What does baby need? - Essential & Non-Essentials for a baby in the first year

Updated: Jul 8

Things to consider before baby is born or during the first year of life


AUTHOR: Lee Reicheneder


With so much happening and so much to plan for it can be challenging thinking ahead for the task of what you may need for baby over the first few weeks let alone what you may need after those weeks. Therefore, this article hopes to break down what you may need and what some people enjoy or find helpful for them but are not always necessary for every person.


Sleeping Essentials


  • A safe sleeping surface (parents bed with parents following safe bed sharing sleep guidelines, co-sleeper side bed for those who want to bedshare but want a separate sleeping surface for baby, for those who do not want to bedshare you will need to consider getting a bassinet or a cot which complies with Australian safety standards)

  • Mattress for your sleep surface (consider mattress protectors – even disposables can leak)

  • Bedding for your sleeping surface (sheets, blankets – not thick or heavy, no pillows)

Sleeping Non-Essential Considerations


  • Muslin Wraps (some people find their babies are more settled when swaddled)

  • Baby/Infant Sleeping Bags

  • Night light

  • Baby Mobile

  • Calming Music


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Changing/Bathing Essentials


  • Square clothes (can be flannel, chux wipes, facewashers, bamboo, or cotton) can be used for bathing baby throughout the first year and even for nappy changes

  • Nappies unless you have chosen to pursue the elimination communication toilet training method from birth (disposable or cloth – there are many different types of both varieties)

  • Towels (normal adult towels that you may already have at home are fine)

  • Cotton Buds

  • Warm Water from your taps

  • A sink (otherwise you can also choose to have baby in the bath or shower with you)

  • Your Fingers (in the first year brushes & combs often aren’t needed – fingers work fine)

  • Laundry Sink or Bucket for dirty laundry including nappies


Changing/Bathing Non-Essential Considerations


  • Change Mat – it should have raised sides if going on a change table (I like foldable flat change mats that I can just wipe or throw in the wash – they are super portable and you can store them pretty much anywhere if not in use)

  • Change Table

  • Corn Starch, Arrowroot Start, Tapioca Starch, or a clay based baby powder

  • A gentle and ideally organic baby wash (this is more a luxury item not essential)

  • A gentle and ideally organic baby oil (or alternative oil you have researched)

  • Nappy Wipes (at times I am lazy and use wipes it’s not essential, cloths work too)

  • Baby Bath

  • Baby Bath Seat

  • Gentle Baby Hair Brush and/or Baby Comb

  • Nappy Bucket