What do I need for my newborn baby – free checklist

Preparing for the arrival of your newborn

With literally thousands of baby products available in stores and online, you’ll find yourself asking “what exactly do I need for my newborn baby?”

In truth- you don’t need a lot for your newborn.

However, there are a few essentials every little one needs. Of course, there are also a few additional items that can really help simplify your parenting journey.

READ MORE: 10 Baby Shower Gift Ideas Every New Mom Needs

We have asked Christine, registered midwife and lactation consultant, to compile a list of must-have items! Christine covers everything: from what you need to pack in your hospital bag right through to breastfeeding and solid food essentials.

ALSO READ: What to expect after giving birth

Click on the link below to download our free newborn baby checklist printable:

Download Free Checklist Now

What do I need for my new baby?

Category Newborn must-haves New baby nice-to-haves
For Labour Day:

Pack these in a separate bag to take into the labour room so that you can easily find what you need

o   All your paperwork for admission – ID documents, medical aid card, etc

o   A camera and batteries, or cell phone chargers

o   A two pin plug (often not available when needed!)

o   Comfortable clothes to labour in; pick a fabric through which your birth partner can easily rub your lower back for pain relief

o   A gown to cover-up if you want to mobilise in labour.

o   A bikini-top if you plan to use a birthing pool

o   Warms socks (many women complain of cold feet)

o   Your own pillow for extra comfort

o   A soft fleece blanket – hospital blankets are heavy and warm.

o   A hair-band or elastics to keep your hair out of your face

o   An exercise ball (if the hospital doesn’t have)

o   Easy-to-sip water bottle

o   Caffeine-free energy drinks and some low GI snacks

o   A wheat-bag to warm – this simple tool can provide wonderful pain relief when held against your lower back or abdomen

o   Lip balm

o   Two face-cloths – one to wipe your face and one for your body

o   A small bag with basic toiletries

o   Linen savers (10)

o   Maternity panties (one pack)

o   Maternity pads

o   Pajamas for after the birth

o   Perineal ice-packs – hand to staff to freeze when you are admitted so that they are ready straight after the birth; condoms filled with water and frozen work very well

o   Homeopathic Arnica tablets – start taking immediately after the birth for bruising and swelling

o   A basic baby bag – 3 clean nappies, buttock cream, a packet of wet-wipes, two soft blankets, warm socks and a hat, and one set of clothing in case mom and baby are separated and immediate skin-to-skin is not possible

o   Music – you will need a playlist and Bluetooth speaker; if you have CD, check with the hospital if they have a CD player

o   Candles – buy electronic ones if the hospital doesn’t allow real flames

o   Some essential oils – use in a burner or in a massage oil

Mom’s Hospital Stay:

Pack for a 2-3 night stay in hospital

o   Easy-to-breastfeed pajamas (3 sets)

o   Breastfeeding bra’s

o   Disposable breast pads

o   Lanolin nipple ointment

o   Linen savers

o   Maternity pads (at least 2 packs; from day 5-7 you can move over to normal sanitary pads)

o   Basic toiletries

o   Coarse salt for perineal sitz baths

o   A spray bottle – mix water with ½ tsp salt and 2-3 drops of tea tree oil to spray your perineal area

o   An outfit to wear when going home

o   Something to read

o   A note-book for jotting down thoughts

o   Music – your labour playlist and Bluetooth speaker may still come in handy to drown-out hospital noises and to help you relax

o   Your own pillow and fleece-blanket from your labour bag

o   A breastfeeding pillow

Baby’s Hospital Stay


o   6 sets of clothing (organise these in separate bags)

o   Four receiver blankets

o   Two fleece blankets

o   Some burp cloths

o   Wet wipes and nappies

o   Gentle skincare products

o   Surgical spirits and cotton wool balls

o   Saline nose drops

o   A small orthodontic soother

o   A baby nail clipper – their nails are often long at birth already

o   An SABS approved car seat for safe travelling from the very first trip

Nursery and Equipment o   A cot or camp-cot

o   A good quality baby mattress

o   A chair/single bed to sit on in the room

o   A pram/travel system

o   A non-slip bath mat

o   A nappy disposal bin (or bucket if you are doing cloth nappies)

o   A night-light

o   A clothes hamper

o   A baby carrier

o   2-4 dummies and 2 dummy chains

o   A changing station at a back-friendly height (alternatively you can use your bed)

o   A carry cot

o   A musical mobile

o   A baby bath (alternatively you can bath baby in a basin or in the family bath)

o   A baby monitor

o   A feeding/rocking chair – choose one with wide armrests so that you have space to also feed a bigger baby; if it can’t recline, get a foot stool.

o   A humidifier and nebuliser 

o   A play mat and some toys

o   A CD-player with some white noise or baby music in the nursery

o   Baby swing or rocker

o   A safety gate for when baby becomes more mobile

Clothing and linen:

This can be difficult to plan as both baby’s size and the weather is difficult to predict. Leave labels on clothes so that you can exchange if necessary.


You will need for each age:

o   6 vests (long and short sleeves)

o   6 babygros (onesies)

o   2 hats

o   4 pairs of socks

o   6 bibs (though you may need more if baby drools a lot)

o   2 warm jackets

o   2-4 warm babygros for colder days and outings (depending on the season)

o   4-6 receiver blankets

o   2 warm fleece blankets

o   1 bigger blanket to use as baby grows older

o   2 mattress protectors

o   2 mattress sheets

o   A baby pillow with two covers

o   2 bath towels

o   6-10 burp cloths (face cloths also work well)

o   A baby mosquito net

o   A breastfeeding pillow

Products and cosmetics


o   Disposable or cloth nappies – you will use on average 5-8 nappies a day

o   Wet wipes

o   Baby bum cream

o   Gentle and if possible natural skincare products – shampoo, baby wash and lotion

o   Baby-friendly laundry detergent

o   Cotton wool balls

o   Nail clipper

o   Baby hair brush

o   Baby-friendly sunscreen

o   Baby-friendly mosquito repellent

Baby Feeding:

Breast is best, and essentially all you need is a baby and a boob…but here are some suggested extras plus necessities for bottle feeding mommies and little ones on solids


o   Nursing bra’s

o   Breast pads (washable or disposable)

o   Breastfeeding-friendly clothes

o   A breastfeeding cover-up for public feeding

o   A breast pump – choose one wisely to suit your needs

o   Breastmilk bags or containers for freezing if you are planning to express

Bottle feeding:

o   Bottles and teats

o   Formula dispenser or dispensing containers

Cleaning and Sterilising

o   A dishwasher basket

o   A basin to wash breast pump parts and bottles in (it’s preferable not to wash it with normal dishes)

o   Bottle brushes

o   A bottle drying rack

o   A steriliser (steam or microwave)

Solid foods:

o   A feeding chair

o   A splat-mat (a shower curtain or plastic table cloth works well)

o   Gum-friendly plastic spoons

o   BPA free containers for storing and freezing baby food

o   A pureeing tool– blender, food processor, baby food maker

o   A bottle warmer
First-aid/medicine kit


o   A high-quality digital thermometer

o   A list of emergency numbers

o   Syringes and medicine spoons for administering any medication

o   Paracetamol syrup for pain and fever

o   Colic drops for cramps and winds

o   Rehydration sachets

o   Antihistamine ointment for itchy mosquito bites

o   Homeopathic Calendula ointment for skin irritations and rashes

o   Traumeel gel – for bumps and bruises; safe to put on a sore arm/leg after an immunisation

o   Viburcol suppositories – for restlessness and immune support in common infection

o   Saline nose drops

o   Prospan cough syrup

o   Tissue salts:

Mag phos (no 8) for cramps and hiccups

Ferrum phos (no 4) for sore throats and inflammation

Kali mur (no 5) for blocked noses and mucous

o   Wound disinfectant, plasters and bandages – for when baby gets older and more mobile

o   A mucous aspirator

o   A nebuliser

For Going Out o   A nappy bag

o   A changing mat

o   Spare sets of clothing and burp cloths

o   A baby blanket in case it gets cold

o   A bag with wet wipes, clean nappies and a buttock ointment

o   Scented bags for smelly nappies

o   Sunscreen

o   If breastfeeding: a muslin blanket or breastfeeding cover-up for comfortable feeding in public

o   If formula feeding: Sterilised bottles, formula, water for mixing

o   A spare dummy and sterilising wipes

o   Some toys

o   Snacks, a spoon, baby food (for older babies)

o   A car window-cover

o   A mirror to see baby while in car-seat

Have you packed your hospital bag yet? Is your nursery ready?

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Christine Klynhans is a midwife and lactation consultant with a firm believe that gentle parenting can change the world. She has worked in midwifery since competing her B.Cur nursing degree in 2004, and has a special passion for education and for writing. She currently works in a well-baby clinic and give antenatal classes and breastfeeding support. She enjoys working with parents of babies and toddlers, aiming to help them find gentle solutions to their parenting problems and assisting them in incorporating healthy habits and natural health alternatives into their daily lives.