By Laurie J Cooper
Having everything you need for baby ready to go before you bring your newborn home is a wise thing for a new parent to do. But what to get for a newborn baby?
Keep in mind that you never really need as much as you think you will. Be realistic. Do you really need a bottle warmer? If you’re a parent who can afford it and you want it even if you don’t need it, then go for it. Just know that in a few months you’re probably going to be reselling it because you’ve realized that some things are more trouble than they’re worth.
I advise having the nursery set up, with supplies in place, clothes washed and ready to go, three to four weeks before your due date. That way, even if your baby comes early, you’ll be prepared. It’s so much easier to come home from the hospital when you know you’ve got everything you need on hand.
Below is a list of the essential must haves for your baby’s comfort and safety.
• Bassinet, Co-Sleeper/Crib or a Pack and Play for your bedroom.
For the first 12 weeks, you’ll be feeding your baby every 2 to 4 hours so having him in your room will help keep you from having to shuffle back and forth to the nursery. It ‘s also nice for keeping your baby cuddled up and close by. Your newborn has just come from a compact space, so they like to feel snug. I recommend using the bassinet instead of the crib until your baby can turn over or there is no longer room for him to stretch. You’ll only need it in the early months, but you’ll be really happy to have it!
• Crib and Mattress
When your baby outgrows the bassinet it’s time for a crib. Be sure to buy one that meets current safety standards and make sure that the mattress fits snugly against the sides so that baby can’t wiggle or get wedged under.
• Baby sling
Every mom I know SWEARS by a sling or some type of carrier. It allows you to be mobile and still keep your baby physically connected to you. Be sure it provides proper neck and head support, and is made of a washable fabric. It should feel comfortable on you and permit you to carry your baby facing in or out. In the beginning, you’ll want to have her facing in. As she gets older, she’ll want to face out so she can see the world.
• Changing mat
This is a plastic pad that you put down in order to change your baby. You can put a towel on top or use a cover so your baby won’t feel the cold plastic. If you have the budget, you an also purchase a changing table, although it’s really not a necessity. The amount of time you will use it is very short.
• Infant Carrier/Car Seat/Stroller
I’m a big fan of the ‘system’. It’s a carrier that connects to the car and stroller attachments. They make it so much easier for you and the baby to go from home to car and to stroller. Be sure to get your car seat inspected or installed at the hospital where you will be delivering. You will not be able to leave the hospital with your newborn without a proper car seat so have this installed 1-week before your due date if you can.
• High Chair
You won’t need a high chair until your baby is at least 5-6 months old so you might want to hold off on this purchase for awhile.
• Baby Bumbo Sitter
Once your baby is about 3 months old and has some neck control, this is great! They can sit it in it for everything.
• Baby Bath Tub
It’s important to start off with a small bath tub because in a small space with just a little bit of water, you gain confidence in how to hold and handle your baby. I love those that have the sling because until about 3 or 4 months old they don’t have any neck control. The sling helps you keep them in place.
• Bouncy/vibrating seat and/or swing
Having somewhere safe to put your infant while you cook or get dressed is vital and babies love the motion they provide.
OTHER EQUIPMENT TO CONSIDER
• Large comfortable rocking chair
• Sound Machine – These are great for helping to soothe your baby. They play sounds from the mothers womb, water sounds, sounds from nature etc. They even come inside of soft stuffed animals.
• Baby Monitoring System – There are many options out there now including video monitoring systems so you can see the baby in his or her crib. Dual monitors or multiple monitors are a must if you have multiple levels in your home or your master bedroom is on a different level altogether. There are also remote pager systems so you can clip it on and listen as you go room to room.
• Breast Pump & Accessories
• Nursing Pillows – I like the Boppy. It can be used by the baby too, so it serves multiple purposes. The Brest Friend, however provides good support and leverage and has a strap you can tie around you if you need to be mobile. It also has a pouch that zips to put things in.
• CD Player with Head Phones and Audio Books – For you when you’re up in the night with the baby
• Baby Car Mirror – Since kids are rear-facing until they are about a year old and/or 20+ lbs., I love this. It allows you to see your baby through your rearview mirror. Some of them will even entertain your baby with lights and songs.
• Activity Mat or Baby Gym/ crib mobile – If you get a mobile for the crib or pack n play, make sure it’s colorful and musical. The same goes for activity mats. Be sure the toys include mirrors and sounds.
I highly recommend all cotton. It’s soft and can be washed in hot water to sterilize. Everything should be washed with a mild detergent, like Dreft, before coming in contact with your baby. During the first six months, wash babies clothes separately from the other laundry. The baby’s bedding should keep your newborn comfortable and safe. Use only quality, breathable materials and avoid fluffy things until your baby is able to move items like blankets from his/her face.
• 3 stretch cotton-fitted sheets for the bassinet, and later for the crib
• 4 cotton blankets that can be used for swaddling
• 3 warmer blankets
• 2 mattress pads
• Lots of burp cloths (cloth diapers) that can be used for wiping up spit up and all kinds of messes
• 2 Hooded towels and washcloths
When it comes to babies clothing, it’s all about layers. One key thing to know is that babies can’t regulate their temperature very well until they’re about six moths old. It’s very easy for them to get overheated or too cold. It’s up to you to keep the temperature right through layering of clothes and the use of blankets.
Think about the practicality and ease of dressing. Make sure the crotch opens easily for diaper changing. Soft and easy to change outfits are recommended since you will probably be changing your baby several times a day.
• 4-6 sleepers
• 5-7 one piece garments
• 3-4 gowns/kimonos
• 5-7 comfortable day outfits
• 8-10 undershirts
• 3-4 bibs
• 4-5 pairs of socks or booties
• 3 cotton caps/hats
• 2 sweaters if it’s winter
• 1 snowsuit or fleece if it’s winter
Optional – A sleep sack. These are making their way over from Europe — they’re a brilliant way to keep baby warm at night without blankets, which baby can kick off. It’s like a sleeping bag, but it has open arms for ventilation and a zippered bottom so diaper changes are still easy.
• Diapers – Your baby will go through roughly five thousand diapers before he’s potty trained! And in the early days you may be changing your baby up to 12 times a day. Whether you plan to use disposables, recycled, cloth or a diaper service, be sure to have plenty on hand.
• Diaper wipes – I like the unscented ones for the first several months
• Diaper Bag – Get a nice durable bag with large pockets and make sure that it always has:
• 4-5 Diapers
• Diaper wipes
• Cloth diaper/ burp cloths for cleaning up spit up and spills
• Diaper sacks for dirty diapers
• Diaper rash cream
• Antibacterial gel to clean your hands
• Changing pad
• One change of clothing from head to toe
• Spare pacifier
• 1 Bib
• A couple of soft toys and rattles
• 1 bottle of water that can be used for making a bottle
• 1 -2 bottles
ESSENTIALS FOR BREAST FEEDING
• 2-4 nursing bras
• One box of disposable breast pads
• Nipple cream
• Either an electric breast pump or a hand pump
• Breast milk storage containers
• A kit or bag to put your milk bottles in and ice packs
• At least 2 bottles
• A Good Support Book – I like ‘The Womanly Art Of Breastfeeding’ by The La Leche League
ESSENTIALS FOR BOTTLE FEEDING AND PUMPING
• 6-8 slow flow or bent-neck bottles with soft nipples
• Bottle Brush & Optional Sanitizing System- It’s important to thoroughly wash bottles after every use and then sanitize bottles at least every 2-3 months. You’ll also want to sterilize your breast pump parts if you are pumping.
• Baby thermometer
• Baby soaps and lotions
• Tearless shampoo
• Bath toys
• Baby oil
• Diaper rash Ointment
• Sterile cotton balls
• Baby nail scissors/clippers
• Baby brush/comb
• Rubbing alcohol
• 3-4 pacifiers
• Nose Suction Bulb syringe – usually supplied by the hospital so be sure to take it
• Hypoallergenic (dye-free) laundry detergent which is mild.
• Night lite
• Several Good Parenting Books – I like ‘Secrets Of The Baby Whisperer’ By Tami Hoag and ‘The Happiest Baby On The Block’ by Harvey Karp
Being prepared for your newborn will help eliminate as much as possible those worries you may have about being a parent so you can enjoy the process. It’s so much easier to feel confident about coming home from the hospital when you know you’ve got everything you need on hand. Enjoy your new little baby!
About the Author
– Laurie Cooper is a wife, mother and grandmother who provides practical advice, resources and encouragement to parents as they go through the amazing journey of helping their children grow into joyful, confident, positive adults! Visit her website at [http://parentpositivekids.com] to receive your FREE Guide to ‘The Top 7 Secrets For Being A GREAT Parent’