Now this is a post that I hope you will find super helpful in your journey to preparing for babies long awaited arrival! As soon as I had my 12 week scan and saw our little human my mind was whirling frantically around considering all of the things I needed to buy for him, it gave me many a sleepless night.
So I decided early on to write a list and simply tick it off as I went, I spoke to fellow mama-to-be’s, I scoured the internet for “must haves for a newborn” and I even purchased a book. What I learned during this process was that everyone has their idea about what brand is best, what you shouldn’t do and because their baby loved it-it absolutely must be the only product you use. In all honesty, it can get a bit too much; so I kept it simple and didn’t rush into anything. I found it best to take myself on little days out, coffee in hand and go and look at what friends, family and the internet had kindly recommended to me.
For that reason, I have created this little checklist as a guide for things that I have thought to be “essentials for your little human” however, it is up to you to pick and choose what works for you. I thought it was a good idea to share this list before baby arrives, as I will continue to update it when he is here too!
So let’s talk shopping for the little bundle who is blissfully unaware of all of the preparation, sleepless nights and excitement us soon to be parents are beaming with while they lay snug in our tummies!
Shopping for baby
The ultimate essentials:
Okay so this one goes without saying but I’ll pop it in anyway…Nappies, nappies and more nappies! Don’t go crazy purchasing these as you don’t know how quickly baby will move up sizes. We currently have a one month supply of the first size and will purchase more as we need them. We opted for Kit and Kin as they are Biodegradable and get delivered as and when needed to your door (ok i was also a bit of a sucker for the cute animal patters on the bum, ooops) we will give them a go however I am also interested in trying Pampers Pure too as they seem to be a fave.
This one is far too easy to get carried away with, I swooned at every cute little outfit I saw. Self restraint is key here mum and dad!! To begin with baby needs:
- 6 x Newborn sized grows: short and long sleeved ( think potential poosplosions and changing up to 3x per day)
- 6 x Up to 1 month sized grows: short and long sleeved.
- 6 x Sleepsuits/sleep suitable grows
Note: I have put these two as essentials as really we don’t know which size will fit baby best, so it’s better to have the options ready! Don’t over buy on these either as you’ll see quickly how fast baby grows and may not even have time to wear them. You can always nip out, do a rush wash or do an online order if you need more.
TIP: One of the best tips I have received is to get grows with poppers and not ones that need to be stretched over babies head- at first that can be quite daunting so opt for grows that are easy to put on.
Your babies wardrobe will depend heavily on what time of year they are born, I did the silly mistake of shopping in winter and soon realised that our little one arrives in spring/summer (whoops). Not so long ago his wardrobe was primarily ready for a ski season in the alps when this week has been 23C and beautiful! So do work with the seasons and babies sizes to start their first wardrobe even if it means waiting until the next seasons offering is out.
- Mittens: a lot of newborn clothes come with little mittens attached if you just unfold at the bottom of the sleeve; however not all do. Purchase at least a few pairs of scratch mittens as babies are born with a startle reflex which makes them prone to scratching their faces with their sharp teeny nails- these do need maintaining with either a baby file or baby clippers (doing this scares me a little ahh).
- 3 x Cardigans/jumpers– again dependant on the seasons you may need more or less but you know the good old British weather, it can be bright and warm one minute and chilly and raining the next- so have layers at hand for keeping baby warm when needed.
- Bibs: although baby doesn’t eat yet they still slather an abundance of dribble over everything, puke up their milk and did I mention dribble? My favourites are from: Madisons (super stylish and oh so fluffy on the inside) and Mothercare (cheap and do what they say on the tin).
TIP: Don’t fall into the trap of buying shoes! Babies don’t need shoes until they are quite a few months older, of course they look cute but honestly they will probably just get kicked off anyway!
Baby at home:
- Muslins/Swaddles: I constantly hear that you can never have enough muslins (I do have a bit of an obsession with them so this is my excuse). Muslins are made from cotton and are little or large sheets that come in handy for all manners of baby type things; draped over shoulders to burp baby and protect your clothes from dribble, used as blankets, as baby bed sheets, wipe over babies mouth, mop up spills, even to dampen in cool water and put by a fan to spread a lovely coolness around the room in summer. My favourites are Madpac Babies, Lil’ Cubs, Aden Anais, Mothercare and Marks and Spencers. There are a plethora of uses for the mighty muslin- and for that reason I’ll not feel guilty for owning too many…if you are reading this my darling fiancé who thinks we could open a muslin shop!
- Moses Basket/Crib: I took my time before choosing this one, a good place to start your research is ‘the lullaby trust’ it is a charity specialising in safe sleeping for babies and will help you greatly in understanding the requirements for babies sleeping space. We went for the SnuzPod 3, as it can join to the seam of your bed or sit beside it, it’s very light so I would be able to carry it around the house myself, and also has an anti-reflux sleep setting. There are a lot of options for cribs and Moses baskets online and a few others I loved were:
Claire de Lune
Chico 3 in 1
This was by far one of the toughest decisions out of all of the baby buys! I narrowed it down to these:
- Cybex Cloud Z
- Be Safe iZi Go
- Maxi Cosi
We went for the Cybex Cloud Z as it fit our buggy, has excellent safety standards, has a lie-flat option and is easy to fit in and out of the car. Something to consider is whether you will get an iso-fix car seat or not, if so always opt for ‘I-size’ it has better impact protection and keeps children rear facing for longer (recommended). The lie flat option is NOT an essential, however babies should never be in a car seat for more than 2 hours at a time including when it is out of the car or attached to a buggy. This means that you will need to wake up little one on long journeys to take them out of the car seat, and they can’t safely snooze in them for extended periods, eg: days out. In a nutshell: the lie flat carseat allows for babies to safely sleep in the car seat for longer when used outside of the car. It can also be used as a carrycot for newborns so you may decide not to purchase one of these at all. They do come in a bit more expensive however it seems worth it.
Our choice was: The Egg.
I had originally purchased the iCandy however after using the egg at the Baby Show I just knew this was the one I would prefer and find easiest to use. It is very sturdy and yet easy to pop up and down curbs, smooth on bumpy paths and it is a lovely size. I found some prams too rigid or bulky but this one was lovely to push and navigate around, it also has great sized storage space.
Most common recommendation I received was:
Bugaboo Fox (a favourite amongst my fellow mama friends)
Car seat. Buggy and Highchair
Room Thermometer: Ours just arrived in the post as I write this blog and was the perfect reminder for me to whack it on this list. We have picked the Gro Egg as it’s very easy to tell at a quick glance whether babies room is of a suitable temperature, not only does it display the degrees but it changes colour; blue being too cold, amber being ideal and red being too hot…if only Goldilocks had a Gro Egg she might not have had so much trouble.
It’s recommended that baby stays in the same room as his parents until 6months old, essentially meaning you don’t need to have a Cot/ Nursery furniture until then! However, you do need somewhere to store babies clothes, nappies, and muslins so despite a few recommendations for us to hold back on the nursery we thought it wasn’t such a bad idea to get it ready anyway!
We went for the Silver Cross Coastline set and absolutely love it. There is so much space, well thought out compartments and it is made to a very high standard. The other decision to make is whether to choose a Cot or Cot Bed- we went for a Cot Bed as our little guy will have this until he is up to 4 years old due to the clever transformation it makes into a toddlers bed!
Baby Monitor: Oh goodness this one was the worst to research. I was endlessly going back and forth on my decision for this one, one tip is don’t even look at Amazon’s reviews on these as they are so mixed and will send you around in circles. We opted to pick one from the most recommended by other parents, the top 3 were:
We opted for the Arlo and while I can’t comment on it yet, it seems to be a great choice. It connects to your phone so you can check on baby at any time, is HD and our friends have found it to be brilliant.
Helpful but not essential:
Changing Mat: If there’s one thing I have heard from just about everyone it is “you wait for the nappy explosions”. It doesn’t phase me as such, however I have opted for a changing table and mat as I feel it could make things a little easier. These aren’t an essential per se, as you could just lay baby on a towel etc, however changing mats are made for this sh*t (truly) and are wipe clean so to me it’s just a no brainier! We actually have 2, one for upstairs from Jo Jo Mama BeBe and one for downstairs from Mothercare.
Baby Sling Carrier: We have an Ergo 360 and an Infantino carrier. There are some fab ones of these out at the moment and I am going to also purchase one that is just material that you tie around yourself.
Baby Bouncer: we have one and believe it will be a great place to put baby down throughout the day when you realise you just don’t have 8 hands! Ours rocks, vibrates and plays music so there’s a little helping hand to settle baby if we get tired of bouncing, jigging and humming ourselves.
Baby play gym mat: For putting baby down on, giving baby some sensory time and yep again freeing up your hands! We have the Skip Hop Cloud mat and it is so colourful, sensory and comfortable (I was tempted to nap on it, no doubt I will do in the future!)
It may sound a little funky however advice is that you shouldn’t bath baby for at least the first 48 hours, and try to hold out until at least a week or two! This is because nature works it’s magic once again and provides baby with a protective layer called the Vernix. The Vernix protects baby against infection and is natures protective barrier. Newborns also find it hard to regulate their own temperature, so bathing them too soon and exposing them to such contrasted temps isn’t helpful so early on. Babies aren’t born “dirty” as most would think, they are incredibly sterile and to delay bathing is more beneficial than not. But again, research and come to your own decisions ❤
So for the first few days/ a week I have the following cleaning essentials:
Bamboo wash cloths to use with warm water over babies delicate areas.
Cotton Pads to use on babies bum with water for the first week of changing.
Cotton buds to delicately wipe in between babies toes and behind his ears.
Baby Bath: Angel Care. It’s basically a baby chair for the bath, it enables you to run a little bath in your own tub and then baby sits safely in it. There are also the mini bath types that you fill up and baby sits in that however this one seemed easiest to store, use and our close friends have found it to be brilliant!
Bath Temperature Thermometer: Baby’s bath should be 36-37C and although checking the temp with your elbow or wrist is an option, for peace of mind at first I will definitely use a thermometer. You can pick these up in boots, baby shops and on amazon.
We have a baby shampoo, body wash and body cream from Child’s Farm. This brand is free from nasties, gentle on skin and although they do fragranced options we went for the unfragranced as it seems more sensitive and who doesn’t love the musky smell of new babies, so we will refrain from making him smell of tangerine just yet! Ha ha.
Bath Towel: We have 3. Current fave so far is one from Marks and Spencer as it is pure cotton and so so so so soft!! It was £10 which is a great price compared to many others on the market. Other options I have been considering are:
This will differ depending on whether you plan to breast or bottle feed your little one. I am going to give it my best shot at breast feeding and if it doesn’t work I am fully prepared to bottle feed too. I am also in two minds about whether to do half and half from the onset as this could relieve some of the pressure off of me (my boobs) and also give my fiancé and family the option to feed him too as he wont rely on the nip!
Essential: Your boob
Helpful but not essential:
Breast Pump: After research I opted for the Medela Swing Pump, it seems comfortable, compact and does what it says on the tin- expresses milk! They also do a handy starter kit which came with mine and it has bags for freezing, bottles, microwave bags. I will be sharing my breast feeding journey with you as I feel it’s something we should all feel more free and normal to talk about/help each other out with tips.
Nursing pads: I have both disposable and washable ones. The cloth ones are really dainty and soft and are from Bravado.
Nursing Bra’s: I have an array of these from H&M to JoJo Mama Bebe. My current fave is from Bravado as it looks lovely, is practical and is super silky to the touch.
Formula Feeding Essentials:
Bottles for 0+: We have MAM bottles and Tommee Tippee, I’ve heard a lot of babies not taking to particular bottles so have two types just in case!
Bottle drying rack: From Amazon, it’s the one that looks like a little grassy lawn.
Bottle Cleaning Brush
Helpful but not Essential:
We were kindly gifted the Tommee Tippee Day and Night Prep machine and so many parents have told us how much easier it made feeding and how it is worth the added expense so I am really looking forward to trying it!
And…the Extra’s you may want to consider:
Stoke Tripp Trapp Chair: Quite a pricey investment, however this gorgeous chair will see baby through from newborn until adult! We currently have it with the Newborn attachment and it’s sitting by our dining room table- I just feel it’s going to be one of our fave items as allows baby to snooze or chill beside you as you eat and then transforms into their high chair, toddler seat and so on.
Enchanted Sleeper: This wonderful creation was thoughtfully made by grandparents who wanted to improve sleeping for little ones. It is NHS approved, high quality and a snug little sleep aid for babies. You can use it in the cot, crib or around the house with you to ensure baby has a comfy and safe sleep. I can’t wait to use ours. I have a discount code where you can receive a generous £15 off, simply use code Hollie-Enchanted-Offer at checkout.
Baby Changing Bag: I took absolutely forever choosing one of these as I have never owned a backpack and knew I wanted this to be one for ease of carrying and fitting plenty of stuff in! I finally and so gladly found Fact + Fiction and fell in love with the Charli Bag. It doesn’t leave my side, holds plenty, has little storage compartments hiding everywhere to hold nappies, bottles, dummies, and lets not forget to mention how stunning and stylish it is! You can currently get £15 off this one with the code PRE15, whoop! I love this bag so much I just ordered a smaller one in the sale to put the very few bits I will remember to pack for myself.
Sleepyhead: The perfect companion for baby to relax in as you potter on with everyday duties, again this one is something that is best purchased after your own research. I have had such wonderful feedback about these with parents saying it was their best purchase!
Grofriend: a cuddly bear that plays white noise and soothes baby
Swaddles/Gro Bags: These are helpful sleeping aids that keep baby snug and wrapped up for bed time. I haven’t tried to swaddle with a blanket yet so my current preference are Grobags which look comfortable, come in different togs are are recommended by The Lullaby Foundation as a safe sleep aid. Halo is also a great brand for swaddles and available on amazon.
Night light: I ordered a cute little portable night light on amazon for anytime that I need to get up to make bottles/feed baby/go to the loo and don’t want to turn on a big bright light.
Black out blind: The Gro Company do wonderful black out blinds which can help improve the quality of your little ones sleep if there is light making it through your curtains. These are also great for travel where you can’t guarantee a pitch black room.
Umbrella/foot muff attachment for your buggy: great for protecting baby from the sunshine, and the muff is fab for winter to keep them warm.
Tommee Tippee Sangenic Nappy Bin: An amazing contraption, just put in babies nappy and it bags it up and stores them in an environment that won’t let those stinky smells slip out and you won’t need to always run outside to the dustbin!
There you have it, my current list of everything we have for baby! I will update this list as we go and add little notes of what we dig and what got pushed aside when baby is here.
Feel free to send me a message if you have any questions, and if you have any of your own recommendations I would love to hear them!
Happy shopping gang and if you find yourself getting stressed over a purchase, leave it for another day! Babies run on love, milk and plenty of nappy changes above all else x