Newborn Checklist: Everything You Need to Buy for a New Baby

Newborn Checklist: Everything You Need to Buy for a New Baby

Things you need for a newborn baby

Newborn babies are tiny. But they seem to come with a lot of stuff! If you are expecting your first baby, you are probably a little overwhelmed by all the baby things to buy. So you could probably do with a newborn checklist.

I have compiled a list of things you need for a newborn, and you will be well prepared! I cover nursery items, feeding essentials, baby clothes, nappy changing and baby care, travel essentials and more.

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So let’s get into it.

Top list of things to buy before baby arrives. Nursery, feeding, clothing and more essential lists.

Nursery items

Where should your baby sleep? There are no hard and fast rules about where babies should sleep. In the early days they will probably nod off in your arms, in their car seat or wherever they happen to be.

As long your baby sleeps safely, it’s really up to you. (Bear in mind historically the advice given by health professionals has a tendency to change.)

You have several choices for both day time naps and night time sleeping. Including a cot or cot bed, Moses basket, carrycot, crib, co-sleeper or travel cot, or even in your own bed.

Take a look at the options.

Cot or cot bed

You can put your baby straight into a cot from day one for both day and night time sleeps.

There are many different styles and features of cots to choose from. Such as: variable mattress heights, drop sides, teething rails and underneath storage drawers.

A cot bed (cot that converts to a bed when your baby is older) is larger than a cot. It will last a few more years than a standard sized cot as it can grow with your child.

A cot may not be practical if you want your baby to sleep in your room from the beginning. If space is limited in your bedroom, there are other options to choose from until you are ready to move your baby to their own room.

Moses basket

Moses baskets are usually made from palm, maize or wicker. They are small, lightweight baskets that provide a cosy place for newborns to sleep.

Moses baskets are a popular choice as they can easily be carried from room to room. So your baby is always right next to you at night time and during the day.

You can get a stand for your Moses basket so it is at a convenient height next to your bed. A rocking stand will allow you to rock your baby to sleep right next to you.

The downside is some infants feel restricted in Moses baskets because they can’t stretch their arms out fully.

Also a Moses basket will only last you for about three months. Then your baby will grow out of it and need to move to a bigger cot.


As an alternative to a Moses basket, a carrycot that comes with your pushchair is fine to use as a first bed. (Providing you have a suitable mattress.)

Being of a similar size to a Moses basket, a carrycot is easily carried between rooms.

An advantage is you can slot the carrycot straight onto the pushchair base if your baby is asleep and you need to go out. Or if you want your baby to go to sleep and you need to go out!


Usually made of wood, a crib is a smaller version of a standard sized cot and may have a swinging motion to help send your baby to sleep.

You will get a couple more months use out of a crib than a Moses basket, but it is a more expensive option.

As with a standard sized cot, a crib has the disadvantage of not being portable, so it cannot be moved from room to room.


A co-sleeper is a cot with one side removed that attaches to the side of your bed. So if you are keen to bed share with your baby, a co-sleeper is a safe option.

Although your baby is sleeping separately on a separate surface, they will still conveniently be at arm’s reach.

Being larger than a Moses basket, a co-sleeper will last until your baby is around six months old. Then they can be moved to a standard sized cot or cot bed in their own room.

Of course you will pay more money for this convenient sleeping arrangement. To get the most out of a co-sleeper, look for one that converts to a free-standing cot, travel cot or play pen.

Travel cot

A travel cot comes in handy for holidays, nights away and sleepovers at grandparents. It can even double up as a playpen. Practical and lightweight, a travel cot folds up into its own bag for storage and transport.

Travel cots come with their own foldable base mattress, but the mattress can often be thin and hard for babies to sleep on. You may want to consider buying an additional suitably fitting mattress.

Depending on the size of the travel cot, it could last your child for around three years.

Your bed/co-sleeping

There is nothing to stop you from bed-sharing with your baby. But many organisations disapprove of it for safety reasons, and consider it best that your baby sleeps in their own separate safe sleep space.

If you do want to co-sleep with your baby, follow the Lullaby Trust’s co-sleeping safety advice. Never take any risks, such as drinking alcohol or allowing your baby in the bed with a smoker.

Mattress and cot bedding

Whatever type of cot you choose, you will need a firm flat mattress with a waterproof cover that fits the cot properly. The mattress should ideally be brand new. It is thought there may be a link between second hand mattresses and an increased risk of SIDS.

If you do use a second hand mattress, make sure it is in excellent condition with no rips or tears. Ensure it has always been used with a waterproof mattress protector in its previous life.

Cot bedding is available to buy in all sizes for cots and cot beds, Moses baskets, cribs and travel cots. (Note that duvets and pillows, cot bumpers and soft toys are not suitable.)

As a rough guide it is handy to have at least three of each of the following. One in use, one in the wash and one in the cupboard!

  • Waterproof mattress protectors
  • Bottom sheets to fit over the mattress (fitted sheets are easier)
  • Top sheets to firmly tuck in over baby
  • Lightweight cellular cotton or soft fleece blankets to firmly tuck over top sheets
  • Sleeping bags (Grobags) are an easy alternative to top sheets and blankets, and can be used from birth

Additional nursery items

The following nursery items are not essential for your newborn checklist, but they can come in very useful.

  • Baby monitor – a baby monitor helps you to keep an eye/ear on your baby if they are sleeping in their own room. It is not really necessary if the baby is in the same room as you
  • Blackout blinds – these can help babies sleep better during the day as they will not be disturbed by natural light filtering through the curtains
  • Sleep comforter – your baby can have a suitable small soft sleep comforter, but you should remove it from the cot when your baby is asleep
  • Cot mobile – a cot mobile or lullaby light with a light show projection and soothing melodies can relax babies and help them to drift off to sleep peacefully
  • Room thermometer – a room thermometer will tell you when the room temperature is suitable (around 18 degrees C). This is useful of you are concerned about your baby being too hot or too cold
  • Dummy – babies don’t actually need dummies, but many parents use them to help soothe their babies if they are crying or fussing

Feeding essentials

The feeding equipment you need depends on whether you are breastfeeding or bottle feeding your baby. Adjust the following list accordingly.

Breastfeeding equipment

You don’t need a lot of ‘equipment’ to breastfeed. There are however, some accessories that make life easier.

  • Nursing bras – nursing bras, such as the hugely popular bestselling Hofish nursing bras, are front opening bras that enable you to feed your baby easily and discreetly. Look for comfortable, supportive, soft cotton bras with wide shoulder straps and cups that are easy to open and close
  • Nursing cover – a nursing cover helps you breastfeed your baby discreetly in public. Or, a muslin cloth or light blanket will suffice
  • Nursing clothes – nursing tops, dresses and nightwear in a variety of designs allow easy access for breastfeeding
  • Breast pads – if you leak milk in between feeds, nursing pads will stop it leaking through your clothes. Nursing pads are available in disposable and reusable varieties
  • Nursing pillow – nursing pillows are crescent-shaped, v-shaped or wrap-around style pillows to give support during breastfeeding and latch-on. You may find, however, that a regular pillow does the job just fine
  • Nipple cream – nipple soreness and cracking are not uncommon during the early weeks of breastfeeding. The relief you get from using nipple cream may make the difference between persevering with breastfeeding and giving up
  • Breast pump – a manual or electric breast pump is used to express milk for bottle feeding. Pumping is also useful for stimulating milk production, and allows your partner to be involved with feeding
  • Breast milk storage bags – if you want to build up a supply of breast milk in the fridge or freezer, you can store your expressed milk in pre-sterilised milk storage bags. Milk can also be stored in sterilised plastic containers or bottles

Bottle feeding equipment

For infant formula feeding you need to make sure the following equipment is on your newborn checklist:

  • Formula milk – you can make up formula milk feeds from powder or you can buy cartons/bottles of ready-to-feed milk. Powdered formula is the most cost effective option. Ready-to-feed formula is expensive but occasionally handy for on-the-go.
  • Bottles and teats – for exclusive formula feeding, you need about six 4 oz feeding bottles with slow flow teats suitable for newborns. When your baby starts taking bigger feeds, move on to 9 oz bottles with faster flow teats.
  • Thermabag – if taking formula out with you for the day that you have made in advance, you need a thermabag or insulated bottle bag to safely keep it cool
  • Milk powder dispenser – a milk powder dispenser and vacuum flask for hot water, is useful for making up feeds when you are out and about
  • Bottle brush – you need a long-handled bottle brush to remove milk residues from bottles, teats, breast pump parts and other feeding equipment. Look for a curved brush head that will clean hard-to-reach parts of bottles, with a plastic handle that won’t scratch equipment
  • Sterilising equipment – you need sterilising equipment for bottles, teats and breast pump parts until your baby is 12 months old. Choose a microwave or electric steam steriliser, or sterilising solution such as Milton. For an exclusively bottle fed baby, pick a large capacity steriliser that sterilises six bottles at once
  • Bibs – milk feeding bibs soak up milk dribbles, protect baby’s clothes and prevent neck rash from moisture. Buy 10 soft bibs with a high neck, which are easy to fasten
  • Muslin cloths – muslin cloths are your most indispensable purchases. Use muslins as burp cloths and for mopping up milk spills. In the early days you will have one permanently draped over your shoulder. Make sure you have plenty!

Baby clothes

How you dress your baby is entirely up to you, but it is practical and easy to use simple vests and sleepsuits in the early weeks (with the odd cute little outfit).

Here is a newborn checklist of essential clothing items and numbers needed:

  • Sleepsuits (10) – also called stretch suits or babygrows, sleepsuits are comfy long-sleeved suits with enclosed feet. They have poppers at the front, and at the legs and crotch, to make all those nappy changes very easy
  • Bodysuits (10) – bodysuits or vests are short-sleeved, long-sleeved or sleeveless legless underwear with poppers that fasten at the crotch, and they help to keep the nappy in place. Buy bodysuits with envelope style neck openings – this makes it easy to slip on and off over your baby’s head at changing time
  • Cardigans (2) – a couple of soft, lightweight wool or cotton cardigans will keep your baby warm. Choose a close knit pattern to prevent fingers and toes getting caught in the material
  • Socks – when your baby wears sleepsuits, and during warm weather, you will have little need for socks. If you dress your baby in ‘proper’ day clothes you may need socks, so keep about 5 pairs in the drawer.
  • Coat – you need a one-piece snowsuit/pramsuit for a winter baby. Otherwise a warm cardigan, hooded jacket and blankets will suffice in warmer weather
  • Scratch mitts – Scratch mitts help prevent babies from scratching at their faces. But they don’t stay on well and have a tendency to go missing because they are so small. Sleepsuits with built-in scratch mitts are useful for scratchy babies.
  • Hat – your baby doesn’t need to wear a hat at home. Put a knitted hat on if it is cold outside, or use a brimmed cotton sun hat on warm summer days

Which size baby clothes to buy?

Newborn clothes roughly fall into these categories (it can vary from brand to brand):

  • premature (up to 5 lbs)
  • tiny baby (up to 6 lbs)
  • newborn/first size (up to 9 lbs)
  • 0-3 months (up to 12 lbs)

Obviously no one knows the exact size that is right for your baby until the birth. Not even your midwife!

Keep in mind that clothes sized 0-3 months will swamp a baby born around the 6 lb mark. Tiny baby clothes will be too small for an 8 lb baby and will never get worn.

Your best bet is to buy clothes in newborn size or in the 0-3 months age range. If you have a tiny baby you may have to get some smaller clothes at the last minute. But at least the larger clothes will fit in a few weeks.

Nappy changing

You will change A LOT of nappies! Here is the newborn checklist you need for your very first nappy changes at home!

  • Nappies – buy at least one packet of disposable nappies in newborn size. If you don’t use disposables you will need at least 15 reusable cloth nappies and a supply of nappy liners
  • Nappy disposal – if you are using reusables, you need a nappy bucket with a lid for storing soiled cloth nappies. (You can get a nappy disposal unit for disposable nappies but your household bin will work fine, so you definitely don’t need a disposable nappy bin)
  • Baby wipes – you will definitely need these, and you will get through hundreds of them. If you prefer, use cotton wool and warm water as an alternative, or reusable/cloth baby wipes
  • Nappy sacks – use nappy sacks to hygienically dispose of soiled nappies and wipes. Eco friendly, biodegradable nappy sacks are available
  • Nappy cream – keep a tube of nappy cream on hand in case your baby develops nappy rash. It also protects against nappy rash by forming a protective barrier between your baby’s skin and the nappy contents
  • Changing mat – buy a padded changing mat to keep your baby comfortable for all those nappy changes. An additional, thin fold-up changing mat is useful to put in your baby bag for when you are out and about
  • Baby changing bag – get a suitable bag for carrying nappies and other essential items. A changing bag with lots of pockets keeps things organised and helps you find them quickly
  • Changing unit – a baby changing unit has a changing table top, and drawers or shelves underneath. (You definitely don’t need one of these!) Consider it an optional luxury for your baby’s nursery, and a convenient place to store all your baby bits and pieces, if you can afford it for your nursery

Bathing and baby care newborn checklist

You will need several items to take care of your baby’s health and personal hygiene.

  • Baby bath – make bath time easier with a plastic baby bath, bath support seat or changing station
  • Bath thermometer – use a bath thermometer to ensure bath water is comfortably warm (around 37 degrees C), and not too hot or too cold
  • Personal care – mild and gentle soap and shampoo formulated for babies, baby oil or lotion, soft flannels/sponges, cotton buds, soft hooded bath towels, miniature nail clippers, and a soft hair brush and comb
  • Colic drops – you can use infant anti-colic drops from birth to relieve excessive crying and fussing in healthy babies
  • Teething gel – fairly self explanatory
  • Calpol – to relieve side effects of the first vaccinations

Travel essentials

You will need a pushchair or pram, and a car seat if you drive.


You will need a pushchair until your child is around three years old. Pushchairs come in a range of styles, with different features and accessories.

Whatever style of pushchair you go for, it must recline fully so your baby can lie flat for the first three months. (This is important for infant spinal development.)

Opt for a pushchair that converts to a lie-flat pram, or a pushchair that detaches from the frame and is interchangeable with a carrycot. When your baby outgrows the carrycot, they can move into the pushchair.

Ensure your pushchair is sturdy and comfortable for a newborn baby.

Pushchair features to look for

  • Multiple recline positions – a pushchair with multiple recline positions adapts to your baby. At first it is fully reclined so your newborn can lie flat. From three months it partly reclines, and by six months it can be upright. You can recline it at any point if your child falls asleep
  • Reversible seat unit – this allows babies to be parent-facing to begin with so you can keep an eye, and forward-facing when they get older and need a better view of the world
  • Practical weight and size – look for a pushchair light enough to carry in and out of the house, mount pavement kerbs, push up steps, and lift into the car boot when folded up. Make sure it is not too wide to fit through doorways
  • Easy folding – an easily collapsible pushchair makes life easier for getting in and out of your car. A one-handed fold mechanism is useful as you can keep hold of your baby while you collapse the pushchair
  • Swivel wheels that lock – swivel wheels move in different directions for manoeuvrability in shops and through busy streets. Locked front wheels makes it easier to steer the pushchair over uneven ground. Swivel wheels with a lock function give you both
  • Adjustable handlebar height – useful if there are big height differences between people pushing the pushchair
  • Easy clean fabric – pushchair covers get dirty regularly and need cleaning. Wipe clean fabric is cleanable with water and detergent, and removable covers can be stripped off and put in the washing machine
  • Shopping tray – you need a fair-sized shopping tray for stashing your shopping underneath the pushchair. This is also handy for storing coats and other items on trips out
  • Accessories – a pushchair hood protects your baby from wind, sun and rain. A footmuff and rain cover is for cold and wet weather. A parasol is for sun protection. A bumper bar is useful for soft toys. Accessories are often included with your pushchair, but if you buy them separately, ensure they are compatible.

Coach built pram

Coach built prams are beautiful and stylish, so if you can get one, consider it a luxury item that you won’t use for long!

A coach built pram is an expensive alternative to a pushchair and will only last for about six months.

Coach built prams are also bulky and heavy, they are not very practical and they don’t fold up to fit in the car. They are difficult to take on public transport, fit through shop doorways and lift up and down stairs.

Car seat

Put your baby in a secure car seat for car journeys, including when travelling home from the hospital. Make sure you have the car seat ready before the birth, and practice fitting it in the car.

You need a rear-facing infant carrier fitted to the back seat for a newborn.

Infant carriers are also called Group 0, Group 0+, stage 1 or first stage car seats. Group 0 car seats are used from birth to 10kg, and Group 0+ are suitable from birth to 13kg.

Buy an infant carrier separately, or a carrier that clips onto a pushchair frame as part of a travel system.

Do not buy a second hand car seat, because you cannot be certain it hasn’t suffered damage in a road accident. It is OK to accept a second hand car seat from a family member or friend, providing you know it’s history, it has all its parts and you fully understand how to fit it.

Additional baby items for your newborn checklist

In addition to the baby things already covered, there are some other things you may wish to buy before your baby is born, including:

Miscellaneous baby items

  • Car shades – rear window car shades keep glaring sunlight out of your baby’s eyes when travelling in the car
  • Baby carrier – wear your baby close to you in a baby carrier or sling when out walking, as an alternative to a pushchair
  • Play mat – lay your baby on a colourful padded play mat for stimulation for and tummy time. You can also buy other newborn sensory toys
  • Baby bouncer – entertain your baby with a baby bouncer or swing seat for short periods during awake times
  • Baby proofing equipment – you don’t need to baby proof your home until your baby is on the move, but it doesn’t hurt to get prepared early
  • Baby keepsakes – you don’t need to buy anything special to keep reminders of the early days and weeks, but you can buy things to help you organise those special memories

When to start buying baby stuff

You can start buying the baby stuff on your newborn checklist as soon as you know you are pregnant.

Some women feel superstitious and think it’s bad luck to buy things too early. (Of course these feelings won’t actually affect the outcome of your pregnancy.)

An option is to wait until around twelve weeks when you have your first scan, and you are safely through the first trimester.

Then you can start researching cots, pushchairs and other big purchases. If you need to order things in advance, you still have plenty of time.

Baby clothes are one of the most tempting things to start buying. But if you want to buy clothes specific to your baby’s gender, you will need to wait for the anomaly scan at twenty weeks.

You can of course start buying neutrally coloured bedding, vests and sleepsuits etc before this time.

Remember, when you start stocking up on all your baby essentials, you need somewhere to store all this stuff. So if you don’t have much space, just buy the essentials, you can always get more later.

Make sure sure you have all your essential baby things ready, and your hospital bag packed six weeks before your due date. Just in case you are blessed with an early arrival!

Baby things to buy

So now you know what you need for sleeping, travel, feeding, clothes, nappy changing and baby care.

To recap, in your newborn checklist, you need:

  • Cot
  • Mattress and bedding
  • Breast/bottle feeding equipment
  • Baby clothes
  • Nappy changing equipment
  • Pushchair/pram
  • Bath and baby care products

All you need to do now is make a list of things you need to buy for your baby! Why not make it easy by setting up an online baby registry and do it all in one place?

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Things to buy when expecting a baby