What will baby need?

Baby's first layette

The clothing and other essential items you will need to care for your newborn baby once you take her home from the hospital are called a layette, from the French word meaning small box or chest of drawers.


Baby's first layette

Preparing baby’s layette is great fun for expectant moms, but with so many gorgeous items to choose from it can be confusing to know what items are essentials and which are just nice to haves.

Have your baby's room and layette complete before your pregnancy advances

Most moms-to-be start preparing the layette from about 20 weeks. By this stage you may know whether you’re having a girl or a boy, and you will know that your baby is healthy and your pregnancy is progressing well. Plus, you only have about 4 months to go before B-day!

Try to have the room and layette complete before your pregnancy advances to the stage where you feel too tired and heavy to run around the shops. Also, you need to consider the fact that you might deliver your baby early – countdown starts from 36 weeks when baby is considered fully viable.

Borrow or buy second-hand

While it is nice to have everything brand new for your baby, if you’re on a budget it is worth borrowing or buying second-hand certain expensive, durable items like prams, cots, car seats and feeding chairs which can cost anything from R1 500 upwards each. Just make sure you have them thoroughly cleaned and buy a new mattress and bed linen.

Buy just enough of the basics

Your baby will soon outgrow her tiny newborn clothes, so buy just enough of the basics to ensure that you have at least two changes of clothing during the day as well as clean nightclothes, as small babies can get surprisingly dirty what with possetting, spilt milk and poos that escape from nappies.

You will also need to ensure that you have clothes for all weathers and temperatures as newborns can’t regulate their body temperature very effectively and need to be dressed appropriately whatever the weather.

Layette checklist (0-6 months)


  • Disposable nappies (+-8 per day)
  • 12 towelling nappies (to use as burp cloths, linen savers, bath towels, etc)
  • 6-8 vests – sleeveless and long-sleeved
  • 1 going-home outfit (newborn unless your baby is very big)
  • 6-8 babygros, leggings and tops for daytime wear (2 changes per day and alternative weather option)
  • 4-6 sleepsuits (one change per day and alternative weather option)
  • 2 sleep sacks (especially useful in winter)
  • Jerseys (2 in summer, 4 in winter)
  • 6-8 washable bibs
  • 6 pairs booties and/or socks
  • Bonnet and sun hat (2)


  • 2-3 bath towels – hooded and plain
  • 4 facecloths
  • 4 fitted cotton cot sheets
  • 4-6 receiving blankets for swaddling
  • Baby blankets
  • Special shawl or blanket for special occasions such as christening
  • Wedges for cot (help position baby securely and snugly)
  • Cot mattress


  • Baby bag
  • 6-8 bottles (small (125ml) at first, large (250ml) within 3 months (you will need these even if you are breastfeeding for expressing feeds)
  • Steriliser with bottle draining rack (electric or microwave)
  • Formula, if you’re not breastfeeding or are combining. Use the same formula baby is given in the hospital or consult your paediatrician to choose one you want to use
  • Bottle warmer or plastic jug
  • Dummies
  • Breast pump


  • Cot
  • Compactum or changing table
  • Chest of drawers
  • Armchair for comfortable feeding
  • Baby bath and bathmat
  • Pram with rear-facing car seat
  • Changing mat
  • Night light
  • Books and toys
  • Cot mobile
  • Sling

Toiletries and medicines:

  • Wet wipes (or cotton wool and water)
  • Baby paracetamol syrup or suppositories
  • Gripe water
  • Surgical spirits
  • Barrier cream (petroleum jelly)
  • Nappy rash cream
  • Aqueous cream
  • Baby bath lotion
  • Baby shampoo
  • Baby powder
  • Cottonwool swabs
  • Nail scissors
Disclaimer: The advice on this site is for information purposes only. Please consult your health professional.

Add your comment

Comments - 19 comments

Akhona Ntuli

This is just perfect. Thank you :-)
Posted on Wed, May 20th 2015, 10:48

Akhona Ntuli

This is just perfect. Thank you :-)
Posted on Wed, May 20th 2015, 10:48

Dolly Motladiile

This is the best lesson for the new mothers. I commend this teaching to the young women. God bless you.
Posted on Sun, Mar 8th 2015, 18:35


Thank you for this helpfull information. My due is on 23 December
Posted on Tue, Nov 11th 2014, 08:02


Thanks for the list its goin to help me
Posted on Thu, Sep 4th 2014, 13:27


Thank you for this list, i have looked at a million checklists and finally found this one, which is exactly what i was looking for.
Posted on Fri, Apr 4th 2014, 10:44


i have being looking around the shops fr mi new baby who is due end of january bt i ddnt knw wat to buy,tanx fr your help we realy need it.
Posted on Thu, Dec 12th 2013, 11:16


Very helpful lists, thank you.
Posted on Sat, Sep 21st 2013, 14:40


Is very helpful indeed,as 4 me I ddnt knw wth 2 buy,ma mom ws doing all da shopping 4 ma very first bby boy,Lesego thts his name,he's turning a year nxt mnth on da 3th,so hapi.
Posted on Tue, Sep 10th 2013, 14:22


Hello, I've only been in South Africa for a year and a half and I'm expecting my first baby. My baby is due in October and I live in Cape Town. What kind of clothes should I be buying for my baby? I know it will be Spring, but I hear the weather is pretty unpredictable so I'm a bit confused about how to dress him? Any help would be really appreciated! Thanks!
Posted on Wed, Aug 21st 2013, 22:56


Oh Tanx heavens excatly wat needed I was so blank n ddnt knw were to start tanx a million
Posted on Wed, Aug 7th 2013, 20:17

Mommy Amber

Thank u very much,this is exactly wat I needed. 29weeks nd was clueless!
Posted on Tue, Apr 30th 2013, 16:34


Much appreciated, it will help a lot
Posted on Tue, Apr 30th 2013, 09:05


yes!!! we got it all!!
Posted on Tue, Apr 2nd 2013, 20:03


Thanx 4 de info its hhelpful
Posted on Tue, Sep 4th 2012, 16:26


Thanks for the list of things to have.
Posted on Tue, Sep 4th 2012, 16:03


Thanks very helpful
Posted on Sun, May 22nd 2011, 18:48


thank, it is helpful
Posted on Fri, Mar 25th 2011, 15:12


Very informative. Great site
Posted on Thu, Oct 7th 2010, 15:18

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