Between the gear, the clothing, the toys, the diapers and the MANY other things you will need to do to prepare before having a baby, there are a few essential items that we suggest you have ready for those first weeks at home. You won’t need that trendy jogging stroller yet or even a high chair or baby jumper, but there are a few must-haves that you and your baby will not be able to live without. Read on for our master list of the top 10 things you need for baby in the first two weeks.
1) Diapers & Wipes: Whether you choose to cloth diaper or go with disposables, your new little bundle of joy will likely go through approximately 8-10 diapers per day. Most babies will comfortably fit in the newborn size but it doesn’t hurt to have some size 1’s on hand as well in case your little one is not so little. You will also need a good supply of wipes on deck for the messy ones.
2) Clothes: You’ve probably been gifted a number of cute baby outfits and accessories by friends and family but you won’t necessarily be reaching for those in the early days. The key to dressing your newborn is making sure that the clothes are comfortable and temperature appropriate. The most handy wardrobe items for the first two weeks are:
- lightweight cotton nightgowns and sleepers
- cotton mittens to prevent scratching
- short sleeve and long sleeve onesies
- newborn cotton caps
- and kimono style button-up t-shirts.
If your baby is born in the winter and you live in a cold climate like Minnesota, you’ll want to also have some knit sweaters and hats and maybe even a warm newborn bunting for transferring from the car to the house. A good rule of thumb is to dress baby in one more layer than you would need for yourself to be comfortable.
3) Car seat: You won’t make it far when leaving the hospital or birthing center without a properly installed, rear-facing, infant car seat. Only purchase a car seat that meets all current safety standards and visit your local fire department for training on how to properly install it. Check out Parents Central, a government website designed specifically to educate parents on car safety for infants and children.
4) A place for baby to sleep: The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that babies sleep in the same room as their parents for at least the first six months. This, in addition to breastfeeding, back-sleeping and current immunizations, is associated with a reduced risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. Whether you choose to use a bassinet, crib, or cosleeper, ensure that baby’s sleeping space is free of blankets, pillows and other suffocation hazards. A firm mattress or pad with a tightly fitted sheet is all that is necessary for the inside of baby’s sleeping space. Also, try sleeping with your baby, skin-to-skin contact is proven to be very beneficial for you and baby.
5) Nursing pillow: You may be wondering why we are including this as a necessity, but as moms ourselves, we can say with certainty that a nursing pillow is a must-have. Not only do they make breastfeeding more comfortable for mom and baby, they also help baby achieve a proper latch by bringing him closer to your body and breast. Later in your little one’s life, your nursing pillow can also double as support for learning to sit and a prop for tummy time. This may be considered a luxury more than a need, but it is well worth the investment in our opinion.
6) Bottles and Formula: If you are unable or choose not to breastfeed, you will want to be sure to have plenty of bottles and a good supply of formula on hand. There are many choices of different brands and types of bottles, but be sure to choose ones that are BPA free and have a slow flow nipple for your newborn. Nipples with a large base most closely mimic mom’s breast making them an ideal choice if you choose to do both bottle and breastfeeding. Formula comes in several forms to choose from including ready-to-use, liquid concentrate and powder. There are also different types of formula such as cows-milk-based, lactose-free and soy-based. It may take some trial and error to determine which option is the best fit for your baby’s digestive system.
7) Breast pump: Though you may not plan on pumping for bottles for several weeks or months, it is a good idea to have you breast pump on hand in case your doctor or lactation consultant would like you to supplement your baby’s intake. Often babies will lose 10 or more percent of their birth weight initially and may require supplementation to gain it back via extra breastmilk or formula. Most insurance companies nowadays will subsidize all or at least part of the cost of your breast pump. Call yours while you are pregnant to find out what is included in your coverage.
8) Swaddle blankets: During the early days and months, babies love to feel snug, safe and secure like they were in mom’s uterus. Swaddling is a great way to calm a crying baby and send them into sweet slumber. Thin muslin blankets are best for swaddling your infant in the beginning, but sleep sacks and other wearable swaddle blankets are great also as your baby gets older and more skilled at escaping the swaddle.
9) Grooming and care supplies: Supplies that you will want to have on hand when baby first arrives include diaper cream, burp cloths, wash cloths for sponge bathing, a thermometer, nail clippers and hand sanitizer for you and your adoring guests. The list goes on but these items should get you through the first couple weeks.
10) A soft carrier: Babies love to be held and research shows that being snuggled up to mom has health and emotional benefits for you both. You may find at some point though that you need your hands to do something and won’t always be able to hold your baby. Consider getting a soft carrier such as a sling or wrap to carry baby in while you move about your home. There are many varieties of baby carriers and some are more appropriate for newborns than others. Do your research to see what you like and consider borrowing different types from friends to see what works best for you and your baby. For more on the benefits of baby wearing, read Eight Reasons to Wear Your Baby.
Creating a baby registry while you are pregnant is a great way to help your friends and family know what you need and also hopefully help offset the cost of preparing for your little one’s arrival. While there are likely many more things that you will want to get for your baby, the items on the list above highlight the essentials that you will need during those first weeks home. To learn more about preparing for bringing baby home and any and all other birthing related topics, contact Health Foundations to speak to a midwife and schedule a tour of the Birthing Center. Happy baby prepping!