Getting ready for baby

*This post was written before I had my daughter Bea and I have since written a follow up post on what we did actually use. To read it please click here.

This week is my last at work and although I’m feeling ok from a tiredness point of view I am looking forward to having some time to devote purely to getting ready for baby. At present (36 weeks) I have the sum total of a pram, 1 blanket, 1 cardigan, 2 sleep suits, 1 baby bath and a rocking crib with 2 sheets. No nappies. No car seat. In fact there are plenty of essentials still missing.

I had no idea where to start with baby stuff and even had to ask my sister in law what you even put a baby to bed in (clothes-wose) after getting very confused about swaddling and blankets or no blankets advice. I found the John Lewis Nursery checklist very helpful and not at all excessive in terms of things to buy and so I edited it and created my own version here.

Do bear in mind that the different sections of the list may not apply to everyone. The feeding section for example is geared towards breast feeding as I intend to give it a good go, and I’m not sure a play mat or bouncer are essential for the first few weeks of a baby’s life. Although I’m lucky enough to live close to supermarkets and John Lewis, and there’s always Amazon, I don’t want to be unprepared so these are my basics to stock up on so I can concentrate on baby for the first few weeks.

You can download the list by clicking on the image above if you want to, or just click here.

I’d love to hear if you think any of it is unnecessary or if I have missed any essentials off that you found you couldn’t live without in the first few weeks?


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79 thoughts on “Getting ready for baby

  1. Eek happy last week at work!!

    No comments (I just want to read) but I’ve been recommended the angelcare 401 monitor for old style Victorian houses with thick walls. It’s not video but apparently the sensor is better. I think it does baby’s temperature too I think so not sure a room themometer would be necessary (any thoughts anyone?)

    Have also heard that scratch mits don’t stay on so have got the babygros with scratch mits built in .

    Can I also ask any new mums what they size wise with nappies and clothes? Newborn or bigger?

    • Will was 7lbs and everything swamps him, even the newborn size from John Lewis. The only stuff that fits well is from The White Company but that’s hardly an affordable option! I’ve just resigned myself to the fact that he’s going to look a little silly for the first few weeks but at least we’ll get more wear out of his clothes! Same with nappies, I can’t imagine needing bigger than newborn for another few weeks.

  2. Our boy is 11 days old today so I am by no means an expert on these things but from what I’ve learnt so far I’d definitely suggest getting more than 2 fitted sheets for the crib, we went through that many last night! You might also want to consider a mattress protector/waterproof sheet too. I don’t know anyone who has found a scratch mit that stays on and the sleep suits with the fold down sleeves seem to be much better (John Lewis selection are good). I’ve also not used a baby bath, favouring the sink and our midwife told me to bite fingernails at first rather than using baby nail scissors. Lastly, I would definitely recommend getting a sling, it’s been a life saver! William falls asleep as soon as he’s in and stays that way while we clatter around doing chores etc.

    Enjoy your maternity leave, those were by far my favourite weeks of my pregnancy!


    • To offer an opposing view, we bought lots of sheets but haven’t taken more than two out of the packets – our baby just isn’t very “leaky” so the extra sheets were a waste of money!

    • Totally agree on the mattress protector and now Connie’s older I’ve actually bought a second.
      2 sheets were enough for us to begin with (suppose it depends if you have a tumble dryer or not too!) but I needed 3 by the time she was 9 months & the nursery illnesses started.

  3. I agree, first thing I thought – way more than 2 sheets! My little boy leaked several times a day until he was a few weeks old, no matter what size of nappy we tried or how we did them up. I think it was just his shape until he bulked out.

    The best thing we got which is not on your list, is a white noise app for our mobiles. That literally saved our sanity! My son has always had a lot of difficulty going to sleep (still does at 21 months old) but the white noise was magic at soothing him. He would be so upset, crying no matter what we did, but the white noise comes on and it was amazing how it soothed him. We just left an old mobile at the side of the moses basket. You can get the apps very low cost, if not free from apps stores. Or more up-market my friends loved their Ewan the sheeps – same thing in a more fancy packaging!

    Don’t bother with scratch mits, they NEVER stay on! Drove me mad. I recommend the babygros with built in mits. Or else socks work well 🙂 The ribbed tops stay on far better.

    Grobags are amazing, the only thing was you have to wait until they are a certain weight before you can use. But brilliant at keeping a kicky fidgety baby warm.

    I know a lot of shops do beautiful little vests and babygros, but I ended up only bothering with Matalan or Primark. If you’re having a ‘several poo-splosions a day’ day it can be heartbreaking to see a babygro costing £8/12 covered and annihilated. And if its truly horrendous (and you are out and about and don’t want to carry it around with you) if you just bought it as a £8 multipack you won’t mind just (ahem) binning it….

    I would recommend some things for you too – lovely hand cream. You will spend a gazillion times a day (yes, an actual gazillion) washing your hands with a baby. Your hands get so dry that a lovely cream is essential. Less glamorous (sorry) and just in case – you may want to get a donut cushion. Life saver.

      • I couldn’t imagine using clippers of their nails – they’re so wiggly that I’d be worried about hurting them! I’ve always picked both my daughters’ nails off. Their nails are so soft after a bath that they just flake off.

  4. Congrats on your last week! So exciting! My tip would be to get essentials for you – any make up, hair products etc – and have a spare. When my son was born (8 months ago, it flies by) I didn’t want to have to think about needing to go to shops if I didn’t want to. It’s hard at first, a real culture shock (although utterly lovely) so anything that makes things easier is a huge plus! Also, I fully intended to breastfeeding but it didn’t happen for me – I’d get a couple of bottles and a bit of formula just in case. If it’s the middle of the night and you’re desperate, it’s easier to have some in. I used the first few weeks to trial which brand of nappy I liked – they are not all the same! I bought a pack from various supermarkets and big brands and tried them all. Surprisingly when he was a baby, I preferred Aldi nappies but now he’s on the move I like Pampers!
    And finally, I wasn’t bothered about a nappy bin but my sister recommended getting one. It’s been a must have for me! It’s so much easier popping dirty nappies in the nappy bin in the nursery during the night, than having to go to the kitchen bin. I still use it now for during the day – they don’t smell at all.
    Good luck with it all – there are no words for how amazing it is. X

  5. We were definitely ‘less-is-more’ types when Stella was tiny. With Moses baskets, it’s pretty standard for babies to hate them at first but if you persevere they cotton on. Or if you’re lazy and can’t be faffed with persevering (hi), get yourself (or rather, baby) a bean bag. Hallelujah for bean bags. Napping babies seem to adore them for the snuggly, enveloping womby-ness.

    Don’t bother with scratch mitts, most newborn suits have fold over hands. Buy ALL THE MUSLINS you can possibly lay your hands on. A sling was probably the only actual non-negotiable ‘essential’ for us, bar nappies. With nappies and a sling we’d have survived.

    Don’t buy too many size 1 nappies. If you do (and this applies to all sizes) I’ve discovered that our food bank takes nappies too which is amazing.

  6. Definitely need more sheets!

    Just a quick one to say don’t bother with any other brand of nipple cream or breast pads other than Lansinoh – the absolute best.

    • If you can’t use Lansinoh (I’m allergic to lanolin) then the absurdly named ‘Earth Mama Angel Baby’ nipple balm is like manna from heaven. Spendy for a little tub but lasts forever and doubled up as lip balm for me and Stella when she had nursing blisters.

    • The Naty/By Nature (same people who make eco nappies) pads are good too -they don’t have any plastic backing or sticky bits in which I found really uncomfortable with all the other brands of pads -always found the others rucked up every time I fed and ended up getting stuck to me not bra. Or Boots do washable ones which are nice and soft and usually on a 3 for 2 offer. Agree re Lansinoh cream!

    • I second this. I probably spent my entire maternity pay on breast pads over the year and kept trying out the other (cheaper) brands, but they are not a patch on Lansinoh.

    • totally agree that Lansinoh is the way forward for breast pads & nipple cream. No other brand is a patch on them & I tried everything. You can buy in bulk online.

      On that sort of subject, get lots of maternity pads. Unless you are used to sanitary towels already, which I wasn’t, you will want to change them often. I was using a box a day at first. Naturecare ones were the best I found – start with the massive padded ones & then graduate to the slimmer ones in due course.

      I would also recommend a couple of packs of Primarks finest large black granny pants. Holds the pad in place & is high waisted enough to not be uncomfortable. Then binnable in due course when you’re back in something nicer.

      • On that delightful topic – I sent Phil out to buy sanitary towels one day and told him very specifically ‘Always brand, green packet.’ He came home with Tena Lady (which were in a green packet to be fair) and I nearly wept. BUT they were brilliant. I’d used Always Night to start with and was down to the normal ones but carried on using the Tena after that as they were so good.

        And 50x yes on the Primark pants. They’ll likely fall apart themselves before you get round to chucking them but they’re a godsend.

    • Another vote for Lansinoh pads & cream from me. Cheeky wipes have just launched washable breast pads which I’d definitely try if I were to do it again based on my love of their reusable baby wipes.
      I also agree with the Primark pants…a must, along with a bottle of lavender oil and a pot of salt for your bath, and some arnica tablets.

  7. I second the comments about scratch mitts – don’t bother. Also get waaaay more than 2 cot sheets and get millions of muslins! I wish we hadn’t bought a Moses basket (even though we got one 2nd hand with a new mattress) as baby went into the cot after 2.5 weeks and it was much better for everyone.

    Also get lots of flannels/washcloths – ikea do cheap bundles which are great. Better than using wipes all the time. Get bottled water – both small & large – if you are BF-ing as you will need it wherever you go! And make sure you have the numbers for your midwife/HV/breast feeding helplines as in my experience it is *not* as easy as everyone makes out, although I’m still doing it 9.5months on and I’m so glad I persevered! It is useful to have some ready made formula and a bottle in the cupboard though, as Jo mentioned, just for peace of mind and emergency, we used some in the first week and I’m so glad we had it. You can even buy aptamil with sterile teats that you just pop on – brilliant!

    The only other things would be lots of washing up liquid, laundry detergent, soap and hand cream. Boring but essential!

    Good luck! Xx

    • Oh and don’t bother with “baby” towels – super cute but completely useless after 8 weeks for us as baby was just too big for them, so we switched to normal bath towels. Why we thought baby towels were essential I have no idea. “Baby” stuff is just a licence to print money sometimes!!

      • Re: using cloths and not wipes all the time, we invested in “Cheeky Wipes” (currently on sale!) which have been a great purchase. A kit comes with a clean and mucky box and a stack of terry cloths. You just fill the boxes with sterile water and a few drops of essential oil and then stick them in the wash when done.

  8. Echoing the extra sheet thing, not sure if its all newborns but ours was sicky those first few days and you get through them pretty quickly!

    As well as the standard sized muslins, I found having a couple of the giant ones hand (still do actually), especially in the summer as can have a multitude of uses.


  9. Our little one is 17 days old so again, by no means an expert but a few of the things we’ve found useful are:
    – Waterwipes! I might just be lazy but who can be arsed with cotton wool and water at 2am. These are amazing and really sensitive on newborn skin (99% water and 1% fruit extract), you can buy in bulk on Amazon.
    – Lots of basics! Sleep suits, vests etc. Have found john Lewis ones to be really good quality, very soft and wash really well.
    – Massives of muslins.
    – We tried breastfeeding for the first couple of weeks but unfortunately (completely gutted to be honest) it didn’t work out. I’d recommend getting a couple of bottles in just in case you need them (midwives had us topping up) and they can also be used for expressed milk if it all works out. I know that sounds a bit defeatist before you’ve tried but that was the reality that I found.
    – If you do get a bath then also get a newborn support to put inside. Makes it so much easier than holding a wriggly wet baby.
    – We also bought a bouncer that can lie flat so she can have naps in there (although hoping she’ll start napping upstairs soon).

    Anyway phew! There’s probably lots more but my sleep deprived brain is not in gear yet. Can’t wait to meet baby Norris Xxx

  10. Aside from ‘stuff’, the best thing we ever did to prepare for both babies was fill the freezer with home cooked meals. Cook extra at every meal between now and the birth and fill the deep freeze until it can take no more! Foil containers, not plastic, so you don’t even have to worry about washing up. You will be so thankful for a healthy meal that neither of you have to thin about. I vividly remember the day my pre-made food ran out after our youngest was born. I cried on the kitchen floor. Bloody hormones 😉

    Franky xxx

  11. Size wise – Dexter was in newborn babygros for quite a while and has only just stopped wearing size 1 pampas (at 11 wks) . But maybe he’s the exception… But the same as other ladies we had tons of leaks when he was first born. For this reason I recommend putting a muslin in the Moses basket on top of the fitted sheet so that if you have a leak in the night you can whip it off and lay a new one in there.
    As Aisling said buy loads of muslins. You always need one within reaching distance. We have about 4 in our bed….
    I can also recommend getting a basket of essentials and a changing mat for downstairs. Going upstairs to change a nappy can be a faff…

    With regards to what baby wears don’t waste your money on really cute outfits for at least a month, possibly two. Babygros day and night are the best and easiest option. Little babies always look a bit uncomfortable in proper outfits for a little while in my opinion.

    • I agree on the uncomfortable babies. I always feel sorry for them in those elasticated arm and leg hole things when they’ve been naked and warm and unrestricted in the womb! I haven’t bought any outfits for that reason but it’s killing me!

  12. So exciting that you get to do all this prep! I quite miss that part (I’m an organisational freak!)

    We couldn’t have lived without our Ewan the Dream Sheep from John Lewis! It was AMAZING!!!! We phased it out when by about 6 months but my 18 month old Niece still uses hers now and it’s fab. Really helps to settle them with a glowing light and ‘womb sounds’.

    Buy LOTS and LOTS of maternity pads!! However many you think you need, get more!! And I would definitly recommend a bath support (mothercare do a cheap one) rather than a baby bath as we only used ours for a couple of weeks and then they become a nightmare to store.

    I’m sure you will be bombarded with advice (the joys of pregnancy!) and everyone is different but as long as you have nappies, everything else can be bought as an when.

    Oh,… and get a bouncer… I wouldn’t have managed a shower or a hot meal without one!

    Enjoy all the shopping!!!

  13. How exciting!

    Cotton wool is handy for topping and tailing, but I secons water wipes for bum changes, far less hassle

    Lansinoh is a nipple saver. I can’t remember what they are called now but you can get gel breast pads in Boots that can be used hot or cold – they are so soothing either way for engorged, sore boobs!

    Get a insulated mug with lid so you can drink hot drinks safely (and while they are still hot!)

    Add a good box set to your list to watch when stuck on the sofa breastfeeding – I loved snuggling with Toby watching Downton Abbey!

    Muslins are amazing – they have a million uses and I lament the days I don’t have one in my bag.

    A sling was my most favourite baby item – made life a whole lot easier in terms of getting stuff done as well as comforting baby in the process.

    I didn’t get bottles in beforehand as I knew I might craxk – if you live somewhere with 24 hour supermarkets you are safe enough not to bother – I always said if I needwd them then they were accessible pretty much anytime in an emergency

  14. Max was just shy of 8lb at birth and was out of size 1 nappies and newborn clothes by 4 weeks (although he’s 99th percentile for length so unusually tall!).

    Someone further up mentioned white noise apps vs Ewan the Sheep – Ewan was a lifesaver for us, we used an app at first but soon realised we didn’t want to have the phone signal right next to Max’s head all the time (not sure how safe it is!) and having our phones on aeroplane mode was a pain. And found Ewan much easier to turn on n the middle of the night!

    I am like a Ewan salesperson. He is my best pal.

  15. The giant muslins available are great multi purpose, I used them for cot sheets, sunshades, changing mats, blankets, swaddles, nursing cover etc and they wash and dry quickly. It’s all pretty boring to begin with so also box sets or netflix subscription and biscuits/cake for you and visitors. I loved marks and Spencer’s baby grow as they have no labels and integrated scratch mitts.

  16. The list looks good! Don’t worry too much about getting a monitor straight away, for a while baby probably won’t be out if your sight. I am officially in love with our monitor though (Withings Smart baby monitor), it has video, plays music/white noise, shows temperature and you can log in and watch on your iPhone which is amazing when baby is older as you can check up on the grandparents putting them to bed 🙂

    I’d recommend getting a Sleepyhead (they sell them at john Lewis), it’s a little pod to keep them cosy when they’re teeny.

    For you, get an excessive amount of Lansinoh nipple cream. I literally had some in my pocket for months and would apply after every feed, no cracked soreness and I know this is why. Also, giant comfy pants. It’s all glamour.

    My kindle kept me entertained in those first few months of constant feeding. Get lots of reading materials at the ready so you don’t fall asleep sat up! Bottles of water by your bed too would be good, you get so damned thirsty breastfeeding and sometimes trekking to the kitchen is just not going to happen.

  17. Get a tube of Lansinoh if you want to breastfeed. Slather it on before and after every feed. It helps protect your nipples and really does work. I only needed to do this for a couple of weeks and never had sore nipples. Also with breastpads get a few packs of the washable ones, the disposables move around and the sticky side gets stuck to your skin! I didn’t see maternity pads on your list, get 10 packs in, I used way more than that and my husband had to keep buying more (to the point where our local shop ran out!!!) Put 2 at a time in your knickers for extra cushioning/protection. Maternity mats possibly a good idea as well, and some extra sheets for your bed in case of leaks.
    If baby is going in a moses basket you need sheets for that, and some extra sheets for the carrycot in the pram. In an emergency a pillowcase is good, but we just bought basic sheets from Tesco as we knew they would be getting all sorts on them!! Sudocrem and Bepanthen are handy to have in in case of nappy rash. A basket to put all the essentials in is handy as you can just carry from room to room, and doesn’t look out of place in your living room.
    My final tip – if you use Pampers nappies (can’t speak for other brands) they have a wetness indicator on the front. It’s yellow and turns blue if they’ve done a wee. In the early days you can’t always tell so it’s a good way to know they are producing plenty of wet nappies!

  18. Can’t believe I forgot food! Most important aside from nappies. My family kept us going weeks, otherwise we would have starved. And Franky, crying on the floor was a very reasonable response!

    I also echo re bottles and premade formula. I was massively pro-breastfeeding however with my sons severe tongue tie (we had to eventually sort privately as my hospital refused to acknowledge and blamed by positioning) it was agony. Typically it was 1am on a Sunday morning when I cracked. My poor sleep deprived husband took 45 mins to figure out how to sterilise the bottles whilst I sobbed on the bed next to my hungry wailing baby! So, its always worth being prepared and figuring out how these bits work in advance, even if you are determined to breast feed.

  19. Personally I would not bother with a crib/moses basket, if you have bought the Uppababy. This is fine for overnight sleeping, and your baby will only use the moses basket for a few weeks. I got all the baby bedding, including grobag at NCT sales.

    The cot was £30 on ebay, and when we collected it, the nice lady gave us her bedding. Room thermometer, not needed. Our baby monitor came with this function built in. We bought a Tommee Tippee sensor pad monitor.

    Sling. I’d wait till the baby is born, and go to a sling meet up. I bought two before Ava arrived. She liked the wrap for the first three months, then she decided she hated it. She hated the structured carrier, until I could put her in the back carry position (started doing this at seven months), and then she loved it.

    You don’t need sun shade or rain cover with the Uppababy, as these come with it. We have not bought sun blind for car. We probably should, just never got around to it. The sun has only bothered Ava on two occasions, in the car.

    Baby bath, we bought one at an NCT for a few pounds. However, only used it for a few weeks. I soon discovered that it was easier to have Ava in the baby with either me or Andy. We still have baths together.
    Personally, I would not bother with baby towels, a hand towel is fine.

    Buy baby clothes, but I wouldn’t buy lots, as you get given a zillion.
    Ava was and still is 91st percentile, and raced through the nappy sizes. I would personally not overstock on newborn nappies.

    I’d buy some nursing bras, but your boob size changes after baby born, so you’ll still need another trip. I did!

    I’d personally buy breast pads, that can be washed, rather than disposable.

    The baby won’t need toys straight away, and you are given them. We had bouncer and playmat bought for us.

    Not relevant to a new baby, but high chair (£10 second hand – Ava loves it), favourite toys (NCT sale and charity shop ones are Ava’s favourites), clothes (mostly second hand)…. the list goes on. Ava doesn’t give too hoots on fancy toys, high chairs, clothes etc. One day she might care, and we’ll have to shell out, but until then, she’s happy in second hand. I’m happy with the money saved.

    Sorry for mammouth comment.


  20. Ahhh these replies just make you realise how different everyone is! I think it’s really hard to underprepare for a baby (in terms of stuff anyway…) and very easy to end up with a load of stuff you don’t need. Remember you’ll always have eager beavers on hand to rush to Tesco and buy tiny clothes, blankets etc in exchange for cuddles with your tiny new person. And you’ll get gifted more stuff than you know what to do with (make sure you write down who sends what – we didn’t and in a haze of sleep deprivation forgot most!) We managed just fine with two cot sheets, bought and tried about four different slings and found them all useless… it’s all so personal and different for everyone and you just don’t really know what you’ll need til you’re there!

    Whoever said make sure you’re looked after with hand-cream and biscuits and pre-prepared meals was right on the money though. And muslins. I bought about 25 and it felt like the right amount!

    Enjoy these next few weeks of leisure – definitely my favourite bit of pregnancy. Absolute bliss.


  21. Another thought – have a notepad and pencil handy. I found that I had a million questions that I wanted to ask the midwife/health visitor in those first couple of weeks, and then when they were there my tired addled brain couldn’t remember what they were and I wished I had written it down so I didn’t have to struggle to remember!

  22. Congratulations on your last week of work. We found a bouncy seat really useful in the early days, we would put baby here and she was much more settled than in her crib. I breastfeed my baby and have found a breast pump, bottles and steriliser really useful, although we did get these when baby was a few weeks old so perhaps not a newborn essential. Our baby was quite big at birth (8 pounds 13) and grew out of her newborn clothes after 2 weeks (she never even wore tiny baby), so I would get a few baby gros to get you started, and buy more in the sizes you need after baby arrives. Finally, just to echo other commentors, Ewan the sheep, a travel cup to keep your drink warm and a good boxset were absolute essentials for us. Always have a glass of water, the remote and anything else you might need to hand in case your are stuck on the couch for long periods of time. Congratulations again, such a special time ahead!

  23. Definitely more than 2 cot sheets and a mattress protector for it.

    Also lots of muslins; we had some from Tesco, John Lewis and Anais & Anais – the tesco were rubbish, JL good and the anais & anais were amazing, by far the softest just a shame they were the most expensive.

    We started with size 1 nappies and used them for ages; but you can always buy anything quickly at the 24 hour supermarkets.

    Holden was pretty small so started with JL tiny baby babygrows / vests which fitted at first then M&S newborn as they were a lot smaller than JL newborn.

    Everyone is totally different though and its hard to know what you will need until the time.

    We did use lots of nice blankets for the car seat and pram and in the moses basket during the day but we swaddled him at night so didnt have the faff of sheets and blankets, we had the summer baby velcro swaddles which were brilliant.

  24. My friend bought me some lovely pre-baby things but the best of them was her BF box – her friend had bought her one too and she said it was fab. A small box with Lansinoh, lip balm, hand cream, chocolate & breast pads (washable although most people said get disposable at first as you go through them.) The idea is you carry it around and it’s always to hand when you feed.
    I’d add kindle, phone and muslins to the list by the sounds of it!

  25. I wouldn’t bother with a monitor/ bouncer/ playmat/toys etc – for the first few weeks the baby will be with you all the time and will be too little for the rest. I’d recommend waiting until the baby is here and you can get an idea of what they like and don’t like.

    Actually, that goes for lots of stuff – get the bare minimum beforehand and then order what you need once you know what that actually is! I’d also really recommend signing up for Amazon Prime (or getting the one month free trial), than you can get things delivered the next day.

    My NCT group recently had a “bring a toy” day where we all brought the toys we had been given and let our 2-month old babies loose on them (while we ate cake) – it meant we could test what our babies liked before buying things.

  26. I agree with everyone about muslin squares. They are so handy for everuthing and my little one loves to play with them (he is 4 months). I found our bouncy seat invaluable as gave me time to get a showerand make a cuppa. He still loves to nap in it.
    I would maybe buy some of the pre made bottles of formula, helped me in the first few days when breastfeeding wasnt working. Also means you dont need to buy bottles or sterilizers unless you really need them. We have our wee one in a crib, was in his moses basket for two months and only been in the crib for only two months. Not really worth it but we were gifted it.

    Good luck for this amazing adventure you are about to start x

  27. I had my baby 4 days ago so very much a novice but I second the Lansinoh and maternity pads comments…buy more!

    The other thing that sprung to mind is a breast pump, I’m breastfeeding and after my milk coming in yesterday my baby wasn’t able to latch on so we had a very sleepless night (hand expressing isn’t that easy!) Anyway the relief to express a little so he could feed was instant so the pumpwould be on my list.

  28. I agree with most of above, really useful comments… Tho I found mittens great with dry skin after massaging oil into his little dry hands. I agree Amazon Prime is brill & definitely a breast pump and accompanying steriliser… And practice using the car seat before u go to hospital!! Enjoy xx

  29. I had a couple of Aiden & Anais large muslin/swaddles which are by far and away the best I’ve used – so soft, multipurpose etc. We still use them now. Was really nice to bring baby home from hospital in something soft but photogenic!

    Prep wise at home – order about 3 months of loo roll/washing liquid & stock up on food/tea for visitors. Get your vases out/ready as you will get flowers & then visitors can sort themselves out when they come over bearing gifts – and they can make you tea.

    We also got out a load of old handtowels and had those on the changing mat. We had to use a new one every few changes as babies wee everywhere but she liked lying on it more than a cold mat but cheaper than buying lots of covers. After a while we kept the changing mat in a floral pillow case. Looks nice, is more pleasant for the baby and can all be chucked in the washing machine. We also used the cheeky wipes which were excellent investment & we now use them as hand wipes in the kitchen (and Pip uses them to play nappy changing with her dolls).

    Get some weleda calendula cream bath. I bathed daily in it after the birth. Smells great and really helps the stinging and pain of stitches. Can also be used to bath with the baby. We never had a baby bath or top/tail bowl – we bathed Pip in the sink or got in the bath with her. When she went in on her own later on we would place a handtowel in the bottom of the bath to give some traction – I also recommend a bath mat like a crocodile from Ikea (£6ish) in due course).

    Baby towels – we got a a large towel with ears from the White Company if you get the large one it is big enough that our two year old is still happily using it, is great quality and the hood is an excellent part of the design.

    One thing my sister and I have noticed is that the more expensive organic baby gros and suits have washed much better and lasted longer and stayed in shape better. I passed a lot on to her recently as she has a 10 week old and the suits such as O Baby and Green People and JoJoMB are still doing well whereas cheaper ones aren’t faring so well. Not all babies leak everywhere – Pip did on occasion but never to the extent I threw anything away. A soak in a bucket of Napisan (add that to your list!) will get anything clean.

    I’ll be back with more no doubt! But good luck 🙂

  30. Clothes you can easily breastfeed in! This completely skipped my mind for some reason and while I had one nursing bra, I couldn’t actually wear anything useful on top for a bit. Recommend you get some comfy night nursing bras too, especially for the start when you don’t really know what size you’ll end up. Nursing clothes are a bit ‘meh’ by and large so I tend to wear a longline nursing vest underneath normal tops.
    I second the giant muslin suggestions, I got a pack of three from mamas and papas and use them as burp cloths, blankets, sheets, sunshades and more! Lansinoh cream, grobags, nextflix and having water and snacks and my phone with me all the time got me through the first few weeks – I was a bit obsessive about recording length of feeds to start with. Don’t recommend that but it helped to reassure me and remember when he’d fed last as my memory was shot! I ended up staying in hospital for 8 days after delivery and had to rely on husband to bring me clothes and other bits so I’d either make sure your husband/mum knows where things are or pack a little extra bag they can grab, just in case. Enjoy your leave, naps and cakes are mandatory! X

    • Yes yes yes to the clothes you can breasfeed in! I never thought of this beforehand but wish I had. In those first weeks I found the best things were big, soft shirts as I am a go-in-from-the-side kind of gal, much easier than lifting/pulling multiple tops or using nursing tops. Those skills came later with practice but in the early days you want easy access without taking all your clothes off, although I had a Sept baby so needed to keep a bit warm too! You need to find the best way for you, I have teeny boobs so I find going in from the side or top waaaay easier and more discrete. Xx

  31. PS. White square muslins are very handy – JL absolutely are the best after A&A. In very hot weather I would line the pram with them so Pip could lie on a cool surface.

    Also, get in a couple bottles of formula just in case. SMA do bottles & boxes of sterilised teats which you can keep sealed and attach if required. I suffer from migraines & the tablets I take I worried that if I had one the baby might not be able to feed – it never happened but was amazing peace of mind. From then on I carried a spare bottle and a teat in my bag.

  32. Don’t worry about getting ‘newborn’ size as they grow out of them so quickly. Alex was just in 0-3 sleepsuits for the first couple of months as they were the comfiest thing for him to wear. Alex still uses his playmat at 9 months, just without the arch on it (we got a Skip Hop one). If you’re going to use disposable nappies, look at setting up an Amazon Prime trial – you can ‘subscribe’ to nappy deliveries which makes them even cheaper than the 3 for 2 offers you’ll find instore and just cancel the trial before it charges you. Keep doing this with family members’ Amazon accounts too! Alex hardly used his bouncer. The Aden + Anais muslin sleeping bags are great for the summer months. Definitely get an electric breast pump if breastfeeding but we got some Cow & Gate starter feeds too just in case things didn’t go to plan (which they didn’t!)

  33. Depending on what you are planning to use for the baby to sleep we found cellular blankets really useful (again from John Lewis). Phoebe was way too small for grobags for ages so we used them to cover her but also put rolled up ones around in the Moses basket to help her feel more secure.
    We also love Ewan the sheep but started with white noise apps on the phone.
    Clothes – I only bought a couple of newborn bits everything else was 0-3. Phoebe was only 5lb 9oz so these swamped her and would also make her cross as she would wriggle and get both legs stuck in one of her baby gro. So we had to buy lots of tiny baby gros -John Lewis- and we did get wear out of them.
    Another vote for big comfy pants- I bought the shorts style and then ended up with a c section- big mistake.- they rubbed the scar. They have to be the granny ones!!!!
    Arnica tablets – really help with healing after.
    Tea tree oil / witch hazel / something similar – to put in the bath for after too.
    Another vote for kindle / box sets for after.
    Set up online food shopping if you haven’t already.
    Enjoy your last week at work x

  34. Two of mybest purchases for the early days were thus bath support which meant we could use the normal bath from day one. We used it almost everyday until six months.

    And a poddle pod which is basically a big cushion that the baby can lie in. Basically in those early months you need to have somewhere to put the baby down (even just in the bathroom when you have a shower or go to the loo) plus it can sit next to you on the sofa in it and you can use it to bf on too… I know people use a bouncer but honestly the poddle pod is so portable to take round the house and to friends. I wouldn’t have been without it…


  35. Nappies – ( we use pampers.) are much cheaper on amazon and so are wipes. We use the huggies pure ones. (Although we used water and cotton wool pads – not balls as the fluff gets everywhere in those early weeks) I buy a big box and they get delivered too so you don’t have to lug them around the shops. X

  36. We’ve never bothered with a baby bath – both of mine have been washed in the sink before progressing into the big bath and they’ve survived!
    I’d hold off on buying nipple shields until you know if you need them. I’ve never needed them with either of mine – I’ve just relied on lashings of Lansinoh for the first couple of weeks.

    I’d second what lots of others have said about breast pads and maternity towels (if you’re anything like me, imagine how many you might need and then triple it). You can never have too many!

    I don’t know what sort of sling you’ve got or are planning to get but there’s a fab Sling Library in Sale (which I know isn’t too far from you). It runs once a week and you can try out loads of different slings to find one that suits you. They’ve got loads and are really helpful in finding the right one for your needs.

    Finally I know it’s not an essential and I’m sure that as you’re both doctors you’ll already have one but I found my thermometer to be in high demand as a paranoid new mum. I was convinced that my eldest had been struck down by some terrible illness everytime she whimpered and the thermometer was my sanity check!

    • Good call on thermometer. We got the Braun one that the drs at our surgery use. Expensive but we use it frequently. Even at 2 we use it weekly/fortnightly!

  37. Love reading everyone’s thoughts on this!

    Just a couple of things to add:

    Buy yourself a fairly large bottle that you can keep by you in bed/on the sofa etc – basically, whenever you’re feeding – as you get so thirsty breastfeeding in those early months and it’s so vital to keep hydrated. My husband bought me a large Bobble water bottle in the first week Lydia was born and it was perfect – especially as it meant I could still drink water even when lying/sitting in an awkward position, without worrying about waking the baby.

    I personally wouldn’t buy blankets before baby is born – we got given a ridiculous amount, which were a combination of blankets that M and I had had when we were babies, ones that people were made, and ones that people had bought.

    Ditto on lots and lots of muslins – L was a very sicky baby for the first few months so we ended up having to constantly wash them and make sure there was a clean one in pretty much every room at any time.

    We didn’t (and still don’t) have a pushchair, so a sling was absolutely vital – in those early days, especially, a stretchy sling is perfect as it keeps baby so lovely and close to you, which is just what they need. If you haven’t heard about it already, I’d look up about the “fourth trimester”.

    Exciting times! Enjoy this funny run up to meeting your baby, Rebecca.

  38. Sling! Babies love nothing more than being snuggled
    Up to mum or dad, it’s a great way to calm down overtired or upset babies and if I found long cluster feeding sessions a bit tough hubbie would be able to settle her with a walk in the sling easily to give me a short break. Also handy to have free hands to cook dinner and do any little jobs. Nice for walks in countryside where terrain not ideal for buggies too. They are a god send! I’d prioritise one over pram to be honest!

  39. These have probably already been mentioned but I would recommend, good nightwear for hospital stay. With my first, I ended up in hospital for almost a week and I went through so many changes of nightwear. I would get comfortable, dark, bottoms. I would also say good hand cream. Washing with antibacterial soap constantly dried out my hands so much. I suffered with constipation (sorry!) after my c-section and this time I’ll be sure to have a big bottle of lactulose handy. Definitely get a feeding pillow. Make sure you get comfortable shoes to wear leaving hospital. My feet were so swollen I had to walk to the car park in slippers as nothing else fitted. Lastly, the best purchase we made, and definitely not a waste of money for us was a video monitor. It’s so reassuring being able to see your baby. Good luck and enjoy your maternity leave!

  40. Reading all of this has made my eyeballs spin into the back of my head.

    Penny is right you’ll be fine with the bare minimum. The shops are always open. See how you go.

    I bloody love the suggestion from Rachel about the pillowcase on the changing mat. A real ‘why didn’t I think of that?’ moment. We just got R used to being on the plastic, he was fine with it after a few days of weeing all over himself and us every time he hit the mat. We did use a towel and kitchen roll on it if he was having nappy free time though, to save the living room rug.

  41. It’s not a can’t live without essential, but something I used very frequently in the early days when establishing breast feeding was an app on my phone called baby feeding log (can also use for bottle feeding) it allows you to time frequency and duration of feeds and then keeps a log for you. Also helps you keep record of which breast baby has fed from last, which as daft as it sounds remembering this is a real task at first! I preferred the app to writing in a notebook as I usually had my phone to hand and it was so easy to use. Think it was free on app store. Enjoy your final weeks of pregnancy.

    • I loved the app too, found it indispensable when worrying about how much baby was getting fed, whether they were feeding for long enough, perfect for a paranoid first time mum!

      I also put a hair band on my wrist and switched it to the other arm to remember to feed on that side next – agree you can so easily forget which boob you used last!

  42. So many amazing suggestions but totally agree with Penny. You’re unlikely to leave the house for long in the first few weeks so all the extras can wait and be ordered online if needs be.

    I used a folded muslin over the pram and Moses basket sheet around the head area to save having to wash loads of sheets.

    Most baby monitors have a built in thermometer but again, you won’t need the monitor until baby goes into the nursery. We used the bath thermometer to check the room temp in the early days.

    Might be worth tackling the car seat next……just in case of an early arrival?!

    I had a slim glass nail file which I found works wonders on baby nails. So much better than the infant ones and no fear of doing any damage with the nail clippers.

    I’d try and avoid nipple shields to start with unless you’re really struggling. The majority of people I know who purchased them never used them.

    Sling meets are great and I’d thoroughly recommend going but if you do really want to purchase something before the baby arrives, I’d go for a soft wrap type one like the Moby.

    We used cotton wool & water but Water Wipes were amazing for out & about.

    The Braun thermometer is one of our most regularly used pieces of kit so well worth the money.

    Such an exciting roller coaster ahead. Feeling broody now! Xx

    • Also re maternity pads….I preferred the really thick night time regular sanitary pads for the first couple of weeks. Expect you know but you’re not meant to use Always or the like at first as they’re too absorbent…..sorry, probably tmi !

  43. Loads of great suggestions! I personally hated Lansinoh nipple cream as it stuck my nipples to everything and embarrassingly lots of fluff from my clothing which transferred and stuck to my baby’s tongue (thought it was mould and took her to the doctors with my concerns- felt like an idiot when he pointed out it was fluff! Waaaah!) Earth Mama angel baby nipple butter was much nicer, smelt good and not as sticky but stains things yellow.

    Other than baby grows with in built scratch mitts, in the first few weeks, especially when breastfeeding I found the baby feed app on my iPhone really helpful when it came to recording feed times, no of dirty nappies etc for when the midwife asked, also let me see what sort of patterns were developing and get into a semi routine with the little one (although it is still totally random some days seven weeks on!)

    Good luck x

  44. Definitely echo the nappy bin- it’s most useful for when they wean and you get ‘proper’ poos 🙂
    I found a huge, slouchy, big pocketed cardigan was great for the first few weeks when you’re getting used to feeding and having all the stuff you need to hand. A box sounds good, but I found I’d mainly feed where I was so having my lantisoh, muslin, etc in my pocket really helped.
    I was really reassured by having a few cartons of formula in the cupboard. I didn’t need them (well, Sophie refused the bottle, and I wasn’t too bothered about pushing it), but it was good to know when it was 4am and I was crying with mastitis pain that there was another option and she wouldn’t go hungry.
    Loads of washing powder/tabs- you’ll do more washing than you ever thought was possible!
    Good luck!
    PS- use the lantisoh from day one, every single time you feed- don’t leave it til things get sore.

  45. Not sure if anyone’s still reading this thread, but I’ll carry on anyway as it makes me happy passing on useful things…
    I picked up somewhere along the way before our first came along that it was a good idea to keep one room in the house for ‘having people’. The majority of your family and friends won’t give a monkeys whether your house is clean and tidy when they’re coming to see your bundle of joy, but there are some visitors (maybe after the first few weeks) who you’d rather have somewhere tidy to have them. Rather than trying to keep the whole house in order, concentrate on having just one room that’s fit for visitors.
    Maybe it’s just me who struggled to do anything in the house for months, but as I was irked I couldn’t, this little things helped a bit.

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