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Pregnancy | Planning & Preparing

What to Buy for Your Baby

Baby shopping is every new mom’s dream and every new dad’s biggest nightmare. If it’s your first pregnancy, you are probably paging through every baby magazine and book to make a list of things you absolutey need to have while your partner every-so-politely points out that you surely don’t need every single item on these suggested must-have lists? Of course we do - what does he know about shopping, anyway? But once you plan for your second baby you’ll realise that you’re big enough (pun intended) to admit that your partner was right. It’s a great marketing strategy; making mothers feel guilty if they don’t buy whatever is advertised, as it simply is “the best for your baby”.

Every family has different values, and together with their financial situation this will have some influence on their shopping list. Here’s a basic list of what you will need for your baby, but you are welcome to add to it!


Health & Safety

  • Digital thermometer (invest in a decent one)
  • Nasal aspirator (a sucking device used to clear a young baby’s nose)
  • Baby monitor (optional)
  • Baby nail clippers
  • Baby brush/comb
  • Medicine measuring equipment
  • Good quality car seat that meets South African safety standards


A) Breastfeeding

  • Will you need to express milk? If so, choose a breast pump that suits you best.
  • You might at a later stage find that you’d like to alternate between breast and bottle.
  • Ointment to protect your nipples against cracking.
  • A few pacifiers (for those of us who frown upon the term dummies)

B) Bottle feeding

  • Steriliser
  • Bottles
  • Teats (note the different hole sizes for different mediums, e.g. with NUK no.1 is for breast milk and water, no.2 is for formula etc)
  • Bottle brushes
  • A few pacifiers

Breast-feeding tonic (for mom to take while breast-feeding):
1 litre apple/cranberry juice
2 litres water
60ml Schlehen Elixir (available at any pharmacy)
1 effervescent vitamin tablet

Mix the above together and keep in fridge. Take one glass before each feed.

Wind Solution (for baby – breast or bottle fed):
10ml cooled boiled water
6 drops Telament
¼ teaspoon gripe water

Watch out for growth spurts at about 10 days, 3 weeks, 6 weeks, 3 months and 6 months. Growth spurts mean more frequent feeding, so rest up for a day or two and spend the day enjoying feeding your baby.


  • Gripe water (cramps, winds)
  • Telament (cramps, winds)
  • Panado drops (used for pain and fever, the Panado drops are quite strong and minty) or Calpol (milder flavour, such as strawberry)
  • Brown sugar (a bit mixed with water is great for constipation)
  • Surgical spirit (to clean the umbilical cord)

Bath products

  • Body wash
  • Shampoo (or all-in-one)
  • Diaper cream
  • Baby oil/lotion
  • Baby bath
  • Four hooded towels
  • 4-6 wash cloths
  • Cotton wool pads or balls
  • Stand that can be placed in bath for baby to lie on (leaves you hands-free)

A small plastic bath is perfect for a newborn baby and it will probably work up to about three months, depending on the size of your baby. After that you can use a bath stand and bath your baby in a normal bath.


You’ll read a lot of magazines and with a great sense of guilt you might decide to use towel nappies to do your share to save the environment. Your motives will be pure, but they will more likely than not quickly crumble under the pressure of sleep deprivation and time restraints – much to the enjoyment of all the other mothers who knew better!
If you do want to use towel nappies, however, we suggest that you perhaps use a few newborn disposable diapers in the beginning, and only change over to towel nappies when the baby is a bit bigger and the nappies fit more comfortably. If you choose to go this route, remember to get Steri Nappy, a bucket for soaking the nappies in and some waterproofs. This is hard work, but we salute you!

Disposable nappies:

  • Two packets ‘newborn’
  • Four packets ‘size 2′
  • Bin and scented plastic bags
  • 4-6 packets of non-perfumed wet wipes

Be careful of buying too many newborn nappies. Your baby grows so quickly, and you can’t go back to using these. Rather buy more of the bigger sizes.


  • Six burp cloths/towel nappies (for burping your little one)
  • 4-6 front-fastening, cotton babygros (short sleeved ones for summer babies)
  • 3-4 fleecy sleep suits (for winter babies)
  • 4-6 cotton vests (the ones that fasten between the legs are the best)
  • 3-4 pairs of newborn socks or booties
  • 4-6 pairs of cotton socks
  • Two cotton beanies
  • 2-4 T-shirts (long or short sleeve depending on season)
  • 2-4 cotton sweaters or knitted jerseys (cardigan style are best for newborns)
  • 2-4 leggings (long or short depending on season)
  • 4-6 bibs (towelling ones)
  • One going home outfit (go for cute and practical, not fussy)

Remember to choose inexpensive baby clothes that are comfortable (soft, flexible material) and practical.


  • 4-6 receiving blankets
  • 1-2 soft shawls or blankets
  • Cot / camping cot
  • Pram
  • Mattress for cot
  • 2-3 sheets
  • Two waterproof sheets
  • Night-light
  • Small CD player for soothing music after bath time (optional)
  • A nappy bag (you or your husband will be carrying this, so go with what suits you)
  • Small mattress for changing nappies

Your newborn doesn’t need a pillow or duvet as it’s not safe at this stage.
When choosing curtains, keep in mind that the room should be dark when baby is sleeping during the day.


  • Car window shade, window sox
  • Toys

Even though shopping for your new baby will be extremely exciting, keep in mind that over the top unnecessary “stuff” will not make your child a happier child. Rather shop wisely and in the process ensure that your baby will be comfortable. What your baby needs the most is love, food and a place to make a poo. It’s as simple as that!

Happy shopping!

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