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Babies need stuff – and a fair bit of it too. But while you’ll want to prepare for your new arrival as much as possible, it can be tricky to know what you actually need.
After scouring the Mumsnet forums and speaking to parents, we've drawn up a handy checklist. Here are the newborn baby essentials that you actually need, plus scroll down for a list of products approved by our users.
Clothing essentials for newborns
1. Sleepsuits, bodysuits, vests and newborn baby grows
- Stick to eight of each to start with.
- Cotton is the best fabric for a baby’s sensitive skin.
- Consider a handful of daywear outfits or baby romper suits (baby rompers) for a varied baby wardrobe.
2. Coat/jacket and cardigans
- Two cardigans.
- One coat or warm jacket.
3. Baby socks or booties
- Depending on laundry frequency (nothing quite beats life with a newborn, does it?), buy five to 10 pairs of socks or booties.
4. Hat and mittens
- Mittens will also stop nails from scratching sensitive skin.
5. Snow suit or shawl
- If you give birth during the autumn or winter months, one of these is a must.
Feeding essentials for newborns
6. Nursing bras and breast pads (if breastfeeding)
- Maternity bras will offer comfort and support if you're breastfeeding.
- Breast pads are useful for absorbing those unwanted milk leaks.
- A good nipple cream can help to relieve cracked or sore nipples.
Related: The 10 best maternity and nursing bras - all recommended by mums on our forums.
7. Bottles, accessories and formula (if not breastfeeding)
- Five to 10 feeding bottles will do depending on your needs.
- Start with four-ounce bottles and stack up on teats with varying flow speeds.
- Choose between ready-to-use, liquid concentrate and powdered formula.
- Accessories include a bottle brush to clean off any dried milk.
- Bottles and feeding equipment should be sterilised, so buy either an electric steam steriliser, a microwave steam steriliser or a cold water steriliser.
Read next: The 10 best baby bottle sterilisers to buy this year, all tried and tested by Mumsnetters.
8. Muslin squares, flannels, burp cloths or receiving blankets
- While bibs may not be that useful until your baby is a few months older (and they will be useful, we guarantee it), absorbent muslins, flannels and receiving blankets, which can also be used in place of burp cloths, will be a lifesaver, especially during feeds.
- Buy about a dozen cloths to start with – you can always buy more. You'll only need a couple of receiving blankets though.
- Separate flannels can also be used for bath time.
Related: The best muslin cloths for babies
Newborn essentials for travel
9. Car seat (if you own a car)
- Needs to be rear-facing.
- Choose a group 0 or group 0+ car seat as these are designed for babies aged 0-12 and 0-15 months.
- Once you've given birth, hospitals won't let you leave if you have a car but not a baby car seat.
10. Buggy, travel system, baby carrier or sling
- Many lightweight buggies have a newborn recline, which means that they can be used from birth.
- A travel system is a type of buggy that comes with a car seat and, in some cases, a carrycot. Ideal for when you're on the move with a sleeping baby.
- Baby carriers or slings are a great alternative to a buggy, especially for getting things done around the house while keeping your little one close by.
Read next: The 10 best pushchairs and prams suitable from birth.
Baby changing essentials
- Stock up on the best nappies before your baby is born. You'll never have too many, we promise.
- Choose a brand that meets your needs – make sure the nappies are suitable for newborns and leave the umbilical cord stump uncovered.
- Think about eco-friendly or reusable nappies and nappies designed for sensitive skin.
12. Wet wipes or reusable cloths and ointment or cream
- Because no one likes a post-nappy changing rash.
- Go for wipes that are scent-free to prevent irritation.
13. Changing mat
- A must-have for those many nappy changes.
- Usually made from wipe-clean fabrics (hooray!).
Related: The best baby changing mats
Bedtime baby essentials
14. Moses basket, carrycot, crib or newborn bed (with mattress, fitted sheets and cellular blankets)
- Experts recommend that your baby sleeps in the same room as you for the first six months.
- A Moses basket or carrycot may be a better option in terms of portability than a newborn bed or crib.
- You'll need to buy a mattress, sheets and blankets separately, and make sure the mattress is supportive and comfortable enough for your baby.
Read next: Our round up of the best newborn beds
1. Changing bag
- A changing bag is a handy way to keep all your changing supplies in one place when you’re on the move with baby in tow.
- Useful features can include an insulated bottle pocket and nappy bag.
2. Sun shade for car window
- To protect your baby's skin from UV rays and their eyes from sun glare.
3. Changing unit
- The ideal nursery addition if you want to go the whole hog.
4. Baby monitor
- Helps with peace of mind during nap times.
- Video baby monitors allow you to see your baby from a different room. Extra features may include a night light and talkback system.
Read next: The best baby monitors
5. Nail scissors
- To keep nail length in check to prevent scratching etc.
6. Nursing pillow
- A nursing or maternity pillow can be a reassuring support for babies and often a godsend for tired, breastfeeding mums.
7. Breast pump (if breastfeeding)
- Can establish or increase milk supply, relieve full breasts and allow you express on the go, especially if you go back to work and want to continue breastfeeding.
- Breast pump types include electric, battery-operated, manual and hospital grade.
Read next: We round up the top 10 breast pumps
8. Scratch sleeves
- An alternative to scratch mitts.
9. Baby sleeping bag or swaddle
- Baby sleeping bags prevent babies from getting too hot or caught up in bedding.
- Swaddles provide comfort and help a baby to settle.
10. Baby bath/bath support
- A baby bathtub makes bath time easier and keeps your baby properly supported at the same time.
Related: Best baby towels to buy in 2021
11. Baby thermometer
- As it says on the tin – helps you to check and maintain temperatures of a bath, room and baby.
12. Baby shampoo or liquid cleanser
- Can be used in place of warm water to help with dry skin.
13. Soft-hooded towels
- Warm and gentle on soft skin.
- A couple will do.
Related: The best baby shampoo and body wash
What to buy – the newborn essentials that Mumsnetters love
Baby wardrobe essentials
The White Company Bodysuit Gift Set
Price: £35 | Buy now from The White Company
When it comes to newborn baby clothes, this set of three is perfect for layering and is super soft (made from 100% high quality cotton). Always a popular choice with Mumsnetters, these long sleeve body suits from The White Company feature sweet stars, stripes, and a couple of stargazing elephants.
Care Unisex Baby Bodysuit, Pack of 5
Price: £15.25 | Buy now from Amazon
Multipacks of bodysuits are always a great newborn essential, and this basic but functional set does the job.
Take it from this Mumsnetter: “Babies can get through a remarkable amount of clothes in a relatively short period of time depending on how much they bring up their feeds and how much poo and wee seeps out of their nappies, so a good supply of bodysuits are very useful.”
The Essential One Baby Unisex Neutral Sleepsuits - 3 Pack
Price: £29.99 | Buy now from Amazon
A good set of basic sleepsuits for your baby, these would be great if you're wanting to stock up or a grandparent looking to buy something for the first grandchild visit. The sleepsuits in this stylish three-pack all have handy poppers and come with a drawstring bag for storage.
The Little Sock Company Non-Slip Stay on Socks - 5 Pack
Price: £17.98 | Buy now from Amazon
These lovely baby socks from The Little Sock Company designed with the company's cotton rich special knit which apparently makes them more likely to stay on your baby's feet.
JoJo Maman Bébé Baby Socks 2 Pack
Price: £3.50 | Buy now from JoJo Maman Bébé
JoJo Maman Bébé socks are super stretchy with added Elastane to make it easy for you to get them onto a moving target. They're great value for money, feature two pairs per pack, and the material is super soft.
Price: £19.99 | Buy now from Amazon
These natural silk mitts protect delicate skin from even the most vigorous scratching, while the 100% cotton stretchy sleeves that run across the back ensure the mitts actually stay on.
"You'll quickly realise they fall very much into the 'need' category if you have a baby/child with eczema."
Soft Touch Baby Anti-Scratch Mittens
Price: £3.05 | Buy now from Amazon
If you're after a good value set of scratch mittens, this set from Soft Touch definitely fits the bill. This four-pack of mitts are made from really soft cotton.
Baby carriers, car seats and pushchairs
Ergobaby Baby Carrier
Price: £119.90 | Buy now from Amazon
This ergonomic baby carrier is specially designed for comfort – both yours and your baby's. It has four different positions and is suitable from birth onwards. The carrier's 100% cotton insert will provide a little extra protection for newborns, and there's an adjustable cushion and neck support for young babies, plus a useful hood. Read our full review of the Ergobaby Carrier.
Boba Baby Wrap Carrier
Price: £42 | Buy now from Amazon
The Boba Wrap is a great baby wrap for your baby's earliest months. Suitable for all shapes and sizes, while allowing you to create a custom fit, it is extremely versatile but comfortable at the same time. Read our full review of the Boba wrap.
"It’s perfect for those times when you just want to nip to the shops and don't want to have to faff around getting the pushchair/pram out of the boot of the car."
AmaWrap Stretchy Baby Wrap Sling
Price: £44.99 | Buy now from Amazon
The AmaWrap allows for skin-to-skin contact with your baby (and discreet feeding when out and about). This sling is also useful if your baby has colic or reflux – it keeps your baby upright, which can help to relieve the symptoms. It's ideal when travelling on public transport with your baby in tow (and all those other times when a pushchair might be too bulky). Read our full baby carrier review.
Cybex Sirona M2
Price: £224.95 | Buy now from Amazon
The Cybex Sirona car seat is impressive. It was designed with input from German doctors and midwives, and focuses on providing your child with the best possible comfort and safety. It's also built to last – the 11-position adjustable headrest changes the length and angle of the harness, so it grows with your child. It is suitable from birth right through to four years. Read our full car seat review.
Maxi-Cosi CabrioFix Group 0+
Price: £139 | Buy now from Amazon
The Maxi-Cosi CabrioFix baby car seat is an excellent lightweight option. The seat is rear-facing and is suitable from birth to 12 months or 13kg. It comes with a handy removable (and, crucially, washable) cover. Best of all, the Maxi-Cosi seat will suit your baby as they grow – the harness and headhugger are easily altered.
Price: £719.23 | Buy now from Amazon
Choosing the best pushchair for your newborn is not an easy task. There are lots of options and there isn't one model that suits everyone. The flexible, customisable and oh-so-trendy Bugaboo Cameleon3 packs an impressive punch. Weighing under 10kg and suitable from birth to three years old, this is a great choice if you know you'll be doing a fair amount of walking.
Out 'N' About Nipper
Price: £339.95 | Buy now from Amazon
Perfect if you're after something not too heavy – this has a height-adjustable handle, and is lightweight without sacrificing comfort or safety. The multi-position seat has a lie-flat newborn position and a five-point harness. Read our review of the Out 'n' About Double Nipper.
“I’ve been really impressed…I tested it on a bit of a run this week, and it's still a seriously smooth ride.”
Joie Nitro Stroller
Price: £89.99 | Buy now from Amazon
The Joie Nitro has all the features you would usually expect from a buggy, including an all-important full-recline mechanism for your newborn. It can be used from birth until your child weighs 15kg, and is a relatively smooth ride due to its complete wheel suspension. Read our full pushchair review.
MAM Feed and Soothe Set
Price: £29.48 | Buy now from Amazon
This set for newborns is self-sterilising which many Mumsnetters love: "I used them with both my DC and they’re brilliant. I always recommend them and everyone I know who has used them loves them too."
Emma-Jane Mia Maternity and Nursing Bra
Price: £14 | Buy now from JoJo Maman Bébé
When it comes to nursing bras comfort and practicality are key. This soft bra from JoJo Maman Bébé ticks all the boxes, and it is not too pricey either.
Lansinoh Nipple Cream
Price: £6.50 | Buy now from Amazon
This highly-rated nipple cream is a favourite and with good reason. Just take it from this Mumsnetter:
“Definitely buy the lansinoh cream! I tried to do without it (to save a mere few pounds!) and regretted it when I sent DH out to the shop whilst in pain. It was on the top of my list this time for sure.”
Ardo Calypso Double Plus
Price: £139.99 | Buy now from Ardo
The Ardo Calypso Double Plus breast pump has been rated a Mumsnet Best for five years running. Still need convincing? The pump has an adjustable setting for both speed and suction, it's a closed system with a vacuum seal to protect the milk from any contamination, and there's even a soft massage insert. Read our review of the Ardo Calypso breast pump
For your exclusive £10 off use code MUMSNET10 at checkout at Ardo
“The Calypso pump is very easy to use and also easy to clean. This breast pump has certainly made the whole process a painless one.”
Medela Swing Electric Breast Pump
Price: £159| Buy now from Amazon
The Medela Swing is cleverly designed to mimic how a baby feeds in order to make using it as natural, and comfortable, as possible. This one's an open system. The electric option may suit you if think you'll be expressing on a regular basis, and there's a mains adaptor or a battery option if you're expressing on the move.
Philips Avent Natural Comfort Pump and Bottle
Price: £24.90 | Buy now from Amazon
The Philips Avent breast pump combines quality with simplicity. There are very few parts, making it easy to assemble, take apart and clean (it's a closed system, too). It's compact, so a good choice if you're travelling and want something that's easy to store away. And it comes with a bottle and teat for natural latch – useful if you want to combine breast and bottle feeding.
Dr Brown's Deluxe Bottle Steriliser
Price: £80.24 | Buy now from Amazon
Easy to use, quick, thorough and reliable, Dr Brown's electric steam steriliser is a top product. It's all snazzily designed inside to make sure there's enough room for your bottles and other bits and bobs and they all stay in the right place. It won our 2018 Best Steriliser award, too – read our steriliser review.
Philips AVENT Microwaver Steriliser
Price: £28.69 | Buy now from Amazon
This steriliser from Philips is compact and lightweight. It is convenient to travel with and fits in most microwaves, and it's easy to use too – all you have to do is add water and pop in the microwave. You could even sterilise and then take it out with you – as long as the lid is closed, the contents remain sterile for 24 hours.
Milton Solo Travel Steriliser
Price: £10.99 | Buy now from Amazon
This mini steriliser from Milton is versatile – it is a dual microwave/cold water steriliser, which gives parents the flexibility to switch between two popular methods of sterilisation. It also has a unique patented safety vent technology so that more heat is created in the unit for better sterilisation, and a twist and lock to prevent spillages.
"I was impressed at the lid which pushed my floating soother right down to ensure it was covered by all the water. I tested the watertight feature and the whole thing remained fully intact with no drips."
aden + anais essentials 5 pack 100% cotton muslin squares
Price: £14.99 | Buy now from Amazon
aden + anais muslin cloths are a firm favourite on the Mumsnet forums due to their absorbent qualities, soft fabric and, if you’re searching for something aesthetically pleasing as well as practical, their large range of patterns.
BT Audio 450 Lightshow baby monitor
Price: £42.99 | Buy now from Amazon
The BT Audio 450, a compact audio-only device would you believe it, provides parents with excellent audio quality and a reliable signal at a relatively low price. Read our full review of the BT Audio 450 Lightshow.
Silentnight sleeping bag
Price: £18.99 | Buy now from Amazon
The Silentnight Safe Nights sleeping bag is simply about delivering a well-priced, safe, snug snooze. It looks stylish, washes well and is hands down one of our favourite sleeping bags for quality and “feel” of materials. All round, it’s an excellent buy at a very reasonable price.
Price: £21.99 | Buy now from Amazon
The Mumsnet Best Grobag is a good all-rounder at 2.5 tog, which should suit most homes from autumn through to spring. There are studs under the arms to make sure your baby doesn't slip down into the sleeping bag and the design is ideal for night-time nappy changes.
Superlove Merino sleeping bag
Price: From £82 | Buy now from Superlove
Superlove baby sleeping bags come in at the top end of the price scale, but they feature such gorgeous Merino wool (proven to keep your baby cool in the heat and warm in the cold), they are totally worth investing in if you have the cash to splash. Read our review of the Superlove Merino sleeping bag.
Shnuggle Modern Moses Basket
Price: £67.98 | Buy now from Amazon
Shnuggle's Modern Moses basket promises to reduce the noisy creaking that sometimes happens with wicker baskets, by using a single piece of hypo-allergenic moulding for the frame, meaning your child, and you, can sleep easier. It's also constructed for strength, so should stand up to wear and tear.
Chicco Next2Me Magic
The White Company Satin Edged Cellular Blanket
Price: From £18 | Buy now from The White Company
The satin edges of this blanket from The White Company are lovely and soft against your child's skin. The blanket is made from gently brushed cotton so it's super soft. Lightweight and suitable for all seasons, it traps warm air in its insulating weave, and comes in four different colours and sizes.
Tommee Tippee Gro-egg Room Thermometer
Price: £19.49 | Buy now from Amazon
This room thermometer changes colour depending on how warm the room is, making it super easy to tell the correct temperature. The display is permanently back-lit too. It doubles up as a lovely soft night light, and plugs into the mains rather than using batteries.
"I really like the Gro-egg as a night light. It doesn't light up the room like a Christmas tree as some we have tried and it has a reassuring glow."
Happy Family Room Thermometer
Price: £2.25 | Buy now from Amazon
This colourful, affordable thermometer wall hanging from Happy Family can be easily hung up near your child's crib, and will let you know if the room is too hot or too cold. It's also good to know that the manufacturer holds the ISO world standard certificate for their thermometers.
Changing and nappies
IKEA Sundvik Changing Table and Chest of Drawers
Price: £140 | Buy now from Ikea
IKEA's changing table is functional and ideal for any nursery, and offers lots of helpful storage solutions for nappy cream, nappy bags, baby wipes, blankets and more. Best of all, after your child has grown out of nappies, you can convert it for use as a normal chest of drawers (this will happen sooner than you think, we promise).
IKEA Skotsam Babycare Mat
Price: £5 | Buy now from Ikea
If you have a surface or a changing table already in mind for your child, or you're an on-the-floor changer, IKEA have come up with a no-frills, easy-to-clean baby change mat which you can inflate or deflate for storage and travel. The soft sides are also particularly comfortable if your baby is a real wriggler.
Babymoov Urban changing bag
Price: £36.95 | Buy now from Amazon
The Babymoov Urban is a simple and stylish, affordable shoulder bag. It’s well designed with lots of pockets for keeping your things organised and comes with a foldaway changing mat, clear plastic pouch and a smaller zip pouch that's perfect for storing your baby's dummy.
Babymel Robyn Convertible Backpack
Price: £59 | Buy now from Amazon
What Mumsnetters love most about this bag is that it can be worn as a backpack, shoulder bag, cross body bag or simply held in the hand or lower arm, thanks to an easy-to-use convertible strap. This means it is not only functional and organised, but is totally adjustable to suit whatever kind of day you are having. Read our full Babymel changing bag review.
"Babymel are good - mine was light, roomy, waterproof, organised and looked good."
ASDA Little Angels
Price: £7 | Buy now from Amazon
Super-soft and gently elasticated in all the right places to prevent leaks – what more could you really want? And for this price, you really can't go wrong.
Bambino Mio all-in-one reusable nappies
Price: £15.99 | Buy now from Amazon
As reusable nappies go, Bambinomio have an absolutely beautiful selection of patterns – from sloths to hot air balloons. They're super soft, very easy to configure, and fit all the way from birth to potty. Sure, you have to pay more upfront for a reusable nappy, but your weekly shop will thank you forever.
How we chose our recommendations
Because we know that there’s nothing like a real recommendation, we first headed to the Mumsnet forums to find out which products mums recommended the most from when their children were newborns. We then did some research on the web, looking at products with top reviews to compile the ultimate newborn shopping checklist for 2021.
Why you should trust us
We work hard to provide unbiased, independent advice you can trust. We do sometimes earn revenue through affiliate (click-to-buy) links in our articles. This helps us fund more helpful articles like this one.
Prices correct at time of publication.