What you'll need for your baby (2024)

Baby clothes

Babies grow very quickly. All you need for the first few weeks are enough clothes to make sure your baby will be warm and clean.

You'll probably need:

  • 6 stretch suits (all-in-ones) for both day and night, or 4 stretch suits and 2 nightdresses (nighties) for the night – use socks or bootees with the nightie if it's cold
  • 2 cardigans, wool or cotton rather than nylon, and light rather than heavy – several light layers of clothing are best for keeping your baby warm
  • 4 vests
  • a shawl or blanket to wrap your baby in
  • a wool or cotton hat, mittens, and socks or bootees for going out if the weather is cold – it's better to choose close-knitted patterns rather than those with a loose knit, so your baby's fingers and toes will not get caught
  • a sun hat for going out if it's hot or the sun is bright

Washing your baby's clothes

There's no evidence that using washing powders with enzymes (bio powders) or fabric conditioners will irritate your baby's skin.

Baby bedding

For the first few months, you'll need a crib, carrycot orMoses basket (a light, portable bassinet). Your baby needs to sleep somewhere that's safe, warm and not too far from you.

Baby nests are not suitable for your baby to sleep in when you're not there because of the danger of suffocation.

If you're borrowing a crib or a cot, or using one that's been used by another of your children, you should ideally buy a new mattress.

If you cannot do this, use the cot mattress you have, as long as it's firm (not soft), flat, fits the cot with no gaps, is clean, dry, waterproof and not ripped or torn.

The mattress should be protected by a waterproof cover.

You'll need:

  • a firm mattress that fits the cot snugly without leaving spaces round the edges so your baby cannot trap their head and suffocate
  • sheets to cover the mattress – you need at least 4 because they need to be changed often; fitted sheets make life easier but can be quite expensive, so you could use pieces of old sheet
  • light blankets for warmth

Pillows and duvets

Do not use pillows and duvets – they're not safe for babies less than a year old because ofthe risk of suffocation. Duvets can also makeyour baby too hot.

Sheets and layers of blankets tucked in firmly below your baby's shoulder levelor a baby sleeping bag are safe for your baby to sleep in.

Cot safety

Your baby will spend many hours in a cot, so make sure it's safe. If you're buying a new cot, look for one that meets British safety standard BS EN 716. The BS number should be in the instructions or marked on the cot itself.

  • The mattress must fit snugly, with no space for the baby's head to get stuck.
  • The bars must be smooth, securely fixed, and the distance between each bar should not be more than 6.5cm (2.5 inches), so your baby's head cannot get trapped.
  • The cot should be sturdy.
  • The moving parts should work smoothly and not allow fingers or clothing to get trapped.
  • Cot bumpers are not recommendedas babies can overheat or get tangled in the fastenings.
  • Never leave anything with ties, such as bibs or clothes, in the cotas they might get caught around your baby's neck.
  • The safest place for your baby to sleep is on their back in a cot in the same room as you for the first 6 months.

For more information on safe sleeping, see Reducing the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).

You can also visit the Lullaby Trust website, which has lots of information on safe sleeping.

Out and about with your baby

Spend some time looking at what's available for getting around with your baby. Think about what will suit you best before you make a choice, and ask other mums what they have found useful.

Before buying a pushchair or a pram, check that:

  • the brakes are in good working order
  • the handles are at the right height for pushing
  • the frame is strong enough

Baby carriers

Baby carriers– also called slings–are attached with straps and your baby is carried in front of you. Most babies like being carried like this because they're close to you and warm.

The back part of the carrier must be high enough to support your baby's head. Check that buckles and straps are secure.

Older babies who can hold up their heads and whose backs are stronger– at about 4 months old–can be carried in carriers that go on your back.

When using a sling or carrier do not let the material cover your baby’s head.

See the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) websitefor more adviceon using baby carriers and slings safely.

There is also information on the Lullaby Trust website about baby sling safety.

The UK Sling Consortium recommends what is known as the ‘T.I.C.K.S. rules for safe babywearing’:

  • T – Tight – Slings and carriers should be kept tight enough to hug your baby close to your body
  • I – In view – you should be able to see your baby’s face at all times
  • C – Close - the sling should keep your baby close enough to kiss their head
  • K – Keep – keep your baby’s chin off their chest
  • S- Support – support your baby’s back so it is comfortably upright

Pushchairs

Pushchairs, also known as strollers and buggies,are only suitable for young babies if they have fully reclining seats so your baby can lie flat.

Wait until your baby can sitby themselvesbefore using another type of pushchair. Choose a light pushchair if you'll be lifting it on to trains or buses.

Prams

Prams give your baby a lot of space to sit and lie comfortably, but they take up a lot of space and are hard to use on public transport.

If you have a car, look for a pram that can be dismantled easily.Consider buying a pram harness at the same time, as you may need it to strap your baby securely into the pram.

Carrycot on wheels

A carrycot is a light, portable cot with handles, similar to but smaller than the body of a pram, and often attachable to a wheeled frame.

Your baby can sleep in the carrycot for the first few months, and the cot can be attached to the frame to go out.

3-in-1 travel system

This is a carrycot and transporter (a set of wheels) that can be converted into a pushchair when your baby outgrows the carrycot.

Shopping trays that fit under the pushchair or pram can also be very useful when you're out.

Car seats for babies

If you have a car, you must have a baby car seat. Your baby must always go in their seat, including when you bring them home from the hospital.

It's illegal and also very dangerous to carry your baby in your arms in a vehicle.

The best way for your baby to travel is in a rear-facing infant car seat on the back seat, or thefront passenger seat as long as it's not fitted with an airbag. The car seat is held in place by the adult safety belt.

The following advice should help make sure your baby's car seat is as safe as possible:

  • Make sure the car seat is fitted correctly.
  • It's illegal and extremely dangerous toput a rear-facing infant car seat in the front passenger seat if your car is fitted with an airbag.
  • Ideally, buy a new car seat. Ifyou'replanning to get a secondhand seat,only accept one from a family member or friendso you can be sure it has not been involved in anaccident.Do not buy one from a secondhand shop or through the classified ads.

Look for the United Nations ECE Regulation number R44.03 or R44.04, orthe new i-size regulation R129, when you buy a car seat. Look for the E mark label on the car seat.

For more advice on choosing and fitting baby car seats safely, go to the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) website on child car seats.

What you'll need for your baby (2024)

FAQs

What does a new mom need for a baby? ›

Baby Essentials for the First 3 to 4 Months

We provide a detailed list of each category below, but in general, your baby must-haves for the first three months of their life should include: Nursery furniture and gear. Baby linens, including crib and bassinet sheets, baby blankets, and swaddles. Babyproofing gear.

What are the 4 basic needs of a newborn? ›

In reality, a baby's needs (at least at first) are relatively simple: milk, a safe place to sleep, nappies, clothes and, of course, love. Let's look at these basic needs in more detail.

What do I need to budget for a baby? ›

50% of your income goes toward things you need to pay for, such as household bills, minimum loan payments, any debts you have incurred and essential expenses for your baby, such as diapers and formula. 30% of your income goes toward things you want, such as family portraits, trips to the movies, etc.

When to start buying baby stuff during pregnancy? ›

When Should Pregnant Women Start Buying Baby Stuff? The number one rule is: There are no rules! You can—and should—start buying things for your baby whenever you want. Some women choose to start shopping after the first trimester, but it's personal preference.

How much money do you need to save for a new baby? ›

For newborns, the cost is higher. Some studies show numbers ranging from $20,000 to $50,000 for the child's first year of life, depending on location and household income. Beyond the general items, like a stroller, crib, or car seat, here are some estimates of what you can expect to shell out in your baby's first year.

What does a newborn need right away? ›

Newborn must-haves for the first weeks with your baby

Your little one will require a few basics: a safe place to sleep, a car seat, diapers, and key items for eating, getting around, and staying healthy.

What postpartum items do I need? ›

Postpartum Essentials Checklist
  • Postpartum care kit. Bodily Care for Birth Box. ...
  • Disposable postpartum underwear. Frida Mom Disposable Postpartum Underwear, 8 Count. ...
  • Nursing bra. Bravado Designs Body Silk Seamless Nursing Bra. ...
  • Sturdy maxi pads. ...
  • Ice packs. ...
  • Witch hazel pads. ...
  • Stool softener. ...
  • Breast pads.

How to financially prepare for a baby? ›

6 Financial Planning Tips for New Parents
  1. Consider insurance—both life and disability. ...
  2. Increase your emergency fund. ...
  3. Take advantage of tax breaks. ...
  4. Start saving for college now. ...
  5. Prioritize retirement savings. ...
  6. Update your estate planning documents.

What to buy when you are expecting a baby? ›

We've put together a list of the essential items you need for a newborn, including things they will require in their first few days.
  • Crib. ...
  • Linens and Blankets. ...
  • Nappies. ...
  • Medication. ...
  • Clothes. ...
  • Baby Tub. ...
  • Bibs and other feeding necessities. ...
  • Car Seat.

How much income do you need to have a baby? ›

Have Enough Disposable Income. If $233,610 sounds like a lot, it's because it is. That amount breaks down to about $12,980 per year or $1,082 per month for one child from birth through age 17.

Do and don'ts for newborn baby? ›

Here are a few basics to remember:
  • Wash your hands (or use a hand sanitizer) before handling your baby. ...
  • Support your baby's head and neck. ...
  • Never shake your baby, whether in play or in frustration. ...
  • Always fasten your baby securely when using a carrier, stroller, or car seat.

When to start tummy time? ›

Most babies can start tummy time sessions a day or two after they are born. Babies benefit from having two or three short (3- to 5-minute) tummy time sessions each day. As your baby gets older, you can have longer, more regular sessions throughout the day.

How often should a newborn bathe? ›

How often does my newborn need a bath? There's no need to give your newborn baby a bath every day. Three times a week might be enough until your baby becomes more mobile. Bathing your baby too much can dry out your baby's skin.

What toys do you actually need for a baby? ›

From about 2 months:
  • Simple rattles and teething toys.
  • Small stuffed animals with no plastic parts or buttons.
  • Soft squeeze toys.
  • Stuffed animals that play music.

How much stuff do you need for a baby? ›

Babies grow very quickly. All you need for the first few weeks are enough clothes to make sure your baby will be warm and clean. You'll probably need: 6 stretch suits (all-in-ones) for both day and night, or 4 stretch suits and 2 nightdresses (nighties) for the night – use socks or bootees with the nightie if it's cold.

How to be a minimalist with a baby? ›

Here's some tips on how to adopt the life of a minimalist with babe.
  1. Only buy items when your baby actually needs them. ...
  2. Live by the “something in, something out” rule. ...
  3. Always have a donation box handy. ...
  4. Get creative with what can be a toy. ...
  5. Keep baby's clothes simple. ...
  6. Cut down on your own belongings.

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