I have a friend who is now 20 weeks pregnant and I'm so excited for her! She recently asked me which things I would recommend buying for newborn babies, and which things you don't really need, so here is my list! It can be so expensive buying for babies, and many shops have their own lists trying to convince you to buy everything under the sun, so where possible I have told you where I think it's best to spend money on new things, and where it's possible to save money! Obviously these are just in my opinion, if you have more to add that you feel are essential or think any of these aren't, or f you have any other tips, please comment!
1) A Group 0 Car seat. This is arguably the most important thing you will buy, and it is illegal to take a baby in a car without a car seat. Safety and comfort were my priorities. Maxi Cosi are a good brand to go for, as they win lots of the magazine awards (most of the thngs we bought had Mother & Baby magazine Gold, Silver or Bronze awards). Ours was the Maxi Cosi CabrioFix Car Seat which fitted onto a base which was strapped into the car all the time, so you could just clip the car seat in and out of the base rather than have to put the seat belt around the car seat every time which was useful. You also need a raincover for the car seat.
You can get the car seat as part of a....
2) Travel system. So the car seat fits onto wheels and becomes a pram. This is very convenient as if baby is asleep in the car you can take the seat out the car and fit it on the wheels without having to wake the baby up by getting them out, and it is also space-saving, economical and lasts a while. I really wished we had a Mamas and Papas pram or travel system as they are the shiz. When your baby is 9 months old (ish) you need a new Group 1 car seat so it's a good time to swap the travel system for a lightweight stroller pushchair. Ours is Silver Cross which is a good brand, but our particular model is not very good (Pop Sport). McLaren are a really good brand, and Mamas and Papas have some amazing ones. My friend has a Bugaboo Bee and I'm jealous. I would advise paying as much as you can afford for a pram as it will piss you off if it's crap. They are SO expensive though! I would recommend buying the expensive things like travel systems and pushchairs on Netmums as there are always lots on there, and soooo cheap! But always buy the car seat brand new :) You'll need a couple of blankets to use in the pram/car seat but you will probably get them as gifts. I really want this one!
3) Moses Basket. It's recommended you sleep in the same room as your little one until they're 6 months old to reduce the risk of cot death, so I'd really recommend a moses basket, or I have friends that co-sleep (which can be lovely and safe, but read guidelines about safe co-sleeping). With a moses basket you can easily reach and see your baby and have them right next to you, and they feel safe in the enclosed space. You can also move the moses basket into the room you are in for daytime naps. Our moses basket was from John Lewis and we were really happy with it, although we bought a new mattress for it from Baby Mattresses Online as we wanted a more breathable eco mattress rather than the basic foam mattress. Moses baskets usually last until baby is 4-6 months old, Eric is really tall and but he was still happy to curl up in there at 6 months old. If you buy or are given a second hand moses basket always replace the mattress with a brand new one. You'll also need about 3 fitted moses basket sheets.
4) Cot bed. We decided to get a moses basket and then put Eric into a cotbed rather than a cot, as cot beds should last until the baby is 3. Our cotbed was from Babies 'R' Us and converts into a junior bed then into a daybed. The mattress we bought was from Baby Mattresses Online and was an eco coir mattress with an X Static silver cover. If you're vegan or don't agree with animal cruelty, check the eco mattress you're buying doesn't contain wool! You will also need 2 cot bed fitted sheets.
5) Rocker. A rocker is a great buy as they help soothe babies, and you can put them in there when you are cooking or cleaning or when you are just desperate and nothing is working! We didn't get an electronic rocker, we just had a basic bouncer, but they look fab and my friends all loved theirs. Mamas and Papas do gorgeous ones, though this is one thing I'd advise buying second hand from Netmums or eBay.
6) Nappies and wipes. Even if you are planning to use washable nappies I would recommend buying 1 or 2 packs of size 1 eco disposable nappies to use first of all, as if you plan to give birth in hospital, or have a home birth but are transferred to hospital, there are no nappy washing facilities! And it helps while you just get used to having a baby. We used Nature Babycare nappies for the first 2 weeks and they were brilliant. Organic cotton wool balls and water are good for cleaning newborn bottoms, and Superdrug own-brand 'vaseline' is vegan and stops babies' first sticky meconium poo sticking to their bum too much. Washable nappies I would recommend are Bum Genius, and you will need about 20. We also use washable wipes called Cheeky Wipes, which are good but I'd recommend using washable fleece wipes instead as they're gentler on baby's botty. You also need a nappy bucket and Bio-D Nappy Fresh powder. And don't forget the nappy rash cream! Nappy liners can be useful too.
7) High chair. You won't need a high chair until the baby is 6 months old, which feels like ages so don't get one to start with, it just takes up space. We bought a Mamas and Papas one first (Bon Bon) but food would get stuck in the padded crevices and it was disgusting, so we bought a Mothercare wooden one from eBay instead and it's awesome.
8) Play mat. Not essential but definitely recommended. We had a Fisher Price Rainforest Gym which was really stimulating with lights and sounds, and Eric loved it.
9) Changing mat. Get a Mamas and Papas one! They are £30, BUT if you get a cheaper one you WILL end up buying 2 or 3 as they break. We had to buy 2 and then ended up getting a Mamas and Papas one anyway. I would not bother getting a changing station as they are ridiculously expensive and take up alot of space. We have been fine using a changing mat on the floor with a basket and box for nappies/toiletries, which has saved alot of money, and once babies start rolling at 6 months-ish it's scary to use high up changing tables.
10) Baby sleeping bags. Definitely buy! We much prefer Grobag sleeping bags to sheets and blankets as we knew Eric couldn't get his face under and suffocate in them when he was small, and now he can't wriggle out and get cold! We've only used Gro company ones, but you can get cheaper ones in Asda, Ikea etc. Jojo Maman Bebe also do good ones that you can use with the car seat/pushchair as there's a hole for the harness. It's useful to have 1 x 1 tog bag, 1 x 1.5 tog bag and 1 x 2.5 tog bag, then you can add or remove vests or sleepsuits to ensure your baby is the right temperature.
11) Baby monitor. For the peace of mind you get it's worth paying more to get a digital monitor, as we originally bought a Tommee Tippee Suresound analogue monitor which used to feedback, and make awful stressful screeching noises. It had a movement sensor pad, which I think actually made me more paranoid as it used to go off about 7 times a night for no reason. So we ended up buying a second monitor anyway, which is why we should just have bought the good one to start with! We bought the BT 150 Digital Baby Monitor and it is well worth it as it's the cat's pyjamas.
12) Baby carrier. Baby carriers are ok if you get one right from birth, but babies get so heavy so quickly that I didn't use ours for very long. I also only used it when we were out, not around the house. I would recommend the BabyBjorn Active Carrier which is what I had, but personally I didn't feel safe using the fabric 'sling' carrier we had, though I know some mums love them.
13) Breast pump. I would recommend a Medela Swing electric breast pump if you plan to ever express any milk to make your breasts more comfortable, or if you plan to give any bottles (if so Tommee Tippee Closer to Nature bottles and teats, and a Tommee Tippee Closer to Nature Microwave Steriliser are essential!) The Medela pump is really, really comfortable compared to the Nuby manual pump I tried.
14) Soothers. When Eric was born the advice was to give your baby a dummy when they went to sleep to help reduce the risk of cot death. I'm not sure if the advice is still the same, but if it is then Tommee Tippee Pure soothers were good, and are supposed not to interfere with breastfeeding. We stopped giving Eric one at 6 months.
15) A Gro Egg is one of my essentials (if your baby monitor doesn't tell you the temperature) as it tells you the temperature of the nursery/your bedroom so you know which sleeping bag/clothes to put the baby in.
16) Bath. Babies can be put in the big bath from when they're little, with a non slip bath mat, but I thought a baby bath was easier and less scary. We got a plain white John Lewis bath. Babies don't need any toiletries, you can wash them with water. You do need a bath water thermometer though! And baby towels!
17) Thermometer. You also need an in-ear thermometer. They are much more accurate than the forehead strips, under-tongue or under-armpit ones and even though we bought a forehead strip one and then an armpit one we ended up buying an in-ear one anyway, so it would have been cheaper to buy that from the start.
18) Muslin cloths. At least 10! They are essential for wiping up sick, bogies, snot, wee, milk etc.
19) Baby nail clippers. Tommee Tippee do a great baby grooming set that is helpful.
20) Clothes. There's a big difference with sizing for baby clothes! I did not realise that 0-3 months is too big for newborns, so buy 'newborn' size clothing! Mothercare is great for first things, and they do starter packs. I would actually not worry about buying 'daytime clothes', as people will give you outfits as gifts, and you might not really have time to change the baby into day things every day. I would recommend buying 10 short sleeved vests, 10 long sleeved sleepsuits with feet, a couple of cardigans (but people will probably give you them as presents!) and about 5 pairs of scratch mitts. At hospital they like to put the baby in a hat, but Eric didn't wear one ever!
21) Nursing pillow. If you plan to breastfeed then a nursing pillow might be useful, as you can use it to rest the baby on whilst feeding them so they are supported at the right level and your arms don't get tired. I had one but didn't personally find it helpful for feeding, athough it was good when Eric was bigger and was learning to sit up as you can sit them in it and it supports their back.
22) A cot mobile. Not an essential but they look cute in the nursery and they can distract a crying baby, and help develop their eyesight. We had a lovely 'Light of the Moon' one from Mamas and Papas. They don't make that exact one any more, but they have other gorgeous ones!
23) A changing bag! To be the envy of the yummy mummies then you need a Pink Lining or an OiOi Hobo bag, but mine is from Primark and everyone thinks it's Cath Kidston! Look for lots and lots of pockets inside. Insulated bottle pockets and a portable changing mat are useful too. I'm doing a post very soon about what to pack in your changing bag and what to pack in your hospital bag, so look out for those!
24) A chest of drawers for the nursery. We got a beautiful old oak chest of drawers from a local reclamation and second hand shop, and I love it to bits. I wouldn't personally recommend a baby wardrobe as ironing and hanging up baby clothes would drive me insane!
My number one tip is to look for alot of what you need on Netmums' Nearly New board online. It is where mummies who are local to you list things they no longer need, and you can get some brilliant bargains. Also, it's better for the environment to buy second hand! And if any friends have babies already, see if there's anything they would like to pass on to you (they would probably be grateful to do so as babies have alot of stuff and grow out of it very quickly, so your house can get full up!)
I hope you've found this list helpful (if a bit extensive!) Have fun shopping for all the wonderful baby things!