A new baby might be absolutely adorable but having to take care of one can also seem like the scariest thing in the world too! You can end up buying a whole lot of baby stuff which frankly won’t see the light of day after you’ve used it a few times. I say this from personal experience. The main things your new baby will be doing for the first few weeks are sleeping, feeding and dirtying diapers. The two other things that you need to consider are traveling and bathing. Get the basics of these covered and you’ll be fine.
Here are the essential things that you will need for for your newborn baby
1) Diapers and related items
Not surprisingly you are going to need diapers. A lot of diapers! Most people opt for disposable nappies and if you are environmentally aware you’ll be glad to know that you can get green dispoable diapers these days too. Nature Babycare do a range that were awarded the “Best Disposable Diaper” Silver Award for 2006-2007 by Mother & Baby Magazine. They are also approved by the Swedish Society for Nature Conservation.
You may want to opt for one of your standard brands such as Pampers or Huggies. If so you might want to join Amazon Mom you get an automatic 20% off selected baby products such as Pampers Swaddlers.
“Best diapers on the market”
If You want to try cloth diapers then you’ll be glad to know that they have moved on a lot from your parents’ generation so they are a much easier option than they used to be. Some of them are also quite cute too – have a look at the Thirsties or BumGenius range at Baby Earth. Oh – they’ll save you a ton of money too.
2) Place to change the baby
Now you will need somewhere to change the baby as this can be fun and games in the early days. You don’t need to go out and buy a dedicated changing table but you will at least need to have a changing mat which you can put on the floor.
3) Baby Skin Care products
As well as diapers, you will also need to stock up on wipes, diaper ointment and cotton balls. Newborn babies have very sensitive skin, so you must take care when cleaning your baby’s bottom. Some parents prefer to use a washcloth and warm water instead of baby wipes, although a lot of wipes that are available are fragrance free and do not contain harsh chemicals that can damage your infant’s skin. Don’t forget, as a part of newborn baby care, to change your child frequently. Don’t only change them when they are dirty as being wet can be very uncomfortable for them and also contribute to diaper rash.
4) Crib, Bassinet or Moses Basket
Your newborn baby will start off sleeping about sixteen hours a day in the beginning. This sleep normally takes place in blocks of about three to four hours as that is about as long as they can go without food. Because your newborn will spend so much time sleeping, his sleep environment is important so you need to make sure you provide the proper setting for him. A Moses basket, bassinet or crib without any excess bedding such as pillows (which shouldn’t be given to a baby under 12 months old) is ideal. Make sure you place your baby on his back to sleep as this reduces the risk of SIDS.
5) Baby Feeding Bottles
Babies need feeding every two to four hours in the early days and weeks of life. This applies to babies who are breast fed and bottle fed. While demand feeding (offering food when the baby seems hungry) is a good approach, it can be used in conjunction with a loose feeding routine so that the baby’s digestive system can start to become regulated. This approach to newborn baby care tends to be easier with bottle-fed babies as it is easier to see exactly how much milk they are taking. Don’t forget to wind your baby as burping allows air taken in during sucking to escape before getting into the tummy so it is an important part of the feeding process.
If you are bottle feeding you will need three or four bottles, cleaning brushes and a steam sterilizer. I’d recommend a set like the Dr Brown Newborn Feeding set (pictured). This contains three 4oz bottles which is more than enough to get you started. You can usually pick the set up on Amazon for about $15. (Click the picture to view) which is good value for money.
If you are not going for a set that contains bottle brushes then make sure you buy some separately. They don’t cost much and are very useful.
N.B. As far as I’m concerned you can totally do without a bottle warmer and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise!
The sterilizer is another thing you don’t need to overboard on. You really don’t need to spend $70 plus on an electric steamer. A simple microwave one like the one here -again by Dr Brown – is perfectly adequate and much more convenient. It should only set you back about $25 too.
7) Muslin Squares
Babies throw up. A lot. Get yourself half a dozen muslin squares. They don’t have to be fancy just the basic plain white variety will do but trust me you’re gonna need them. They actually served three purposes for me. The first, as I already mentioned,was as a burp cloth. The second was as a swaddle blanket as Muslin is a great fabric for this. And the third purpose was that my youngest boy always used one as a comfort “blankie”. This was quite handy as it goes because it meant that it wasn’t so special that we would be constantly worrying about losing it as it could be so easily replaced! He’s five now and still sleeps with his muslin square every night:)