There are so many products out there in baby shops and on line that it is not surprising many new parents are confused and unsure what to buy for their baby and what not to bother with. Remember things like baby baths are used for a relatively short time so perhaps consider borrowing such items from a friend.

The following is a list of what I feel are baby must haves or essential times to have ready before your baby is born both from professional and personal experience. I am a big believer in not everything has to be new however you must take into account Australian Safety Standards when borrowing or buying any product for your baby. Reviewing the SIDS safe sleeping recommendations is also a must before you make any decisions.

  1. Bassinette, cot or SIDS approved safe sleeping space. Looking at where your baby will sleep and the space you have will influence your choice as well as the safety features. Ensure the mattress is the correct fit for the bassinette or cot you are using.
  2. Bedding/Wraps/Swaddles. Newborn babies need very little in the way of bedding. SIDS recommends there is nothing in the bassinette/cot except the mattress and the baby. This means NO doona, pillow, toys or bumper. A swaddle or muslin wrap with one or two (depending on the weather) light blankets tucked firmly under the mattress is ideal. You will need to have 5 or 6 wraps as they often dirty several each day.
  3. Car restraint. You will need a rear facing restraint initially, usually lasting up to around 9kg. Websites such as RACV, RACQ, NRMA have all the latest information, laws and research regarding car restraints for children of all ages.
  4. Pram. There is a lot to consider, donʼt rush this decision. Ask friends and family for advice and recommendations. I have written about choosing a pram in a previous blog if you want any more thoughts.
  5. Change table. Initially with a newborn you will change 10 to 12 nappies in 24 hours. A change table will make life easier for you and save your back. It will also mean you have everything stored in one place to make nappy time much easier.
  6. Nappies, cloth or disposable. This comes down to personal preference. Initially you will go through around 70 to 80 nappies a week. Also consider how you will clean your baby at nappy time. Wipes are an option however good old cotton balls and water is cheaper and less irritant on a new babyʼs delicate skin.
  7. Baby clothes and accessories. Initially the majority of newborns will be in sizes 0000 or 000. However, it is only a matter of months and they will be moving into 00. Donʼt buy too many small sized items, remembering you will also receive gifts and often these gifts are clothes! The essentials are grow suits/nighties, singlets/bodysuits, cardigan/jumper (in the cooler months), hat and socks/booties. Once you are home and know what works well for you then you can go shopping, however at least until then you have the basics.
  8. Baby bath and accessories. Many people use the laundry or kitchen sink initially as they are at the right height for your back. If you are buying a bath consider how you will fill and empty it, is there lifting involved and is it at a good height if on its own stand? Babies donʼt need to be bathed every day, as they are not getting dirty!! Many products are not great for new babyʼs delicate skin – water is all they need at least in the first few months. You will also need a couple of soft towels and face washers.
  9. Support. Have you got a good support network of both professionals and family/friends? Cook some meals while you are pregnant to have in the freezer ready to just “heat and eat”. Perhaps join the Australian Breastfeeding Association and attend a pre natal breastfeeding class.
  10. Community Resources. Make a list of resources in your area and hang it on your fridge. Places such as your GP clinic, Child and Family Health Nurse, local Emergency department with childrenʼs facilities, Australian breastfeeding Association meeting times, playgroups and lactation consultants.

I hope these tips have allowed you to think about your own preparations and shopping experience. There are many products, brands and opinions; do your own research in order to spend your money wisely. Nothing worse than spending loads of money to have it all sit in the cupboard unused.

Happy shopping and enjoy your baby.

  • Amazing Blog! I really appreciate with all tips. I think these are all really helpful for the newborn and moms.. Babies are so little, yet they often need so much stuff. I know with my first child I had so much unnecessary stuff – it would have been great to have a list like this so you can see what you would really need. We loved the footie PJ’s for my kids and they wore them for a long time. I was always concerned they would be cold and they just look so comfy. What was the most impractical baby gift you got?



  • What a great list for first time parents. There are so many products on the market for babies, it’s hard to decipher what you need and what’s irrelevant


  • I loved shopping for my daughter when she was a baby. Now she’s 13. I can’t believe it!!


  • This is a great list thank you


  • I found with our first we bought so much more than was necessary we ended up giving some of it away as we didn’t really use for our subsequent babies.


  • i also love my portacot. we have used it a lot while visiting family. we have saved a lot of money when staying at hotels because it can be between $10-$25 to hire a portacot for a night. It was also handy in our own home for giving my child a place to sleep in the lounge or to be able to put him in it so i could make dinner and be able to keep an eye on him,


  • What a great list thank you


  • Very good article! My number one must have is a bassinet, I could not have lived without it….then a love to dream swaddle, hugabub wrap, pram, carseat, clothes and changing stuff!


  • I survived with my twins without a change table. I used to change them on my bed.


  • a great list to have, thanks


  • Wow, you’ve really covered the essentials for when having a baby! Well done.


  • Good read thanks for the information


  • Keep it simple! no need to go crazy. People get sucked into all the commercial stuff when having a baby.

    • so true and one of the baby stores we went to had a list that they gave you – whoa did it have every gadet that there was!

      • Agreed all somethingblue, keep it simple and have the basics.


  • an excellent article, we all tend to overbuy with our first not realising how quickly a baby grows.


  • A great read for all new mums


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