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


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


More about bringing baby home

  • A photo of a Britax Romer BABY-SAFE i-SIZE


    Choosing a car seat for your baby

    The safest way to transport your baby is in a well-fitted car seat that is right for their size and weight. It is also the law to do so.

  • Two bags on a white bed sheet with a Britax baby i-size car seat and the words 'Let's get packing!'

    Bringing baby home

    Everything you need to know about getting ready for labour, birth and bringing your new baby home, including when and what to pack, the essentials you need at home and how you might be feeling.

  • Packed bag for hospital.


    Hospital bag packing

    I'm signed up to various weekly 'newsletters' that tell you what to expect each week of your pregnancy and give information on various topics and things to think about as the weeks tick by.


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

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    Last reviewed on May 1st, 2019. Next review date May 1st, 2022.

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    Please note that these comments are monitored but not answered by Tommy’s. Please call your GP or maternity unit if you have concerns about your health or your baby’s health.

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