Parents: What Are Necessary Items for Our First Baby?

Hi all,

I'm going to have my first kid soon and I'd like to work out what do I actually need. I've read first time parents can go overboard so I don't want to be one of those parents. But at the same time, I want to make it nice for my kid and my partner.

What are items that are fine getting second hand vs new?
What sort of gifts did family and friends buy?
Did you make a baby wishlist?

What I already have

  • Cot/Crib with mattress - Bought new on clearance
  • Carseat (newborn to 8 years) - Bought new on extra discount
  • Shower chair - Given to us barely used
  • 1 x Nappy bag - Bought new on discount
  • Co sleeper/Portable crib - Given to us
  • Bouncer - Given to us
  • A few books - Got from vinnies
  • First aid kit
  • Wipes
  • digital thermometer

What I need

  • Pram
  • Change table and mat
  • Sheets/blanket for mattress
  • Clothes for the baby
  • Maternity clothes for my partner
  • newborn nappies
  • bibs

What I think I need

  • First aid training
  • Baby monitor
  • Feeding Bottles
  • Rocking Chair
  • nappy bin
  • Steriliser, bottle warmer, breast pump
  • Toys

Any info from parents would be great. I like to be organised with what I need, but I also don't want to buy things that are just a waste of time, money and space or if its a common gift.

Edit: Thank you everyone for your kind help and suggestions! My partner is stunned that people took the time out of their day to write to us. I'm adding things i need into my spreadsheet and going for a hunt on marketplace!! Thank you!


    • Yep, very good advice: it took us a fair bit of stubborn persistence to realise its better to take turns, rather than split the night between as and both be tired the next day.

  • Digital thermometer
    Swaddles etx

  • Not exactly baby related, but a good cordless vacuum.
    I'll preface by saying I'm not a parent but a recent uncle who often baby sits.
    I don't like mess and I can't imagine how I would have survived without our cordless vacuum. It has been a lifesaver and makes for such fast clean up
    Corded vs cordless has always been up for debate but the convenience of cordless has been so good (vacuuming the high chair/floor after eating, car seat that gets inevitably dirty, soil on the floor from the plant your toddler decides to play with, etc.)

  • -1

    Get a new separate kettle if you're using it for formula, or better still get a bottle warmer and save yourself the trouble of getting the temperature right.
    We have a now healthy 10 month old, who had some early mystery liver problems, and were told worst case she may need a transplant.
    A couple of days after the baby came home we had a midwife visit and saw we used our own kettle for heating her formula water and said that's a big hazard.
    We bought a new kettle right away for the baby, but always wondered if the few days of using water from our kettle might've caused the liver problem.
    Again, the baby is great and thriving now all clear health wise, but we had never heard anything before about using a separate kettle for the formula.

  • You don't need the baby monitor. (Unless you live in a 500m2 + mansion living at opposite ends to your child, and your butler called in sick that day).

    Also forget the baby carrier things for like $200, just use your arms or the pram.
    And if you can put the cot close enough to your room to attend to, forget a bassinet.

    However, you've missed the best investment, a baby capsule that clicks not only into the car but an adaptor for the pram. Not a car seat for a newborn, no no no - missed opportunity. The pram part is not essential but good, the capsule is great. Babies fall asleep in the car, and when you are out and about, and all sorts of times…. except when you want them to! So you really want a capsule because they can sleep in it on the floor of a family / freinds place when you are out, or in the pram walking around shops etc, then you can move them to the car without waking them, and move them into your place and they remain asleep. Babies are a pain to put in a non-capsule car seat properly, with a capsule you can strap them in with easy access in comfort inside then just click it in the car instead of spending 5 minutes hanging out of a hot rear car door before you can even start the car. And most importantly, you can use the capsule driving around in the car to put them to sleep when all else fails and just carefully lift it jnside baby and all when they fall asleep . Trust me, you want this.

    • Had a capsule, never found it useful, they are heavy and awkward to lift in and out of the car with a baby in it and I had the lightest one available. You’re also not meant to leave bub sleeping in them for long due to the position and can only be used up to 6months. Some people love them but everyone is different. I learned to transfer bub whilst he was still asleep and still can do this aged 2years it’s brilliant he falls asleep in the car and I just carry him to his cot for his nap.

      Baby carrier on the other hand was incredibly useful. Used to vacuum the house with bub in it and it would calm him and walk to the beach or do the shopping with bub in it using a regular trolley.

      Everyone finds different things useful ‘just use your arms’ doesn’t work if you want to things with your arms.

      Also baby monitors are excellent, sure not necessary but we used to have it on so we could sit outside when people came over and listen for bub waking/crying, Also the best screen grabs of them doing hilarious things like when they first pull the camera down and you get baby selfies. Or just recording milestones. Found bub sitting up by himself at 4months - freaked me out, but got a photo from the monitor.

  • +1

    don't want to start a cloth vs disposable nappy fight here, but get some cloth nappies. They are a godsend for to use as protection from things coming out of either end of the baby and heading for your clothes.

  • Our best buy were reusable nappies - not to use as nappies, but as a general source of washable small towels for the many many spills / throw ups / wiping necessary.

    We’ve made this a gift to many friends having kids, and always well used

    That, plus baby carrier would be main additions to your list.

    We didn’t use the steriliser after our first. Wouldn’t recommend getting one

  • Lansinoh nipple cream, apply after every feed. A little goes a long way. I don't think I've ever finished one.

    Baby won't need toys for a long time, and then buy them when it's age appropriate. Starting to grab things at 3/4months and everything will go in the mouth.

    • Just wanted to add, I liked having a mirror on their carseat so I could see baby when I was travelling by myself.

      Also google making your own baby wipes from paper towel. So much cheaper and gentler on baby *don't add essential oils they are too strong for little bodies

  • Subbed

  • Ergo baby carrier. Free up your hands, baby sleeps in it and good for holidays when things open up.

    • If you're being frugal, I disagree with this being an essential purchase. Regretted paying like $200 for a genuine one. Got used probably 20 times at most, so $10 per carry. We always just carried our baby mostly or had the pram otherwise (rarely) if needed. People like them, but we did most things as a couple and/or took a grandparent so someome always had a free arm for baby. I should sell it, its as new!

      • +1

        Each to their own. Mine is used every day.

  • For me:

    Sleeper suits - used to get so anxious about babies smothering themselves with blankets, etc. So much less stress with those zippable swaddles, sleeping bags etc

    A child health nurse suggested giving babies sponge baths instead of mucking around with baby baths, making sure the water is just the right temperature, etc. Such a good idea. Much easier.

    I was at the public pool once when a kid drowned. Terrifying. I dont allow my youngest to get in the pool without a proper infant flotation vest (life jacket). Forget about those chintzy kids flotation aids. Just get them a proper life jacket.

    One of the best teething aids was getting an organic cotton cloth, wetting and freezing it, and letting bub chew on it.

    When it comes to strollers, simpler is better. Not a fan of pneumatic tyres on strollers, just another thing to go wrong.

    Whoever's breastfeeding should try and apply nipple cream (usually food grade lanolin) as a preventative measure. Once nipples crack, hard to get them to heal when the baby is sucking on them incessantly.

    One of those stand up baby bouncers was useful for me. At least I could go to the toilet without her screaming for a couple of minutes.

    Honestly, so much stuff out there is absolute garbage. Spent so much money on various sleeping contraptions and none of them worked. In the end, accepted I wouldnt get any sleep for six months and just sucked it up.

    • Baby sleeping bags, yes, one of the best inventions ever

  • Rather than list the items you need to buy the best advice to give is to think about ‘workflows’. For instance you want to set up the nappy change table as a workbench with all the things you need organised and ready to use. You will be operating with next to no energy a lot of the time. With bottles one of the painful things is drying them especially after the sanitiser. Get a boon grass or lawn with the tree for the caps and teats.

  • only comments from me, YMMV:

    Baby monitor that has soothing sounds / white noise you can put on. The video does come into use later when s/he's deciding to climb.

    Carseat choice is good. but I'd just want to make sure you're prepared to wake a baby up when its sleeping to get him/her into the house. We opted for a capsule that we could clip in and out of the car, into the pram and visa versa. sold for what we paid for it.

    Whatever the cling-on comforter is, buy 3. rotate them.

    Meltdown Mitigation. spend some time with your partner and set some expectations and patterns of rest, relief, sharing duties, managing routine, so that when your little one turns older…

  • You've got a good list.

    Only thing I think you should get is sleeping bagsm they are so much easier and better than swaddles imo.

    Biggest learning thing for me which no one told us, was clothes with zips that go both ways, like bonds wondersuits. infinitely better than buttons or 1 way zips. Saves you a lot of trouble with nappy changes.

  • I Highly recommend getting a copy of the Baby Owner's Manual. It was funny yet highly informative!!!

  • "Up the Duff" by Kaz Cooke was the best pregnancy book I have ever read - only one that uses the 'f' word. And it made me laugh out loud with the monthly section from "Hermione's Diary". Very relatable and also very Australian, with fantastic contact information. Also one of the very few that covers the first six weeks after birth.

    It came out the week after our first daughter was born. I saw the review in the paper while still in hospital and struggling with breast feeding. The review quoted the book re these difficulties and what to say when people question you for bottle feeding - suggested responses included:

    "A windstorm blew both my nipples off"

    "It is easier to get the gin into the bottle this way"


    "Mind your own f(*)&(ing business".

    My obstretician said he was buying three copies for his waiting room.

    It has not long ago been updated and re-released.

    • +1

      Ive heard this is a great book so I bought it a few weeks ago. Been reading along every week and making sure my partner knows what is about to happy!

      • Hope you are both enjoying it!

  • If anybody asks you what you need, tell them you would absolutely love one of those BABY vouchers they sell at the major supermarkets. You will figure things out as you settle into your new rhythm, there will be things that you think you need and then realise three days later that you don’t (for us, this was a bottle warmer), and then baby grows and there are things you definitely need and having vouchers there to use is the best! E.g when you need a winter weight sleeping bag six months down the track, they’re $75 on sale and no one is bombarding you with baby gifts anymore, it’s great to use a voucher.

    We were pretty sorted with having what we needed for the newborn stage, but gosh it was great to have some vouchers for baby bunting when she grew and needed some things.
    Also food delivery vouchers. Please and thankyou, newborn stage is not great for cooking dinner.

  • Hi, as I have three I would like to share some thoughts with you. You don't need anything special to buy new. It is okay if you can to take some used (second hand), even when we talk about clothes.
    What you already have is more than enough. The things you need, you might need some of them some not. You can use some already used too. The thing I used mostly is a toy for chewing, and for all three I have been buying new and I strongly recommend that because it helps the child not only to go easier through the process of having new teeth but also easier to start speaking. That is my opinion and from my experience.

  • I have had a couple more thoughts - if the baby gets attached to one particular cuddly toy, buy a couple more of them and rotate them for washing etc. Much easier if it gets lots or left at someone's house!

    Also noticed that a few people mentioned white noise machines… I never used to quieten anything too much - they get used to noise. Also, they hear lots of noise in utero. Several years ago, it was noticed that some babies in a Tokyo maternity ward would not settle. When it was looked into, they discovered these babies had parents that lived under a flight route which the hospital was not under - they settled just fine when they got home and had the noise they were used to.

    Also - NEVER get into the habit of taking the baby for a drive to get them to settle. You don't want to drive really tired to do that and get into an accident.

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