Buying for baby: the CHOICE checklist

It's time to hit the shops ... but do you know what you really need?
It's time to hit the shops ... but do you know what you really need? 

There are so many baby products on the market these days that it’s hard to know where to start. CHOICE tells you which products are essential, useful, optional or not recommend.


  • Cot
  • Pram or stroller
  • Child car restraint
  • Nappies: a packet of small-size disposables to get you started, or 36 cloth nappies
  • Bucket with a secure lid for soaking/cleaning: two buckets if you’re using cloth nappies; one if you’re using disposables
  • Six to eight singlets, size 000
  • Six to eight all-in-ones (jumpsuits) and/or nighties, size 000 (but you may need some in size 0000 for the first few weeks)
  • Two long-sleeved tops or jackets for cool days
  • Soft sunhat for summer/warm hat for winter
  • Two pairs of small socks
  • Bibs
  • Bottles and teats, bottle brush, and sterilising equipment. You’ll need six bottles if you’re bottle feeding, while breastfed babies might need a bottle or two for expressed milk
  • Bedding, as appropriate (sheets, blankets and mattress protector, keeping the SIDS guidelines in mind)
  • Three or more bunny rugs or muslin wraps
  • Soft towel and face washer, baby soap or wash, cotton wool balls, sorbolene and glycerine cream (for cleaning and moisturising), soft hairbrush, round-tipped nail scissors
  • Thermometer


  • Baby carrier
  • Baby bath
  • Baby sleeping bag
  • Change tables
  • Highchair (after about 5 months)
  • Bouncer or rocker
  • Breast pump
  • Breast pads
  • Baby bag for outings
  • Safety equipment, such as gates, child-resistant locks and catches, stove guard and door knob covers
  • Cotton wool squares or wipes, baby wipes, zinc-based cream (for preventing and treating nappy rash), petroleum jelly


  • Bassinet or cradle for the first few months
  • Baby monitor
  • Portable cot
  • Portable highchair
  • Day clothes - a special outfit or two for when baby’s on display - although you’ll probably get some as presents
  • Playpen
  • Toys and other amusements
  • Dummy
  • Olive oil for massage or moisturising

Not recommended

  • Baby walkers
  • Cot bumpers
  • Quilts, doonas, duvets and pillows aren't recommended for the first year
  • U-shaped pillows aren't recommended for the first two years
  • Baby fruit juices and snacks

Download your free CHOICE guide for expectant parents.

For more expert, unbiased product tests and information, visit