The Mumsnet guide to new baby essentials
It can be an expensive business, this baby-rearing lark, so it pays to know what you should spend your money on. We've harnessed the power of the Mumsnet hive mind (and reviews by Mumsnet bloggers) and come up with a shopping list of essential newborn baby products, divided into luxury, mid-range and affordable
It's gobsmacking how much laundry you'll end up doing with a newborn. How one little tiny person can generate so much washing is anyone's guess.
Luckily, independent tests have confirmed that clothes washed in Fairy Non Bio are as kind next to skin as clothes washed in water alone (just a LOT cleaner).
Body suits and baby sleepsuits
Stock up on plenty of body suits and sleepsuits before your baby arrives – it's hard to believe just how many a tiny baby can go through in a single day, let alone a week.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 short sleeve body suits from The White Company feature rather sweet safari animals (Kimbo the elephant, Little Tiger and Georgia Giraffe).
These sleepsuits from Marks & Spencer have long sleeves to keep your baby warm and popper fastening to make those late night/early morning nappy changes easier. They are made from plan A cotton – and the integrated scratch mitt feature makes them particularly useful.
A good set of basic sleepsuits for your baby, these would be great if you're on a budget or a grandparent looking to stock up cheaply for the first grandchild visit. The sleepsuits in this three-pack form Sainsbury's all have handy poppers. A word of advice: they come up a little longer than most, so bear that in mind when ordering.
One of the great mysteries of parenthood is where all those rogue baby socks disappear to. Do yourself a favour and stock up on plenty for your newborn in advance.
These lovely baby socks from French company Petit Bateau are extra soft and made of towelling which apparently makes them more likely to stay on your baby's feet. They are also cuffed in a further bid to help prevent you losing them, and would make a lovely baby shower present.
JoJo Maman Bebe socks are super stretchy with added Elastene to make it easy for you to get them onto a moving target. They're great value for money and come in a range of four colours – blue, navy, pink and white. Featuring two pairs per pack, they're machine washable at 40C.
As any new parent can tell you, babies are born with lethally sharp nails – and only the bravest of souls will wield the nail clippers in the first few weeks. To prevent them from scratching themselves, and you, you'll be needing to put scratch mitts on them pronto.
These natural silk mitts protect delicate skin from even the most vigorous scratching, while the loose fitting and 100% stretch cotton sleeves ensure the mitts actually stay on.
TiarasandProzac: “You'll quickly realise they fall very much into the 'need' category if you have a baby/child with eczema.”
If you're after a good value set of scratch mitts, this set from Tesco definitely fits the bill. This two-pack of mitts (one plain, one star design) – are made from really soft cotton. Plus, there's a bit of spandex in the ribbed section at the wrist to make sure they actually stay on your baby's hands.
Baby sleeping bag
Mumsnetters who've been there, done that and got the under-eye bags to show for it confirm that sleeping bags make a real difference to undisturbed sleep (baby's and, by association, yours).
The Go Go bag has a pure merino wool lining inside, and organic cotton on the exterior. The combination makes for a wonderfully-breathable sleeping bag for your child and one that you can use all year round. It's available in a selection of nice colours and resizeable too – all you have to do is adjust the poppers for smaller children.
“We found that it stayed ‘fresh’ feeling and smelling for longer than a standard sleeping bag and we followed the guidelines to air the bag on the side of the cot when not in use. Not having to wash/dry a product as often is definitely an added bonus.”
Billed as 'easy to use, but difficult to escape from', this sleeping bag from ergoPouch is designed for easy, hip-healthy swaddling if that's the route you're going down. The outer layer is organic jersey and it's filled with 100% organic cotton, making it extra snug for baby, and particularly ideal for cooler months.
Mothercare's Snoozie Sleep Bag is a good all-rounder at 2.5 tog, which should suit most homes from Autumn through to Spring. There's a useful zip on the side for access for nighttime nappy changes, while the rest of the sleeping bag has push studs so it's easy to get baby in and out.
Moses baskets and cribs
Experts advise that babies should be in the same bedroom as their parents until they reach six months. If your room is on the snug side, a crib or moses basket will be what you're after. Moses baskets are particularly useful in allowing you to put your newborn to sleep in one room, and then seamlessly move them to another without them waking up – a blessing like no other.
The SnuzPod's strength lies in its multitude of uses. It can be used as a bedside crib for night time with a zip-down wall for easy access, or as a standalone crib for the nursery. It also lifts away from its stand as a bassinet for naps around the house. Plus, and this is particularly handy if you have a small room, it has a useful storage shelf.
ABabyOnBoard: “It offers all the closeness that I wanted, but within our own space. I am able to just reach to the side and touch the baby, soothe her, and hold her tiny little hand at any time. I can’t really convey how lovely this is.”
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.
The John Lewis classic Moses basket is a basic design that comes with a mattress, hood and handles for easy carrying. It's comfortable and secure, with a natural finish and made from durable palm wood. It's also really lightweight, making it easy to move around your home.
If you've decided against a sleeping bag, you'll be needing a number of cellular baby blankets, either as general bedding or to use for swaddling. Cellular blankets are lightweight and are what's recommended to help keep your baby's temperature regular.
The satin edges of this blanket from The White Company are lovely and soft against your child's skin, and will be fun for them to stroke. It's made of gently brushed cotton so it's super soft. A lightweight blanket, it will trap warm air in its insulating weave, and comes in four different colours and sizes.
This soft-woven cotton pram blanket from John Lewis is perfect for newborns, and washes well (something you may be doing rather a lot of). A good basic essential to have, it also folds well, which makes layering easier. It comes in a pack of two so you'll always have a spare while one is in the wash.
ASDA's George brand has come up with this lightweight, 100% cotton blanket which is versatile and comes in a variety of colours. It's nice and cuddly, and really is good value for money (as you would expect from George). Perfect for prams, pushchairs and Moses baskets.
Babies need to be protected against getting too hot or too cold, and either can be an issue if your home is very well-insulated or less than toasty. It's recommended that the room they sleep in should be within the range of 16-20C degrees, and a room thermometer gives you confidence that the temperature is right.
The Gro Company's room thermometer changes colour depending on how warm the room is, making it extra-easy to tell the temperature. The display is permanently back-lit too. It doubles up as a lovely soft nightlight, and plugs into the mains rather than using batteries.
LovingLifeWithLittleOnes:: “I really like the Gro-egg as a nightlight. It doesn't light up the room like a Christmas tree as some we have tried and it has a reassuring glow.”
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 your 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.
A really essential piece of kit for any new parent, a good baby monitor allows you to keep an ear out (or eye on) your little one when you're not in the room – ensuring you're the first to know when they wake up. Models range from basic audio monitors to snazzy one which monitor movement too.
Designed to detect movement as well as sound, the Angelcare AC401 features an under-mattress sensor pad to pick up even the slightest movement of your baby, so you can rest easier. The parent unit also has a handy feature to show when you move out of range.
This movement monitor from Snuza clips straight onto your baby's nappy, and will alert you if their movements drop outside the normal level more than three times in 15 minutes. The detector can vibrate to rouse your baby ever-so-slightly. It's also hypo-allergenic so it shouldn't irritate your child's skin.
BT's Digital Baby Monitor transmits the noises your baby makes, and two-way talkback means you can also reassure your baby through the monitor. It also works as a nightlight, and comes with rechargeable batteries.
Changing and nappies
Changing a wriggly newborn's nappy can be challenging, even without a well padded and, conveniently-located changing mat or table. Wipeable surface non-negotiable.
IKEA's changing table is functional and ideal for any nursery, and offers lots of helpful storage solutions for nappy cream, bin 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).
The ultimate space-saver, this practical changer from Kiddicare simply slots on top of your cot when you need it, and can be removed afterwards when you're finished. It has raised sides for extra security, and a neutral finish so will suit any nursery. You'll need to buy a changing mat to go with it.
If you have a surface or a changing table already in mind for your child, or your 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.
When you're trying to do a nappy change whilst out and about, there's nothing like knowing with authority PRECISELY where the the baby wipes are. And while we can't guarantee that'll always be the case with these changing bags, having one definitely boosts your chances.
With its soft leather exterior and a beautifully-lined interior, this bowling bag-shaped changing bag is about as chic as they come. It has five interior pockets and two exterior slip pockets, plus a hidden phone pocket, so it's practical as well as lovely-looking.
Kipling know bags, and their Bizzy Boo is ace. Easy to sling on your back as you head out for the day, it's lightweight, easy to clean, has lots of inside pockets to keep things organised and comes with a matching wipeable changing mat. There's also a phone and wallet pouch, and even a place to put a pen.
If you already have a changing bag, this mat from JoJo Maman Bebe folds up to maximise space. It helps you stay a bit more organised with a few zips to hold a few changing essentials, so it's well suited for quick trips when you don't want to take the whole kit and caboodle with you.
Nappies are something you're going to need, and you're going to need plenty. Mumsnetters going down the disposable route say they're looking for value for money, comfort and absorbency.
Pampers Baby-Dry contain fancy Micro Pearls which can help absorb wetness and keep your baby dry and happy, particularly overnight, which is when Mumsnetters feel they come into their own.
And if your baby is dry at night, they're likely to sleep well, which is what really, REALLY counts.
“The clever top zone of the nappy absorbs liquid quickly with the inner zone locking away the wetness.” – LifeAccordingToMrsShilts
Mamia nappies from ALDI are extra soft and breathable, with a cotton-like feel to them and super stretchy sides. They come in cheaper than their premium counterparts. Best of all, they're made with fibres from a Sustainable Forestry Initiative, so you'll be doing your bit while saving cash.
Reliable, comfortable and excellent value for money, it's no surprise that LIDL's Toujour nappies have been a Mumsnet favourite for years now, and boast a well-deserved Mumsnet Best award. They have a very flexible fit and are cunningly packed to take up less room than other nappy brands.
There are two compelling reasons why you might want to consider using reusable nappies. For one thing, it'll save thousands of nappies going to landfill, so it's far, far better for the environment. But it's also better for your wallet – bazinga.
Super slim-fitting, ultra absorbent and easy to use with a hook and eye fastener, Tots Bots work as a from 'birth-to-potty' reusable nappy thanks to their fold-down poppers. They open right out for easy drying on the line and can be tumble dried on a cool setting. When your baby needs a change, simply remove the liner and flush it down the toilet – easy.MyFamilyFever: “Bamboo is super absorbent, and can hold a LOT of fluid – we are easily getting four hours between changes – an easy-to-use, parent-friendly workhorse of a nappy.”
Wonderoo nappies will fit babies from 8-35lbs and come in lots of bright, fun colours. They have a soft, fleecy lining to help with comfort and dryness with a leakproof PUL (Polyurethane Laminate) outer layer and a big pocket-style opening at the back for the absorbent inserts.
Available in both small and medium size and lots of designs, Real Easy nappies are very easy to wash with a two layer microterry soaker pad. The absorbent flap is sewn on, so it can't get lost in the wash, and the whole nappy is coated in a waterproof layer with anti-wicking polyester.
Out and about
Slings and carriers
If you're looking for a way to get around with your baby that leaves your hands free, then a sling or a carrier is the thing for you. They're also great for bringing comfort to babies who love being so close to their parent. And of course you don't even need to leave the house to use one – you can pop the baby in when you're doing stuff at home too.
This ergonomic baby carrier is specially designed for comfort – 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.
The Tula Ring Sling can be used from birth to 35lbs and is made from 100% supersoft cotton woven fabric. Comfortable, practical, and easily adjustable, it's easy to carry wherever you go. With a bit of practice it's also pretty quick to chuck on – ideal for those times you need to dash out in a hurry.
The Caboo NCT carrier is suitable from birth (2.27kgs) and has been safety tested to 15kgs. It offers six different carry positions including forward facing and a handy option for discreet feeding. It couldn't be easier to use – pull the fabric to adjust and tighten – and the Caboo is also designed to encourage the optimal position for developing spines.
TantrumsToSmiles: “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.”
The AmaWrap allows for skin-to-skin contact with your baby (and discreet feeding when out and about). This sling is also useful for if your baby has colic or reflux – it keeps your baby upright, which can help to relieve the symptoms. It's ideal for travelling on public transport with your child (and all those other times when a buggy might be too bulky).
Car seats from birth
You'll need a car seat right from the start if you're planning to drive back from the hospital, so the time to research and buy is now. Things you should consider are the latest UK car set laws, whether your car has an ISOFIX system and how many other car seats you'll need to accommodate. All of the below are suitable from birth.
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 been built to last – the 11-position adjustable headrest changes the length and angle of the harness, so it grows as your child does. Suitable from birth to 4 years.
£400, John Lewis
The Joie Every Stages car seat is also long lasting – it is suitable to be used rearward facing from birth to 18kg/40lbs (approx 4 years), and forward facing from 9kg/20lbs (approx 9 months) to 25kg (approx 7 years or stages 1, 2 and 3). If you don't fancy the faff of updating your car seat this could be the ideal choice. Comes with a one year guarantee.
MiniTravellers: “It fits in the car well, it is sturdy and safe, and the big plus for my daughters is that it is comfortable. Highly recommended.”
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.
£99, John Lewis
A decent pushchair will soon become your best friend. But it's easier than you think to spend a lot and then discover that what you've bought isn't suitable for your needs. So think about how you're going to use it. For example, do you need your pushchair to be easy to fold for public transport (or a small home), robust enough for rough terrain – or are you looking for something with plenty of space for your shopping?
The Uppababy Vista2 is an impressive pram and pushchair combo. The seat has five different recline positions and it comes with everything else you could need – a sun hood which has UV protection and an action hood which allows your child to enjoy the view while keeping them dry in a downpour.
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 5-point harness.
TheMumfromBrum: “I’ve been really impressed…I tested it on a bit of a run this week, and it's still a seriously smooth ride.”
The Silver Cross Reflex pushchair comes with a padded insert to ensure that it is comfortable for newborns. The seat also reclines flat so that your baby can sleep comfortably. It's easy to change the seat position so your child can face outwards or towards you for crucial eye contact. All in all, a practical and sleek pushchair at a good price.
Figuring out what best breast pump to use can be a tad confusing (especially if you're having your first baby). Roughly speaking, the market divides into manual or electric; you've also a choice between pumps that work on one or two breasts at the same time, and those that are open or closed system (where the milk is collected in a sealed container).
The Ardo Calypso Double Plus breast pump has been rated a Mumsnet Best for four years running. Still need convincing? The pump has an adjustable setting for both speed and suction, it's a closed system with a vaccum seal to protect the milk from any contamination, and there's even a soft massage insert.
TobyGoesBananas: “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.”
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.
The Philips Avent 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.
Having a good set of muslin cloths is an absolute must. You'll find endless uses for them – soaking up drool, and protecting your clothes from baby sick to name just two. They can even act as makeshift sun protection on your pushchair when you're out and about.
These gorgeous 100% muslin cloths are a good buy. They are both absorbent and quick-drying (the importance of this cannot be underestimated!). And the star print means they'll be easy to pick out as yours at any new parent meeting. Plus they're larger than average, making them useful extra covers to put under a particularly drooly baby.
You get a lot for your money with this 5-pack of muslin cloths from M&S for only a tenner. The cloths are super soft and versatile and the ribbed design makes them stand out a little from other muslins. They're also rated for their quality with mums praising their durability – useful when you're always washing them.
Made from 100% cotton, these muslin squares from George at Asda are a complete steal at £3.50. The pack contains two plain muslins and one with a rather lovely star design which would make a particularly sweet comforter. Handy hint – tuck one into your bra during the day and then into the cot with your baby at night so it smells of mum.
You may be bottle feeding or breast feeding and expressing – in either case you'll need to sterilise bottles and teats until your baby is 12 months old. Dishwashers clean baby bottles, but don't reach the temperature required to sterilise them.
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.
This Milton steriliser takes only fifteen minutes to perform a complete sterilisation (killing harmful viruses, fungi, spores and bacteria). A Mumsnet Best product, it has useful features such as a lockable lid, carry handle and weighted grid, to keep the items fully submerged in the solution.
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.
TakeItFromMummy: “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.”
For every parent who says that you don't need to buy a baby bath, there's another who's just as insistent that these are a must-have. If you're the latter, these are the baby baths to consider.
This bath was designed by parents, and consequently has all the handy details that they value. For instance, there is a foam back rest that keeps baby comfortable and cosy, a bum bump which discourages sliding, and the bath also features an anti-slip surface, making this a particularly good buy for very young babies.
GreatNorthMum: “High sides mean that you can fill it with deeper water, making your baby feel more cocooned than a traditional long, shallow bath… A generous lip around the sides makes lifting, filling and emptying extremely easy.”
This is a great little bath for babies. Its built-in seat and a soft headrest are great for parents with back problems, and it can be used independently or in your own bath.
Use it on its own or put it into your own bath. There is also a useful plug for easy water drainage (though do make sure it's in a bath or sink before you pull it out. Yes, that happens.)
This inflatable baby bath from Asda is a genius invention and super easy to transport. The bath is designed to be used from birth – it has soft sides and a safety bar to prevent a baby from slipping down into the water.