Minimalist Newborn Must Haves

Sunday, 29 March 2020

It’s easy to get caught up in buying every baby product, especially as a first time mom. Everything is adorable and cute, so it is hard not to! But perhaps if this COVID-19 outbreak has taught us anything, it is not to panic buy. And I feel the same applies to shopping for a newborn. You could spend a small fortune on newborn items that would only last you a few weeks or wouldn’t end up being used at all. So, I have made a minimal list of the essentials I recommend having. These are products that were worth every penny and got me through the first few weeks as a first time mama! This is not to say you won’t need other products further down the line, these are just items for the first few weeks which I found made life easier so you know what to buy and where to possibly save your pennies.

  • Hakkaa -  I bought the double Medela electric swing pump for a few thousand rands which I have only just started using  but for those first few weeks after giving birth (especially if you are a first time mom) you are still trying to get used to breast feeding and the pain of it all. An electric pump, even on the gentlest setting was too sore and uncomfortable. It is also awkward to use as it needs to be plugged in (or have batteries), has a lot of attachments to assemble and constantly sterilise, and it is noisy. After I gave birth I realised I needed a much simpler solution and bought the Hakkaa. I am actually tempted to buy another one so I can use two at the same time if I am not feeding but need to express. The Hakkaa is a fraction of the price and I wish someone had told me to save my money and start off with a Hakkaa first. You can pop it on anywhere, the suction is really good so your new born cannot easily kick it off and once your milk supply comes in you can catch your let down while your baby feeds on the other breast and either freeze your extra milk or feed it to your baby as a top up (which I did to get her back to her birth weight). This has been so handy to reach for at 2am. I also measured my output and using the Medela electric swing pump and Hakkaa I got the same amount of milk, this morning was about 40ml.

  • Breast Milk Storage Bags - I use the Medela milk storage bags as these came with my pump. Ideally, I would have liked to have found a glass storage solution instead of plastic bags but I haven’t yet, so these are what I have been using. What I love about them is that you can store them flat in your freezer so they don’t take up much space, they have a great leak-proof double zipper and you can write the date and ml on them.

  • Bottle – You might want to exclusively breast feed or exclusively formula feed. See what works for you and your baby. I liked using a small bottle like the Pigeon or Medela bottles and the NUK premature teet (Chloé was 3.24kgs at birth but a normal size teat made her gag). There are so many different types of bottles and teats so buy one and see what your baby likes before buying a whole bunch. I learnt this the hard way after buying four of the same brand only to discover they let in too much air while she drank which resulted in hours of tears and no sleep, for both of us. I also wish I had bought a wide neck bottle and slow flow teat to have on hand as this is what I ended up needing in the end.

  • Nipple Cream – Pack this in your hospital bag and start using it from day one. Don’t wait for your nipples to become roasties like I did. It took me 5 weeks before breastfeeding was no longer painful and it was a loooong 5 weeks with sore nips! This Aloe Vera Gel is a great alternative if you want something more natural but it is a dark colour so keep this in mind (it doesn’t stain though!) otherwise Lansinoh nipple cream works wonders too and doesn’t need to be wiped off when breastfeeding.

  • Small Dummy – I assumed all dummies were the same. They aren’t. And that goes for sizing too. Size 0-2 months or 0-6 months will most likely be too big for your teeny newborn. Buy and take a Snookums Cherry dummy with you to hospital. They are about R15 (the cheapest dummy out there) and if your baby takes it this will be your saving grace. Pack it in your hospital bag. Chloé didn’t settle in the hospital nursery and always wanted to comfort feed so if I had found these dummies earlier in my mom life, I would have been able to get 40 winks which were so vital yet scarce in those early days.

  • Comfy safe mirror for your carthis mirror is so nice and big and being able to see your baby while driving gives you peace of mind when they need to be rear facing for the first few months. I cannot tell you how many times I have had to pull over because her head had fallen forward or to the side and I thought she couldn’t breathe! Having this mirror lets you keep an eye on them.

  • Gentle baby products – Your newborn baby is so delicate and little so it’s really important to choose gentle products to use on their skin. My favourite products at the moment are:
    • Pure Beginnings bum cream
    • Pure Beginnings or Oh Lief baby wash
    • Water Wipes (these are available at Baby City)


  • A few small newborn / prem clothes for the first four weeks - Chloé was a very average weight and height, born at 3.24 kgs and 51cm long and hardly any clothes I bought fit her. the sizing of baby clothes is very odd. These are the brands I found fit well for newborns: Ackermans, Country Road, H&M. What is great about H&M is they do in between sizes as well 

  • Baby grows with attached, fold down mittens. The best ones I have found are from Cotton On and the have a zip! This is so handy for night time nappy changes when you are doing everything with one eye open.  

  • White noise machine or white noise soundtrack on your phone - If you use your phone, just remember to download the track / playlist and put your phone on airplane mode before putting it near your baby.

  • Muslins – Get three or four soft muslins that are large enough to use for swaddling. This would be my minimum amount as you end up using these as burp cloths, swaddles, blankets and covers over your pram on a sunny day, so they get dirty quickly.

  • A nappy bag – this is something that is worth the splurge, as it is not just for your baby, it is something you will end up using every day. My K’LEA bag honestly makes me feel like I have my sh*t together on days when I look and feel a mess. It goes with every outfit, holds everything I and my baby need for the day and the best part - it t can be attached to your pram with the stroller straps so you don’t even have to carry it if you don’t want to. Make sure you get a baby bag that can attach to your pram as you really won’t want to be carrying anything but your baby. So treat yourself, invest in a baby bag that makes you feel good about yourself.


  • A pram with a basinet – Ok don’t hate me for what I am about to say here… I know everyone is all about convenience these days so prams like the Doona are very popular but babies under 6 months should ideally lie flat in their pram instead of being “scrunched” up like they are in their car seat. If they lie flat is allows for optimal breathing and encourages their spine and hips to develop properly.


  • Moses basket - having your baby sleep right next to your bed for the first few weeks is convenient because you will be up feeding them every hour or two. You don't have to spend a fortune on one either. There are some gorgeous second hand raftan baskets for example on places like Gumtree and Market Place which would only have been used for a few weeks or months. We have actually used Brett’s old moses basket from when he was a baby which his mom made up for Chloé! If you do buy a second hand moses basket you will need to get a new mattress. dont buy this second hand.

  • Reusable breast pads - Not only are these more sustainable and budget friendly but they are also more comfortable to wear. My go to have been these from Olive and you can also buy these from Dischem. I suggest getting about 10 pairs as you go through about three to four pairs a day. 

  • *Cloth nappies* - If you are going to use cloth nappies don’t be afraid to start using them from birth. I loved the Bumgenius Littles Newborn V2 nappies for the first month as they have space for the umbilical cord and are not bulky but still contain that newborn poop. Another firm favourite of mine are the Tot Bots TeenyFit Star which I always reached for once her umbilical cord had fallen off. If you are going to use disposable nappies just get one pack of the newborn size nappies as they grow out of these so fast,.


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