Whether you’re a first-time parent or looking to rebuild your toolkit since your last baby, we’ve compiled a list of baby items that every new parent needs. Every family and baby is different, so take the ideas in this list and form your own version. Remember, babies don’t have to cost the earth, you don’t need every baby gadget on the market to be a great parent. If you’re looking for money-saving tips while preparing for your baby’s arrival, pop over to our blog post “26 Ways To Save Money When You Have A Baby”.
Crib or bassinet
Your newborn baby may sleep up to 19 hours per day, so their sleep environment is one of the most important things to prepare. For safe sleep, all your baby needs is a crib or bassinet, free of any pillows or blankets, with tight-fitting waterproof sheets. People may recommend items such as baby nests to improve newborn sleep, however, these products are not approved for safe sleep. Read our blog post on Sleep Safety for more on this topic.
Always buy a new mattress if you’re getting a crib or bassinet secondhand. Mattresses can lose shape and go soft over time, so make sure to replace it for safe sleep.
Sleep sack or swaddle blankets
When buying blankets, choose lightweight cellular blankets which can be used for swaddling. Heavy blankets won’t be very useful in the beginning because they’re unsafe for sleep and can easily overheat your baby. If you don’t choose to swaddle, sleep sacks are a great sleep-safe option to keep your baby warm. There are plenty of options to choose from, so do some research to determine which sleep sack is best for your baby and the time of year they’ll be born.
There are so many varieties of baby monitors, ranging from the classic audio-only monitor to systems which allow you to monitor and track multiple streams of data such as room temperature, skin temperature, baby’s heart rate, blood-oxygen saturation and more. Of course, the price increases considerably with each added feature.
Although data can seem comforting, doctors do not recommend relying on complex monitoring systems. This is because there is no substitute for a parent’s watchful eye – and devices which monitor your baby so closely may give parents a false sense of security.
If you’re planning to breastfeed, there is no equipment that is necessarily essential. However, you may find items throughout your journey which make the experience more enjoyable, such as a breast pump so others can help with feeding.
If you’re preparing to bottle feed, you will need:
Bottles and bottle brush
About 6-10 bottles should be enough to ensure you always have a clean bottle available.
The HSE recommends that parents sterilise their baby’s bottles until they’re at least one year old, so your steriliser will be an important appliance. Baby formula is full of nutrients and energy which are great for your baby’s growth but can also be a paradise for bacteria. The steriliser will clear any trace of bacteria which could make your baby sick.
It’s also handy to stock up on travel options like steriliser bags which can be put in a microwave. This gives you the option to prepare a bottle away from home.
Research different formulas on the market to see which variety suits your needs and budget. Not every formula will be right for every baby, so avoid stockpiling formula before your baby arrives.
If you have a car, you’ll need a car seat for your new passenger. Remember that you’ll need to have this properly installed in your car before your baby comes home from the hospital – so it’s best to shop early. Never buy car seats secondhand as you cannot be sure they’ve never been involved in a collision. Car seats are not fit for use if they have been in any sort of crash.
Your baby’s skin is extremely sensitive to the sun’s rays so it’s best to block them from your car using sunshades. This keeps your baby cool and protected whilst in the car.
Buggy with carrycot
It’s recommended that your baby lies flat in a pram or carrycot until they are 6 months old. Then, once they can sit up, they can transition into a pushchair.
This is an item that can be as fancy or as simple as you like. Many mothers love using backpacks for their baby’s belongings as they’re fuss-free and cheap! You don’t have to go for the purpose-built fifty-inner-sections baby bags you’ll see in the baby shops.
Nappies and wipes
Your newborn will use around 12 nappies per day, so it’s best to stock up enough for the first few days. You may find that your baby’s skin is sensitive to some of the substances used in the nappies or wipes, so it’s best not to buy in bulk just yet.
If you’re choosing reusable nappies, aim to have around 30 in your collection.
Clothes are the most common gift for new babies, so avoid buying lots of fancy items, just stock up on the basics. Aim to have 10 onesies, 10 vests, 10 pyjamas, 10 pairs of socks (which can double as scratch mittens), 3 hats, 2 cardigans and lots of bibs or burp cloths.
Non-Bio Washing Detergent
The strong detergents and scents in your usual washing products may irritate your baby’s sensitive skin. Opt for a gentle alternative to avoid discomfort.
Your baby will only need “top and tail” sponge baths until their umbilical cord falls off, so bathing equipment is not an urgent requirement. Also, it’s not recommended to use any soap on babies under 1 month old, so the only thing you’ll need is a washcloth and warm water.
Once your baby’s umbilical cord has fallen off, they can have their first bath. If you’re inexperienced in bathing newborns, the baby bath will be a huge help. They’re designed to keep your baby supported and comfortable during bathtime.