There is an endless array of goods and contraptions that can make your life with a bub easier or more complicated. Some items are ‘must haves’ while others are ‘nice to haves’ and can be bought after bub is born. Start collecting essential items at around thirty weeks pregnant as any later and you may find you get too tired or baby will come early and you won’t be prepared.
There are many different sleeping options for your bub which may change after she is born. Firstly, decide if bub is going to sleep in your bedroom and/or in your bed. Sleeping with bub is a secure spot for some bubs and it is not recommended if either parent is obese, smokes or is under the influence of alcohol or drugs. A bed attachment would be a better option in this situation. If bub is going to be sleeping in a bassinette in your room, consider what size will fit best in your bedroom? Ensure the one you choose has a well-fitting, breath-easy mattress.
Sleeping bub in a hammock can be a lovely option in the early weeks but transitioning her into a cot may have its challenges.
If you are starting your bub off in a cot purchase a ‘snuggle-bed’ insert to help her feel more secure in the early months.
A porter cot is great for short term or occasional use but it is not appropriate for muscle development and spinal posture long term.
The bed linen you choose for baby should be 100% natural fibre. Unnatural fibres trap heat, increasing the risk of overheating and possible suffocation or SIDS. A pillow is not required until bub is two years old. Cot rail bumpers are not required until bub is about five months old.
If you are planning to sleep your bub in a separate room to you, you may feel uneasy having them so far away from you. If this is the case, consider purchasing a baby monitor or temporarily bringing the bassinette or cot closer to your room.
Whatever room you choose to sleep bub in, it is important to be able to control the temperature. Fans are great for cooling and air circulation and thermostatically controlled oil heaters are a good option for heating. If you find your bub perspires in the heat, remove the mattress protector as these can trap heat and inhibit airflow from a well-ventilated mattress.
Most bubs after six weeks old settle best and sleep better in a dim environment. Therefore ensure the windows have suitable blinds or curtains.
If you live in an area with mosquitoes purchase a mosquito net to cover the bassinette or cot.
Your bubs nappy changing and dressing area needs to be easily accessible, stable and at a height where your elbows are slightly bent. During the early days after birth, when your ligaments are still soft, you need to avoid bending over or twisting to change bub. If you intend to use a bench, a rubber change mat with raised sides is a comfortable surface to put on top of the bench for changing baby on. Have within easy reach:
- Cotton wool balls
- Cotton tip applicators
- Fresh nappies
- Barrier cream
- Soft non-perfumed wipes
- Soft washers or nappy liners
- Hair brush and comb
- Bath wash
- Baby nail clippers or blunt ended scissors
- Moisturiser and massage oil
Choose a tub that will hold enough water for a deep bath. The shape is not so important.
Organise your bubs clothes according to the climate you live in. Avoid fabrics containing synthetic fibres as these do not breathe and cause bub to overheat.
All-in-one (romper) suits that do up down the front and further down the leg are the easiest to handle. Some days you may need three or more changes of clothes so start with at least six romper suits, six short sleeve body suits or singlets and six long sleeve body suits.
Booties, mittens and beanies will not be necessary unless babies are born preterm or in winter, or you live in a cold climate. Mittens or socks are useful for covering hands to stop sharp finger nails from scratching tender facial skin. Some all-in-one suits have cuffs that fold over the hands.
Buy plenty of nappies as your bub could go through at least 8 – 12 a day when changing her every three to five hours or more often on some days.
Purchase some swaddling wraps made from 100% cotton or bamboo as these are excellent for helping babies establish sleep patterns during the early weeks. You could start with three wraps.
If you plan to breast feed your bub, organise a comfortable straight back chair to sit in while you are feeding. Be wary of comfy looking rocking chairs and lounges as these can encourage poor posture and back pain as well as creating feeding attachment issues. Have available a small foot stool and table for refreshments. Buy some breast pads, maternity sanitary pads, a few good supportive bras and easy to use breast feeding tops. You may need a breast pump, nipple cream, feeding pillow and nipple shields but there is no need to get these unless you require them after baby is born.
If you plan to bottle feed your bub, you will need six wide or narrow neck bottles with storage caps and six teats (not necessarily the ones that come with the bottle), a bottle and teat cleaning brush, jug for boiling water, suitable infant formula, sterilising unit (chemical, microwave, electric, boiling), individual serve containers and insulated carry bag for transporting milk. Some of this equipment will not be required if you choose to purchase individual serve pre-mixed or stick pack formula or you are using expressed breast milk.
Your newborn will need to spend free time lying on a soft rug on the floor each day as well as periods propped up in a bouncer or reclining rocker chair. Mobiles and thin handle toys aren’t needed until after six weeks old when they are ready for more stimulation.
To create safe sun exposure for bub you will need to use an UV protective cover on the stroller and a UV protective shield on the car window.
Strollers and prams are like cars, they can be built for comfort, speed, versatility, newborns or older babies. Before you purchase one, consider what you will be using one for. Will it be used for walking the streets, browsing through a shopping centre, jogging tracks, country paddocks and dirt roads or travelling on and off aeroplanes? It is well worth the extra money to purchase a pram with a handle which changes from a back wheeling position to forward wheeling position. Bub is often four months old before she will settle facing outwards to the world. Ensure the stroller you choose is light weight, easy to fold and fits in your car. The handle height should allow the elbow to have a slight bend.
For safety purposes always use a professional fitter to fit bubs car restraint correctly in your car. In Australia the car restraint you choose should carry an Australian Standards Mark to show it is of acceptable Australian standards. There are many different features and benefits in car restraints so make sure you choose features that are relevant to your travelling needs.
Article written by Jan Murray on behalf of Curash™ Babycare.