What Do You Really Need For A Newborn?

by Lori Dwyer on February 20, 2012 · 11 comments

I wrote this article a while ago for a parenting site. It.. erm.. wasn’t picked up by them. But I like it, so I’m blogging it here on RRSAHM instead. Enjoy.


Being pregnant for the first time can be a minefield of insecurities, decisions and, potentially, shopping guilt. Entering a baby product store can be a mind blowing adventure- there are literally thousands of products to choose from, all serving a different purpose, all with different benefits. Some you need, and many you can really do without.

Shopping for your first baby is so exciting, and can be overwhelming. Do your research, talk to other parents and keep your eye out for specials. But, most importantly, don’t get duped- many baby products are total unnecessary and a huge waste of money.

Often, couples expecting their first baby are on the brink of losing one income for an indefinite amount of time, and having an extra mouth to feed- it’s probably not the time to be spending up big. Despite that, it’s easy to spend a few thousand dollars setting yourself and your baby up with products that will only be used for twelve months or so.

So, to avoid being ripped off and ending up with a growing toddler and a garage full of dusty baby products that have never really been used, follow these tips for shopping economically for a newborn.

• Have a list. And try to stick to it. Keep it handy so when friends ask what you need, you can easily let them know.

• Don’t buy until after your baby shower, if you’re having one. You’ll be amazed at how much stuff you can cross off that list after unwrapping your gifts.

• Keep it simple. I know- tiny tutus, vests, suits and shoes are super cute. But honestly, they are a pain to keep on a curly squishy tiny baby, and you won’t get much use out of them. So….

• Have a ‘fun shopping’ limit. Set yourself a limit of, say $100, depending on your budget for ‘fun stuff’. Not for practical needs, but for gorgeous clothes, sweet soft toys and maybe one or two itty bitty pairs of shoes. And a tutu.

So with those hints in mind, what is it that you really need to buy for a newborn baby? Start with these basics. Keep it simple- there’s plenty of time for over organising later.

• A car capsule. Consider hiring one of these, because you may not use it for long- but you will be grateful every time you lift the whole capsule, sleeping baby included, out of the car.

• A maxi carseat. This is for after the capsule. Research car seats well, and buy one that will last as long as possible- preferably right up until your child is of school age.

• Jumpsuits, singlets and socks. The basic newborn baby wardrobe. A safe bet for size is 000 and 00, with a handful of 0000’s thrown in in case bub is really little.

• Nappies, wipes, nappy bags and nappy cream. Unscented wipes are best for newborns, and a nappy cream that provides a barrier is essential. 

• Muslin wraps. Lots and lots of them, as big as possible. For wrapping tiny babies tight and removing tiny spew stains from your shoulder.

• Sorbolene cream. Sorbelene can replace shampoo, bath wash and baby moisturiser, all of which aren’t really necessary and can harm sensitive skin.

• A cot. A cradle or crib is smaller and less bulky, but optional- don’t spend hundreds on one when your baby will only use it for a few short months. Most babies can go straight into a cot from birth, following SIDS and Kids Guidelines.

• A good pram. If you are going to splurge on anything, make it your pram- it’s one thing you will use almost every day. Purchase one that is durable and converts from newborn (lying flat) to toddler (sitting upright). 

Save your hard earned cash, and buy minimally for a newborn. Above all, remember that a baby is a baby for only a few short months, but they’ll be a child for much, much longer- and they’ll be much more expensive.

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{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

Lisa April 12, 2012 at 10:09 pm

Thanks so much for the tips, am in my last week! Lisa Newborn Baby


curiosikat February 21, 2012 at 10:05 pm

I never bought a pram, just accepted an old hand me down from friends which I've used maybe half a dozen times. The Dude hates being in the pram so it's ergo or nothing. I'd also never use sorbolene cream, especially on a baby! It's petrochemical based and therefore leeches vitamin E from the skin. I've never once used a nappy bag, not really sure why you'd need them. And most wipes are full of toxic chemicals, good idea to check the ingredients. And don't buy big brand stuff, it's all toxic. Baby doesn't need extra chemicals to process. I totally agree with you on the less is more aspect, people buy so much shit and most of it is unnecessary and just about marketing. Which explains why your article wasn't published, as others have noted!


Mia E February 21, 2012 at 5:19 pm

I can see why the other site didn't want to buy it, you didn't name any of the outrageously expensive and non-essential items that they want you to.

One really awesome wrap for the baby, one that they can't get out of. It's the only way that I could get 3-6 hours straight sleep. That's the only thing that I give people these days.

Also, I would say hold off on the pram until you get the baby home, use a sling instead (not one of those well known ones that wrecks your back). We bought our fancy pants pram well before our baby was due (who was subsequently stillborn so we didn't get to use it for 18 months until our second baby was born). Knowing what I know now about prams/strollers, I would have gone for a stroller with a capsule option for the newborn stage. Also the sling will help during the crying period which lasted almost 14 weeks for us.


Maxabella February 20, 2012 at 5:31 pm

I'm with Nelle – the last thing those magazines want to hear is common sense! x


Bella February 20, 2012 at 5:15 pm

You don't even need the nappy /barrier cream. Cornflour out of the pantry works better than any cream on the market, and at $1 for a cheap bag and $2 for a flour shaker to put it in, you'll never have to worry about nappy creams.


Nelle February 20, 2012 at 4:41 pm

Haha! Of course it didn't get picked up – 'You don't really need all that crap' is not what the magazine's sponsors want people to hear. It's true though – get the basics and then wait and see what else you need.


Miss Pink February 20, 2012 at 2:02 pm

I honestly find you don't need much at all. I wouldn't even have a stroller on my *must have* list as I prefer to use a baby carrier (the type you get from BigW, Target, Kmart etc. are shit, invest in a good comfy carrier).
My must have list is a carseat, obviously, a cot, a comfy place for feeds be it a nice rocking chair, or something else, and then your clothes etc.

I agree with the point about the baby shower. Have it before you hit the 30 week mark, because once you hit that mark you tend to freak out about what needs doing, so it's nice to know what you already have covered.

We did the straight in the cot thing with both kids. For feeds I curled up in our recliner which was next to the cot, it was so so comfy I could doze off during feeds, and in winter I would bring Greenie back to bed with me, feed him there, and then get up and put him back in his cot.


Something Gorgeous February 20, 2012 at 11:22 am

Great advice. My fourth lived on me begging and borrowing and lots of handouts! After an 8 year gap i was not going to spend much. I invested in the best pram I could find. Everything else was given to me and she is the best girl ever!!


Karyn February 20, 2012 at 11:10 am

So very true!!!!!


Claire February 20, 2012 at 9:50 am

I really enjoyed this, sweetie! Great tips.


Toni February 20, 2012 at 12:19 pm

Lori, thankyou for including the SIDS link.
People, PLEASE don't be complacent about those guidelines. As a SIDS mum, I can tell you, the risk is not worth it.


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