Having everything you need for the baby ready to go before bringing your newborn home is a wise thing for a new parent to do. But what to give to a newborn?
Keep in mind that you never really need what you think. Be realistic. Do you really need a bottle warmer? If you are 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 will probably resell it because you have realized that some things are more trouble than they are worth.
I recommend setting up the nursery, with supplies in place, clothes washed and ready to use, three to four weeks before the due date. That way, even if your baby arrives early, you will be prepared. It’s so much easier to get home from the hospital when you know you have everything you need close at hand.
Below is a list of the essential must haves for your baby’s comfort and safety.
• Crib, Co-Sleeper / Crib or 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 you not have to go back and forth to kindergarten. It is also great for keeping your baby snuggled and close. Your newborn has just arrived from a compact space, so he likes to feel comfortable with him. I recommend using the crib instead of the crib until the baby cannot turn around or there is no more room to stretch out. You will only need it in the first few months, but you will be really happy to have it!
• Cot and Mattress
When your baby outgrows the crib, it’s time for a crib. Make sure you buy one that meets current safety standards and make sure the mattress fits snugly against the sides so your baby can’t squirm or get stuck underneath.
• Baby headband
Every mom I know swears from a sling or some kind of support. It allows you to be mobile and keep your baby physically connected to you. Make sure it provides adequate head and neck support and is made from washable fabric. She should feel comfortable with you and allow you to carry your baby facing in or out. At first, you will want to see it facing inward. As he gets older, he will want to deal with it so he can see the world.
• Changing mat
This is a plastic pad you put down to change your baby. You can put a towel on top or use a cover so your baby doesn’t feel the cold plastic. If you have the budget, buy a changing table too, even if it’s not really a necessity. The amount of time you will use it is very short.
• Baby carrier / car seat / stroller
I’m a big fan of the “system”. It is a support that connects to the car and stroller attachments. They make it much easier for you and the baby to go from home to the car and stroller. Be sure to have your car seat inspected or installed at the hospital you will be delivering to. You won’t be able to leave the hospital with your newborn without a proper car seat, so have it installed 1 week before the due date if possible.
• High chair
You won’t need a highchair until your baby is at least 5-6 months old, so you may want to suspend this purchase for a while.
• Baby Bumbo sitter
Once your baby is around 3 months old and has some control over his neck, that’s great! They can sit in it for everything.
• Bath tub
It is important to start with a small bathtub because in a small space with just a little water, you gain confidence in how to hold and handle your baby. I love the ones that have the sling because up to about 3 or 4 months they don’t have control of the neck. The harness helps you keep them in place.
• Bouncing / vibrating seat and / or swing
Having a safe place to put your baby while cooking or dressing is key and babies love the movement they provide.
OTHER EQUIPMENT TO CONSIDER
• Large and comfortable rocking chair
• Sound Machines – These are great for helping soothe your baby. They reproduce sounds from the womb, sounds of water, sounds of nature etc. They even come inside soft stuffed animals.
• Baby Monitoring System – There are many options available now, including video monitoring systems so you can see your 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 an entirely different level. There are also remote paging systems so you can hook it up and listen as you go from room to room.
• Breast pumps and accessories
• Nursing Pillows – I love the Boppy. It can also be used by the child, so it has multiple purposes. The Brest Friend, however, provides good support and leverage, and has a strap that you can tie around you if you need to be mobile. It also has a zippered case for storing items.
• CD player with headphones and audio books – For you when you are awake at night with the baby
• Children’s car mirror – Since babies are facing backwards until they are about one year old and / or over 20lbs, I love it. 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 / Cot Carousel – If you take a cell phone for the cot or for play, make sure it is colorful and musical. The same goes for activity mats. Make sure the toys include mirrors and sounds.
I highly recommend all cotton. It is soft and can be washed in hot water to sterilize. Everything should be washed with a mild detergent, such as Dreft, before coming into contact with your baby. During the first six months, wash children’s clothes separately from other laundry. Baby bedding should keep your newborn comfortable and safe. Use only quality, breathable materials and avoid soft objects until your baby is able to move objects like blankets off his face.
• 3 fitted sheets in stretch cotton for the cot, and then for the cot
• 4 cotton blankets that can be used for swaddling
• 3 warmer blankets
• 2 mattress covers
• Lots of burping cloths (cloth diapers) that can be used to clean spit and all kinds of messes
• 2 hand towels and hooded washcloths
When it comes to children’s clothing, it’s all about layers. A key thing to know is that babies can’t regulate their temperature very well until they are around six months of age. It is very easy for them to overheat or cool too much. It’s up to you to maintain the right temperature by layering your clothes and using blankets.
Think practicality and ease of dressing. Make sure the crotch opens easily for diaper changes. Soft and easy to change clothes are recommended as you will likely change your baby several times a day.
• 4-6 sleepers
• 5-7 whole heads
• 3-4 dresses / kimonos
• 5-7 comfortable daytime outfits
• 8-10 shirts
• 3-4 bibs
• 4-5 pairs of socks or ankle boots
• 3 cotton caps / hats
• 2 sweaters if it’s winter
• 1 snow suit or fleece if it is winter
Optional: a sleeping bag. These are coming from Europe – they are a brilliant way to keep baby warm at night without blankets, which baby can kick off. It’s like a sleeping bag, but has open arms for ventilation and a zippered bottom, so diaper changing is still easy.
• Diapers – Your baby will go through roughly five thousand diapers before being potty trained! And in the first few days, you could change your baby up to 12 times a day. Whether you plan on using disposable, recycled products, clothes, or a diaper service, make sure you have some on hand.
• Nappy wipes – I like odorless ones for the first few months
• Diaper bag: Get a nice sturdy bag with large pockets and make sure it always has:
• 4-5 diapers
• Nappy wipes
• Cloth diapers / burp cloth to clean up spit and spills
• Dirty diaper bags
• Cream for diaper rash
• Antibacterial gel to clean the hands
• Changing table
• A change of clothes from head to toe
• Replacement pacifier
• 1 bib
• A pair of soft toys and rattles
• 1 bottle of water which can be used to make a bottle
• 1 -2 bottles
ESSENTIALS FOR BREASTFEEDING
• 2-4 nursing bras
• One pack of disposable breast pads
• Nipple cream
• An electric breast pump or manual breast pump
• Containers for the storage of breast milk
• A kit or bag for storing milk bottles and ice packs
• At least 2 bottles
• A good supporting book – I like La Leche League’s ‘The Womanly Art Of Breastfeeding’
ESSENTIALS FOR BOTTLE FEEDING AND PUMPING
• 6-8 slow-flow or bent-neck bottles with soft teats
• Bottle brush and optional sanitizing system: it is important to thoroughly wash the bottles after each use and then disinfect them at least every 2-3 months. We also recommend that you sterilize the parts of the breast pump if you are pulling.
• Thermometer for children
• Soaps and lotions for children
• Shampoo without tears
• Bath toys
• Baby oil
• Ointment for diaper rash
• Sterile cotton balls
• Children’s scissors / nail clippers
• Brush / comb for babies
• Denatured alcohol
• Tips Q
• 3-4 pacifiers
• Nose Suction Bulb Syringe – usually provided by the hospital, so be sure to get it
• Mild hypoallergenic (dye-free) laundry detergent.
• Night light
• Several good parenting books – I like Tami Hoag’s “Secrets Of The Baby Whisperer” and Harvey Karp’s “The Happiest Baby On The Block”
Being prepared for your newborn will help eliminate any worries you may have about parenting as much as possible so you can enjoy the process. It is much easier to feel safe coming home from the hospital when you know you have everything you need close at hand. Enjoy your new baby!
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