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Throughout your pregnancy you were concerned with how to keep your baby safe and comfortable and healthy. Once your baby is born, it’s a whole new ball game.
If you think about it during your pregnancy, it’s easy to take care of your baby. You eat healthy and the baby eats healthy. The baby actually takes the nutrients he needs first and leaves the rest for you. When you’re driving you keep your self and you baby safe by buckling up and using the Tummy Shield. And it’s easy to keep an eye on baby because he’s always in one place and, well, can’t get out.
Download our free PDF guide: Safer Driving During Pregnancy
Once your baby is born you’ll need more to keep your baby safe and comfortable. The trouble is there are so many baby products out there and it all looks cool and useful. It’s hard to know what are truly the essential products to keep your baby safe and comfortable.
There are two things you’ll need before you even leave the hospital: clothes and diapers.
Baby clothes are usually sized by age starting at newborn or 0-3 months. Some babies go right into 3 month clothing but it’s hard to tell until they are born so it’s best to be safe and have both sizes on hand at the start.
Then keep at least a few things of the next size so you are ready as the baby grows, and they grow fast, unbelievably fast.
Plan on using at least 2 to 3 outfits a day as the child spits up or otherwise messes the clothes they often need to be changed. Some things to consider for clothing include: ease of putting on, room in the neck area to slip over their head, soft natural materials and stretchy waistbands.
When you hear that your baby will have 10-12 diaper changes in a day, they aren’t kidding. Sometimes you’ll be changing a diaper only to just a new one on when you have to do it again. (And watch out for those boys, many first time parents are surprised when they get an unwanted shower during a diaper change!)
You have options in diapers, mainly cloth or disposable. Now there are some that are in between that have a disposable inner lining with a reusable outer cover.
We mostly used cloth diapers for our kids. When we started out we have these cloth diapers we had to fold and squish into covers that really didn’t fit well. By the time of our third gDiapers were released. We liked these because they had a disposable/flushable inner part or a cloth inner part both of which fit in a reusable cloth cover that fit great. We tried the disposable/flushable inners but ended up just sticking with the cloth inners.
For traveling with kids, disposable diapers are certainly more convenient and easier to deal with.
Remember the wipes! Whether disposable or cloth wipes, you’ll need to have a lot on hand.
The next item you’ll need to be able to leave the hospital is a car seat.
You won’t be able to leave the hospital without a car seat. The most common type of car seat parents use for an infant is an infant carrier with a base that stays in the car. This is a convenient way to be able to transfer your baby easily from car to stroller to house.
These car seats are usually rated from birth or 5 pounds up to 30 pounds. Some are still rated up to 22 pounds but more commonly current infant seats go to 30 pounds. Recognize that carrying a 30-pound baby in an infant carrier is an unlikely scenario.
You can save money and skip the infant car seat, going straight for a convertible car seat that starts rear facing and gets turned forward facing later. Many of these seats also are rated starting at birth or 5 pounds but be aware your baby will appear super tiny in these large seats.
You can go here to learn more about selecting the right car seat.
No matter which of these options you choose for your new baby, remember buy new or borrow from a friend or family member who knows the history of the car seat and whether or not it’s been in a crash.
And check the expiration date. Car seats have an expiration date for a couple of reasons:
- to make sure seats stay up to current safety standards if there are any changes
- more importantly, the plastic used in car seats can degrade over time reducing the seat’s effectivene
Once you get home, the next thing you need to consider is food.
If you are breastfeeding, you most likely already started and had support from a lactation consultant in the hospital. To support your breastfeeding, a nursing pillow will be helpful in keeping you comfortable while helping position your baby for feeding. You’ll also likely need lanolin and breast pads.
If you are bottle feeding, you’ll need several bottles, formula and bottle brushes to clean the inside and small parts of the bottle. You have the choice glass, stainless steel or plastic bottles. A nursing pillow can be useful while bottle feeding also.
Then there are the burp clothes. Whether you are breastfeeding or bottle feeding, you’ll need burp clothes to wipe up, catch spit up and generally protect your clothes.
Once fed, you’re baby will want to sleep so the next essential product to keep your baby safe and comfortable is a place to sleep.
You may start out with having your baby in a bassinet, cosleep in your bed or straight into a crib. Whichever you put your baby to sleep in there are a few things to consider to keep your baby safe:
- Make sure the mattress fits snugly in the bassinet or crib
- All you really need for bedding is a waterproof mattress cover and fitted crib sheets
- Wearable blankets (zippable fleece or cotton sacks go over your baby’s sleepwear) or swaddling blankets for your baby to sleep in to keep your baby warm without the increased risk of SIDS from traditional blankets
Other Essential Products for Baby
Some may not consider this essential but I couldn’t have done much without it. It was a way to carry my baby while keeping my hands free to do other things. I walked with my baby in a carrier which he loved and often fell asleep during and I got to exercise. There are many types and brands of baby carriers to choose from and it’s all personal preference.
For shopping or other around town activities, you’ll want a stroller. Again which type to get comes down to personal preference.
- Do you want one that can carry the infant carrier?
- Do you want to run with it?
- Do you want a stroller that can recline for when your baby falls asleep?
- Do you need space to carry a diaper bag or groceries?
- Do you climb up and down stairs so that you need something light weight?
While the kitchen sink can work fine in the beginning, you might want to move your baby to a tub before too long. Choose one that’s sturdy and well made.
This is important so you can keep track of baby or hear when baby wakes up if you are in another room. Again you have many baby monitor options from just sound to video to infrared so you can see during the night. At least the basic listening monitor is essential.
There are a slew of products you can add to your registry that offer increased convenience like diaper pails or swings. These are the essential products to keep your baby safe and comfortable for the first few months of life. Once your baby is rolling and crawling you’ll have to consider other products for safety. You can read about baby proofing your home here.
We want to know, what is on your need to have list? Was there anything that was on your need to have list that you really didn’t end up using? Share your comments below.
By Amie Durocher, Creative Director at Safe Ride 4 Kids and certified CPS Tech since 2004
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