As you begin to shop for baby equipment, you will find that there is a vast and often overwhelming choice. The aim of this note is to help mothers-to-be decide what they need for their stay in the hospital and the first months of the baby.
In this article (link), you learned what to pack into your hospital back.
Today, we will focus on what other items you need for the first months of your baby at home.
You don’t need to buy very many newborn-size clothes for your baby, as you are likely to receive these as gifts. The ideal first clothes to buy are multipacks of vests and sleepsuits, which are available in many stores and supermarkets. When shopping for your newborn, make sure they are washable, and made from soft fabric such as cotton or terry toweling. You will find that your baby grows out of newborn clothes very quickly, so it’s a good idea to buy most clothes in naught to three-months size. Bigger babies may not fit into newborn-size cloths at all (first size or 0), and may need to start off in a zero to three-month size (1-3).
A newborn baby’s circulation often takes a few days to stabilize, and I recommend putting a pair of bootees or socks on over a sleepsuit to keep his feet warm. He will need a couple of warm hats to prevent heat loss from his head.
- 6-7 SHORT-SLEEVED VESTS (BODYSUITS) WITH POPPERS BETWEEN THE LEGS
- 6-7 SLEEPSUITS (BODYGROWS, short or long sleeves depending on the season)
- 2-3 CARDIGANS
- 1 ALL-IN-ONE OR WARM JACKET FOR GOING OUTSIDE IN WINTER
- 2-3 HATS
- 2-3 PAIRS OF SOCS
- MITTENS (optional)
SOMEWHERE TO SLEEP
There is a huge variety of Moses baskets, cribs and cots available. Your choice will depend on the space that you have, and your budget.
Small babies will usually be able to sleep in a Moses basket up to about 3 months of age. However, if your baby was 4,5 kg or more at birth, you might find that she has outgrown her basket by 6 weeks.
Once your baby is around 5,5 kg, she will probably be more comfortable in a cot.
I would recommend that you get a drop-side cot, as this makes lifting your baby in and out much easier.
IF YOU DO BUY SECOND HAND COT, I would advise that you buy a new mattress so that you can be confident it is clean and safe.
Shopping list for sleeping
- Moses baskets (or)
- Crib and mattress (or)
- Drop-side and mattress
- Bedding for the Moses basket: at least 4 fitted sheets and 4 flat sheets
- Bedding for the drop-side cot: 4 fitted sheets and 4 large blankets
- 12 to 24 muslin squares (place under your baby’s head to catch any milk he brings up, to place on top of the bed, very useful in every occasion.
- 2 shawls for swaddling or large muslins
- baby monitor (optional)
The Feeding Equipment You need will vary slightly, depending on whether you choose to breastfeed or bottle feed. If you are breastfeeding and want to give your baby expressed breast milk from time to time, you will still need some bottles.
There are a number of soothing nipple creams available In Rossmann&LALA AND FARMACIES, and I recommend brands with calendula and chamomile.
I would highly recommend the breast pumps made by Medela and Ameda, both available in Albania.
There are many bottles to choose from but those with anatomic, silicon teats are the best. You have to choose the teats that are tilted and look like mother’s breasts (nipple-shaped). Bottles usually comes with size 1 but size 0 for a newborn would be recommended. It’s because we want to teach and develop a sucking reflex in a baby.
Very good bottles for a baby are: AVENT 0, TOMMY TIPPEE AND DR. BROWN.
SUAVINEX (remember to choose the teat where the baby sucks slowly.
To sterilize the bottles, you can use an electric or microwave sterilizer. I recommend electric sterilizer from Avant or Chicco. I used to feed my babies with formula so I needed the sterilizer for all those bottles as well as for pacifiers.
There are many brands available of formula for newborns. I would recommend asking your doctor will prescribe for your baby (from organic to dairy-free brands for allergic babies etc.).
When you’re away from home, a milk powder dispenser can be very useful, as you don’t have to carry around a large box of formula. I used the blue one from Avant.
BREASTFEEDING SHOPPING LIST
- plenty of breast pads
- 2 nursing bras
- nipple cream (lanolin! Is the best)
- breast pump, hand or electric
- freezer bags for freezing breast milk (optional)
- 2 x 100 ml bottles
- size 0 and 1 newborn teats
- nursing chair (optional)
- nursing pillow (not essential, ordinary pillows are just as good)
BOTTLE FEEDING SHOPPING LIST
- 2-4 x 100 ml bottles with teats
- 6 x 200 ml bottles with teats
- size 0 and 1 newborn teats
- bottle sterilizer
- plastic jug for warming bottles
- box of formula suitable for newborns
- bottle brush
- electric bottle warmer (optional)
- milk powder dispenser (optional)
NAPPIES AND CHANGING EQUIPEMENT
I don’t recommend to buy too many newborn-size nappies, in case your baby is too big for this size when he is born You can choose from disposable or washable nappies, and many parents use a combination of both. It is often a good idea not to buy a huge quantity of nappies before your baby is born, as you will need some time to find out what works best for your baby.
Barrier creams such as zinc and castor oil and Vaseline are good from preventing nappy rash.
Some people find it useful to have two changing mats, so they can keep one upstairs and one downstairs. To protect your back, it’s a good idea to be able to change your baby in position where you don’t have to band over. You can buy a changing unit with drawers or storage underneath, or use the top of a chest of drawers, making sure the baby is secure and cannot fall off.
CHANGING SHOPPING LIST
- changing mat
- changing unit with safety strap
- cotton wool
- newborn nappies (disposable or washable)
- barrier cream for you baby’s bottom
- baby wipes (use form 2 weeks onwards)
- nappy bin (optional)
BATHING AND WASHING EQUIPEMENT
There are a number of different plastic baths that you can buy for your baby. However, you can use a hand basin, a plastic bowl, or a regular bath. If you’re bathing your baby in a regular bath, you can buy a range of bath supports, which will last her up to about six months.
BATHING SHOPPING LIST
- 2 bath towels or baby towels with hoods
- 2 hand towels
- 2 sponges (optional)
- 2 soft flannels
- baby soap or liquid wash (choose those form day 1)
- cotton wool
- moisuring cream or lotion
- baby oil (olive oil or sweet almond oil is just as good)
- shampoo a soft hairbrush
- baby nail scissors with rounded tips
- bath thermometer (optional, your elbow is enough)
- baby bath and stand (optional)
The one essential piece of travel equipment you will need is a rear-facing car seat to take your baby home form hospital. It’s important to ensure that the seats fit your car, and that you and your partner know HOW to take it in and out before you bring your baby home (to avoid additional stress, when the baby was born).
There are many prams, pushchairs and travel systems suitable from birth. Your choice will depend on your personal taste, budget, and space available. When buying a pram, make sure that you are comfortable pushing it along and that the handles are at the right height for you. Check that it is easy to fold up an unfold, and that it fits easily in the boot of your car.
You will also need a bag to carry changing equipment for your baby.
Slings are a good option if you’re going to be doing a lot of walking and you don’t want to use a pushchair. Make sure you buy a good brand which provides support for your back. A travel cot is a good idea if you’re going to be taking your baby away from home. You don’t need to buy this before the baby is born, as you can use a Moses baskets or a carrycot for the first few months.
TRAVEL SHOPPING FOR OYUR BABY
- rear-facing car seat suitable from birth
- pram or pushchair
- changing bag
- baby sling or carrier (optional)
- travel cot (optional)
It’s easy to get swept along feeling that you have to buy lots of expensive equipment for your baby before he is born. As long as he has something to wear, clean nappies, somewhere to slap, and plenty to eat he will be perfectly happy for the first few days.
You will also find that friends and family will want to bring gifts once he has arrived!
Hugs, Joanna xxx