A baby’s needs are very simple at first, so save on costs by buying only the essentials and add to these later as required.
Shopping guide for baby essentials
- When preparing for your baby the principal considerations in clothing and equipment should be comfort, economy and easy care. It is advisable not to leave preparations until the last-minute.
- Try to have everything ready by the time you are seven months pregnant; that way there is no undue anxiety towards the end of pregnancy and you won’t be caught unprepared if the birth happens earlier than anticipated.
- With clothing, look for natural fabrics such as fine lawn, lightweight flannel, soft wool, muslin. Steer clear of man-made fibers. There should be no restricting weight of clothing and no unnecessary frills.
- All clothing should be loose and suspended from the shoulders without strings or ties of any sort fastened around the body. This ensures free movement which promotes good muscular development in your baby.
- Do not have any singlets or nightdresses too small as baby grows quickly in the first few months and will soon outgrow the small sizes.
- No clothing should be more than 45 cm in length as long clothing retards the baby’s actions, prevents him from generating body heat and developing his muscles by limb movement.
- In very hot climates or hot weather the baby should be dressed in a minimum of clothing. Wool-silk singlets can be replaced by cotton. No booties or bonnets are needed, except for protection from sun, and nightdresses should be of cotton material.
- In cold climates baby will need more clothes and should have nightdresses, winter cotton or knitted matinee jackets and bunny-rugs. Booties should be used and bonnets if it is very cold. In coastal areas some of both types of clothing will be needed to protect baby against sudden changes in temperature.
Our baby items and newborn checklist will make planning the layette and nursery easy:
1. Basic layette sets
- 3 to 4 cotton singlets or silk and wool singlets, depending on season.
- 4 nightdresses
- 3 stretch toweling all-in-one suits and 2 day dresses; or 4 dresses, depending on the season
- 36 diapers
- 4 pairs of pilchers (not plastic as they can cause skin irritation)
- 2 packs disposable diapers
- 2 fine wool matinee jackets
- 2 fine cotton matinee jackets
- 1 or 2 shawls, 2 bunny rugs and a sleeping bag
- 2 bonnets (in winter for warmth; in summer for shade)
- 4 pairs booties or socks
- 2 bibs (at least)
2. Nursery essentials
To cut expense borrow within the family or among friends if possible but if buying new equipment look for multi-purpose items, for example, a three-in-one that is a pram, becomes a carry-cot and also converts to a stroller.
Equipment should be as light as possible as you will be carrying it much of the time. You will need:
- A carry-cot (preferably adaptable)
- A pram with a canopy
- 4 fine cotton sheets (you can make them)
- 3 lightweight blankets or a doubled-over single blanket
- A firm mattress
- Waterproof sheeting
- A small baby pillow (optional)
- 2 pillow cases (optional)
- 2 ½ meters of plain mosquito netting
- A baby bath
- A towelling apron for yourself
- 4 soft fluffy towels
- A wipe-down change table or bench
- 2 buckets with lids (one for soaking, one for dirty diapers)
- Baby soap and shampoo or bathtime essentials set
- Soft sponge or face flannel
- Baby powder
- Baby oil
- Zinc and castor oil cream
- Cotton wool balls and tipped sticks
- Snap-lock nappy pins
- Soft hairbrush
- Nail scissors
- Surgical spirit for umbilical cord
- 2 dummies (optional)
- Basket to hold toiletries
- Low chair to sit on while bathing or feeding baby
3. Feeding essentials
If you are bottle feeding you will need:
- A 1.5 liter jug marked in millimeters
- A medicinal tablespoon and teaspoon measure
- 6 bottles
- 2 small bottles for juice
- 4 teats (preferably flat-ended)
- Fine wire strainer for formula
- Kitchen tongs (to pick up bottles after sterilizing)
- Saucepan for sterilizing equipment
- Sterilizing solutions