I have a few friends who are flourishing in pregnancy right now. During the height of these worrying and confusing lockdown times. And I really don’t envy them. The not knowing what lies ahead for their scans, birth plan and maternity leaves. Whilst having antenatal classes, baby groups and baby showers cancelled. I know when I was expecting my son, I relied heavily on the support of my new NCT friends. Our own little WhatsApp village sharing our new pearls of wisdom. Discussing what essentials a newborn baby really needs.
It’s really got me thinking of all those new baby ‘essentials’ we picked up during those Parent-to-be events. All those Sunday’s spent strolling the busy baby aisles of John Lewis. Were they all as essential as we’d been led to believe? If we’d been solely left to shop online, would our loft currently resemble the Mamas and Papas stock room?
So, at the request of said friends, I’ve popped together my actual newborn essentials list. And a non essentials list too. This is just what worked for us, but hopefully it’ll prove helpful to one or two of you reading this too.
Newborn baby feeding essentials
In my opinion, it’s worth purchasing these in advance of little ones arrival
Yes, I’ve gone straight in with nip chat. If you would like to give breast feeding a go, or are still on the fence, I think these are a must. I only had a set because my best mate threw a box into my hospital bag. I had no clue what they were or how they worked but within an hour of Aces arrival they were a pretty integral part of getting him fed. Health visitors, midwives and breast feeding groups all differ in opinions, but delve a little deeper (on social media communities especially) and you’ll find these beauties can make all the difference in your feeding journey.
2. Bottles and a steriliser
Again, even if you don’t know how you’d like to feed yet, get a few in. I’ve spoken about my short lived breastfeeding journey before, and if I hadn’t of had a few bottles at home on day 3, I’m pretty certain Ace would of ended up with dehydration. You don’t need to get a special steriliser straight away if you want to breastfeed. Just pick up some Milton and clean and sterilise these bottles regularly before little one arrives. I didn’t. And doing those jobs for the first time with a screaming, hungry newborn baby is not one bit of fun.
Treat yourself- splash out on premade bottles of formula. Yes they cost a lot more than powder but they make the first few days a doddle. Some even come with a teat attached meaning point 2. can be scrapped. Remember to pop a few in your hospital bag too. Even if you want to breastfeed, just in case of emergencies. We were lucky enough to be given donor breastmilk in hospital, but you just never know what the situation may be.
4. Nursing bra
Nursing or not, these bad boys are comfy! Who cares that I didn’t breastfeed, I wore these the through my third and FORTH trimesters!
Bonus point- Treat yourself to a few nice button down PJs whilst your adding them to your M&S basket.
Newborn baby feeding non essentials
1. Electric Breast pump. An expensive bit of kit. Especially if you aren’t able or decide not to use it. Don’t get me wrong, I used mine loads! But I also hired a hospital grade pump direct from Medela. This was actually much more cost effective for short term use and was ideal for my situation. You can order a breast pump online for next day delivery if you decided it’s a necessity for you.
2. Hakka Pump. Same goes here. Fantastic bit of kit, but a bit pointless if you can’t/ decide not to use it. Amazon Prime is a magical thing and one of these can be with you in a flash. Plus they are so popular all your toddler mum friends will have one knocking around!
Newborn baby sleeping essentials
I don’t care if you swear you’ll never ever use them. Get a set just in case at 4am you need some silence. So you can sleep and so can baby! You might never ever need them, but for £7 I’d rather have them there in case I decide I do.
2. Newborn baby grows and sleepsuits
They say babies sleep, eat, poop repeat. Well add in ‘get changed’ into that equation. I had lots of lovely outfits for Ace plus a couple of sleepsuits. And I only packed ONE in my hospital bag! Well that lasted less than an hour before he was in lost property clothes! Babies go through clothes like we do before a big night out. And to hell with fiddling with adventurous stylish outfits 29 times a day- it’s easy sleepsuits all the way!
3. Cellular blankets
I didn’t know what one of these was until I was 38 weeks pregnant. If you don’t either, it’s the blanket with the square holes in. Safest for babies and can be doubled up on colder days/nights. Get a few of these too, I think you can imagine why. (see point 2.)
Newborn baby sleeping non essentials
This £100 + nest was high up on my shopping list. I was so excited when it arrived and spent weeks admiring the different patterned covers. For Ace to hate it. Don’t get me wrong, in the first few weeks it was great as somewhere safe to put him downstairs but rather pricey for something so infrequently used. I know people who absolutely swear by them to get their baby to sleep, so perhaps wait and see what your baby likes before forking out.
2. Ewan the sheep
Someone will definitely gift / pass one on. And in the meantime? Spotify white noise playlists are the bomb.
Other newborn essentials
Get lots of soft, white ones for home and treat yourself to something stylish from Etta Loves or Liewood. You’ll thank me when you don’t have to ruin your nice outfit by teaming it with a white milky cloth on your shoulder on that first coffee out.
Newborn hats, bibs and mittens
Buy them all. Didn’t have a clue that babies needed these! They ALWAYS need a hat outside, they dribble milk (and drool) A LOT and scratch themselves crazy without mitts.
Definitely didn’t win mum of the year taking my son out on a frosty October day without a warm snowsuit. Autumn/Winter baby? Don’t say I didn’t warn you.
Baby play mat and toys
Yes you won’t need these for the first few weeks, but I couldn’t believe how quickly Ace was ready to play. They’ll quickly start on tummy time, engaging with black and white books and trying to reach for hanging toys. If I had our time again, I would of bought our Totter and Tumble baby play mat straight away. Yes it’s a bit pricey, but it’s an investment piece.
And for those Mum essentials?
Oh the glamour. But in my opinion (and that of many others) get yourself some tena pants. Yes you’ll feel like you’re wearing a nappy, but they are absolute lifesavers.
You’ll definitely thank me for this one. However you delivered your newborn baby, nothing is scarier than those first few trips to the loo I promise you.
Spritz for bitz
Last of the ‘down there’ talk I swear. Bu this stuff should be the talk of the town. Section scars, tears, stitches- heck this stuff calms it all. My best ever buy– from My Expert Midwife.
Coffee, cake and batch cooked food.
Scrap the nesting! Get cooking in those final few weeks or sweetly ask those around you to help. Having a well balanced, nourishing meal will help you no end. And a slab of chocolate cake after won’t go a miss either. But to start your day the right way it’s all about that coffee kick from here on in.
My newborn baby essentials
I hope this post has helped some of you. I always wanted to have a peek into what worked for other mum and hear honestly what is NOT a newborn essential! Just follow your instincts and you can’t go wrong. Try and enjoy your pregnancy as best you can, and look forward to all those snuggles.