Ready Steady Baby


Equipment for your baby


Before your baby arrives, you’ll need to get some basic equipment such as a cot to sleep in (with a new mattress), something to carry them in and a car seat if you’re travelling by car.

Whatever you’re buying, the most important thing to think about is their safety.

Second-hand equipment

Buying or borrowing second-hand equipment is a good idea, as re-use is one of the key actions you can take to help tackle climate change. But you should only use second-hand equipment if:

  • it’s in good working order
  • you know its full history

If you’re using a second-hand car seat, make sure you have the maker’s instructions.

If you’re using a second-hand cot, buy a new mattress that fits well so your baby can’t get trapped in any gaps. Don’t use a second-hand mattress.

Using a baby sling

Many parents use a sling to carry their baby.

Baby slings allow you to be close, while leaving your arms and hands free. Being close to you this way can help you to build your bond.

You can usually use the ones that go on your front as soon as your baby’s born. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully.

Using a pram

Having a pram that faces towards you can help to build a strong attachment between you too.

This is because your baby can always see you, making them feel safe and secure.

Bottles and sterilising equipment

If you plan to feed your baby with infant formula you’ll need bottles and teats, and sterilising equipment.

If you’ll be expressing milk you may need a breast pump too.

Scotland’s Baby Box

The Baby Box is a welcome gift for every baby born and resident in Scotland.

It can help you get ready for the arrival of your baby and:

  • gives them a comfortable place to sleep if sleeping guidelines are followed
  • contains some of the essential things you’ll need for the first few months of your baby’s life

Most babies will be too big for their Baby Box by about 3 to 6 months, so you’ll need a full-size cot from then.

More about Scotland’s Baby Box


The main clothes and accessories you’ll need for the first few weeks are:

  • 5 all-in-one baby grows and 5 vests, both with popper fastenings
  • 3 cardigans or indoor jackets and one outdoor jacket
  • a sunhat for a summer baby or a warm hat for a winter baby

Some of these will come in your Baby Box.

If you’re lucky, friends or relatives with baby clothes and equipment will hand them on. This can save you a lot of money. Babies grow fast, and will grow out of their first outfits quickly.

Sheets, blankets and cloths

You’ll need:

  • pram sheets and cot sheets if you’re using these
  • blankets
  • 2 towels and 2 wash cloths for bathing and washing
  • 6 muslin or soft cotton cloths – these are useful for lots of things such as mopping up dribbles and baby sick

Other equipment

These aren’t essential, but you may also want to get

  • a baby bath and bowl for topping and tailing
  • nappy sacks if you’re using disposable nappies

Make sure nappy sacks aren’t stored within baby’s grasp either at the changing area or in baby’s cot, pram or buggy.

More about nappies and bathing your baby

Further information and other languages and formats

Translations and alternative formats of this information are available from Public Health Scotland. They have also prepared some leaflets, including:

Last updated:
2 November 2023

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