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What are the Essential Items Needed for a New Baby?

Like most new mums, I brought my baby home from hospital to a house full of baby items. In hindsight, far too many baby items. From gifts to panic buys it’s impossible to know what your baby will use and need. 

However, there are definitely items that I found really helpful and that I would re-purchase or save for a second child.  So, what are the essential items needed for a new baby? Keep reading to see our favourite and most used products.


Table of Contents

1. Sleepyhead

The last item I purchased was the Sleepyhead cushion and Im so glad I did. I had been undecided whether to buy this or not – £120 for a cushion seemed ridiculous. But I was 10 days overdue as slowly losing my mind so I caved and ordered it. 

It was without a doubt my best purchase – my baby would not sleep alone anywhere but the sleepyhead. It meant I could put him down for short spells in the day and go to the loo or make a drink without him crying. 

It also meant at night I could co-sleep with him safely. He wouldn’t sleep in the cosleeper bassinet so I used to lay him in his sleepyhead cushion on the bed and he would settle in this… for an hour or so at least…!

2. Newborn Clothes

For some reason we only had a handful of newborn clothes but piles of 0-3. My boy was 8lb2oz born, so not a small baby, but 0-3 clothes drowned him. We ended up buying lots of newborn babygrows and vests which he was in for around a month. 

I think people don’t tend to buy newborn clothes as gifts as they think you’ll get more wear out of bigger sizes but we definitely got our wear out of our newborn clothes. Especially with all those accidents in the early days. 

3. Muslin Cloths

These were so handy in those early days. From covering myself when feeding to lying him down on when changing his nappy. We seemed to permanently have a muslin cloth close by. 

When I first fed in public I used a muslin cloth to help cover me and my baby while I was still struggling with the latch – it just gave us a bit of privacy to get ourselves sorted. Also when out and about using public changing rooms it was sometimes handy to have a muslin to lay under him or above if it was cold. 

It was better to use a muslin cloth to help clear up any accidents and throw in the washing machine than use lots of wipes or a bigger blanket. Also great for sponge baths in those first days, if you can’t bathe newborn due to circumcision or the umbilical stump hasn’t fallen off.  

4. Essentials Caddy

I remember filling the caddy with nappies, wipes, spare outfit, creams and other essentials but wondering if I’d actually use it- well I did! I found this so handy for keeping everything in one place and close at hand. 

It meant that I could change a nappy without rushing upstairs either with the baby or to get nappies and wipes. It was also really handy for keeping my own essentials close by during the long cluster feeds. 

Esoes Diaper Caddy Organizer, Baby Diaper Caddy, Nursery Storage Basket Bin and Car for Diapers and Baby Wipes, Nappy Bags for Mom, Toys Storage for Child (Grey)
1,300 Reviews
Esoes Diaper Caddy Organizer, Baby Diaper Caddy, Nursery Storage Basket Bin and Car for Diapers and Baby Wipes, Nappy Bags for Mom, Toys Storage for Child (Grey)
  • ★ FRIENDLY MATERIAL: This diaper caddy organizers contains no hazardous content for human body. We know that this product is for baby-related purposes and may directly touch their sensitive skin, so the production process is ensured that no chemicals left in its cloth.

5. Shnuggle Baby Bath

Bathing a newborn is scary– they’re so small and slippery and they cry… the whole process can be quite overwhelming but we absolutely loved using the Shnuggle bath. 

The sloped back meant that our baby was supported in a sitting position which he much preferred. There’s a raised section at the bottom of the Shnuggle bath that allows them to sit without slipping further down. The bath is relatively light meaning we could put it either on the floor or a table. There is a specific stand available to purchase additionally but we were fine without this. 

If the Shnuggle bath doesn’t meet your needs, check out our recommendations of best baby baths.

Shnuggle Baby Bath with Bum Bump Support and Cosy Foam Back Rest
3,303 Reviews
Shnuggle Baby Bath with Bum Bump Support and Cosy Foam Back Rest
  • Beautiful design with smooth curves and flowing roll top

6. Baby Sling

Thank goodness I bought a sling! Newborns want to be held- all the time. Maybe some newborns are content being put in their pram or Moses basket… but our baby certainly wasn’t. I remember walking to my mums (a 5 minute walk) when my little boy was 2 weeks old and he just screamed. 

After that, the sling and baby carrier became my most used items. I was desperate to get out the house or just have my hands free in the house but obviously didn’t want my baby to cry and be so unsettled. All babies are different of course but I’m yet to meet anyone that says their babies didn’t like being held close to them. 

Now that my boy is bigger, I look back at that time and I’m so glad I held him close in the sling on our first few months of walks. It was a special time and something you can’t do for all that long. 

Lictin Baby Wrap-Baby Carrier Adjustable Breastfeeding Cover Cotton Baby Carrier Wrap for Infants up
165 Reviews
Lictin Baby Wrap-Baby Carrier Adjustable Breastfeeding Cover Cotton Baby Carrier Wrap for Infants up
  • Safe and practical to use: Sturdy fabric holds your baby safely and securely

7. White Noise Teddy

I’m not sure if this helped my little one to sleep or me. We had bought Ewan the dream sheep after hearing such good things about it from friends. Perhaps naively, I expected the noise of Ewan to be enough to calm and help keep my little one settled.

Of course the reality was only I could calm and settle him but I used to put Ewan on as he was falling asleep and it’d stay on as I fell asleep. Perhaps it helped me to relax? We’ve carried on using Ewan and I’m hoping it’ll provide some comfort and familiarity when we finally get to the stage that my little boy moves into his own room. 

Related article: Can White Noise Damage my Baby’s Hearing?

Sweet Dreamers, Ewan the Dream Sheep, Grey - Baby White/Pink Noise Machine and Sleep Aid with Night Light
7,513 Reviews
Sweet Dreamers, Ewan the Dream Sheep, Grey - Baby White/Pink Noise Machine and Sleep Aid with Night Light
  • BEST-SELLING UK BABY SLEEP AID: With over 1 million ewans sold globally, ewan is working hard to monitor and help babies and toddlers sleep peacefully – which of course means Mum and Dad get a great night's sleep too!

8. Changing Mat

So we had the beautiful changing station all set up in the nursery. But in reality it was the £10 portable changing mat that we ended up using for 90% of nappy changes. It was so much easier to just take this with us to the room we were feeding in rather than heading upstairs each time we needed to change him. 

Easy to wipe clean and easy to store away at the side of the sofa. I think there’s a tendency to want to buy fancy items, especially when pregnant with your first, but when it comes to changing the nappy of a newborn, you just want something you can quickly and easily lay them on to change them. And ideally something you won’t be too upset about getting dirty as that’s the reality! 

9. Black and White Toys

We noticed quite early on that of all of the tummy time toys, teddies and books– anything black and white caught our little boy’s attention. We had a large black and white patterned blanket that he would often stare at or be distracted by. We also had a zebra cuddly toy that used to keep him distracted during the dreaded outfit changes. 

Apparently black and white toys help your baby’s ability to focus their attention and also aids their levels of concentration. For us, we were just happy to find something that focussed and calmed him.

10. Memory Book

The whole newborn phase went so quickly. It was so hard and at the time you feel like it’ll last forever but in reality it does just pass by so fast. I’m so glad I took lots of photos and videos of my little boy when he was so tiny. 

It’s hard to take it all in when your whole life has been turned upside down so it’s nice to have all those images to reflect on how much your little one has grown and changed and how far you’ve come. 

I certainly didn’t have the time to complete a memory book when he was tiny, but I kept notes on my phone and those (along with the thousands of photos) have allowed me to reflect and document the whole phase in a lovely keepsake memory book. 

q? encoding=UTF8&ASIN=0241365600&Format= SL250 &ID=AsinImage&MarketPlace=GB&ServiceVersion=20070822&WS=1&tag=bestformumsuk 21&language=en GBBabys First Year Journal

The Bottom Line

When you’re pregnant with your first, it’s inevitable you will buy or even be gifted items that you don’t end up using with your baby. You’ll also no doubt find yourself buying items once they arrive despite thinking you had everything you could possibly ever need. Hopefully this list will provide you with some ideas for items that may help you and your newborn or even offer some reassurance that you really don’t need thousands of pounds worth of items for your little one.