During your pregnancy you should collect the things you will need to care for your baby. This includes, but is not limited to, a crib or bassinet; sheets; baby clothes including nightgowns, socks, booties, onesies and sleepers; blankets; diapers; wipes; diaper rash cream; infant car carrier; stroller; frontpack; backpack; play yard; bottles; nipples and formula if bottle feeding; diaper bag; thermometer; Boppie for propping your baby up and helping you hold baby while nursing; more than one nursing bra if nursing; burp cloths.
This list is not exhaustive but will give you an idea of the things you will use as soon as your baby is home.
CRIB: Your baby needs a place to sleep. Current recommendations are that the bedding meet code. You can choose a regular crib, bassinet, cradle or Pack 'n Play with an infant bed. New co-sleeping beds allow your baby to sleep next to you without the risk of injuring your baby. As for bedding, less is more. Bumper pads are not recommended for infants. Buntings and swaddlers are recommended over multiple blankets.
Plan to use 10-12 per day for your newborn baby!! The newborn sizes of disposable diapers now have cutouts for the umbilical cord to remain exposed so it dries quickly.
Cloth diapers are still a viable option and will save you money over the long haul, but cost much more initially...and obviously take more time. New pre-folded nappies are easy to use and easily washed. They can be disinfected and air dried to help remove stains. If you really like the idea of cloth diapers but lack the time, diaper services are still available in many areas.
These are very long strips of fabric that wrap around you and hold your baby close to you. They are extremely versatile and can be used to hold newborns to toddlers, front or back. Check online for video instructions on how to use wraps in various situations.
Adept moms even nurse their babies while wearing wraps. The button above will take you to the website of a family owned business that caters exclusively to baby wearing/wrapping. Wraps can be used to carry your child in any circumstance and are common all over the world. Wraps can be a stretchy knit or a woven completely un-stretchy fabric. The key here is keeping your baby close to you and content.
Many areas have babywearing support groups and many offer a wrap rental program where you can try out different styles without breaking the bank. The following link will take you to wrapyourbaby.com, a website that is all about wraps. She sells wraps and has many videos where she explains multiple ways to wear your baby in a wrap.
BOTTLES: You will want bottles whether you bottle feed or nurse your baby. Research the various brands and choose bottles that have the nipple type and options you prefer. Playtex offers a bottle liner style that allows moms who breastfeed and want to pump and save milk so babysitters can feed their baby later, to put milk in the bag and freeze it for later use. Always thoroughly wash new bottles and nipples, and sterilize them once by submerging in boiling water. After first use, simply rinse with cool water then wash in dishwasher or by hand with hot water.
CLOTHING...Your newborns layette:
Your baby's clothing needs are fairly minimal to start. Tee shirts, onesies, infant gowns, sleepers, socks, booties, are the basics. Beyond these basics, you can get adorable newborn outfits. But overall, your new baby's layette need not be overly extensive. Dressing your new baby is fun! If you are on a tight budget, ask around to see if anyone has used clothes they would be willing to give you. Or look at yard sales and consignment shops. The following list is from Parenting.com and is fairly thorough:
What's a layette? If you answered with anything from undershirts to a stroller, you're right. Technically, it's every item a newborn needs during the first year. For most people, however, a layette simply means a baby's first wardrobe.
Print this list and bring it with you to the store, or conveniently browse and shop online.
1 "take-me-home" outfit
3 shirt-and-pant sets
4 coveralls (one-piece footed outfits)
6 pairs of socks
2 large hooded towels
8 sleep gowns
2 sleep sacks (work as safe blankets)
Lots of burp cloths
4 receiving blankets
Depending on the climate, and when your baby is born:
Coat, knit hat, snowsuit
Swimsuit, brimmed sun hat
INFANT CAR SEAT:
You will need, by law, to have an infant car seat in order to take your new baby home from the hospital. In fact your baby will have to pass an infant seat test to be sure baby can breathe properly while strapped in. Many styles are available but one of the nicer features available is a base that you strap into your car and which stays attached. The seat itself detaches from the base and can be carried with you away from the car. If you have two vehicles, you can get two bases, so the same car seat can be used in whichever car is carrying baby that day. Always place the infant carrier car seat facing the back of the car and never put in the front passenger seat.
Your baby will need several blankets. At least two or three. That way if one becomes dirty you can wash it and still have one to use. I use extra hospital/receiving blankets to put under baby whenever I lay baby down. I also use them as emergency burping cloths.
REGULAR CAR SEAT:
Your baby will outgrow the infant car seat within the first year. The infant carrier is placed facing back of the car. When your baby can sit up well or becomes too large to fit in the infant carrier graduate him to a regular car seat. These face forward and have adjustable straps, a way to strap them in using the car's seat belt, as well as a tether if your car is equipped with a way to attach the tether.
If you want to hike or travel easily outdoors with your baby, consider investing in a backpack to haul your baby around. When your baby can easily sit up, the backpack is a great way to transport him to the back country. When you face terrain that is not conducive to strollers, or is more strenuous than you'll want for a wrap, this is a wonderful way to carry your baby. The wraps are simpler to use but for serious hiking, the backpack gives you padded shoulder straps and waist belt. Not to mention storage.
A stroller is a great piece of equipment to get when you don't want to carry your baby. They are especially convenient for malls or long walks/jogs. Invest in one with the features that fit your lifestyle and will grow with your baby. Used strollers are often a great bargain and if not too heavily used can serve you well.
You will need something to carry all your baby paraphernalia. You can go as simple as a grocery store bag or as fancy as a designer bag from Kate Spade. You will want to fill your bag with diapers, wipes, changing pad (to cover diaper changing stations), hand gel, diaper rash cream, Tylenol, one or more changes of clothing, snacks, drinks, toys. I like to use a book backpack for a diaper bag...but any bag that suits you is a great choice.
As Lucy pointed out in the Comments section below, a thermometer is another important item to have available. Your baby's temperature is crucial to know when they are feeling poorly so you know if they need medical intervention. Several types are available: oral, underarm or a strip you place on their forehead.
Another item that is incredibly useful to have is a quality Baby Monitor. At reviews.com you can find reviews of the latest baby equipment. Their article on baby monitors is excellent and they have several options that surpassed the others depending on the features you prefer.
Article by Ruth Grunstra
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Hi I'm Ruth
What is the biggest challenge you are facing with your children? My husband and I have 8 children ages 14-32. We've been married 36 years and we are always learning new ways to engage our kids. We would love to hear from you. Contact us and let us know what you have found that works and what doesn't. Or ask me a question.