The 17 things every parent of a baby needs.


Nicola and her baby, Maddie.




It’s funny how much one person’s list of essential baby items can vary from another’s. I remember once being asked by a pregnant friend if she had to have one of those ‘baby on board’ signs on the back of her car… by law.

Another friend was determined to use only cloth nappies, while a neighbour swore by the dummy from day one. For me it was singlets. I grew up with a mother who fostered babies – I was the youngest of six and from the age of two I watched my mother take in baby after baby and expertly nurture and care for them. One of the many things I learnt from her was that babies always wore singlets under their clothes.

It didn’t occur to me that this was personal choice; I thought it was a rule – that is until my sister noticed my seven month old wearing a singlet under her top in the middle of summer and gave me a quizzical look. “Nicola,” she said, “It’s 42 degrees, why is she in layers?”

Creating a list for such a subjective topic is therefore a difficult task, yet over my years as both a mum and the daughter of a mother who looked after almost 50 babies, I feel I’ve gained a few tips worth sharing.

Just as an FYI, you should know that this post is sponsored by Big W. But all opinions expressed by the author are 100% authentic and written in their own words.

The big-ticket items:

1. A stroller.

You definitely need these big ticket items. Dymples stroller available at Big W.

Keep the following questions in mind: Will you be trekking across rough parklands or smooth sailing through the shops? Do you want to be able to jog with it? Will you be lifting it in and out of the car constantly? And will it fold small enough to fit into your car? Choose wisely!

2. A cot.

Yes, yes, I know – it’s a revolutionary suggestion isn’t it? Ha. But here is my advice on cots:
Don’t get drawn in by that hand-carved, antique masterpiece that you saw in a boutique store. Because you’re angelic cherub will be sick on it. They’ll start teething and they’ll gnaw on the sides. Stick with something basic and comfy. Go for value-for-money, rather than fancy-shmancy.


3. A car seat.

Of course, you know that safety is paramount. Stick with well-known brands and compare ratings before you buy.

4. A change table.

Similar to the cot, this doesn’t have to be an amazing contraption. It’s simply somewhere comfortable to change your baby with ease.

5. A high chair.

We started off with a high chair that looked a bit like a business class plane seat. It was impossible to clean and within a few months we’d traded it for a neutral highchair that could be wiped down in 30 seconds flat.

The smaller things:

1. Nappies.

Oh so many nappies. You ALWAYS need more than you think.

2. Wipes.

Oh so many wipes. Just find the brand that’s best for your baby’s delicate little bum – and then be prepared to carry a pack of wipes in your handbag for the Rest. Of. Your. Life.

3. Nappy cream.

Similar to wipes, you need to find the one that works best for your baby’s skin type.
Nappy sacks.

Even with my kids out of nappies now, I still carry a pack because they come in handy for a wet pair of undies after a toilet-training accident.

You WILL need clothes, the simpler the better! Dymples range available at Big W.

4. Clothing.

The simpler the better. Designer baby clothes can look cute, but they’re rarely practical. Give me a drawer full of plain gro-suits any day.

5. Formula & bottles.

Of course not everyone will need formula, but for those who choose not to breastfeed or perhaps have difficulties with it, it’s important to find the right brand of formula to suit your baby’s tummy.


6. Plastic containers.

For freezing pre-cooked mashed up veggies, or storing cut up fruit snacks.

7. Bibs.

Especially for the dribbly teething stage.

8. Books.

Because it’s never too early to start enjoying story time with your baby

9. Thermometer.

Most parents can tell if their child has a temp, but it can be reassuring to confirm or deny those concerns.

10. Cloths for spills.

I’ve always found square cloth nappies are perfect to throw over your shoulder when you’re burping the baby.

11. Sunscreen.

Roll-on sunscreen can be handy for wriggling limbs and scrunched up faces.

12. Toys.

Toys for the car, toys for home, toys for the bath. Distraction toys for when you need to finish that phone call or bargaining toys to get your keys back from the toddler.

The above list is far from comprehensive – when you get into the specifics of what’s needed, that list is kind of endless. But these are just a few of the essentials that will help you and your little one feel relaxed, happy and comfortable.

Have we missed anything? What could you not live without when your baby turned one?

And just because they are adorable, here’s a gallery of celeb babies turning one this year – whose parents have hopefully ticked everything off this list. 

All featured products available at Big W.

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