Welcoming your baby into the world will be the happiest, and most exciting, moment of your life; new mothers speak of the rush of love they immediately feel in the seconds after birth, and you’re no doubt already desperate to meet, and get to know, your little bundle of joy. However, amidst the joy, anticipation, and, dare we say it, fear, that you’re no doubt experiencing at that moment, there’s another feeling likely to be creeping in: unpreparedness. It seems that the smaller a baby is the more belongings they need, and you may be starting to worry about your complete lack of a shopping list, and the empty spaces still dominating your home.

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A new mother’s shopping and wish list

There are a few essentials that new mothers shouldn’t leave the hospital without, including an age-appropriate car seat, a pushchair or travel system, and a diaper bag filled with items you just can’t do without. In fact, you’d struggle to get very far at all without any of these items, and a host of other baby gear products, that become must-haves at birth.

Becoming a new mother is a daunting prospect, and this seemingly never ending list of must-buys and nice-to-haves is no doubt adding to the worries plaguing your approach to parenthood. As you spend hours writing that list, checking off items, and scouring the Internet for bargains, do take into consideration that many maternity retailers, such as Skip Hop, are making it increasingly easy to source the baby gear you need in one place – and for reasonable prices.

So, let’s take a look at the items that should be on your shopping list…

Essentials for the nursery

Midwives and childcare experts all agree that your baby should spend the first six months of his or her life sleeping in your bedroom with you, so your first purchase, after your car seat and pushchair, should be a Moses basket, crib, or co-sleeping crib, as well as the appropriate bedding, a sleeping bag or blanket, a baby or video monitor, and a selection of outfits that includes long and short sleeved vests, onesies, socks and mitts, layers for warmer and cooler weather, a few hats, and a cardigan, cold weather jacket, and a couple of t-shirts, pairs of leggings, or dresses. You may also want to purchase a few soft toys, and sensory toys such as a mobile at this stage, but don’t overcrowd your baby’s crib.

Essentials for bath time and changing

It’s time for that diaper bag, which should be stocked with a travel changing mat, plenty of diapers, wipes, diaper cream, bags for disposal, a full change of clothes for baby, a spare pacifier or two, and a muslin for feeding out and about. You may also wish to pack your baby’s usual medicines for emergencies, as well as teething aids, and a cool compress for bumps. At home, stock your baby’s changing table with similar things, and include cotton wool balls and pads, a top and tail bowl for quick washes, and a couple of toys to use as distractions, as well as your baby’s bath time toiletries. A gentle baby bath and wash, shampoo, and lotion, are all you need at this point.

Essentials for mealtimes

By this stage in your pregnancy you will probably know whether you’re going to breast or bottle-feed; it’s essential to choose a style of feeding that suits you, and neither option is right or wrong. If you’re hoping to breastfeed be sure to stock up on breast pads, and buy yourself a decent nursing bra or two, as well as nipple shields and cream. A hand or electric pump that will help you to express milk may also be a good idea, enabling others to feed your baby when you’re taking a break. In this instance, a small selection of bottles, storage tubs, and a microwave sterilizer will become essential.

If you prefer formula feeding make sure you have a healthy supply of bottles and teats with varying flows, a bottlebrush and electric sterilizer, a bottle warmer, and a bag for keeping your baby’s bottle warm when you’re out. Now is also the time to explore the different types of formula on offer, and to make a decision on one kind over the others; you may find your baby has other ideas, though! There is no need to consider weaning just yet, but do be mindful of concepts such as pureeing and baby-led weaning so they’re less daunting once your baby is old enough.

Essentials for playtime

Finally consider those less stressful moments, during which you’ll engage with your baby; how will you encourage your little one through his or her developmental milestones? Sensory toys, such as rattles, brightly colored noisy toys, and snuggly soft toys will entertain your baby as he or she begins cognitive, motor, and emotional development, while books, musical, toys, activity gyms and play mats will create enjoyment and stimulation. Not all toys are essential, but such items are proven to aid a baby’s understanding of the world; it’s worth investing in one or two to begin with.

Try not to be too daunted when it comes to shopping for your baby. Indeed, there’s very little a baby actually needs once they get here; everything else is merely nice to own. As long as your baby is kept safe and sound, has warm clothes and plenty to eat and drink, he or she will thrive on your love and attention – and you can’t buy those kinds of things in any store.


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