Pregnancy is a time for preparation. From setting up the nursery to baby-proofing your home, there seem to be countless things to do and even more things to buy. Before having my children, I gathered plenty of advice from baby registry lists and shower guests about items I’d need, but not all of them were really necessary. From my experience as a mother and a pediatrician, here is my list of essentials you’ll need for your baby’s arrival.
Feeding your baby will be one of the most important duties you’ll fulfill as a new mother. If you plan to breastfeed, invest in a good, electric breast pump (handheld pumps can be difficult to coordinate). You may use this pump multiple times a day for up to a year.
If you opt to formula-feed, invest in bottles and a slow-flow nipple, which will allow the formula to flow similarly to the rate of breast milk. A dishwasher rack or home sterilizer is also important for keeping these items clean.
Whether you are breastfeeding or formula-feeding, all infants should receive vitamin D supplemental drops, which are easily available at grocery stores and pharmacies. Ask your pediatrician how long to give these drops to your baby, since it depends on his or her total intake.
In the nursery, you’ll need a crib with a tight-fitting mattress. If you have a used crib, check online to make sure it hasn’t been recalled and that it meets current safety standards.
Most infant bedding sets will come with a mattress pad, fitted sheets and a bumper. This bumper should not be used, due to the risk of suffocation. Babies should be placed on the back to sleep without comforters or stuffed animals in the crib.
Some babies prefer a white-noise machine to help them sleep. It may be worth the investment. The better your baby sleeps, the better you’ll sleep, too!
Clothes and diapering
You’ll most likely get plenty of cute outfits for your little one from family and friends, but don’t forget about the essentials. You’ll need multiple onesies and sleep sacks. Bibs for a less messy feeding time are also important.
For diapering, prepare yourself with both newborn and size 1 diapers. You’ll also need wipes and barrier cream to protect your baby from diaper rash.
Health and safety
For your home medicine cabinet you will need an easy-to-read digital thermometer. Also, saline nose drops and a nasal aspirator will come in handy for clearing your little one’s nose for relief during a cold.
To keep your baby healthy, it’s also important that you stay healthy. As an expectant mother, you’ve probably already been offered flu and pertussis (whopping cough) vaccinations by your obstetrician, but it’s a good idea to have dad get both as well. Once your baby arrives, you may want to have hand sanitizer ready during cold and flu season. And remind family and friends who are sick that they’ll have to wait until they are well to hold your baby.
A good infant car seat is also a must-have for your baby’s safety. Toledo Children’s Hospital has a Kids in Safe Seats (KISS) program that offers reduced-cost car seats and information about installation and use. (KISS can be reached at 419-291-7945.) Most car seats conveniently snap into a stroller for easier outings. Remember, if a car seat has been in a car accident (even a fender bender), it should not be reused.
Just for fun
There are plenty of items you may want to get just for fun before your baby arrives. A baby book and camera are definitely must-haves. Looking back, I wish I would have documented more when my children were babies – so be ready to capture memories and force yourself to write them down. Before you know it, you’ll be celebrating your son or daughter’s first birthday!