By the time our third baby is born, it will have been 4.5 years since we were last dealing with newborn paraphernalia. You’d think I’d be sorted with all the baby equipment by now, but in that time lots more of my friends have had babies and I’ve seen items of theirs I preferred, I’m more aware of the baby products that are on the market thanks to social media and mamahood experience. Some items I bought and didn’t use, other items I loved but have since sold to make room in our house, while other pieces of kit are knackered after going through two children. So now, with 9 weeks left to go, I’m trying to get my head around what newborn essentials I really need, hence this new baby checklist!
Despite the fact this will be my third baby, I’m STILL feeling overwhelmed, so in an attempt to sort my own brain out and help others who are embarking on the parenthood essentials minefield, I’ve written down my new baby checklist. Obviously different things work for different people, so this is based on what did and didn’t work for me.
I’ve categorised and numbered the ‘essential’ items and added other options for the ‘would be nice to have’ products if cost and space aren’t an issue or where more eco-friendly options are available.
Scroll down to the bottom to find a printable baby checklist too!
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My baby checklist
Before I had babies I had no idea about the nappy numbering system! For newborns, you’ll probably want a pack of newborn (size 0) and a pack of size 1 nappies in the house. Both my babies were over 8lb, so I think we moved out of newborn nappies very quickly (if we even used them at all) and went straight into size 1.
My favourite brands: Aldi (brilliant, cheap nappies), Pampers (more expensive but you can easily Amazon/supermarket delivery them to your door). I also like the Kit and Kin nappies for their eco-friendliness and subscription service, but they are more expensive.
I tried reusable nappies with my first baby, but I only had about 3 so it didn’t really work out. I think I was probably doing it wrong as I could never get the stains out and they leaked a lot. However, friends of mine are loyal reusable nappy-ers and have saved a fortune, particularly with multiple children, as a result. If you’re planning on going down this route, you need to make an investment in a big bundle of nappies in the beginning and it’ll pay off. It’s worth looking at local Facebook groups as people sell their reusable nappies once they’re done with them and you can pick up a good bundle cheaply and then sell on if it’s not for you. I definitely want to try it again third time around!
Whether or not you’re going to use reusable nappies, I’d say it’s still worth having some non-resuable ones in the house, particularly during the hazy newborn days, just in case.
2. Nappy bags
I have to say we rarely used nappy bags at home, we’d just roll the nappies up tightly and change the bin regularly, unless it was particularly stinky and then we’d pop it in a nappy bag and put it straight in our outdoor bin. They’re useful if you’re out and about or at someone’s else’s house though! I’m going to try get some biodegradable ones (like these ones from Boots or Kit and Kin) this time around to ease my waste guilt (that’s a thing right?)
Didn’t buy: a fancy nappy bin.
3. Baby changing mat
Nice and squishy for baby to lie on and easy to wipe clean. I used to have one upstairs on a changing table (it’s good to have one up high if you suffer from back issues!) and used our travel changing mat (which came with a fancy changing bag) downstairs to save our carpet.
4. Changing table
To save your back (I slipped a disc when my eldest was 8 weeks old, so this is really important to me!), I’d really recommend getting a changing table if you can fit one in. Or use the top of a chest of drawers. If you’re short on space, it might be worth looking into ones that lie over the top of the cot (I think we will be doing this as we sold our actual changing table due to space constraints!)
5. Changing bag
It doesn’t have to be an ‘actual’ changing bag as these can be quite expensive, but something that you can carry around all the wipes, nappies etc during the day. I prefer a normal rucksack for this (I use The Travel Hack Rucksack), although my mum bought us a …. Bag which came with a changing mat, bottle insulator and lots of handy pockets, which I have since taken out to use in my day-to-day rucksack now.
Tip: if you want your husband/partner to carry it sometimes, don’t go for something too feminine!
6. Nappy cream
Sudocrem is one we use for childrens’ butts.
7. Baby wipes
I’m really going to try and buy the non-plastic ones as much as possible as you need wipes for everything! Aldi now do biodegradable baby wipes for just 65p a pack.
8. Baby sleeping bag
I couldn’t do without a baby sleeping bag, I just didn’t get on with blankets being kicked off or worrying about whether they might go over the baby’s head. Besides, bubbas just look so cute and cosy in them, all snuggled like some kind of baby burrito. The Grobag ones (now part of the Tommee Tippee company) are the best and you can pick them up secondhand quite cheaply on eBay, or brand new on Amazon.
They come in various tog sizes so you can go thicker in winter and lighter in summer. I have a couple of normal ones and a travel Grobag which is brilliant because they have a double zip so you can feed the seatbelt or buggy straps through them and baby can nap and be moved easily between car seats and buggies.
Would be nice: Baby swaddle
Before having babies I didn’t know about the ‘Moro reflex’ or ‘startle reflex’ – the kind of jolt they do when they throw back their head, arms or legs and pull them back in again for the first couple of months or so. This is one of the reasons why people swaddle babies – so they don’t wake themselves up in the process.
I have attempted swaddling with blankets but I lack the nifty skills of a midwife and so I like to have a pre-made baby swaddle in my possession. Grobag also do these – they’re just like a sleeping bag, but you can button or zip up the armholes so your baby looks a little bit like an insect larva, but might just sleep a little bit longer.
9. Baby blanket/muslins
We were given tons, so you might not need to buy any, but it’s always handy to have one, likewise with baby muslins – I didn’t have very sicky babies, but still used small muslins like a blanket, or covering the poddlepod and a large one as a cover for breastfeeding.
10. Poddle Pod or Sleepyhead
We were given a Poddle Pod when our first child was a baby and it was a godsend! It’s literally just like a dog bed for bubbas! We’d put it on the table or on the sofa next to us and pop the baby in it, and she couldn’t roll out. Sometimes she’d snooze in it for her daytime naps, sometimes we’d put it in her cot/Moses basket at night to cocoon her in a safe nest-like pillow as she didn’t like being loose in such a vast unfamiliar space in the beginning!
I don’t know if they make Poddle Pods anymore but the Sleepyhead seems to be a similar, albeit more expensive, very popular alternative.
11. Moses basket vs. something else?
Sleeping contraptions very much come down to personal preference. We started off with a Moses basket for our first as that seemed to be the thing to do. However, we never really got on with it and the baby just never seemed to settle in it in the night or day, although I know friends who LOVED theirs and used it almost until the baby didn’t fit in it anymore. One of their big upsides is that they are easy to move up and downstairs for baby naps.
With our second we bought a bednest bedside crib, (Chicco and SnuzPod do similar) which I really liked because you can fold the side down and sleep with your baby right next to the bed. If you’re breastfeeding, you can then just kind of slide them over to you at night. Admittedly, they are a lot heavier than a Moses basket, but they are still portable and we managed to take ours to France to stay in a Eurocamp caravan when the baby was just 4 weeks old!
This time around, we are VERY lucky to be borrowing a SNOO Smart Sleeper off some friends of ours and it’s said to be a game-changer in terms of baby sleep. When SNOO detects fussing, it automatically responds with increasing sound and motion and their swaddle ‘grip’ keeps babies snug on their backs…for all nights and naps. They are extremely pricey compared to other options though.
Whatever cot, crib or Moses basket you end up going for, you’ll probably need a new mattress for it.
13. Cot sheets
And some cot, crib or Moses basket sheets for your mattress!
14. Baby monitor
I like having a baby monitor for peace of mind. With our first two kids we just went for a cheap sound-only BT monitors (no video), which were ok, although both eventually ended up breaking, so we’re now buying for a third time! I wish I’d just gone for a slightly more expensive one in the first place.
For our third kiddo I’ve just bought the Hello Baby off Amazon as a recommendation from a mummy with 4 children. I wanted video this time as so often it would go silent on the monitor so I’d sneak in to check the baby was asleep, and they’d be dropping off, spot me and the whole nap thang would be over!
15. Black out blind
Possibly more of an essential for summer babies if you have particularly bright rooms. I own three Gro Black Out blinds, which have suckers for you to attach to the window and are very portable if you want to take them away on holiday or to other people’s houses etc. I found I needed the room quite dark when baby got a bit older to encourage them to nap.
16. White noise contraption
I know some people say noise is the best thing for a baby and you shouldn’t tiptoe around them, but I found with both of mine that they’d only sleep if they didn’t think something more fun was happening elsewhere! I found white noise invaluable for nap times and downloaded an app on to my phone for this purpose. The Ewan baby dream sheep is also quite good for this and our 7 year still cuddles hers at night (the lullaby may forever be ingrained in your brain though!)
17. Amazon Echo dot
We own several Echo dots in our house and they can be used as a baby monitor, to play white noise (so you don’t have to leave your phone next to the cot every nap time!), to play music, or when your kiddo is older, to read stories/summon them from another room!
18. Breast pump
I have only ever used the Philips Avent Manual Breast Pump. I had A LOT of milk, which was both a blessing and a curse as before feeding the little nipper, I had to pump off a load of milk so it wouldn’t a) choke them and b) spray everywhere! Just having a quick handheld pump was enough for me as I could fill it quite quickly.
In terms of electric pumps, the Medela Swing Maxi Flex Breast Pump is supposed to be excellent. If it wasn’t so expensive, I’d also be keen to try the new Elvie pump which is wireless and just sits and pumps away in your bra.
19. Nursing bra
Bravado do the comfiest ones which you can start wearing while pregnant as maternity bras. If you can’t work out your size, check the JoJo Maman Bebe website for a guide. I also like to get a nursing bra I can sleep in without the clips.
20. Breast pads
In an attempt to be eco-friendly I’ll be using reusable, washable breast pads. The little lamb or bravado ones are good. I actually prefer them to disposable pads as there’s nothing worse than getting the sticky part of the breast pad stuck to your sore nipple and having to peel it off! However, it might be worth having some disposable ones in the house just in case you haven’t got round to washing them for whatever reason.
I’d also like to try the Elvie catch milk collection cups – made by the same people as the Elvie breast pump – these can hold up to 1 oz / 30 ml of milk in each cup, so you don’t end up wasting milk in your breast pads.
21. Nipple cream
Holy moly if there’s ever something to invest in if you’re breastfeeding, nipple cream is it! Nobody tells you the first couple of weeks can be extremely painful as you get feeding sorted. I’ve tried the Lansinoh cream, but the Medela is also supposed to be good.
Treat option: No harm nipple balm by My Expert Midwife
22. Nursing tops
I like ready-made feeding tops, with a built-in boob-whipper-outer-rer pocket for ease. I’ve just picked up a couple from GAP as I really like their maternity wear. It’s just as easy to go for a vest top with a loose t-shirt over the top though.
Nice to have: A baby breastfeeding cover. Some people love them, others hate them. The BebeChic cover was a necessity for me when feeding in public in the early days as I had SO much milk that the baby would gag for the first five minutes and during that time milk would just be spraying everywhere! I would look at other mums just whipping their boob out and putting their baby on straight away with envy! However, when the baby reached 3 months and started becoming more aware of the world around them the cover didn’t really work anymore and would just annoy them.
A dimmable light is really handy to have when you’re up feeding during all hours of the night. Something that won’t wake you, the baby, or your partner up, but will give you a gentle, comforting light to see what you’re doing.
24. Baby bottles and newborn teats
I consider myself a bit of an expert in baby bottles! As neither of my babies would take a bottle for many months of their lives, I spent a fortune on trying different teats and bottles in an attempt to entice them over to the teat side, so somebody else could feed them! We’ve had Philips ones (as this was the one used by my breast pump), Tommee Tippee ones (which came with the steriliser we bought), Dr Brown bottles (which have an internal vent system which supposedly helps with colic/burping/gas) and Nuk bottles (our most successful).
I think Nuk worked for us best as they have the option to buy latex teats which are a bit softer and more like human skin than silicon teats. We also used the Nuk latex dummies for our second child (the first wouldn’t take a dummy). But really, I didn’t find much difference between the bottles.
Nice to have: for eco-friendliness I’d love to go for the Hevea bottles and dummies, although they are much more expensive than others.
We had the Tommee Tippee steriliser and would use microwave steam steriliser bags for travel. I have heard people complain that the Tommee Tippee steriliser left everything really wet (although this didn’t bother me), in which case they have turned to an infrared steriliser as an alternative.
26. Tommee Tippee Perfect Prep machine
If you’re bottle feeding, I’d really recommend investing in one of these as you’ll use it for a year. We had one for our second child and I used to keep it by my bed in the night so I didn’t have to trawl up and downstairs to find bottles and boil kettles etc. We bought ours in a Facebook group and then sold it again on Facebook for the same price, or you can pick a Tommee Tippee Perfect Prep machine up off Amazon for around £60.
27. Formula pot and thermos
If you’re bottle-feeding, these handy formula pots can hold up to 3 feeds in one pot. I used to take a thermos of boiling hot water with me to make up bottles when out and about.
My first baby didn’t take a dummy, but I tried a bit harder with my second and she ended up loving hers and then just dropping it herself when she didn’t want it anymore. We used the Nuk latex ones. Be sure to also get a dummy clip to save it being dropped on the floor all the time!
Like to have: Hevea dummy – apparently the most eco-friendly and completely non-toxic pacifier.
29. Baby sling/wrap/carrier
If you value being able to use two hands in life, a baby sling will be for you! They’re so handy if you have things to do, other kids to look after, work to get done or can’t be bothered to get the buggy out! It’s so nice to have your baby snuggled up next to you too (although this can get pretty sweaty in summer!)
I wrote about my favourite baby sling for travel here, and the Ergobaby 360 (with the newborn insert for smaller bubbas) is by far my favourite. It was easy on my back, didn’t hurt my neck and will last until they are a toddler. However, for a newborn, I’ll also be going for a secondhand baby wrap like the Freerider Co one as I think it just keeps them a bit more snug and is more supportive on their neck. You do have to master the knot tying first though!
Big baby checklist items
30. Buggy/travel system
I’ve tried a few buggies – the Bugaboo – which I found too low for my back (I’m 5’8″) – and the double Phil and Teds buggy when my second was born, which I found a faff, probably because it was an old one that I got in a Facebook group and not in great condition. I’ve not found a buggy I love so ended up selling all of them except for our Maclaren stroller which has been brilliant. However, the Maclaren is not suitable for a newborn – it’s more 6months+.
This time around we’re going to borrow the Uppababy off a friend of ours, although I’d really like to try the Babyzen YoYo stroller as it folds up super small (and you can get a newborn insert for it too).
Nice to have: a coffee cup holder attachment! A sheepskin blanket to line the buggy is also quite cosy for winter babies.
31. Car seat (with Isofix base)
You can’t leave hospital without a car seat. Maxi Cosi car seats seem to be the most popular (we use this one) and you can often buy attachments to fix the car seat onto your buggy base so you don’t have to take the baby out of the car seat each time (particularly handy if they’re sleeping). I did this so often as it’s so much easier!
The Isofix base is well worth it too as you can just slot the car seat onto the top of it and click it securely into place without having to worry about attaching the seat belt correctly.
32. Baby clothing
- Long and short sleeve vests
- Baby gros/sleep suits
- Snowsuit (for winter babies)
My top tip for baby clothing would be: make sure it’s easy to take on and off! There are some beautiful pieces out there that are button up and when you’ve got a baby squirming on a changing table, it’s a lot easier if poppers or zips are involved in my experience!
Baby girls dresses are also super cute, but they end up riding up the whole time when they’re babies and get stuck on their knees when they’re learning to crawl. I do however, LOVE buying baby clothes, so I totally get it if you can’t resist! I’m also yet to get a baby bootie to stay on a tiny tootsie!
I also wouldn’t buy too much as you’ll likely be gifted lots of clothes, we had so many it was hard trying to get them to wear it all before they grew out of it!
Check eBay for bundles of good quality clothing from Next, M&S, White Company, Mini Boden at bargain prices.
Baby bath time
33. Baby bath
I don’t know if they make the baby bath we have anymore – I think ours has been passed down through the generations, but it looks like this. If I was buying new this time around, I’d go for the Angelcare soft touch bath support.
34. Baby shampoo
You won’t need any soap for a few weeks as babies’ skin is so delicate they advise against using it, but it’s worth having some for when they’re ready. Our little ones used to get bad cradle cap and we used Dentinox for that.
I mainly used a flannel to keep the little tikes warm in the bath. If we filled the water too high they’d sort of float out of the baby bath so we’d dunk a flannel in the warm water and put it on their tummy to keep their top half warm! They also can’t chew chunks out of a flannel.
36. Hooded baby towel
We got given hooded baby towels as gifts and I have to say there’s nothing more gorgeous than a fresh clean baby wrapped in one of these! I often give these as gifts to new parents with the baby’s name embroidered on (My First Years do them) as we received one ourselves and it’s so lovely. Our girls still use hooded towels today.
37. Baby swing
We inherited a baby swing from my sister-in-law and it has been brilliant for 4 babies so far! Admittedly ours was quite big, but it did the job! There are smaller ones out there like this though. It was great to have somewhere to put the baby down, somewhere they could snooze downstairs, gently rocked by the swing action, or entertained by the toys hanging above.
38. Baby play mat
Preferably something like this with dangling objects to keep them happy and entertained on the floor.
As soon as my babies could hold their heads up I whacked them in one of these! They’re a good thing to enquire about in Facebook market place and parent selling groups, then sell on when you’re done. Mine spent most of their time bouncing up and down when held so they loved it and it kept them entertained for ages during the days when babies have very short attention spans. It also freed up my hands!
40. Baby nail scissors
Because their little talons are surprisingly sharp!
I still use this for my kids when they have a cold, you basically pop a lavender-camomile-menthol-eucalyptus smelling refill pad into the plug and it makes the whole room smell lovely all night long while helping little ones to breathe more easily.
42. Snot sucker
Or ‘nasal aspirator‘ as is the technical term. Yes they repulse me, but at the same time are quite satisfying…the sort of instrument you didn’t know was a thing until you have children! Basically to help your baby breathe easier through their nose if they have a cold.
My second baby seemed to have an ear infection every other month, so a thermometer was quite a crucial bit of kit for us.