newborn baby essentials
buying guide

When it comes to preparing for the arrival of your first baby, you'll be busy with everything from researching handy feeding accessories to choosing the cutest clothes and cosiest sleeping bags.

To help welcome your little one into the world, we’ve created this list of new baby essentials. And if you download the mothercare app, it has a checklist to help you to keep track of everything you've got and what you and baby still need, giving you one less thing to think about as your due date approaches.

essential things for a newborn baby

best prams for newborns

You'll want to get out and show your baby the world at the earliest opportunity. Newborns need to lie completely flat to help their spinal development and support their head and neck, so you'll need a model that can fully recline.

To help you make the best choice for your needs and lifestyle, read our pram and pushchair buying guide. You can also visit us in store, where one of our trained advisers will recommend a pram that fits your needs.

Accessories like a changing bag, a raincover and a furry footmuff will make your adventures a little easier.

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best car seats for newborns

It pays to fit your baby's car seat before they arrive (no one wants to faff around in the hospital car park). Newborns need group 0+, which should last until they're 12 months old,[1] or 0+/1, which lasts until they're around four years old [1].

Car seats for infants should be rear-facing, and should carry baby in a horizontal position[2]. The best ones include 5-point harnesses to keep wriggly babies at bay and are part of a travel system, which makes getting around a whole lot easier.

There's more advice in our car seat buying guide.

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mother breastfeeding her baby

feeding a newborn

Breast or bottle: however you choose to feed your baby, we’ve got what you need to make it as comfortable as possible.

  • breastfeeding: choose from stylish nursing bras, as well as nipple shields and cream to help protect your skin
  • bottle feeding: pick from a variety of bottles and teats to find the one baby likes best. You’ll need a steriliser to keep it free of germs
  • try a comfortable support pillow and don’t forget muslins to mop up any spills

Our guides to breastfeeding and bottle feeding will prepare you for those special one-on-one moments with baby.

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newborn baby body suit

newborn clothes

Buying adorable, tiny clothes before the birth of your first baby is oh-so exciting. You'll always need more than you think, but newborn baby essentials include:

  • several sleepsuits and body suits
  • several pairs of socks
  • a pair or two of scratch mitts
  • a hat
  • a couple of blankets

Once you’ve chosen these, you can add more items depending on the season, like cardis and jumpers or a warm pram suit. Our baby clothes buying guide has more information to help you put together the ideal wardrobe.

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newborn safety

It's best to baby proof your home before your little one arrives, to make sure it's an even safer place for them to grow up. There are a few things to consider, depending on your particular needs, including:

  • stair gates and play pens
  • baby monitors
  • plug socket covers
  • cupboard and window catches
  • furniture corner protectors
  • fireguards
  • a medical thermometer and a book on common baby illnesses are useful. It's also worth keeping a first aid kit, just in case.

You can read more about preparing your home for its new resident in our guide to baby proofing.

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newborn baby playing

newborn toys

As well as being fun, playtime with your baby helps them develop important skills. We've got a whole guide on the best toys for babies aged 0 to 6 months, but these are good to get you started:

  • play mats, bouncing cradles and baby swings
  • lightweight rattles and teething toys to nibble on
  • baby books with shiny mirrors and touchable textures
  • light-up and musical toys

Keeping your child entertained when you're on the move can be challenging; pick up some car or pram toys to make trips out a little easier[3].

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baby enjoying bath time

newborn bath time

Newborns usually just need a quick top and tail at first, using cotton wool or a sponge[4]. But it won’t be long before your little one is having a good splash about in the bath with their toys. When the time comes, you'll need:

  • a baby bath or a bath support
  • a non-slip bath mat
  • soft baby towels

You can check that the water is the perfect temperature with a bath thermometer. (Tip: if baby is nice and calm after bath time, it may be a good time to trim their nails.)

Our guide to baby bath time has more tips on what you need to keep your new arrival squeaky clean.

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baby sleeping in their moses basket

newborn sleep

The NHS advises that baby sleeps in your room for the first 6 months – pick up a lightweight Moses basket to keep them close[5]. At around 6 months, they can move into their own room. It's best to decorate it before they arrive, as this allows time for paint fumes to subside. To kit it out, you'll need a baby cot with a waterproof mattress cover, fitted sheets and cellular blankets (tip: double up on bedding layers – if baby spits up, simply remove the top layer and pop them back into bed).

Our nursery buying guide has more tips on getting their room just right.

Once you’ve chosen these, you can add more items depending on the season, like cardis and jumpers or a warm pram suit. Our baby clothes buying guide has more information to help you put together the ideal wardrobe.

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baby ready for changing

newborn nappy changes

It won’t take long to become an expert at changing your baby’s nappy, and having everything ready will make those first few times a little easier. A handy pointer – if you have a boy, make sure it's a case of willy down when the nappy goes on.

Newborn essentials include:

  • nappies, baby wipes and nappy sacks
  • a changing mat or cot-top changer
  • a nappy bin or disposal system to keep smells locked away
  • nappy cream in case baby gets a sore bottom

Our beginner's guide to nappies has all the information you need to prepare for your very first nappy change. Good luck!

References

[1].Lisa Galliers, Which, Car Seat Weight Groups. [Accessed April 2019]

[2].Carrying premature and low birth weight babies in child car seats, RoSPA Road Safety Research, November, 2018

[3].Pushchair or Travel System? Your Guide to Your Baby's Transport, Emma's Diary [Accessed April 2019]

[4].Bathing your Newborn, BabyCentre Medical Advisory Board [Accessed April 2019]

[5].NHS, Sleeping Safely, March 2019.

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