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:
A few packs of newborn disposable or cloth nappies
Barrier cream to prevent nappy rash
Washing-up bowl or a baby bath
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)
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.
Bottles with teats and caps
Formula milk (first milk for newborns)
Find out more about formula feeding.
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
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.
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.
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ℹLast reviewed on May 1st, 2019. Next review date May 1st, 2022.