GETTING READYWritten by on April 4th, 2009
Getting ready for a baby’s arrival is an exciting and confusing time. If it’s your first or even your second, there are enough decisions and preparations to make to confuse even the person not suffering from pregnancy-induced mindlessness. Following are a few of the basics.
The most obvious things to plan for are where the baby will sleep and what kind of car seat you need to buy. Other items you need right away will be clothes, diapers, basic health care items, and possibly a breast pump. If you might need daycare for your child, check into that first. The best daycare centers will have the longest waiting time- many close to a year long.
Many parents prefer to have baby in the room with them for the first few months for convenience and peace of mind. Some opt to put baby right in their bed and others prefer a bassinette. Both options are o.k. If you would think you would like to have a family bed situation, consider buying a king size bed. Once the baby is active and tossing and turning at night, you will need the extra room.
There are many options for bassinettes from a movable simple basket that sits on the floor or a stand to the more permanent type of bassinette with bows and lace surrounding it. Consider if you might be moving baby from room to room when you decide which bassinette to buy. Take a look at the used baby stores for bassinettes as children outgrow them quickly and many never get used at all as baby finds his or her way into mommy’s bed. As with any used baby item, make sure what you buy conforms to the latest standards in safety and has not been recalled for any reason.
After the bassinette you may also want to purchase a crib. Many parents complain that they bought a crib and their child never slept in it. For this reason, it might be a good idea to wait a month after the baby is born to buy a crib. Infants spend the first three months in a bassinette anyway. If you have your heart set on something fancy, do check with the furniture store to see how long it will take to be delivered.
The basic clothes you will need should be one or two nice outfits for the many pictures you will be taking and then about five or six simple and comfortable things for the baby to wear around the house. You don’t want to invest too much in newborn sized clothing. Most babies move up to the three to six month size before they are two months old. And when baby is first home, he or she will likely spend a lot of time wrapped in a receiving blanket. You should have about five receiving blankets, a spare sheet or two for the bassinette, and also a few cloth diapers to use as spit up cloths. If you are using cloth diapers, your needs will depend on whether you wash them yourself or use a service. If you are going to use a service, call for their recommendations. If you plan on washing them yourself, get about fifteen or so and plan to do laundry every day. You don’t want to leave dirty diapers sitting around. Even the most efficient diaper pail will not contain the smell for long. If you are using disposables, buy one package of newborn-size. Wait to see how big junior is before buying more. You may need size one the second week you are home.
Basic care items include nail clippers, baby wash or shampoo, and a diaper rash ointment. Some of these things you will get from the hospital in sample sizes. You also might need a bulb syringe for baby’s first cold. Since infants cannot blow their own noses, a bulb syringe is used to suck out the mucus when baby is sick.
Many women are very concerned about breastfeeding and buy an expensive pump before they have the baby only to discover that junior will have nothing to do with a bottle after sampling the real thing. Since a good breast pump can cost $250, a better idea would be to rent a pump at first to make sure everything works out. A hospital-grade pump can usually be rented for about $2.00 a day. The hospital can recommend a lactation consultant to help out.
Consider buying some onesies. Some come with snaps in the front, and are very easy to put on, but some you have to pull over your baby’s head. Get the kind you think will be easiest to put on. They are great to help keep your baby’s tummy warm, and you don’t have to worry about the t-shirt creeping up, which can be very annoying.
Also nice to have on hand are one piece stretchy outfits with feet, probably about four to six of them. With our first child, we preferred these outfits because we dreaded pulling anything over our baby’s wobbly head. Also, one piece outfits with feet don’t climb up baby’s legs like pants can and are good for when you need to take baby somewhere in his carseat or when you don’t want to deal with booties or socks.
Have about four to six baby kimonos or gowns on hand. Kimonos open all the way up and fasten in the front, so they don’t have to pulled over your baby’s head. This makes them very easy to put on. Gowns and kimonos are very convenient for newborns because they make diaper changes so much easier–and you will probably be doing a lot of diaper changes at first, and you don’t have to deal with a lot of snaps. The gowns are quite long, and will fit baby for a longer period of time than the newborn outfits with feet.
Gowns with elastic are preferred over gowns with drawstrings at the bottom because you don’t have to worry about baby getting tangled up in the strings, though you can take the strings out. The gowns with elastic are especially nice to help keep baby’s legs covered.
3. Make sure you have enough diapers and/or perhaps buy the book Infant Potty Training: A Gentle and Primeval Method Adapted to Modern Living by Laurie Boucke. If you are going to use cloth diapers, either contact a diaper service company and have some diapers delivered to your house before your baby’s birth, or have on hand about three to four dozen diapers. Newborn-size diapers, of course, will be less bulky on a newborn than regular size diapers, and when your baby grows, they can be used as diaper doublers, but many cloth-diapering mothers find that newborn-size diapers are unnecessary.
If you are going to use disposable diapers, have a good supply of diapers on hand–six dozen is suggested for a one week supply, but don’t go overboard and buy too many newborn sized diapers because your baby will probably grow out that size very quickly.