What to Buy

Just like weddings, babies equal lots of money! It’s hard to determine the essentials from the unnecessary gimmicks at times but this guide will hopefully steer you in the right (cheaper!) direction. Think we're missing anything? Contact us with a chance to be featured.


Care Essentials

Feeding Essentials

Sleeping Essentials

Other Essentials

Members' Favourites




You will get a lot of presents when you have a baby, mainly clothes and cuddly toys. However, often people buy you bigger sizes to last you, so you’ll still probably need to purchase a newborn wardrobe yourself, and you'll love selecting their first outfits! Although you don’t know what size your baby will be at birth, almost every baby will fit into newborn items at the very beginning which is usually up to 10lb. After that, they move into 0-3 months.


The number of newborn items you purchase in advance is really down to personal preference (and depends on how often you plan to put on a wash) but as a rough guide:


  • 10 vests/bodysuits to go under babygros/sleepsuits. These should be snug enough to help keep your nappies in place. A change of outfit before bed can be a nice part of a bedtime routine (in readiness for pyjamas one day), hence the extra vests may be useful. You might want to get 5 short sleeved and 5 long sleeved to go under a range of outfits.

  • 5 babygros for daytime. The easiest ones have poppers all the way down the front of the body and part of the legs. They also would have built in mittens. If people do gift you clothes, it is most likely to be a babygro.

  • EITHER 5 sleepsuits (babygros) for bed time. There may be no difference in the design of your babygros for bedtime but these should definitely be easy to open for nighttime changes and a simple fuss-free design. Some people like their baby in a crisp white outfit for bed; Mothercare do cheaper multiple sets of these white sleepsuits.

  • OR you may prefer a sleeping bag at night. In which case you can use your 5 long sleeved vests/bodysuits underneath.

  • For summertime, you may want to purchase a couple of rompers.

  • A few small hats - one for as soon as they are born, which is likely to get slightly stained, one to bring baby home in, and a spare. You will also need a sun hat for warmer days outside.

  • A couple of pairs of mittens for any outfits that do not have these built in. Babies will scratch their face without them.

  • A couple of pairs of socks for any outfits that do not have built in feet e.g dungarees, rompers and trousers.

  • 5 dribble bibs (you may find you want more once they are teething).

  • 2 cardigans for trips outside.

  • A pramsuit/snowsuit (weather dependent as a cardigan and blanket may be sufficient).


You do not need baby shoes, as cute as they are! Like socks, they are another thing to constantly pick up!


If your baby is premature, you will need ‘tiny baby clothes’. Check if your local Mothercare stock these before you send anyone to get you some as not all do.

Don't forget to pre-wash all your baby's clothing in non-bio!


Care Essentials


  • Nappies - almost all babies have size 1 to start. You may wish to consider cloth nappies.

  • Nappy sacks can help avoid smelly bins and are useful when out and about.

  • Muslins... the phrase is 'you can never have too many'. They are so versatile that you’ll be amazed how many you go through. Use them to catch excess milk when feeding, to put over your shoulder to avoid baby dribbling or being sick on your clothes, over your play mat to avoid unnecessary washes from inevitable sick, maybe on changing mats if you’re worried the plastic is too cold for their little bottoms?! The world is your oyster!

  • A baby bath. Some people also like a top and tail bowl, perhaps for a morning refresh.

  • 2 hooded towels for bathtimes.

  • Cotton wool for cleaning baby’s face and bottom.

  • Baby wipes for nappy changes when you’re out and about. You may wish to use these at home too instead of cotton wool but ensure they are sensitive wipes as regular use can make baby’s bottom sore.

  • A blanket for the pram/ car seat.

  • Infant paracetamol (Calpol or cheaper brands) which they definitely need for their 8 week jabs. Check they come with the syringe needed.

  • Nappy cream in case of a sore bottom. If you change your baby regularly enough, you should not need to use this at every nappy change.

  • Baby wash for bath times (do not overuse products as baby’s skin is sensitive).

  • Changing bag to carry all these essentials when out and about!

  • Changing mats for home and travel bag.

  • Reliable thermometer (in-ear digital ones are often the most accurate).

Feeding Essentials

For Bottle feeding equipment (formula, combination feeding, or expressed breast milk), check out our page.

You don't need any equipment for breastfeeding, but you may find some accessories useful. Check out our top tips here.

Sleep Essentials


  • You may wish to start with a Moses basket or bedside crib with a suitable firm flat mattress.


A Moses basket can be easily transported up and down stairs for daytime naps. A bedside crib allows easy access at night and will usually last longer than a Moses basket, but are more expensive. A cot can be used from birth but it is recommended that babies are in your room until at least 6 months so weigh up your available space. A cot that transitions to a bed can be a money saver in the long run. Babies must sleep on a firm flat mattress with no pillows, duvets or cuddly toys.


  • 2 celluar blankets or sleeping bags - follow safe sleep guidance

  • Pram sized sheets to fit whatever you use for sleeping - at least two for each item.

  • Many parents have success with a white noise machine.

  • A monitor to allow you to keep an eye when babies are sleeping in a separate room to you (so you may not need this until after 6 months if you follow the guidance to have baby in the same room as you until then).

See our page on safe sleeping 

Other Essentials


  • Pram with carrycot. Newborns will need to lie down flat like they do for sleep. Don’t forget your pram-sized sheets for the carrycot. You may wish to buy a whole travel system to include a...

  • Car seat with an isofix base preferably. It is illegal for a baby to travel in a private car without the proper seat. Ensure you do your research about rear-facing care seats. 


Members' Favourites


“My baby would lie on a play mat from early on. It gave me a few precious minutes hands free!” - Katie

"We did not have outside bins from our council so we found a nappy disposal bin really useful to have as we didn't want our normal inside bins to smell. The bin itself is really cheap but the cartridges can work out expensive. For us though it made a difference!" - Sam

“I had a swing that my baby loved as she always wanted to be moving and she would happily nap in there” - Anna


“5/6 of my NCT group ended up with a Sleepyhead. You have to evaluate the guidance from the Lullaby Trust but our little ones wanted to be snuggled when they were going to sleep. One baby kept moving and banging his head on his cot so the Sleepyhead kept him in place! Don’t buy one in advance though - wait and see if they would benefit.” - Priya

“My baby wouldn’t sleep unless she was swaddled so I wouldn’t be without a swaddle blanket.” - Yvana

See our page on safe sleeping to learn about swaddling and the use of a Sleepyhead.

“I wouldn’t be without my sling. My second baby did not want to be put down and the sling was perfect to give him cuddles whilst being able to still get on with my toddler. Plus I didn’t have to take the pram everywhere as he could stay in the sling” -  Saskia.


For more information on babywearing, click here. Look out for local Sling Libraries near you!

Check out our page about what to pack in your hospital bag to ensure you have all this ready to go from the start.