A while ago I decided to casually stroll into a baby store – one of those supermarket-style retailers that has everything from books to burp cloths, prams and pacifiers. My instant reaction was a mild panic attack – how could one small human require so much?Completely overwhelmed, I left the store without a single thing.
Here’s where my mind’s at: I don’t think we need half the stuff that gets marketed to new moms. And I don’t think it’s necessary to stock a nursery like an emergency bomb-shelter. I am sure there are some must-haves, and some luxuries, and then there’s the clutter that will only add to the chaos of a new baby.
As a soon-to-be new mom, I want to know what I really need – the bare baby essentials. And who knows better than other new moms? So I reached out to a couple of my friends who recently had babies to ask for their top must-haves. Here’s what they suggested. (PS: Get ready to update that babyshower wish list).
Rolanda Marais, Actress and mom of Charlotte
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I love the Pure Beginnings products, especially the wipes because they’re biodegradable. It helps to relieve the environmental conscience, and they smell so good! Their baby wash is equally wonderful. When Charlotte was very little I used wipes that were formulated for sensitive skin until I was sure she wasn’t going to react. That made me feel easier.
Bepanthen is best for sensitized bums – it treats and protects.
Ashton & Parsons teething powder is a must – you never know when the first teeth will start to bother and it’s best to be prepared. Babies love it, and it’s harmless so you don’t have to worry about side-effects
Angel Care Baby Monitor: Thank goodness for this! Even though we slept in the same room as Charlotte for 9 months, this monitor gave us peace of mind when we had friends over or were watching TV in the living room.
Natura Rescue Remedy: It’s good for mom and for kiddo. I regularly used this on myself and sometimes even on baby’s dummy.
Noo Noo Pie Baby Wrap: It was wonderful having Charlotte close to me all the time, but still having my hands free.
A good baby bag that’s big enough for everything and then some.
A nightlight so that you can see what you’re doing without waking the baby.
Something that carries your smell. I slept with a soft toy for a few days after her birth so that it smelt like me. A baby’s sense of smell is heightened shortly after birth and this really calms them while they’re sleeping. It’s also a good idea to avoid perfume during the first few months, and perhaps ask friends to avoid strong fragrances when they come to visit.
Bailey Schneider, Radio DJ and mom to George
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My number one baby item is the Granny Goose Nurture One Cushion! I found that my newborn absolutely loved sleeping on it, plus it made it really easy to transfer him comfortably… so if he was sleeping in the pram, in the Nurture One, I could transfer him easily, by picking up the pillow and placing it in the cot / bassinet. It also helped with tummy time and even breastfeeding.
Ewan the Dream Sheep is so lovely! It has four sounds: The sound of the womb, a heart beat, and 2 white noise options. It’s just so soothing for your little one and adorable too.
A Love Bunny. It’s so soft and the best thing for a sleeping aid. I put his bunny in his cot right from the beginning, without fail, and it took him a little while but now he LOVES his Bunny – it’s his sleeping aid, he plays with the ears or cuddles it. PS. You will be jealous of the cuddles your little one gives Bunny 😉
Telament drops for winds and to soothe sore tummies. You can put a few drops on babies dummy, or on your pinky finger and administer.
Baby Bjorn! It is wonderful to wear your baby and incredibly handy to be hands-free
The Valco Ultra Snap Pram. I love how it is so light and compact (it fits perfectly in my MINI Countryman boot), whilst being incredibly stylish. It is so practical with the sun canopy that completely closes, plus it lies completely flat too for naps.
The Doona Carseat/Pram. It is AMAZING! It converts from car seat into a pram and vice versa making it a dream for traveling. We could never have done as much as traveling without it.
Jeankelly Leather nappy bag. I actually have the leather Jeankelly 2 Pocket bag plus the Jeankelly Leather Backpack and they have both been used so much. I love Jeankelly’s leather, quality and the pram clips, so you can clip it to the pram you have. The backpack was handy for traveling and the 2 pocket bag feels like a modern shopper!
The Lansinoh Double Breast Pump. I expressed milk for 9 months, every 3 –4 hours around the clock. I never made enough breastmilk to ever put a drop in the fridge. The little milk I made was enough for his next feed (and I still often had to top up with a little bit of formula). It was exhausting to express around the clock, but rewarding for a healthy baby! That pump certainly got used to it’s max and I never had any problems.
PS. I tried the Medela breast pump too – to see what the big hype was, since it is much more expensive than the Lansinoh, and I preferred the Lansinoh!
Baby Bullet. You won’t need it for at least 5 months, but it’s so good to have when you’re ready to introduce baby to solids. I have a Nutribullet, so I didn’t think I’d need the Baby bullet, but I’m so glad I got it. It really blends and purees smooth and I love the little containers it comes with, plus the date indictors on the containers, so you know when you put them in the fridge/freezer!
Jenna McArthur, Blogger and mom to Noa
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Swaddle, swaddle, swaddle! I adore the Love To Dream Original Swaddle. It has an arms up design which replicates baby’s behaviour in the womb by allowing a natural hands up position and movement of hands to mouth to self-soothe.
Baby carrying is an absolute must – Noa sleeps so beautifully on me while I get things done! The Noo Noo Pie wrap carrier is amazing for newborns – it keeps them snug and tight against your body. I also love my Wildling sling – its made from 100% cotton and the colours and design are beautiful. When Noa is bigger I cannot wait to use my Artipoppe carrier – can we have a moment for the leopard print? This one’s good to go from 6 months!
My husband and I researched and tried and tested many strollers – (he’s a real nerd like that) and we are so happy with our Bugaboo Cameleon. Its so versatile, easy to use and if you know me you will know that design is as important to me as function. The bassinet is so lovely to newborn. I review the Bugaboo HERE.
Investing in a nursing chair is so important. You spend hours in your nursery feeding your little one and comfort really is key. Baby Belle is amazing when it comes to stylish but super comfortable furniture for your nursery and you can customise your pieces.
The Nurture One Nesting Cushion is a game changer. Noa slept in hers from day one – it regulates body temperature, reduces stress, assists in sustaining good sleeping patterns, allows smoother transition from breast / bottle to crib, provides a sense of calm and security that they felt in the womb and stimulates their sensory development. Its an absolute must to settle your little one.
I love my sheepskin – its great for starting baby on tummy time and it has such amazing benefits for baby including better sleep, help reduce the chance of skin conditions and asthma, its a natural comforter, and also a good insulator. (Don’t use in a crib, it’s for play and tummy time only). Check out Baaa Sheepskins or Baby Couture.
Dr Brown bottles – if you bottle feed or express go with Dr Brown bottles. If you have a gassy, windy baby, Dr Brown bottles are the especially great! They are known to reduce colic, spit up, burping and gas, proven to help preserve bottle milk nutrients and has an internal vent system to control flow so baby feeds at their own pace.
I really love the gentleness of Mustela baby skincare products on your little one. The Massage oil is my absolute best – we give Noa her massage every night after her bath and it relaxes her and makes her sleep better. Mustela contains 95% naturally derived ingredients and best addresses the changes in the delicate skin of newborns. I’m obsessed with this product.
The best thing for sleep time is a dark room, calm atmosphere and white noise. Ewan the Dream Sheep has actual womb and heartbeat recordings combined with either a vacuum cleaner, rain or harp sound. We use it at home and out and about.
When you’re on the go and the dummy goes wondering you will definitely need the dummy sterilizer wipes they are life savers. The all natural Nuby wipes are great.
Karien Viljoen, Teacher and mom to Christiaan
(Karien’s mom is also a nurse and breastfeeding coach, so I definitely rate her opinion on these matters).
A proper dummy – Avent dummies is what most babies preferred in baby gym class). For me a dummy is better than a thumb because it’s easier to wean them off it later on. Get one dummy only at first because not all babies take to a dummy.
A great pram with a car seat. And get a mirror with it, which will allow you to watch baby while you’re driving. Get a pram that’s easy to fold – it’s difficult enough to travel with a baby.
A reliable baby monitor (we got a breathing plate as well). Most first-time moms are paranoid about cot death and this really eased my mind. You can also get diaper clips that monitor breathing.
A nice breast pump. If you’re a working mom like me, you’re going to want a quick and efficient breast pump. I got a new, silicone hands-free breast pump, which is amazing because I can pump while I’m driving to work. I also have a Medela electric breast pump, which works brilliantly.
Microwave bottle sterilizer. It’s quick and easy to use – a must for me.
Breast milk storage containers. I got Nuk and Avent storage bottles. They are BPA-free and can go in the freezer.
A proper nappy bag. Look for one with plenty of compartment bags.
A changing table that’s high enough. Changing diapers can be a back-breaking story. Don’t waste money on a compactum, get a table you can use again later on. We got one that’s long enough to accommodate a baby bath and a changing mat.
Large swaddling blankets. Little ones quickly outgrow these and they might wake up when their arms come loose from the blanket. My child’s nickname is Houdini, he manages to wriggle loose no matter how tightly I wrap him.
A car seat base. It makes life so much easier and safer!
Do you have any products you can recommend? Pop them in the comments section below, I’d love to hear from you!