Shopping for your baby - must-have products

The CHOICE checklist of essential items to have ready when baby arrives.
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01.Preparing for your baby

Mother and baby

These are the must-have items for most families. You might not need all of them, but you should consider each one. For example, even if you don't have a car, it can be much easier to accept lifts from friends and family if you have your own car seat or baby capsule for your child.

Once you have some idea of what you want, shop around for the best price. Shopping online can save both time and money, but be sure to purchase from reputable websites or sellers with plenty of good feedback.

Also, friends and relatives love giving presents for babies, so you probably won't need to buy all these items yourself. Think about what you'd like as gifts so you have a ready answer if asked.

Before the birth

  • Cot or bassinet.
  • Stroller or pram.
  • Child car restraint.
  • Bedding - sheets, blankets and mattress protector.
  • Nappies. Two or three dozen cloth nappies, pins and overpants; or (to begin with) three packs of small size disposables.
  • Soft towel, face washer, baby soap or wash, cotton wool, nappy rash preventer/treatment (e.g. sorbolene and glycerine cream).
  • Thermometer.
  • Soft hair brush and round-tipped nail scissors.
  • Up to eight singlets size 000-00; choose cotton for summer, and wool/cotton mix for winter babies.
  • Up to eight nighties or onesies. Zips and pop fasteners are much easier than buttons when it comes to nappy changes.
      - Onesies (or all-in-ones) keep the baby warm and stop nappy and singlet from drifting apart. You'll get more wear out of them if you cut the feet out when the baby gets bigger (but don’t wait until the feet begin to look squashed—small feet can be damaged very easily).
      - Nighties are easiest in terms of changing the nappy when you’re half asleep. Choose natural fibres wherever possible. Wool and cotton ‘breathe’ and have very good insulating properties while allowing perspiration to evaporate, making them more comfortable next to the skin. Some babies’ skins show an alarming tendency to redden after contact with synthetic fabrics.
  • Two boat-neck pullovers or sweatshirts for cool days.
  • Three or more bunny rugs or muslin wraps.
  • Sunhat for summer, woolly hat for winter babies. Babies lose a tremendous amount of heat from their large heads and aren't equipped with very efficient body thermostats at first.
  • Two pairs of small socks (but not too tight or they might damage small feet), tie-on bootees or leggings. Children don't need shoes until they're walking. Avoid patterned socks because the looped threads inside can pose a risk to toes.
  • Bibs are useful and you may get plenty as presents. In general the larger ones are better. Plastic-backed ones keep the baby’s clothes dry when dribbling constantly (during teething, for example), but should be removed before putting to sleep. Be careful with the strings if you have tie-on ones.
  • If you'll be bottle-feeding: bottles and teats, bottle brush and sterilising equipment.

After the birth

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