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:
- Crib/ cot/ bassinet – there are many different types of cribs. Some are small and designed to be used by your baby until s/he’s 6 months old while others are bigger and convertible, which means they will last you for way longer (up to 4 years or more).
I bought a really great and affordable convertible crib from Amazon together with a mattress. I took out one side of the rail for the first couple of months so I could be next to my baby girl; co -sleeping literally saved my life! I couldn’t imagine getting up 10 times during the night and constantly bending to pick her up and breastfeed.
Don’t forget to find a matching bedding set, always check if it has the same measurements as the mattress. 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.
- Pushchair/ baby travel system- another very important item for a new mummy. There are tons of pushchairs out there, making it hard to chose a good one. Many of them are really expensive but then you get what you pay for: convertible, small, not too sturdy, light and easy to operate. The cheaper pushchairs probably won’t be as functional as those more expensive ones but if you’re on a budget they’ll do the job as well.
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 (in many shops you’ll find fancy pushchairs for up to £1000), but you won’t necessarily go out there to make the purchase but rather to decide which attributes of the product are the most important for you.
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.
For me a big deciding point was also having a quite spacious basket as I don’t own a car and most of the shopping I did with my daughter in the pram.
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 it to you for a good price or at least lend it (if it’s still in a good condition) .
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 daughter gets bigger.
Another option is to look on eBay, where there are loads of good-looking and affordable travel systems like this one here. (However, I can’t really recommend it as I’ve never tested it).
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!
- Car seat (if you’re not opting for a typical travel system)- it’s always best to buy a new one as the second hand 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 seems to be one of the top car seat brands when it comes to safety and durability.
- 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 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 them. But hey, I know you can’t resist buying these cute little outfits and dresses once in a while; after all, your peanut needs to look pretty on those pictures! So go for it but don’t overdo it (or you’ll end up with wardrobe full of unused baby clothes).
What you really need is about 12-14 body suits and sleeping suits(all-in-ones); 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 – 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 Angelcare. 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.
- Baby soft towel and a couple of washcloths– choose the ones made of bamboo; they’re super soft and hypoallergenic so safe for newborns’ sensitive skin.
- Baby gentle shower gel and lotion- you will actually need this few weeks later (since you’re not supposed to give a bath to your baby for about first 2 weeks until the belly button gets cleared). I love the Mustela brand- its smell is addictive!
- Muslin squares- absolute essential, get at least 10-12 as you will use and wash them all the time.
- Baby blanket/ swaddling blanket– you will need it (or rather your newborn will!) on the day you leave the hospital.
- Baby sling/ baby carrier- such a great 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. Your little one can literally sleep on you when you’re making lunch or you need to get out of the house to get some groceries. What a blast!
Again, Amazon has a wide range of (affordable) choice- have a look at one of the best sellers. If you love outdoors, and so does your baby, opt for a baby carrier.
- 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 do the 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! I got myself a whole nail kit set.
- Thermometer+nasal aspirator– absolute essentials, you never know when your peanut gets fever or a cold (hopefully not too often). Make sure the thermometer is FDA approved.
- Cotton wool pads or water baby wipes– they are better than the regular baby wipes for these first months as they’re more soft on the skin (but most fragrance free wipes will be okay).
- Nappy rash cream- since you’ll be changing your baby’s diaper very often, baby rash is not uncommon. Always have some ointment ready such as Bepanthen.
- Nipple cream- it brings you a huge relief for those first weeks of breastfeeding. Lansinoh is a well-known brand for all breastfeeding essentials.
- Breast pump- I suggest you get an electric pump, even if you’re not planning to use it often. Manual pumps take much longer to express the milk comparing to electric ones. I got myself Medela Swing double and I couldn’t be happier with it. To find out more about Medela and other best-selling breast pumps in 2020 click here.
Things that are useful but not so necessary
- 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 want 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 Bluetooth like 4mums mamaRoo).
I decided to buy a baby rocker to my daughter called Nuna Leaf because it is not vibrating, just moving left and right (it doesn’t require any batteries and doesn’t have to be plugged in so it’s a big plus). The new one was too expensive for me and I got a used one for half the original price from Ebay; and I’m glad I did as we were not using it too long.
- 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.
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.
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 planning to get a mortgage one day!).
If you are close to your due date, check out my other post to see what you should pack in your hospital bag.
Can you think of any other essentials for the arrival of your baby?
Let me know in the comments below!
Take care mamas:)