If you’re expecting a baby, then chances are that you have a long shopping list of must-buy essentials that you need to get before your little one makes his or her debut appearance.  Even if it’s not your first, there are only so many things that can be handed down from an older sibling and you’ll need to be making a list of what you need to buy in readiness for the great day.

Shopping for a newborn baby can be quite an expensive activity – there are so many fab baby clothes available and we all want our baby to look cute from the get go.  However, as well as all those beautiful clothes, you’ll need to buy baby equipment too and when you see the prices of some of the stuff you can be forgiven for doing a double take.  If you’re shopping for baby and your budget is limited (as is most people’s in the current economic climate), then don’t despair – lots of the fancy stuff really isn’t essential.  After all, parents have been having babies throughout history and most of the baby equipment available has only been designed over the past 20 to 30 years, so lots of the stuff is not particularly essential.

Shopping for baby clothes can be great fun and there are bound to be outfits that you buy on impulse just because they are so cool.  Here’s a list of the real essentials that you’ll need ready for baby:


  • 6 – 8 vests – get the ones that button under the nappy, they won’t ride up and make baby’s back or stomach cold.
  • 6 – 8 babygrows/onesies – whatever you call them, these are the most practical clothes for a tiny baby, especially during the first couple of months.  An all in one of this type will keep baby warm at all times and dressing baby will be much easier due to the number of poppers!  If possible get the ones with a fold-over mitten feature on the sleeves, these will double as gloves when you’re out in the cold.
  • All in one pram suit (if you’re having a winter baby, this will need to be quilted, especially if you intend walking with baby in a buggy or pram, rather than driving with baby in a car seat).
  • 2 – 3 cardigans – either knitted or cotton, these provide extra warmth during the day when baby is out of the cot or being handed round by adoring relatives.
  • 2 – 3 hats/caps – either knitted or cotton, you need to make sure baby’s head is warm when you’re out and about.


  • 4 – 6 Cot sheets (cotton)
  • 2 shawls/cotton blankets to wrap baby in whilst you’re feeding him.
  • 2 – 3 cot blankets
  • 2 – 3 hooded baby towels for after the bath
  • 2 soft flannels for washing
  • 12 muslin cloths for burping/wiping/using as a bib (these will protect your shoulder from baby spitting up after a feed too).

If you intend using disposable nappies, stock up with a few packs of the newborn size of different brands while you work out which suit you best – don’t forget baby will soon grow out of this newborn size, so don’t get too many!

If you want to use cloth nappies, then take a look at our article on ‘real’ nappies and some of the innovative solutions available nowadays.

Don’t forget that your baby will grow at a surprising rate during the first few months so you’ll need to be buying new clothes on a fairly regular basis.  Get in touch with other local expectant parents to organise or join in swap meets which can save you a pretty penny.  Nowadays, there are plenty of parent’s groups on Facebook – these have been set up not just to network and exchange advice and experiences, but also to sell or swap clothes and equipment.  Whether the groups/pages you join are local or national, you’ll find some great bargains – payments are often made through Paypal and then the clothes are posted once the payment has cleared.

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