The big-ticket baby items: What do you actually need?

Emmy Samtani

Emmy Samtani

Emmy is the founder of Kiindred and mother to 3 little ones. Over the last 4 years, she has worked with some of the most credible experts in the parenting space and is a keen contributor on all things parenthood.
Updated on Jul 06, 2024 · 6 mins read
The big-ticket baby items: What do you actually need?

When you’re planning to bring home a baby there are definitely some big-ticket items that you’re going to have to fork out for. When you google baby lists it can often start to feel overwhelming and stressful because so many “essentials” come up. But what are the things you actually need? We’ve broken down the big-ticket items into the essentials and luxuries, so if you just stick with the essentials then you and your baby will be just fine – and then add any extras you would like/can afford.

The newborn essentials


You are going to need somewhere safe for baby to sleep when you bring them home. You don’t need to spend big money on a cot but you do need to make sure it is safe for your little one and meets safety standards and beware of second-hand cots (All cots sold in Australia need to comply with the Australian Standard AS/NZS 2172-2003) so do your research and make sure you are buying one that meets the safety requirements. Same goes for the cot mattress and bedding and anything you place inside the mattress – toys and bumpers are not recommended due to the increased risk of SIDS.

Car seat

If you have a car, that is. But for most new parents, they are going to be driving their little one home from the hospital – and many hospitals won’t let you leave without one. Again do your research and make sure the seat you are buying/using complies with the current safety standards and has been fitted by a trained professional.


While it might not seem like it at first, eventually you’re going to want to get out of the house and resume some form of a normal life with your baby. And to do this, you’re going to want a pram.

There are SO many on the market that it can be quite confusing and overwhelming when you see some of the price tags. Do your research, go in-store and try them (if you can) and speak to friends or read reviews online.

Just because some of them are more expensive, doesn’t necessarily make them better or mean they’ll fit your specific lifestyle and needs.


You will definitely need a high-chair for your baby, but not until they start solids which can be anywhere from 4-6 months after they’re born. So keep this one on your list, but push it down the order of priority if you need to.


You are going to need somewhere to let your baby play on the floor away from any obstructions, germs or anything that can harm them. It doesn’t have to be fancy or expensive, but if you don’t invest in a swing or rocker then this is particularly essential. This is also what you will use for tummy time for your baby, which is essential for their development.


You are going to need some items for your baby to get around in – but you don’t need to go overboard. If you have a big baby they may not even fit some of the clothes you buy in advance – or if your baby is a good eater and grows quickly they will likely grow out of things quickly.

You are going to want plenty of backups because between the wee/poo/vomit etc that come with newborns there are likely to be a few outfit changes a day and you don’t want to be spending all your precious downtime doing the washing.

Practical is key in those early months, think essentials like onesies (with zips, not press studs – trust us), singlets, a jumper, a beanie, some socks/booties and a hat and then save the cute outfits for a couple of months down the track when you’re out of the newborn haze and aren’t too sleep-deprived to deal with tulle or bow ties.

2. The luxuries


Your baby can go straight into a cot when you bring them home from the hospital however a bassinet can be a good idea to allow you to move the sleeping baby from room to room throughout the day a little more easily.

Change table

This might seem like an essential but you can actually use any sturdy and safe surface – or even the floor – to change your baby’s nappy.

You can buy cushioned inserts that can be used on their own or sit on top of a designated table. If you’re looking to cut costs, or space is an issue in your nursery, then think about whether you actually need a change table. If you do get one, however, make sure it complies with safety standards and has raised edges or barriers to prevent baby from rolling off.

Rocking/feeding chair

You will need a comfortable place to sit and feed your little one, and a rocking chair or designated feeding chair in the nursery is a great idea if money and space will allow it. If not however there are plenty of other options, such as your bed or the couch.

Baby monitor

Some people swear by their monitors – and thanks to modern technology there are all the bells and whistles like video, sound, motion, temperature and even breathing functions when it comes to buying them these days.

They are great for giving you added peace of mind and a little extra freedom, however, plenty of generations before us got by without them so if you need to you can definitely make do without out.

Baby swing/bouncer/rocker

It can be super helpful to have somewhere safe to strap baby in and know they can’t move that isn’t in your arms but again if money is tight then you may want to think about whether you can live without this.

Baby carrier

Again this is something that can come in hugely handy to allow you to have two hands-free and get mobile with your baby snuggled up to you (bliss!) – but they are also very dependant on the baby – some babies hate them. So before you go dropping the big bucks on them, see if you can’t borrow one off a friend to try with your baby to see if they like it/settle in it, or find one with a good return policy just in case.

Travel/porta cot

This is largely dependant on your lifestyle and whether you plan to be away from home a lot. If you are then it can be a great investment to have the same one for your little one to get used to every time you are away. As with a regular cot, make sure you do your research and make sure they meet the proper safety standards


You don’t need to spend big bucks on toys like baby gyms or gadgets that light up and sing. Any parents will tell you half the time their babies are more interested in the box the toys came in than the toys themselves.

Sure a few toys are great to have around, but you don’t need to go overboard – and can get creative with things around the house for playtime – think saucepans, Tupperware, empty toilet rolls and colourful ribbons and scarves.

Having a baby is such an exciting time and it can be so easy to get caught up in the excitement – especially thanks to social media! But by taking a step back and thinking about what you really need and factoring that in with your budget it really doesn’t need to be overwhelming!

Related articles

Tips for saving money when preparing for baby
10 tips for planning the perfect babymoon
Nappy bag essentials for winning at outings

Related Articles

Loved this article?

Share with a friend

Hey parents!


Get paid to review the latest brands and products

Join Now - it’s FREE