The Nice-to-Have but Not Essential Newborn List
This is a list rounding up all the 'nice' but not necessarily essential things for baby and you. Some things on this list have definitely been essential to me (which I'll highlight), but this list is by no means necessary. Many are added gadgets that make new-mum life a little bit more seamless, and anything that makes life easier when you have a newborn is worth looking into. So here's the round up:
Daily Use & Sleep
Standing Moses basket - Disclaimer: I never purchased a Moses basket, as I did not think it was worth the extra money given that baby can only make use of it for a few months. Moses baskets are popular though as not only do they look so aesthetically beautiful in a nursery, they also seem cosier and smaller than a traditional cot. There are lots of options out there, I linked up one of my favourites.
Play mat - it is likely that you'll be spending lots of time playing with your baby, and so it's nice to invest in a soft and cosy play mat. The Fischer Price play mat I linked up in the Ultimate Newborn Essential List is known to be one of the more visually stimulating play mats for baby, but one of my favourite cosy options is this from John Lewis
White Noise Machine - this was a God-send for baby number one, but baby number two never took to it. It is worth experimenting with a noise machine because when it comes to good sleep ANYTHING is worth experimenting with.
E-Cover Laundry Detergent - this is very gentle for sensitive skin and hence newborns, they also do a Nursery Toy Cleaning Spray
Toys & Books - it's definitely nice to have some plush toys, rattles and books ready for baby. These were my favourite rattles and books: Art for Baby (a black/white art book as baby's can't see in colour for the first few weeks), Julia Donaldson Books and Emma Dodd Books - books are a great baby investment as you can keep coming back to them for a few years, especially if you go for toddler-appropriate books.
Bath, Grooming & Care
Bath toys - these are so entertaining for baby, after 3 months +Baby Massage Oil - I particular love this one from Aurelia Probiotic Skincare and have been using it since my little one was born, straight after bath time. It has a calming smell too which is nice to use before bed time as lavender is known to aide sleep
Bubble Bath - once your baby is old enough to start playing with bubbles, this is great to try and super fun. My favourite is this one from Child's Farm.
Out & About
Cup Holder for your Pram - great for those morning coffee runs with baby. See if your Pram comes with an additional Cup Holder add-on, if not you can buy a Universal one.
Rain Protector for Pram - another Pram add-on, if you live in England where it does rain quite a lot, this is nice to have especially if you're out and about with a newborn.
Empty Squeezy Bottles - once you have a baby in the house, these are generally just great to stock up on. I would fill these bottles with my baby soap and add it to my Portable Nappy Changer, for example, instead of having to carry around a big heavy bottle of soap for changing. I'd also fill them with my baby's creams for when we were travelling, instead of carrying big, heavy bottles. I love these squeezy ones as opposed to the traditional empty plastic travel kits, as these are just much more functional.
Hand-Bag Organiser - so I love this in theory and I did in fact purchase this one when I was pregnant with baby number one, and whilst I still think it's a great idea, in theory it just was not practical for me, as this goes into a Tote bag, and when you are a new mum it's just much easier in my experience to carry a cross-body or ruck-sack so that your hands are free. Hence I did not get much use out of this at the new born stage, but for the toddler stage it is a great product for organising your personal bag or baby bag if you do in fact use a tote.
Skip Hop Pram Organiser - I loved this product and it was a definitely an essential for me, in it I'd keep a baby bottle ready as well as my phone, wipes, sanitiser and a little baby rattle. So easy, so practical and so useful.
Skip Hop Grab and Go Wipes Case - again, another super practical and useful product that clips on to your pram. I loved this - but do note, if you don't use the wipes, they will go dry as they don't keep as well in this case as they do in their original packaging.
Ergobaby Carrier - this is great for walking around with baby, but consider investing it if you are going to be doing a lot of walking around with baby, because this doesn't last much longer than 9 month to a year in my experience.
Baby's Room / Your Room
Lamp - when you're likely to be up throughout the night, a lamp is definitely advisable. Love these options from Blue Almonds and Dragons of Walton Street also do a beautiful personalised Dragon's Night Light in the shape of a little house.
Room Decor & Accessories - when it comes to decorating your baby's room, the options are endless. My favourite stores for accessories are Blue Almonds, Dragons of Walton Street, Home Centre, Three Moms and Pottery Barn Kids. My go-to for Nursery Wallpaper has always been Little Hands, it is pricey but the finishing and quality is excellent and really adds so much to your baby room. And my go-to for Nursery Art is Junique I also love the Art Pieces from Jonathan Adler, particularly this beautiful Beaded Rainbow, a real investment piece for any baby space.
Humidifier - these are known to increase moisture in your baby's room therefore reduce any drying of the skin, and they can also help with decreasing nasal congestion, especially when used with essential oils such as tea tree and eucalyptus.
Storage Baskets - these are incredibly useful in just making your overwhelmingly large amount of baby stuff look much more neatly organised.
Baby Chair - again, lots of options for this including chairs that lift, spin and turn and do all sorts of fancy things. I went for a nice and simple Fischer Price baby chair seeing as it's not really used for much longer than 6 months.
Baby Hangers - these are definitely not an essential, but so cute I could not resist. For baby number one I went for these character hangers (great for the price but I lost one or two that arrived damaged, I think these are from Asia) and for baby two, pearl hangers from Home Centre, which I cannot find anymore so have linked up some similar ones. Daiso also do excellent hangers at excellent prices, as well as Home Center.
Skip Hop Diaper Pail - this acts as a sangenic bin (with no smell), a changer organiser (in case you have less space on your actual changer to keep your things) and a wipes holder (if you have the skip hop portable wipes box, linked below). I did not use this, but would definitely conisder it if my changer wasn't big enough to hold all my changing essentials.
Bottle Drying Rack - you spend so much time sterilising your bottles making sure they're perfectly clean but then you hang them on a dirty drying rack? Never made sense to me, so I really liked having a separate bottle drying rack.
Tommee Tippee Perfect Prep - this handy little machine allows you to make perfect temperature formula milk in under two minutes. It sounds like an easy thing to achieve, but manually warming up bottles can mean that your milk is either too hot or too cold most of the time.
Feeding Chair - lots on the market and you can definitely use a chair you already have at home, but if you are planning on splurging than the Olli Ella is certainly one of the best around. Pottery Barn Kids also do a great and comfortable chair.
Lanisoh Therapearl - if you end up with a case of engorged boobs (meaning your boobs are too full) it can be pretty painful. A quick relief is this therapearl gadget, which you put into the microwave for around 20 seconds and place onto your chest which provides some instant relief by softening your milk ducts.
Nursing Bra and Nursing Clothes - these allow you to quickly breastfeed without having to fully undress and are incredibly useful. I really liked Marks & Spencer's nursing bras linked here and Seraphine's nursing clothes here.
MilkScreen Strips - For those that drink, these milk strips that test your breast milk for alcohol are super handy when you want to go out and enjoy yourself but still breast feed and ensure that your breast milk is safe for baby to drink!
Pre-Natal Classes - these are definitely not essential, but if you have time and also interest in learning more about what to expect when you're expecting, then you could benefit a lot from Pre-Natal Classes. Find out which classes run in your area either online or in person. I did a great Pre-Natal class in Kensington, London called The Bump Class at around 35 weeks which I absolutely loved. It was a series of around 7 classes, which went through the anatomy of birth, how a baby actually comes out of you (let's be honest, before it happens you still can't really understand HOW it will actually play out), lots of tips for holding, changing and dealing with a newborn. It was really great for a first-time mum. They also do a great Book which covers most of the Class material.
Lactation Class - if you are interested in a one-on-one consultation with a Lactation Specialist, you can look into this and see if there is someone in your area. In London, Geraldine Miskin is excellent and can really help you to understand your baby's feeding cues.
Lactation Tea - I'm not sure if I believe in this, but many people including Eva Chen who I admire greatly, all believe in this tea: Liquid Gold - many natural things such as fenugreek are also known to increase milk supply and are worth exploring further. This is discussed further in our Postpartum Essentials List
Belly Bandit - this is subject to getting the go-ahead from your doctor, but this really does make everything firm up a little quicker.
Baby Mile-Stone Cards - these are adorable and really worth buying so that you can soak up every single milestone and celebrate it to the fullest. I also love this Baby Book from Pottery Barn and this Record Book from Paperchase, as well as this beautiful personalised Wooden Keepsake Box from Owl & Otter.