What do you really need for a new baby?
Pregnancy can be a beautiful and wonderful time for new parents, but it can also be overwhelming, especially when you consider the amount of information online about the newest tech and gadgets you absolutely need for your newborn. Here’s the good news: the list of things you actually need is much shorter than the lists published by retailers who are hoping you’ll buy their products.
10 Newborn Essentials for New and Expecting Parents
While we’ve included technology and products that will make your life easier as a new parent, we’ve also attempted to consolidate the abundance of newborn products into one concise list to help you make the most of your pregnancy so you can focus on preparing for your little one rather than stressing about what you need to buy.
Along with the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), many pediatricians recommend newborns sleep in the same room with their parents in a bassinet, crib, or co-sleeper safely attached to their parents’ bed.
Why should babies sleep in their parent’s room for the first six months?
Research indicates newborns who sleep in their parents’ room for at least six months are less likely to die from sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). Placing your baby on their back to sleep during the first six months may also lower their risk of sudden infant death syndrome. A bassinet will also allow you to have quick access to your baby throughout the night, making night-time feedings easier.
2. Baby Wrap
Baby wraps are an essential for new moms who want to maintain physical contact with their baby while allowing their hands to be free. This makes cleaning, feeding, preparing meals, reading, and many other activities much easier.
What are the benefits of baby wraps?
Baby wraps are also great for environments which prohibit strollers, such as airplanes, some entertainment venues, and other locations and for areas with high traffic which are hard to navigate, such as shopping malls and grocery stores.
Is it important to hold my baby often?
Research indicates infants who are held or wrapped by their parents for long periods of time experience lower stress levels, faster rates of development, and even better sleeping patterns. Wearing a wrap not only helps you obtain more physical contact with your baby, it also allows him or her to feel more safe and secure.
READ MORE: How Important is Physical Contact for Your Newborn?
3. Pack and Play
A pack and play is one of those items that falls under the “non-essential that’s really nice to have” category. Many parents choose to add a pack and play to their registry or splurge on one from their own pocket in order to make travel easier. If you plan on visiting parents and grandparents often, a pack and play offers a portable crib which provides baby a safe place to sleep.
Do I need a pack and play?
For parents of active babies, pack and plays are also an option which allows you to contain your little one in a safe and enclosed space while you prepare dinner, do laundry, or complete other tasks as needed. Some models even include attachments which double as a baby changing station for on the go diaper changes.
4. Safe Car Seat
A safe car seat is an absolute essential for expecting parents. Car accidents are the leading cause of death for children and infants, but car seats can reduce the risk of death by as much as 50%, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Choosing a safe car seat with great reviews is the best way to help keep your child safe during a car accident or collision.
READ MORE: 2019 Guide to Car Seats
5. Baby Monitor
Once baby is old enough to sleep in his or her own bed, a baby monitor will allow you to check in on your little on throughout the night and be alerted when they need attention. There are a couple of different types of baby monitors available, and they both have pros and cons.
Wireless Baby Monitors vs. Traditional Baby Monitors
A wireless monitor which connects to your home’s wi-fi will allow you to utilize your mobile phone to see video of your baby and can be beneficial as a security measure when you are not at home or when a babysitter or family member is watching over your child.
Advantages of Traditional Baby Monitors
The downside to wireless monitors is that if your wi-fi connection is unstable or if your power goes out, you won’t be able to monitor your baby. Traditional sound monitors which do not rely on wireless networks can be used as a backup if you have a video monitor, or they can be used alone, as you’ll still be able to hear your baby crying and speak to them to soothe or calm them.
6. Owlet Monitor
As an item that can save your baby’s life, an Owlet monitor is one essential you don’t want to leave off of your registry. An Owlet monitor is a small cloth sock worn by your baby which monitors their heart rate and oxygen levels while transmitting this information wirelessly to your mobile device.
Owlets and Reducing the Risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome
For parents who want to calm their anxiety or who are concerned about the risk of sudden infant death syndrome, an Owlet monitor or similar wearable baby monitor provides the opportunity to monitor your baby’s health without disturbing them, so you can get a good night’s rest knowing you’ll be alerted should there be cause for concern.
7. Rock N’ Play
A Rock N’ Play is an inclined seat that helps your baby fall asleep faster and sleep for longer periods of time. Some parents even choose to place their little ones in a Rock N’ Play to help encourage sleeping throughout the night once baby reaches 3-4 months of age. Rock N’ Plays are also lightweight and portable, making them an easy option to bring along to visit friends and family or when you need a way to help your infant rest.
8. Sound Machine
Sound machines and white noise machines can help infants fall asleep faster. One theory is that white noise mimics the sound babies hear while in the womb, making them feel more safe and secure. Sound machines are also ideal for babies who have trouble falling asleep when surrounded by silence.
Many parents opt to use pacifiers to help soothe their newborn. For long car rides or plane trips, pacifiers can be lifesavers, and when your hands are full but you know baby is fed and has a clean diaper, a pacifier can help provide a dose of comfort they may be seeking.
10. Baby Grooming Tools
Before the remainder of your newborn’s umbilical cord falls out, it’s recommended to refrain from baths, but you can use a sponge and lukewarm water to clean your baby as needed. When it’s time for baby’s first bath, you’ll need to have a few items on hand, including:
- Baby bath sponges or soft washcloths
- Clean blanket or baby bath towel
- Gentle baby soap and shampoo
- Baby lotion
- Baby comb
- Baby nail clippers (prevents baby from scratching herself)
10 Essentials You Need in Your Hospital Bag
When it’s time to give birth, the last thing you want to worry about is what to pack for your trip. That’s why we recommend having your diaper bag and hospital bag ready to go in the weeks leading up to your due date. Here are 10 items we recommend taking with you when it’s time to give meet your little on for the first time.
1. Identification and Insurance Information
This is an essential that seems quite obvious yet is often overlooked by parents who are excited or anxious about giving birth. If you have multiple insurance cards, it’s a good idea to keep one on hand for doctor’s appointments and the other in your hospital bag.
2. Large Diaper Bag
As you can see, the list of items you’ll need for baby is quite long. A large diaper bag with plenty of space and comfortable straps is an essential. You’ll be using a diaper bag whenever you leave home for the next several months, so choose one you love. Some moms even opt for a diaper backpack which doubles as a carrier for a wallet, keys, and other items you might typically carry in your purse.
3. Gown or Pajamas
While you are provided with a gown at the hospital, the reality is you may be spending a few hours or days in your hospital garb, and it’s perfectly fine to bring clothing items from home which can help make you more comfortable while you wait for baby.
4. Phone Charger
Pack an extra phone charger in your diaper bag to ensure you’ll be able to update loved ones on the status of baby’s arrival and snap lots of pictures when the time comes to meet your baby.
While mom won’t be able to eat much at the hospital before baby’s arrival, it’s not a bad idea to pack a few snacks for the dad-to-be in case labor lasts several hours. This way your baby’s father can be with you in the delivery room rather than tracking down food elsewhere.
6. Lip Balm
While you’ll likely be able to munch on ice chips, your water and food intake will be limited in the delivery room. While an IV will keep you from becoming dehydrated, lip balm can protect your lips from becoming chapped and sore.
7. Pillow + Socks or Slippers
Hospital bed pillows are adequate but not nearly as comfortable as a plush pillow from home. An extra pillow and a pair of warm socks or slippers can help you relax and prepare for baby, and you’ll get more sleep once your little one arrives if you have a pillow similar to the one you’re used to sleeping on at home.
8. Diapers or Formula
While most hospitals provide diapers for new parents, not all hospitals provide formula. Check with the hospital where you plan on giving birth or speak with your pediatrician if he or she works with your hospital to be sure.
Should I bring formula to the hospital?
If you plan on supplementing with formula or utilizing formula for feeding your baby, it’s best to bring some along just in case, ideally the brand you plan on using to protect baby’s sensitive tummy from switching too often. Even if you plan on breastfeeding your baby, bringing along formula can help in cases where breastfeeding is difficult or too painful in the first days after giving birth.
9. Nursing Bra and Pads
If you plan to breastfeed your baby, you will need a nursing bra as well as nursing pads. Even if you aren’t planning to breastfeed, you will need nursing pads to prevent leaking as milk will still be produced. If you are nursing, it’s also a good idea to include Lanolin to ease sore nipples.
10. Going Home Outfits
Once it’s time to head home, you’ll likely want to wear something comfortable yet more appealing than pajamas or a robe. Be sure to pack a going home outfit for both you and baby. Many new parents opt for a special outfit to bring home baby in, and some hospitals even offer newborn photography sessions for an additional fee.
Where can I find newborn essentials?
If you’re located in the Memphis area, stop by the 2019 Mid-South Baby and Kids Expo at Agricenter International to find hundreds of newborn essentials from leading vendors and to speak with healthcare professionals from around the Mid-South. Meet with pediatricians from Pediatrics East to discover which doctor is right for you, and learn more about the options available for expectant parents from representatives of local hospitals. You’ll also find games, door prizes, and more for the whole family to enjoy.
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