Essentials for a newborn baby: what do you really need to buy

Preparing for your little one to arrive can be exciting but also daunting at the same time. After all, you are bringing a new life to this world and you need to make sure you are fully ‘equipped’ and ready to be a full time mum.

The list of essentials for a newborn baby may be overwhelming, especially for mums who are on a lower budget. But what is absolutely necessary for you to buy and what can you cross out from your list for now?

Essentials that you will need to look for

There are certain things that you just need to buy, paying attention to the quality, as some items you will have for longer period.

The list includes:

  • a crib/ a cot- when you do your research you will most likely find out that the best-seller for newborns in this category is Next2me crib which price ranges from £140-£200, depending on colour and the seller. The cheapest place to get it would be on Amazon. And while it is a great cot with so many good reviews, keep in mind that it will only last you (or rather your baby) for about 6 months. This cot is designed to be installed next to your bed so that you will have easy access to your little one when he/she awakes in the night. And it’s an amazing thing for those few months when the baby cries a lot; you don’t even have to stand up to breastfeed  your baby, he will feel you are close and maybe even sleep better (but don’t set your hopes too high!). It is particularly a good cot if you are travelling as it doesn’t take much of a space.

However, I think £200 is a bit pricey if it will only serve you for a few months. There are other cribs out there that have a similar price and are adjustable according to your child’s age. So, apart from having an option of 2/3 different heights, there are many cribs which actually convert into beds when your little one grows. Some of them also enable you to take one side off and simply put it next to your bed so you will have the same luxury of having your baby close to you. They will be bigger than the Next2me ones, but at least will last you for way longer, up to 3-4 years.

I bought a really great and affordable convertible crib from Amazon together with a mattress. Don’t forget to find a matching bedding set! Also, what turned out to be useful was the waterproof mattress protector; the baby may sometimes make the bedding wet for obvious reasons, even through the nappy.

  • a push chair- another very important item for a new mummy. There are tons of pushchairs out there, making it hard to chose from. Many of them are really expensive but then you get what you pay for: convertible, small not too sturdy, light and easy to operate. I’m not saying you cannot get a pushchair for less than £250- because you can, there are plenty of them available online, but they probably won’t be as functional as those more expensive ones.                                                   It’s always better to have a look on the high street first before you decide to buy one on Amazon or eBay. Prepare yourself though: the prices may terrify you (you will find fancy pushchairs for up to £1000 in shops like Mothercare), but you won’t necessarily go out there to make the purchase but rather to make sure what are the most important attributes of the product.

Look for pushchairs that are not too heavy and don’t take much of a space, especially if you live in a small flat. It is also important that the pushchair converts from lying down position for those early months to sitting down, (or even better if it includes a carrycot) facing both front and back, and it should ideally include a car seat as well, making it a proper travel system just like the one I had from Jane brand.

What I would advise you, if you can’t imagine spending that big amount of money on a new travel system, is to ask your friends who already have babies. They might be willing to sell you one (if it’s still in a good condition) , hopefully quite cheap or maybe just lend you.

That’s exactly what I did, not wanting to spend much at the beginning, I got a travel system from a friend, knowing that I want to save money for a proper stroller once my little one gets bigger. Here you will find a separate post about it with my honest review.

If not you can always look on eBay, where there are loads of good-looking travel systems offered for below £200, like this one here. 

You can also decide to go for a second hand one. Just make sure you see it before you buy it, so collection in person is always the best choice. After all, you will be the one pushing it all day long!

  • a car seat (if it’s not included with your pushchair) is always best to buy a new one as the second hand ones can have a fault that is not visible and you won’t be able to check it yourself. Look for group 0+ and the Isofix base; the Maxi Cosi company seems to be number 1 in this field for some time now
  • changing mat/mattress – look for one with edges so when you will be changing your baby he/she wouldn’t roll over like this one here
  • nappies and nappy wrappers- no need to comment on this one!
  • nappy bin- this was a life-saver for me in those early weeks when the baby’s diaper was constantly full of rather unpleasant surprises. I did not consider it as an essential until I got one; it will prevent you from making trips to the bin outside the house every 3 hours as the odour stay inside this great  Angelcare nappy disposal system.

  • baby clothes- don’t go crazy with them! It’s true that babies will need to get their clothes changed 2-3 times a day but remember they grow so fast you won’t even notice when they’ve outgrown this cute little outfit you bought recently!

What you really need is about 12-14 body suits and sleeping suits; maybe less if you are planning to wash them often (about 5 pieces of the newborn size and 7 pieces of 0-3 months size). The season your baby will be born indicates if you should opt for long or short sleeved type (or you can choose to have both).

Another items are: a hat, a cardigan if it’s an autumn/winter baby and couple of socks to keep those tiny feet warm.

  • Baby bath and a couple of soft towels-    

there are simple plastic baths available everywhere, but if you have a bath at home I recommend going for a Soft Touch Bath Support designed by Angel care. You can get it again from Amazon for a good price; it’s much more convenient to store as it’s smaller than the plastic baths. More importantly, the task of bathing your baby gets easier as this product gives a proper support for the little body, giving more freedom to your hands.

  • muslin squares- absolute essential, get at least 10-12 as you will use and wash them all the time.
  • Baby sling- great and affordable thing for you and your baby. Makes your life so much easier: enables you to run your daily errands (as your hands are free) and, at the same time, helps you to connect with your baby while his/her head rests on your chest. Again Amazon has a wide range of choice- have a look at one of the best sellers.

  • bottles –  useful to have when breastfeeding and expressing, especially when you need to go out and leave the baby with daddy or grandma. I used Tommee Tippee brand as their teats resemble mothers’ nipple so if your baby is a fussy one this should make a trick
  • dummies- for soothing your crying baby ( although my daughter hated them since the beginning)

  • nail scissors- you’ll be surprised how fast those tiny nails grow!
  • thermometer- absolute essential, you never know when your peanut gets fever (hopefully not too often). Make sure it’s FDA approved, just like this one
  • cotton wool pads- they are better than baby wipes for these first months as they’re more soft on the skin.

Things that are useful but you can probably skip

  • Changing table- you don’t really need it as you can change your baby’s diaper anywhere else: on the bed, on the chest of drawers etc. As long as you have a changing mattress you’ll be fine.
  • Changing bag- some good pushchairs include a nappy/changing bag but if your one doesn’t then you can use any larger bag that you already own. The proper changing bags are obviously better as they have divided space for each baby item but if you look to save money a normal bag will do its job.
  • Baby bouncy chair- useful but not necessarily needed, many babies actually don’t like it (because of the unsettling vibrations or music). If you are having just one baby, you should manage to entertain him/her without buying this ‘toy’. However, if you want to try there are loads of rocky chairs available on the internet which are not expensive, ranging from £25-35 (unless you chose a fancy one that looks like a tiny spaceship and can be connected to the WiFi!)
  • baby monitor- unless you live in a big house, it’s not essential. You will be able to hear your baby crying from the other room if you live in a flat. Besides, those first months and sleepless nights you will most likely spend in your child’s room anyway.

Baby shower

Another tip I can give is throw a baby shower! Traditionally, few weeks before your due date you can invite your friends who will bring you plenty of useful gifts for the arrival of your baby. Prepare a ‘baby wish list’ beforehand and show it to your girlfriends so that they would know what you actually need, instead of them guessing what’s necessary and getting you something that you already have.

I am not saying use your friends to buy you staff but don’t be ashamed to ask for help. After all, they will soon become aunties for your little one and if they are close to you they will be present in your baby’s life forever. That’s why I am sure your true friends will be more than happy to help.

Shop smart

There are certain things that you can buy second-hand or cheaper online rather than on a high street. However, it’s good to browse on the high street first just to see what qualities are important to you and if you can find alternatives on the internet.

And while I’m a supporter of reusing staffs such as the stroller or baby clothes from your friends/ family, the thing that you should not save money on is the crib as well as the mattress. It’s crucial for your baby’s sleep so make sure they are both new and have all the safety standards.

If you are struggling financially by the end of seven months of your pregnancy but you are still working, what I would suggest is to get a credit card (check if you are eligible first). Find one with lower interest, but make sure you will be able to pay the balance each month as you don’t want to end up being charged for late payments. The right credit card will give you the boost of cash you need for all your baby essentials as well as build your credit score (important for the future if you are plan to get a mortgage one day!)

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