What are the baby essentials I need to prepare for my little one’s arrival?
First-time mums can find it confusing to work out precisely what they need to be ready when the baby makes its appearance into the world in between mulling over whether or not you’re ready to be a parent. Fear, Fret, and be frantic no more.
We have prepared your Ultimate Baby Essential Checklist, with handy tips on how to make decisions on picking out everything you need for the baby!
Have you ever purchased a home or investment property?
Planning and picking out everything you need for the baby takes on a similar process. Sifting through reviews, researching, comparing to make sure you are getting the best products for your little one with a bang for your buck. Time-consuming and stressful.
As a veteran mum, I plan to make this more comfortable for you. After all, you have enough to worry about. So sit back and relax momma, I am about to make this chaotic and confusing process simple, stress-free.
Not only have I listed the necessary items that you need for all areas of life with a baby, but I am also going to show you what works and what doesn’t, disclose considerations and tips for purchasing choices, features to look for, and features to avoid. I will let you know my mistakes so that you don’t have to make them. Let me do the hard yard so that you don’t have to momma!
An old friend of mine came to me not long after finding out she was pregnant and asked me exactly what it was that she needed to buy to prepare for her first child.
I remember her handing me 2 A4 pages full of items that she would need. We can get so stressed as a first-time mum, thinking we need everything all at once. So to make it easier, let’s start with the absolute necessities.
Tips for Making Purchase Decisions
Think About It This Way…
Think of it as an investment. Baby essentials are designed to make your life easier and keep your baby safe. You are investing in peace of mind, your sanity, and little one’s well-being.
Quality vs. Price
There are some great affordable options out there for specific items, but it is better for your hip pocket to find durable options that will last rather than having to replace your bargains on eBay all of the time. Not to mention the money you will save for items that last the sibling duration if you are planning on having more.
Ease of Cleaning
It is a big one! As a mum, you will find yourself cleaning more than you ever had and cleaning things off of stuff that you have avoided until this point in your life (poo, wee, vomit). Ease of clean is one of my BIGGEST and BEST TIPS!
Don’t Follow the Crowd
Don’t fall for peer pressure! Larger items like prams are designed to make your life better. You need to get something that suits your needs and lifestyle. Don’t fall for buying the same pram as your friends due to social status. There is no point buying a vintage stroller if you want to take your baby running off-road!
Do not go past considering second-hand purchases for some items. There are also plenty of mommas out there that are happy to pass on things that they won’t need anymore that has plenty of use left in it. It can be a great way to save. There are a few tips on accepting hand-me-downs or buying second hand.
- Give it a good clean and disinfect any items before using it.
- Make sure no one stole it. I can’t believe that I had to put this in, but I know of a momma who thought she picked up a steal when she purchased a recognized and recommended monitor from GumTree. It turns out she did.
- Upcycle. If you are a creative bunny and don’t mind a bit of DIY, you can turn other people’s trash into treasure. I created a gorgeous, Shabby Chic Nursery Set for my girls using some furniture I scored from my friends, Annie Sloan Chalk Paint, and a Dry Brushing Technique for only $73!
Important information about purchasing car seats second hand:
- Check use-by (yes, car seats have a date where they are no longer safe)
- Check the History of safety items. It is always best to purchase essential items such as a car seat first hand so you can be sure that it is safe and it hasn’t been in any accidents. If you cannot be sure about these, you can read more about this in our Ultimate Guide to Picking a Car Seat.
Package Purchases (the Good and the bad)
You can save a lot of money when you purchase package options such as bulk baby gear and furniture sets. Buying this way may also mean that you won’t get what you want. So consider what you are prepared to forgo for price or what you need for a bit extra.
Recycle and Reuse
You can take unique keepsakes such as babies first blanket and outfit and remake it into keepsake as they grow older (think bags and doona covers)
Opt for Natural Fibres
Natural fibers will also help your baby feel more comfortable, helps with temperature regulation, and are free from nasty toxins.
Essential Baby Clothes
Baby clothes are beautiful things. Just try and hold yourself together without swooning and getting the giggles the first time you go to peg tiny little singlets on the line! Pants that only need one peg!
It is easy to get carried away. If you are having a baby shower or have friends and family who are as excited as you are, you will probably have tons of tiny little garments.
Realistically, you only need enough clothes to fit the washing cycle.
5–8 Footed Onesies
Look for onesies that allow you to fold the feet and hands over to act as little socks and gloves if you need them. Some onesies have feet built-in which can’t be folded back, be wary of bubbas feet size. I found some of the onesies fit, but the feet were too small for my bubba!
4–6 Snap Crotch Shirts
I found these much better than singlets or shirts during the colder months because they clasp around your bubbas nappies and don’t ride up their back, keeping them extra snug and warm. You can also use them as day wear during the warmer months.
Once again, get singlets with openings that stretch without ruining the shape of the garment. It is easier to get babies’ heads and limbs in.
3 Pairs of Stretch Pants
Pair with Snap Crotch Shirts for a quick and cool outfit.
3 Warmer Sweaters/Jackets
For times that you need to take the baby out in the cool.
4–6 Socks or Booties
To keep little one’s toes warm
To keep little heads and ears warm
Be practical and consider your climate.
Your baby will increase and won’t be in these clothes for long, so don’t go too overboard in the beginning.
Natural Fibers are always best for breathability. It will also help if your baby is born with sensitive skin.
Look for clothes with stretch openings around the head, feet, and toes. There is nothing worse than trying to maneuver stiff clothes over your baby’s delicate areas.
Zips vs. Buttons
The only place you want to be dealing with clips is to get into a stinky or wet nappy with ease. Buttons are hard work with little ones, especially when they wriggle around, so keep outfits with LOTS of buttons to a minimum. Zips, zips, zips are the easiest to deal with.
Layering helps to keep babies warm and means that you don’t have to get lots of different items for different temperatures.
Nappies and Related Stuff
Have a couple on standby so that you can relax once the baby is born and home. Will you be using disposables, cloth, or a mixture of the two?
Also known as nappy rash cream. There are so many options. Educate yourself about the toxins you want to avoid.
Fragrance-Free and Non-Toxic Wipes
For less irritation. There are plenty of tutorials to make them yourself and save money also!
It is one that many people overlook until they face a situation in which they wished they had it. If you have singles or couples insurance, search family options. Add your baby to your insurance policy and compare insurance options for you.
Vitamins for Mum
Ensure you are nourishing your body, and baby with the vitamins you both need. Your health care provider may offer some suggestions. Your body needs the best nourishment to grow, recover, and feed your baby.
Infant First-Aid Course
We hope that you will never have to put this to use. But babies rely on us to keep them safe and healthy, ensuring you know infant and baby/toddler first aid will give you peace of mind and give you the best knowledge and know how if something dreadful does happen.
A rectal thermometer is the most accurate for use with infants, but in some cases (such as diarrhea) it may be uncomfortable. I also like to have a digital thermometer, such as the one from QQCute you can point at their forehead or ear and get a reading quickly.
It is always essential to have a first aid kit. Two additional valuable suggestions are to:
- Keep emergency numbers in there so that you know where to get them from if you need to.
- Keep instructions for emergency procedures.
Why: If there is an emergency with your baby, fight-or-flight will kick in. Having these two things will help you through this situation.
Development and Sanity
It is as close as you will get to a parenting bible. Wonder Weeks outlines the developmental changes in your baby, the signs to look out for at each development stage (leap) and how to best help your baby (and yourself through it). It comes as a handy app or in book form.
It helps you to support yourself and baby to get optimal latching and helps for comfort and learning together.
For Multiples, The Twin Z pillow is recommended by our Sleep Consultant and momma of beautiful twin boys. This pillow is also useful for double tummy time when babies are ready.
Tip: Save some money by buying a maternity pillow that doubles as a nursing pillow.
Bottles and Teats
If you are planning to bottle-feed or express and bottle-feed, you will need to choose teats and bottles that control flow suitable for your babies age and feeding needs. You can also buy bottles and teats that replicate a nipple and breast flow to avoid nipple confusion.
Ensure your baby is getting the vitamins they need through your breast milk and help nourish your body.
If you wish to store milk, a breastfeeding pump will help you to express it adequately.
Tip: You can do it the old fashioned way (by hand), but a breast pump replicates a baby’s latching and sucking, and most women have more success by expressing with a pump than by hand.
Milk Storage Containers
You can purchase handy storage for your milk (bags or containers) that help you track the amount of milk and allow you to safely stock and store in the fridge and freezer.
To stop embarrassing booby leakage and give you peace of mind.
Invest in good nursing bras. It is essential to your health (supporting your breast and back) and gives you easy access for feeding. If you are not breastfeeding, the right maternity bra will help you to care for your body as your body settles. Look into buying different sizes for when your breasts are full and not so full. You will have to be fitted regularly as your body goes through changes.
If not nursing or doing mixed feeding.
A Bottle Brush
If you chose to breastfeed, you might find that it uncomfortable at first. Your nipples have to harden. Look for toxic free options. You can also get your boobies in the sun to help them set (yep they need to get touch) and freeze cabbage leaves to insert inside your bra for some relief.
TIP: Breastfeeding your nipples adapting takes time. No one tells you this. Don’t be surprised if it is painful or uncomfortable at first. Consult a Lactation or Breastfeeding Consultant to help you.
Rocking chair/feeding chair. Many mothers like to have a comfortable place to feed and soothe their baby. It can also help you both with routine.
Items to increase breast milk production. Some women will find that they have trouble with milk production. There are various strategies for increasing milk production. You can check out our Ultimate Guide to Increase Milk Supply.
Bottle disinfector. To keep bottles clean. Alternatively, (if you would like to save money), you can stick bottles and feeding equipment in a container and cover them with boiling water.
High Chair (or Not So High Chair)
Once your baby shows signs of readiness, you may decide to get them started on solids. You can choose a high chair or a booster seat. high chair or bumboo type thing (do a difference between) – easy to clean and fits safety standards (easy to use, clean, easy to get in and out, comfortable, locks, safety standards)
TIP: I forked out $189 on a high chair, and I hated it! I lived in a small house; it was bulky, it took half a day to clean, you had to take it apart to get squashed and mashed food out of all of the crevices. Choose a chair that is easy to clean, meets safety standards, is easy to get baby in and out, is comfortable and locks in all the right places
Extra Tip: Consider a seat with a reclining option. I found my bub would often fall asleep and it was more relaxed as she got older to let her be comfortable where she flaked!
There are audio and audio/visual options available. Baby monitors give you peace of mind and help you get on with your daily life (or take a nap) as you can see and/or hear if your baby is stirring.
Your baby should have a clean, new, and firm mattress to reduce the risk of SIDS. Less than two fingers should be able to fit between bed and crib.
Sheets need to be tight-fitting so that the baby doesn’t get tangled in them. Sleep therapists recommend layering babies clothes and Safe wearable blankets, sleeping sacs or sleeping bags for warmth when they start turning.
I love these! They keep your baby the right temperature during the night. It is essentially a wearable sleeping bag or blanket and is safer than blankets as baby doesn’t get tangled when they start turning. It reduces the chance of suffocation as loose blankets can cover the baby’s face. Choose an appropriate TOG rating for your climate.
What is a TOG rating? A tog rating is the level of warmth of a sleeping sac. It refers to the ‘thermal resistance,’ or weight and thickness. The higher the score, the warmer the clothing or sac.
Help calm, soothe and encourage sleep by using swaddles. Swaddling has been used for centuries and involves firmly wrapping your bubba in a swaddle (sheet or blanket) to help them feel secure. Choose an appropriate swaddle or rated sleeping sac for your climate.
White Noise Machine
Faith recommends a White Noise Machine to help mask natural and household noises that may disrupt your little ones sleeping.
Dark rooms help babies (and adults sleep). A dark room helps babies produce melatonin – The sleepy hormone! You can have them installed or get portable ones suitable for your nursery or travel. Having a dark room also might help your baby snooze in for longer.
A baby swing is a handy item for supporting sleep of any baby, but it is essential for multiples. Swings worked a treat with both of my daughters. It is a good suggestion that you do not leave babies to sleep alone in swings and that you should move them to a flat surface as soon as possible.
It is what Faith, our sleep consultant, had to say about her experience with using slings for multiples.
What do you do with two screaming babies who need a nap and one Mommy? Dad’s at work, the grandparents have left, and you are on your own for the first time. You’ve worked out how to feed both babies at once; by tandem breast or bottle feeding, but settle them both at the same time?
Get an electronic swing! It will save you countless hours of frustration and tears, trying to solve two babies at the same time. One baby settled in the swing and the other in your arms. Then next nap time you swap over. This way, both newborns get the rocking motion they like so much, both have a nap at the same time, and then you get a little rest too.
Using the swing means you’re not swapping one screaming baby for another while getting more and more exhausted and feeling helpless. This way, you can focus entirely on one baby at a time. Just remember to stay with your baby while they sleep in the swing, and another recommendation once they are asleep, you transfer them to their bassinet.
Logistics and Organisation
Pick a pram that fits your lifestyle and functions for where you need it. Use our hand guide to picking a pram here.
For ultimate peace of mind, use our Ultimate Guide on How to Buy a Car Seat to help you.
If you are heading outside of your home, having a handy mat to change your baby is an excellent idea for hygiene. Many nappy bags will come equipped; you can purchase one separately or take along a clean piece of cloth like a sarong.
Baby Sling or Carrier
Babywearing is the best. It leaves your hands free to shop and do what you need. It also helps to form bonds and soothe the baby.
Nappy Bag Organizer
These handy little pouches help with quick access, keeps items separate and organized.
If you don’t have a shower, it is a great idea to buy your bub a baby bath. You can put it somewhere stable and at a height that doesn’t require you to bend over.
If you do have a bath at home, you can use a baby bath support to help with ease of washing and to stop your baby from slipping.
Washers and Towels
Yes, I have put this in essentials as giving your bub a massage with soothing oils helps to soothe and calm your baby. It also helps you both to bond.
TIP: Babies don’t require shampoo or soap. We are conditioned to use these things. Use them if you like but look for toxic free options. You can always use natural oils to make bath time relaxing and enjoyable.
Tips: Measure room (make sure you can get it through the door and it all fits in the allocated space).
- Cot or bassinet
- Dresser for clothes
Okay, not essential, but I couldn’t go past this as it made my life so much easier. One diaper bin is a handy little innovation that you keep next to where you change your baby, put your nappy in and keep it everything safe from smells and contamination in a way that is easy and saves you time!
Alright…you don’t need a changing table. When you master the craft of nappy changing, you will find you can do it anywhere; on the couch, in the car, standing on one foot with your hand tied behind your back. A changing table, however, does make your life a heck of a lot easier, not to mention saves your back from having to bed over all of the time.
Changing Table Organizer
To save your life from clutter and chaos.
Aids with safety and hygiene during diaper changes
To help with soothing and sleep.
Tips for Affording and Purchasing All of Your Gear
So how are you going to plan for and get all your essential baby items? Here are some smart and money-saving ideas to help you.
Don’t wait until the baby comes to look at your finances. Start budgeting now. You will be super busy once your little one arrives, so start planning and shifting money now. Some quick tips include:
- Calling your loans brokers and banks and ask for lower interest rates. Nothing wrong can come from this.
- Search for lower interest rates and better deals
- Start taking an amount of money out each week or fortnight to go towards baby expenses
2. Baby Registry or Help Fund
Why not start a baby register for friends and family members who want to contribute? The people nearest and dearest to you can pick items that you need to put a contribution into a specific account.
Many stores will allow you to put things on layby and pay them off over time. It is a great idea. Just remember to read the small print. Lots of paces have interest free options.
You don’t have to purchase everything at once. You can choose to rent some items. Renting can:
- Be a budget-friendly option for things you will only need for a short while.
- Help you test before you buy it. You can make sure you like that product before you purchase it.
- Be a better fit for your budget or financial situation.