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Getting Ready For Baby – A Newborn Checklist
It is wise for a new parent to do everything necessary for the baby before bringing the newborn home. But what to get a newborn baby?
Remember, you never 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, go for it. Just know that after a few months, you’ll probably end up selling it because you’ve realized that some things are more trouble than they’re worth.
I recommend having the nursery set up, equipment in place, clothes washed and ready to go three to four weeks ahead of time. That way, even if your baby comes early, you’ll be ready. It’s so much easier to come home from the hospital when you know you have everything you need close at hand.
Below is a list of essential items for your child’s comfort and safety.
• Bassinet, cot/crib or Pack and Play in your bedroom.
For the first 12 weeks, you feed your baby every 2-4 hours, so you don’t have to go back and forth to the nursery when he’s in your room. It’s also nice to hold your baby close. Your newborn has just come from a compact room, so he likes to be comfortable. I recommend using a crib instead of a crib until the baby can roll over or has no more room to stretch. You will only need it for the first few months, but you will be very happy with it!
• Cot and mattress
When your child outgrows the crib, it’s time to get a crib. Be sure to buy a mattress that meets current safety standards and make sure the mattress fits snugly against the sides so the baby can’t rock or wedge itself under.
• Baby strap
Every mom I know SWEAR by a sling or some type of carrier. This allows you to be mobile and keep your baby physically connected to you. Make sure it supports your neck and head properly and is made of washable fabric. It should be comfortable on your back and allow you to carry your baby in or out on your back. At first, you want him to be facing inward. As he gets older, he wants to face the world so he can see it.
• Changing mat
It’s a plastic pad that you put down to change your baby. You can put a towel on top or use a cover so that your child does not feel the cold plastic. If you’re on a budget, you’ll also buy a changing table, although it’s not really necessary. The time you use it is very short.
• Baby tray/car seat/stroller
I’m a big fan of “the system”. It is a carrier that connects to car and stroller mounts. 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 checked or fitted at the hospital where you give birth. You can’t leave the hospital with your newborn without a proper car seat, so if possible, have it installed a week before the due date.
• High chair
You won’t need a highchair until your baby is at least 5-6 months old, so you might want to hold off on buying one for a while.
• Baby Bumbo Sitter
If your baby is around 3 months old and has a neck check, that’s great! They can sit for it all.
• baby bath
It is important to start with a small bath because in a small space with just a little water, you will gain confidence in how to hold and handle your baby. I love the ones with a sling because they don’t have neck control until they are about 3 or 4 months old. A sling will help you keep them in place.
• Bouncy/vibrating seat and/or swing
Being able to place the baby in a safe place while cooking or dressing is vital, and babies love to move around.
OTHER EQUIPMENT to consider
• Large comfortable rocking chair
• Sound machine – these are great for calming your baby down. They play sounds from the 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. Two monitors or multiple monitors are a must if your home has multiple levels or if your bedroom is on a completely different level. There are also remote pager systems so you can plug it in and listen as you move from room to room.
• Breast pump and accessories
• Nursing Pillows – I love the Boppy. It can also be used by a baby, so it has multiple purposes. However, the Brest Friend offers good support and leverage and has a strap that you can tie around you when you need mobility. It also has a zippered pouch to put things in.
• CD player with headphones and audio books – for when you’re up at night with your baby
• Baby Mirror – Since kids are rear-facing until about a year old and/or 20+ lbs, I like this. This allows you to see your child through the rearview mirror. Some even entertain your child with lights and songs.
• Activity mat or Baby Gym/Crib mobile – If you get a mobile for the crib or pack to play with, make sure it’s colorful and musical. The same goes for activity mats. Make sure toys include mirrors and sounds.
I highly recommend all cotton. It is soft and can be washed in hot water to sterilize it. Everything should be washed with a mild detergent such as Dreft before coming into contact with the baby. During the first six months, wash baby clothes separately from other laundry. Baby bedding should ensure that the newborn is comfortable and safe. Use only high-quality, breathable materials and avoid fluffy items until your child can move objects such as blankets away from their face.
• 3 elastic cotton sheets for the basket and later for the crib
• 4 cotton blankets for swaddling
• 3 warmer blankets
• 2 mattress covers
• Plenty of burp cloths (cloth diapers) that can be used to clean up phlegm and all sorts of messes
• 2 hooded towels and a washcloth
When it comes to baby clothes, it’s all about layers. One important thing to know is that babies cannot regulate their temperature very well until they are about six months old. It is very easy for them to overheat or get too cold. It’s your job to maintain the right temperature by layering your clothes and using blankets.
Think about the practicality and simplicity of dressing. Make sure the crotch opens easily for diaper changes. Soft and easy-to-change clothing is recommended, as you will likely be changing your baby several times a day.
• Sleeps 4-6
• 5-7 one-piece garments
• 3-4 dressing gowns/kimonos
• 5-7 comfortable daily clothes
• 8-10 undershirts
• 3-4 bibs
• 4-5 pairs of socks or booties
• 3 cotton hats/caps
• 2 sweaters if it’s winter
• 1 snowsuit or fleece if it’s winter
Optional – sleeping bag. These are on their way from Europe and are a great way to keep baby warm at night without blankets for baby to step on. It’s like a sleeping bag, but with open arms for ventilation and a zipped bottom, so changing diapers is still easy.
• Diapers – Your baby will go through about five thousand diapers before they are potty trained! And in the first few days, you can change your baby up to 12 times a day. Whether you plan to use disposables, recycled, cloth, or diaper services, make sure you have plenty on hand.
• Diaper Wipes – I love the first several months of being odor free
• Diaper Bag – Get a nice, sturdy bag with large pockets and make sure it always has:
• 4-5 diapers
• Diaper wipes
• Cloth nappy/burp cloths to clean up snot and spills
• Diaper bags for dirty diapers
• Diaper rash cream
• Antibacterial gel for cleaning hands
• Change tray
• One change of clothes from head to toe
• Spare pacifier
• 1 breast piece
• A few soft toys and rattles
• 1 bottle of water that can be used to make a bottle
• 1 -2 bottles
NEEDS 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 set or bag to put milk bottles and ice packs
• At least 2 bottles
• A good reference book – I like The Womanly Art Of Breastfeeding by La Leche League
NEEDS FOR BOTTLE FEEDING AND PUMPING
• 6-8 slow-flow or bent-neck bottles with soft nipples
• Bottle Brush and Optional Disinfection System – It is important to wash bottles thoroughly after each use and then disinfect bottles at least every 2-3 months. You also want to sterilize the parts of the breast pump when you pump.
• Baby thermometer
• Baby soaps and lotions
• Shampoo without tears
• Bath toys
• Baby oil
• Diaper rash Ointment
• Sterile cotton balls
• Baby nail clippers/scissors
• Baby brush/comb
• Rubbing alcohol
• 3-4 pacifiers
• Nose Suction Bulb Syringe – usually supplied by the hospital, so be sure to bring one
• Hypoallergenic (dye-free) laundry detergent that 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
Preparing for your newborn will help eliminate as much of the worry you may have about parenthood as possible so you can enjoy the process. It’s much easier to feel confident when you come home from the hospital when you know you have everything you need close at hand. Enjoy your new little one!
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