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Hem What does a baby need? Tips from a pediatrician for first-time parents

What does a baby need? Tips from a pediatrician for first-time parents

Older sibling helping mum and baby

This post is also available in: Svenska

Congratulations! And welcome to the new world of parenthood. I’ll warn you now, it’s a rollarcoaster ride. But we can guarantee you that it’s mostly rewarding. Ok, so you’ve got your new bundle of joy on your lap, now what? What does a baby need? Let us guide you through what you need as a first-time parent. Well, even if this is your second or third time being a parent, it never hurts to review this blog.

A little baby needs help with everything. So, it is your job as a parent to make sure that the child gets what they need, when they need it. Basically a newborn needs food, sleep, love and transport. Let us elaborate further with some facts and advice from a pediatrician.

Disclaimer: the post contains affiliate links. They link to products that I can recommend, and if you buy via those links, a small part of your purchase goes to

Feeding a newborn

Babies need food, obviously. As a parent, you can choose between breastfeeding and bottle feeding. If you live in a country with good access to clean water and good infant formula, the differences between breastfeeding and bottle feeding to your child’s are minimal. Choose whatever suits you.

Read more about getting started with breastfeeding – when does the milk come?

Read more about bottle feeding your newborn baby formula – how much do you give? And how often?

What do you need to buy if you want to breastfeed?

  • Two or three breastfeeding bras is good to have. Wait until the end of the pregnancy to buy them because that way, you’ll have a better idea of what size you need. If you have smaller breasts, you can probably buy breastfeeding bras anywhere. If you have a greater need for support and an exact fit, I can really recommend nursing bras from the brand Anita.
  • Nursing tops are convenient if you want to be able to breastfeed a little more discreetly outside the home.

What do you need to bottle feed?

  • Baby bottles and pacifiers.
  • Standard formula powder, for example NAN or BabySemp.
  • To make it easier to prepare formula, you can purchase a formula machine or a porridge machine.

Diapers, changing tables and care

Your baby also needs help with hygiene. The don’t start our cleaning themselves! Diapers and washcloths are a good start. Cheap paper washcloths you soak in lukewarm water and a little drop of baby oil works well and is gentle on the baby. You can buy a changing table, but a towel on the floor or bed works as well. A tube of Bepanthan baby ointment for red diaper rash and a small bath tub is great too.

  • Diapers in the smallest baby size
  • Washcloths
  • Baby oil
  • Bepanthen baby ointment
  • Bathtub
  • Possible changing table
  • A thermometer (the simplest variety works well)

Read more about diaper rash, fungal infections and a red baby bum

Sleep – Does the baby need a cot?

Some babies sleep most of the night, but as some of you might discover, others do not. Some sleep in their own bed, others do not. But most importantly, newborns must sleep on their backs to reduce the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). The safest thing for a baby is to sleep in their own bed, pram or cradle in their parents’ room. But, of course, many children refuse to do so.

You don’t really need to buy anything for the baby’s sleep before the baby arrives but if you want, you can buy a cot or cradle. Some people use baby nests to screen off the baby’s sleeping area in the parent’s bed.

  • Possibly a cot
  • If you buy a cot, then also buy sheets, mattress and small pillow
  • Possibly a baby nest

When your baby arrives, you can see if they sleep most of the night, or if they wake up every two hours and want to eat and then only falls asleep if a parent gets up and carries them for half an hour. If you have problems at night, be unpretentious and creative. If your baby only sleeps well near you and wakes up as soon as you leave, consider whether sleep would be better if the baby slept in their parents’ bed all night. If the child sleeps very well in their pram but hates their cot, let them sleep in the pram at night. Is the child so difficult at night that neither of you can sleep in the same room? If so, take turns taking the night-time responsibility.

Read more about infant sleep – how much or little is normal?

Stroller, baby car seat, harness or shawl

If you are going to drive your baby around, you must buy a rear-facing baby seat. Buy it from someone you trust. You want to guarantee that it isn’t broken, good quality and almost-new. Otherwise, buy a new one. Make sure you install it correctly in the car.

Many people think it’s nice to push their baby around in a stroller, but it’s not absolutely necessary to purchase. Some people only use a sling or shawl, and that works well. Many children like to be carried, so a harness or shawl frees the hands and saves the back.

Read about how my baby just wants to sleep on me and your baby doesn’t want to be in your arms

Baby clothes – what do you need?

Many newborns vomit a lot and their poop can often spill over onto their clothes. So a lot of clothes are required. If you do not have your own washing machine, consider buying one. It is one of the smartest purchases you will make before having the baby.

You can count on receiving a lot of clothes from friends and families in the smallest sizes. So even if it’s good to have 5-6 bodies, see if you can get away with only buying 2-3 pieces. Here is what I suggest you prepare for before the arrival of your baby:

Environmently-friendly parenting – do not buy too much

When you are expecting your first child, you naturally want the very best for your baby. The marketing specialists at the companies know this. They will try to convince you to buy everything. Because, in order to give your baby the best start to life as possible, apparently, you need everything. In fact, you do not need more than what is written on this page. And you can buy everything secondhand. It is not only environmentally-friendly, but also friendly on the wallet.

Do you want to give your child the best start in life? Invest in joint parental leave with the other parent, if there is one. This way you can both support each other during this challenging and exciting period in your lives, and it’ll make you both feel good contributing equally.

So what does a baby need? In addition to quite a bit of stuff mentioned above, the baby needs a lot of time with their parents. This really matters a lot!

Your first weeks with your newborn

Read more:

Get started with breastfeeding a newborn

Bottle feeding your newborn baby formula – how much do you give? And how often?

Read more about infant sleep – how much or little is normal?

Colic in infants – gastric drops, acupuncture, what helps?

Diaper rash, fungal infections and a red baby bum

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