Babies bring a lot of joy to new parents – and a lot of gear into their homes. With so many products on the market – from bibs to high-tech baby monitors – you may be wondering what you really need to care for your little one.
Here’s a checklist of the most essential items. Keep this list on hand when shopping or filling out your baby shower registry:
For the Hospital or Birthing Center:
__ Newborn-size diapers
__ Weather-appropriate outfit (for traveling home): T-shirt with snaps at the diaper area, warm baby sacque or gown, booties. Note: Your birthing facility may provide a T-shirt, hat and thin blanket, as well.
__ Infant car seat (required if you’ll be bringing your baby home in a motor vehicle). This can double as a baby carrier for transporting your newborn in various situations at home and on the move.
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends the following items for your infant’s layette set – with suggestions that you buy clothing that is slightly larger than newborn size, flame-retardant, with snaps at the crotch for diaper changes, and without ties or cords:
__ 3 or 4 pajama sets (with feet)
__ 6 to 8 T-shirts
__ 3 newborn-size gowns (that draw together at the feet)
__ 2 sweaters
__ 2 bonnets or hats
__ 4 pairs of socks or booties
__ 4 to 6 receiving blankets
__ 1 set baby washcloths and towels (including towels with hoods)
__ 3 to 4 dozen newborn-size diapers
__ 3 to 4 T-shirts with snaps at the diaper area
Skin and Body Care:
__ Baby wipes (to clean diaper area)
__ Diaper rash cream
__ Changing table and changing mat (for when you’re away from the changing table)
__ Diaper pail
__ Baby-size nail clippers
__ Rubbing alcohol and Q-tips for umbilical cord care
__ Baby-size bathing tub (Or, you could bathe the baby in a large kitchen sink or in the bathtub when you’re in there too.)
__ Baby bottles and infant formula, if you are not exclusively breastfeeding.
SAFETY NOTE: Look for glass bottles or plastic bottles that are “phthalate-free,” since this chemical used to make plastic bottles has prompted concerns that it may be leaching into the beverage and harming children. Environmentalists have also raised an alarm about the Bisphenol-A (BPA) used in making plastic baby bottles, but BPA-free plastic bottles are not yet available (as of press time).
__ Bassinet or crib
__ 2 to 3 fitted crib sheets
__ Baby monitor (the most basic audio monitor allows you to listen as your baby sleeps in another room; the latest high-tech versions allow for video monitoring, as well)
__ Light blanket for swaddling or an infant swaddler/sleeping bag
SAFETY NOTE: Refrain from using crib bumpers, pillows and other fluffy items that can pose a suffocation hazard.
You May Also Want …
__ Baby carrier (such as your infant car seat with a frame base, or a baby sling)
__ Baby carriage
__ Nursing bras and breast pump (if you’re breastfeeding and need to store breast milk)
__ Rocking chair
__ Indoor baby swing or vibrating baby seat
__ High chair (for when the baby is sitting up on his own and starting solid food)
In the Nursery
Beyond the crib, changing table and diaper pail, the following nursery items are also useful:
__ Vaporizer (for when your baby has a cold and trouble breathing)
__ A toy box or shelves
__ Mobiles or a mirror (hung in the baby’s line of sight for amusement, but out of reach for safety reasons)