Advice For First Time Parents: Don’t Buy Any Newborn Essentials Just Yet

First, let me just give you a big congratulations! You’re probably excited to shop for newborn essentials. If you’re like me, you’ve probably googled for hours, reading reviews and joining groups and forums and asking experienced parents for some tips.

Well, some unsolicited advice here – don’t list nor buy newborn essentials just YET. (If you want to know my checklist of newborn essentials then click here).

Consider first your lifestyle, your home, your finances, before listing and buying any newborn essentials. 

Below are your baby’s major activities you need to take into consideration, before actually researching specific brands and whatnot.

• Sleep 

Look at the room where your baby will sleep most of the time. Then think about the space and your budget.

If you want to co-sleep with your baby, then you don’t need a major purchase like a crib. However, I highly advise against it, as it might be dangerous for your baby.

Portable/ travel cribs are better suited for your baby if you frequently travel. You can also use that for your parents or in-law’s house if you often visit them then you can just have a regular crib for your house. Look for a crib that can turn into a smaller bed when your baby gets older.

Check also where you will place a CCTV in your baby’s room. See where you can install and hide its wires when your baby turns into a toddler. You might also need another socket for playing some white noise.

• Drink milk

Check the area where you’re planning to put all the milk paraphernalia and see if you have enough space.

See if you have enough space for major items like milk bottles, milk powder, hot water and cooled boiled water. The kitchen is usually a preferred place to place all these items. But I suggest putting some milk essentials in your baby’s room. It will be easy for you to get up and make milk while your kid is hollering inside.

If you have the budget, a UV sterilizer will help you tremendously in sterilizing and storing the milk bottles. But check first if you have the space for it as some can be quite bulky. It’s not essential but it can make your life way easier.

Check if you have space for drying milk bottles.

If you’re going to breastfeed, think of where to place your pump, nipple shields, nipple creams and cleaning materials.

• Bathe

Look at the area where you’re planning to bathe your baby. Check if there’s ample space and visualize how you’re going to bath your little one there.

If you’re comfortable giving your baby a bath in your bathroom then that’s well and good.

If you’re nervous (like me before!), then do it where you and your baby are both comfortable. That means there’s no draft in the room that can make your baby feel cold and you won’t get paranoid thinking you’ll slip and drop your baby.

In my case, I stayed at my in-laws’ place for a month and a half and bathed my baby right on the dining table. My mother-in-law would prepare the bathtub with lukewarm water. I would then drag my baby in her portable crib, with her towel and clothes all laid out on the diaper changing table.

When we went back home, I had all the bathing essentials laid out on the dining table. It was a bit tricky but manageable, as our 2 lovely cats would be sniffing around the table.

It came to a point where I thought a portable bathtub/ diaper changing table would help make things easier. Turns out, it was just a big waste of money and space. I eventually learned to bath my baby in the bathroom after a few months.

Consider my story as a cautionary tale on wasting time, money and effort. Visualize already how you’re going to bath your baby because if other new parents’ kryptonite then was cutting their baby’s fingernails, mine was giving my baby a freaking bath.

• Changing diapers

Check your place, your budget, and if anyone would be able to help you in the first few months.

If you want to save up on disposable diapers, get washable, reusable ones. There’s a lot of very convenient and cute designs available but I didn’t want to do too much laundry because trust me, you will be doing a shitload of laundry. 

If you have the budget, get a crib with its diaper changing table. You can easily store and access all the diaper essentials there.

If you want something cheaper, get a detachable diaper changing table. You can also get either a trolley rack or a simple container to easily access and store your diapers.

If you want to save more, just get a travel diaper changing mat, (not table) then just change your baby’s diaper on the bed and have the diaper essentials in a container, near the bed.

Think also where to put the dirty diapers. You can place it outside or in the bedroom then consider placing it near the diaper changing table if you have space.

In my case before, I bought a detachable diaper changing table for the crib and I had a small container there where I would place a few diapers, a pack of wet wipes, diaper cream, and small plastic bags for the dirty diapers. I would place my baby on that detachable diaper changing table and I would easily reach for the diaper essentials which were just a few inches on top of my baby’s head. Then I had a new trash bin right beside her crib which was solely for dirty diapers which I make sure to throw out every day. 

• Dressing

Consider first where you’re living right now. Prioritize functionality over the cuteness factor.

Buy weather-appropriate clothes but also take into consideration how cold it would be for your baby when the aircon is turned on.

When shopping for clothes, prioritize its main purpose, not how cute your baby will look in it. Because when it’s covered with poop, wet with pee/ vomit/ sweat, its adorable factor won’t even matter and you will only think of its functionality – if it’s easy to pull up, pull down or rip out your baby’s body, especially when your little one is making a ruckus.

If you have the budget for adorable clothes then go for it but always consider its functionality.

• Going Out

Consider your place, the weather, how much you travel, and of course, your budget.

It’s necessary to have outdoor clothes as you would need to go and have a doctor’s appointment, have your baby vaccinated and/ or go out to talk to anyone other than your baby so you won’t go insane. So again, consider weather-appropriate clothes. 

You would also need to think about how to carry your baby when you go out, especially on your own. So you need to consider strollers and most importantly, lifesavers called baby carriers.

If you want to save more, just consider getting one sturdy travel stroller and one baby carrier that will hopefully last for a few years.

If you have more budget, I suggest you get one travel stroller, one baby carrier, and one regular stroller. A regular stroller would be sturdier than a travel stroller I presume as ours lasted 3 plus years.

You also need to think about mosquitos, especially here in Singapore so do some research on safe mosquito repellent baby products.

• Play

Think of baby-friendly items that you can use for a long time and that’s easy to clean.

Yes, your newborn can already play and even exercise! You can start them at less than a month old by putting them on their tummy. Also, you’d need something to distract your baby while you bathe/ poop/ pee/ do chores, especially if you’re mostly on your own at home.

You can place your baby on the floor with some padded playmats but think how comfy it is for your baby and how easy it would be to clean it and how convenient it would be to transfer it from one room to another.

Consider purchasing a baby bouncer so they can face you or some other sceneries while you’re doing your chores.

And it’s not essential but if you have the budget and if you have a crib, I suggest buying those mobile musical crib toys as it can entertain your baby while developing certain skills at the same time.


Making a newborn essentials checklists is pretty much one of the next major steps to do after getting pregnant. But thinking first about your lifestyle, your home, the available space, your budget and all the things mentioned above would help you save you a lot of time, effort, money and space in choosing what you need to buy for your baby.

Do you think considering the items above is necessary before making a newborn essentials checklist? And have you already made yours? Let me know in the comments below.