Facing parenthood can be a time of uncertainty especially for new parents. Preparing for your baby's arrival during pregnancy can help to ease the transition after your baby is born. Having all of the needed supplies ready to go before you bring the new baby home is a wise thing to do.
Because everybody's needs are different we have tried to be as general as possible, and although our list is extensive, there may be items that we have missed, so please use this checklist as a guide only.
Your baby's nursery should provide comfortable feeding, nurturing and bonding with your child. Furnishing and decorating the nursery is probably one of the most enjoyable parts of your early parenting experience.
The nursery can be painted in pastel colors depending on the baby's gender. Pink for a girl or blue for a boy are the usual choices, but you might want to go with yellow or white as well. You can use bright primary colors also, because research indicates that in infancy, your baby does not recognize such soft colors.
Nursery decors like bunnies, angels, ducks, teddy bears, marine life, the alphabet and cartoon characters are all popular choices. Cozy comforts and soft textures will help you feel comfortable while you feed or rock your child.
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The baby's bedding should keep your newborn comfortable and safe. Use only quality, breathable materials and avoid fluffy things until your baby is able to move items like blankets from his/her face.
Always put your baby to sleep on her back on a flat, tight fitting and firm mattress in a crib that meets current safety standards. Make sure that your baby's crib is sturdy and has no loose hardware. You should never place your baby's crib or bassinet near window blind or curtain cords.
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For breastfeeding moms, a few bottles and nipples might be nice to have on hand. A breast pump is helpful if your baby does not want to latch on, letting you get ahead of feeding and store extra milk.
There are two kinds of bottles: regular ones that are either glass or plastic, and bottles with pre-sterilized, disposable liners. Better avoid bottles in weird shapes because they are difficult to clean.
Bottles and bottle feeding accessories need scrupulous cleaning followed by careful sterilizing after every use, therefore a bottle sterilizer can proove itself invaluable.
If you're breastfeeding you'll need breast pads tucked into your bra to soak up any leaks, but don't wear them all the time, because your breasts won't breathe and you can develop thrush.
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Keep all things clean and disinfected. You do not need to spend your money on expensive "gentle" baby laundry soaps. You can use plain old water for the first few weeks with a small amount of regular laundry soap and do a double rinse.
Make sure to always check bath water temperature with your elbow or wrist before putting your baby in to the bath tub.
Water alone is often fine to clean your infant and make sure to use a product without synthetic fragrances or harsh ingredients. A "no-more-tears" shampoo has a numbing agent so your baby doesn't feel the soap stinging her eyes. It is better to choose something truly mild, so you don't need such nasty chemicals.
Ask your pediatrician which medications he recommends for your baby's medicine cabinet. Always keep medicines and cleaning products locked away from children!
More on baby bathing and health products.
You'll be changing your baby multiple times a day so it is best to have plenty on hand. You can save by purchasing several packages at a time.
The choice between cloth diapers or disposable diapers is a matter of personal preference, lifestyle or your concern for the environment. Some parents use cloth diapers at home and disposable diapers when they are going out.
But the greatest concern for you should be to keep your baby's skin dry and healthy, free from diaper rash. Prolonged wetness, lack of air circulation, the growth of microbes in the diaper area can all be irritating and cause rashes. You should not use diaper rash ointment after every change and consider using warm water instead of commercial wipes, which may contain fragrance and preservatives to clean your baby during the first tender days.
Soft and easy to change outfits are recommended since you will probably be changing your baby several times a day. It is a good idea to buy cloths a little larger then needed since babies outgrow sizes quickly.
A baby gown or kimono is perfect for comfort and ease of diaper changes. One piece outfits (onesies) with well placed snaps are a good alternative too.
A light cap can help keep your baby's temperature stable, especially at night.
To prevent injuries cover sharp furniture edges with padding or bumpers. Install window guards or window stops and cut looped window blind cords it is better to use safety tassels and inner cord stops. Use covers on electrical outlets to prevent electric shock. Keep small objects as tiny toys away from young children.
You can buy one of the new flexible fold up kinds of strollers or even combo strollers with car seats. Air cleaners are expensive but they remove almost allergens, viruses and other pollutants in the air.
If you live in a dry climate you might consider buying a humidifier or vaporizer to keep your baby's breathing passages open and clear.
Playtime is not only fun but an important learning process. Make sure you purchase toys that will stimulate your baby's imagination and curiosity.
If you haven't done it already, choose the perfect baby name.
* Coming soon: Printable Baby Checklist *