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What to buy before baby is born

Baby essentials

Becoming a parent is one of the most wonderful and rewarding experience you will ever have. Before the birth, it is difficult to imagine what your baby will require. Every baby has their own characteristics and traits and you will have to adapt to their needs.

You don't need much to begin with, but it's reassuring to get the basics right and there is nothing to stop you filling in the gaps after your baby arrives.

Remember that your baby will grow rapidly in the first weeks. Nothing will fit for long.


Baby clothes

Make sure everything you buy is machine-washable! Where possible, try and buy everything in 100 per cent cotton. Baby clothing essentials probably include a minimum of 6 one-piece outfits (bodysuits/rompers) and vests, some socks, hat/bonnet in wool or cotton depending on the season, a couple of cardigans, some mittens (in case they have scratchy nails) and tops with poppers – a must for quick changes


What's practical

Muslin squares are great for mopping up baby sick and can be used as a soft surface for the baby's head to sleep on in the pram or cot. Buy lots!
A couple of small towels or special baby towels with hoods on them are useful for bath time.


Nappy changing

Newborn disposable nappies ready for the first week. You'll also need a baby changing mat, toiletries and a baby changing bag for out & about. A baby changing station for use at home means you won’t have to bend over so much.

  • Nappy buckets with tight fitting lids for soaking nappies before washing (it is essential you ensure the lid is always secure for safety precautions)
  • Nappy liners - to place on the inside of cloth nappies to help keep baby dry and make nappy cleaning easier.
  • Changing mat (waterproof, easy wipe foam mat with raised sides)
  • Changing bag
  • Changing table (waist height)
  • Wet wipes (unscented and alcohol free)
  • Lamp with low watt light bulb or a night light for night time nappy changes and feeds to disturb baby as little as possible
  • Laundry hamper


Baby feeding

To breastfeed your baby, invest in some good nursing bras and some breast pads. If you want to express your breast milk you’ll also need a breast pump, storage containers, bottles and teats.


Breast feeding equipment

  • Breast pump to pump your milk into the bottle
  • Nursing bras if you are breast feeding
  • Breast pads
  • Bibs x 4-6
  • Nipple cream
  • Feeding pillow


Baby bath time

A baby's skin is delicate so try some specific baby wash instead of soap and shampoo. You can buy a baby bath but a washing up bowl is equally fine!

  • A baby bath, a clean washing-up bowl or the old fashioned kitchen sink
  • A newborn bath support /lounger made from toweling, for baby to lie on in the bath
  • Baby wash-soap-free or baby wash liquid with pH 5.5
  • Vaseline petroleum jelly or nappy rash cream
  • Some small soft towels or gauze/muslin cloths
  • Towels x 2-4 (hooded ones are very useful to wrap baby in after the bath)
  • Baby massage oil-unscented vegetable or almond oil
  • New born first aid kit: I bought the safety 1st brand that comes with the comb, nail cutter, nasal aspirator and thermometer.


Baby sleeping

If you wish to keep your baby in your room with you a bassinette or cradle can be useful for the first 12 weeks or so. Following that, baby will need to be moved into a cot.
A cot with an adjustable base height will save your back while baby is smaller. Consider a cot that can be converted into a bed.

  • A cot, bassinet or Moses basket
  • Mattress - breathable, firm and fits snugly into the baby’s bed
  • A couple of blankets - cotton air cell
  • Cot sheets x 4 - one or two fitted of natural cotton material for the bottom sheet
  • Pillowcases to place over the bottom sheet at the top of the bassinet (under the baby’s head to catch any dribbles and make bed changing easier) - Pillows are not necessary
  • Baby sleeping bag/sleep-wrap
  • Baby monitor - optional
  • A thermometer
  • Nightlight for night feeds and nappy changes



  • A rear-facing car seat or baby capsule, ensuring that it fits correctly in the car. (with a head-support insert for newborns)
  • Remember all babies must travel in a car seat by law, do not place car seat in front seat if the car has airbags and it is not recommended to buy second hand baby car seats (car seats can be bought or hired from stores or Plunket (NZ) run a car seat rental scheme)
  • A buggy, pram or pushchair that can be placed in the lie-flat position for newborn babies
  • Sling (very useful to soothe an upset baby)
  • Front pack
  • Baby bag/hold - all for all the paraphernalia when you venture out with your new bundle of joy!!


Body Car Seat

All children should be seated in a suitable restraint when travelling in a car for their own safety. Adult seatbelts do not offer sufficient protection for babies and children and an appropriate child restraint must be used until your child reaches 7 years (generally at about 26kg in weight). This includes your first journey home from the hospital with your baby, so don't leave it too late to get one fitted! There are approved child restraints checking stations that can ensure that the fitting is correct.


You may wish to consider buying:

  • sun shades for car windows
  • mirror to enable you to view your child in a rear facing capsule from the drivers seat
  • head support for young babies


Pram or pushchair

If you do get a pram or pushchair make sure it’s designed to let your baby lie flat, to protect their growing back.
Your needs, how and where you will use the pram as well as your budget will determine the prams you will have to choose from.
Keeping your baby safe is of the utmost importance and to that end be sure that your baby never exceeds the maximum weight it is meant to hold.


Extra items

These items are non-essentials, but they can be handy.

  • Sling or baby carrier
  • Baby monitor
  • Bouncer or baby seat
  • Portable cot
  • Mobiles, toys, soothing CDs to help settle baby off to sleep

Dealing with the diverse and extensive range of parenting issues is not always easy and we are here to help. Have a look at our Baby Bunting essentials baby checklist to help you with some important things you will need for you little one.

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