There are plenty of lists available that will tell you everything you need for newborn babies – from ten pairs of mittens to gripe water and thermometers. Much of what you’ll use in the end depends really on your baby, and what works for them. That said, there are some little newborn luxuries and essentials that I didn’t leave the house without in those first months, and that I would advise all new mummies to have.
From top to bottom:
Baby Socks – very few pairs of baby socks will stay on your newborn’s tiny feet, and you’ll spend more time putting socks back on than you’d like to admit. These are actually from a certain discount supermarket (whisper it), but they are sweet colours, perfect for boys and girls, lovely soft cotton, and they have never, ever fallen off my baby. (£1.99 for a pack of five)
Baby Vests – you will have a myriad of sleepsuits, babygrows, rompers etc to dress your little one in, but under all that you’ll need to keep them warm, or cool – depending on the weather. As newborn sizing can vary so much, I found these simple little vests without poppers the most use. They were great in the hot sticky months after Munchkin was born and were also invaluable under her sleepsuits in the winter. They still fit her now and she’s ten month’s old, but they were also perfect when she was just a few days old. (£4 for a pack of two)
Baby Cardigan – if you don’t have a helpful grandmother/auntie/in-law who is already knitting like mad, then beg, borrow or steal a wool cardigan for your little one. I used a tiny white knitted cardigan for months after Munchkin was born, they go with everything, are lovely and soft and so warm. There’s usually someone in your family who will be able to knit you one, but if not, you can often find unused ones in charity shops, or even try asking a friend who has more knitted items than she needs.I would have happily lent some of mine to anyone who needed them.
Terry Towelling Nappies – my mother insisted that I buy a pack of these when we did our big ‘baby shop.’ “You can’t have a baby without having some,” she said. “Even if you don’t use them as nappies. You will use them for something.” How right she was. I use them everyday, and still do, all over the house. They provided a soft, clean liner for the changing mat – the one downstairs and the one upstairs – were a super-absorbent solution for spillages and leakages, and I even safety-pinned them around Munchkin’s little bottom a few times before her bath when I didn’t want to waste another nappy. In fact, I used them so much, a few weeks after Munchkin was born, I bought another pack. Just saying… (£8 for a pack of eight)
Large Muslins – these muslins are the one present I give to all new mummies if I can. I couldn’t have survived without them in the early days and I still smile when I see them in our washing basket now as they are such a reminder of Munchkin’s first weeks. A pack of four large muslins with beautifully-designed giraffes, elephants, monkeys and birds, these muslins can be used as blankets, swaddles, rugs, cloths, mops, scarves, modesty covers, sheets etc. They’re not especially cheap, but they are worth every single penny. (Aden & Anais Muslins, £44.95 for four)
Baby Blanket – this was a present from Munchkin’s grandmother and is one of my most precious items. The exact same beautiful shawl as Prince George came home in from hospital, it is made by G.H Hurt & Son in their workshop in Nottingham, where they have been crafting beautiful silk and merino wool shawls for over a century. Soft as butter, not too thick but big enough to scoop the baby up in, we used it every day for a about three months, and still use it sometimes now. (Super-fine Merino Wool Christening Shawl, £48)
Breastfeeding Apron – if you’re hoping to breastfeed, you’ll need something for a bit of modesty when you’re out and about. Those early days of breastfeeding when you’re trying to get the baby to latch can take some time to get sorted, so something that allows you to faff around in public without offending anyone’s ‘delicate’ sensibilites is rather useful. This amazing apron has a rigid scooped top which means you can cover yourself and your baby, but still look down to see them while they’re feeding. It’s easy to throw over your head with one hand, and made life a lot easier for me in those early days. (Bebe au Lait Nursing Cover, from £30)