Buying for baby

Buying for baby
Buying for baby 

You don't need to spend a fortune on buying for your baby, you can save by borrowing, hiring and buying second-hand. Following is a list of some of the main items you will need.

Cot or cradle
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, so if you are looking to save money a cradle is something worth borrowing, or doing without. If you are not planning on using a bassinette, then look for a cot with an adjustable base height to save your back while baby is smaller. Consider a cot that can be converted into a bed. For information on cot safety go to the CHOICE website

Cot bedding
Whether for a cradle or cot, bumpers and pillows are a safety hazard. You'll need:

  • a clean, firm well-fitting mattress,
  • a waterproof sheet or mattress protector,
  • two sets of sheets, flannelette or cotton,
  • depending on time of year  a sleeping bag for cold weather, a muslin wrap for hot weather.

Change table
Some parents swear by these, others are happier using a bed or the floor. Anything up high needs a safety harness. Some change tables have compartments underneath to store nappies, wipes/washcloths. Others fit over a playpen or cot. One very important consideration -  you need to ensure that whichever option you choose will not strain your back. If you buy a change table that can be converted into a chest of drawers (eg. the change top can be removed) your baby can use this for years to come.

Car restraint
You are required by law to use a car safety restraint for your baby and the restraint must meet the Australian Standard. Have the restraint  fitted to your car before the birth of your baby. There are approved child restraint checking stations that can ensure that the fitting is correct.. You can hire or buy the restraint. The motoring organisation, or Kidsafe in your state has more information.

Write yourself a checklist of all the things you want in a pram. Should it convert from forward to backward facing?  Will you need storage areas? Do you want a lightweight pram you can pop in the back of the car or a more substantial stroller? Where will you be walking? Is the handle adjustable? Does it have a harness or do you need to buy one separately? Do you have a toddler who needs a seat in the pram as well? 

Prams can be expensive so it is important to do your research before buying. For down-to-earth opinions & tips on prams - try conducting a search in the Essential Baby 'Product Reviews' forum.  When you have settled on a couple of prams that you think might suit your needs - ask for feedback from others in the forum before purchasing.

Many parents opt to use a hand basin in the early weeks, as it is the right height and easy to use. If using a baby bath from the start ask family and friends which baby bath they found the most helpful. Or visit the Essential Baby Forums and get feedback from other mums.


  • Nursing bras - at least 3
  • Washable breastpads
  • Breast pump and at least 2 bottles for expressing
  • Don't buy infant formula until you need it. Then buy on price (they are very similar) and be sure you know how to sterilise bottles and bottle-feeding equipment. You will also need 4 more bottles, teats, a bottle brush and a sterilising system.

Smaller items

  • Disposables. Three packets to start with. Look for specials and stock up. Baby can easily go through 6 to 8 nappies a day.
  • Cloth nappies are a popular option. You will need 3 dozen of the old-fashioned style that also needs fasteners, nappy liners and overpants and 2 nappy buckets. 
  • Fitted cloth nappies in all colours and patterns are another option.
  • Nappy rash cream and baby wipes. There are also nappy services that will launder your cloth nappies. 


  • Singlets or bodysuits 4 to 6 depending on the time of year. Larger babies grow out of the 0000 size very quickly! So you may need to buy more soon.
  • Jackets and jumpers. Depending on time of year - 2-5.
  • Jumpsuits. 8-10 of these. You may buy jumpsuits without 'feet' so that your baby gains a little more wear out of them. During winter, jumpsuits with 'feet'  are more practical.
  • Hats. Beanies and hats for cooler weather, or under hospital air-conditioning. Sun hats are a must, even for very short periods in the sun.
  • Socks or booties. 3 to 4 pairs
  • Bibs - not essential for a newborn. Three or 4 are a start.
  • Baby wraps, muslins and bunny rugs. 2 to 4 - including at least one warm one. 

Towels. wash cloths and toiletries. Baby should have his or her own towels and washcloths - 2 to 3 of each. Baby comb and brush, baby wash, baby oil, baby lotion, cotton wool balls, cotton buds and safety nail scissors.

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

Discuss buying for baby with other Essential Baby Members in our forums.