Essentials to Obtain Before The Birth

  • Cotton crib sheets, wool cellular blankets, cotton cellular blankets
  • First-size disposable nappies (even if you intend to use washable nappies – see below)
  • Cotton vests with poppers between the legs, all-in-ones and/or nighties, cardigans
  • Small soft hat or bonnet (particularly for winter babies – for use outside only)
  • At least two soft and stretchy shawls for swaddling and cuddling
  • Muslin squares (used to be known as Harringtons – brilliant for protecting shoulders from baby sick and general mopping up. Also can be used as a soft surface for the baby’s head to sleep on in pram and crib)
  • Barrier cream such as zinc and castor oil (essential for every change to begin with, as poos are frequent) and calendula or medicated cream for nappy rash (pretty rare at new-born stage)
  • Wipes (choose perfume-free – terrific for late-night changes)
  • Cotton wool (it is gentler to use with water to clean the tiny bottom)
  • An all-in-one warm suit (to bring the baby home from hospital – the car-seat harness does up between the legs)
  • Baby nail scissors (nails grow unbelievably fast, and your baby may begin to scratch him or herself)

Washable Nappy Essentials

  • Two nappy buckets
  • Napisan or Nappy Fresh sterilising powder
  • 24 best quality terry squares
  • Or first-size fitted nappies (much more expensive and difficult to dry)
  • Nappy pins (stick them in a bar of soap to help penetrate the nappy)
  • Dozen pairs first-size waterproof pants
  • Disposable liners

For You

  • Two or three nursing bras (get them properly fitted – the size of your breasts varies enormously throughout the breastfeeding period. We would recommend one or two soft stretchy cotton ‘sleeping’ nursing bras for the early days when you might be sore and swollen) and more supportive bras for daytime wear.
  • Disposable circular breast pads
  • Kamillosan cream for nipples
  • Maternity or night-time sanitary towels
  • Large cheap cotton knickers (the general consensus is that disposable ones are horrible and a waste of money)

Equipment For Beginners

  • Changing mat (the changing surface should be level with your waist to prevent backache, but doesn’t need to be specially designed for babies)
  • Moses basket, brand new mattress, and stand (raises it above the draughts on the floor)
  • Baby alarm (so you can hear the baby from downstairs – a plug-in model with a night light is a good idea)
  • Car seat (the best you can afford, plus head support for the new baby.
  • Use only in the car – they are not comfortable enough for use around the house)
  • Dummies (helps to soothe your baby. Not fashionable but terrific for very sucky babies to save your nipples – they should be thrown away when the baby is around four months and finds its fingers or thumb)
  • Baby sling (make sure you can carry the baby high enough to kiss his or her head – otherwise you get backache)
  • Bouncy cradle (simple design of fabric stretched over a collapsible frame – gives the baby a view of the world right from the start. Use the car seat head support to begin with and never leave unattended on a table top or other raised surface)
  • Baby bath, or baby support for the big bath, and baby wash solution (soap makes the baby slippery and early baths are nerve-racking enough)

For Bottle Feeding

You don’t need to buy these items in advance if you intend to breastfeed.

Avoid bottle warmers, they breed bacteria frighteningly fast.

  • Steam steriliser
  • Eight bottles plus teats designed for new-borns
  • Formula
  • Specially shaped brush for cleaning bottles and teats (keep separate from normal washing up)

And that’s it. You can research prams and pushchairs before the birth. Afterwards, you will have more idea of what will be useful. The baby sling will be just right for walks while you make up your mind.

“ANYTHING ELSE THAT ARRIVES FROM FOND FRIENDS AND RELATIONS IS VERY WELCOME, BUT NOT INITIALLY ESSENTIAL.”