be gentle on their skin and won’t sting their eyes, but you can use baby bath if you like.


  • Baby bath – this can be useful as there are several different types and some will sit over a normal bath. These are very handy if you want to save your back aching! But be careful that there is enough room either side of your bath for it to sit on.
  • Talcum powder – not recommended by professionals now as it can clog your baby’s pores.
  • Baby oil/lotion – lotion can be useful for cleaning after a particularly dirty nappy and oil can be massaged into baby’s skin if it becomes dry.

2 Nappy Changing

Essentials (disposables):

  • 3 packs of first size nappies – make sure you get plenty of first size, as they are not always widely available. It is also a good idea to check who in your vicinity (24hrs or not) stocks the newborn size in case of an emergency!

Essentials: (reusables)

  • 24 terry nappies – this should be enough to last a few days.
  • 2 safety pins
  • 6 pairs of plastic pants – these will need washing so have plenty.
  • Nappy bucket – a normal bucket will do, you don’t need to buy a special nappy bucket, but you will need a lid of some sort.

For Either Disposables or Terries:

  • A Changing mat – essential to keep your carpets/surfaces clean.
  • Wipes and/or lotion and cotton wool – it can be useful to have both especially if your baby has nappy rash or particularly dirty nappies, which can leave the bottom sensitive.

Optional (disposables):

  • Nappy sacks – very good at containing smelly nappies and usually have a pleasant smell.
    A Nappy disposal system such as the Sangenic – an alternative to nappy sacks but can be very expensive as you need refills.

Optional (reusables):

  • Nappy liners – means there is less mess on the nappy and they are therefore easier to get clean.

3 Feeding


  • 3 nursing bras – you will need several, as they need frequent washing.


  • 8 x 9oz bottles and teats – make sure that the teats fit the bottles and you get the right flow speed.
  • Steriliser – Steam, Microwave or cold water including sterilising liquid or tablets. Your method is down to what is the most convenient for you.
  • Bottlebrush – essential for making sure the bottles are really clean.
  • Bibs – they help to keep those lovely new outfits clean of milk stains.
  • Formula x 2 tins – get plenty in so you don’t have to panic about where you can get some from in an emergency.


  • Breast pads – these stop any leaking from making any wet embarrassing patches on your tops. Your breasts have the nasty habit of leaking when you least expect it!


  • Nipple cream – you only need to buy this if you have sore or cracked nipples.
  • Nipple shields – your midwife may recommend you use these to relieve sore nipples.


  • Bottle warmer – you may find one of these useful particularly for night feeds as you can plug them in your bedroom but generally are not much more use than a bowl of very hot water.


  • Muslin cloths – most carers find these essential as they can be used for everything from a bib to an emergency nappy! Breast shells – collect leaking milk in a plastic shell.

You may wish to purchase some things for bottle-feeding just in case breastfeeding isn’t for you after all.

4 Expressing milk

Note: Don’t consider expressing milk until your breast-feeding routine is well established. These may be something that you may choose to buy after you have had your baby. There is always the possibility that breast-feeding doesn’t work for you and you may end up bottle feeding and have no need to express milk.


  • Bottles – how many depends on how often you intend to express.
  • Steriliser – Steam, Microwave or cold water including sterilising liquid or tablets. Your method is down to what is the most convenient for you.


  • Breast pump – most women use one but some prefer not to.
  • Storage bottles or bags – again these depend on how often you will express.
  • Bibs – you may find that you do not need these or prefer muslin squares.

5 Sleeping


  • Cot, safety mattress and 3 fitted sheets – always check that the cot and mattress comply to British standards.
  • Moses basket and stand, mattress, 3 fitted sheets – can be used instead of the carrycot.
    3 sheets and blankets – it is not recommended that you use a duvet on infants under 1 year so you will need plenty of bedding. Do not use a pillow either.
  • Baby listeners – essential to keep a check on baby when they are sleeping in another room or upstairs if you cannot normally hear them from your bedroom, living room or any other room of the house.


  • Carrycot, mattress, 3 fitted sheets – very nice to have downstairs for baby to sleep in during the day.
  • Cot Bumper – Not recommended now as have been shown among other things to have a link to cot death.
  • Room thermometer

6 Clothes


  • 8 sleepsuits – buy newborn size and buy as many as you can afford then you won’t have to worry about washing.
  • 6 vests/bodysuits – it depends on the time of year as to how many you will need, if baby is born when it is very hot you will not need many but if it is winter, buy lots. Most babies don’t need to be (and don’t really like to be) changed for bedtime. It is perfectly ok for you to put them down in what they have been wearing all day – presuming it is clean!
  • 4 pairs socks – you will not need as many of these because they don’t get dirty and your baby may spend most of her time in sleepsuits.
  • 3 cardigans – very useful all year round, in summer use instead of a coat and in winter you will use them all the time.


  • Hat & mittens – obviously you will not need these in summer but make sure you have them in winter as babies can not regulate their temperature.
  • Scratch mittens – you may not like the idea of these and you don’t need them if baby does not scratch but if he does its much better than baby having scratches on his face.
  • Snowsuit – essential for winter babies.

7 Travelling/ Toys and other equipment

A very complicated area as the equipment that you need will depend entirely on whether you have a car, where you live and how you intend on spending your days.

Car seat – obviously you don’t need one if you will not be taking baby in a car. When you buy one you will need a rear facing infant carrier and check whether or not your car has a passenger airbag, if so you will need to put the seat in the back of the car as the airbag if activated can seriously harm your baby.

Sling – very useful if you are going somewhere that is unsuitable for prams or pushchairs. Or you may take your baby out in the car but cannot fit your pram in the car for use at the other end. Remember that as your baby gets heavier it will place more strain on your back.

Pram – make sure it is suitable for newborns and is portable and light if you intend to take it out in the car etc.

Pushchair – you may not need this at the beginning as a pram is sufficient but it depends on your needs.

2-in-1 pushchair/pram – this system starts off as a pram and can then be changed to a pushchair when baby is older.

Bouncing chair – very useful to keep baby entertained, as she will be able to see what is going on.
Wind up/Electronic Indoor Swing – very handy when it comes to getting baby off to sleep or entertaining her when you are busy. They love the rocking motion
Baby Bouncer – no good until your baby can support her own weight.

You do not need any toys for a newborn but a mobile over her cot and a few brightly coloured rattles or soft toys may be useful to keep baby entertained after a few weeks.

Don’t forget that when baby is born you will receive lots of gifts and people will ask about what they can buy your baby so do not buy everything that you will need before the happy arrival.

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