What you will need for your baby

As well as packing your hospital bag for labour, you’ll need a few things at home for after your baby is born. Here’s a helpful list.

Where to start         

Shopping for a newborn can be lots of fun, but it can also be quite overwhelming. There is a huge amount of baby products available and it’s very easy to keep adding to your list.

Starting with a few essentials to get you through the first few weeks can save money and stop you buying products you might not even end up using.

Not everything has to be brand new, except cot mattresses and car seats. The Lullaby Trust recommends that cot mattresses are new because using second-hand ones might slightly increase the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). Second-hand car seats may have been in an accident, which makes them less safe. So if you get a second-hand car seat, get them from someone you trust to tell the truth about any accidents. 

Other than that, you can look out for baby items that you can borrow or buy second-hand, if they are clean and safe.

Here’s a list of things you’ll need:

Nappy changing

  • A few packs of newborn disposable or cloth nappies
  • Cotton wool
  • Changing mat
  • Barrier cream to prevent nappy rash
  • Muslin cloths


  • Washing-up bowl or a baby bath
  • Towels
  • You don’t need to use soap, body wash or shampoo to bathe newborn babies, unless your health visitor advises you too. Plain water is safer for your baby’s skin during the first month.


  • At least 6 all-in-one sleepsuits/babygrows
  • At least 6 vests or bodysuits with poppers that close under the nappy
  • 2 cardigans (wool or cotton, rather than nylon)
  • A wool or cotton hat or a sun hat if it’s summer for going out (babies shouldn’t wear hats inside)
  • Mittens, socks or bootees


  • Cot, crib, carrycot or moses basket with new mattress
  • Fitted sheets to cover the mattress – you may need a few of these as you’ll be changing the sheets often
  • Light, cellular blankets or sleeping bags with a fitted neck that prevents the baby moving downwards into the bag. Do not use duvets or pillows for newborn babies because there is a risk of suffocation


  • Nursing bras (it helps to get measured for these when you're around 36 to 38 weeks pregnant)
  • Breast pads
  • Nipple cream
  • Some women find nursing pillows useful, especially if they’ve had a caesarean section
  • Breast pump. Electric pumps can be expensive but a manual one may be fine or you could decide later whether you need one. You can also rent powerful hospital-grade breast pumps from organisations such as Medela if you are having problems breastfeeding.

Find out more about breastfeeding.

Formula feeding

  • Supportive bras
  • Bottles with teats and caps
  • Formula milk (first milk for newborns)
  • Sterilising kit
  • Bottle brush

Find out more about formula feeding

Going out

  • Infant car seat (new or second-hand from someone you trust)
  • Pushchair with a fully reclining seat so your baby can lie flat. If you have a second-hand pram or buggy, make sure the wheels and brakes are in good working order
  • Shawl or blanket to wrap your baby in – this can also be useful if you want a cover for breastfeeding
  • Bag to put your essentials in while on the move, such as nappies

More support and information

The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA  has information about child car seat safety

The Lullaby Trust provides expert advice on safer sleep for babies

NICE (2006). Postnatal care up to 8 weeks after birth. National Institute for health and care excellence https://www.nice.org.uk/guidance/CG37

Review dates
Reviewed: 01 May 2019
Next review: 01 May 2022

This content is currently being reviewed by our team. Updated information will be coming soon.