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10 Baby Essentials I Can’t Live Without

10 Baby Essentials I Can’t Live Without
Carly Jacobs
This post is sponsored by the new Macro Certified Organic Brewers Yeast Cookies

‘Oh you’re pregnant! Congratulations! I’m so happy for you!’

My cousin’s wife wrapped me in a hug, poured herself a glass of wine and started talking.

‘Okay.’ she said ‘I know I don’t have kids but I have two nephews the exact same age so I’ve tried ALL the baby stuff so I know what’s good and what’s crap… but also different things work for different babies so just give everything a go and see what works for you.’

baby essentials

And you know what? She was dead right. She’s tried more strollers, swaddles, outfits and sleep routines than most parents. Certainly more than me. She knew which strollers were a pain to get in and out of the car. She knew which onesies were the easiest to change a nappy in without waking up a baby and she knew about weird and wonderful things I’d never even heard of that would soon become daily staples in my life as a new parent.

baby essentials

There’s a lot of confirmation bias involved when parents give baby-raising advice. For instance, we love our Stokke stroller but we spent a fair whack of money on it (even though we bought it second hand) and we researched hard before we committed. It’s a little bit annoying putting the car capsule on it (you need adapters for it) and there was a learning curve with figuring out how to fold it up but we’re pretty happy with it… or are we? I wonder if we had the opportunity to try five other styles of strollers if we’d buy the Stokke again. We quite possibly would but who knows? We have to be happy with our choice because we don’t want the bother or expense of replacing it.

This is why sometimes taking the advice of parents isn’t necessarily the best idea because often they’re justifying their own choices which can cloud their opinions. If you’re looking for recommendations, try to get unbiased advice before buying anything. Preferably from someone who isn’t currently parenting a newborn (because they’ll just recommend whatever they have!) but plays a vital part in the raising of someone else’s newborn. Like my aforementioned second cousin’s wife. She’s a gold mine of information. Grandparents are often an excellent non-biased source of recommendations too, especially if they have several grandchildren because they get to test drive the essentials of a few different families.

baby essentials

I’ve teamed up with Woolies (and their new Macro Certified Organic Brewers Yeast Cookies) to bring you a list of all the daily staples I use with our girl but keep in mind this stuff is specific to our little family. My advice? Try all the things but borrow and buy second hand where you can because baby stuff is expensive. Also avoid baby stores. They’re full of lovely shiny things you’ll buy and never use.

Here are my daily staples –

1. Love To Dream Swaddle Ups

I had a few people recommended these to me and I didn’t really get how they were different to swaddling. I ended up using a very light Swaddle Up on a hot summer day when our girl was first born because I was worried she’d be too hot in a cotton muslin style swaddle and she had the best nap of her life that afternoon and right up until she was 4 months old she didn’t go to bed unless she was in a Swaddle Up. Having said that, some babies hate them. Mine adores them. Definitely give them a go – if you can borrow one to try before you buy a bunch, do that. Always borrow before you buy because you could spend $100 on something your kid hates and then that’s a complete waste of money. Also, total bonus is that babies look like adorable starfish in them. And when you go to get them when they wake up, it’s like unwrapping a delicious little present.

baby essentials

2. Cloth nappies

My aunty stopped by my house with a bag of stuff shortly after bub was born and it was the most useful bag of stuff anyone gave me. There were cloth nappies, cloth face wipes, a summer suit and a stretchy cotton blanket. I use the cloth nappies for wiping up drool and spew and also to put on my lap when feeding. Our wee one was a very shitty baby – not grumpy, as in she just pooed all the time. She’s down to one a day now (thank god – I once changed her nappy three times in a one hour shopping trip!) but a few months ago it wouldn’t be unusual for her to do 3 poos all while feeding and often it would leak everywhere because of the way she sits when feeding. I’d pop a cloth nappy on my lap and save myself about three outfit changes per day. So useful. And now our girl is on solids I have one over my shoulder to stop that gross grubby mum shoulder situation. You know that permanent smear of pear/saliva/pumpkin/unidentifiable face gunk? Yeah. That.

baby essentials

3. Snacks

I’d always heard parents talk about the weird food they ate once they had a kid and I didn’t really get it. There’d be memes that were shared 1000s of times about eating one handed, having four half eaten chicken nuggets and a bowl of mashed peas your kid spat in for lunch and the joys of drinking a coffee while it was still hot. None of these memes made any sense until our girl came along and now when I see one of these memes I’m like ‘LOL! I did eat blended roast vegetables and half a jar of pear and apple puree for lunch. This is SO RELATABLE!!!’

baby essentials

I never used to be huge on snacking (well I tried not to snack!) but now, if I didn’t snack I wouldn’t eat. I make savoury muffins every week to eat in the car on the way to mother’s group and we buy greek yogurt by the kilo for easy afternoon pick me ups. I’ve also become totally addicted to the new Macro Certified Organic Brewers Yeast Cookies. I bought a few bags for the last post I wrote and then I had to buy more for this post because I ate them all. I’ve found a lovely ritual of making myself a cup of tea after I put bub down for her 9am nap and I have two cookies, one of each flavour (Oat and Honey and Buckwheat and Cacao). I like them because they’re not too sweet. They have brewers yeast (der!) and they are also Certified Organic, high in iron and a source of fibre and they’re the perfect thing to get me through till little miss goes down for another nap and I can make myself a proper lunch. It’s nice to have a little thing that’s just for me, you know? I had several people offer to make me brewers yeasts cookies but I’ve googled it and it seems like a giant pain in the butt. Much easier to just grab them with the groceries.

baby essentials

4. Sudocrem

Our girl comes from two of the most allergic parents on the planet and somehow she doesn’t seem to have any skin issues or sensitivities at all (so far). We do use Sudocrem on her neck though – she has a neck crease that’s buried deep in her little baby fat rolls and sometimes it gets a little bit heat rashy so we pop on some Sudocrem and it fixes it right up. This stuff is magical. She’s also started sleeping for longer stints at night (yay!) and a nurse recommended putting some Sudocrem on before bed to keep her comfy when going for longer without a nappy change. Seems to be working a treat as wet nappies don’t phase her at all. We’ve also started referring to her neck as her ‘meat pocket’ because I swear, half of every meal ends up buried in there. We’re on constant meat pocket duty – making sure it’s clean, dry and free of banana puree before she goes to bed at night.

baby essentials

5. Oricom Baby thermometer

Our bub is legit like a little hot water bottle – she’s a very warm baby – so until I had this thermometer I was convinced she constantly had a temperature and was slowly contracting some kind of baby flu. We bought this super early on so if she’s feeling particularly warm, I can check her temperature and put my mind at ease. It’s also a non-touch thermometer so I can aim it at her head and check her temperature when she’s asleep without bothering her.

baby essentials

6. Oricom Bath Duck

Back in the olden days you’d dip your elbow in the water to make sure it wasn’t too hot for baby but I love having the actual temperature reading. I can also adjust the temperature depending on the weather – slightly cooler baths on hot days and warmer ones on cold days.

baby essentials

7. Arlo Baby Monitor

We didn’t have a baby monitor for the first two months of our little one’s life because our house was so small we didn’t really need it. For real we could hear her snuffling and snorting away in the next room. Our new house is still small but our property is big so with the Arlo we can be out in the garden or taking out the rubbish and we can still keep an eye on her. This monitor live streams to our phones – it’s awesome. Mr Smaggle went away on business to Milan and he was able to see her on the monitor on the other side of the world. It was actually extremely useful because I’d go to sleep knowing he was awake and checking on her. It was a really comforting thought. The Arlo also clocks the temperature of the room so I can make sure she’s appropriately dressed. We live in a sub-alpine climate so the temperature in her room can vary by about 15 degrees overnight so being able to check the room temperature and change the weight of her bedding at her next feed is so useful. Hot tip: Be careful about being too obsessed with the baby monitor. You can waste a lot of time and create a lot of anxiety staring at your kid sleeping, wondering what each little movement means. We basically don’t use the baby monitor unless we really need it. It’s much better for our mental health to wait until we hear her wake up rather than obsessively staring at her sleeping in her cot on our phones.

baby essentials

8. Bonds Wondersuits

I sometimes put our girl in clothes that aren’t Wondersuits and I always regret it. They’re just so great for nappy access and you can layer them for different weather. I know some parents prefer press stud onesies but at 4am I can barely remember my daughter’s name let alone try to match up press studs on a wriggling 6-month-old. I’m very much in the Bonds zipper onesies party. Love them so much. My only issue is that they’re not super warm for winter so I’ve been using them as an under layer and popping a knit onesie or warm coveralls over the top to keep her snug on cold days.

baby essentials

9. Singlet Suits

I can’t stand regular baby singlets because they bunch up. I’m sure singlets will be great in the future but for now, I love the ones the snap together at the crotch.

baby essentials

10. Magazines

This seems like a weird one but I always read before I go to sleep at night but as a new parent, my sleep is 100% dictated by my daughters sleep so I can’t read for an hour before bed or I’ll be wrecked the next day. I haven’t been able to keep my head in a book (yet) so magazines have been a lifesaver. I’ve actually been borrowing stacks from my local library and I read an article or two and then I’m ready for some shut eye.

baby essentials

Baby Essentials We Haven’t Really Used That Much

I got given a lot of advice about stuff I needed when I had a baby and there were a few things some parents swore by that ended up not really working out for us…

Muslin Swaddles

Our bub didn’t mind being swaddled but once I used a Swaddle Up, there was no going back so I ended up with a pile of muslin swaddles I hardly used.

baby essentials

Onesies with built-in feet

These came highly recommended to me but our girl is a normal weight but very long baby so she outgrows built-in feet onesies in length well before she outgrows them in girth. They just never seem to fit her well. The Bonds Wondersuits have flip down feet warmers but if that doesn’t work we just pop some socks on her.


Urgh! So annoying. I think I had a singlet on her for about 5 minutes one day and I was like ‘This is utter garbage.’ They’re so bunchy and annoying. I only use the singlets with the snap crotches now.

Age appropriate clothing

Baby clothes sizing is totally whack. Our wee one can fit into anything from a 00 to 0 and she’s almost 7 months old. It took me a while but now I can tell if something is going to fit her just by looking at it. Reading the labels has proved useless on most occasions.


To be honest, bibs may come in handy one day but at the moment we feed bub in just her nappy. We’ve tried cloth bibs, plastic bibs, full on capes, little smocks… anything we put on her at feeding time, she just wants to pull at it and shove it in her mouth.

I also said this in my last post for Macro Brewers Yeast Cookies but I reckon the perfect gift for a new mum is a Bonds onesie, a couple of bags of these cookies and a giant box of nappies.

What baby must haves were on your list? Anything you couldn’t live without that other parents barely used?


  1. Cass 5 years ago

    The bonds onesie singlet. My 2 yr old still wears one. How would you like your singlet all bunched up around your armpits? No thank you! I also can’t stand when I see a little baby in public with their bare back out because they have a stupid singlet on. It’s not doing it’s job people!

    • Author
      Carly Jacobs-Smaggle 5 years ago

      Baby singlets are the actual worst. And I got given SO MANY OF THEM second hand. Not into it at all.

  2. Rosie 5 years ago

    I only gave up on the snap crotch singlets when we toilet trained. They get harder to find in size 2, but I was NOT giving them up until I had to!! Both my kids have long torsos, and weirdly…long bum cracks which would show ABOVE a nappy, so the singlet suits kept them decent. And in summer I would just put some shorts over the top (as they got older) and there was no riding up whilst they climbed, crawled etc! I thought I was the ONLY person who was obsessive about them ?

    • Author
      Carly Jacobs 5 years ago

      I don’t believe I’ve ever heard of a long bum crack issue but that just totally cracked me up! I’m deeply obsessive about them. I reackon I’ll have her in onesies until she’s ten.


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