What do you need to buy immediately for your newborn?

By Jenn Taft

There are things you should hold off on buying until the baby is born so you can decide whether you need them or not.

When I had my first child, I was pretty certain I needed everything available to help her to grow and thrive. By the time I had my second child I was so precise about what I did and didn’t need that we in fact didn’t buy very much at all. This was not out of a lack of love for my second born, but because I knew we wouldn’t need half the things we thought we did the first time round.

The UK is renowned for overspending unnecessarily before a baby is born. So wouldn’t it be nice to know what you need from the word go and not have to work it out through trial and error?

The essentials

There are some things, though, that you can’t be without!

What do you really need? Here are some top ten essentials for a new born.

1.       Nappies – lots of them.

2.       Wipes and nappy sacks – I’m pretty certain these are two of my most used products. You can clean a lot of stuff with baby wipes, and scented nappy sacks maintain even the worst smells. Buy these in bulk because you will use a lot of them.

3.      Sleepsuits and vests – but not too many because people love to buy your baby clothes. Six of each should do it.

4.       A baby hat – in a lot of hospitals, you can’t take your baby home unless they have one on.

5.      Cellular blankets – Aldi sell these for £2.99 each which is amazing! Mine have lasted through both children growing up.

6.     A car seat – Again, baby can’t go home from hospital unless they are in one.

7.     A travel system/pram – Super necessary and a lot of travel systems include the car seat. Don’t spend the earth on these, they all pretty much do the same thing, but likewise make sure it works well (it’s a fine balance, so go to Mothercare and push some around) I got mine from Hauck for about £200 and it’s still going strong after being used every day for the last 3 years.

8.     A Moses basket or bassinet – when they are super tiny, babies need something to sleep in that keeps them snug. You won’t even really need to buy a cot until they are bigger and ready to move into one. So if you haven’t got the cot by the time they are born, it’s ok as long as you have the moses basket to hand!

9.     Toiletries – for you mainly. Get everything in that you love, so you don’t need to head to the shops for a while and can make yourself feel refreshed.

10.  Changing bag – to put everything in! Changing bags make a great present from work colleagues if they need ideas of what to buy you when you go off on maternity leave. So pick out a good one, it’s going to be used every day!

You’ve missed some out there surely?

The only other things I would add to this list can be bought after baby is born, including a cot, a baby monitor, nursery furniture, toys and all the outfits you’ll want to buy. These things won’t be needed straight away, so just hold off for now. It’s not heartless to leave them out, it just might help you to spread the costs, and to find what you actually need.

Want some more ideas?

Use this list to get the essentials in and use this great advice from the Money Advice Service to guide your spending.

I know it’s easy to look at all the current on trend items and want them all right away. Each one has been designed to make your life easier, but they can come at a price.


But what about all the new hi-tech products?

Some of these include:

Co-Sleeping cribs. These eliminate the fears of co sleeping by putting baby in a crib right next to your bed. The side of the crib comes down so that baby is almost an extension of your bed. This makes it easier to get baby to you to feed in those early every-two-hours feeding routines.

The alternative? I wish I could have had one of these, but in reality I really didn’t need one. I got up and got my baby out of the moses basket/cot just fine. So if you can’t afford this item, never fear. As long as your baby has somewhere suitable to sleep, you are doing a great job.


The Sleepy Head Pod. This is a stroke of genius, and is loved by many a celeb and mummy blogger. The Sleepy Head is a fantastic, portable little sleeping area that will hold you newborn in place while they sleep without fear for them rolling around.

The alternative? I have two babies who refused to be swaddled and have rolled round the crib since day one. I’m pretty certain they would have scaled the Sleepy Head pod if given the chance! This item deservedly won awards, but may not be useful past a certain age for your baby. You can in fact recreate this effect in a cot by placing rolled up towels under the sheet. Many mums swear by doing so.

The exception

The Perfect Prep machine.

I didn’t have one of these the first time round and so, as a formula fed baby, when my baby cried to be fed, I had to wait 20 minutes to get the milk to the right temperature. I have a Perfect Prep this time round and I can now have the bottle made in less than a minute. If formula feeding is the way you are heading, then get one of these. Ask fellow mums if they are selling theirs when done, or look online for people who have had theirs a year and now don’t need it.

Want to save further?

Buy second hand. I bought my beautiful pine cot in perfect condition for £10 in a local charity shop. I got a new mattress for £20 and it’s been wonderful. I know when I am done with it I hope to pass it on.  

It’s also worth signing up to supermarket baby mailing lists as they regularly sent out coupons and have baby events where they knock down prices of key items like nappies and wipes.

If you can, it’s also worth popping along to the annual Baby Show; the amount of free stuff at this event is amazing and you will also get ideas for things you might like to buy.

And when you are done with it all?

Sell it or pass it on! EBay or Gumtree are fantastic places to sell on anything that can still be used. Of course, if friends are expecting give them first refusal on the things you no longer need. They will appreciate the gesture and you’ll free up some space at home.

Author bio: Jenn is a freelance writer and physics teacher from the West Midlands. She has a love of writing about personal finances, especially how they change when you become a parent, and enjoys the honesty that such writing brings. When not writing, teaching or being a mum, Jenn loves nothing more than indulging her love of hospital and police based documentaries, and cake.

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