If you are an expecting parent, this is a really exciting time for you. It is a time to prepare for the arrival of your bundle of joy.
Here is a list of things that you can think about and some tips on your newborn babies needs and requirements after birth.
List of things to buy before birth:
There are not a lot of things you need to buy before birth as newborns don’t really need a lot. However there are a few essentials you can get so you don’t need to go shopping straight after the baby comes. Here is a list of the things that you are advised to buy:
• These are great for a little independence. You can carry the baby around in the bassinet and this can be placed anywhere for the baby to sleep.
• The cot is also good for separation but the one downside to the cot is that it is not easily transportable.
• If you choose a cot – keep the cot as bare as possible. Extra blankets, toys and pillows are dangerous as they can stop babies from breathing in their sleep.
• If you decide to have your child sleep in the bed with you, make sure they have adequate amount of space and they sleep on their back to reduce the risk of SIDS.
2. Plastic infant bath
• Again this is optional. A lot of people prefer to bathe their newborn in the sink or in the bath with them but this is always useful to have.
If you are using re-usable cloth diapers:
• Several dozen cloth or re-usable diapers
• 8 waterproof covers.
• Snaps, Velcro or safety pins to secure re-usable diapers
• Changing pad
If you are using disposable diapers:
• Two boxes of newborn-size diapers (it’s better not to buy too many in advance in case your baby is large or grows quickly)
• Changing pad
• Disposable nappy bags
• Baby ointment or barrier cream to prevent nappy rash
• Mild soap and shampoo
• Massage oil
5. Baby Grooming items/Medicine
• Nail clippers or scissors
• Soft bristled hairbrush
• Syringe for suctioning mucous
• Baby thermometer
• Eye dropper or medicine spoon
• Medication in case of fever
• Onesies (mix of short-sleeve and long-sleeve). The baby’s skin is sensitive and thus it is advisable to buy baby clothes made from cotton or cotton blend. Also, make sure you remove all the tags that might cause irritation.
• Newborn hats
• Scratch mittens
• It is advisable to buy cotton blankets and avoid synthetic materials if possible.
8. Burp Cloths
• Flannel burp cloths are the best as they absorb the spit and work better after each wash. Avoid cotton burp cloths as the Spit up will just run off them and/or soak through to your clothes.
• When deciding on the best bath towels to buy for your little one, softness and sensitivity are clearly at the top of the list of important considerations. It is recommended to again find a cotton blend.
10. Approved infant safety seat for car
• Convertible car seats are very good as they accommodate rear-facing or forward-facing babies (you should keep your little one rear-facing until at least 2 years of age). These are obviously necessary to transport your baby from the hospital but they are also good for transporting your baby anywhere! You can take them out and about in their car seat (easy to carry) and you can rock them to sleep.
• This is absolutely optional and you as a parent need to decide if you want to use pacifiers. If you do choose to use one to soothe your newborn, choose a one-piece model. Two-piece pacifiers are a choking hazard.
• These might not be used in the beginning if you are exclusively breast feeding but they will come in handy at some point.
• If you are travelling with your baby and it is hard to breastfeed, you can pump and feed your baby from the bottle.
• When buying bottles make sure you buy ones that are glass or BPA free plastic with tight fitting lids.
• Along with the bottles, you should buy:
⁃ Bottle steriliser
⁃ Bottle/nipple brush
After your baby is born, your list will inevitably increase. You can expand your child’s wardrobe depending on their size, sex and colours your prefer. If you are having trouble breastfeeding, you might want to/have to turn to formula. It is a good idea to look at different formulas before the baby is born for the “just in case”.
Hospital bag Essentials:
On average, moms who deliver vaginally stay in the hospital for one to two days. If you deliver via C-section you’d be looking at closer to three or four days. Keep your length of stay in mind as you select what to pack in your hospital bag. Ask your hospital what they provide for mothers, and take those things off your hospital bag checklist. Otherwise, use this hospital bag checklist for Mum and baby:
1. Documentation for hospital forms
2. Birth Plan – You may have already discussed this with your doctor but it is always handy to have a hard copy too.
3. 2 maternity bras, no underwire – Buy one cup size larger than your pregnant bra size.
4. Breast pads (disposable or washable)
5. Lotion for sore nipples
6. Giant Sanitary Pads
7. Packet of disposable underpants or a few pairs of maternity underpants that you don’t mind getting ruined.
8. Toiletries and personal items: hairbrush, toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant, face wash, shampoo, conditioner, moisturiser etc…
9. Nursing Pillow
10. Comfortable going home clothes and shoes
12. Onesies (long sleeved)
17. Approved infant car seat
18. Phone and Charger
19. Breast pump – It is likely that the hospital will have one of these for you to use if necessary but you might like to take your own which you can get used to from the beginning.
Congratulations! You are now home with your little warm, delicious smelling bundle of joy. Here are a few tips and ideas which might help you out during the early days after you bring your child home from the hospital:
If all goes well, your baby should be latching onto you and feeding nicely. However if this is not the case and you are struggling for any reason, please go through our Breastfeeding Basics. If by any reason, you are still struggling with the feeds, get professional advice from a lactation consultant or doctor.
Bottle Feeding basics
The following applies for breast milk and/or formula
• Sterilise Equipment
After buying a new bottle and before each feed, it is very important to sterilise the bottle first. The best way to do this is to submerge the bottle in a pot of boiling water for 5 minutes. When you have done this, place the bottle on a clean towel to dry.
• Warming Formula/Breastmilk
It is not medically necessary to warm the milk before feeding it to your child but often the baby enjoys warm milk rather than cold. If you are travelling and can’t heat the milk, don’t panic.
The best way to heat the milk is to put the bottle under some hot water or in a bottle warmer. When it feels just warm enough, give the bottle a good shake and then test the temperature of it by squirting a few drops on your wrist. It should be a little warmer than room temperature. NEVER heat your babies milk in the microwave. It can be harmful for several reasons – 1. The contents of the bottle may not warm evenly, making some parts very hot and some parts cooler. 2. Chemicals from the plastic bottles may seep into the milk. 3. It can destroy some of the nutrients in the milk.
Support your baby in a semi-upright position, angled about 45 degrees, carding their head in the crook of your arm. Hold the bottle at an angle where the nipple is completely full of milk and devoid of air.
Baby Weight gain
Weight loss during the first 3-4 days after birth is normal. By day 5, your baby should start to gain weight rather than lose it. It’s a good idea to have a routine weight check at 5 days so that any developing problems can be caught and remedied early.
Baby should regain birth weight by 10 days to 2 weeks. If your baby lost a good bit of weight in the early days, or if your baby is sick or premature, it may take longer to regain birth weight. If baby does not regain birth weight by two weeks, this is a sign that the feeding needs to be evaluated.
Always work out the weight gain from the lowest point rather than from baby’s birth weight.
Your baby needs to be weighed on the same scale with the same amount of clothing (preferably naked) each time to get an accurate picture of weight gain. Different scales can give very different readings.
Baby Care, Health and Hygiene
Minor infections and illnesses are very common amongst babies because their immune systems are still developing; Here are some good tips regarding care, health and hygiene.
To limit your baby’s exposure to harmful germs and microbes, keep your home clean. Clean the floors using a disinfectant solution. Focus on sanitising the areas your baby uses. If your baby uses a milk bottle, wash and sterilise it after each use to remove the unwanted germs.
Make sure you frequently wash your hands especially before holding your child. If a guest comes to visit, make sure they sterilise their hands before handling the child too.
It is up to you as a parent how many times you wish to bath your baby but it us recommended to bath them everyday. It is recommend to sponge bath your baby until the umbilical cord drops off and the naval region is healed.
If your child has dirty nails and they suck their fingers, germs can enter their bodies. If their nails are long and sharp, they also risk scratching and hurting themselves. Always try and keep your babies nails clean and trimmed. The best way to trim your child’s nails is when they are asleep as they are less likely to wriggle. You can get little clippers for babies. Just be careful when you are clipping them as it is common to clip the tips of their fingers as you do this. A good way is peeling the nails off or filing them.
4. Ears nose and eyes
Clean the babies ears, nose and eyes very gently. Never insert cotton ear buds into his/her tiny ears. You can use a damp cotton cloth or cotton wool to clean all of these things.
5. changing diapers
When it comes to babies hygiene, changing the diaper at regular intervals is very important. You can use baby wipes to clean the urine and excretion and make sure they are dry before putting another diaper on to prevent diaper rash.
There is nothing more a baby likes than to snuggle up close to you. When your baby was in the womb they would have become accustomed to the sound of your heart and the rhythm of your movements.
After birth, the experience of being held close to a parent’s body helps them recall the peace they felt in the womb. A baby sling also swaddles them and helps control the movement of their arms and legs. As you move, the motion with sooth your baby.
Baby wearing can also make the hectic lives of parents much easier. For example, wearing baby frees mother’s hands for basic cleaning, preparing food, running errands, and other day-to-day activities. With the baby tucked in a sling or carrier, you will not have to stop what you are doing when baby fusses or needs reassurance.
Leaving the house doesn’t require as much preparation, either. A sling or baby carrier can be folded up and stuffed into a diaper bag so that it is readily available for use.
These can be great for going for walks, shopping, eating out etc.. It is a safe place for your child and pretty convenient for you. A lot of buggies have the facility to click your car seat into them or you can buy a set which go together (car seat and stroller).
When you are buying your buggy, make sure it:
• Has a seat that fits your child comfortably and safely
• Is the right height and weight for you to push and lift
• Has all the right safety features.
Other than these three points, the decision on which buggy to buy lies in what design you like and what features you need.
All of the above points are basic requirements or tips for you as a parent. At the end of the day, each parent has their own techniques and different way they like to do things. Alot of parents can get caught up creating lists of “necessities” for their soon-to-be newborn. Many expectant parents are led to believe that they will need a variety of specialised equipment in order to care for a baby. You must remember that the main things your baby needs is milk, clothes, warmth, human contact and a safe environment. The objects and “must haves” are secondary to these needs.
Make sure you follow whatever makes you and your baby comfortable and happy.