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If you're expecting your first baby, you probably don't know what to expect - here are some of the essentials that you'll need as soon as your baby is born!
- Car seat: this is the single most important item because unless you live next to the hospital or are having a home birth, you won't be able to bring your baby home without a car seat. Safety equipment is best bought new because you don't know the history of second hand items. Make sure that the seat is properly fitted and that you are familiar with how to insert and release your baby's seat prior to the birth.
- Diapers/nappies: Whether you decide to use disposable or cloth nappies, you'll need a plentiful supply as soon as your baby is home. A changing mat is useful but not essential as you can use towels to begin with.
- Crib or cot: you'll want a bed for your baby as soon as he or she comes home. It's a good idea for babies to sleep in your bedroom for the first few months but not in your bed because there's a high risk that you might accidentally smother your baby. Have a crib, moses basket or cot ready.
- Clothes: a plentiful supply of clothes is needed. You should have clothing ready with you in the hospital - vests, babygrows or onesies, cardigans, socks and mittens will give you a choice of clothing and layers. Hospitals usually recommend a hat to keep the head warm.
- Bottle and formula: Even if you are intending to breastfeed it is a good idea to have a suitable bottle and formula ready just in case there are problems that prevent you from being able to feed your baby at any time during the first few weeks.
Don't panic if you get home and suddenly realise that there's something you have forgotten to stock in advance. You'll probably be able to get hold of most essential equipment or clothes from your nearest supermarket, even if it means asking friends or family to run an errand for you!