The Newborn Essentials Every New Parent Needs
The arrival of a newborn baby is an exciting time for soon-to-be parents, but it can also be a period of frantic planning and ‘nesting’. Expectant parents are bombarded with information and conflicting opinions regarding every facet of the pregnancy, birth and beyond. From which pram they should buy to whether to use disposable or cloth nappies — it’s no wonder many people feel daunted and confused before the baby even arrives!
One of the most common questions new parents ask is — what items do I need for a newborn baby? The selection of newborn baby items has exploded in recent years, and if you ask a parent or grandparent, they will most likely tell you that they never had half the things new parents have today. Some of these products, like car capsules, have improved infant safety, however, there are also a dizzying array of gimmicks and the latest ‘must-have’ items vying for the attention of first-time parents who are wondering “do I really need that?”
To help parents navigate this confusing time, we asked a number of leading baby brands and retailers to share their essential items for a newborn baby.
Less is more: Stick to the newborn essentials
According to baby gift company Perfect Little Bundles, one of the biggest mistakes new parents make is getting carried away with the hottest new products on the market rather than the basics. “Newborn babies tend to send people into a buying frenzy, but the most important things are your daily essentials, and ensuring that your cot, pram and baby car seat all meet the Australian safety standards.” The team at eco baby store Hello Charlie agree. “Often parents assume that baby needs everything straight away. Keep it simple — new babies really don’t need that much stuff and parents often buy way too much that doesn’t get used.”
Babies can be fussy: It pays to have options
Babies can be picky when it comes to things like bottles, baby swings and pacifiers, so baby brand Doddle & Co recommend having a few options to test. “Since every baby is different, having a few options from each product category on hand is super helpful. Continuing to offer each option until you find what works is key. Also, they change so quickly, so what worked last week might not work today.” They also offer another handy piece of advice: “Find friends or neighbours who are ready to pass along items like sleep swaddles, rockers, and baby carriers. This way you can test different items without breaking the bank.”
Do Your Research: Ask friends and family
Even when it comes to the basic categories like cots and clothes, there are hundreds of options available, so it pays to do your research. Sweet Arrivals Baby Hampers recommend sounding out your nearest and dearest. “Ask around in your group of friends and family. What products do they use or recommend? Then go home and research online. Don’t forget to look for good deals and consider buying good quality so the items will last longer,” they suggest.
Here are the essential items for a newborn baby:
Rompers and Onesies: All newborns will need a number of rompers which are comfortable and easy to take on and off. “Depending on their length and weight, most newborns will fit into a size 0000 or 000,” explains Perfect Little Bundles. Sweet Arrivals Baby Hampers recommend onesies with built-in mittens so babies don’t scratch themselves in their sleep.
Nappies & Changing
Baby Wipes: Parents will use thousands of these over time for everything from wiping bottoms to cleaning food of bub’s face. Given how sensitive newborn skin is, Hello Charlie, the eco baby store, recommends using biodegradable eco baby wipes. “We see so many cases of nappy rash that could be prevented by using baby wipes with good ingredients, instead of the toxic, fragrance filled wipes that cause rashes on sensitive baby skin.”
Nappies: You can never have too many nappies! Whether you opt for disposable nappies or reusable cloth nappies, you will need a good supply in the newborn size to use from the moment your bub is born.
Nursery & Sleep
Swaddles: Swaddling or wrapping is recommended by healthcare professionals, so a good supply of soft, stretchy swaddles will be important in helping bub have a safe and restful sleep. “Wrapping your newborn, can help settle your child to sleep and encourage your baby to wake less often. The comfort provided by the warmth and light pressure of wrapping can mimic the sensation of being snuggly in the womb,” explains baby sleep product specialists Snuggle Hunny Kids.
Cot or Bassinet: Some parents choose to use a bassinet or Moses basket when their baby arrives home from the hospital, while others go straight to a cot. There is no right or wrong, but bear in mind it is recommended that babies sleep in the same room as their parents for 6-12 months, so you will need space for whichever type of bed you choose. The most important thing is to make sure the bed meets Australian safety standards and is set up properly to create a safe sleeping space. If you are unsure, you can view the current safe sleeping guidelines here.
Muslin Wraps : These are a newborn staple you can’t have too many of, according to Sweet Arrivals Baby Hampers: “They are perfect for burp cloths, swaddling, and you can also use the muslin wraps as a sunshade on the pram or for privacy while breastfeeding in public.”
Baby Bedding: “Babies spend a lot of time sleeping, so creating a safe, warm and inviting environment is vital,” explains Snuggle Hunny Kids. “Having 100% Jersey cotton sheets that are all-season, crease-free, soft, lightweight and breathable, will provide the perfect space for your little Hunny to snooze.”
Sleep Suits & Sleeping Bags: When your baby is ready to transition from a swaddle to sleeping with their arms out, you could also consider a product like a sleepsuit or baby sleeping bag. “The Sleepsuit allows babies to wear their warmth, eliminating the need for extra blankets in the pram and helps the baby stay sleeping on their back longer,” explains The Baby Merlin Company, creators of the Magic Sleep Suit.
Sleep Aids: “Pacifiers, swaddles and sound machines are essential for helping babies learn to self-soothe and sleep — which, in turn, allows parents to get some much-needed rest, too,” says Doddle & Co. If you have a baby that is struggling to settle, Bubs Warehouse recommends a product like the Lulla Doll which helps bub sleep better by playing heartbeat and breathing sounds to replicate co-sleeping.
On the Move
Car Seat or Baby Capsule: Before you leave the hospital, you will need a safe baby car seat installed in your car. Some parents opt for a capsule which can be taken straight out of the car and clipped into the pram (great for not waking a sleeping bub when you are on the move), however, most babies grow out of these by about 6 months of age. The other option is a car seat which is suitable for newborns up to about 4 years of age.
Pram : A good quality pram which is suitable for a newborn is essential for getting out and about in the first few months and beyond. A few things to consider are the weight of the pram, how easily it folds down, whether it allows your baby to face you and face away, the under-pram storage, how well it manoeuvres, and of course, the cost.
Baby Bottles: Whether you are planning to breastfeed or bottle-feed, it is handy to have some baby bottles and teats with newborn flow. Bottle feeding can be a great bonding experience for dads or other family members, plus it gives mums a much-needed break!
Some babies can be fussy about which bottles they like, so you may have to try a few before you find one they will take.
Bathing & Skincare
Bath Time: A safe, stable baby bath will be required to wash your baby. If you have a bathtub, you can also get a bath support which will make bath time easier. A couple of soft, fresh baby towels are also ideal for drying off.
Soap: Newborn babies have very delicate skin and plain water should suffice in the early days. When you move to a soap, Hello Charlie recommends using something unscented. “Fragrance really, really shouldn’t be used on babies. Choose a mild, unfragranced soap with natural ingredients,” they say.
Toys & Enrichment
A newborn baby is like a sponge, taking thousands of new sights, sounds and stimuli every day. They won’t need much in the way of toys in the very beginning, but this will change as they grow.
“We always reassure our customers that at this most precious stage, the simple things are often the best,” says toy retailer Casey’s Toys. “As newborns start to develop, you can gradually start to introduce toys that will encourage their hand-eye movement, fine motor and gross motor skills.”
Soft toys are great as a comforter when the baby is awake (newborns shouldn’t sleep with soft toys in their bed). “If you find one they really like – buy two! One will always be misplaced or in need of a wash and you will need the second on hand,” recommends Casey’s Toys.