Newborn Essentials

Newborn Essentials

It can feel a little overwhelming preparing for your baby. There will be many lists and lots of people telling you about everything you ‘need’. Truth is, newborns need very little, so long as they are fed, warm + have somewhere safe to sleep, they will be happy.

We have created a simple list of things you may need for your newborn, that we [and some of you] consider essential. We have also created a list of some ‘nice to haves’ that you may find handy along the way, a lot of these are items for you that may make life just a little easier.

Remember, this is just what we have found helpful in our journey with a newborn, and these things may differ for you. Also remember that you can buy things along the way if you find you need them, you don’t necessarily need it all before your babe arrives.

Newborns grow quickly and are constantly changing, if you invest in quality essentials, you may find that you’re able to sell these once you’ve finished with them, or keep them for any future babes/to pass on to friends.

Change + Bath Essentials

Nappies + Wipes – have a think about whether you will use disposables, cloth nappies or a combination of both. You can start to grab packets of disposable nappies + wipes at the supermarket before your baby is due, but remember that newborns grow quickly so don’t stock up on too many newborn sized nappies!

You could also start to build a small collection of newborn or one-sized cloth nappies + cloth wipes to use when you are ready and be prepared for when baby arrives. Collecting nappies earlier on can help to spread the cost of investing in these out.

Check out our range of cloth nappies + accessories.

Skincare – Newborns don’t need much in terms of skincare in the early days. Eventually you may choose to use a barrier nappy cream [especially great for meconium poos], a skin moisturiser + a gentle body wash/shampoo. Ensure the products you are choosing are made from natural ingredients and are kind on your little one’s delicate skin. 

Check out our range of natural skincare.

Change Mat – You may choose to have a change table at home which can be handy while you are at home, but a portable change mat can also be handy to have as well. One that fits inside your nappy caddy or baby bag + is easy to move around the home is essential. Having one that is wipeable may be helpful as well.

We have a few different change mats available. 

Baby Bath - A baby bath is a definite essential in our eyes. One that is easily moved & doesn’t require much water is even better. The Shnuggle Bath is the ultimate baby bath + uses less than 2L of water each bath. It can easily be placed inside your bigger tub, shower, or on top of your kitchen bench [supervised of course]. We also love these for taking away as well as they are very light + portable.

Shop baby baths. 

Nail Kit – No body likes the idea of trimming their newborns nails + those things grow crazy fast! The Haakaa Nail Care Set is an essential for safely + quickly filing your little one’s nails.

Thermometer – This is something we have found to be essential as babies can become unwell at any stage. A thermometer is a great way to check your little one’s temperature and ensure they aren’t getting sicker. The infrared thermometer is great as you can scan your little one’s forehead with a no-touch approach, so if they’re blissfully asleep you don’t need to wake them.

Cloths + Towels – A collection of face cloths or cloth wipes are great for all sorts of situations with a baby. From wiping up spills, to cleaning stubborn newborn poop + gently bathing your little one, they really are an essential! Having a couple of hooded baby towels is also handy. The hood helps to keep your little one warm as it stops the heat escaping from their head. We have a range of generously sized hooded towels that will last from newborn into toddlerhood. 

Baby Bag – Having a bag that you can easily take all of the things in while out and about can be very handy - whether that is a purpose-built baby bag, or a bag you already have. Ensuring it has enough pockets to separate nappies, clothes, bottles + your own things will make life that much easier.  We have a range of baby bags to suit every lifestyle so make sure you check them out.

Wet Bags – whether you plan to use cloth nappies, or disposables, a wet bag is a mama must-have! With pockets to separate dry + wet/soiled clothing or nappies, they are great for keeping your baby bag mess-free and organised. Wet bags are also great for storing dummies, medicine, cloth wipes + more!

Clothing

Choosing natural fibre clothing is important to keep your newborn safe + protect their delicate skin. Cotton and merino are great choices for newborns, and they won’t need too many pieces.

Choosing grow suits that have zips can be very helpful, especially for changes in the middle of the night. Another great choice is a gown for overnight sleep as this makes it even easier to change your little one while half asleep. 

Basing your clothing choices off the following list can be helpful in preparing what items to buy for your newborn [regardless of what time of year they will be born]. 

Furniture

Bassinet/Cot – Having somewhere for your baby to safely sleep is essential. You may choose to co-sleep and if you do, it is important that you research the safest way to do this with your newborn. Checkout Heather Johnston from Cradled for more information on safely co-sleeping if you’re looking for some guidance on this.  

If you choose not to co-sleep a bassinet or cot [or both], may be the best option for you.

There are co-sleeping bassinets, moses baskets and full-sized cots. The options are endless, so ensure you have a look at what is available and choose the best option for you. We personally used a bassinet until approximately 6 months and then transitioned into a cot, this may well work for you as well, especially if you are wanting your baby in your room for those first few months.

Although baby nests are lovely, most of these aren’t approved for overnight sleep, so ensure that you look into these before purchasing and ensure that they are worth the investment if you are looking to use one. Most baby nests are fine for daytime sleep as long as your baby is supervised. 

Pram – For some, a pram will be top of their list, and for others not so much. This will depend on your lifestyle, how often you will be out walking, whether it needs to pack up to fit in your car or whether you will be mostly walking from home. Will you be walking off road/trails or mainly in the streets? Ensure that the pram you choose ticks all these boxes before purchasing.

Capsule/Car seat – Having a safe way to transport your baby around is essential. Whether that be a capsule, or a car seat that fits from birth, again there are options. You’ll need to think about what works for you. A lot of capsules such as Maxi Cosi and Nuna are compatible with many prams for transporting your baby straight out of the car and back again without disturbing them! Have a look at what is around and what may suit you and your lifestyle.

Baby Carrier – For us we found this to be an essential that we couldn’t live without in the newborn days.  If you have a baby who likes to be held [most newborns really!], then a carrier can be a great way to keep them close whilst still keeping your hands free. There are many types of carriers out there and you’ll need to do some research to see what suits you – check out our blog on baby wearing to see which carrier this might be.

Sleep

As above, choosing a safe space for your baby to sleep is a top priority. Choosing what to sleep them in is another important task.

Bedding – having at least two sets of bassinet or cot sheets is essential to ensure that if one is in the wash, you still have one to place on the bed. Three or four sets will be even better, especially if you have a spilly baby. 

Swaddle/Sleeping Bag – you may choose to swaddle your baby with a muslin or stretchy swaddle, or use something like a love to dream swaddle for an easy-to-use option that doesn’t require any fancy techniques in the middle of the night. Most babies like being swaddled as it helps them to feel safe + secure in the night, plus stops them from startling themselves awake. You may choose to bypass swaddling completely and go straight to a sleeping bag, in which case we recommend the Woolbabe Mini Sleeping Bags if this is the option you want to choose, as they are suitable for use from newborn up to nine months.

Sleep Attire - It is important to dress your baby appropriately for the temperature of the room and ensure they don’t overheat. Do not sleep your baby in a hat as this can cause overheating. It is important to dress them in natural fibres and use natural fibre sleeping bags/swaddles and bedding as well. Avoid using items such as fleece blankets as these don’t allow for natural ventilation. Sleeping your baby in merino or cotton is great for temperature regulation, whilst still keeping them snuggly warm. 

Check out our range of essential clothing. 

Sleep Aides - Many mamas [including me], rave about white noise! This is a great way to lull your baby off into dream land. White noise reminds newborns a lot of the noises they hear in the womb, so can act as a familiar noise for them. It is also a great way to block out any sudden loud noises that may wake them, such as cars, doors shutting, vacuuming etc. Introducing this early on can be a good way to introduce sleep habits from an early stage, and help your little one settle to sleep [and stay asleep!]. We have a few sleep aides available that may help your little one to settle. 

Feeding

Whether you are planning to breast or bottle feed, or use a combination of both, it can be handy to be prepared for both situations.

I recommend having a bottle or two on hand in case you need to use one [you may even want to get some formula to have on hand just in case as well!].

Some essentials that may be handy for breastfeeding include:

  • A breast pump – a Haakaa manual breast pump may be a good starting point, or if you are planning to express more, an electric breast pump may be worth the investment for you
  • A steriliser – especially handy if you plan on using bottles, breast pumps or pacifiers. UV sterilisers are great as you can pop household items like toys, phones + keys in these without damaging them as well!
  • Bottles – handy for feeding your baby expressed milk or formula, grab one or two to try before committing to a certain type to ensure your baby takes it without any issues
  • Breast milk storage bags/trays for freezing or storing expressed milk
  • A bottle brush + Boon grass drying rack for cleaning + storing dried bottles and/or pump parts
  • Burp cloths - old-fashioned cloth nappy squares, or specific burp cloths are well worth the investment. Newborns can be spilly at times [or all the time if you have a reflux babe], and these can help to cut down on you + your babe's washing! 

Breastfeeding items for Mum that may be handy:

  • A feeding pillow to support you + baby while feeding [handy for both breast + bottle feeding]
  • Lactation supplements/snacks to snack on during feeds [just be careful not to overdo it if you have an oversupply!]
  • Breast pads – reusable breast pads are great as they hold a lot of leakage, have a waterproof backing + can be washed and reused time and time again
  • Silverette nipple cups – these can be a lifesaver for sore, cracked or damaged nipples [they can also prevent this from happening in the first place!]
  • Nipple balm – great to use between feeds to help with cracked nipples + keeping skin soft and supple
  • A comfortable feeding chair or place on the couch that you feel comfortable and is well set up to feed 

Some bottle-feeding essentials that may be handy:

  • If you plan on solely or mainly bottle feeding, it is recommended to have 4-8 bottles to ensure you’re not having to wash and sterilise bottles after every single feed
  • A formula dispenser if you plan on using formula – this is especially great while you are out and about
  • A Missta thermos for storing warm sterilised water while out and about for making bottles on-the-go [also great to have by your bed side overnight for night feeds!]
  • A bottle brush + Boon grass drying rack for cleaning + storing dried bottles and/or pump parts
  • Burp cloths - old-fashioned cloth nappy squares, or specific burp cloths are well worth the investment. Newborns can be spilly at times [or all the time if you have a reflux babe], and these can help to cut down on you + your babe's washing! 

Nice-to-haves

Items that we love + have been suggested by our community, that might not be essential for you, but may just help to make life a little easier.

  • A Bunnie Caddie for storing breastfeeding essentials such as burp cloths, nipple balm, water bottle, lactation snacks, changing accessories and more. This won’t be an essential for everyone, but can definitely help to make life a little easier + more organised. These also easily transport from room to room for overnight use 
  • A pram caddy for attaching to your stroller. These are great for keeping your keys, phone + wallet handy without needing to reach into your baby bag that might be under the pram. These are also big enough to hold pacifiers, small toys, a nappy or bottle for quick trips out and about.
  • A night light. This is something we loved for those night time nappy changes + feeds. The Shnuggle Night light is the perfect choice as it has a soft glow that won’t wake the whole house and can easily be moved around if you need to get up and about in the night.
  • A good drink bottle. Our Frank Green bottles are an essential in our eyes. They keep your water cool for up to 24 hours and are great for those long days and nights of cluster feeding. The straw lid is great for sipping on, and the push button lid is easily operated with one hand. Available in 595ml and 1000ml sizes [the 595ml will easily fit in your car or pram cup holder!].
  • Some comfortable loungewear for breastfeeding/sleeping/lounging with your newborn. The Close To The Heart breastfeeding PJs and Lullaby Club lounge sets are the perfect options for those early [and beyond] postpartum days. They are also incredibly stylish + can be lived in all day and night.
  • Other clothing items that we found to be essential were a good breastfeeding bra/crop that is comfortable for day + night [as let’s be honest, it all just blurs into one!] or a breastfeeding singlet. 
  • Comfortable slippers + robes are also a nice way to feel comfortable and relaxed at home for those long days of lounging about with your newborn [especially in the winter months].
  • Pacifiers + pacifier clips/holders – these can be handy to have on hand if you are wanting to introduce a pacifier at any stage. It is important to ensure your little one has feeding well established before introducing a dummy as they may be unsettled due to hunger. Once you can establish that their cries aren’t due to hunger [gaining weight well + mostly content], then you may find introducing a dummy works for you to help with self-settling/soothing to sleep. 
  • A bouncer/baby swing – these can be helpful for keeping your little one somewhere safe and occupied [especially great if you have other children that need attending to]. The Nuna Leaf bouncer is a great option as it gently swings your little one to sleep, or keeps them settled while you are busy doing other things. Alternatively, we have used and love the original Bouncinette for a more cost-effective bouncer [these are coming to our virtual shelves very soon!]. 
  • Books + toys – although not essential, newborns can actually engage in play! Black + white books are great for newborns as the high contrast images catch their eye easily. You can also introduce cuddly toys, rattles + household items from an early age to engage your little one as well. Keep it simple – they don’t need lots of fancy toys, but a few simple play items [you may even have some around the house already], can be great for engaging with your little one. You may find a play mat + play gym to be a useful item for you to start with.

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