Clothes and equipment

Although it is tempting to fill your home with lots of new things, keep it simple – and don’t buy too much.

With so many lovely baby things on offer in the shops – or online – it’s all too easy to run up a huge ‘wish list’. If you are lucky, you may have friends or relatives with baby clothes and equipment to hand on. This will save you a lot of money.

Below is a list of the clothes and accessories that you might need for the first few weeks:

  • five all-in-one baby grows with popper fastenings
  • five vests with popper fastenings
  • three cardigans or indoor jackets
  • one outdoor jacket
  • a sunhat for a summer baby, or a warm hat for a winter baby
  • pram sheets and cot sheets
  • cellular blankets
  • two towels for bathing
  • two washcloths for topping and tailing
  • six muslin or soft cotton cloths.

In addition you may want to have:

  • a cot (or crib or Moses basket for the first few months)
  • a baby bath
  • a bowl for ‘topping and tailing’
  • a changing mat
  • nappy sacks (if you’re using disposable nappies)
  • a pram or buggy
  • a car seat.

Babies grow much faster than you’d think. They’ll grow out of their first outfits quickly and most will be too big for their baby crib by about 3 to 6 months so you’ll need a full-size cot from then on.

Handy hints for prams

In a pram, your baby needs one or two layers of lightweight blankets on top in cold weather, a waterproof rain cover and a sheet underneath. More layers are needed in a lightweight pushchair and if the weather is exceptionally cold.

If you use a fabric pushchair, or one which is low to the ground, it will be cosier with a blanket underneath your baby as well as on top.

Don’t let your baby overheat. If you leave her in the pram or pushchair when you come indoors from outside (perhaps because she is asleep), take the covers off and any heavy outdoor garments.

A sun canopy or a parasol is useful in summer and essential when it’s very hot. Make sure your baby is out of the direct sun at all times.

A shopping tray or basket is handy. The ones that fix underneath won’t tip your pushchair over when full, if the baby starts wriggling.

A rear facing pram lets your baby see you when you take her out. This helps with communication and bonding.

Equipment for your growing baby:

  • baby slings can generally be used from birth (front slings). They allow you to carry your baby close to you while leaving your arms and hands free. There’s also some evidence that it can help parents bond with their baby
  • by six months, you may need a high chair – make sure it has a five-point safety harness, which meets British safety standards
  • back carriers can be used when your baby is older (from six months) and can support her own head and neck. Good retailers will allow you and your partner to try on a few models before you decide what to buy.

Never use a second-hand mattress in your cot, crib, Moses basket or pram. Always buy a new one for both hygiene and safety.

Last Updated: 16 October 2014
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