It can be a bit daunting welcoming a new baby into your home. They may be small, but babies sure require mountains of gear. To make it easier for you, we’ve put together an all-you-need-to-know list of baby essentials for your newborn.

Baby Essentials: Nursery

What You NEED:

A baby-friendly place for your bub to sleep – such as a bassinet, cradle or cot

We used a bassinet or Moses basket for our baby for the first few weeks. We found this was cosier and compact while baby is still very small.

We then graduated onto a cradle – which I have to say was one of our best purchases ever. If baby (and you) are having a bad day, it’s really easy to give the cradle a few rocks to (hopefully) coax bub to sleep.

After a few months, we then moved baby into a full-sized cot. We picked a cot that could convert into a toddler bed, which is really handy, when it’s time to move your toddler into a ‘big-kids’ bed.

Mattress and linen

Whether you are using a bassinet, cradle or crib, you will need a firm, flat mattress that fits snugly in the cot or cradle.

Make sure you buy a new mattress for your baby. Even if you are keen to save money with a pre-loved cot, turf the old mattress and buy a new one.

You will also need, preferably cotton, linen for the cot or bassinet (fitted sheet and matress protectors). It’s probably best to get three set – one for current use, one in the wash and another for nightime emergencies.

What’s Nice But NOT Essential

Feeding chair – we bought a plush padded rocking chair, which was my saviour during those long nights of feeding. It’s certainly not essential to have a special chair but it sure makes those midnight feeds more comfortable.

Change Table – you can essentially change a nappy anywhere, but it is easier on your back if you can fit a change table into the nursery. Many change tables come with drawers or places to store nappies, wipes and other baby essentials. We actually had one on wheels – which was so convenient as we just wheeled it around the house whenever we needed it.

Baby Monitor – I’m one of those anxious mums so a baby monitor was it my ‘baby essentials’ list. I bought the most advanced model I could afford with video and breathing monitoring to put my mind at ease. You really don’t need to go all out as I did and can just buy a simple sound monitor which will just alert you if your bub is crying. Just make sure that the range and frequency will work adequately in your home environment.

Toy/Book Storage – We had a basket which we filled with an assortment of baby toys and also a small bookshelf (secured firmly to the wall) in which we stored a variety of baby books.

Baby Essentials: Nappy Changing

What You NEED

Nappies – there is such a large variety of nappies you can pick from and you can opt for either disposable or cloth nappies or both. If you’re going with disposable, be sure not to buy too many boxes of one size as your baby may grown out of them before you can worth through them. If cloth is your choice, it’s a good idea to start with around 24 nappies and see how that goes.

Nappy wipes – Get a pop-top nappy wipe dispenser and just re-fill this when the wipes run out. There are many varieties of nappy wipes available. You may need to test out what works best with your bub’s skin as some may have added chemicals that could cause your baby’s skin to react. We prefer alcohol-free wipes that are on the thicker side and delicately scented. It’s also good to get a portable nappy wipe container to change nappies while you’re out and about.

Nappy Bags – You will need a generous collection of small nappy bags to hold the dirty nappies and wipes. Simply tie off the bags and pop them in the bin (or the special nappy receptacles in parents rooms).

Barrier Cream – There are a number of barrier creams which are essential to keep babies’ bottoms soft and protect them from chafing and nappy rash. You may need to experiment with a few brands to find the one that works best for your baby.

What’s Nice But NOT Essential

Waterproof changing table pad – this usually fits onto of the changing table but you can also remove it and place it on the floor

Portable changing mat – We had a small changing mat that folded up and fitted easily into our baby backpack. This is great if you need to change baby while you’re out and allows you to avoid changing bub on the ground. Many nappy bags come with changing mats.

Paper changing mats – We also bought a heap of disposable paper changing pads which we placed on top of the changing table. This way if baby soiled the change table, we could easily just throw away the paper on top, rather than having to sanitise the change table everytime.

Nappy bag – Pick a bag that is big enough to house the essentials but not too gynormous. It should have a number of pockets, compartments and a ‘wet area’. Our choice was always a baby nappy backpack as it was easy to transport.

Baby Essentials: Bath

What You NEED

Baby Bath – it’s best if you can find one with a plug so you can easily run the water out.

Water – we just washed our baby with water and a washcloth for the first year. It really is not necessary to use any kind of soap in the early days.


Baby Shampoo – We used a delicate, made-for-baby shampoo when we washed bub’s hair.

Hooded baby towel – Wet babies can be as slippery as eels. We found a baby hooded towel really easy to use. It’s a great way to keep bub warm after a bath as heat easily escapes from the head.

What’s NICE But NOT Essential

Bath ramp – When bub was about four months, we moved her out of the baby tub onto the bath rump, which we placed inside a bath. This was an easier way to wash baby without fear of her slipping into the water.

Bath seat – Our bath seat was loved by both bub and parents. As soon as baby can sit confidently, we moved her into a bath seat. This gave her more freedom, while still secure, and it’s much easier to get to those hard-to-reach-spots to wash clean.

Baby Wash – If you want to start using something stronger than water to wash bub’s body, make sure you pick unscented, natural for your baby’s delicate skin.

Baby massage / moisturiser – One of our favourite bonding moments was the gentle massage we gave baby after the bath. There is really nothing technical to this – it’s simply gently rubbing the body. If you’re not sure, simply search Youtube for baby massage techniques for an instant demo. The massage really relaxed baby and put her in the zone for a good sleep. It’s best to buy a massage cream or moisturiser specially formulated for baby’s sensitive skin.

Baby Nail clippers or scissors – Buy specially designed nail clippers or scissors for baby, to make the nail cutting process less traumatic for all involved.

Baby hair brush or comb – You can get special hairbrushes with soft bristles, perfect for those first few months while baby’s hair is still quite sparse.

Baby Essentials: Clothes

What You NEED

Onesies/Bodysuits – In the early days, my bub practically lived in these. They are the easiest clothes as they clip together between the legs so they are easy put on and off and you don’t have to remove all bub’s clothes to change nappies. For me, a variety of onesies is top of my baby essentials list for clothes.

Sun hat – It’s never too early to protect baby from the sun. Make sure your baby’s hat has a wide brim for maximum protection. We adore bedhead hats
as they are made from top quality material and gorgeous fabric.

Jacket or Cardigan – You really only need one or two jackets for baby for cooler weather.

Singlets – these are great in warm weather and can add an extra layer for colder days.

Socks – buy a few pairs for baby socks. Be aware that baby socks always seem to go missing or your pairs are mismatched so buy enough socks.

Swaddles – we used swaddles to wrap baby up for sleep. We then graduated onto sleep suits for a more comfortable sleep.

What’s NICE But NOT Essential

Cute clothes – There are so many adorable baby clothes out there – gorgeous dresses for little girls and the cutest shorts and tees for boys. So if you enjoy dressing up bub, by all means change them out of their onesie for some variety.

Baby Essentials: Feeding

What You NEED

Breast pads if you’re breastfeeding – Disposable breast pads are great to stop milk leakage onto your clothes. The ones that have a sticky patch at the back of the pad, which secure to the inside of your bra.

Bottles, teats and steriliser – If you are bottle feeding, you will need a few feeding bottles, the right sized teat to provide the correct milk flow as well as a steriliser (microwave or stand-alone) to clean the bottles properly.

Formula – If you’re bottle feeding, you will also need age-appropriate formula for your baby.

What’s NICE But NOT Essential

Feeding’ pillow – You could use a pillow from your bed to rest baby on while you’re feeding, however the specially-designed ergonomic feeding pillows are more comfortable to use.

Baby Essentials: Health

What You NEED

A good thermometer – We opted for the best termometer we could afford and it has lastest many years. A good thermometer is an investment in your well-being as well as baby’s – there is nothing more stressful than getting an inaccurate temperature reading. We prefer a digital in-ear thermometer but there are many to choose from.

Baby Fever Medication – Our pick was Baby Dymadon for fevers but you could also use Panadol or Nurofen from certain ages.

Nasal Aspirator – This is essential if your baby has a cold. We were so reliant on our Nose Frida – which was an absolute saviour in those early days.

What Else Is On Our Baby Essentials List…

Then there are those miscellaneous items that have to be added to the list. They include:

Pram or Stroller

Baby Car Seat or Capsule

Sling or Pouch to carry baby in

Sun shades for the car windows

Bouncer seat

Activity Centre

Baby Mat


Have we left anything out of our list of baby essentials? Tell us in the comments below.

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  • Fantastic list! I wish it didnt take me until my second to put aside the nappy bag and get a backpack instead. So much easier chasing the kids around with a backpack on instead of a bag packed to the brim with things you never use falling off your shoulder!


  • Great list as you can never be too prepared and you realise a 2am what your missing


  • I severely underestimated how many breast pads I’d need… leaking was out of control. Next time I’ll be buying in bulk off eBay


  • I’m 5 weeks into motherhood and the best things have been: Bonds wondersuits, haakaa silicon breast pump, breast pads, avent microwave bottle steriliser, love to dream swaddles, tooshie baby wipes.


  • All good to know


  • I remember shopping for baby essentials when expecting our first, stressing about whether we had enough, or if we had everything we needed. These days there are so many fang dangled gadgets that don’t get much use (unless you have half a dozen babies and use them for each one) it’s so much harder and confusing now


  • This is a great list but not all of these are essential.


  • This is a nice list, but you sure don’t need all.


  • This is great for new parents.


  • Perfect list


  • very helpful indeed


  • Such a great list


  • How about a nice and comfy play mat for rolling around on like this :)



  • I am surprised the list is so long, I would have had half these things, when you are not loaded with money you just make use of what you have, for instance not using baby wipes but using reusable washable cloths instead, I use to take a couple wet and sprinkled with lavender in a plastic zip lock bag for travelling too.


  • Bath wash totally not needed – just warm water.


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