What do you actually NEED to buy for your new baby?

You might have heard this once or twice if you are or have been pregnant; “Oh, you HAVE to get one of THESE! It’s a life saver!!!”

Maybe it is the best thing since sliced bread, but maybe it’s one of those things that’s really good for one family, and gets used once and forgotten in another.

So, if you’re wondering what you really need to buy before baby comes, lets break it down with some psychology.

Namely, Maslow’s Hierarchy of needs.


As you can see, there are five human ‘needs’. The one above cannot be achieved if something from below is missing.

When it comes to newborn babies, we can dismiss the top two – esteem and self-actualisation – that comes late in life. Babies are only fussed with the first three needs.

If the ‘thing’ you’re considering buying doesn’t fall into one of these three categories, you probably don’t need it.

You might be thinking “ok Rach, but I came here for a list!” So here it is, accompanied by what need it satisfies.

Product Need satisfied
Clothing Physiological
Blankets Physiological
Safe sleep space (cot, co sleeper, bassinet etc) Physiological and Safety
Approved car seat Safety
Nappies* Physiological
Breastmilk (your own or donated) or formula Physiological, Love and Belonging
Safe transport device – baby carrier, baby wrap, a pram etc. Safety
Happy, healthy parents** Safety, Love and belonging

*unless you’re considering Elimination Communication.

Short list ey? But that’s it, those are the ‘having a baby’ essentials. Because mostly, babies only really need YOU and other invested caregivers to be with them, hold them when they cry, feed them and keep them warm. You could buy a lot more, and through your journey you will find there are more things you do need, but for starters, that’s it.

You’ll notice that I’ve added ‘Happy healthy parents’ as a ‘need’. Babies need parents to look after themselves as well and as much as they can during this early newborn period, and long-term into the future. You will need to plan for the support you’ll need, as much as you plan for your labour day/baby’s birth day. There are a number of ways you can do this.

Set up a roster for family and friends to take part in to help with meal and snack preparation, laundry, kitchen cleaning, grocery shopping and entertaining older children if there are any. There are some online calendars like Meal Train and Gather My Crew that help with this.

Set-up online shopping in the last few weeks of pregnancy. Delivery fees are worth the time,  hassle and stress you’ll save.

Have a ‘fill my freezer’ party with friends and family in the last few weeks of pregnancy. Also make doubles of freezable meals when you’re making them (pasta sauce, soup etc) and add the second batch to your freezer. Your future self will thank you.

Hire a Postpartum Doula. These people (usually women) are essentially Fairy Godmothers who support you in-home both practically and emotionally after the arrival of you baby. They cook and prep meals and snacks, they tidy and clean the high traffic areas of your home, they keep the laundry up to date. They can also hold baby while you sleep or shower, assist with breastfeeding and general newborn questions. They know the spectrum of normal when it comes to newborn behaviour, and can be a reassuring, non-judgmental ear in many situations.

So, save the money you would have spent on unnecessary baby items, and put it towards YOUR postpartum needs. You won’t regret it.

Tell me one thing you wish you didn’t buy in preparation for the arrival of your baby, I’d love to know.

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