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Getting Ready For Baby – A Newborn Checklist
Having everything you need for your baby ready before you bring your newborn home is a smart thing to do for a new parent. But what to buy for a newborn?
Remember that you never really need as much as you think you do. Be realistic. Do you really need a bottle warmer? If you’re a parent who can afford it and want it even if you don’t need it, then go for it. Just know that in a few months you’ll probably be reselling it because you’ve realized 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 the due date. That way, even if your baby comes early, you’ll be ready. It’s a lot easier to come home from the hospital when you know you have everything you need at hand.
Below is a list of essential must-haves for your baby’s comfort and safety.
• Cot, cot or Pack and Play for your bedroom.
For the first 12 weeks, you’ll feed your baby every 2 to 4 hours, so if he’s in his own room, you won’t have to haul him back and forth to the nursery. It’s also handy for keeping baby close. Your newborn just got out of the compact space, so he likes to feel comfortable. I recommend using a bassinet instead of a crib until the baby can turn over or there is no more room to stretch out. You will only need it in the first few months, but you will be very happy to have it!
• Baby cot and mattress
When your baby outgrows the crib, it’s time for a crib. Be sure to buy a mattress that meets current safety standards and make sure that the mattress fits tightly against the sides so that the baby cannot squirm or get stuck.
• Baby sling
Every mom I know SWEAR by a sling or some type of carrier. It allows you to be mobile and your baby to stay physically connected to you. Provide adequate neck and head support and is made of washable fabric. It should be comfortable for you and allow you to carry your baby facing in or out. At first, you’ll want it to be facing inward. As she gets older, she will want to be outward facing so she can see the world.
• Pad for rewinding
This is a plastic pad that you put down to change your baby. You can put a towel on top or use a cover so that the baby does not feel the cold plastic. If you’re on a budget, buy a folding table as well, although it’s not really a necessity. The time you will use it is very short.
• Baby carrier/car seat/stroller
I’m a big fan of ‘the system’. It is a carrier that connects to car and stroller connectors. They make it much easier for you and your baby to go from home to car and stroller. Be sure to have your car seat inspected or installed at the hospital where you will give birth. You won’t be able to leave the hospital with your newborn without the right car seat, so get it fitted a 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 a while.
• Baby Bumbo Sitter
Once your baby is around 3 months old and has some neck control, this is great! I can sit in it for everything.
• Baby bath tub
It is important to start with a small tub because in a small space with only a little water you gain confidence in how to hold and handle your baby. I like the ones that have a sling because until about 3 or 4 months they have no control over their neck. The strap helps you keep them in place.
• Bouncy/vibrating seat and/or swing
Having a safe place to put your baby while cooking or dressing is essential, and babies love the movement they provide.
OTHER EQUIPMENT SHOULD BE CONSIDERED
• Large comfortable rocking chair
• Sound Machine – They are excellent for soothing the baby. They play sounds from the mother’s womb, water sounds, nature sounds, etc. They even come in soft stuffed animals.
• Baby Monitoring System – There are many options now including video monitoring systems so you can see your baby in their crib. Dual monitors or multiple monitors are essential if you have multiple levels in your home or your master bedroom is on a completely different level. There are also remote pager systems so you can hook it up and listen as you go from room to room.
• Breast pump and accessories
• Nursing pillows – I like the Boppy. It can also be used by a baby, so it has multiple uses. However, the Brest Friend provides good support and strength and has a strap that you can tie around you if you need to be mobile. It also has a zippered pouch to put things in.
• CD player with headphones and audio books – For you while you are up at night with your baby
• Baby Car Mirror – Since kids are rear-facing until they are a year old and/or 20+ lbs., I love this. It allows you to see your baby through the 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 crib mobile or play pack, make sure it’s colorful and musical. The same goes for activity mats. Make sure the toys contain mirrors and sounds.
I highly recommend all cotton. It is soft and can be washed in hot water for sterilization. Everything should be washed with a mild detergent, such as Dreft, before it comes into contact with the baby. During the first six months, wash children’s clothes separately from other laundry. Baby bedding should provide your newborn with comfort and safety. Use only quality, breathable materials and avoid fluffy items until your baby is able to remove objects such as blankets from his face.
• 3 stretchable cotton sheets for the cradle, and later also 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 to wipe up spit up and all kinds of messes
• 2 hooded towels and washcloths
When it comes to baby clothes, it’s all about layers. One key thing to know is that babies cannot regulate their temperature well until they are six months old. They get overheated or cold very easily. It is up to you to keep the temperature appropriate by layering your clothes and using blankets.
Think about the practicality and simplicity of dressing. Make sure the crotch opens easily for changing diapers. Soft clothes that are easy to change are recommended as you will likely be changing your baby several times a day.
• 4-6 sleepers
• 5-7 one-piece clothing items
• 3-4 dresses/kimonos
• 5-7 comfortable daily combinations
• 8-10 undershirts
• 3-4 bib
• 4-5 pairs of socks or boots
• 3 cotton caps/hats
• 2 sweaters if it’s winter
• 1 snowsuit or fleece if it’s winter
Optional – sleeping bag. These come from Europe — they’re a great way to keep baby warm at night without a blanket that baby can move. It’s like a sleeping bag but has open arms for ventilation and a zipped bottom so changing nappies is still easy.
• Diapers – Your baby will go through about five thousand diapers before they are potty trained! And in the first days, you may change your baby up to 12 times a day. Whether you plan to use disposables, recycled cloths, or diaper service, be sure to have them on hand.
• Diaper wipes – I like unscented ones for the first few months
• Diaper bag – get a nice durable bag with large pockets and make sure it always has:
• 4-5 diapers
• Nappy wipes
• Cloth diapers/burp cloths to clean up spit-ups and spills
• Bags for dirty diapers
• Cream against diaper rash
• Antibacterial gel for cleaning hands
• Changing pad
• One change from head to toe
• Spare pacifier
• 1 bib
• Several soft toys and rattles
• 1 bottle of water that can be used to craft a bottle
• 1 -2 bottles
NEEDED FOR BREASTFEEDING
• 2-4 nursing bras
• One box of disposable breast pads
• Cream for warts
• Electric breast pump or hand pump
• Containers for storing breast milk
• An accessory or a bag in which to put milk bottles and ice packs
• At least 2 bottles
• A good supportive book – I like ‘The Womanly Art Of Breastfeeding’ by La Leche League
BASIC NEEDS FOR FEEDING AND BOTTLING
• 6-8 bottles with slow flow or bent neck with soft nipples
• Bottle brush and additional disinfection system – it is important to wash the bottles thoroughly after each use and then disinfect them at least every 2-3 months. You’ll also want to sterilize the breast pump parts if you’re breastfeeding.
OTHER NECESSARY NEEDS
• Thermometer for babies
• Children’s soaps and lotions
• Shampoo without tears
• Bath toys
• Baby oil
• Ointment for diaper rash
• Sterile cotton balls
• Children’s scissors/nail clippers
• Baby brush/comb
• 3-4 pacifiers
• Nose Suction Bulb Syringe – usually supplied at the hospital so be sure to bring it
• Hypoallergenic (dye-free) laundry detergent that is mild.
• Night light
• Some good parenting books – I like Tami Hoag’s ‘Secrets of the Baby Whisperer’ and Harvey Karp’s ‘The Happiest Baby on the Block’
Preparing for a new baby will help you eliminate as many of the worries you may have about parenthood so you can enjoy the process. It’s a lot easier to feel confident coming home from the hospital when you know you have everything you need close at hand. Enjoy your new little baby!
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