If you’re pregnant with your first baby or even just thinking about becoming pregnant, no doubt you’ve spent some time wondering what are the must have baby items for newborns. Check out any newborn baby essentials list and you may be quite surprised just how much one little baby can need.
However the truth is most of the items you find on an essentials for newborn baby checklist are there to make your life easier and not necessarily vital for your baby. The hard thing with being a first time parent is trying to work out what are actually essential baby items and what is just the nice to have newborn baby stuff.
In this comprehensive and detailed newborn essentials list, I cover off on all the must have items for babies. I’ll mention which are essential newborn items and which items to purchase if you’re able to. What I won’t do in this newborn checklist Australia 2021 guide is list things that are just a waste of money – and believe me, after having three children I know what the top newborn must haves are.
After you’ve read this comprehensive things for babies items list, hopefully you’ll have a good understanding of what you need to purchase before the birth of your child.
The Ultimate Newborn Baby Essentials List Australia 2021
To make it really easy for you, below I’ve broken the list of things you need for a baby among various categories. The list below covers all the baby necessities you need from the first day you bring your baby home to around 12 months of age.
As mentioned above, this is a super comprehensive new baby checklist Australia guide – and so some of the items below are really just nice to have rather than essential things babies need. I’ll let you know when I think they are not absolutely necessary.
Nursery – Essentials for Newborn Baby Checklist
First time parents usually spend hours agonising on how to set up their baby’s nursery. The truth is babies don’t need much at all and most of the items parents put in their babies room is to make their lives easier.
So let’s take a look at some of the top baby must haves 2021 in terms of the nursery.
What do you need for a baby in terms of where they sleep? Well while most parents start out with a bassinet, it’s actually not necessary. To save money you can easily just put your child straight into a cot. Some parents consider a bassinet one of the must haves for new baby because their baby is just so tiny in the cot and they also like to have the bassinet next to their bed.
If you do decide on a bassinet I’d recommend adding to your baby needs list something that comes with the mattress and sheets (like this one here), so you don’t need to purchase them separately. If the bassinet you decide on doesn’t come with a mattress, be sure to buy the correct size mattress, this is of the utmost importance for your babies safety.
Whether you go with a bassinet or not, you definitely will need a cot on your newborn baby needs checklist. When it comes to what to buy for a new baby in terms of a cot, is a personal choice and I highly recommend you do lots of research and read reviews to ensure you purchase one that meets your needs.
You might like to consider purchasing a cot like this Boori Noosa Convertible Cot. What I like about this cot is that it converts into a toddler bed once your child has outgrown their cot. I know this might seem like ages away – but believe me, it comes up fast!
Whatever cot you decide on, make sure you make a note on your newborn list of essentials that it complies with the current Australian standards. Also just as with the bassinet, if the cot doesn’t come with a mattress (many don’t), then ensure you purchase one that is designed to appropriately fit the cot. A poorly fitting mattress can be dangerous for your baby.
When parents ask “what do I need for a baby” many think they need really fancy and expensive bedding. There are of course some super gorgeous bedding sets in baby stores, but the truth is you just need a couple of fitted cot sheets and a few plain blankets. These new baby essentials really don’t need to cost the earth.
The one thing worth spending a little bit of money on is a few good quality waterproof mattress protectors, this will help keep the mattress protected in case of any leakages.
A change table is certainly not an essential item for your newborn baby shopping list, you really can change your baby anywhere – but believe me, if you have space, this is one of the baby things to buy before birth.
Change tables are designed to be at the perfect height for an adult to change their baby. Plus they usually come with a range of pockets or shelves so that everything you need for changing your baby is within an easy reach.
When it comes to what to buy for newborn in terms of a changing table, there are so many different options on the market and it really comes down to personal preference. Many parents like to get one that matches in with the cot they purchase. However something as simple as this Love N Care Omega Change table which has a few shelves and pockets as well as having a removable bathtub is ideal.
Baby Swing or Bouncer
When new parents ask me, what do I need for a newborn baby? – I always tell them a baby swing or baby bouncer. While it really isn’t an essential item, I recommend it because it makes your life heaps easier. The idea of these new born baby products is for parents to have a safe and comfortable place to put your baby down when you need to get things done.
There is a range of options for baby swings and bouncers, from really simple and inexpensive to expensive with all the bells and whistles. Something like this Fisher Price Swing and Seat is perfect as it provides a comfortable place for your baby to sit, plus it vibrates and has a few toys for baby to keep entertained.
So do definitely add a baby swing or bouncer to your newborn shopping list!
A baby monitor is a great idea for all those new parents out there asking what do you need for a newborn. I mean, a baby monitor is certainly not essential but I do highly recommend one, especially for new parents. A baby monitor will give you peace of mind when your baby is sleeping, otherwise you’ll find yourself checking in on your baby as they sleep a hundred times!
There is a range of different baby monitors on the market. I quite like this iBaby monitor which lets you keep an eye on your baby as they sleep via your smartphone. It has a two way speaker so you can even gently smooth your baby back to sleep, making it one of the ideal things needed for newborn babies.
When it comes to what you need for a newborn to be entertained, a mobile is a good option. Again, not an essential item, but certainly a good one to keep baby happy, whether that’s while they are awake in their cots or lying on their change table. These are the two places where parents usually install a mobile.
Like most things these days – you can get relatively inexpensive baby mobiles to super fancy expensive ones – whatever you buy is really up to you and your budget. Most likely you’ll want to get something that matches the theme or colours which you have done in the nursery.
If you need suggestions, something like this Chicco Next2Dreams mobile is really sweet. It plays a range of melodies and has a soft night light too.
So if you’re making a list of baby items needed for a newborn, I do recommend you add a mobile.
For your first baby checklist, you will definitely want to get a night light of some sort for your baby’s room, but a light lamp will do just fine. Some baby mobiles or baby monitors also come with a built in night light, so you might not have to get one separately.
A night light is great for coming and checking on baby, nighttime feeds or changing your baby’s nappy during the night. They keep the room lighting dim, providing just enough light to see what you’re doing. Something like this VAVA nightlight is perfect and makes a great gift if you’re putting together a list of things you need for a newborn baby.
Dresser / Drawers
With all these must haves for first baby, you will need somewhere to put them all and usually, a small set of drawers will suffice. However you might want to think a bit long term here. Even some of my older children still have the same set of drawers now as they did when they were little bubs.
Most parents choose something that fits in with the theme or colours of the nursery, but a simple set of drawers like this will also do the trick.
Feeding / Nursing – Things for Babies Items List
A common question new parents ask is what do I need for a newborn in terms of feeding. Well in terms of your list – newborn baby essentials, and depending on whether you are breastfeeding or formula feeding there are a few items you’ll need.
Below I’ve covered items required for those mums that breastfeed as well as for those mums who are formula feeding. I’ve also included things a baby needs once they move onto solids.
Whether you’re breastfeeding or formula feeding do yourself a favour and add a nursing pillow to your preparing for baby checklist. My nursing pillow was an absolute godsend when I was feeding my children.
A nursing pillow is designed to support your baby while feeding and it also supports you by avoiding neck and shoulder strain. While you could probably get similar support from everyday pillows, a nursing pillow is just the perfect shape. A nursing pillow like this is also a great support for your baby once they start sitting up – definitely add this to your baby item checklist.
Even if you’re breastfeeding, your first year baby checklist probably should include some bottles so that someone can feed your baby while you’re not around. This may be once you decide to return to work, or even if you’re heading out for a few hours without your child.
There are lots of different bottles on the market, but for new parents, I’d probably recommend a starter kit, like this one from Avent. It includes everything you need, with a range of different sized bottles, teats and a cleaning brush.
Whatever bottles you decide to go with, make sure they are BPA free and also once you choose one brand, I recommend you stick with it, so all the pieces are interchangeable.
Anything that you put in your child’s mouth is going to need to be sterilised. You can do this just by popping bottles etc in boiling water, but most parents prefer the convenience of an actual steriliser.
A steriliser is really easy to use as you just pop them in your microwave. They disinfect everything by way of steam. This Philips Avent steriliser is a popular one among new parents and is a great idea if you’re wondering what to buy for baby shower gifts.
Bottle Cleaning Brush
A bottle cleaning brush is really handy for cleaning all the small parts and the crevices in bottles and teats. They are really inexpensive too and well worth the purchase, in fact in my view they are one of the essentials to buy for a newborn baby if you’re using bottles.
If you buy a bottle starter kit as I mentioned above, you’ll probably get one in the kit, but otherwise, something like this is perfect.
When you’re considering your “list of items I need for a newborn baby” – put bibs at the top of your list! Whether you are formula feeding or breastfeeding you’re going to want to get a few of these. Babies can be such messy little drinkers and some babies are prone to vomiting quite a bit while feeding.
Of course when you move onto solids bibs are an absolute necessity, but even before then some babies are just prone to being a drooler and will need to wear a bib most of the day to protect their clothes. It’s much easier changing a bib then it is to change what they are wearing.
Like bibs, burping clothes are one of the essential things newborns need – well parents of newborns need anyway. These are just lightweight cloths that are used for cleaning up milk, drools and baby vomit – yep all that wonderful stuff!
Burping cloths are also ideal for protecting your clothes while feeding baby. I recommend popping on over your clothes while breastfeeding or bottle feeding your baby.
There are many reasons why a mother may need a breast pump on her must have baby checklist. Perhaps you want to express milk so someone else can feed your baby, maybe you are returning to work, some mums need to express milk to help encourage their milk supply, while others have too much milk and so need to express to relieve engorgement.
Whatever the reason you need a breast pump for there are various options available. You can get simple hand pumps to really efficient electric models like this popular Medela one.
Milk Storage Containers
If you are expressing milk, then one of the baby things to buy is milk storage containers. You can use baby bottles for this, but if you have a lot of milk to store this works out to be a very expensive option.
You can buy a pack of milk storage bags relatively cheaply, like this 50 pack of Medela ones. These are BPA free, have a place where you can write the date and they lie flat in the fridge or freezer so don’t take up much room.
Unfortuantely most breastfeeding mothers, find that their breasts leak milk – yep the joys of being a breastfeeding mother. So to keep your tops dry another must have for new baby item is nursing pads for your bras. You can purchase disposable ones like this pack of 60 from Medela, or reusable eco friendly ones like these EcoNursing pads.
Another thing breastfeeding mums will need is some lanolin cream to relieve sore nipples. There are several different brands out there that make lanolin cream like the popular Medela Tender Care cream. This is a great item for family members or a group of friends to buy if they are putting together a hamper of newborn baby items.
Moving on to things to buy for new baby for when they start eating solids, there are a few things you’re going to need – like a high chair of some sort.
There are so many different options when it comes to a high chair and I recommend you take some time thinking about what is going to work best for you. You can buy free standing full size high chairs (like this Joovy one), portable booster seats that attach to regular chairs (like this Ingenuity Baby Base) and high chairs which hook onto the side of a bench (like this Childcare Primo).
You can even get ones like this Ingenuity high chair which can be a full size high chair, portable booster seat and a toddler seat. In fact I think something like this is really the way to go, as they are so tiny for such a short period of time.
Whatever design you go for, I recommend you get one which has a reasonably simple design without too many nooks and crannies where food can get stuck – because this gets really really gross! You want one that is easy to clean and if it has a seat cover – one that is removable and machine washable.
Infant feeding bowls, plates and cutlery
Of course once they start eating you’re going to need a range of bowls, plates and cutlery for your baby – these are baby gear essentials. When it comes to buying this stuff, just remember that babies quite like to throw their bowls, tip them over, put them in their mouths and put their hands in them – babies are very very messy! So make sure whatever you buy is unbreakable and soft for baby’s gums.
I quite like the plates and bowls with suction on the bottom (like these Green Sprouts ones), this makes it harder for your baby to tip their food everywhere. You probably also want to go with ones that have sections and deep sides so as your child gets older they can easily scoop their food out.
As for cutlery, something like this Munchkin set which has soft tips so they are very gentle on your baby’s gums is ideal.
A sippy cup is a cup which comes with a lid and a spout for easy drinking and should be on every baby essentials checklist. Sippy cups don’t spill when knocked over and have handles to make it easy for your child to use.
Something like the Munchkin Miracle is ideal! Unlike most other cups this one doesn’t have a straw / spout, so your teaching your child how to drink from a cup from the get go. It’s suitable for children from just 6 months old.
When you’re thinking to yourself what are the “things I need for baby checklist” – make sure you have a mess mat on there! I’m sure you get it by now – babies are very very messy little things! So do yourself a favour and get yourself a mess mat to put under where you feed them.
A mess mat doesn’t have to be anything fancy or expensive, this cheap one is just fine. In fact get yourself two, so you can have one in the wash and one clean one at all times. Either that or get a dog to lick up the mess.
Travel – Newborn Essentials List
Of course some of the most essential and top things you need for a newborn baby include items for travel such as a pram and car seat. These are usually the very first items to buy for newborn baby and can also be among the most expensive things to buy for newborn babies. So I urge you to take your time to consider what is right for your needs before making the purchase.
A list of baby items needed for a newborn is of course going to include a pram. A pram is probably one of the most essential things a newborn baby needs – well the baby’s parents at least.
A pram provides a convenient way for you to take your baby outside of the home. Whether that’s for a stroll around the park, to the local shopping centre or even around your home.
Before purchasing a pram consider what you want from your pram. Are you looking for something with all the bells and whistles with loads of storage, lightweight and compact, or would you prefer something simple and low cost.
I’ve always been a big fan of the Mountain Buggy Nano – it’s what I’ve used for all my kids and it’s perfect whether we are at home or while we are travelling.
One of the most important newborn baby must haves is a car seat – in fact you won’t even be able to leave the hospital without this. When purchasing a car seat, you’ll need to consider whether you want a travel system or a separate car seat.
A travel system is a baby capsule which you can use between the pram and the car – like this Maxi Cosi Mico. With a capsule, you don’t need to pick your baby up out of their car seat and then transfer them to the pram. This is a popular option for new parents – however it does tend to be a fairly expensive option.
The thing with a baby capsule is that they outgrow them very quickly and you’ll need to spend more money before you know it to purchase a car seat. So if you want to save yourself some money I recommend you purchase a car seat which is suitable for babies from birth – like this Maxi Cosi which is suitable for newborn babies right up to children around the age of 4.
Whatever you decide to purchase, be sure that it meets the Australian Standards to ensure your child’s safety.
Every preparing newborn checklist needs to include a nappy bag of some kind. I mean the truth is you can use any old bag to store all the things your baby needs, but a specially designed nappy bag is super handy as it has a place for everything!
New parents, you have no idea just how much one tiny little baby needs! They need nappies, a change of clothes (or three), bottles, formula, wipes, nappy cream and the list goes on and on and on!
I quite like this Hap Tim backpack style nappy bag which literally has a place for everything. Plus it looks great too – no one will even know it’s actually a nappy bag.
Baby Carrier / Sling
Some parents prefer to carry their baby in a baby carrier or baby sling either in lieu of a pram or as well as a pram. I found a baby carrier to be great for even getting things done around the house when my little one wouldn’t settle unless I held them.
The beauty with a baby carrier is it enables you to hold your baby but have your hands free to do things. There are loads of different styles and designs, like this DaisyGro Baby Wrap or the more traditional baby carrier like this Infantino Go Forward Carrier. Whichever you decide – make sure you practice at home a few times before using it while out and about.
As to whether a baby carrier is one of the must have newborn items for you, really is a personal choice.
Some parents like to buy some sunshades to put up in their car to avoid the sun getting in their babies eyes. These are cheap and honestly, any products for newborn baby that can keep your baby from crying while you’re driving are well worth it in my view.
Products like these T Tersely car window sunshade just go over the windows like socks and tend to be much better than the ones with suction as that type tends to fall off or move out of place.
Nappies – Newborn Checklist Australia
A list of what you need for a baby is of course going to include nappies and a range of associated items, so I’ve made it its own category! Whether you decide to go with cloth or disposable nappies below I’ve listed all the essentials for a new baby checklist.
Cloth or Disposable Nappies
Nappies are one of the most important baby must haves for the first year – so stock up! Whether you go with cloth or disposable, your baby is probably going to go through 10 to 12 nappy changes a day at first, so you’re going to want to have loads of these on hand.
If you’re going to do with disposables, look out for sales and stock up well before your baby is born. Nappies come in different sizes so you might want to buy a few small ones, but not too many as they grow really fast.
For cloth nappies, there are heaps of options these days. I’d probably recommend you look at a starter kit like this Mama Koala one. This set comes with the cloth nappies and bamboo or microfibre inserts.
Nappy Rash Cream
Every new baby essentials list must include nappy rash cream and for new parents sudocrem is about to become your new best friend! Sudocrem acts as a barrier between your baby’s skin and the nappy to as much as possible avoid nappy rash. However it is also great for helping to clear up nappy rash as well.
Another thing for your newborn baby essentials list is baby wipes. You’re going to go through tonnes of these – so they are another great item to stock up on before the birth of your child.
New parents will soon learn that baby wipes are not just for cleaning up dirty bottoms, they are also great for cleaning sticky fingers and pretty much any mess around the house. Keep a pack in every room!!
If you prefer to use reusable wipes, packs like this one from Bambino Mio are good to have on hand.
Nappy sacks should also be on your newborn checklist essentials – with 10 to 12 nappy changes a day – that’s a lot of nappies that have to be put somewhere. These days you can choose between disposal nappy sacks or reusable wet bags like this one from Bumkins.
Clothes – Must have baby items for newborns
One of the most asked questions among new parents to be is what do you need for a newborn baby in terms of clothes? When it comes to what to buy for newborn baby – there are some super cute and expensive clothing options out there – but the truth is they don’t need that much and they certainly don’t need anything too fancy – they grow out of it all too quickly anyway.
The other thing you need to know about babies is that some babies are born big and can go straight into clothes that are designed for 3 month old babies, while other babies are super tiny. So my recommendation is not to buy anything too small, as your baby may not even wear it at all. For your newborn baby items list – make sure you include clothes of varying sizes.
To help you get started, here are my tips on what you need for your baby checklist in terms of clothing.
- 4-8 Bodysuits / Onesies: This is probably the main thing your baby will wear, they are perfect for playing or sleeping. Look for ones that zip or snap down the front and all the way down the leg for easy nappy changes. The Bonds suit is a popular choice in Australia.
- 4-8 Singlets: Singlets are for layering under your babies clothes.
- 4-8 T-shirts: In additional to bodysuits you might like some t-shirts or long tops to change it up a bit. Make sure they have stretchy necklines so they are easy to slip over your babies head.
- 4-8 Pants: Again these are just in addition to the bodysuits. Make sure they have a super elastic waistband so they are easy to put on and off. Some have adjustable waistbands so you can get more wear out of them as your baby grows. Again, Bonds leggings are popular here in Australia.
- 1-3 Jumper: A few jumpers for wearing over the top of their clothes. Depending on the season you may not even need this. Again make sure they have stretchy necklines so they are easy to slip over your babies head.
- 4-8 Socks / Booties: Don’t buy expensive socks, as these always tend to disappear!
- 1-3 Newborn Hats: Get your baby use to wearing a hat out in the sun from a young age and you’ll also need a beanie or two for keeping their head warm during the colder months.
- 1-2 No Scratch Mittens: Babies tend to scratch their little faces with their nails, so you’ll need some little mittens to protect their faces.
- Sleeping Bag: Baby sleeping bags are fleece or cotton sacks, which you zip over your baby’s sleepwear. They are perfect for use in lieu of swaddles and blankets keeping your baby cozy and warm at night.
- 2-3 Swaddles / Wraps: Teeny tiny newborn babies like to be swaddled tightly in a blanket, so get a few swaddles.
Bathtime – List of things you need for a baby
Next we have what you need for baby checklist in terms of bath time. Of course you really could just bath your baby in the sink – I’m pretty sure that’s what many parents did back in the day. But the following lists everything you need for a baby to make bath time easy.
If you don’t want to bath your baby in the kitchen sink, you’ll want to add a baby bath to your newborn essentials checklist. There are loads of different options available – but really you don’t need anything too fancy or expensive. I quite like this First Years one which has a great sling for using when your baby is super tiny.
Wherever you decide to bath your baby you’ll need a few wash clothes to wash them. A good tip is to put one at the bottom of the bath to help your baby not slide around too much – they are slippery little suckers when they are wet.
While regular towels are fine, you’ll find them pretty big when trying to dry off your baby. I recommend adding a few soft hooded towels to your newborn list of things to buy as these are perfect for wrapping up your baby after their bath.
Baby Wash and Baby Shampoo
First baby must haves include baby wash and shampoo which has a no-tears formula, so it’s easy on your baby’s skin and eyes. Johnson’s Baby Bath is a popular choice among parents in Australia.
As your baby gets a little older they will really appreciate a few bath toys. This doesn’t have to be anything too fancy – even just a few plastic cups from the kitchen will work fine. If you do want to buy some toys – these stacking cups are great and I’d also recommend a bath toy organiser too.
Grooming, Health and Toiletries
In this section, I’ve included the baby essentials for the first year in terms of grooming, health and a few toiletry items which didn’t fit in the above sections.
- Nail clippers: Baby’s nails get long, so a set of baby nail clippers will help you safely keep them short.
- Bulb Syringe: This is going to sound pretty gross, but a bulb syringe is for suctioning mucous out of your baby’s stuffy nose is a necessity when they get a cold and have trouble breathing.
- Baby Thermometer: A baby thermometer is one of the essential items for newborn baby parents. This will allow you to know when your baby has a fever and needs to seek medical attention.
- Baby comb and brush set: Some babies have no hair and some have lots. However even if you baby has no hair a soft brush set is even helpful for handling cradle crap.
- Dummies: Not all babies will take a dummy, but if they do and this is something you’re ok with as a parent they can be a great way to soothe a baby.
- Teething Toys: As your baby starts getting teeth a few teething toys help to ease your baby’s discomfort.
Playtime – What do you need for a baby?
In terms of things to buy for newborn baby for playtime, well they don’t need much. In fact in those first few weeks, newborn babies spend most of their time sleeping and eating or just having a cuddle with mum and dad. However it doesn’t take long for them to be super interactive and craving some things to play with.
Below I’ve listed my tips on things needed for a baby checklist in terms of playtime.
- Play Gym: A play gym is a soft mat which has baby toys dangling from overhead. These are excellent for keeping babies that aren’t mobile yet entertained. Look for ones like this Tiny Love Playmat which has a range of different toys.
- Rattle Toys: A few soft rattle toys are great for babies to play with, especially once they start being able to grip things with their hands.
- Baby Books: Chunky board books or soft washable books are a good way to introduce reading to your baby.
- Cuddly Toys: While newborns won’t be fussed about soft cuddly toys, as they get a little older they will no doubt have their favourites. Soft cuddle toys can be great to help soothe older babies.
Safety – Essential baby items
Last but not least and probably some of the most important items to have on your list of things for new baby is all the things required to make your home safe. Sometime in your baby’s first year they are going to start moving around, whether that’s rolling, or crawling and perhaps even walking. When this happens you’re going to realise just how unsafe your home is for your little one.
Below I’ve provided a list of things that you need for a new baby to ensure your home is baby proof.
- Baby gates: If you have stairs or even just certain areas that you want to keep off limits for your baby, you’re going to want to purchase some baby gates. Baby gates come in a range of sizes and are perfect for keeping little ones out. I quite like the new retractable types like this one from Dreambaby.
- Power Outlet Covers: I’m always surprised with just how attractive power outlets are for little babies. They either want to try and stick their fingers in there or something else. So make sure you get some covers for unused power outlet covers.
- Drawer and Cabinet Latches: Cupboards and drawers are another attractive thing for babies. They want to get in there and pull everything out. So whether you’re trying to protect your baby from the items inside or the items inside protected from your baby, you’re going to want to get some latches to keep those drawers and cupboards closed.
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Sharon is a proud Melbournian mum of 3 who blogs for a living in between parenting and (thanks to coronavirus) homeschooling.