Properly Welcoming a New Born: The Essentials
Welcoming a newborn can be an exciting yet very challenging time in the life of a parent. It doesn’t matter if this is your first or fourth child, the list always seems endless… bottles, diapers, changing tables, baby monitors, you name it! Do newborns really need all that? Let’s explore some of the most commonly used baby items based on a newborn’s needs for care, transportation, and entertainment.
How will you feed your baby? Will you be using human milk or formula?
We have all heard about the innumerable health benefits of breastfeeding for both mother and baby, but have you considered its practical advantages? Basic breastfeeding gear consists of just one breast and a baby. Simple, right? In the opinion of Kelly Bonyata, an experienced IBCLC, that is all you really need to establish a successful breastfeeding relationship. Other items such as a nursing pillow or a breast pump can certainly make your life easier, however, it will all depend on your budget and family’s needs.
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), formula feeding is the safest infant food alternative to human milk. Most parents find that formula feeding essentials include: bottles, bottle cleaning supplies, and of course, formula. Doesn’t seem that complicated either, right?
Will you be using disposables or cloth diapers?
This kind of diapers are convenient and easy to use. Disposable diapers are also available in a wide variety of retail stores both online and near you. If you decide that disposables are a good fit for your family, make sure you stock up because newborns require quite a lot of diaper changes!
For environmentally conscious parents, cloth diapers may be a good option. This kind of diapers are sold by specialized stores and websites but can also be found on popular online retail stores. The most commonly used systems include: pre-folds, pocket diapers, and those known as “all in one”. A dozen or two could be a good place to start, it will all depend on how often you are able to do laundry (Mama Natural, 2017). And while we are at it, don’t forget to also stock up on cloth wipes and laundry detergent!
Will you be co-sleeping or do you prefer a nursery?
Co-sleeping is the term used when parents choose to sleep near their infants, whether it’s in the same bed or in the same room (Bonyata, 2017). Although co-sleeping may not be for every family, it seems to be more commonly associated to breastfeeding families for its convenience and support of the nursing relationship. The benefits associated with co-sleeping arrangements include but are not limited to: a reduced risk of SIDS, reduced separation anxiety, easier bedtime transitions, and better quality sleep for both parents and babies (Bonyata, 2017). Safe co-sleeping guidelines have been developed by experts on the subject to ensure parents make informed decisions, be sure to check those out (AAP, 2017; McKenna, 2017). Other than that, your list of must have gear will probably include something like a baby bassinet or a small crib that can be placed next to the main bed.
Preparing your newborn’s nursery can be a fun activity to get the family together to receive its new member. Selecting the room’s paint color and decor can be a good way to incorporate younger siblings into the process. Infant safe sleep guidelines also apply so be sure to revise those before selecting your choice of crib, mattress, and bedding (AAP, 2017). Common must haves for a newborns nursery include: a crib, a rocking chair, changing table, and a baby monitor to keep an eye on your little one while you are away.
The use of an age appropriate car seat is required by state law.
Newborns are best transported in a rear facing infant car seat specially designed to meet their age and size needs. The US Department of Transportation (2011) has issued new age-focused child seat guidelines to better assist parents in making informed decisions regarding infant transportation.
Out and About
Strollers or baby carriers? Maybe both?
These are a common choice for parents who prefer transporting baby on a separate space with storage for the extra baby equipment. They are also helpful for parents of multiples and with older children who also need to be transported. Travel systems that include the infant car seat, car seat base, and matching stroller are a great buy!
Baby carriers are an excellent choice for the parent who prefers to keep baby close while still performing his or her daily tasks. Carriers come in a variety of styles, out of which the most common are: wraps, ring slings, and soft structured carriers. Baby wearing also has many benefits for both baby and caregiver, if you would like to check them out.
Caring for a newborn can be exhausting, how about a quick break?
As stated by the AAP (2013), “infant swings can be an asset when parents need help soothing a fussy baby or a safe place for their child while they catch up on housework.” Which means they are also useful when you just want to sit on the couch and breathe. Make sure to revise the AAP tips for using an infant swing before choosing the best baby swing for your baby.
So young, really?
According to the AAP (2014), reading “stimulates optimal patterns of brain development and strengthens parent-child relationships at a critical time in child development, which, in turn, builds language, literacy, and social-emotional skills that last a lifetime.” Therefore, developmentally appropriate board books and picture books are a must have.
Extra snuggles anyone?
The power of touch
Human babies are not only soothed by physical contact and closeness to their caregivers, they also thrive on it. Human contact promotes newborn’s optimal physical and psychological development, prevents illnesses, and makes for happier babies (Coila, 2017). So make sure to stock up on lots of love and cuddles for your little one!
Properly welcoming a newborn baby into your family will be as simple or as complicated as you allow it to be. Relax, trust your instincts, and enjoy the journey because time does fly!
American Academy of Pediatrics. (2017). Infant Food and Feeding. Retrieved from: https://www.aap.org/en-us/advocacy-and-policy/aap-health-initiatives/HALF-Implementation-Guide/Age-Specific-Content/pages/infant-food-and-feeding.aspx
American Academy of Pediatrics. (2011). Literacy Promotion: An Essential Component of Primary Care Pediatric Practice. Retrieved from: http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/early/2014/06/19/peds.2014-1384
American Academy of Pediatrics. (2017). Safe Sleep. Retrieved from: https://www.aap.org/en-us/about-the-aap/Committees-Councils-Sections/Child-Death-Review/Pages/Safe-Sleep.aspx
American Academy of Pediatrics. (2011). SIDS and Other Sleep-Related Infant Deaths: Expansion of Recommendations for a Safe Infant Sleeping Environment. Retrieved from: http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/early/2011/10/12/peds.2011-2284
Baby Swing Recommendations
Baby Wearing International. (2014). Baby Wearing 101. Retrieved from: https://babywearinginternational.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/medbrochure-2016update.pdf
Bonyata, K. (2017). Co-sleeping and Bed sharing. Retrieved from: http://kellymom.com/parenting/nighttime/cosleeping/
Bonyata, K. (2017). What breastfeeding supplies do I need? Retrieved from: http://kellymom.com/pregnancy/bf-prep/breastfeeding-supplies/
Coila, B. (2017). The Effects of Human Contact on Newborn Babies. Retrieved from: http://www.livestrong.com/article/549945-taking-in-vs-taking-hold-in-infant-bonding/
Governors Highway Safety Association. (2016). Child Passenger Safety. Retrieved from: http://www.ghsa.org/state-laws/issues/Child-Passenger-Safety
McKenna, J. (2017). Safe Co-sleeping Guidelines. Retrieved from: http://cosleeping.nd.edu/safe-co-sleeping-guidelines/
United States Department of Transportation. (2011). NHTSA Releases New Child Seat Guidelines. Retrieved from: https://www.nhtsa.gov/press-releases/nhtsa-releases-new-child-seat-guidelines