Getting ready for your newborn is an exciting time. But walk through the “baby” aisles of any store, and the task may become a little intimidating.
There are hundreds of products you could bring home in the days and weeks leading up to your baby’s arrival. Aside from diapers, infant clothing and safe, comfortable places to sit and lay (plus your loving arms), your newborn really won’t need that much right away. Here’s a look at the gear that will be essential, plus a few things you probably should skip.
A Safe Space for Sleeping
It’s great fun to decorate your baby’s new room, but when it comes to their crib or bassinet it should be kept as bare as possible. Extra items like blankets, soft pillows and toys can be harmful to baby, hindering their ability to breathe as they sleep. All you really need are:
- A crib: Look for fixed side rails with no more than 2 3/8 inches between slats and other safety standards as recommended by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.
- A firm mattress.
- Snug-fitting crib sheets.
If you choose a bassinet, one with storage space underneath can provide both form and function. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that for at least the first 6 months of baby’s life (and ideally the entire first year), they should sleep in the same room as you ? but not in the same bed. Being in your room while they’re sleeping can lower the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), and allow you to keep a closer eye on them in those crucial early months. To reduce the risk of SIDS, always place your baby on their back to sleep.
Research shows that babies who sleep in adult beds or on any surface not designed just for infant sleep are at serious risk for suffocation. You can buy an infant “sidecar” and safely attach it to the side of your bed if you want to keep your baby close by.
Portable Baby Monitors
These devices have greatly evolved over the years, and make a nice addition to your tools for keeping baby safe while giving you peace of mind. Baby monitors allow for flexibility in your movements around the house while providing a way for you to hear or, in some products, see video images of your infant while they sleep or play in another room.
If you use a baby monitor with an electric cord, the Consumer Product Safety Commission warns to always place it at least 3 feet away from your baby’s crib to avoid a choking hazard.
Although you will need to hold off bathing your newborn until their umbilical cord falls off (which can take up to 2 weeks) and the area heals, you will still want to clean baby’s diaper area. Stick to sponge baths and have on hand:
- Baby bath tub manufactured after 2017
- Washcloths and hooded towels
- Baby shampoo and mild baby soap
- Plastic cup for rinsing
- Thermometer to check water temp
Cozy Chair or Rocker
A chair or rocker that provides arm support, along with a small stool on which to rest your feet, will be a lifesaver for nursing time. Your warm arms will offer baby comfort while they are feeding. Your baby may also like to be nursed while you are lying down at night. Just keep in mind the cautions against allowing them to sleep in your bed with you.
A changing table provides a convenient place for diaper changes. Be sure to look for one that won’t require you to bend over and put strain on your back. It should safely hold your baby while giving you the freedom of movement you need throughout the diaper-changing process. Enjoy!
Infant Car Seat
A well-made, rear-facing infant car seat, installed according to the manufacturer’s instructions, is perhaps the most important piece of equipment you’ll need — both for your newborn’s first ride home from the hospital and for any car trips after that. If possible, place the car seat in the center of your back seat. See the AAP’s guidelines for car seat safety.
What’s Not Worth Buying?
- Wipe warmer: Most have been found to cool off fast and can be a breeding ground for bacteria.
- Bottle warmer: It turns out, warm water from the faucet is one of the best ways to warm up a bottle to the perfect temp.
- Shoes: Your baby won’t be walking anytime soon, so save this purchase for a later date.
- Apps for babies: Experts advise skipping all screen time until babies are at least 2 years old.
Texas Health is here to help you welcome baby home. For more information for moms-to-be, visit TexasHealth.org.