Baby Essentials: Must-haves for New Parents
Once you have babyproofed your home and created a safe environment for the baby, it is time to move on to purchasing the must-have items!
Shopping for new babies can get overwhelming for first time parents so for this exercise, we will be dividing our shopping list into two categories: the must-haves, and the nice-to-haves.
But before we get ahead of ourselves, it is important to remember that as tempting as it may be, the arrival of your newborn does not mean you must drastically swap all your furniture to baby-friendly ones.
If you were to have extra funds and/or are looking into making new purchases, ensure that you find items with a better safety standard and where less harmful chemicals were used in its production as children are susceptible to toxic chemicals that may stunt their development.
It may be in your best interest to purchase items that will last you for years ahead, in order to reduce overall costs (and contribute to less waste) so do look out for quality items from reputable brands.
Without further ado, here is a quick guide and lists to your next shopping journey!
- Baby Clothing
The nights are long but oh, the years are short! In a blink of an eye, babies do grow quickly. There are so many (and cute!) options out there but it is important to pick out essential baby clothings that is both comfortable and practical for babies.
- Zippable onesies (so much easier to use zippers that use button studs, especially during nappy accidents)
- Swaddle/ sleeping bags
- 6 socks or booties (shoes are unnecessary until baby starts walking)
- Bucket hats for summer days
- Lightweight blankets
- Car Seats
Arguably the most important item if you’re driving home with the baby from the hospital. Up until the age of 12 months, it is highly recommended for new babies to be using a rear-facing child car seat, or capsule (usually last up to 6 months). Whichever brand you choose, make sure it is approved to the AS/NZS 1754 standard and labeled accordingly! Tip: If you purchase from a reputable store, they may just include the installation for you!
- Car Shades
- Cot/ Bassinet
For your baby’s sleep safety, you need an Australian Standards-approved cot, and ensure the cot has no horizontal bars that the baby can use to climb out. No pillows, doonas or cot bumpers as they can be suffocation risks.
- Mattress & Mattress Protector
A waterproof mattress protector helps to avoid the intensive cleaning that comes with inevitable accidents and spills and keep the longevity of your mattress!
Above all, keeping an active awareness on not letting your baby lay on other soft surfaces and introducing pillows or other fluffy items is imperative in keeping sleeping time safe for your baby. Safe sleeping practices can reduce the risk of fatal sleeping accidents and sudden infant death syndrome.
So much of the factors contributing to this purchase will be based on your personal preference. As it is one of the most expensive purchases for your baby(ies), don’t be afraid to test before you buy! Apart from the safety standard that your pram needs to adhere to for baby’s needs and comfort, buying one requires you to consider your comfort. Here’s some of the factors to consider:-
- Baby Carriers
There are times where you cannot take your prams with you and you need to be hands free - yet you can give your baby as much cuddles your baby needs! Having a baby carrier is one of the best things as newborn parents!
When choosing the one that suits you or your partner, keep in mind that the carrier can hold your baby safely as most can only carry them to a certain weight. For your comfort, ensure that there are padded shoulder straps and waistband, as well as easy to attach by yourself.
Believe it or not, newborns need lots and lots of nappies. Typically a newborn goes through 8 to 12 nappies a day for the first six weeks! Stock up when you can or include this as one of the gift registry - you can never have too many!
- Nappy Bags
- Unscented Wipes
- Nappy Rash Cream
- Change mat
- Disposable nappy bags (for soiled clothes)
- 1 set of change of clothes
- Baby Play Mats
For us, play mat is a must-have not only because it has multiple functions that will easily replace some nice-to-haves, in our books - play mat is an essential for both baby and parents. Health professionals recommend that a baby should start tummy time from birth, as it will promote the development of your newborns’ muscles and motoric skills.
We recommend a padded, waterproof and PVC-free play mats to ensure its safety especially from newborn stage. As a regular activity that comes recommended daily, newborns would need a suitable safe and padded surface to do so, and this is where a waterproof play mat with shock-absorbent cushioning comes very handy.
Apart from a tummy time prop, waterproof play mats can double as a changing mat hence eliminating the need to purchase a changing table. Safer and more comfortable than a changing table, it is also a wonderful area to bond with your baby over play and other activities.
We have found that having a play mat helps accelerate many children’s first roll-over, by accommodating a suitable space to flip safely. When they start crawling, a play mat will protect their elbows and knees, and when they take their first steps it will cushion their fall.
Many milestones to be achieved on one single mat, this one is not only a must-have but definitely nice to have.
- Bath equipments
Some say that with minimal movements that newborns make, it is not essential to bathe them daily as it will dry up their skin in the first few weeks of their lives. Personally, we do find that it’s a nice soothing experience and it is part of the daily sleep routine. It helps them relax at the end of a long (& hard) day!. Even if your baby is not bathing daily, these equipment will still prove to be essential for their bathing repertoire.
Finding a sturdy and safe baby bathtub can be very helpful and support them from slipping.
Baby bath thermometer
Using your hand as a thermometer is not accurate enough in finding the right temperature for newborns, their skin is much more sensitive.
Gentle soap and shampoo (pH balanced preferably)
There’s so many great brands of baby soap these days but our go to for newborns must be a pH balanced, soap and fragrance free; as this not only prevents skin issues but is gentle for their eyes.
Have plenty of wash cloths because these tiny cloths are so useful in getting dirt out and most importantly, they are sensitive skin friendly and hygienic. Wash it after every use.
Hooded baby towels
Hooded baby towels are excellent in both drying and keeping the baby's head covered and warm.
A regular towel is of course just as useful if you’re quick, as you know babies lose heat from their head so a hooded baby towel is also really nice to have so you can take your time.
Apart from the must-haves, are the nice-to-haves. It ultimately depends on your personal needs and if some of these items count as a necessary luxury. Let’s start our list below.
A comfortable rocking chair in the nursery is a nice addition when feeding or expressing. It creates a relaxing environment for both mum and the baby, but also can take up quite a bit of space and cost a fair bit.
It is undoubtedly convenient to have a separate changing area for newborns. It is even better when a changing table has extra storage space underneath for your nappy needs, however it requires your full attention as you absolutely cannot leave your baby on there not even for a second, as it is a huge safety issue once your baby learns how to roll over (our little one did this very early stage) so we have to get rid of the changing table very quickly.
If you have a large house or if you feel anxious about leaving your baby, baby monitors can really help to keep an eye on them!
It’s nice, but also expensive! A pot of boiling water can do the job equally as good.
Nappy Disposable Bin
It’s good to have a dedicated bin for your nappies and closeby to your changing area, however they don’t smell great, at all! So chances are you will need to ensure there’s enough ventilation in the room and/or have it emptied every few hours.
To sum up, the must-haves and nice-to-haves can be rather subjective depending on one’s personal needs. However, we do hope that we have helped outline the items that are most sought after by new parents and packed some information for your shopping journey!
Don't forget to take a printout of our checklists with you!