Newborn Essentials: The Baby Items We Actually Use

We live in a cosy (compact) Victorian terrace house and travel often so from the moment I found out I was pregnant I was determined not to go overboard buying too many ‘essential’ baby items.

I trawled blogs and websites to see what was the bare minimum a newborn baby needs, and held off buying anything until I was 35+ weeks pregnant in case I changed my mind before the baby was with us.

Now that I look at this list of newborn essentials we swear by it seems excessive, but it turns out these little humans need a fair few things!

If you’re currently pregnant and find your baby shopping list getting lengthy, I hope this helps narrow it down a bit.

Here are all the baby items we’ve actually used and loved in the first few months of being parents.

Note: I bought everything on this list myself and genuinely swear by it. This article contains affiliate links, which means I make a small commission on any item you buy at no extra cost to you. Find out more here.

Uk readers can easily shop this post via my Amazon store.

Newborn Baby Shopping List

Baby Bedside Crib & Swaddles

SnuzPod bedside crib

SnuzPod Bedside Crib – I love this Scandi-esque dove grey bedside crib that just happens to match our bedroom’s colour scheme. It can be attached to your bed with straps but we prefer to be able to move it in the mornings so just unzip the mesh wall when we need to stick a hand in and soothe the baby. It’s also light enough to move to other rooms, the bassinet comes off the stand, and can be tilted to help with reflux.h

Love To Dream Swaddle Up – From Day 1 Miles has slept in a Love To Dream Swaddle Up and he’s a champion sleeper. These cosy swaddle suits allow babies to have their arms up, replicating baby behaviour in the womb, and the protective ‘wings’ help prevent the startle reflex or cuts on the face from little fingernails. The babies are zipped in so can’t break free and as parents you don’t need to be a master of origami to get them snug of an evening. The Swaddle Up comes in different togs for each season and Love To Dream provide a handy guide on how many layers to put underneath them according to room temperature.

Newborn baby shopping list - Love To dream Swaddle
A day old Miles in the Swaddle Up Original in balmy hospital

Sleepyhead – During the early weeks the baby had his daytime naps in the Sleepyhead on the sofa next to me. He naps in the SnuzPod or pram during the day now (without a Sleepyhead) so we’re getting less use out of it but it’s smaller than a Moses basket so handy if you have a compact living space like me.

Groegg – a handy nightlight and thermometer in one.

I also recommend these LED nightlights in the hallways for when you are doing nightfeeds/nappy changes in the dark.

Newborn baby shopping list
Spot the new additions on the dresser!

HelloBaby Wireless Video Monitor – I left Justin to do the research on baby monitors and am really happy with the image and sound quality of the HelloBaby. (I asked what made him choose it expecting some comment on the top spec and he said the rave reviews on Amazon lol.)

Bonds Wondersuits – I have no idea why brands are still making sleepsuits with poppers now that zips exist! Hands down the best zip sleepsuits on the market are by Aussie brand Bonds. Available in a range of patterns, Bonds Wondersuits are super soft and snuggly and have handy mitts on the arms and the option to release the feet. I’ve just ordered a tonne in the next size up for Miles from their website which offers free shipping to the UK for orders over $100. You can also buy them in John Lewis but with a mark-up. Marks & Spencer do zip sleepsuits too but they are not quite as snuggly as Bonds.

Baby Items For Bath & Play Time

Newborn baby shopping list
Miles enjoying bath time with his Dad

BABYBJÖRN Bouncer – If you are at all short of space in your living room or don’t want a house full of baby apparatus then I recommend you get this bouncer pronto. It folds flat enough to slide under the sofa and is light and compact enough to easily move around the house with you – Miles chills in his in the bathroom while I’m showering, for example.

You can also buy a wooden toy to attach to it once the baby is a bit older. Miles is just working out how to spin his now.

Ergobaby Baby Carrier – Parents seem to fall in one of 2 camps when it comes to baby wearing – team BABYBJÖRN or Ergobaby – but we love our Ergobaby Adapt and so does Miles. I picked this one as it is suitable from newborn to toddler, but that does mean it has slightly bulkier straps than a newborn version.

Newborn baby shopping list
Navigating narrow cafes with the Ergobaby

Shnuggle Bath – This is a great option for people who might not have a bathtub or don’t want to be bending over one. We use ours on the dining room table! I also recommend you grab this digital bath thermometer to take the guesswork out of the water temperature.

Skip Hop Main Frame Wide Open Changing Bag – I did a lot of research into changing bags and almost wasn’t going to bother getting one but then I spotted this in Mothercare and it ticked all the boxes. The main attraction is how wide the bag opens and stays open. It fits a heap of items inside but the big zip means they are easy to find. It can be worn as a backpack or carried by the top handle and attaches to the handlebar of your pram. Comes in black or grey. I went with grey, obviously.

I also get a lot of amusement out of this avocado pram toy by Skip Hop. The baby is yet to comment.

Newborn baby shopping list - Skip Hop Changing Bag
Accessorising with a changing bag in Devon

We have a Silver Cross Wayfarer pram which I largely bought because it was ex-display and half price in Mothercare but to be honest choosing the best pram for your needs is a whole other topic. I suggest you head to your nearest John Lewis or Mothercare and get testing. I will say that Miles is very comfy in his bassinet and we’ve used it as a bed on our last 2 staycations – it worked particularly well in our tiny glamping pod.

Mamas & Papas Playmat – The only plaything we purchased for Miles in the early weeks was our playmat which came with a matching rattle, comforter and pillow for tummy time. This one is lovely and soft and not too gaudy.

Newborn baby shopping list
Show off :p


I decided not to buy much in terms of feeding until the baby arrived as we didn’t know what he would take to best. However, the following items are a couple of essentials I think it’s worth having to hand whether you plan to breast, bottle or combination feed.

Tommee Tippee Perfect Prep Machine – Like an espresso machine for babies’ bottles. If you plan to formula feed at all, just get it!

Mam Bottles – Anti-colic bottles that self-sterilise in the microwave in 3 mins. No sterilising equipment necessary.

Mam Dummies – We also went with the Mam dummies; I think they came in a bottle starter pack and the baby seemed to like them. They also sterilise in the microwave in their storage box in just 3 minutes.

Haakaa Silicone Breast Pump – I found this really handy for catching the let down from one breast while feeding on the other.

Lansinoh – Any breast-feeding mama will tell you to stock up on a tube or 2! (I literally used to leave 1 tube in the living room and another bedroom but then I didn’t have the best breastfeeding experience.)

Newborn baby essentials
3 month old Miles is endlessly entertained by a blanket & his own limbs

Baby Wellness Products & Medicines For The Cupboard

An underarm thermometer is a good thing to have before their first immunisations, as are some Calpol sachets that you can pop in your changing bag.

Miles got a cold which developed into a scary bout of bronchiolitis. The next few items became life-savers.

Don’t risk snipping your newborn’s teeny fingers with baby clippers, buy a Thumble wearable nail file instead.

Newborn essentials - my baby must haves
Pin for later

Bits & Bobs

A few other things we relied on heavily in the newborn phase are:

A Wedge Changing Mat – We didn’t buy a changing table and popped this on a chest of drawers we already had instead. (I actually bought 2 and pop a changing mat and basket of nappies and wipes etc in a dresser downstairs too – the stairs were just too much effort in the early days!)

I set the top drawer of this chest up for changing nappies by using drawer dividers. They are also super helpful for separating different sized vests.

We’re currently making a lot of use of these big soft, bibs from M&S (they don’t flick up in his face like a lot of others did) and while I loved my John Lewis muslins in the early days they don’t look or feel any better than the Primack ones after a couple of weeks.

I also want to give a shout out to H&M for doing sizing for 1 to 2 months, 2 to 4 months etc which means the baby doesn’t have to look like they are swimming in everything.

And phew, that is finally the end of my surprisingly long list. If you have any questions about any products mentioned feel free to drop me a comment. Happy baby shopping!

You may also like:

My maternity wear must-haves

Silver Cross Jet vs Babyzen Yoyo: Which is the best travel buggy

Thoughts on becoming a first-time mum

Life with a newborn 

About the author

I’m Jayne, a travel blogger, content creator and mum to a 4-year-old son. I’ve been blogging since 2010, travelled to 65 countries and share travel guides and tips to help you plan stylish, stress-free trips.

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