7 essential items for a newborn’s medicine cupboard

by Dr Kiran Rahim
Dr KiranThere are many lists and blog posts that detail what every parent ‘must have’ before the impending arrival of their beautiful bundle of joy. The reality is what you and your baby needs will vary depending on your family, your parenting style and your budget!
As a Paediatrician I know that these lists are endless so I thought I would write a post on what I suggest every parent has in their medicine cupboard at home for their bubbas in the first few months of life. This list is not exhaustive but as a Mother this is something I wish I had known before I had my little ones. 

Digital Thermometer

One of the things we worry about as paediatricians are fevers in babies under 6months.There are lots on the market ranging from infra-red, inner ear, rectal to so much more. I would highly recommend a Tempadot (this is what we use in hospitals) or an inner ear digital thermometer that can be used from birth to 16 years of age. That way you can reliably take your baby’s temperature when they are poorly and seek appropriate medical attention. 


Up to a third of babies and toddlers in nappies have nappy rash at any given time. Although it is most common in 9-12 month old babies, all babies in nappies can develop it, so it's always best to be prepared. If your baby gets nappy rash, you can usually treat the area with a good barrier cream like metanium. It can be used at every nappy change to treat nappy rash and sooth your baby’s skin.

Saline Drops and Nasal Aspirator

With winter looming, it is not unusual for babies to get colds or blocked noses. Saline drops can be purchased from most major supermarkets and pharmacies and help loosen up the debris in your babies nose which can then be sucked up by the aspirator. This is really important for very small babies as they are obligate nose breathers for the first few months of life, meaning if their nose gets very blocked, they can have trouble feeding and breathing properly. 

Nail Clippers

Newborn nails are really sharp and grow really, really fast. As newborns often have uncoordinated movements they can scratch themselves quite a lot. Most parents find clipping their babies nails quite daunting and traditional scissors and clippers can cause bleeding and trauma. I highly recommend the Nail Snail. It’s designed specifically for trimming soft, tiny nails of babies and children and can be used from birth right up until 5years of age. 

Paracetamol and Ibuprofen 

These are a lifesaver designed to reduce fever and relieve all types of pain. They are often needed together when your baby has cold or viral illness of after they have had their immunisations. In the U.K. most babies receive their first vaccinations around 8weeks and it can be really handy to have both of these medications around. Its often cheaper to buy supermarket/pharmacy ‘own brand’ ones as they contain the same medicine as the popular brands, but cost 1/3 of the price! Remember if your baby is under 3months and has a fever you must see a Doctor.


The current NHS guidance is that all children aged 6 months to 5 years are given vitamin supplements containing vitamins A, C and D daily. Babies who are being breastfed should be given a daily vitamin D supplement from birth, whether or not you're taking a supplement containing vitamin D yourself. Babies who are having more than 500ml (18oz) of infant formula a day should not be given vitamin supplements. This is because formula is fortified with vitamins A, C and D and other nutrients. You can speak to your baby’s midwife, health visitor or your local pharmacist to see which vitamin is suitable for your baby. 

Teething Gel

Whilst most babies don’t erupt their first tooth until 6 months of age, babies can begin to show signs of teething from around 4 months. Signs that your baby is teething include swollen and red gums which can be incredibly sore for babies! Therefore I highly recommend you have a good teething gel or teething granules at hand for when you need them, which is often at 2 in the morning.

Please remember that whilst this list is not exhaustive, it’s a good start to compiling your baby’s medicine cupboard. What you may need may vary on your baby’s individual health needs or recommendations made by your baby’s Doctor. You may need a few of these things, all of them or none of them.

The purpose of this is to empower you to deal with common newborn things. Have a read of my blog on the Fourth Trimester and Welcoming your baby home to know what to expect in the first few months of life and when to seek help from a healthcare professional.

Dr Kiran

I hope you’ve enjoyed reading this blog post. If you have any questions about any of the information please do not hesitate to reach out to me via social media: TheMunchingMedic.

I wish you Good Luck on this exciting new journey with your beautiful bubba!

Dr Kiran Rahim

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