Preparing for a Newborn? Baby Essentials Checklist for every Parent
In a few weeks, a very small baby will come to share your daily life. Even if it is said that a baby only needs your love, you will still need to make sure you have a few extra items to fill all those big and small needs.
You do not need to spend too much. There is certainly a friend or the friend of a friend … Who has boxes of small clothes, blankets just waiting to have a second life. The same is often the case for furniture: the baby bed, the changing table, etc. So, before you go shopping, find out where you are and look at second-hand sales sites.
1. But concretely, what do you need?
Do not put too much pressure on yourself, especially for the first few weeks of your baby’s life.
- Little camisoles onesie: depending on the season, you can dress it as this simple camisole, or she will be under her pajamas for comfort. Count 7-8. You will see how you can use several in a short time … Infants often make many overflows of diapers!
- Pajamas: Newborns often spend their first months of life in their pajamas. If they are comfortable as well, why try to put on pants or a dress? Make sure you have several (7-8) and different sizes: newborn, 1 month, 3 months. Many babies change quickly from one size to another. Hence, the importance of having second hand clothes. Some pajamas will only be worn for a week! Also, check if they attach and detach easily for diaper changes.
- Very small covers: often sold in packs of 3 or 4 (your sister or friend probably has dozens!), These blankets are used to swaddle your baby, you will put more than one, but also to cover it slightly if it is hot outside, but the wind is at the rendezvous. You can put one on your shoulder during burps, so you will not have to change your sweater every time your little one regurgitates a bit. These covers can also cover you when you are breastfeeding in public or in front of your visit! Because they are thin and light, they do not harm baby!
- Wipes and washcloths: they will become your best friends. You need it everywhere and much: for diaper changes, dirty little hands, baby’s mouth after a drink or if it regurgitates.
2. For bath time and other treatments
Ah! The bath time, total relaxation for some, moment of panic for others! You never really know what to expect, each baby is a real surprise box. But in general, you will need to provide:
Care products adapted to baby’s fragile skin: shampoo, mild soap, body milk.
- Cotton swabs (for navel care).
- Soft towels with a hood.
- Soft washcloths so as not to irritate the skin of the newborn.
- A thermometer to take the temperature of the baby.
- A pear to suck secretions.
- Physiological saline (for the hygiene of the baby’s nose, eyes and ears).
- Zinc oxide cream to relieve small buttocks irritated.
A plastic bathtub?
Maybe yes, maybe not. Some babies have a horror of this small bath and prefer to find themselves at the bottom of a large bath, in a little warm water, well lying on a towel or a rubber mat that prevents them from slipping.
3. For the time for sleeping
Will baby sleep in your room or in his? In a cradle (bassinet), a crib? In all cases, you will need to get:
- A bed adapted and meets safety standards (berth, bassinet, cradle, etc.).
- 3-4 fitted sheets adapted to the bed of your choice.
- Some sleeping bags or surpyjamas.
- Some fine blankets if you choose to swaddle baby.
- A listening device to audio baby monitor for the baby’s sleep and waking if he is not in your room.
4. For the outings
A diaper bag: inevitable. Moreover, the sooner it will be well stocked, the faster you will be out of the house! You will of course put on diapers and wipes, but also spare pajamas (or 2), a little rattle to make baby wait, an extra blanket, a hat, etc.
A stroller: choose it well, it will be part of your daily life. There are many models to meet the needs of all. Take the time to carefully consider yours before making this purchase.
A ventral baby carrier or a slinge, according to your preferences: if you like to walk or do all kinds of activities without being burdened with a stroller, the baby carrier is a must. Even at home, it can be convenient for small babies who still want to be stuck on mom or dad. Again, depending on your needs, you will choose a baby carrier or a carrier sling.
A coat adapted to the season and a hat: choose it according to the comfort of baby and according to your lifestyle. Some coats are perfect for car seats, but can not be used in a baby carrier. Your baby will need a hat in his first days of life to keep warm. After that, it will depend on the season. Remember to protect your fragile ears.
A car seat: a must! Make sure it meets safety standards and your baby is properly attached.
A bed-park: if you’re used to sleeping elsewhere, these portable beds will be of great use.
5. Furniture and accessories
Baby crib and mobile: As mentioned earlier, your wonder will need a bed of its own. It is essential that it meets the safety standards issued by Health Canada. A mobile, although not mandatory, sometimes helps baby to wait a few seconds!
Highchair: Of course, you will not need it during the first months, but you will see how time flies! Some babies start eating around the age of 4 or 5 months. Sometimes, even if they only drink milk, they enjoy being at the table at the same time as Mom and Dad.
A litter bin: obviously, any one can do the job. But if possible, you will have one that closes hermetically to avoid odors. You will see, the first weeks, there are so many diaper changes that sometimes, we lack of time to take them outside.
6. Breastfeeding or bottle?
Before your baby is in your arms, it is difficult to predict whether you will breastfeed or not. Often, it is a wish, but various elements can interfere in your decision. Both contingencies need to be planned without making too many purchases before the baby arrives.
Bibs: it does not matter the mode of feeding, you will need several! (5-6) You do not want to change the baby every time you drink, either because you drink too fast and the milk comes out of your mouth during that time, or because it regurgitates when you burp.
A nursing apron: it allows you to cover when you are breastfeeding baby. Small thin covers can also do the job, but they are less stable.
A breast pump, bottles and bags to freeze breast milk. If you are breastfeeding, there will be a time when you will be away for a few hours.
- A bottle warmer.
- Milk powder adapted to the age of the baby.
- Several baby bottles, and teats adapted to the age of the baby.
- A bottle sterilizer (optional, but practical if you use a lot of bottles).
7. For the awakening …
Your newborn will spend a lot of time sleeping and eating, but the weeks go by quickly … You may already consider buying the following items:
- An awakening mat.
- Bath toys.
No need to spend a fortune. Your baby does not need much, he especially needs you! But sometimes, a different sound will attract his attention, avoid some crying and facilitate, among other things, the bath time, diaper changes or the moment you put it in his car seat!
Frequently Asked Questions
1. How much do newborn babies sleep?
It can be difficult for newborns to understand their schedule. On average, newborns sleep eight to nine hours during the day. They might sleep an additional eight hours at night. They may not sleep for the same amount of time.
Also, newborns have small stomachs. They will need to be up approximately every three hours until they reach 3 months. They’ll be able go longer between feeds once they get older.
Starting at 4 months, some babies can sleep through the night. Some babies won’t be able to sleep through the night for several months. You can trust your pediatrician to let you know how often your baby will need to be fed as they grow.
2. Is it okay for a baby to sleep in your bedroom?
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), babies should be able to share a room or stay in their parents’ bedrooms for at least 6 months of their lives.
They should sleep in their own cribs, bassinets, or other space. This could help to prevent sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). Your baby will also be closer to you, making it easier for you to comfort and feed them.
AAP recommends that you avoid sharing a bed with your baby, as it can increase the risk of SIDS and injury.
Also, your baby should sleep on their back. This is the most comfortable position for them. Avoid crib bumpers, pillows, and blankets. To keep your baby warm at night, you can use sleep sacks, swaddles and pajamas instead.
3. What are the differences between Soy-based formulas vs milk-based formulas?
Infants require iron from milk-based formulas. Soy-based formulas can be used for parents who don’t want their baby to eat animal protein, or infants with lactose allergies. They are still iron-fortified. Hypoallergenic or specialized formulas are available for babies who have a lactose allergy.
4. How often should I bathe the baby?
Your newborn can be sponge-bathing until the umbilical cord stump is removed. They don’t get much dirt in the first few weeks. It’s up to the parents to decide how often they want to bathe their children, but Dr. Sears, a parenting expert, recommends two to three times per week.
5. How do I bathe my baby in the shower?
Keep baby warm, especially if he is partially submerged. Keep in mind that infants can be slippery when they are wet so make sure to have something to grip on your baby’s hands (or a towel) in case you have to grab him quickly. You only need to clean the areas that are most grimy and sweaty in the first months. According to Dr. Sears, think back, between their toes and under their armpits.
6. How to feed a newborn?
Breastfeeding babies for the first two-to four days of their lives will require that they are fed every two hours or more, depending on when they are hungry.
Although it might not appear like your baby is eating as much milk comes in, the colostrum that you produce right after delivery is enough for them.
Your milk supply will be replaced by transitional milk for two weeks. Then your mature milk supply will start to come in.
Formula-fed newborns require 2 to 3 ounces (60 mL to 90 mL) per feeding after the first few days. For the first few weeks, they will need to be fed every 3-4 hours.
If your baby sleeps for more than four to five hours during the first two weeks, it is possible to have to wake them up.
Both formula- and breastfed babies need to eat up to 4 ounces (120mL) each feeding at around 1 month. Formula-fed babies will eat approximately every four hours at this stage. Breastfed babies may eat every four hours but others will eat more frequently.
7. How to determine if your baby has a serious illness?
Sometimes it can be hard to know when your baby is seriously ill. It is important to trust your instincts.
You are the best person to know your baby’s needs and concerns.
Check to see if your child has a serious illness. For a list of symptoms “red alert”, which should always be considered serious, click here
8. How long should I breastfeed my baby?
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), recommends exclusively breastfeeding for the first six months of a baby’s life. After that, breastfeeding should be combined with complementary foods up to 12 months of age. Breastfeeding can be continued for as long as the mother and baby wish. Breastfeeding is dose-responsive. This means that babies’ health benefits are proportional to how much breast milk they get. This is supported by the health benefits of exclusively breastfed infants compared to infants who are only partially or never breastfed.
Breastfeeding can protect against respiratory diseases, ear infections and gastrointestinal diseases, as well as allergies, asthma, and atopic dermatology. Breastfed infants have a lower rate of SIDS by more than a third, and they are less likely to become obese later in life.
Breastfeeding is one of the best preventive measures a mother could take to ensure her baby’s health.
9. What does it take for babies to learn?
Babies learn through exploring their environment. This includes seeing, hearing and touching, as well as (sometimes grossly) tasting. Babies learn by being exposed to new things as well as from repeating experiences with things they have seen before. Babies learn to anticipate what is coming next by seeing the same thing over and over again. They form expectations about their caregivers. These expectations are the foundation for early relationships between babies, their caregivers, and it is this foundation that helps babies learn and thrive.
It’s about finding the right balance. Because it’s new, babies will be more interested in interacting with different things. Babies can be confused if they don’t know what is coming next.
Routines of caregiving are crucial because they provide your baby with a solid foundation to help them see the world. They will do the learning on their own. The caregiver is responsible for laying the foundation.
10. When is the best time to take my baby to see a doctor?
Your baby should be checked by a health care provider within 48-72 hours after you leave the hospital. If your baby is not well, you can call the hospital immediately.
Preterm babies will need to be followed up with their health care team. They will make sure that you are aware of the signs and symptoms early warning signs.
Your first visit to your doctor will include:
If your baby was not weighed in the hospital, you can measure their head circumference and length.
* Look out for signs of jaundice.
* Make sure to check how your baby is eating.
* Have a physical exam.
Ask the family how they are adjusting to having a new baby.
* Perform any screening tests that are not performed at the hospital.
You don’t need to see your regular paediatrician, family doctor or for this exam. You can have the exam done by your doctor, the midwife, or a public nurse at the hospital where the birth took place. It could be done at home, in an office, or in a hospital clinic. Your baby will not see their regular doctor during this visit.
The list is long new things to get. Indeed, the arrival of a newborn completely transforms our home and our habits. Many will say that all that is expensive! And they are not necessarily wrong. You can get lost in spending to infinity. However, keep in mind that there is always someone in your entourage who ends his “baby” phase, because this period is only temporary! It’s hard to believe at first, but yes, it goes, and incredibly fast indeed!
So, do not hesitate to accept what your friends and family have to offer or buy used equipment. Of course, under no circumstances, skimp on safety. You must be particularly vigilant when it comes to the crib and car seat. But for clothes and toys, the whole thing will probably fit.
Of course, you can indulge yourself, buying a little fashionable set, or the latest gadget, but do not forget that your baby only needs the essentials!