Preparing for your little one’s arrival is so much fun, but we get that your shopping list can feel never-ending at times. No doubt you’ve been given lots of recommendations from other parents, and whilst this can be useful, it’s important that you don’t overwhelm yourself with things to buy. Chances are, you won’t even use some items, or you might need something completely different that’s more suited to your parenting style.
We’ve broken down the absolute essentials for before and after your little one arrives, so not only will you be prepped for bringing baby home, but you can take your time to buy what you need, when you need it.
Bringing your new arrival home
Some newborn baby essentials are really handy to have ready from day one. These are the basic things you’ll need to keep your little one safe, warm, clean and – most importantly – well-fed.
To get from A to B with your new arrival, you’ll need a pushchair. During the newborn phase, you’ll need one that comes with a carrycot, or a seat that you can convert into a lie flat position. When it comes to choosing your pushchair, the most important thing to consider is your lifestyle. Whether you need a lightweight one for public transport or a robust one for off-road walks, our handy guide will help you figure out which one is right for you.
If you’re planning on hitting the road with your little one, you’ll need a car seat that meets UK safety regulations. If you’re struggling to choose, we offer free car seat consultations in store, where we’ll help you find the right car seat for you, and make sure you leave us feeling confident when it comes to fitting it in your car.
Moses basket or bedside crib
It might not feel like it, but your newborn will spend most of their time snoozing. To keep them close when you do, it’s worth investing in a Moses basket that you can move around from room to room, or a bedside crib to keep them next to you in the night. Because they make sure that your little one is supported and safe whilst they nap, you’ll be able to catch up on some sleep too.
Changing mat and bag
A must-have for when you’re visiting family or out and about, a changing bag will be a life-saver. Ideal for all those nappies, lotions, spare bodysuits and feeding equipment, we recommend getting one with plenty of storage. Some of our bags even come with travel changing mats that you can roll up and pack away, perfect for making sure your baby is comfy when you’re changing them.
Bottles and/or breast pump
However you choose to feed your little one, you’ll need the right equipment to do it. If you’re exclusively bottle-feeding, the NCT recommend having between 4-6 bottles in the house, to cover all of those daily feeds. If you’re breast-feeding and choosing to express, a pump and a few bottles will help you stock up on a supply of milk for baby. You can discover all of our feeding essentials here.
Season appropriate clothes
Whether you’re expecting a winter or summer arrival, you’ll need to make sure your little one is dressed for the weather when they leave the hospital. This means cooler cottons for warmer nights, and cosier knits for winter walks. Our selection of seasonal baby clothing is not only cute and cuddly, but designed to keep your baby comfy too.
There’s no doubt that babies can get messy, and that’s where a good stash of muslins comes in handy. Just as absorbent as a towel but lightweight and extra-soft, they’re essential to have around for mopping up after feeds. There are different recommendations for how many you’ll need to buy – we recommend picking up a couple of multipacks and seeing how you get on once your little one arrives.
Baby bath thermometer
Essential for keeping your little one smelling rosy, a baby bath will make bath times safe and comfortable. They help baby to sit up whilst you wash them, stopping them from slipping down into the water. A thermometer will help you make sure that the water is the perfect temperature for your little one, or you can buy a digital tub that will do it for you.
Adapting to your new life with a new arrival
Once you’ve got your little one home and settled, there are a few essentials to think about upgrading as they grow.
Cotbed and mattress
Once your little one has outgrown their Moses basket or bedside crib, they’ll need to move into a cot or cotbed (a cot that converts into a toddler bed). This means you’ll also need to get a mattress to keep them comfy, cool and supported.
Playmat and toys
Once your baby is a bit more alert and interested in their surroundings, it’s time to start stimulating their senses with toys and playmats. Your little one will love anything with bright colours, hidden noises and gentle flashing lights – just make sure you check that any toys are suitable for your baby’s age.
Weaning bowls, plates and cutlery
Once your baby has hit the 6 month milestone, you might be thinking about weaning them off milk and getting them started on some solids. For this, you’ll need weaning bowls or plates and some cutlery. These are shaped to help your little one learn to grip and feed themselves, but they’re also blunt and plastic – so they can safely bash them about to their heart’s content. Discover all of our baby weaning essentials here.
Baby Bud or Highchair
If your baby is supporting their own head and sitting up without your help, a highchair will mean that they can start joining you at the table for mealtimes. Or, you could choose a Baby Bud, which are portable chairs that strap to dining chairs, so you can use it at home or whist you’re out and about. Both types of chair will help support your little one’s posture and will keep them safely strapped in, so they won’t slip down. You can shop all of our chairs here.
Handy to have
These items aren’t absolutely essential, but could help you and baby feel a little more comfortable when you arrive home from hospital.
Baby grooming kit
These handy grooming kits include all of the little things you might need in a travel-sized pouch. You’ll often find nail scissors for keeping sharp fingernails at bay, a hairbrush and toothbrush, and an oral thermometer to check up on your baby’s temperature.
A room thermometer will give you peace of mind when it comes to putting your little one down for a nap, helping you choose the right clothing and thickness of blanket. This one from Tommee Tippee works in both your nursery and your bath.
In amongst the whirlwind of bringing home your newborn, don’t forget about making time to look after yourself, too. We recommend having a few self-care products around the house, to look after your physical and mental wellbeing. Think stretch mark cream or nipple cream to soothe sore skin, or some nice bubble bath or a scented candle to enjoy when you get an hour to yourself.
When it comes to getting ready for your new arrival, it’s important not to overwhelm yourself or feel guilty for not buying something that somebody else has. Every parenting journey is different, and what’s useful to another family might not work for yours. So, once you’ve got these essentials nailed, take your time to figure out what else your little one needs – and don’t forget to treat yourself, too.
Cover Photo Credit: Transport Executive