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What do I need?

Frugi Baby Grow, Newborn Baby clothes at Born


For a newborn baby essential clothing items are:

  • vests/baby bodies
  • baby grows or sleep gowns
  • hats
  • blankets or baby shawls
  • nappies (real or disposable)

The number you have will depend on your washing and drying facilities, but we'd recommend at least 5 vests and 5 baby grows/sleep gowns, a couple of hats and blankets and of course LOTS of nappies. Babies get through between 6-10 in a 24hour period when newborn and often poo every time they feed.  Socks are very sweet but often get kicked off and lost, so it is easier to buy baby grows with 'feet'.


These baby clothing items you may want to consider:

  • scratch mits
  • booties
  • bibs
  • muslin squares are always handy for burping and general mopping up

'Outdoor' clothing such as trousers, t-shirts, jumpers and footwear aren't usually worn until baby is a few weeks old. It's easier if for the first few weeks they live in baby grows or sleep gowns, as in the first few weeks you will want to keep clothing changes and washing as quick and simple as possible.  Sleep gowns in particular are very useful for night-time changes where you may need to change a sleppy baby without waking them up too much!

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A decent carrier is a must with a newborn, but it is really important to get one that works for you AND your baby. All too often I see people carrying their baby in over engineered carriers that a) are difficult to work out, b) do not adequately support the baby's head, neck, spine and pelvic floor, and c) do not support the parents back.  Unless a sling is supportive for both baby and parent and can be put on easily we will not sell it. 

For a newborn, our fabric slings are perfect - they allow you to be hands free, have your baby in a variety of positions (including breastfeeding) and are very easy to use once you have mastered the simple tying techniques.

In our shops we are happy for you to come and have a demonstration and try the sling for yourself, with your baby or with our weighted demonstration dolls.

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Babies don't really need furniture, "not even a cot?" I hear you ask, well actually No! if you have your baby in bed with you, like many people do all over the world, then a cot is useful for daytime naps and when they are a bit older, but initially it's not an absolute necessity.  When I am sourcing cots to sell I've already thought about what it is made from (FSC wood) where it is made (ethical manufacturers), fit for purpose and the longevity of the product. I especially favour furniture that has a secondary use such as the Stokke Sleepi cot that expands into a junior bed and then can eventually finish of as 2 chairs.  The Stokke Care changing table also has long term usage as it can convert into a desk.

Most of all, if you choose to buy nursery furniture you want it to look great in your home, so for that reason we have chosen brands that deliver on all fronts.

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Books and Media

There are a lot of books on pregnancy, birth and how to parent.  When you are newly pregnant books can be a great source of advice.  I do source the books we sell very carefully; I'm mindful of not selling books that induce fear or anxiety about the birth or parenting, and you may be surprised to hear that there are a lot of books out there that (perhaps unintentionally) do this.

There are some brilliant DVD's, CD's and books that can support you in your journey and I believe that the more positive information you can fill your mind with about birth and parenting the better your experience will be.

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Toiletries & Healthcare

I am amazed at how many lotions and potions you can now buy for ourselves and our babies. Choosing what toiletries to use on your baby is simple if you follow our rule 'If you wouldn't let your baby eat it, don't put it on their skin!'. Your skin is the bodies largest organ and it is estimated that up to 60% of what you put on your skin is absorbed into the bloodstream where the liver has to then deal with it. Fine if it's a natural edible ingredient but not so great it it's something like mineral oil or another chemical such as propylene glycol whose only function is to make a product 'feel slippery' but is actually not very safe for your liver. The Material Safety Data Sheet warns users to avoid skin contact with propylene glycol as this strong skin irritant can cause liver abnormalities and kidney damage. Makes you wonder how it is a common ingredient in baby wipes (but not in any we sell!).

To begin with your baby will only need washing with water. The baby washes we sell are very mild but it's still only necessary to use water for the first few months. Not just because it's easier to use warm damp cloths than it is to bath your baby, but also because perfumed washing products mask the natural scent of your baby which is a very important part of the bonding process. Vernix which is the waxy coating that protects your baby in the womb has a unique scent to it that should be rubbed into the baby's skin, you can do this on its own or with an unscented natural baby oil. Learn some baby massage techniques - check out Born Together to find a local class or you buy the Natalia Baby Massage booklet.

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It is amazing how much 'stuff' a baby can have.  Not all of it is necessary but one item most people will need is a car seat.  There are loads of brands of car seats to choose from, but we've chosen Maxi Cosi because it consistently comes top of safety tests which is probably why the big brand pushchair manufacturers all created adaptors to use the Maxi-Cosi car seats on their pushchairs.

It's really easy to get carried away and think you need to have lots of gadgets but you really don't. The biggest waste of money has to be wipe warmers, bottle warmers and nappy squashers. What's wrong with boiling a kettle and just putting the nappy in the bin (of course if you use washable nappies you won't even be doing that!) So much 'stuff' ends up being thrown away because you really don't need it and that's not just a waste of money it's also just more rubbish on the planet that we don't need. 

So in this category you won't find lots of 'stuff' that is surplus to requirements, you'll only find things that are useful and make a positive difference to your parenting experience, leaving you with more money to spend on the stuff you do need or love.

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Most parents will look for a pushchair before they have their baby, it's one of the biggest purchases you will make so it pays to make the right choice. Whenever I go to trade shows I am overwhelmed by the number of pushchair manufacturers there are to see (and not all of them come to the shows) and I remember feeling like I had to buy a pushchair when Maya was born. But in hindsight it's not really an essential item.  More essential is a good carrier.  So when you decide to buy a buggy you won't go wrong if you stick with the brands that we have carefully selected for you.

We only stock brands that make pushchairs of the highest quality in factories that are strictly monitored for their working conditions. We'd rather not have phone calls complaining about things that are broken or don't work as they were supposed to but if that does happen we want the manufacturer to act promptly to sort out the problem which is why we work with the brands that we do.

Please be careful when buying pushchairs on the Internet from suppliers that promise immediate delivery and all sorts of added extras. We've been doing this long enough to know that some companies make claims they cannot fulfill on, our delivery times may seem longer but that's because we do not lie about how long items will take, in fact we give a longer lead time just to make sure.  We understand that during pregnancy there is a lot to think about and what you really don't want to contend with is a company taking your money and then not having your goods until a lot longer than you were told. Or worse still not getting your goods at all. Do some research on the company first; has reviews of the 'pile it high sell it cheap' web sites that should definitely be avoided.

We were one of the first UK shops to sell the Bugaboo and Xplory; I had a Bugaboo Frog (the precursor to the Cameleon)  with Jacob and Georgina had an Xplory with Keira, so we have had first hand experience of these pushchairs.  In our shops you will get a full demonstration on how they work and the ability to wheel your pushchair in to ask us what does what, and you get to have any problems sorted out quickly and efficiently - a service you just will not get with online only shops.

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It was the inability to buy washable nappies on the high street that inspired me to set up the Bristol Real Nappy Information Service when Maya was born to tell parents about the alternatives to disposable nappies that existed.  It was after writing the Real Nappy Guide and creating demand for washable nappies that Born was born.

There are hundreds of washable nappy brands on the market and after 10 years of selling them I can just look at a nappy and know if it will work or not.  We only sell nappies that have been tested by mums and their babies and stand up to my high quality expectations. 

There are 3 basic parts to a washable nappy, the absorbent (cloth) part, the outer waterproof part and the optional but really handy liner (usually paper and flushable).  Some nappies like the Bumgenius or Pop-in come with the absorbent and waterproof part as one unit, others like the Motherease or Terries you will need to buy separate covers.  Please feel free to contact us for advice on what you need.

To make using washable nappies really easy 2 things are important 1. having enough nappies and 2, having great waterproof covers. I recommend at least 18 nappies for full time use; if you have 24, washing and drying will be a breeze.  As we only sell great waterproof covers you won't have a problem with leaking unless you aren't using them properly, they are the wrong size or have deteriorated with wear and tear. This often happens with the larger sizes of wraps where the child wears them out rather than grows out of them like they do with the smaller sizes.

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When Maya was born in 1997 I made a conscious effort not to buy her plastic toys.  I couldn't bear the idea of a toy box full of plastic and the need for batteries. This ideal however didn't last due to the fact that friends and family didn't share my ideas about buying sustainable natural and wooden toys, so come Christmas and birthdays that toy box steadily filled with plastic!  However. since then the availability of gorgeous toys made from organic cotton, wool and wood is bigger than ever. We've selected some lovely toys for babies and children that you will love to have in your house and will entertain your child on more levels than you can know.

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