Like lots of first time mums-to-be, I didn’t feel comfortable shopping for my first baby until I was around 30 weeks pregnant. I then found myself frantically googling newborn baby checklists in a mad rush to prepare, although apparently “you can never prepare yourself” for your first baby… this has got to be the most useless piece of advice ever! There are plenty of newborn baby checklists available online; I’m now adding mine based on what I really used as a new mum and what I’ve learned along the way. Here’s my list to paste into notes (with more detailed thoughts below). I hope you find it useful.
You will find that baby lives in these for the first few months. They’ll get through three to four a day (sometimes more) so you’ll need at least eight to ensure you always have a clean suit. There are lots of different styles, I prefer the traditional poppers down the middle. M&S sleepsuits have little coloured poppers between the legs to help you button up correctly – it might seem trivial but extremely helpful when you’re wrestling with an unhappy baby.
The Lullaby Trust and NHS advise that the best way to moderate a baby’s temperature is by adding or removing layers, so you will often find that baby needs a vest or bodysuit underneath their sleepsuit. Like sleepsuits they are frequently soiled, so you’ll need at least six of these to keep up with the washing. In the colder months they will likely need them underneath at all times, and in the warmer months they will often wear them on their own without a sleepsuit.
Another extra layer to help you manage baby’s temperature - you’ll need at least two. Personally I’d avoid over the head jumpers as they’re fiddly to put on.
To stop body heat escaping from baby’s head and to keep them warm when out and about. An essential for the hospital bag (they will want to put a hat on your baby as soon as it is born).
A newborn baby needs to be changed 10-12 times a day. I used disposable nappies size 1 for newborns (size 0 for premature babies). For wet wipes I have used lots of different brands and have settled on Water Wipes – expensive but highly recommended (Eva comes up with a rash if I use anything else). Water and balls of cotton wool is also good in the early days when you don’t want to put any chemicals on their delicate skin. Cotton wool is also used for wiping their eyes clean with cooled boiled water.
An aside, Sonny suffered from very bad nappy rash as a baby - read this article here for helpful advice.
If you opt for reusable nappies, babycentre suggests you’ll need at least 15 of them. Read this article here.
If you are using disposable nappies it is useful to have at least two places (one in baby’s bedroom and one in your living space) to hygienically dispose of them. There are lots of ‘nappy bins’ available on the market, but to be honest any small (lidded) bin with a bin liner will do. I used a Tommee Tippee nappy bin with my first but found the refill cassettes a bit of a hassle…
You will likely be given a few free creams in the run up to baby. The best barrier cream I have used is Waitrose Bottom Butter – use it at every nappy change. Sudocrem is also essential if baby gets nappy rash. Don’t put barrier cream or Bottom Butter on before the Sudocrem otherwise it won’t work – put Sudocrem on the sore areas and barrier cream elsewhere.
Lots of brands available, make sure it’s non-bio – much better for sensitive skin
This is SO important to help with your recovery and care for the new baby (especially if you have decided to breastfeed). If you are preparing meals for yourself there are lots of easy things you can buy – jacket potatoes with salad leaves, soups, sausage and mash etc. My advice would be to stay away from ready made meals and to put one shop on a week with your local supermarket for home delivery of easy, healthy meals to make at home. If you have very excited grandparents-to-be (lets face it, in-laws), a great way to get them involved is to ask them to make up some frozen homemade meals - Bolognese sauce, Chili con carne, anything that is healthy but takes two minutes in the microwave. First Steps Nutrition is a great resource and support for further information on this.
A few packs of nursing pads and maternity sanitary pads, and at least six pairs of large pants. If you are planning to breastfeed buy nipple cream and nipple shields. With both of my babies I tried to avoid them as I didn’t like the thought of chemicals or silicone intrusion on our special moments…. with both of my babies I had to eventually amazon prime them due to bleeding nipples!
Even if you decide to exclusively bottle feed you will need to draw out some of your milk to avoid mastitis. Breast milk storage bags allow you to store milk in the fridge or freezer for later use (read the manufacturers instructions for details). For breast pumps, I bought an electric pump for my first but found the basic manual pump from Lansinoh much easier with baby number two – quick and easy to use, you can stuff it in your bag and use it anywhere. I’d say it’s really down to personal preference, but don’t feel you have to buy something expensive as the manual ones work just as well.
If you are deciding to breastfeed you can probably do without these in the early days. That being said, I used them even when I was breastfeeding as I wanted to get my husband involved. It’s also good to get baby used to drinking from a bottle at an early age (experts says around 3 weeks of age when breastfeeding has been established) so that when you feel ready, you have the freedom to pop out for an hour or two (it’s important). I remember reading about “nipple confusion” and worrying about it a lot. In the end, neither of my babies had a problem mixing between the two. My advice is that every baby is different and to follow your instincts. Very useful article here.
For bottles we used Doctor Brown for my second, highly recommended. After mucking about with a steam and electric steriliser for Sonny I settled on a simple Milton cold water steriliser which I used for Eva too. It’s easy to get caught up with the idea of lots of fancy gadgets but sometimes simple is best – change water every 24 hours with a new sterilising tablet, put bottles in for sterilising/take out as you need. Easy.
Small squares of absorbent, gauze-like fabric for wiping milk away from mouths when feeding, mopping up sick, spills and mess. An absolute must-have wherever you choose to buy, you’ll need four or five at least. Our luxury bamboo muslins are slightly larger than the standard size and can be used as lightweight blankets when baby is small. Find out more about muslins squares here.
The Lullaby Trust advises that the safest place for baby to sleep in the first six months is in the same room as you.
To help you keep baby’s room at the recommended temperature of 16°c and 20°c. Read more about managing baby’s temperature here.
It’s important to have a dark room to help teach baby the difference between night and day
For the most accurate way to take baby’s temperature. Read more about managing temperature here.
As mentioned above, adding or removing layers is the best way to moderate baby’s temperature. Read more about the different types of baby blankets and what you use them for here.
There are lots of fantastic ergonomic baby baths or bath supports on the market. In all honesty you can live without them if you are supporting and bathing baby in the correct way. Lots of people use the kitchen sink!
This is a must-have and you won’t be allowed to leave hospital without one.
Essential for getting baby (and mum) out and about in the fresh air
So that you have everything you need on hand when you take baby out of the house (bottles, nappies, creams, wipes, dummies etc)
If you have any comments on this post or anything you’d like to add, please feel free to email me direct on firstname.lastname@example.org - this is just my personal opinion but I’m always happy to update.
Best of luck with your beautiful new arrivals, and most of all enjoy it!