Preparing for Your Baby's Arrival

Your newborn won’t need much equipment in the first weeks other than safe and comfortable places for sleeping, nursing, changing and riding in a car. Aside from diapers, infant clothing and washing supplies, here’s a look at the gear you’ll need.

1.  A sleeping space – Will your baby sleep in a crib in a separate room or in a bassinet beside your bed for the first few weeks?

Keeping your baby in your room—and in a separate bassinet—during the first 3 months is one of the American Academy of Pediatrics’ recommendations to reduce the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).

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.

2.  A baby monitor – These devices have evolved considerably over the years, allowing parents to hear or, in some products, see video images of their infant while the baby is sleeping in another room.

If you use a baby monitor with an electric cord, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission warns to always place it at least 3 feet away from your baby’s crib to avoid the risk of strangulation.

3.  Chair or rocker – Do you have a comfortable chair or rocker (with arm support and a small stool on which to rest your feet) for nursing during the day? Babies are also very happy to be nursed while you are lying down at night, so you can get as much as rest as possible. Just keep in mind the cautions against allowing a baby to sleep in your bed with you.

4.  Changing table – Do you have a convenient place for diaper changes, one that won’t require you to bend over and strain your back? If you’re interested in a changing table, look for one that safely holds your baby while also giving you freedom of movement during the diaper-changing process.

5.  Infant car seat – A new, well-made, backward-facing infant car seat, installed according to the manufacturer’s instructions, is perhaps the most important piece of equipment you’ll need—both to get your newborn home from the hospital that first time and for any car trips after that. 

More about car seat safety.

This message is not intended to provide individual medical advice. Always seek the advice of a physician or qualified healthcare provider for any questions you have about your health or medical condition, your breastfeeding issues and your infant's health. Never disregard, avoid or delay contacting a doctor or other qualified professional because of something you have read in our emails, webpages or other electronic communications.

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