Newborn Baby Checklist Australia: What You Need and What Is Nice To Have

Confused as to what you actually need for your soon-to-arrive baby? Let us help you out with our comprehensive newborn baby checklist, separated into “essentials” and “nice-to-haves”, why you need them, and the best ones to buy in 2021.

newborn baby checklist australia

Pregnant with your first baby? First of all, congratulations! This is such an exciting time of life for all involved, but can also be confusing when it comes to figuring out exactly what you need to buy.

No doubt you’ve spent time researching newborn must haves and perhaps you’ve even bought a few (or a lot of!) pieces, but with all the different information out there, not to mention well-meaning advice from relatives, it can get overwhelming to separate what’s really essential from the nice-to-haves.

Our comprehensive newborn essentials checklist has been written transparently by mums who have been there already. We know first hand what’s truly essential and what’s nice to have if you can, though not strictly necessary.

Gimmicky baby goods that aren’t worth the time or hassle? They won’t be listed here, so you can be confident the following items are all worth investing in for reasons of safety, practicality or just to make your life easier.

Written to accomodate for baby’s newborn days up to three months of age, we’ve separated our list by category for easy comprehension and to help you get started one step at a time.

Pro tip: bookmark this webpage so you can come back later as you progress with your baby’s essentials shopping.

Nursery baby checklist

Nursery - must haves

Cot

First on the nursery checklist is the cot - no nursery is complete without one. A cot provides a safe place for your baby to sleep and nap and are available in many different styles to suit your nursery.

Whichever cot you choose, make sure it complies with current Australian standards for safety, and for this reason we recommend purchasing one new rather than second hand, as the safety standards are updated regularly.

This beautiful Babyworth sleigh cot features a striking design, has handy storage drawers underneath and converts to a toddler bed for later on, making it truly versatile and multi use.

Cot mattress

If your cot doesn’t already come with one, which many don’t, you will also need to purchase a quality cot mattress. A good cot mattress should be firm and fit the cot properly with no large gaps between the mattress and cot rails.

Read our article on the best cot mattresses currently available in Australia for an in depth look at your options.

Bedding

You’ll need two or three fitted sheets and a waterproof mattress protector for nighttime accidents. Pillows, bumpers and loose blankets, although adorable, should not be used inside a baby’s cot for safety reasons.

This gorgeous fitted sheet set from Little Archer and Co is soft and stretchy and guaranteed to fit any sized cot mattress and this waterproof mattress protector from Bubba Blue, constructed with bamboo for breathability and a silky smooth feel, is machine washable and air dries quickly, ready for its next use.

Swaddles/sleeping bags

For safe sleep, loose blankets should never be used in a baby’s cot. Instead, swaddle like a pro or pop bub in a baby sleeping bag for a warm and sound night’s sleep.

These are our top picks for baby swaddles and sleeping bags. For the most versatility we love Aden and Anais traditional muslin swaddling cloths.

Nursery - nice to haves

Bassinet

While many will consider this a must-have item, baby will quickly outgrow a bassinet and although smaller, cosier and frankly cuter than a cot, there’s no reason why you can’t skip the bassinet altogether.

Here is our list of the best bassinets available, with many of these converting to co-sleepers so you can keep baby safely at arm’s reach throughout the night.

Change table

Purpose built, change tables give you a dedicated place to change and dress baby, and should be at a height comfortable for you. Although, if you’re short on room, there’s no problem with changing baby on the floor or bed with a towel or muslin underneath to catch any accidents.

This Love N Care change table is constructed of a sturdy frame for stability and features modular storage containers to keep everything you’ll need close by.

Nightlight

A nightlight is ideal for creating a low light for night time feeds, changes, or just for checking in without disturbing your sleeping baby. Some other nursery products, such as baby monitors, often come with a simple nightlight built in.

This cute and clever nightlight from Vava is packed full of clever features including easy touch control and customisable lights and settings, and will see your baby well into the toddler years.

Baby monitor

If you live in a small apartment or house, or baby is sleeping right next to you, then a baby monitor might not be necessary. However, if you live in a larger, multi storied house or you want to be able to check in on baby remotely, then it’s a very useful tool to have.

Smart baby monitors like the Cubo Ai Plus Smart really expand on the traditional baby monitor to offer other features like safe sleep alarms, putting anxious new parents at ease. For more options, check out this year’s list of baby monitors to buy.

Feeding baby checklist

Feeding - must haves

Bottles

Even if you plan on breastfeeding, it’s a good idea to have a few bottles handy so someone else can feed your baby if you’re away.

There are plenty of options to choose from and you can read our article on the best baby bottles to learn more. As an all in one solution, this starter kit from Tommee Tippee is perfect for new mums with two sizes of wide neck bottles, signature anti-colic newborn teats and a transition cup for when baby moves on to independent drinking.

Breast pump

Essential for breastfeeding mothers who wish to express milk for baby for when they aren’t around. The best breast pump for you will largely depend on the frequency you express, with manual, electric, single and double breast pumps available.

Storage, portability and ease of use are all factors to consider, and the Medela Freestyle is a double electric pump ticking all those boxes with its dedicated storage bag, compact size and bluetooth app support. To learn more, read our article all about breast pumps.

Breastmilk storage

You’ll need somewhere to store all your expressed milk. Breastmilk bags are the answer, you can label them, keep them in the fridge/freezer and use them as you go, it’s the safest way to manage this delicate aspect of being a new mum.

Medela Breastmilk Storage bags are perfect for the job, coming presealed for hygiene with a double zipper seal to prevent leaking. They can be stored upright in the fridge or flat in the freezer, with a large area for writing on the date and amount.

Nursing bra

Breastfeeding mums will need a few good nursing bras for support and easy access to your breasts. Look for bras made of soft, stretchy and breathable fabrics without underwires that can dig in.

Read our article on the best maternity bras for more information, and while we’re on the topic, you’ll also want to invest in some nursing pads like these ones on Amazon, to absorb leaks, keep you and your clothing dry and prevent embarrassing stains.

Formula

If you plan to formula feed your baby, have a little ready to go and packed in your hospital bag. Because not all babies will agree with all formulas, best not to stockpile any particular kind in case your baby refuses it or is intolerant to an ingredient. One tin to begin with will suffice, or even better, look for sample packs.

Our article on the best formulas for newborns gives you up to date and practical information on the subject.

Burp cloths

Whether breast or formula fed, the newborn days will be marked with a lot of spit up and milk vomit, that’s for sure, so you’ll be needing an ample supply of burp cloths to soak it all up and avoid staining your clothes and upholstery.

These organic burp cloths from iZiv feature three soft layers for ultimate absorbency, are shaped to fit your shoulder perfectly for full coverage and are adorable to boot.

Feeding - nice to haves

Breastfeeding pillow

Breastfeeding mamas will spend a lot of time with baby at the breast, especially in the newborn days when baby is still learning to latch and may feed up to twelve times a day. Breastfeeding pillows are specially designed and shaped to provide the best support to baby as well as comfort to you to make the most of this special relationship.

Read our handy article on the best breastfeeding pillows here to go through all your best options.

Bottle steriliser

You should sterilise all bottles and feeding equipment before use for newborns and very young babies under six months, and with so many bottles in a day, a dedicated bottle steriliser certainly makes the job simpler.

These are our top picks for bottle sterilisers, but bringing bottles to a rolling boil on the stovetop is a perfectly effective, albeit more time consuming, alternative.

Bottle warmer

Middle-of-the-night feedings can get very tedious, even more so if you’re waiting around warming milk in a bowl of hot water with a hungry, crying baby in your arms. Let this hassle go with an electric bottle warmer which will warm a bottle perfectly in minutes.

We love this advanced Tommee Tippee warmer for its 3-in-1 versatility and intelligent features, or check out our article on the Australia’s best bottle warmers for other options.

Travel baby checklist

Travel - must haves

Car seat/capsule

Absolutely non negotiable if you have a vehicle and plan on travelling by car. Capsules are suited to newborns and click in and out of your car for easy transfers. They are also compatible with many prams so you don’t need to wake your sleeping baby, and many mums find this convenience essential. You will need to upgrade after about six months through, and convertible car seats will last you from birth to four years so is the better choice if you want to make as few purchases as possible and value longevity in a product.

Read up on this important topic and learn our best advice in choosing the right car seat for baby here.

Pram/stroller

Surely at the top of any baby must-have list, a pram or stroller for walks, shopping and adventuring is vital for safe and convenient transport by foot. With so many options available, it’s a good idea to think about what features are most important to you, whether it be all terrain wheels, ample storage space or for growing families, the ability to convert to a double pram.

Take a look at our handy article on the best prams in Australia for inspiration, to suit every budget and need.

Carrier/sling

Hold baby close to you hands free so you can get on with other daily tasks while baby cuddles, naps and enjoys close bonding time. They’re also useful for quick trips when you don’t want to, or it’s inappropriate to, bring the pram, such as bushwalks.

We love stretchy wraps and slings for newborns which mould to baby’s shape perfectly, while structured baby carriers are often more comfy for both you and baby when he’s a little older. Structured carriers also typically offer different carrying positions and are more versatile in their use.

Travel - nice to haves

Nappy bag

Purpose built and ultra handy, nappy bags are constructed of easy clean fabrics, have lots of pockets and compartments to keep organised and usually come with useful accessories like change mats and insulated bottle holders.

We review our favourite nappy bags here, but any roomy tote or backpack you already own will do the job of transporting the necessities.

Pram caddy

Attaching to your pram’s handlebars, a pram caddy holds all your small, essential items like keys, phone and wallet, and keeps them close at hand.

This universal pram caddy on Amazon is guaranteed to fit any model and features several separate compartments, some zippered, so everything will have its place.

Pram liner

Babies are messy, and a pram liner protects the seat of your pram from spit ups, vomit and, later, food mess, keeping your pram in tip top condition for longer and maximising its resell value.

This 100% pure cotton Keep Me Cosy universal pram liner features a fun reversible print, attaches and detaches easily for washing, and has plush padding for baby’s comfort.

Window shade

Keep the sun and heat off baby when travelling in the car with a protective window shade. We prefer the pull down mesh variety (fits over the door frame like a sock), over shades that attach with suction caps due to the risk of them coming unstuck and potentially injuring baby. The other benefit of the pull down variety is that they allow you to open the window when in use.

This car window sun shade on Amazon is the type we’d go for.

Changing baby checklist

Changing - must haves

Nappies

Whether you’re going cloth or disposable, be sure to have plenty on hand as you won’t believe the amount you’ll go through!

Huggies Ultimate are the softest and most absorbent disposable nappy on the market, used in maternity wards all over the country.

Baby wipes

You can really never have too many of these and you really don’t want to discover you’ve run out when you’ve a dirty nappy in one hand and wriggling baby in the other. You’ll also use baby wipes to give baby’s face and hands a quick wipe down, as well as anything else that gets a bit grubby throughout the day, including yourself. How did you ever live without them!

Read our tried and tested reviews on the best disposable wipes here, or go eco and give these reusable baby wipes from Bambino Mio a go.

Nappy rash cream

Most, if not all babies will at some point experience the unfortunate nappy rash, caused by prolonged wetness, moisture or bacteria from poo against the skin. Luckily, regular use of a good nappy rash cream will keep it at bay.

Sudocrem (see it on Amazon) is the one we recommend. Acting as a barrier to keep moisture off the skin, simply apply to the affected area at every change.

Changing - nice to haves

Nappy bin

Great for containing nasty odours, a nappy bin can make your life easier especially if the idea of poo everywhere makes you a little squeamish.

Convenient, hygienic and often stylish to boot, you can read about our favourite nappy bins here.

Nappy caddy

Keep all your changing equipment together in a nappy caddy. It’s convenient, mess-free and it doesn’t cost much to buy one.

This nappy caddy from Skip Hop is our choice, we love how it gently illuminates at night so you can see what you’re doing and the sturdy handle lets you move everything around together with ease.

Change mat and liners

There will be days where you’ll be dealing with massive, messy blowouts and others where you’ll be dealing with baby doing his business after you’ve taken off the old nappy - but before you put a new one on. To save soiling the surface underneath, portable change mats and/or mat liners really do the trick. With a waterproof backing, you can be sure nothing will soak through and you simply pop them in the wash after use. Even if you have a change mat with cover, using a liner will drastically cut down on the frequency you need to wash it.

Health and hygiene baby checklist

Health and hygiene - must haves

First aid/medical kit

This should include a baby thermometer, baby Panadol for fevers and a list of emergency contacts, your doctor, and any medication. Keep your medical kit in a clearly marked bag or container and make sure all household members and babysitters are aware of its whereabouts.

This St John First Aid Kit contains a good variety of items to get you started and this guide on choosing the best baby thermometer will help.

Towels and washcloths

One or two towels for drying after bathtime is ideal. Hooded towels are best to keep baby well wrapped, snug and warm. For gently washing baby’s delicate skin, look for wash cloths made of super soft, natural materials.

This gorgeous hooded towel from Clevamama features a velcro apron to keep you dry so baby can splash up a storm, and these generously sized bamboo wash cloths from Berirys are suitable for the most sensitive of skin.

Nasal aspirator

For when baby gets his first (inevitable) cold or runny noise, a nasal aspriator gently sucks the mucous out of his nose to help him breathe easier. Sounds yucky but baby won’t be able to clear or blow his own nose until he’s much older.

A simple bulb syringe will do the job, or go electric for a more efficient process. You can read all about the best ones currently available in our article on nasal aspirators.

Health and hygiene - nice to haves

Baby bath tub

There are plenty of awesome baby baths available with great features, but you can just as easily get away with bathing bub in the kitchen or laundry sink, or in a flexi-tub or large bucket.

For your convenience, here’s a guide on which baby bath and bath seat to choose.

Baby wash/shampoo

Plain water is best for washing a newborn’s ultra delicate skin to prevent irritation, but a small amount of gentle wash will have baby smelling sweet and help shift any stubborn dirt or grease.

This specially formulated Cetaphil Baby Bath and Wash is gentle on skin and made with moisturising aloe to lock moisture in.

Clothing baby checklist

Clothing - must haves

Here we list the essential clothing items for a newborn baby as well as suggested quantities of each item. Dressing your baby in the first few months of life is all about ease, comfort and practicality and whilst adorable, neither you or baby will want to deal with fiddly buttons or bows when you’re up to the third change that day.

Onesies

Your baby will probably spend most of their early weeks and months in onesies, as they’re perfect for playing and sleeping and easy for Mum or Dad to change. Depending on how often you plan to wash, allow one per day plus a few extras for those spit ups and poo explosions.

Aussie parents and babies love Bonds Wondersuits for the two way zip, fold over socks and mittens and huge range of adorable designs.

Singlets

Ideal for layering in cooler weather and on their own in hot weather, allow for one to two per day.

Choose singlets with snaps underneath like these ones on Amazon, to prevent riding up.

Bodysuits

Long sleeved in winter or short sleeved in summer, bodysuits are like t-shirts for babies with snaps underneath to keep them in place, and it’s good to have about five on hand. They can be worn on their own or layered for a complete outfit.

These bodysuits from Hudson feature envelope shoulders which allow you to stretch it downwards to remove, rather than over the head, so you can get baby out of a mess faster and easier.

Pants

Soft pants or leggings with a stretchy waist to wear over the top of bodysuits, providing extra warmth and protection. Around three pairs will do.

Here’s an example of good baby soft pants from Bonds on Amazon Australia.

Socks

Socks are notorious for falling off tiny feet and subsequently getting lost, so save yourself the hassle of endlessly sorting through odd socks and buy socks that are identical.

These Jefferies Socks for newborns will keep tiny tootsies warm and the fold over cuffs ensure they stay on.

Sunhat/beanie

Getting baby used to wearing a sunhat early on makes life easier for you later, plus it’s never too early to be sun safe! Look for sunhats with wide brims that cover the face, ears and back of neck for maximum protection. A chin strap is also a good idea to keep the hat on when the breeze picks up.

Winter babies will need one or two soft beanies made of breathable and non irritating materials to keep their tiny heads warm. This newborn beanie from KOMOREBI is ideal, made of 100% organic cotton and featuring an adjustable knot for the perfect fit.

Jumpers/cardigans

For those chilly days. Jumpers should have a super stretchy neckline to slip over baby’s head easily, or try a cosy cardi that opens at the front for easy access. Summer babies may only need one in case of chilly days, if any at all, while for winter babies, two or three is a sensible amount.

Something like this knitted number from Amazon is a good choice.

Bibs

Protect baby’s clothes from all that dribble and spit up so you’re not changing complete outfits countless times a day. Bandana bibs not only look cool, but won’t flip up in baby’s face every time he raises his arms.

This Lekebaby multi pack of bibs has adjustable nickel free snaps for the perfect fit and a fleece lined backing for extra absorbency.

Toys baby checklist

Toys - nice to haves

Newborn babies don’t strictly need any toys - a loving and responsive parent is all they need at this stage for the best start to life, both physically and emotionally. The following items are toys that are fun, useful and stimulate the senses for babies in the first few months of life.

Baby books

It’s never too early to start reading to baby for the development of critical social, language and thinking skills. For newborns, try soft cloth books with surprising textures and sounds in high contrast colours. A set of cloth books ticks all the boxes with their crinkly pages and tear resistant, chew friendly materials.

You can also read our article on the best baby books for newborns for more inspiration.

Teething toy

Some babies are early bloomers with teething beginning in the first three months of life. Be prepared with a teether for your baby to chew on, designed to ease pressure and sore gums.

Try the original Sophie to Giraffe, loved by babies all over the world for her soft, flexible and easy grabbable surfaces and surprising squeak. Read our article all about teethers here.

Play mat

A good play mat will last you and your baby throughout the toddler years. For a newborn they’re perfect for tummy time, providing a soft, clean and spill proof surface for your baby to play on safely and hygienically.

This Little Bot Baby play mat is made of a plush, water resistant foam and features a reversible, stylish design you can have in your living room without feeling like you’re at a day care centre.

Play gym

To develop baby’s sensory skills, an interactive play gym is both fun, educational, and great exercise for tiny babies! Essentially a padded play mat under an arch of hanging toys, very young babies enjoy exploring, staring and batting at the stimulating toys, improving hand eye coordination.

You can read all about our favourite baby play gyms here.

Rattle

To stimulate aural, visual and tactile senses, a baby rattle is an absolute classic. Wooden rattles are what we would go for, they have brightly coloured rings to stand out, and make a pleasant rattling noise that will delight baby and not annoy you.

Here’s a wider selection of baby toys for a 6 month old baby for you to consult.

Baby swing/bouncer

Not all babies take to them, but a baby swing or bouncer can serve as a convenient place for baby to sit while you take a quick break to use the bathroom or make yourself a cuppa. Go all out with a premium model, featuring multiple swing speeds and multiple melodies to soothe baby, or you can go for a lightweight model that uses momentum to keep the movement going. It’s important to remember that your baby should always be supervised and never be left to sleep in his swing or bouncer, as the semi-reclined seating positon can potentially reduce or even block baby’s airway.