What a newborn really needs

Shopping time: What do you need and what is not so important when it comes to baby items?
Shopping time: What do you need and what is not so important when it comes to baby items? 

The baby industry is a fricken minefield when it comes to the fine line between 'needs' and 'wants' for first-time mothers.

Despite the billion bits of advice given from well-meaning parents, every parent was a first-timer once, and I think all virgin parents (if there was such a thing!) get a bit lost when trying to decide what 'things' you need to keep a newborn child healthy and happy.

The first time Mr Greer and I entered a baby shop together once we were pregnant, we walked around like newborn foals, lurching and stumbling around, wide-eyed and pretty much freaking out.

We walked out with nothing except dollar signs for eyeballs.

Since then, I've tried to wade through the often guilt-ridden advertising to establish what the minimum things are that we must absolutely have, then the nice-to-haves, and the luxury items that really aren't necessary but are still cool.

Given that it's an expensive time all round (buying new things + impending drop to one income = every financial planner's worst nightmare), I'm keen to get the most bang for my buck by investing in key items, and grabbing a bargain where I can.

I also set up an Excel spread sheet so I could see at a glance roughly how much things would cost and when in the pregnancy/birthing/raising process you need things.

Here's what I have so far:



Bassinet - we bought a Moses basket in a 40 per cent off sale. The baby will probably only fit in it for a short time if it's the same size its parents were when born, but I just think they're adorable.

Cot and mattress - bought off a friend. Bargain. It's a top-of-the-line mattress which I've been told is a good thing to invest in.

Pram - huge investment! We went for a more expensive model in the hope that we save money by converting it into a double stroller if we are lucky enough to have another sprog (Argh, thinking about number 2 before number 1 arrives? Jinx much?). This was the top thing I really wanted to invest in. To avoid the up-front cost, we've put it on laybuy so spreading payments across three months will make it a lot more manageable.

Change table - yet to buy but I'm adamant I want one of these. They're not a must but I've had so many people say what a lifesaver they are on your poor back that I've been converted.

Bouncer - Again, I didn't think this was a 'need' but a lot of friends who are new mums say they have been great for those few minutes where you need your hands free and have to put bubs down.

Capsule - Baby Berry is going to have to get used to some serious car time in its first six months so we've invested in a great capsule that will click into our pram.

Nappy bag - I am such a handbag fiend so it makes sense that the nappy bag will soon enough become my handbag. Because of this I would love to invest in a practical but styley nappy bag. Getting one that suits your needs (and definitely has a wipeable interior!) will be worth it, especially as it should last, rather than getting a cheapie that will need replacing early on.

Baby carrier/wrap - I haven't really looked into these but I like the idea of them. A few people have said to wait to see how big bubs is because often they can be too large (from birth!) for certain carriers/Baby Bjorns etc.

Baby monitor - I'm still 50/50 on this one. On the one hand I think they're so cool (especially the ones that link up with your smartphone and have cameras and sensors etc. They appeal to my inner geek) but on the other hand I feel like they could make me super paranoid. I think I'll wait till closer to the due date to decide on this - but interested to hear your thoughts.

Clothing/Bedding - Argh, this is one area that I obviously know the baby needs, but I have no idea of quantity. I know babies love to poop and spew, and that outfit changes will be regular, but just how many onesies at certain sizes does one need? We've already been gifted so many clothes and I've bought a couple of small things, but is it enough? Is there a good estimate number to work to? How many bibs is 'normal'? How many socks do they need? The list goes on...

Good nappy bin - a number of friends have mentioned this and I can safely say I really do want and need a nappy bin that'll keep the smell out, be sanitary and prevent our curious dogs from fossiking through the rubbish. Um, ew!

Other things that we'll need but we're waiting to buy include:
High chair - won't be needed until the baby is a few months old.

Car seat - again, something that we won't need for a few months. When we do buy one, I'd like it to be a model that can see the child through the years as it grows. There are some great ones that go right through from six months till seven-years-old. (We even spotted a crazy racing-type seat that was, you guessed it, designed by Scott Dixon. Go figure).

Breast pump - good tip from the lady at the Baby Factory: Because they're non-refundable (and often quite expensive!), she recommended not buying one until after you've sussed breastfeeding in case, for whatever reason, you end up bottle-feeding. A very good point!

Of course there are millions of other little things you can get and you really could go crazy, but I'm interested to know, what items did you scrimp or splurge on before baby was born? What things could you not live with out and what items could you have done without?

Follow Greer on Twitter here, or email her here 

- Essential Mums