Disclaimer: I was sent some of these items, denoted with a *, free of charge for inclusion in this new baby essentials gift guide, but words and pictures are mine. This post contains affiliate links, see more information here.
I’m fairly excited because in the not too distant future, we’re going to have another baby in the family. No, not me (thank goodness), but I’m going to be an auntie.
It seemed like the perfect excuse to put together a list of new baby essentials; everything you need when welcoming a new baby into the family, to buy for them or if you’re an expectant parent to stick on a checklist.
We’re unsure of the variety of baby yet so everything in this new baby essentials list is fairly neutral.
If you’re looking for hospital bag stuff, there is a great and thorough list here.
Getting about with a baby
For information on getting about with a baby, and a chance to win an amazing Phil and Teds buggy, click here!
Eating, sleeping and pooping
Babies spend pretty much all of their early days eating, sleeping and pooping. Yes you can buy swings, mats, toys and all sorts… but as long as they have something to wear and you have these new baby essentials covered, you’ll be fine.
If you are planning to breastfeed, then really, you don’t need anything but you and your boobs. However there are several products you can get in to make sure you have the best chance of success.
A decent breast pump is a must-buy, especially if you are planning to be away from your baby for any amount of time (and let’s face it, we could all do with a break now and again). They can also help you grin and bear it through sore nipples and mastitis; both of which are very common.
The Medela Swing is always highly recommended; this is not the model I used but it is what I’d buy if I was doing it over again.
I never got on with bulky breastfeeding covers. What baby really wants to have their dinner underneath a hot blanket? A large muslin is a really useful item to take out with you; tuck it into your bra and hang it however makes you feel comfortable.
This Extra Large Muslin* from Jo Jo Maman Bebe is a light, breathable muslin measuring 120cm x 120cm. It is available in grey (pictured), pink and blue and costs £10.
Large muslins have a million other uses too; a light blanket, a swaddle, wiping up baby sick, something for tucking into the pram to create shade (nb don’t cover the pram, especially in the summer as it can get dangerously hot!), or a toga for your baby when they poop through their last outfit.
Comfortable nursing bras which are easy to unclip one-handed are a must-buy! These ones come highly rated and cost just £19.99 for three bras.
Hydrogel Breast Discs
Sore nipples are pretty much par for the course particularly in the early days of breastfeeding. Rite Aid Hydrogel Breast Discs* are one-use sterile discs which you peel off and apply to soothe sore, cracked nipples as an alternative to nipple cream or lanolin. The discs also absorb leakage and allow your nipples to heal.
If you are bottle or combi-feeding then, you’ll need to be a little better prepared.
There are a million different types of bottles on the market; we used Dr Brown’s bottles with anti-colic teats (not that it made a huge amount of difference). Additionally you’ll have to pick out which formula you will use, although when it comes down to it they’re all very very similar.
Tommee Tippee Perfect Prep Machine
The number one bottle feeding item recommended by friends and followers was the Tommee Tippee Perfect Prep* formula machine.
Like a cappuccino maker for babies, the Tommee Tippee Perfect Prep can make up a bottle of baby formula at the correct temperature in less than two minutes. Simply measure out the correct amount of formula powder inside the bottle, and place it on the movable shelf beneath the water dispenser.
The Perfect Prep has a special filter system which removes impurities present in the water and then a ‘hot shot’ of water kills any bacteria that may be present in formula, before the bottle is topped up with the correct amount of water.
However you end up feeding your baby, I would recommend a lot of muslins; they are my number one baby essential item! Although my babies had reflux, so we got through what seemed like hundreds, even non-refluxy babies spit up and dribble.
Aden + Anais make the most beautiful muslins*, printed with fun designs to make wiping up baby puke just that little bit more fun.
These Winnie the Pooh Disney Baby Muslins cost £21 for a pack of three; buy them from the Aden + Anais website.
A baby needs somewhere to sleep, and the recommended place is a bare cot with a brand new mattress, in the same room as the parents. A moses basket can be useful for moving up and downstairs (although my kids absolutely hated the thing!).
The bedside cribs are brilliant particularly for breastfeeding mums because you don’t have to get out of bed in order to see to them in the night
As a new parent, I didn’t really want to use dummies, until I realised that they were in fact a much better option that screaming babies and raw nipples. They’re cheap enough, so personally I would rather buy and not use than wish you had some at 3am.
These Keep-it-Kleen soothers* automatically closed when dropped meaning that they won’t get dirty. Buy from Hippychick. RRP £4.99.
Sleeping bag From ErgoPouch
Loose blankets in a baby’s cot can pose a suffocation or overheating risk, or they can slip at which point baby will let you know that they’re cold by screaming at you, right in your ear. It’s a magical time.
Baby sleeping bags are amazing; you zip them in and baby is going nowhere, and as long as you choose the correct tog rating for the room temperature you can be sure that they won’t over heat or get too cold.
The newborn Cocoon swaddle and sleeping bags* from ErgoPouch are not only beautiful but totally practical.
With a zip down the front and poppers at the side and made from an organic cotton and bamboo mix, they can be used for swaddling as well as sleeping bags and are suitable from birth. They are available in 1 and 2.5 tog ratings; pictured is a 1 tog Cocoon Swaddle Bag which is suitable for spring and autumn temperatures.
A video monitor may not be a baby essential, but it is really useful – even if you just want to pee. A baby monitor with two-way speech is a good long term investment for when they’re old enough to get out of bed and you don’t want to repeatedly traipse upstairs and tell them off. This one has excellent reviews and is very similar to the model we happily used for years.
Not a new baby essential, perhaps, but lovely to have! A cot mobile gives baby something to try and focus on, they entertain and above all calm them particularly when they make soothing music.
This beautiful teddy and rabbit soft cot mobile* made by Nattou is perfect for a calm, neutral nursery. It has velcro to attach it and plays a soothing tune when the cord is pulled.
You can buy it from Hippychick for £25.95.
Obviously you’ll need the new baby essentials like nappies, and wipes, and there are plenty of places on the internet with lots of information on the best disposable and reusable of both.
A changing table makes life so much easier; we bought and sold our on a local Facebay site which is definitely a great place to buy lightly used baby items.
A nappy bin is one of those things that are either hailed as an amazing invention or a total waste of money; I was definitely in the former camp with a Tommee Tippee Sangenic bin upstairs and down!
In your changing bag, keep plenty of nappies, wipes, barrier cream, spare clothes, a wet bag/plastic bag for soiled clothes, muslins and a travel changing mat because you really don’t want to have to lay your baby directly on a grimy looking changing table.
This compact folding changing mat* from JoJo Maman Bebe folds out big enough to cover a changing table, with a pocket inside to store nappies and wipes and an outside pocket for soiled clothes. If there were such a thing as a ‘popping out to the shops’ nappy bag, this would be it.
Newborns can easily pick up illnesses as their immune systems aren’t developed. Although you’d be very wise to keep people who are ill far away (which may involve stern words to weird strangers or even grandparents), sometimes they’ll pick up colds despite your best efforts. It’s horrible for them; they find it really difficult to breathe. It’s horrible for you, too, and there is a limit to what you can actually do when they’re too young for paracetamol.
Snufflebabe make baby-friendly cold relief products* which can be used from birth. The nasal aspirators (‘snot suckers’) are great fun if you’re a bit strange like I am.
Vapour oil and nasal spray can be used to relieve colds and blocked noses and help baby to sleep when they have a cold; make sure you have some in your cabinet along with some barrier cream.
Newborn babies don’t need an awful lot of stimulation, but as they grow they get interested in the world around them and like to feel different textures and hear different sounds.
An activity mat or play gym, while not something you need to rush out and buy whilst pregnant, is usually a nice gift for an expectant parent, as are toys that are baby safe, especially ones that can be clipped to a pram or play pen.
The Tiny Caterpillar Activity Toy (RRP £19.99) from the collection is bright, colourful and fun. Its features include a green leaf teether, multiple textures, including a crinkle, a squeaker, a rattle and a wooden ring, all perfect for developmental and sensory play.
The Tiny Caterpillar Comfort Blanket (RRP £9.99) is a colourful, soft plush apple-shaped comforter with attached teether and tags, which babies love.
Both toys have a clip for quick and easy attachment to the pram, car seat, play gym or cot to keep baby entertained. They will be available from mid-March in John Lewis (activity toy) and Hamleys (comfort blanket). For more information, take a look at their website and follow on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. You can see the whole Rainbow Designs VHC range on Amazon.
What new baby essentials are on your list?
Enter the competitions below to win some new baby essentials: A Snufflebabe nasal aspirator, a Nuk Luna Electric Breast Pump and some beautiful baby toys from Rainbow Designs.