Are there really any ultimate Newborn Must-Haves Checklists?
My quick answer is no. Why? Because every baby is different. More so, every baby experience is different for us mums. I should know this, after all, I have 2 boys born not far apart and yet my experiences with them are vastly different.
For instance, the first, L.H was mostly bottle-fed meanwhile I’m still breastfeeding my second, L.J, 10 months on! This means that there are some things I considered as absolute newborn must-haves with LH, that I have almost not used at all with LJ. Can you see what I mean?
What then is the purpose of this blog post?
Why would I have a title stating “Newborn must-haves for the first month with baby” when I just acknowledged that babies and baby experiences are different and there is no ONE baby shopping checklist that fits everyone?
My answer is simple.
My aim is to provide a guide for the first time mum. A GUIDE because I’m aware that family preferences and lifestyles are different.
So, yes go through this post but ultimately, do what works best for your family.
If you are a first-time mum, unclear about what to put on your newborn shopping list, this post is for you.
7 Newborn Must-Haves for the first month with baby
The Basics are onesies, vests, bodysuits, sleepsuits, trousers, hats, and muslin squares.
Muslin Squares was my best friend. I used them for everything from wiping up snot to burping my baby.
I’ll recommend that you get a few packs of these. I found the Primark brand was good enough. But if you prefer softer and higher quality, I’ve heard great things about this Aden and Anais brand.
Blankets are essential as well. You will need a few nice cotton blankets to cover your baby in a car seat or pram whenever you go out.
TIPS: Buy baby clothes for the season she’ll be born in and not the season you are in when shopping.
Buy sleepsuits that are quick and easy to undo. This will come in handy for night-time nappy change when you are blurry-eyed and all you want to do, is go back to sleep asap! The ones with zippers are perfect!
Laundry and Detergent: There are non-bio detergents specifically designed for babies. The non-bio washing powder is enzyme-free and less-harsh to the clothes making them last longer.
However, many mums use the same detergent used by the rest of the family without any issues.
TIP: Babies have sensitive skin so it’s a good idea to wash your baby’s clothes before use. Coats and jackets are exceptions as they do not have direct contact with the skin.
I didn’t do this with my first son and I deeply regretted it. Mainly because he had very sensitive skin and developed really bad rashes.
I don’t know for sure if the rashes were caused by his clothes. However, I could have ruled that out had I washed his clothes beforehand.
#2 BABY CHANGE
Nappies: As with all things baby, there is a large variety of nappies out there. Disposables, Eco-friendly, cloth nappies, you name it. They are a must-have for newborns except you plan to use Elimination Communication.
The first step is to decide which type to go for. I use disposable nappies and chose to buy supermarket brands.
I absolutely LOVE them!
Aldi and Morrisons newborn range are very very good and inexpensive too. Even better than the popular branded ones. They are my number ONE recommendation.
TIP: Don’t stock up on nappies. Why? Your baby might be bigger than you thought or sensitive to a particular brand of nappy. Instead:
- Buy one pack of the first size in a particular brand
- Get another pack of the first size in another brand (just in case, your baby reacts to the first brand you buy).
- Buy a size 2 pack. When you suddenly discover that your baby needs to upgrade in size, you will be prepared. You won’t have to rush out or worse, wear a tight-fitting nappy for your baby because there’s no alternative.
Nappy Cream: Almost all babies will develop a nappy rash at some point. Nappy cream is useful for preventing or treating nappy rash. There are several types.
I LOVE Bepanthen.
It gets bonus points for not leaving any stains on the hands. I’ve found it to be very effective with both my boys.
Wipes: You definitely need wipes. LOADS of it. Again, I find Mamia Sensitive baby wipes (Aldi’s brand) to be the best value for money around.
Changing Mats: They come in handy when changing a baby’s nappy. They also help to prevent soiling surfaces.
I prefer these to changing tables as they are mobile and easy to move around the house as needed. Or you can get two for different rooms like we did.
Bathing your newborn everyday isn’t really necessary.
Think about it, newborn babies barely get really dirty except they have a blowout. Most times, they are kept in clean clothes, sleeping peacefully in a safe place, and definitely not moving around much!
Topping and tailing: is a good alternative to daily bathing. All you need do is use a clean washcloth to clean your baby’s head, face, ears, and genitals. This NHS page explains how to do it safely.
Also, it’s a good idea to avoid soaps for a newborn baby in the beginning. It’s not necessary and might do more harm than good.
Personal Story: because my first boy had extra-sensitive skin, I was very careful with my second son. I didn’t bathe him in his first week, only top and tail. I also didn’t use any soaps for a month. Thankfully, he didn’t have any rashes. I truly believe these steps I took were beneficial to him.
Angelcare Soft Touch Bath Support: This was an invaluable product for us. Bath time became so much easier with this to support our babies. We used it until our babies could stand unaided. So, we got very good value out of it.
Your elbow for gauging the temperature of the water.
Mild Soap for baby (One month and older): I use these ones from Boots. They are very good for dry skin which both my babies have.
Towels. I’ve found that organic bamboo towels are softer than cotton towels. Buying a larger set of towels is beneficial. 75cm by 75cm is a good size. With this, your baby can grow into the towel instead of you having to buy a new one after a couple of months.
Feeding your newborn is what you are going to spend an inordinate amount of time doing.
Baby bottles: There are different types. Choose what works best for your baby and what fits into your family preferences and lifestyle.
We used the Tommy Tippee Anti-colic bottles they helped reduce colic but were a pain to clean.
Bibs to catch milk slips.
Muslin Squares: they are the perfect burp cloths.
Bottle Sterilizer: There are electric, tablets, buckets or microwave sterilizers. The choice is yours really. You can even decide to sterilize with boiling water. That’s fine as well. Might not be as convenient though.
Bottlebrush for cleaning bottles. They need to be changed ever so often as they become less effective over time.
Breast Pump for expressing milk: this is a newborn must-have that I regret not buying earlier.
Silicone Breast Pump: It will help you save so much milk, you’ll be amazed! It’s hands down the BEST nursing product I bought. Plus, it’s way cheaper than breast pumps.
Breast Milk Storage Bags or Bottles: for storing expressed milk in the fridge or freezer.
Thermal Bottle Carrier for keeping prepared formula milk warm
Formula if you are formula-feeding or mixed feeding
Formula Milk Powder Dispenser to have the right quantity of formula powder ready on the go.
Hot Water Flask to mix the formula with
Breastfeeding Vs Formula-feeding Newborn Essentials
I mostly formula-fed my first son. Using formula will require using more products than breastfeeding. Many of these products are just to ensure that the milk is safe for your baby. They are bottles, bottle brush, bottle sterilizer, thermal bottle carrier, milk powder dispenser, and hot water flask.
TIP: Check that your baby’s bottle teat is the right flow for baby. The Slow flow is usually for the newborn stage (1-3 months). Then there are the Medium and Fast flows for older babies requiring a faster flow. The teats are marked to reflect the flow level.
1 for slow flow;
2 for medium flow;
3 for fast flow
Many breastfeeding mums find they do not need many products. Having one or two bottles will be helpful for those times you need someone else to feed your baby.
You will, however, use more items if you exclusively pump to feed your baby.
TIP: I advise every new mum to take along a few bottles of ready-to-feed formula to the hospital. Basically, the formula will serve as a temporary measure till your milk comes in or your baby is able to latch on (if you plan to breastfeed, that is).
This will not stop you from establishing exclusive breastfeeding if that is your desire. It’s just to keep your baby happy and you sane.
I did this with my second. He didn’t latch on immediately because of tongue-tie issues. So I gave him formula milk for the first two days. By day two, he latched on somewhat. In the end, I was able to successfully exclusively breast-feed him which was my desire.
DO NOT let anyone shame you for doing this! DO NOT feel guilty too. Whether, breast or formula, the end goal is to have a HAPPY BABY and a HAPPY MOTHER!
#5 OUT AND ABOUT
Car Seat and Stroller: This really is a non-negotiable item. It will make your life as a new mum 1000% easier.
It’s also one of the big-ticket items you’ll buy for baby and so it’s worth taking some time to consider the options out there and what will suit your family needs.
Note, you won’t be able to LEAVE the hospital without a car seat. Car Seats are definite newborn must-haves!
You or your partner should learn to strap the car seat into the car before your baby arrives.
TIP: Practice strapping the car seat in advance. When our first son was born, we didn’t own a car. Beforehand, we practiced fixing the car seat in a relative’s car. So, going home from the hospital, it was easy peasy strapping the car seat in the Uber we ordered!
Here are 5 Important Questions to ask before buying a Stroller:
- Will you need a stroller adapted more to a city or country living?
- What extras and features come with it? Car seat, pram?
- Does it have enough storage space for shopping or nappy bag? Also, does it fold down for easy and available storage? (considering how storage is a big issue in the UK).
- Is it lightweight or heavy for easy lifting in and out of cars or unto buses?
- Do you like the design or style? This is very important because let’s face it, you’ll be wheeling this thing around for months on end and probably for other children as well.
Baby Car Mirror (if you are mobile): For your peace of mind, get a car mirror. Even as a second-time mum, I found it reassuring to be able to peek at my newborn son while traveling. You can easily get one off eBay or Amazon.
Baby Changing Bag: A baby changing bag is an essential product for any mother. What makes a changing bag ideal might differ from one mum to another. A few things to look out for when choosing one suitable for your needs and lifestyle will be one with:
- a wipe-clean changing mat
- lots of pockets and compartments to separate and easily find items or to keep a soiled nappy
- durable material that can be easily cleaned
- ease of carrying either on a stroller, on the shoulder or as a backpack
Baby Sling: This is a life-saver! It has the dual function of keeping baby close to you and giving you hands-free time to do other things around the house. You can also run errands with baby sleeping comfortably in a sling.
#6 HEALTH AND SAFETY
It’s wise to have a health care kit at home for your baby. This typically contains several small tools for maintaining the baby’s health and grooming. Some of them are:
Nail Cutter: baby nails grow very fast. These are for cutting your baby’s nails.
Nail Scissors: Same function as the nail cutter. I found these easier to use on my babies’ fragile nails.
Nail Files: for filing nails to remove the sharp edges after cutting.
Nasal Aspirator: for sucking of mucus from baby’s nostrils
Thermometer: this is so vital to the baby’s health. It’s important to know if your newborn baby is having a fever or is hypothermic. (has a low body temperature). Here are the NHS guidelines on newborn temperature.
Other Health-Related Newborn must-haves to consider buying before baby arrives:
Infant Calpol or Infant Paracetamol is a MUST-HAVE.
Gripe Water for when your baby gets colicky or bloated from too much gas in the stomach.
Vitamin D Drops: Sunlight is the major source of Vitamin D. In the UK, we don’t get enough sunlight for babies to get the required amount of Vitamin D in the body. As a result, most newborns need to be given a supplement from birth.
Breast-fed babies need to be given this supplement even if you, the mum are taking postnatal supplements. Meanwhile, babies who feed on more than 500mls of formula daily don’t need to be given the supplement. The formula is already fortified with vitamin D. That’s the NHS recommendations.
TIP: Be aware that some councils give free Healthy Start Vitamin D drops to mothers. So, it’s a good idea to check if you qualify for it and if your council gives the vitamins.
#7 NURSERY AND BEDTIME
Whether you decide to co-sleep or sleep independently, a newborn should spend the first 6 months in the same room as you. It is IMPORTANT that your baby has a SAFE place to sleep. The NHS recommends a cot in the same room as you.
Personally, cots did not work for us. I had two different cots yet, my babies wouldn’t sleep in there! We eventually co-slept with both babies in our bed.
However, babies are different and yours might sleep just fine in one. Here’s what I recommend.
TIP: A cot is one newborn item that can be a little pricey. A good idea can be to get an inexpensive one as I explain in this post. That way, if your baby doesn’t end up using it, you won’t have a lot of regrets.
If I could turn back the hands of time…
If I could go back to being a new mum, these are the absolute newborn must-haves I would buy and prioritize. Basic clothing for baby, nappies, car seat and stroller, feeding equipment, health care kit, and a safe place to sleep are really all you need to focus on in the first few months.
What baby items have been your absolute must-buys? I’ll really love to know, tell me in the comments.
Congratulations mum and dad! I hope you have the most beautiful time with your newborn.