All the essentials for everyday baby care, from feeding to babyproofing, bathtime and more. For more detailed information, visit Baby Steps on your PC or laptop.
What do I need to breastfeed?
Most experts recommend that it is best to breastfeed your baby for at least 6 months as breast milk offers the healthiest, most nutritious and natural food source for your developing baby.
The only essentials needed for breastfeeding are mother and baby. However, there are some optional extras that may make feeding time more comfortable.
- Nursing chair – A nursing chair and footstool offers support and comfort as you nurse your baby. Many also have a glide function, so you can gently rock back and forth for an extra soothing experience.
- Nursing pillow – A nursing pillow lets you maintain your position and stay comfortable throughout a feed. Many are multi-purpose and can be used during pregnancy to support your bump while you sleep.
- Breast pump – Some mothers choose to express milk using a breast pump so that they have a supply of their own milk bottled, should they want to return to work or stop breastfeeding from the nipple for a period of time. Many breast pumps let you control the level of vacuuming and are designed to be comfortable and efficient. If you decide to use bottles in this way, be sure to sterilise fully for clean and safe feeding.
OUR TOP BRANDS
Get child safety locks for all your cupboards, and, to be double sure, place anything harmful like cleaning liquids in a high cupboard just in case. Don't let anything hang over the edge of your counters, like a pan handle or power cable – these will be much too tempting for young hands.
It's hard to keep an eye on a child if you're cooking, so use a baby safety gate to keep them out while you prepare food. Use safety knob covers on your cooker to stop them turning things on and use a baby fire guard to prevent them from touching the door during and after use.
Non-slip mats are essential to stop baby slipping both in and out of the tub. Make sure you store any bathroom bottles in a high place away from curious hands and remove anything that they might try to climb up, like a clothes airer or laundry basket. And don't forget a lock for the toilet – it's the last place you want them exploring.
THE LIVING ROOM
Falls and slips are inevitable, so use corner cushions on furniture like coffee tables to make sure there's no serious injuries if they fall against them. And if you have a fireplace, get a child safety fire guard to keep them well away. You should also use safety straps to secure furniture to the wall that could tip, like bookcases, display cabinets and flatscreen TVs. Make sure you hide any cables too.
You should block electric sockets to prevent curious fingers and get a baby safety gate to stop them climbing the stairs when you're not looking. Window restrictors are important so there's no risk of them falling outside or getting fingers caught. Doors are also a place where it's easy for them to trap fingers, so use an edge guard to block the area around the hinges.
A baby bath is not essential if you already have a full-sized tub in your bathroom. However, to avoid having to stoop over the edge of the bath to wash your little one, many parents choose to use a baby bath for the first few months. These smaller baths are lightweight and moveable, so you can wash your baby in the nursery as well as the bathroom.
BABY BATH CHAIRS
Bath chairs or seats can be used to provide extra support to your baby if you chose to bathe them in a full size bath. They secure to the bottom of your bath tub with non-slip suction pads and can easily be removed to tidy away when not in use. While many are suitable for use from birth, some are suitable only from 6 months, or when your baby can sit upright unassisted – just check the manufacturer's description to make sure.
Baby bath toys
It can take a while for some babies to get used to the sensation of being in water, however bath toys can help avoid any tears. These specially made toys, suitable for use in water, encourage your baby to splash and develop their widening senses with engaging colours and textures.