My Newborn Essentials

October 4, 2012


A little while ago I had a comment from someone called Natasha, asking me if I would mind posting about what my newborn essentials are. Now, I pretty much NEVER get asked to post about things, so I was really happy to think long and hard about the subject. It’s taken me ages to come up with my list… that’s what newborn sleep depravation will do for you.

So Natasha – this is for you! But please note I pretty much have no clue what I’m talking about here, so take it with a pinch of salt

The Bednest: we got this with Elfie and it has been a lifesaver on so many occasions. With a moses basket your baby is always on a different level to you so to feed them you need to get out of bed (URGH), but as the Bednest is on your level. The baby is simply scooped over to your bed, fed, and then scooped back. It’s only now that Hux is almost 5 months that he’s starting to outgrow the bednest, and not because he’s too big, but because us getting into bed is becoming a bit too noisy for him and he can’t sleep through it.

Lanisoh: this saved my breastfeeding, I’m sure. And chatting with four other women in the feeding room of John Lewis last week I’m pretty sure it saved theirs, too. It’s pricey but it works, slapped liberally on your nipples as much as possible. Disclaimer: you should probably use it with nipple pads otherwise you may end up with greasy patches on your bras/tshirts. It’s cheapest to buy it from Amazon for just over £7.

Good TV shows: you’ll be surprised how boring it can be to feed a newborn baby. That’s basically what you’ll be doing for the first six weeks of its life – the sofa and TV remote will be your best friend. During Elfie’s early weeks I became obsessed with Masterchef Australia, this time around it’s been The Real Housewives of the OC/NYC. Oh, and if you’re breastfeeding it will make you REALLY thirsty, so make sure you have a big glass of water along with the remote.

Help: when I was in hospital having Hux we had so much help. My mother-in-law cleaned our house and washed our clothes, my dad brought lovely meals into hospital for me and mum babysat Elfie. When I was in hospital having Elfie we lived 100 miles away from any family and the difference in the two situations was amazing. If you are offered help, TAKE IT.

A Baby Carrier: when I had Elfie I bought a Baby Bjorn and Babasling and they have both been worth their weight in gold. My favourite is the Baby Bjorn and we pretty much use it every day. It’s really handy to strap Hux into when we’re popping to the shop rather than wrestle him into the buggy.

Quick-cook recipes: having a new baby is hungry hungry work. I always have a bunch of pizzas, frozen stews/bolognaise/risottos in the freezer, as well as the ingredients for quick, fresh recipes. My absolute favourites at the moment are Spaghetti Carbonara, BBQ Chicken Quesadillas and Asian Prawn Broth.

Red lipstick: see here.

Napisan: you will be dealing with a LOT of shitty nappies. That’s just the way it is. It’s pretty nasty when these nappies leak all over the gorgeous clothes you lovingly selected for your newborn baby but for me Napisan has never failed to remove the poo. You can get it in Supermarkets or Chemists.

What do you think? Have I forgotten any newborn essentials?

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  • Reply Lizzi October 4, 2012 at 9:35 pm

    iBooks or Kindle for night feeds. Actually, iPhone has been completely essential for me day and night. Agree wholeheartedly with the Lansinoh and Baby Bjorn, couldn’t manage without them

    • Reply alice October 4, 2012 at 9:37 pm

      Oooh, good one! I haven’t been using my Kindle since he was born because he doesn’t like the light in the middle of the night (poor sensitive lamb) but the Kindle app on the iPhone is always AMAZING.

      And Twitter, obviously, for all the advice!

      • Reply Lizzi October 9, 2012 at 10:19 am

        Ok had a look around the house and these are a few more suggestions…
        1. We set up a second changing area on the dining table (you won’t be eating together anyway!) so we didn’t have to climb stairs in a poo emergency
        2. Widgey feeding pillow – not essential for eveyone but was priceless for us and made feeding so much more comfortable
        3. Aeroplane neck pillow – I can’t dropping off to sleep and jerking my neck when I woke up in a shock!
        4. Crop top style nursing bras – perfect for night feeds and so much more comfortable than regular bras (Mothercare)
        5. Snacks galore – mini flapjack bites (oats are rumoured to boost milk production!) and anything sugary. Don’t try and be sensible and lose weight, wait a few more months and dedicate to the boob (!)
        6. Gripe water – buy some cheap 5ml syringes from Amazon so you can squirt it into their mouth gradually to avoid puking
        7. Scented nappy sacks – bought as a joke but help stop your house stinking of baby crap in between bin days
        8. Ewan The Dream Sheep and Slumberbear – my little one loved the white noise and it also helps us drown out the little grunts that will keep you awake! Have ditched the actual Slumber Bear and just use the sound machine inside – its sound and movement activated so starts up if they are not quite asleep yet…
        9. NCT or other baby friendly friends on speed dial – we set up a Whatsapp group and all send messages at 2/3/4/5am that everyone can see and sympathise with

        Sorry for waffling – it’s amazing how much random stuff you end up using and become completely dependent on!

  • Reply Natasha October 4, 2012 at 9:37 pm

    Thank you so much for doing this post! It’s so much help having another persons perspective and I will for sure be looking into a lot of these things. Lots of love to you and your beautiful family! xx

    • Reply alice October 5, 2012 at 12:10 pm

      You’re more than welcome Natasha! x

  • Reply Steph (@imcountingufoz) October 4, 2012 at 11:04 pm

    Snacks. As well as easy to cook meals, you’ll want snacks you can grab and go with, ESPECIALLY if you are breastfeeding, as that can take hours and hours. Having something to munch on whilst feeding infront of those good TV shows you mentioned. Cake is good, as is flapjack, biscuits, pitta and houmous.

    • Reply alice October 5, 2012 at 12:10 pm

      This is a really good call! I favoured Pringles and Caramel popcorn,

  • Reply Steph October 5, 2012 at 6:27 am

    This is great! I blogged about this in a mild state of panic a while back, but it was more a request for things I might have forgotten. Some great ideas here, especially the napisan…I’d forgotten about that yellow poo, argh! X

    • Reply alice October 5, 2012 at 12:14 pm

      That yellow poo is the worst, it’s a bugger to get out of white babygros! x

  • Reply Bethan Johnston October 5, 2012 at 12:46 pm


    I think Elfie and my Little Lady MUST be the same age as I also spent the first few weeks breast feeding and being addicted to Masterchef Australia -it saved me I’m convinced!

    I also wholeheartedly agree with the Baby Bjorn being essential kit, we loved ours and it was brilliant for Dad too.

    Unfortunately I was allergic to (and all the alternatives!) and I only managed the first 8 weeks breast feeding partly due to my never healing nipples :-(

    Great post xx

    • Reply alice October 5, 2012 at 2:16 pm

      Heheh! I LOVED it, got seriously addicted and had withdrawal symptoms on the days it wasn’t on!


  • Reply Primrose Hill October 5, 2012 at 12:49 pm

    How have I never heard of Napisan?! It sounds amazing. All those lovely, now slightly yellow, outfits I could have saved! Right, that’s one for my next grocery shop. Great post.

    • Reply alice October 8, 2012 at 1:09 pm

      Napisan’s pretty old school I think – been around for years! I was recommended it by someone at Baby Clinic and have never looked back.

  • Reply Mummy Plum October 5, 2012 at 1:15 pm

    I’ve only recently found your super blog…thanks to The Mads PR.
    Great post. I’ve got 8 weeks to go so read your list with interest. Am in complete agreement re the Lanisoh. Amazing stuff. Like Primrose Hill am off to check out Napisan!

    • Reply alice October 8, 2012 at 1:10 pm

      Great to have you here Mummy Plum, hope you enjoy the Napisan as much as I do! x

  • Reply MrsB October 5, 2012 at 5:44 pm

    Truckload of terry towel squares for cleaning up all the milk that comes out once it’s gone in!

    • Reply alice October 8, 2012 at 1:10 pm

      YES! This is a good one too!

  • Reply Richmond Mummy October 6, 2012 at 1:58 pm

    A great list, with great advice! X

    • Reply alice October 8, 2012 at 1:21 pm

      Thanks RM! x

  • Reply Tori October 6, 2012 at 10:40 pm

    Here is the brain dump I’ve given some friends:


    Pram – I made the mistake of getting a light colour shade of my bugaboo bee and had to buy a black sun canopy so Joseph would sleep in it! Best bet is to get a dark colour, with an interchangeable sunshade for when it is hot.
    I bought a snooze shade and it is great –
    Sling – great for when they are really small and want to be close to you, also very handy to wear around the house –


    This is an amazing alternative to a moses basket – expensive but worth it’s weight in gold.

    Many babies love being swaddled as it makes them feel safe – I tried a number of different ones and found that these worked best for me as there is minimal faffing involved:

    Get a monitor with a built in night light and make sure that if your changing station is in another room, that you have a night light in there too as you want as little interaction at night as possible to distinguish night and day.

    With stuff like basic sheets and cellular blankets etc, John Lewis Value is good.


    Breastfeeding – I assumed that I would just pop baby on and off we’d go. It’s not easy! I wish I’d read this beforehand – It may seem difficult at first but don’t give up – in saying this if you need or want to give formula for what ever reason, don’t beat yourself up about it – a happy mum is a happy baby.

    You can never have enough muslin cloths.

    Drink lots of water during the day and through the night or you will wake up with a splitting headache that wont go away all day.

    Microwave sterilisers are very useful and don’t take up loads of space.

    Great website on expressing –

    Great website for feeding, sleep and parenting –

    This is a great set for starting solids

    When you introduce solids, a painting smock is the way forward – get about 6.

    I love our Stokke Tripp Trapp


    Don’t spend loads of money on baby clothes – I have bought things for Joseph/Sam that I thought were so cute that they wore once. Some things they didn’t wear at all. H&M is amazing – cotton, cute and very cheap.
    As cute as little outfits are, shirts ride up, pants come down and when they are really small it annoys the hell out of them (and you). I started dressing my sons in stuff other than baby grows at about 3.5/4 months.
    Whoever invented clothes that button up the back are idiots. How are you supposed to do them up? Seriously.
    Babies dribble alot. I use these every day so I don’t have to change tops 4 times a day These are so easy and cheap to make too.
    With your basics (sleep suits, vests, socks, etc as well as towels, muslins ) get everything in white so you can reuse if you have a second child – H&M again are great however the best vests I found were from Next×47


    Don’t waste your money on fancy stuff, it will get trashed and the Ikea stuff is just as nice, if not nicer. I joined Ikea family, which gets you money off.
    I wouldn’t recommend getting a change table as it is a bit of a waste of space. Better idea is to get a chest of drawers and put a changing top on the top.
    You don’t need a cot bumper or a duvet – just 3 fitted sheets and about 4 cellular blankets and a few sleeping bags (we use Grobag – a bit expensive however they are great – if you do decide to buy them make sure you get the travel ones if you use the car a lot so you can transfer baby from car to cot. In terms of sleeping bags just make sure that they dont have snaps at the top (zip down the middle instead – not the side – it’s a faff) and aren’t synthetic and are the correct size.


    Whilst the fancy nappy creams that you will probably get as gifts are lovely, they aren’t nessesary for you to buy. Sudocrem, vaseline or zinc & castor oil will do the job.
    Don’t bother with a baby bath, these are more practical save your back
    Make sure you get an in ear thermometer as they are the most accurate for when you need to take their temperature, which is surprisingly more than you expect. This is what most doctors use

    Some good books:

    Pregnancy –
    Dad’s –
    Developmental –

  • Reply Tori October 6, 2012 at 10:41 pm

    Crap I just realised how long that post was. I’m so sorry!

    • Reply alice October 8, 2012 at 1:22 pm

      That is AMAZING, thank you Tori! I’m going to do another post so everyone can see all of these x

  • Reply Karen October 9, 2012 at 9:39 am

    For me it was a freezer full of easy cook food, nipple shields as LC had problems latching on at first, my step sister had given me some that she didn’t use, it didn’t really think too much of them at the time but with out them LC would of been a bottle feed baby! Infacol, she had colic until 15 weeks so that was a life saver, paper nickers, yes paper nickers! I had a c-section and a lot of my underwear sat across my scar, these were comfy and they saved all my other nickers from getting ruined. Lastly my essential was a great mum and baby group, it’s hard at first to get yourself out there but it gave me a reason to get dressed and get out the house, the other ladies were fab, they always made a cup of tea when I arrived, sometimes my first of the day and took turns holding LC, I just used to sit and relax, plus the mums knew what I was going through and there experience and wisdom was so helpful and reassuring!

    • Reply alice October 11, 2012 at 3:18 pm

      Thanks Karen! I’ve added all these to another post on Newborn Essentials :)

  • Reply Joy October 9, 2012 at 9:46 am

    I’ve found it essential to keep my phone and the numbers of the National Breastfeeding Helpline (0300 100 0212) and Cry-Sis (08451 228669) handy….just in case I feel an emotional meltdown coming on (which is quite frequently at the minute)

    • Reply alice October 11, 2012 at 4:31 pm

      This is good advice – thanks Joy x

  • Reply Gill Crawshaw October 9, 2012 at 11:37 am

    Great list, love the suggestions in the comments too. I’d echo the smartphone suggestion (couldn’t have coped without my iPhone) but my top tip would be the Sleepy Sounds iPhone app – it’s white noise and amazing for baby sleep – I blogged about it recently
    I’m using the lullabies now to bring on nap time!

  • Reply Hannah October 9, 2012 at 11:52 am

    For the baby: a shedload of muslin cloths for clearing up all that delightful milky spit; swaddle wraps (we had a couple of the Gro Swaddle ones); white noise (we just used a track we found on Youtube!); sleepsuits with integral scratch mittens as actual scratch mittens just fall off; Vaseline for peeling newborn skin.

    For me: snacks, nipple cream, comfy underwear, breast pads, lavender or tea tree oil for putting in the bath with some sea salt (soothing properties for your ravaged nether regions!); Lucozade; feeding pillow for the hours spent on the sofa.

  • Reply Stephanie October 9, 2012 at 1:54 pm

    Sky + and a dishwasher! X

  • Reply Mum2BabyInsomniac October 9, 2012 at 4:56 pm

    I really wish I had known how much milk would leak out of my boobs at night, I woke up one night absolutely drenched and as a result I still have a minging stain on my mattress so I will definitely be putting a mattress protector on the bed this time! Oh and cereal bars always to hand as breastfeeding made me starving. Oh and warn people what season you will be having the baby, Summer dressed can’t be worn in Winter! I will try the napisan next time, I had to throw away loads of green poo stained babygros! X

  • Reply Janet October 10, 2012 at 6:13 pm

    I somehow missed this post in my feed reader and only just saw it. Just wanted to add that you can get Lanisoh on prescription if you see your midwife/HV. It’s a little known fact but can save you LOADS of money if you really need it. If you don’t need a lot, pop some breastmilk on your nips and let them air dry. Does a pretty good job.

    Reusable breast pads. Saves the embarrassing boob rustle situation.

    iPhone. Lost without it.

  • Reply Jaime October 12, 2012 at 7:24 am

    Fantastic post, I’m 33 weeks pregnant and just remembered some advice I’ve been given….we rent and have a very fancy king size bed with an amazing foam mattress, I was talking to my boss about this and she said ‘get a waterproof mattress protector, you don’t want to have to buy a new mattress if your waters break in bed’ – reading above I hadn’t even considered leaking breasts staining the mattress so I can see it staying on the bed for a while after baby is born too!

  • Reply Flixy October 28, 2012 at 11:25 am

    Just to say that I am really enjoying your blog which I stumbled on by accident and find so lively and readable. 16 weeks pregnant with my first and wondering what the future holds, and even though it’s still so early it’s great to read posts like this to start planning… and to see the pictures of your beautiful kids too and see what hopefully lies at the end of it all! Thanks!

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