Here is a list of some helpful tips when bringing a new baby home!
Gotta have these!
VERY nice to have item!
Having a baby can be very stressful on a variety of levels and will seem overwhelming at times. In addition to adjusting to a life growing inside your body, you have to prepare for the arrival of this tiny creature that is guaranteed to change your life. Even though I felt pretty prepared with the arrival of my daughter, I quickly found out that there were many items that were not needed and many that were. The purpose of this guide is to assist you in the preparation of an infant. Whether you are a first time mother or not, this guide will help alleviate your stress and determine what are critical must haves and what are not.
When you find out that you are pregnant, I would recommend the #1 item you should purchase before anything else is a popular book, What To Expect When You Are Expecting. This book provides explanations of what the female body may experience during a pregnancy month by month. I was a first time mom and really did not know what to expect at all during my pregnancy. The book is written in such a way that it provides a brief explanation of what is occurring in the body, what to expect at the next doctor’s appointment and random questions about common items that may happen during that particular month. Even though pregnancy is different for each person and each child, this reference guide will provide some general explanations for occurrences, feelings or bodily behavior that can alleviate fears of being abnormal or lost. This book will also help identify potential warning signs. This book is certainly not intended to take the place of your OBGYN, but will serve as a guide for those questions that happen throughout the pregnancy. Although I liked my OBGYN, she was extremely busy and I found it difficult to find the time to ask her questions that I had and that she did not necessarily prepare me for what was to come in a few weeks. This book was also able to educate me on what questions I needed to ask.
Now that you have mentally prepared yourself for the birth (as much as possible), you need to start buying all of the necessary "equipment." My top recommendations of items you will want for the arrival of a baby is as follows:
1. Car Seat - You will not be able to leave the hospital without one unless you intend to take the bus back home. It is unlawful for an infant to be in a vehicle if they are not securely held in a car seat. In addition, you will need to show that you have the base of the car seat properly attached and that you are able to function it with ease. Choosing a car seat can be extremely difficult as you have to find a balance between safety and price. You will need to conduct research on the various seats that are available and be familiar with the safety ratings of the car seat. The Internet is a fabulous tool for this. I would not rely on the word of friends unless you are certain that they did the proper research. This is one research project I would recommend you do yourself.
Depending on your financial situation, you may want to consider purchasing a travel set rather than just a car seat. A travel set includes the car seat in addition to a stroller which is compatible with one another. If you were to purchase each item separately, you will find that the overall cost is significantly higher.
2. Bottles - Even if you are planning on breast feeding, you should have bottles available just in case things do not go as planned. When I had my daughter, I had planned on breast feeding but I found that I could not produce enough milk for her hunger regardless of how hard we worked to increase my production. It was the doctor who recommended that we try supplementing with formula as she was not being satisfied adequately. Luckily, I had some bottles available as I was planning on pumping when I returned to work. By planning ahead of time, you will be able to determine which bottle may work best for you and your baby. Once on a particular bottle, you will want to try and stay with that type as an infant does not particularly care for bottle changes once they have become accustomed to one in particular. Be prepared with a secondary choice just in case your first choice does not work. In my particular case, I switched from the Ventair to Gerber because the first did not work for us at all.
If you have decided to use bottles (either on a long term or occasional basis) you will want to use a bottle cleaner to ensure that you can clean the tight crevices and spaces in the bottle and nipples itself.
3. Crib – Even though many may disagree, I highly recommend giving a baby their own if available. Although it is comforting to have your baby in the same room as you, in time they will have their own room and you want them to feel comfortable. Our daughter’s room was immediately next door to us and we found that we did not even need a monitor as long as both doors were open. If you were held all day long, wouldn’t you like to have some quiet time to yourself? As a result, my daughter is now 2.5 years old and we are all able to get a good night’s rest. If you have a crib, you will want to make sure you have a hypoallergenic mattress, extra sheets and a form fitter that will keep the infant on their back at night. Do not use blankets as a form fitter as they may become tangled in them. If you have a bedding setting, I highly recommend that you do not use the bumper as an infant could end up with their face in the padding and suffocate. In the longer term, the bumper can act as a step stool for the baby to get out of the crib.
4. Receiving Blankets – The blankets are a wonderful item that will be extremely useful. They are smaller and lighter than most blankets to prevent an infant from becoming too warm. These blankets can be layered if additional warmth is needed. An infant can easily be swaddled with these blankets. In addition to providing warmth, they act as a nice covering for the floor during playtime. There are many types available but my favorites were the Gerber flannel receiving blankets that come in a 5 pack. Inexpensive and worked great. They are machine washable and hold up quite nicely.
5. Burp Cloths – Whether you are breast or formula feeding, your shoulders will be covered with spit up, likely on several occasions. Save your shirts and give your baby a soft cloth to rest their head. Now that my daughter is older we don’t have the same need for them but they still work nice for cleaning up a spill or dusting the house so I still keep a few around the house.
6. Diapers and Wipes – Keep these well stocked as you do not want to run out of these items! I tried a few varieties and found Huggies to be the best diaper for us. Just to be consistent, I use Huggies wipes although they are relatively all the same. The Pampers wipes tend to be too wet though. My best advice, buy in bulk as it is significantly cheaper.
7. Bouncer – Although a baby will survive without this item, it was extremely helpful in our home. You can’t hold an infant all day as they need their space as well as your arms will need some rest. They are often brightly decorated and often include toy attachments. Most of the varieties available include a vibrating feature but they seem to be a little strong for the infant; although some do like them. These bouncers are set up like a recliner that is held up with a metal bar that allows for it to bounce up and down as they infant moves. Most are machine washable and easy to transport from room to room.
8. Baby Lotion – Your baby’s skin is soft and gentle and it is important to take care of it. Johnson & Johnson make many varieties in different scents that are gentle enough for an infant. Not only will you help keep their skin soft and smooth, a massage can make for some nice quality bonding time.
9. First Aid/Grooming Set – Clippers and/or emery boards, medicine droppers, nasal aspirator and thermometers are all necessary items and it is more cost effective to buy them in a set rather than individually. If your set does not include a thermometer and you do not own one, purchase one. Fevers can come on at any moment and it is important to be aware of them in case further medical attention is needed.
10. Onesies – These one piece body suits are wonderful for dressing a baby in. They can act as a layer in colder temperatures or be a nice outfit in warmer weather. They are easy to take on an off and are usually machine washable. I had a preference for the Gerber variety packs that offered different patterns and could be found at most retail stores that carried baby clothes.
11. Diaper Rash Ointment - At some point it will happen! A baby's skin is very sensitive and the diaper region can become red and irritated. I was fond of the Desitin multi-purpose lotion and still keep it around. This lotion works well on most skin irritations.
As your infants gets older, you will want to have items such as a bath set, towels, washcloths, various medications (such as Tylenol), play pens, high chairs, bowls and spoons, etc. They are not needed when you first bring the baby home but will shortly become a necessity. Depending on your financial situation you can buy these items ahead of time so they are handy once you do need them. Be aware of the expiration dates on any medication you purchase and you will want to check with a doctor before administrating them. The list above highlights the main items you will want ready and set up the day you bring the baby home from the hospital. It is impossible to be 100% prepared but you will want to be as close as possible so you are not rushing around for an item you need immediately at midnight.
The most important piece in the home is love and enjoying your new baby. Whether this is your first or fifth baby it is a wonderful experience that will move too quickly.
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