Hot vs. not – what a new family really needs

How much stuff does a brand-new baby actually need? It’s hard to know when you’re expecting for the first time. Friends and family can shower you with gorgeous things, but sometimes it’s the practical items that make the best presents. Here are the things my wife, Catherine, and I found really useful when baby Stella came along, and what tended to stay on the shelf.

Used most

Tummy tub

Once you get used to it, this is a great way to bathe your baby. We just use it on the floor in the lounge because it is very portable. The extra bonus is that it uses less water than a conventional baby bath.

Sangenic nappy disposal unit

Tidy, odourless, easy to use and convenient.

Ergo Cocoon (sleep sack)

Way easier than swaddling a baby every time you put them to sleep.

Chux cloths

We used these instead of disposable baby wipes. We cut them into squares and reuse them after putting them in the wash.

A small dummy

Peace, perfect peace!

Cloth nappy squares

Buy these in packs of 10 or 20. We haven’t used these as nappies but they have been great for spills, can be used when feeding and as a floor mat when out and about.


With drawstrings at the bottom are so easy for nighttime changes.


We saved a bunch by buying secondhand.

Used least

Large nappy bag

You don’t need a massive nappy bag – you’re not taking your baby on your O.E.

Muslin wraps

Some were too small to use as wraps.

Little socks and booties

We were given lots that we haven’t used as Stella always kicks them off. Pants or leggings with feet built-in are best.

Hand-knitted woollen clothes

Lovely, but these will be too small once it’s cold enough to wear them. When planning gifts, think about the season the baby will be born in.

Metal feeding spoons

Not the best for a little one – plastic is better