What you need to know

  • Before you go shopping, it’s a good idea to talk to other parents about what you’ll actually need in those first few months.
  • There are ways you can save money on baby essentials.

When you walk into a baby shop, it’s hard to know where to start – and where to stop! There are some things you need to get in preparation for your baby’s arrival, but before you go shopping, it’s a good idea to talk to other parents about what you’ll actually need in those first few months.

Here’s a simple checklist to help you remember all the essentials.

Baby essentials checklist

Essential items for your baby




Baby wipes


Nappy rash cream


Soft baby towels and facecloths


Muslin cloths


Round-tipped nail scissors




Changing mat


Useful items for your baby


Portable changing mat


Baby bath


Baby monitor


Safety equipment, such as gates, child-resistant locks and catches, stove guard and door knob covers


Toys and books


Essential transport items


Baby car seat – you’ll likely need this to get home from the hospital


Pram or stroller – this can be one of the most expensive things you’ll buy, so ask to try the strollers friends or whānau have. It’s most important that the stroller or pram you choose opens and closes easily, and that it’s safe.


Useful transport items


Baby carrier


Pram/stroller rain cover and sun protector shade


Car window shade


Essential furniture items


A safe place for your baby to sleep - bassinet, cot, wahakura, or Pēpi-Pod® and fitted mattress


At least two sets of baby bedding (sheets, blankets) – cotton, because it’s breathable


Useful furniture


Comfortable feeding chair


Night light


Essential clothing and accessories


Cotton onesies (short-sleeved, long-sleeved, or some of each, depending when your baby is due)


Cardigans or jackets for cold days


Hats (sunhat or warm beanie depending on your baby’s due date)






Useful clothing and accessories


Baby sleeping bag with a fitted neck and armholes


Cute outfits


If breastfeeding:


  • breastfeeding bras and tops


  • breastfeeding support pillow


Feeding essentials


If you plan to bottle-feed your baby expressed breastmilk or formula, you’ll need:


  • four to eight large bottles - you may want to buy the large size, because your baby will soon outgrow the small ones


  • bottle rings and caps


  • ice cube tray or bags to store breast milk


  • teats – these have different sizes for slow flow or faster flow so see which works best for your baby


  • bottle brushes


  • teat brushes


  • steriliser (optional)


  • breast pump (if you plan to pump breast milk) – manual or electric. Some stores hire them out, but you’ll need to buy your own pump kit to attach to the electric pump. It pays to wait until after your baby is born and is breastfeeding well before you buy a pump or kit.


Useful feeding accessories


Feeding pillow


Breast pads or muslin cloths cut into squares



Cost-saving tips for parents-to-be

Here are some ways you can spread or reduce the costs of a new baby.

  • Start buying things like wipes, nappies, soft facecloths and other necessities each time you go grocery shopping. This means you’ll have a stock once your baby arrives. Look for specials and buy in bulk where you can. Remember babies aren’t all born tiny, so buy some larger nappy sizes.
  • Borrow items where you can. You can borrow baby beds like basinettes, Pēpi Pod® or wahakura until your child is too big for them, and then return them. Think about joining a toy library rather than buying lots of toys.
  • Buy second-hand items. Be careful not to buy second-hand car seats and make sure any cots or portacots are safe and have no signs of mildew.
  • If you’re buying new, don’t pay full price - buy bigger more expensive items like strollers, car seats, and cots on special.
  • Babies grow out of clothes really quickly. You may find that other parents you know offer you clothes (and other things like toys and books) their baby has grown out of - take them. You’re helping them make space for the other clothes, toys and books their baby now needs. If you don’t know other parents, you can pick up bulk lots of baby clothes on sites like TradeMe.
  • Newborns don’t need shoes. Warm socks are just fine.
  • If friends want to throw you a baby shower, think about what you need and don’t be afraid to ask for specific things – or simply ask for vouchers so you can buy once you know what you need.