Newborn essentials: the ultimate new baby checklist
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 our in-depth reviews by expert testers) and come up with a shopping list of newborn baby essentials. From clothing and cribs to pushchairs and baby car seats, here is a checklist (plus a downloadable version) of the must-have baby items that no parent should be without, including our top product recommendations for different budgets.
Newborn baby checklist
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 narrow down the baby essentials. So what do you actually need?
- Stock up on 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 reusable or eco-friendly nappies and nappies designed for sensitive skin.
2. 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.
3. 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.
4. Coat/jacket and cardigans
- Two cardigans.
- One coat or warm jacket.
5. 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.
6. Hat and mittens
- Mittens will also stop nails from scratching sensitive skin.
7. Snow suit or shawl
- If you give birth during the autumn or winter months, one of these is a must.
8. 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.
9. 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.
- Cream can help to relieve cracked or sore nipples.
10. 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.
11. 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.
12. 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.
13. 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.
14. Changing mat
- A must-have for those many nappy changes.
- Usually made from wipe-clean fabrics (hooray!).
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.
5. Nail scissors
- To keep nail length in check to prevent scratching etc.
6. Nursing pillow
- A reassuring support for your baby and often a godsend for tired, breastfeeding mums.
7. 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.
8. 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.
9. Scratch sleeves
- An alternative to scratch mitts.
10. Baby bath/bath support
- Makes bath time easier and keeps your baby properly supported at the same time.
- 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.
The products Mumsnetters love
Baby carriers and slings
Ergo Four Position 360 Bundle of Joy Baby Carrier, £112
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 baby carrier review.Buy now from Amazon
Caboo NCT Carrier, £48.97
The Caboo NCT carrier is suitable from birth (2.27kg) and has been safety tested to 15kg. It offers six different carry positions including forward-facing and a handy option for discreet feeding. It couldn't be easier to use – simply pull the fabric to adjust and tighten. The Caboo is also designed to encourage the optimal position for developing spines.
"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."Buy now from Amazon
AmaWrap Stretchy Baby Wrap Sling, £39.99
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.Buy now on Amazon
Car seats from birth
Cybex Sirona, £375
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.Buy now at John Lewis
Joie Every Stage, £131.99
The Joie Every Stag car seat is also long-lasting – it is suitable to be used rearward-facing from birth to 18kg (approximately four years), and forward-facing from 9kg (approximately nine months) to 25kg (approximately seven years or groups 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. Read our full Joie car seat review.
“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.”Buy now from John Lewis
Maxi-Cosi CabrioFix Group 0+, £93.99
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.Buy now on Amazon
Pushchairs for newborns
Bugaboo Cameleon3, £859
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.Buy now from John Lewis
Out 'N' About Nipper, £229
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.”Buy now from Amazon
Joie Nitro Stroller, £79.99
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.Buy now from Argos
Summer Infant Panorama 2.0, £132.99
Kitted out to the max, the Summer Infant Panorama 2.0 features an on-screen nursery temperature display and a colourful night light to help soothe your baby to sleep. Its night vision also allows you to keep an eye on your little one even in a dark room.Buy now from Amazon
Snuza Hero MD Mobile Baby Movement Monitor, £72.98
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.Buy now from Amazon
Baby sleeping bags
Merino Kids Go Go Bag, £79
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 is resizable too – all you have to do is adjust the poppers for smaller children.
"We found that it stayed ‘fresh’ 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."Buy now from Amazon
ergoCocoon Winter Swaddle and Sleep Bag, £39.99
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.Buy now from ergoPouch
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.Buy now from Boots
Moses baskets and cribs
Shnuggle Modern Moses Basket, £69.99
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.Buy now from Amazon
Mothercare Little Lamb Moses Basket, £50
The Mothercare 'My First Little Lamb' Moses basket is a basic design that comes with a mattress, hood, coverlet and handles for easy carrying. It's comfortable and secure, with a natural finish and made from maize. It's also really lightweight, making it easy to move around your home.Buy now at Mothercare
The White Company Satin Edged Cellular Blanket, from £18
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.Buy now from The White Company
Asda Baby Cellular Shawl 2 Pack, £7
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.Buy now from Asda
Gro-egg Room Thermometer, £14.99
The Gro Company's 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."Buy now from John Lewis
Happy Family Room Thermometer, £2.25
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.Buy now from Amazon
Changing and nappies
IKEA Sundvik Changing Table and Chest of Drawers, £140
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).Buy now at Ikea
Kiddicare Cot-Top Changer, £29.99
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.Buy now from Kiddicare
IKEA Skotsam Babycare Mat, £5
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.Buy now from Ikea
Storksak Eden, £101.95
Ideal if you have more than one child, this changing bag is roomy and aesthetically pleasing. You'd be forgiven for thinking this was simply another stylish handbag, but, on inspection, the multiple pockets and hidey-holes are designed to keep yours and baby's things separate (and easy to find, of course). Read our full changing bag review.
"Storksak are bloody brilliant. I like my bag because you can get loads into it. There are lots of different compartments, but it's also very stylish."Buy now from Uber Kids
Babymel Robyn Convertible Backpack, £60
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."Buy now from John Lewis
Wet & Dry Change Bag, £8 (was £12)
You definitely don't need to buy a whole new bag with only changing your baby in mind – and if you think you've already got a a bag which will do a pretty good job, just slip this into it to keep all that baby paraphernalia in one place (and separate from everything else). And as a plus, this will also work as a bag in its own right, particularly if you're just nipping out for an hour or so.Buy now from Jojo Maman Bébé
ASDA Little Angels, £2.50 for 70
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.Buy now from ASDA
Bambinomio All-In-One Reusable Nappies, £11.99
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.Buy now on Amazon
Ardo Calypso Double Plus, now £129.95 (was £144.95)
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 vacuum seal to protect the milk from any contamination, and there's even a soft massage insert. Read our full breast pump review.
For your exclusive £10 off use code MUMSNET10 at checkout
“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.”Buy now from Ardo
Medela Swing Electric Breast Pump, £101.24
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.Buy now on Amazon
Philips Avent Natural Comfort Pump and Bottle, £26.62
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.Buy now from Amazon
aden + anais Twinkle Cotton Muslin Square Musy, £19.10 for three
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. Read our aden + anais review.Buy now from Amazon
George 3 Pack Assorted Muslin Squares, £3.75
Made from 100% cotton, these muslin squares from George at Asda are a complete steal. 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.Buy now from George at ASDA
Dr Brown's Deluxe Bottle Steriliser, £74.99
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.Buy now at John Lewis
Philips AVENT Microwaver Steriliser, now £18.99
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.Buy now from Amazon
Milton Solo Travel Steriliser, £10.99
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."Buy now from Amazon
Bodysuits and baby sleepsuits
The White Company Bodysuit Gift Set, £35
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.Buy now from The White Company
Tu at Sainsbury's 3 Pack Long Sleeve Blue Sleepsuits, from £8
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 from 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.Buy now at Sainsbury's
Petit Bateau Towelling Socks, £8
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.Buy now at Petit Bateau
JoJo Maman Bébé Baby Socks 2 Pack, £3
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 and come in a range of four colours: blue, navy, pink and white. Featuring two pairs per pack, they're machine washable at 40°C.Buy now from JoJo Maman Bébé
ScratchSleeves, from £8.99
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."Buy now from ScratchSleeves
George at Asda 2 Pack Scratch Mitts, £1
If you're after a good value set of scratch mittens, this set from Asda definitely fits the bill. This two-pack of mitts are made from really soft cotton.Buy now from Asda
All prices correct at time of publication
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