It can often be overwhelming trying to select the gear you need for a new baby, especially when your little one hasn’t arrived yet! However, lots of “baby equipment” is surplus to requirements and not at all necessary - so we want to recommend things that are useful and make a positive difference to your parenting experience, leaving you with more money to spend on the things you do need or love. Here are our recommendations for the essential items that you need for a new baby…
Other baby clothing items you may want to consider are:
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. Baby vests with poppers down the side (kimono style) are useful so you don't have to pull on over their heads. Socks are very sweet but often get kicked off and lost, so it is easier to buy baby grows with ‘feet'. You’ll also need a couple of hats and two or three blankets for wrapping or swaddling your baby.
'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 sleepy baby without waking them up too much!
Our customers on Facebook all placed muslins as one of the top baby essentials. You will quickly find that you keep muslin squares within reach at all time! As well as general mopping up, they can be used for;
Buy as many as you can afford - you will always find a use for them, no matter how old your children are!
You will spend an awful lot of your time in the first few weeks and months feeding your baby, so make sure you get comfortable! Make sure you have firm pillows for support - many of our parents on Facebook recommended using a breastfeeding pillow which gives great support for you and your baby. Equally, opt for 2 or 3 good nursing bras (we recommend Bravado) and you may want to invest in a tube of lansinoh nipple cream, especially for the early days of feeding - it’s 100% lanolin, so safe for your baby and beautifully soothing and healing for you.
Babies get through between 6-10 nappies in a 24 hour period when newborn and often poo every time they feed, so you will need to have plenty of nappies on hand. We recommend using washable nappies - they are kinder to your baby’s bottom, better for the environment and easier on the purse!
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 come with the absorbent and waterproof part as one unit, others need separate covers.
Please feel free to contact us for advice on what you need, or Click Here to download the Real Nappy Guide, written by Born’s Co-Founder, Eva Fernandes.
A baby carrier or wrap came top of our essentials poll on Facebook. A decent carrier is a must with a newborn, but it is really important to get one that works for you AND your baby. Many parents end up carrying their baby in over-engineered carriers that are difficult to put on, do not adequately support the baby's head, neck, spine and pelvic floor, and 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 and wraps 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. There are many fantastic benefits to baby wearing for you and for your baby - read our Guide to Baby Carriers to find out more.
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. Our Bristol store also runs a sling library where you can hire carriers or try before you buy. We have staff who are trained in helping to select and fit the right sling for you and your baby.
To begin with your baby will only need washing with water. Soaps and washes are not necessary for the first few months and perfumed washing products mask the natural scent of your baby which is a very important part of the bonding process.
As they grow, you may choose to use a very mild baby wash or shampoo. 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.
For this reason, if you choose to use baby wipes for nappy changes rather than cotton wool or fabric cloths, consider the natural and organic wipes, to be sure that your baby is not coming into contact with any strong chemicals.
Babies don't necessarily need furniture! You can even do without a cot if you are choosing to have your baby in bed with you. If you choose to have cots and changing tables, you might like to consider what it is made from (FSC wood), where it is made (ethical manufacturers), whether it is fit for purpose and the longevity of the product. It also needs to look great - it is a piece of furniture, after all!
At Born, we especially favour furniture that grows with your child or has a secondary use such as the Stokke Sleepi Cot that expands into a junior bed and then can eventually end up as two chairs. The Stokke Care changing table also has long term usage as it can convert into a desk.
Most parents will look for a pushchair before they have their baby, although many find that a good carrier is just as essential especially for the first few months.
If you decide that a pushchair is right for you, it’s one of the biggest purchases you will make so it pays to make the right choice. Think carefully about the job it will need to do - a compact urban buggy is perfect for town and city living but may let you down if you want to go walking through muddy woods! Consider future use, too - if you are planning on a larger family, can you adapt the pushchair to accommodate a sibling?
Be careful when buying pushchairs on the Internet from suppliers that promise immediate delivery and all sorts of added extras. Do some research on the company first; mumsnet.com has reviews of the 'pile it high sell it cheap' web sites that should definitely be avoided. Shop for quality brands from respected retailers even if the lead-times are a little longer or the price a little higher - this is a big purchase and you need the confidence of solid reputation and customer service.
Born only stocks brands that make pushchairs of the highest quality in factories that are strictly monitored for their working conditions with good customer service. (We were one of the first retailers in the UK to sell Bugaboo and Stokke Xplory). Our shops offer full demonstrations and any queries or issues get sorted quickly and efficiently!
One item that most people will need is a car seat. There are loads of brands of car seats to choose from, but we recommend Maxi Cosi because it consistently comes top of safety tests. It is no surprise that all big brand pushchair manufacturers have created adaptors to use the Maxi-Cosi car seats on their pushchairs.
It is amazing how much 'stuff' a baby can have. It's really easy to get carried away and think you need to have lots of gadgets but you really don't. Think carefully before investing in things like wipe warmers, bottle warmers and nappy squashers - you may find that boiling a kettle to warm a bottle or putting the nappy directly into a bin works perfectly well! Save your money and wait until your baby arrives to find out if you really need it!