Come on, let’s face it. Half the fun of having a baby is being able to go shopping for all the colorful and creative baby gear that is available today. Nevertheless, all fun aside, having these helpful items for your new baby can make the transition to caring for a newborn easier. Although not an all-inclusive catalog, the following list contains some popular items that other parents have found helpful.
Since purchasing the necessary baby gear can be expensive for new parents, if you are a new mother consider registering at a local baby store before your baby shower to see if friends and family can help with some of these purchases as their gifts to you.
Items for traveling with your baby.
Car seat. Before taking
your little bundle home from
the hospital a nurse will ensure that you have a correctly installed rear-facing car seat that meets your state’s regulations. Keep in mind that just because a car seat is more expensive does not mean it is safer for your baby. Be sure that the car seat has met safety regulations and is correctly installed in your car before the day of discharge from the hospital since they can occasionally be somewhat challenging to figure out. If you are unsure as to whether the car seat has been installed correctly, be sure to ask for help from your nurse before taking your newborn home.
Car window shade. Although often forgotten by parents, direct sunlight either early in the morning or during the evening can be low enough to shine directly into the baby’s face while traveling in the car seat. Consider purchasing a car window shade to help keep direct sunlight from making your baby fussy.
Stroller. Although a stroller is not a necessity, it is certainly handy to have as your baby grows and begins to weigh more. Avoid a car seat stroller since the baby will outgrow this within about six months and you will be required to purchase another stroller. Traditional strollers that will accept most models of infant car seats are the best option to purchase. Before making a purchase, be sure that the stroller you are considering will accept your infant car seat. Look for a stroller that is both lightweight and easy to fold, preferably with an adjustable handle height.
Diaper bag. Since leaving home with your newborn even for short periods of time requires you to take an extensive array of baby supplies, a diaper bag is an absolute must. If your baby is formula fed, look for diaper bags that have insulated bottle carriers. Stock your diaper bag with diapers and changing supplies, feeding supplies, and a change of clothes just in case your newborn has a mishap while away from home.
Nursing covers. For breastfeeding mothers on the go, there are several creative and stylish choices of nursing covers to provide mothers with the privacy they need while breastfeeding their newborn.
Items for your baby’s nursery.
Crib. Avoid the temptation of getting into the habit of having the baby sleep in your bed. Not only is this unsafe for the baby but it is a difficult habit to change when the baby gets older and a great way to kill your sex life. When shopping for a crib keep in mind that you will need to find one with a durable finish that is not easily chewed by your baby. Choose one that has sturdy construction with strong mattress springs able to withstand many years of trampoline practice. Ensure the crib’s mattress support can be adjusted to different heights as your baby grows into a toddler, since most children will spend an average of two to two-and-a-half years in their cribs before graduating to a toddler bed. As an aside, once the toddler starts to appear as if they are trying to climb out of the crib it is generally time to switch to a
toddler bed to avoid the risk of injury from a fall. The mattress you purchase to go with the crib should be supportive but comfortable and preferably lightweight so that it can be easily removed from the crib when changing the bedding. Lastly, don’t forget to purchase a mattress cover to help protect it against stains from the occasional nighttime diaper leaks.
If money or space is limited, consider holding off on a crib and mattress purchase and opt for a smaller more affordable bassinet. This will be a great option for the first few months until your baby becomes more mobile.
Nightlight. A nightlight will help to adequately illuminate the room during those late night visits to attend to a fussy baby without needing to turn on the main room lights.
Baby monitor. Most baby monitors are audio monitors only. For parents that prefer to have the peace of mind of being able to both hear and see their baby, color video monitors are also commercially available, many of which have the ability to both zoom and pan around the baby’s room. If you purchase a wireless video monitor system ensure that it has encryption of the wireless signal so other individuals cannot hack into your baby monitor’s wireless signal for a bird’s eye view inside your home.
Baby mobile for cribs. Musical baby mobiles for cribs rotate and play relaxing music to help your baby fall asleep. These are colorful additions to the baby’s nursery and can often be coordinated with matching bedding and nursery accessories.
Changing table/dresser. A dresser will become a necessity as your wardrobe of cute outfits for your baby grows, helping to organize your little one’s clothes and making your life simpler. A changing station is a great complement to a dresser and can make changing time a breeze. To save space for small nurseries, you may want to consider changing stations that are a combination dresser and changing station. Whether you choose a combination dresser and changing station or a separate changing station, be sure to have it well stocked with diapers, wipes, lotion, baby powder, a change of clothes and feeding cloths. For additional help in preparing the baby’s nursery, ask your doctor for a copy of the handout entitled “Baby Supplies”.
Baby items for the home.
Rocking chair. The gentle motion of a rocking chair or reclining glider can be helpful in soothing a fussy little one, provide back support for mothers during feedings, and provide a place for the occasional one-on-one mommy- baby time. There are many types of rocking chairs so take time to shop around until you find the perfect rocking chair or glider for you and your price range.
Baby bathtub. Bath time can be both fun and convenient with the many baby bathtubs that are available. While your baby is little, the most convenient bathtubs are those that fit in the kitchen sink since you can bathe the baby at waist level and avoid having to bend over the bathroom tub. Some bathtubs are designed to grow with your baby and offer support for a child to sit upright. Consider purchasing one with a built-in thermometer to ensure that the water is just right for your little one; not too hot, not too cold. Remember to never leave your baby unattended during bath time.
Optional baby gear items worth considering.
Baby slings. Baby slings are a comfortable and convenient way to carry your newborn while still allowing your hands to remain free.
Playpen. Once your baby becomes mobile a playpen is a great way to allow your baby to have the freedom to play with toys and to crawl, stand and practice walking while holding onto the side of the playpen, all while keeping your baby out of any potential mischief. Many are portable and can be taken with you when traveling, especially when visiting a relative’s home that may not be baby proofed.
Breast pump. Unless you work outside of the home and need to pump while at work, breast pumps are not needed by every mother, in spite of what some websites may tell you. However, breast pumps can be helpful for breastfeeding mothers to relieve engorged breasts, increase or sustain milk production and occasionally give mothers a needed break, enabling dad to feed breast milk to the baby with a bottle. If you decide to get a breast pump, avoid manual pumps which seem to be more frustrating to use and opt for a good quality electric pump that you have researched on the internet since breast pump quality can vary dramatically.
Highchair. Although your baby will do fine with a bottle in a baby carrier, once your baby is ready for solid foods it will be time to move to a highchair. Since more food will likely end up on the chair than in your baby’s stomach this will become a necessity, just not one you need immediately after delivery. If space or finances is on the tight side, consider a seat that will hook onto the side of a table. However, if space permits, purchasing a dedicated highchair for feeding time is recommended since clean up will be easier with the attached tray.
A bouncy seat can be useful in the development of the baby’s sense of balance aswellasawayto strengthen its muscles and joints. Having time in a bouncy seat can also help you provide some occasionally needed periods of entertainment for your little one while you try to get things done around the home.
Swing. Swings can be lifesavers. They are often just the trick to help parents get through those occasionally long nights with a fussy baby. The motion helps to calm most babies. If considering a swing, take plenty of time to look at the many different types with important aspects to look for being quiet operation, available lullaby music, and control over both music volume and speed of the swing action.
Digital camera. Few photography subjects are more enjoyable than capturing and sharing pictures of a newborn’s arrival. Newer digital cameras can help to bring out the best photographer in each of us. Don’t forget to consider the purchase of a newer digital camera to be ready to record your delivery experience and the early development of your baby. For helpful suggestions on newborn photo- graphy, ask your physician for a copy of the handout entitled, “Tips for Parents: Photographing Newborns.”
We hope that these suggestions have helped you prepare for your newborn’s arrival. If you would like to make suggestions of additional baby gear items that we should include in future revisions of this article, feel free to e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
To help you with your shopping for baby gear, we have prepared the following shopping list to help track baby gear options and prices as you prepare for your newborn’s arrival. Happy shopping.
Car window shade Stroller
Baby mobile for crib Changing table/dresser Rocking chair