Baby Gear : What Do I Need?

Despite what many retailers would like expecting parents to believe babies do not need the inventory of a baby store to be taken care of. Realistically all a baby needs is to be fed, kept warm, diapered, and loved. However there are a lot of things that really help you in everyday care of a baby. This article is meant to provide you basic insight in the most common activities that you are supposed to do as a good mom or dad and also useful tips on great gadgets that will make it easier. Here is the list:

Confused

  • (Breast)feeding
  • Diapering
  • Bathing
  • Traveling
  • Lulling a baby to sleep
  • Playing and interacting
  • Making memories
  • Clothing

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Breastfeeding as the most natural way of feeding a baby

Newborn babies love to suck.  It is a reflex and it calms them. If you are breastfeeding try and let your new baby meet all of his or her sucking needs at your breast it will help establish your milk supply and ensure that your baby gets the most amount of colostrum possible. Mother´s milk contains antibodies that are very important for a baby besides a balanced portion of essential nutrients. There can be no argument that breast milk is the only normal food for infants. Artificial baby milk- formula- is by definition abnormal. That said- there are times when formula can be the best choice. I would argue that a lactation consultant visit is a necessity. It can head off problems before they start and help ensure a positive nursing relationship. Sometimes babies have sucking needs that seem insatiable if that is the case for your infant, pacifiers can be a big help. Unfortunately, each baby is an individual and they sometimes have very strong preferences towards his or her pacifiers before purchasing several of the same kind, try different types and find out what baby prefers. Always look for BPA-free pacifiers.

What about baby bottles?

PHOTO:FreeImages.com/Adam Davis

PHOTO:FreeImages.com/Adam Davis

The same goes for bottles. Hold off on introducing bottles until your baby is a few weeks old; once a good nursing relationship established. If you are introducing bottles use slow flow nipples, this is closer to the natural flow of mama’s milk. There are hundreds of bottle feeding and breastfeeding accessories on the market from warmers to sterilizers. Truthfully, a baby does not need any of these things to be taken care of. However they can make life easier.  Putting a bottle into a warmer, pressing the button, and letting it warm while doing in a middle of the night diaper change may only save a minute or two, but at three in the morning those two minutes can be fabulous.

 

Feeding solution for busy moms

If a mother needs to return to work a breast pump is also a necessity. However, the amount of a milk a mother pumps is not indicative of her milk supply. Many moms who have a fabulous supply cannot get their bodies to respond to a pump. A mother’s body is not designed to respond to pump- they are designed to respond to a baby. If you need to utilize bottles keep to newborn flow nipples. This will help encourage your baby to develop a strong suck. Like cups and pacifiers, lots of babies are very opinionated about their bottles. You may need to try a few different kinds before finding the right one.

Feeding checklist:

  • Breast pump (if you plan to breastfeed)
  • Milk storage bags or jars
  • 10-16 bottles and nipples
  • Burp cloths and bibs
  • Formula (if not nursing)
  • Disposable nursing pads

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Babies wee and make a poo

A diapering is another activity that follows parents until a baby becomes self-reliant in this matter. There are parents who elect to do diaper free parenting- more power to them, but I am not one of them. Diapers are another aspect of baby care that are mostly universal. The greenest I get, in terms of diapering, is cloth diapers. Cloth diapers have changed a lot from when our mothers used them. They are now available as All-in-one, pockets, pre-folds, fitted, and even more varieties that I can name. Gone are the days of diaper origami with pins. Disposable diapers are also easier to use as well, parents can unfasten them to check a diapers status without immediately having to change it.

PHOTO:FreeImages.com/Jonathan Werner

PHOTO:FreeImages.com/Jonathan Werner

Diaper pail and washable diaper pad are also very important things you want to get and I don’t need to tell you why. Another thing you will certainly appreciate is a bag. Be it a diaper bag or a simple bag, get a sturdy one that is easily washable. It will need to be cleaned, babies and kids are messy. An item that is pretty popular are wipes warmers.  They are fairly self-explanatory this item warms up wipes so they are not too cold. This sounds great, but I find it is more trouble than it is worth, and if you are out and about you can’t take the warmer with you which can lead to an unhappy baby.

Diapering checklist:

  • Several dozen diapers
  • Disposable diaper wipes
  • Baby diaper disposal system (diaper pail)
  • Diaper rash ointment or cream
  • Changing pad

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Bathing

PHOTO:FreeImages.com/Carin Araujo

PHOTO:FreeImages.com/Carin Araujo

Newborns almost do not sweat so they do not need a bath every day. However it is good to get your baby familiar with water as soon as possible. In most cases babies loves bathing and usually it can become one of the most favourite activity that is done together. It is too risky and inconvenient to bathe a baby in a normal bathtub until the baby is old enough. That is why all parents with young babies would love a baby bathtub or Tummy Tub.

Bathing checklist:

  • A baby bathtub / Tummy Tub
  • Bath towels and washcloths
  • Special made baby shampoo and wash products
  • Baby oil or baby derma cream

Hygiene checklist:

  • Safety baby nail clippers
  • Baby on boardBulb syringe or nasal aspirator for suctioning mucous

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Baby on board

To be safe babies also need to have a car seat designed for newborns and rear facing. Almost everywhere has unique laws regarding infants and children being in car seats. In some areas children are legally required to be in a rear facing car seat until the child is one year and twenty pounds.  However, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends a child stay rear facing until age 2. In other countries it is not unusual for children to remain rear facing as old as three or four years of age.

Baby carrier

An item that is often overlooked that makes life with a child or infant infinitely easier is a baby carrier. There are tons on the market and each has its own merits, however some are a lot better than others. A nice affordable choice is a stretchy sling or wrap such as a Moby Wrap or a Boba. Wraps do take some practice but they provide a fabulous cosy place for a newborn to snuggle in and rest or eat. Ring Slings are easier to use and are also amazing. Mei Tais are based off of ancient Asian carriers and are another great choice. Additionally there are soft structured carriers available that provide a very quick way to wear your baby. Soft structured carriers have straps and buckles that need to be adjusted to fit the adult and child which can be annoying if two or more people are using it. Whereas ring singles, mei tais, stretchy wraps, and woven wraps are tied or wrapped to fit the individual. There are dozens of benefits to babywearing aside from the convenience, definitely look into it. It is one of the best ways to soothe a colicky baby.

Strollers

PHOTO:FreeImages.com/s s

PHOTO:FreeImages.com/s s

Strollers are an area where parents can spend a hefty sum of money. Fancy strollers are more of a status symbol than a means of transport for babies. Like everything else; some strollers serve some purposes better than others. If you are a runner then a jogging stroller is something you need, look for a wrist strap, hand break, and a locking (and releasing) front wheel. Umbrella strollers are fabulous for fast trips and can fold up pretty compactly- however depending on the design may not be appropriate for babies who cannot sit up on their own. There are also traditional strollers that can run from seventy five dollars (US) to more than a thousand. Each has different features to appeal to different needs. There are stroller matchmaker services who can take a few minutes to help you sort through the myriad of options. As children grow, strollers become less about child transportation as about a way to carry their things. Even now- with only one child still in a stroller- I use my double stroller and fill up the basket and other seat with things, from shopping bags to coats and mittens.

Travelling checklist:

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Babies sleep a lot

Newborn babies spend great portion of a day sleeping. A sleep is crucial for their healthy growth and development. The total time of a sleep is around 20 hours per day in the beginning. Although this need gradually decreases every month and in the first year of life a rhythm of sleep becomes very similar to an adult one.

Baby crib

In the past few years safety standards of cribs has changed. Drop side cribs have been eliminated, bumpers for cribs have been phased out, and experts have begun to recommend infants to be placed on their backs to sleep among other things. However, in a large portion of the world bed sharing and co-sleeping is still the norm. There are decided benefits to this practice but there are situations when parents should not bed share. There are known cases where babies were overlain in connection with alcohol or drugs. So the idea of needing a crib or bassinet is somewhat debatable but I would certainly recommend it. My crib has become a literal ball pit. It is great way to entertain my little one while I do something that the kids really can’t help with- a shower- alone or cooking with an involved recipe.

PHOTO:FreeImages.com/Emmanuel Garcia

PHOTO:FreeImages.com/Emmanuel Garcia

Crib decoration suitable for baby´s eyesight

At birth babies do not have good eyesight. They prefer things that have strong contrasts, but especially love looking at their mothers faces. It is easy to get lost in newborns eyes anyway so spends some time just talking to or signing to your little one. Of course sitting and carrying on a conversation with a three day old baby is not feasible all of the time. When they are awake, babies are intrigued by darker round shapes on a lighter background (one of the reasons your baby is drawn to his mother’s areola and nipple). When looking for decorations or objects for your baby to look at keep that in mind.

PHOTO:FreeImages.com/Lonnie Bradley

PHOTO:FreeImages.com/Lonnie Bradley

Babies are curious

The older a baby gets, the more it seeks the attention of its parents and starts to explore its surroundings. A good idea is to buy a few harmless (whistling or otherwise noise-making) toys and place them inside the baby´s crib. You can also expand your baby´s “play horizons” with a baby playing mat – and I have to say this is a really cool thing. Babies can play on it, perceive the world in a new way and observe everything going on around them. I caught my little one several times just looking at me whilst I was hanging out the washing.

Nursery & Furniture checklist:

  • Cradle, bassinet, or crib
  • Crib mattress and sheets
  • Waterproof mattress covers
  • Swaddling blanket
  • Infant changing table
  • A few receiving blankets

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Making memories

All parents with grown up children will confirm that babies grow up very fast and you should enjoy every single moment spent with a little baby. Apart from home videos or snapshots that you can put inside various fancy frames you can also record important milestones your baby reached. I found a very cool idea for making memories – an imprint of your baby´s tiny hands or feet.

One newborn baby clothing tip in the end

Newborns often do not like having their clothes pulled over their heads. They often get pretty upset when parents try and put a shirt on over their newborn baby’s heads. To accommodate this preference, hospitals often provide side snap tee shirts. If families choose to birth their baby at home or birthing centre that does not provide side snap shirts pick up a package- they can come in handy. There are a few drawbacks to these shirts. One being they ride up, which can irritate babies- they may be new but babies can be particular. Side snap tee shirts also don’t provide a lot of warmth, which for some climates is fine, but where I live, winter babies, spring babies, and autumn babies often need a little more in the way of warmth. Don’t worry; soon you and your baby will be ok with getting dressed.

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Clothing checklist:

  • Undershirts “onesies” (around 10)
  • Infant gowns with elastic bottoms or draw string (around 5)
  • Pairs of booties or socks (around 4)
  • Sleeper garment/sleeping outfit
  • Sweater and hat

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BABY REGISTRY ON AMAZON

There is something I would really recommend for you to buy regarding your baby. Amazon.com offers a special program called Baby Registry, besides the chance that you can win a $500 gift card only for registering every week (no purchase necessary), you can make a list of all things you need for your new baby in one place (not only from amazon). Moreover you can also catch useful discounts on a variety of baby stuff, and enjoy free shipping or free returns on most items. This certainly will help you to save money and time plus get great benefits.

There are literally thousands of items that parents, friends, and relatives can purchase for a new baby. From cribs to strollers to bibs, the choices are endless. The biggest thing you need for your new baby is patience for yourself and for your baby.  Both of you are new to this, even if you have had other children.  This baby is new. Your older kids need to learn their new roles, just as you and they baby do.  Babies and kids are really hard to permanently ruin, they are much more like a sturdy stew than a ready to fall soufflé.

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