Ultimate Guide To What You Need As A New Parent – & What You Don’t!

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I know I write a lot about Lagom and clearing clutter. But this cannot really be applied when you are expecting a new arrival. You are all excited about the impending big event, have read your “Emma’s Diary” cover to cover and have perused many a baby magazine. And then you pay a visit to a maternity megastore such as Mamas and Papas or Mothercare. And the awe sets in. What do you actually need to buy, and what are really not the best purchases to make when you are a new parent? Here is my ultimate guide to what you need as a new parent – & what you don’t!

An Ultimate Guide To What You Need As A New Parent

Ultimate Guide To What You Need As A New Parent

It goes without saying that if you know someone who offers you some of these things, then this is so much better on your pocket and the planet. The main mantra to sustainable living is

Lagom Your Life

So, if you are offered things, do accept them. I cannot thank my friends enough for giving me things passed down from their children.

Things That You Really Do Need

Ultimate Guide To What You Really Need As A New Parent

1. A Cot

If it fits at the side of your bed in your bedroom then that is great (and you possibly have a massive bedroom!) Current NHS guidance is to share your room with the baby until 6 months.

A second hand cot is a great way of saving money. But DO buy a new mattress of the right size to fit, as an old mattress may not be safe.

If you are having to buy a new cot, or even kit out a bedroom with drawers and wardrobe etc, why not wait until the sales? Or visit a factory shop? And if you do buy new, do consider buying a cot that will double as a bed as your little one grows. Some cots now convert into toddler beds. Great sustainable thinking, and saves you buying a bed in a couple of years time!

We didn’t have room for the main cot at the side of the bed in our bedroom, so we bought a Chicco Next to Me Cot. This meant that i could lower the side and pull baby over when I was breastfeeding at night. And the see through panel was great for through the night checking. It had a carry bag that made it a perfect travel cot for our holidays in the UK in the first year or so.

2. A Car Seat That Fits On Your Pram

If you do plan on having a car seat, it is worth getting a pram that has adapters to fit a car seat onto it. Now, I could talk forever about ISO-fix types. My main tip would be to actually take your car to where you buy your iso-fix and carseat and try one in before you buy it, to make sure it fits.We again bought a pram from the Mamas and Papas factory shop, a basic Sola2 model, but bought separate adaptors to fit a cabriofix car seat.

We rarely used the original seat that came with the pram until E got a little bit bigger. And we NEVER needed a bassinet fixture. In fact, another friend had paid for a bassinet bundle with her pram system AND NEVER USED IT! Unless you know that you are going to be going out in the really cold weather on foot a lot in those first few months then it just isn’t going to get used.

Again, I would advise you to never buy a used car seat. You can never be sure that it hasn’t been in an accident. Even a small crack can render the seat unusable. And they do have expiry dates, usually 6 years from the date of manufacture. Some have a label with this on. Yes, this goes against my sustainable living, but some things are not worth risking.

3. Muslin Burp Cloths

It is a universally recognised fact that you can never have enough muslin cloths. You will be permanently attached to one for the next year and maybe longer. Some of the bigger ones can be used as swaddling cloths when your baby is very little. We had them in all colours, but some like these were my favourites as they were massive! I’m planning to make reusable kitchen roll with them now E has grown out of needing them!

4. A Digital Ear Thermometer

A friend had twins a few months before E was born, and one of the twins got meningitis in the first few weeks. She had one of the cheap little mouth/under arm thermometers at first and she said that they were rubbish. I had to agree when E got her first fever. The cheap thermometers just don’t do a good enough job. So I would definitely recommend an ear thermometer. Ours has been fabulous throughout E having her troubles with sleep apnoea. We have had this one over 2 years now (and I’ve never bought replacement ear coverings for it, I just reuse as long as possible).

5. A Changing Mat Downstairs

We are lucky enough to have plenty of room downstairs, so we had a second changing station on our dining room station, with a second changing mat, nappies and wipes to hand. Plus spare clothes for those moments when leakage inevitably happens! It also saved me going up the stairs for the first few weeks after my c-section.

6. A  baby monitor

Now this is up to you, but I thought this a vital bit of kit. I knew that I wanted a visual link, but you could just have sound if you are ok with that. Again, if someone passes you one down, then brilliant, but I wouldn’t bother with the all singing all dancing whistles and bells of the ones with baby mats. It sounded to me like they kept going off just if baby moved too much, or off the mat. We bought this one, and I used it until E had her tonsils and adenoids out this last September, so it was worth it for my peace of mind.

As a fun aside, it has a night vision camera that we used to get some really fun images from!

Ultimate Guide To What You Need As A New Parent I think she had worked out that she was being watched!
7. A Breastfeeding Pillow

I was lucky, a friend gave me her old one, which was washed and used so much! Not only for the brief time that I was breastfeeding, but in the weeks/months afterwards when I was suffering pain with what turned out to be Adhesions After A C-Section. It was used for tummy time for E in the first few months. And then used again to prop E up when she was learning to sit up. It was used in one capacity or another for a good year! This one has a removable cover, which is for the best, believe me!

Ultimate Guide To What You Need As A New Parent - E on pillow

8. A Baby Play Mat

Again, I bought one mat like the one below second hand, and was given another by a friend. I used one both upstairs and downstairs, and E loved them. They were pretty much her home for 6 months. I attached all sorts to the overhead bars.


9. Some lovely baby items

It does go without saying that it is lovely to be gifted some pretty new items for your new baby. I was lucky to be given some beautiful things.

The Baby Hamper Company have some wonderful baby hamper ideas for gifts for new parents and their babies.

10. Baby safety gear

This goes without saying. Do buy stair gates and door gates. Do buy a fireguard if you need one. Lock cupboards  and use door stoppers to prevent baby trapping their fingers.

But don’t use socket covers! They are actually dangerous in the UK. Read this article on why. Or watch this.

11. Some TLC.

At the end of the day, all I really NEEDED in that first few weeks was coffee, a rich palm-oil free hand cream for my chapped hands with all the washing, and a free hour of me-time. Maybe you can offer this to your mummy with a newborn? Download my voucher template

A Rose Tinted Gift Voucher


Things that we really loved, but are by no means ‘Vital’

1. Our Gro-Egg Room Thermometer

We really loved having one of these, as it gave us the peace of mind that the room was not too hot or too cold for  E to sleep in. It changes colour depending on the temperature, red if way hot, orange if too warm, blue if too cold, and yellow if just right. You can see at a glance that it is a good temperature. It serves as a lovely nightlight too.

2. A Nappy Bin with Sealed liners.

Now, in a perfect world I would say that I went fully organic with washable nappies and liners. I was actually passed down some to try by my friend. Tots Bots are a bamboo material nappy that you put a liner paper inside (for poo) and a plastic outer layer over the top (to keep the wee in)

I just found them difficult to use if I was away from home. What do you do with a bag of stinky stuff all day? Plus the soaking and extra washing created. Is it really so good?

So… sorry. I’ve done disposable nappies mostly. And of course you need a bin.

We chose the Tommee Tippee Sangenic Tech bin. It seals in all the smells, and is really convenient. But then I was a bit shocked both at the cost of refills for the cartridges, and the fact that the cartridges would be wasted. Eeek. So I looked around for an alternative. Turns out that there is a refillable liner material for the cartridges that you can do at home, So I have bought this. In 3 years I’ve only needed 2 rolls. And it works a treat without the need to buy new cartridges each time.

3. Our Ewan Dream Sheep

Babies tend to fall asleep with white noise. We learnt this early on. It did work with E, so we bought a Ewan. He has 4 settings of noise. One is a harp tune that I will never be able to hear without getting the warm fuzzies as I’m reminded of our baby days.

Things That You Really Do Not Need

1. Lots of clothes up to 6 months

My little one really only wore sleep suits and vests for the first 6 months. I stupidly bought some lovely little outfits, and was given some absolutely beautiful things. But they just don’t get worn enough before babies grow out of them. So maybe a couple of lovely outfits, or just all-in ones.

2. Pram Shoes

Again, a total waste of money. Yes, they look lovely with the outfits, but just not worth having. However, do buy socks, and I recommend Sock Ons to keep them on, for they will forever be being pulled off again!

3. An Expensive High Chair

Some of them can be over £150! But the best one IMO is the IKEA  Antelop. With a padded insert at first.

4. A Bumbo or sit up chair.

I bought one second hand from FB market place as I wasn’t sure how much use it would get. I paid £15 rather than the £30-40 they are in shops. It didn’t really get much use. Wasn’t worth the full price for me.

5. A Formula Machine.

You may have seen these ‘prep’ machines on the market that make formula up for you quickly from powder. A bit like a baby coffee maker. Well , I was all for buying one until my midwife told me that they were not safe due to the water not getting hot enough to kill all the bugs in the powder. You can make your own mind up but I’d rather not risk it.

6. A Swing or a baby rocker chair.

If you get given one, then again, do accept it. But E didn’t really like being in a baby chair, and wasn’t too keen on the swing given to me by my brother. They aren’t really a necessity, and can be really expensive.

She much preferred it when she was able to get in a proper baby jungle bouncer, like the one below.

7. A Cot Bumper set.

Again, these can be dangerous. They are a suffocation and strangulation hazard. Read here why.

So, I hope that you have taken some useful information from my ultimate guide to what you need as a new parent. Have I missed anything out that you think is important? Do let me know in the comments below, or get in touch on social media.

Here is a great guide for gifts for new mums.

Why not pin me for later?

Ultimate Guide To What You Need As A New Parent

Enjoyed this? Then why not read My Birth Story

or Pregnant at 43 , Being an Older Mum





25 Replies to “Ultimate Guide To What You Need As A New Parent – & What You Don’t!”

  1. Emma Dowey says:

    this is a fab list. i second all the essentials and this time round im getting a next to me crib. a change mat downstairs was essential def. I used to keep a basket with nappies/wipes/cream etc too. we loved Ewan but yeah not essential. Never found the gro egg useful. waste of money really. always was on red lol. And yep, things you def dont need – bumbo on my list too. useless! We did use our baby bouncer A LOT tho! #KCACOLS

    1. Jo Boyne says:

      Thank you! We didn’t have a basket for the nappies wipes and creams, but I did make a fabric bag to keep things in.

    1. Jo Boyne says:

      That’s a very good point. I will say I always keep a good supply of double-A and AAA in the house now!

  2. Fiona Cambouropoulos says:

    What a helpful guide, you have to have been there to know. I think a baby bath was the main think I bought and wished I hadn’t. The baby gym on the other hand was great #KCACOLS and #Globalblogging

    1. Jo Boyne says:

      I think people are on the fence about baby baths. My LO loved hers and we used to bath her in her baby bath inside the real bath. But lots of people like the sit up chair you can put in the bath itself. So I didn’t dare to list it at all!

  3. Louise (Little Hearts, Big Love) says:

    That’s a great list and I would agree with most of them. We had a stand for our pram bassinet and it mostly got used as a downstairs Moses basket for all three children – I can count on one hand the number of times I used it with the buggy wheels outside. I found the breastfeeding pillow useful with my eldest but barely used it with my other two. The swing is an essential item for us though – all three of mine have loved being rocked to sleep in it and it’s been very useful in keeping them safe in one corner of my kitchen while I cook dinner. #AnythingGoes

    1. Jo Boyne says:

      We got leant a moses basket. Again, E grew out of the moses basket in about 2 months, so to have bought one would have been a bit crazy!

  4. Lana says:

    This is a great list! I think I bought way more than I actually needed for my first. I know it is out of nerves and just wanting to be prepared when it is your first. This is such a help for first-time mommies and daddies. 🙂 #KCACOLS

    1. Jo Boyne says:

      Thank you. I sold so much on eBay, but still have things in the attic. Such a shame!

  5. Mrs Mummy Harris says:

    What a fab list of items! Me and hubby actually discussed finding alternatives for the nappy bin liners as with twins and a toddler not potty trained we go through them like anything. We’ve currently decided a 35p bag of 300 nappy sacks which we also use for cat poo is the perfect replacement. we can fit 2 or 3 nappies in each and store them in the bins as per usual.
    We’ve found the prep machine a life saver – the twins are so gutsy and have no patience for food and when they go off in unison it is enough to make you realise its a must have with them around haha!
    Thank you for sharing this with us at #TriumphantTales. I hope to see you back next week.

    1. Jo Boyne says:

      Thank you so much for reading. We are hopefully soon to be at the end of our nappy days, though she is taking quite a while to come round to the idea!

  6. chickenruby says:

    A baby bouncer was my best gift when I had my first child and he slept in the cot i used as a baby. I’d also recommend a baby bath as an essential as it means you can wash the baby standing up in the kitchen rather than leaning over a bath #triumphanttales

  7. Briony says:

    Great list, it’s easy to get carried away isn’t it. We barely used our Bumbo either, L just didn’t like it. But we couldn’t have got by without our little bouncy chair, he adored it. Kids are funny little things. Though out of everything we had I would say we got the most use our of our travel cot. We do travel a lot, so useful for that and it came so many places, even on a boat! Then it had different and unexpected uses, like housing the Christmas tree and gifts one year to protect from prying hands, or as a safe place when we had builders in and I needed to be able to leave him for a few minutes to check up on things. #TwinklyTuesday

    1. Jo Boyne says:

      Thank you for reading. It really was so easy to just buy up the shop when I was pregnant!

  8. Nicole - Tales from Mamaville says:

    Great post Jo, having been there and done that I can vouch for all you have put down.
    Getting things with limited usage second-hand saves a lot of money. And I couldn’t agree more on the tip about having an extra changing station and play-mat downstairs too – or else you’ll be up and down all day! Thanks for sharing this useful post with #itsok

  9. Musings of a tired mummy...zzz... says:

    I bought so many things for my firstborn that I didn’t need. I wish I’d spent more on the things I really needed, especially as I got to use them for the next 2 babies and my niece and nephew! Thanks for linking up with #globalblogging

    1. Jo Boyne says:

      We bought far too much! But luckily I have either been able to pass things on, or sell what I didn’t use.

  10. Laura - Mummy Lauretta says:

    This is a really helpful guide for new parents. Great you have the government/NHS guidance in there too. Thanks so much for linking up at #KCACOLS. Hope you come back again next time.

  11. Theresa Huse says:

    Great picks. I wish they had baby monitors when my kids were little. It’s funny how you think you need so much yet can get by with much less + love 😉 Thanks for sharing at the inspiration spotlight party @dearcreatives See you again soon.


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