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Newborn essentials

newborn essentials

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Newborn Baby Essentials

With baby shops stuffed full of gear it can be hard to know what you really need to buy, as opposed to what is just nice to have.  Here’s a simple guide to the basic newborn  essentials when it comes to stocking your nursery.  Thereafter embellish to your heart’s (and budget’s!) content:


Cot – This is likely to be your baby’s bed for the first 2-3 years of his life.  If buying new, make sure it conforms to British Standard EN 716-2:2008.  If you acquire a cot second hand ensure it is free from broken parts and that bars are at least 2.5cm wide, and no more than 5cm apart.

Mattress – There are many varieties available, but so long as the one you choose is firm, not soft and fits snugly into the cot with no gaps, and doesn’t sag, then your selection will be fine.  Unless you know the history of a second hand mattress it is not advisable to buy one.

Bedding – 4 sheets that fit snugly over your mattress should be sufficient.   2 waterproof mattress covers are also a good idea to protect the mattress from leaky nappies or baby sick.  If you are using baby sleeping bags then you will need at least 2 of these.  If not, you will need a minimum of 4 cellular blankets in stock to keep baby warm and rotate for washes.


  • Vests or Body Suits – you will need at least 4.  These have poppers for nappy access and can be short or long-sleeved.
  • All-in-ones – the original “onesie”, these neck-to-toe sleep suits are essential.  You will need at least 4.  Versatile and warm, they normally secure with poppers up the legs and around the bottom to make nappy changing a cinch.
  • Cardigans – 2 to put over the sleep suits when its chilly
  • Socks – 2 pairs to slip over the feet when in winter months
  • Hat and Mitts – 1 set should suffice, as these are generally only worn in the first days of a baby’s life while he adjusts to life on the outside
  • Coat/hat/scarf/mitts – essential if you will be taking your baby outside in cold weather


Breastfeeding – you really only need you and your baby, but advice based on experience suggests that 2 nursing bras, 1 tube of nipple cream, 6 breast pads and a breast pump with bottles can make life much more comfortable for Mum.  It is advisable to also acquire at least 1 feeding bottle and a small tub of formula in case of problems with breastfeeding.

Bottle Feeding – 1 tub of newborn formula to get you started, 6 bottles with age appropriate teats, 1 large and 1 small bottle brush, and a method of sterilising.

newborn essentials

Bathing and Hygiene

  • Nappies – newborns can need changing 10-12 times a day at first, so ensure you have enough newborn baby-size nappies in stock to keep you going.  If you are using washable nappies, having an emergency pack of disposables in stock is a good plan in case you fall behind with the washing.
  • Wipes or soft cotton wool – for nappy changing
  • Baby bath or Newborn bath support
  • Baby wash – a no-tears version that is gentle on the skin
  • Cream for Nappy Rash – just in case.  Even the most robust of little bottoms can get sore in the face of constant evacuations
  • Towels – 3 or 4 small, soft towels are great for after bathing

Out and About

  • Rear-Facing Car Seat – if you are planning even one car journey with your baby, this is essential to his safety, and it is the law.  Never buy second hand unless you know the full history of the seat
  • Pram or Pushchair – for your newborn you will need one that can lie flat

Common Misconceptions

Here are a few things you don’t need, but which you friends may tell you that you do:

  • Moses basket or carry-cot – undoubtedly convenient and movable, this item is not essential and your baby will outgrow it within 3-4 months.
  • Pillow – young babies should lie flat, preferably on their backs
  • Muslin Squares – a matter of choice, these can be handy to throw over your shoulder when winding, or as clean, soft surface to rest your baby’s head on, but they don’t suit everyone.
  • Dummy – this is a matter of choice, NOT an essential item
  • Changing Bag – a convenient place to store all those things you need to take with you on even the shortest of journeys.  Nice to have a special one, but if cash is tight a plastic carrier bag does just as good a job.






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About Cally Worden

About Cally Worden

Seasoned freelance writer Cally Worden lives with her family and dog in a quiet corner of rural France. A love of the outdoors, and a fascination with her children's ability to view life with fresh eyes provide the inspiration for much of her work. Cally writes regularly for various websites and UK print publications on subjects as diverse as parenting, whatsapp plus,travel, lifestyle, and business, and anything that makes her smile.

Website: Cally Worden

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