LEIGH'S LIST: 'First-time mum here! What are the baby essentials I actually need?'

Welcome to Leigh's List. A weekly column, a bit like an agony aunt, but for your shopping woes. A self-confessed shopping addict, Leigh Campbell enjoys nothing more than hunting down the *thing* you've been searching for but haven't been able to find.

Pamela asked:

I'm having my first child in about four months. 

I've fallen down a Google rabbit hole and the list of things we need to get is growing, I'm so overwhelmed. What did you actually use/need when you had your boy? Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. 

Thank you for your weekly lists!

Watch: The horoscopes as new mums. Post continues after video.

Video via Mamamia.

Leigh answered:

Ahhh, congratulations! Such an exciting time. Also, an expensive one! I've only had a baby once, and what is essential to one mum is likely to be optional to another. So, this list is a personal reflection of what we got great use out of in the first year of parenting.

Firstly, you'll need a pram, a car seat if you drive, and a sleeping situation (either a bassinet or a cot). My suggestion is to go into one of those big baby stores like Baby Bunting for those as you'll want to touch/feel and push the pram around to give it a spin. That's what we did, and it was super helpful.


Another tip I learned is that the shops are still open once the baby is here, so don't feel pressure to get every single thing before they arrive. If the need arises for something you hadn't thought of (for me it was a breast pump because we had latching issues), a friend can pop out and get it for you. 

Nappies and wipes are also a personal choice, but I suggest starting to stock up during your weekly grocery shops from now on so you have a stash ready to go without noticing the price too much. 

Here's the rest of my must-haves:

A poo bin

Image: Tommee Tippee.


I hadn't even heard of these until someone gave me one at my baby shower. It's a small bin specifically for dirty nappies that traps in odours by individually sealing each nappy with the twist and lock lid. Genius. I had the Tommee Tippee one.

Stretchy swaddles

Image: Bubba Blue Australia.

Lots of swaddles are lightweight muslin, but I found they unravelled really easily. Instead, I bought a bunch of stretchy jersey ones, sort of like a T-shirt material. Much easier to burrito your baby for a snug fit, which they generally enjoy the feeling of as it mimics the womb. Bubba Blue Organic is a great brand.


Onesies with zips

Image: Bonds.

I bought so many cute newborn clothes, and now looking back I just laugh at myself. Hot tip: babies don't need jeans. Onesies with a zip are pretty much all my son wore for the first four months. Zips are much better than press-studs, they make it super easy to undo from the bottom to change the nappy and then do back up, especially at 2am when it's dark and you're exhausted. Bonds have a massive range.


Bottle dryer

Image: Baby Bunting.

I didn't have a great breastfeeding experience, so my son was exclusively formula fed after a few months. But even if you breastfeed and express, you'll find a bottle dryer really handy. We still use it now for my son's water bottles. We used the Boon Grass Drying Rack.

Bottle bag

Image: Baby Bunting.


A bottle bag is super handy to have when you're out and about, regardless of if it's formula or breastmilk. They're insulated and zip shut, so if there happens to be a spill it won't go all through your baby bag. I loved the Bilbi Baby Bottle Bag. Because my baby was on formula, I also used the Pigeon Powdered Milk Container for portioned formula, which also fit in the bottle bag.

Bath seat

Image: Baby Bunting.


A baby seat is super handy when bathing a baby, especially a slippery newborn who needs neck support. You pop it in the bath, then fill the big bath with water, before putting your baby in the seat. We used Angelcare Bath Support, which came highly recommended. Another tip is a warm wet face washer on baby's chest so they feel comforted and not too cold. A bath thermometer is also a great idea. 

Cradle cap solution

Image: Mustela.


Newborns go through a 'baby acne' stage, followed closely by a flaky scalp or cradle cap. Our paediatrician gave us advice that worked a treat. Mustela Cradle Cap Cream soothes any itchiness or tightness and gently helps lift away the cradle cap, plus it rarely returns.

Teething toys

Image: Sophie/Munch Mitt/Baby Einstein.


You'll probably be gifted many of the iconic Sophie teething toys. I thought I had way too many, but teething babies are also learning to use their reflexes, so often fling things out of the pram onto the footpath, so having a few was a blessing. A Munch Mitt is also handy if your baby puts their hands in their mouth a lot to self-sooth. A teething toy that lives in the freezer (we used the Baby Einstein Teether) is particularly helpful when they're in pain, as the cold is soothing.

Want to find out more baby essentials? Listen to This Glorious Mess below.

Interested in Leigh doing some personal shopping for you? Let us know in the comments what fashion mission you'd like to send her on.

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Feature Image: Supplied/Baby Bunting/Mamamia.

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