Baby Essentials - A Guide For First Time Mums
Are you a first time expectant mum wandering around the shops wondering do I really need that, or what is all this used for? If you answer yes to this question then you may find the following article useful.
I can remember during my first pregnancy looking at items in the baby section wondering if all these bits and pieces were really necessary, and wondered what half of them were used for. I was often confused and would buy things 'just in case'. After the birth of my daughter I soon found that some of these items I definitely didn't need, and then there were others I just couldn't live without. I have put together a list of items that I personally feel are baby essentials and try to give you some insight into what and why you may be in need of them.
Essentials for baby
Bunny rugs/ muslin wraps - These are used to wrap your baby in. Newborn babies usually like to be wrapped snugly as it gives them the secure feeling they had in the womb. The difference is that Bunny rugs are for cool weather and muslin wraps are for warm weather, so the time of year your baby is due will determine which you will require. Recommend 8-12 of which ever you require.
Baby towels - You can just use normal ones but baby towels are often smaller, lighter and softer. Recommend at least 3.
Cot sheets - Fitted are best to prevent loosening as baby will move around a lot as it gets older. Recommend 3 sets.
If you are using a cradle or bassinet to start with you will need special sheets to fit these. You can get away with just 2 sets as babies are only in them for a short time (6-10weeks) and if you run into trouble you can always use a bunny rug!
Mattress protectors - Recommend 2-3.
Baby blankets - I don't use any baby bedding (blankets, top sheet ect) in the cot. Initially I wrapped baby in their bunny rug/muslin wrap and once they got to big I used baby sleeping bags or sleepsuits. Babies tend to kick blankets off , I found myself worrying they would wiggle under the loosened blankets, at the same time I worried baby would be too cold. Once I discovered baby sleeping bag/suits I never looked back. These types of suits go over the top of their normal sleeping outfits and allow baby freedom to kick and move about. SIDS bedding guidelines state that sleeping bags/suits are a safe bedding alternative as long as individual bags/suits meet the following safety standards - neck and armholes should be fitted so that there is no chance of baby slipping inside the bag and it should not contain a hood. Baby sleeping conditions are not something to be taken lightly. I highly recommend that prior to making any decision in relation to how you will sleep your baby that you visit safe sleeping at the sids and kids website. This way you can make an informed decision on what will best suit your individual situation.
Baby nail clippers/scissors - Baby nails grow really quick and are sharp, often causing them to scratch themselves.
Baby cotton buds - Used for cleaning outer ear, nose and belly buttons!! Look for the ones that are specially designed to prevent you from accidentally going in too far.
Baby moisturiser - Babies often get a bit scaly in their first few weeks while their skin is adjusting to the outside world.
Nappy bag - A good quality nappy bag will have separate compartments to put your different bits and pieces in such as bottles, wipes, clothes ect.Look for one with a change mat attached as you will find this useful.
A gentle baby soap - I recommend Johnson's milk bath you just squirt it in the water, no need to juggle baby and soap.
Baby wipes - excellent for cleaning face, hands and bottoms, I'd be lost with out them. I recommend Huggies, you can get a refillable travel pack for the nappy bag and a clip top container for home. You can get cheaper brands but they are often thinner and harder to dispense.
Nappy rash cream - I use one called Sudocrem. I found it very effective and although it is a little more expensive then some of the others creams you will see, you tend to use less.
Bibs - Bibs aren't really necessary unless you are bottle feeding, or until baby starts on solids. Look for bibs that either slip straight over baby's head or have velcro fasteners. I found soft plastic back bibs protected clothing better. Try to avoid bibs that require you to tie them, these can be difficult to manage when you have one hand holding the baby. Once baby is older using full plastic bibs while they are eating can save you a lot of washing.
Cloth nappies - whether or not your are going to use disposable nappies you will still need some cloth nappies, they come in handy for cleaning up and protecting yourself from baby vomit and placing under baby when you have nappy leaks! 12 should suffice if you are going to use disposables. Of course if you are not using disposables you are going to need a lot more, approximately 24-36 in total. Please note that I didn't use cloth nappies, I used disposables so if you intend on using cloth nappies then their maybe some extra things you need in relation to them - snappies or pins, nappy liners and possibly plastic pants or fluffies.
Nappy bucket - If you are using cloth nappies you will probably need 2, one for the nappies, another for clothes/bibs ect. For those that are using disposables one will suffice (or some sort of bucket) for soaking clothes ect. For soaking the clothes you will need something like napisan. Lux flakes are also good for general washing of baby clothes as initially their skin can be sensitive.
The following items you may not want straight away but are something to think about:
A thermometer - If you think baby might be a bit 'off colour' it can help put your mind at rest. I eventually bought a tympanic one as I grew tired of trying to keep baby still while the thermometer was under their arm. The advantage of a tympanic thermometer is you use their ear and it only takes a couple of seconds to register, the problem is they are expensive.
Bottles - It does pay to have one or two bottles even if you plan to breastfeed, just in case you need to be away from baby for some reason or you just need a break. You will also need a couple of newborn teats, a bottle brush and some sterilising equipment. Microwave sterilisers are very effective and are not expensive. If for some reason you are unable to breastfeed or you plan to wean baby in the first year you will need more bottles, approximately 8.
Breast pump - This will totally depend on your situation. If you are going back to work early but want to continue to breast feed an electric pump would be of benefit. You can hire these from some hospitals and pharmacies if your budget is tight. If you only want to express milk for the rare occasion then a hand pump will be sufficient.
I hope that this article has enlightened you on what products you may require for the upcoming birth of your child. If you feel that there are any items that are definite essentials that are missing from this list feel free to contact me through our website and I will add them.
Please note that I have mentioned brand names throughout the article but I am in no way affiliated with these companies, nor are they products that I sell on my site, I genuinely found them to be worth the money you pay for them.
About the Author
Leisa Sanderson is a mother of two. Owner and operator of Bumps and Bundles - a pregnancy, baby and parenting resource centre and Bumps and Bundles Maternity - Online retailer of Maternity wear, Baby clothes, and Baby gifts.
This article maybe reprinted freely as long as all links remain active and author resource box is included.
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