Having your first baby and confused about what you really need to buy?

If you’re pregnant with your first baby, then mid-way through pregnancy you’ll start thinking about what you need to prepare for its arrival. And it’s easy to become overwhelmed - step into any baby shop and you’re faced with a thousand and one choices of things you ‘could’ buy. Look online and it’s no less easy to work out what you need. With so many options, which ones should you be spending your money on?

We spoke with financially-savvy first-time mum of one, Julia, who agrees that trying to work out what to buy can be a minefield and from experience, there are many things a first-time parent will buy, only to discover it lies unused, gathering dust.

So she’s given us her essential baby list.

But before we begin, Julia’s first piece of advice is to sign up to every baby website you can - “they will send you lots of freebies and vouchers and some of them are actually useful!” Take a look at Boots Parenting Club, Pampers, Bounty Baby Club and Mum and Baby Online.


Pram or pushchair. Invest in a good quality one with a lie-flat option – until 3 months old babies need to lie flat; this supports and protect their backs. Don’t forget to get a raincover too.

A rear-facing car seat. If you’re planning on taking your baby home in a car or by taxi, you absolutely need one of these as it’s against the law otherwise. If you want to be super-savvy, then combine your car seat with your pushchair - there are many travel systems on the market where the car seat attaches to the pushchair base.



All-in-ones. Stock up on these. Specifically look out for sales where you can buy these for a couple of pounds and multi-buy packs. They are easy to get on and off and they save faffing around with socks.

Body suits. Buy a selection of no-sleeved, short-sleeved and long-sleeved body suits with envelope necks and poppers at the legs. Envelope necks are essential as they make it easier to get the body suit around the shoulders and more importantly, mean that if you encounter a ‘poonami’ (literally a poo explosion - and yes, this will happen when you least expect it) you can pull the body suit down, rather than have to lift the soiled garment over the baby’s head.

Cardigans. An easy way to keep the baby warmer or cooler as required.

Coat / snow suit. Only essential in cold weather - one to buy in the sales.

Cosy hats. Newborn babies can't regulate their own temperature and as a lot of heat is lost through the head, these will help keep them both cosy and healthy.

Scratch mitts. Babies will often scratch their faces with their nails. These help keep baby faces scratch-free.



Changing mats. If you live in a place that has stairs, buy two so you can keep one upstairs and one downstairs.

Nappies. If and when you can, buy these when they’re on offer. Pampers are excellent but cost a fortune, otherwise supermarket branded ones are a good alternative, especially the ones from Aldi.

Nappy bags and wet wipes. Never underestimate how many you will need - buy these in bulk online and don't worry, they will get used!


To note: If you’re planning on using reusable nappies, you will need at least 15, along with a bucket, nappy liners and nappy steriliser.


It’s also worth keeping a bottle of -TEN- Baby Cleansing Foam to hand when you’re out - with an easy pump-action, this is great for use with wet wipes or tissues to clean sticky fingers or faces.



Nursing bras and breast pads. These are essential if you’re breast-feeding. Whilst breastfeeding is a whole other topic of discussion, lanolin nipple ointment is a must to reduce soreness.

Bottles, teats, bottle brushes and a steriliser. If you're bottle feeding (and many parents at some time will bottle feed - either with formula or with expressed breastmilk) you’ll need at least a few bottles and teats. It's worth having a set of these ready at home as breastfeeding can be tricky in the beginning and sometimes just doesn’t work out for medical reasons. If you want a break and for your partner to do help with feeds then these will be needed. And once the baby actually arrives, you’ll be too exhausted to worry about buying it all.



Moses basket / cot* (& mattress). Moses baskets are wonderful as they are portable and you can pick up second hand ones cheaply (buy a new mattress though). A cot lasts longer and a cotbed with sides that come off will last several years.

Cellular blankets. You’ll need a light blanket to keep your baby cosy. Cellular blankets have holes in so that your baby can’t suffocate if it falls over their face whilst sleeping.


*Another, more expensive option is a side cot that attaches to the side of your bed. This means that if you want to co-sleep with your little one you have more space to do it and is a godsend if you’re breast-feeding as you don’t even have to get up in the night.



Baby bath / washing up bowl / sink. Your baby will need somewhere to have baths and the advantage of these is that they’re small so it can be easier to manage the baby. If you want to use the bath, you can get bath supports which can help you manage your baby more easily.

Small towels. Hand-towel size will do, or if you’re specifically buying baby towels most come with a little hood which looks adorable and keeps them a bit warmer when they’re wet.

A mild liquid baby wash. -TEN- Baby Bath Milk is free from nasties and contains sweet almond oil which soothes and nourishes soft baby skin, whilst cleansing gently.

Cotton flannels or cotton wool. Ideal for getting into all the nooks and crannies whilst being gentle on skin.



Baby monitor. For when baby is sleeping in a separate room. There is a huge range to choose from, the main choice is between ones which are sensitive to noise, ones that also come with a mat for sensing motion, and video monitors. Choose according to your budget and worry levels!

Changing bag. Nappy changing isn’t the most glamorous but there are some lovely bags available. Having a changing bag with pockets will mean you can stuff nappy bags, hand sanitiser and other useful items within quick reach.

Muslins. You can’t have enough of these - they’re so versatile, from mopping up dribble and sick, as an extra blanket or a soft surface to lie the baby’s head on.


Julia is the mum of a 2 year old and writes children’s book blog Bird on a Bookshelf. She is a qualified Early Years Teacher and currently teaches Music with Mummy classes in South Birmingham.