So, you have a new baby on the way – and so much to prepare and buy, but where to start? We’ve managed to break the essentials down into categories to give every new parent a handy starting point. 1. ClothingIt’s sensible not to buy too many clothes – you’re not sure how fast your baby will grow, and it’s something that friends and family members often choose to gift. Many new parents often have clothes their baby has never worn. In terms of essentials, some stretchy sleepsuits or sleeping bags are the priority – your newborn will spend much of their time sleeping (fingers crossed) and these are the most comfortable and practical choices. You will only need a couple of ‘outfits’ for the daytime along with some socks, booties and a coat. Think about the quality and softness of the garments more than the quantity. It’s also a good idea to make sure you have some gentle detergent for baby’s clothing. 2. BedtimeWherever your baby sleeps the priority is to make sure that the place you choose is safe. The Lullaby Trust provides some excellent information on safe sleeping which can be found here. A separate space for baby with a firm, waterproof mattress and without any additional cot bumpers or pillows is recommended. Baby sleeping bags are a good option as they prevent any covers or bedding above baby’s head and offer different tog ratings for summer and winter. Mori have a good selection of organic cotton and bamboo sleeping bags which will keep your baby warm and comfortable. A baby monitor is also a great idea so you can hear your baby during the evening when you lay them down or during the night when they wake. 3. FeedingBreastfeeding mothers often don’t need anything at all, but some choose to purchase breast pumps and breastmilk bottles so feeding can be shared. If you choose formula then a good supply along with a bottle steriliser. Bottle warmers aren’t really necessary – hot water and a jug work just as easily. Whichever method you choose to use, buying bibs is an essential along with some muslin cloths – the one guarantee is that all baby’s come with additional mess ! 4. Changing & BathroomA changing mat, wipes and nappies are top of every new parents list but alongside this you will need some nappy balm, nappy bags and a changing bag for when you are out and about. Your baby will also need bathing in a special smaller tub to keep them safe and comfortable if you plan to bathe them alone – taking them in the big tub with you can be a bit chilly for parents. Make sure anything you add to the water is formulated for baby’s skin and have a couple of separate soft baby towels – preferably hooded to snuggle your baby in as soon they are out. Whilst stocking up your bathroom, fill your medicine cabinet – a thermometer and some calpol (suitable from 2 months +) gripe water and nappy rash ointment will make sure you are ready for the routine discomforts your baby may have. 5. TravelOne of the most treasured parts of having a baby is getting out and about to meet your friends and family. To do this safely and efficiently, you will need a car seat and a pram. These are expensive investments, so make sure you do your research! There are many different types of pram, pushchair and car seat that suit different needs – but you don’t need everything the manufacturers are selling. Think about the types of walks you will be going on – city based or in the country. How big is your car and how quickly and easily can your chosen pram fold? After making sure your baby is comfortable in a pram the next priority is to make sure the pram is as easy as it can be for you to handle. Make sure you have a pram bag with compartments for changing, feeding and toys. If you drive, a sun shade is a good idea to have on the window next to baby’s car seat. 6. PlaytimeToys are often gifted by friends and family so you are likely to only need a few rattles and teethers in the early days. A comforter can be a good alternative to a dummy and will help your baby settle with others and in different places as they grow. Cot mobiles, musical night lights and play gyms are not essential but again make useful gifts from others. A play rug for tummy time and massages is however a good idea to give your arms a rest and to allow you a bit of space to interact with your baby – smiles and peekaboo are all your newborn will need to begin with.