Friday, 3 June 2011

Baby Preparation List

You don't have to buy the department store, love and patience are more important than co-ordinating nursery furniture! This is just a handy check list and in some points a reality check that not everything is necessary and what you do buy can often be staged over a few months and salary cheques.

For the Hospital
Hospital Bag - For Labour
V.IMPORTANT - Antenatal notes
Nightdress or large T-shirt for delivery
Snacks and drinks
Magazines / books / CDs / MP3 (check what facilities the hospital has, often they have CD players)
Dressing gown and slippers
Money and change for parking(if driving)
Birth plan if you have made one. Here is a template for the  NHS Birth Planner (I chat about birth plans in Week 31-33 )
Thick socks
TENS machine (often hired to help with pain relief)
Own pillow (I took my own, with a dark colour pillow case, and that little bit of home comfort was bliss)
Lip balm and facial spray
Items for the Ward
Two or three nightdresses or pyjamas – front opening for feeding (I used old big silk shirts and had a sarong, somehow I felt more in control and comfortable than in my bed clothes for during the day)
Disposable or cheap underpants (an ideal way to legitimately throw away any of those old saggy pants)
Maternity pads
One or two towels (brighter colours are easier to identify)
Clothes for going home (maternity wear / unstructured clothes)
V shaped pillow (great for comfort for Mum and as a support for breast feeding)
Nursing bras (I forgot these with the Pickle and never even realised, but for some wearing bras even at night is essential for comfort)
Breast pads (ditto, had these but did not use them until I started properly getting dressed after I got home)
Nipple cream ( I never needed any)
Make-up bag (Great to feel glam, but everyone is focused on the babe)
Arnica tablets/cream/ aromatherapy oils / spray
Anti-bacterial wipes
Phonecard or change for the phone - check to see the hospital's attitude on mobiles
Items for Your Baby
Essential - Before you pack think of the season, in a new Mum's desire to get things right it is easy to ignore the seasons, the Pickle was born in a heatwave so the cardigans I lovingly bought were Oxfamed unworn)
Newborn nappies (even if you opt for washable, as I did, disposables are handy for the first days until you hit your rhythm).
Three vests
Three sleep suits (babygrows with feet)
Muslin squares
Shawl or blanket
Clothes for going home - midwives recommend a hat and cardigan as babies feel the cold more than us Mums
Cotton wool 
Warm jacket or all-in-one if cold weather

Home Preparation List
Baby Clothes Essential
At least six short-sleeved vests (bodysuits) with poppers between the legs
At least six sleepsuits (babygrows)
Bootees or socks (don't spend much on these as they are the first thing to be lost - you can always get SockOns* to keep them on)
More muslins - (I have mentioned them above, but they are VERY handy!)
Weather dependent
Two or three cardigans
At least two hats (generally recommended)
One all-in-one or warm jacket for going outside in winter
Mittens (some are scratchers - but even then keeping the mittens on is no small task, instead some babygrows have mittens that fold out from the sleeves if this is an issue)
Bibs (on all 'The Lists' but the Pickle never dribbled and was rarely sick)
A range of cute outfits
* SockOns - they are a funny accessory to keep socks on, either Google them or you can buy them from my commercial website)

Bathing Essentials Newborn
Two small bath towels
Two hand towels
Clean bowls / Tupperware for 'topping and tailing' (you can choose to buy special top and tail bowls - but I am not sure why you would)
Baby towels with hoods - cute, yes, essential, no.
Suitable Oil (olive oil is good but  there are a range of baby oils, which can also be used for baby massage if you remember to do a patch test to check for allergies)
Surgical spirit / rubbing alcohol for caring for your baby's umbilical stump (check to see up to date advice, most midwives recommend just keeping dry and washing with water only if necessary)
Baby Bathing Essentials - After first few weeks
Baby soap or liquid wash
Moisturizing cream or lotion
Baby powder (bought but never used)
Two sponges/ soft flannels
Shampoo (many young babies have no hair)
A soft hairbrush
Baby nail scissors with rounded tips (some midwives recommend biting the nails short)
Bath thermometer (for generations using an elbow to test the water worked fine)
Waterproof bathing apron (can be very useful, but somehow I did without)
Baby bath and stand (they are not essential and can be bulking and a pain to store in small bathroom so when the basin worked well for me I was delighted)

Changing / Nappy List
Changing mat (or a suitable towel / blanket)
Cotton wool
Newborn nappies (disposable or washable)
Barrier cream for baby’s bottom
Disposable or washable baby wipes (use from 2 weeks onwards, prior to that use water and cotton wool)
Nappy bin or nappy wrapper (After buying a special nappy bin I realised how dim I was and soon replaced it with a pedal bin, which is much easier if you have your hands full, they also come in a decent range of designs)
Changing unit with safety strap (the ones that fit over the cot can be a nightmare with boys - as an ill timed effort can drench the cot. Instead think about a height that will be good for your back)
Changing mat liners  - either disposable or washable
If you are opting for washable nappies here is a great source of advice on washable nappies

Baby Bedding Essentials
Drop-side cot and new mattress (if you have a big baby he/ she may have outgrown her basket by six weeks. New mattresses are recommended except for siblings)
Bedding for the drop-side cot: four fitted sheets
Room temperature gauge  - see Bedtime basics from FSID (The Foundation for the Study of Infant Deaths) 
Dummy - see FSID bedtime basics above so maybe this should be on the essentials list, but I never been able to get enthusiastic about dummies so doubt I will be using one with Beanie either.
Moses basket/crib and mattress
Bedding for the Moses basket: at least four fitted sheets
Sheets and blankets for both the crib / cot - (Are you going to use sleeping bags? If so the need for top sheets and blankets may be limited)
Sleeping bags - some have poppers under the arm so are suitable from a younger age.
Muslin squares (place under baby’s head to catch any milk he/she  brings up)
For swaddling you can opt for: shawls / extra large muslins / specially designed swaddling outfits (there has been limited research on the safety of swaddling read the FSID site for more details)
Baby monitor

Feeding Essentials
Are you going to breastfeed or bottle feed? I'll chat about this in a later blog. It seems to be quite a loaded issue that can lead to polar opinions. If you can gather the facts, don't believe all the scare stories and hold off buying sterilisers / pumps / bottles until you have a good handle on the situation.

Out and About Essentials
Rear-facing car seat suitable from birth - it is worth getting this fitted for your car
Pram and/or pushchair/travel system suitable from birth - careful this could be your most expensive mistake, start researching but think really hard before buying. I ended up by using a sling most of the time as our travel system was cumbersome. I wish that I had waited until after the birth to discover what I really needed. The only draw back to this is if you need a car seat to get babe back from the hospital it can be cost effective to buy the who set together.
Changing bag - or regular bag that you allocate as a changing bag
Baby sling or carrier (the best bit of kit we had, so I would argue it is essential but not optional)

Toys and Playtime
When buying toys for your baby, check that they are suitable for his/her age and have the appropriate CE safety mark.
Black and white baby books/toys
Musical toys/mobile (while certainly not essential a good mobile with a soft light can be great at bedtime)
Adjustable or bouncy chair (not needed until about 1 month old)
Activity gym
Activity arch for car seat/bouncy chair
Soft toys - check age suitabilityy

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