Attending to Your Baby's Needs
you have made the major purchases, you
can start to attend to your baby's more
personal needs and do some advance
Before you rush out to buy lots of baby
clothes, a roomful of toys, and several
packs of diapers, ask friends and family
if they have any baby clothes or toys
they can pass on to you, and which
diapers they recommend. Now is also the
time to think about how you want to feed
You will need a solid crib. Almost
every crib today is adjustable to two
levels. One level is higher for the
infant, you do not have to bend down to
put the child to bed. The other level is
lower for the older baby who can sit or
stand up, you do not want them flipping
over the edge. Bassinets are a waste of
money. Most babies only fit in them for
a few months at the most.
Worth its weight in gold! Get a
swing with a good sturdy bottom. You
have no idea how tiring it can be
rocking and moving with an infant all
day and night long. The swing gives you
a much needed break.
the last few years, parents have
switched to disposable diapers in a big
way. Although disposables are expensive,
they are easy to use, fit well, and do
not involve time - and energy -
consuming washing and drying. Cloth
diapers cost less, even after taking
into account the costs of washing and
drying, liners, plastic pants, and pins.
And one baby is unlikely to wear them
out, so you can use them for a second
child. Using a diaper service - a
company that takes away dirty diapers,
washes and dries them, and delivers them
to your home - costs about the same as
Apart from their laundering
requirements, cloth diapers are
environment - friendly. Disposables use
up resources at every stage. And,
despite their name, they are difficult
to dispose of. So far, there is no way
to recycle them.
An alternative is reusable diapers.
These shaped cloth diapers are used with
liners, as normal cloth diapers are. But
their shape and availability in several
sizes give them almost as good a fit as,
and the comfort of, a disposable. Some
parents use cloth diapers most of the
time, disposables or reusable when
traveling or on vacation.
Babies can be cleaned with cotton dipped
to kill any bacteria, then cooled, but
packaged wipes are convenient,
especially when you are traveling.
barrier cream may be useful, but most
professionals do not recommend baby
powder because the fine particles can
breathing problems in some babies.
your baby's clothing simple and designed
for easy diaper changing (front
fastenings, wide necklines, and snaps up
the insides of the legs, for
Avoid anything with
drawstrings or lace in which small
fingers could become trapped.
only a few first-size items.
The following basics will see your baby
through the first three months and
prevent the need to wash a load of baby
clothes more often than every other day
or so: five all-in-one stretch suits;
five undershirts; three cardigans or
jackets; a receiving blanket; a warm hat
for a winter baby, a sunhat for a summer
baby. Make sure that everything you buy
is machine washable and dryable, and
Baby clothing is outgrown before it's
outworn, and good-quality clothing can
be passed on to several babies before it
starts to look shabby. Remember: the
most unexpected people may send or give
you baby clothes.
Feeding your baby
requires no equipment, although you may
find breast pads useful. If you want to
express milk - a skill that allows you
to take a few hours off from the baby -
you'll need a pump and bottles with
nipples. If you plan to return to work,
an electric breast pump may be useful.
You can rent or buy one. A sterilizer is
not vital for the odd bottle - just boil
it in water for 10 minutes - but you
will need a bottle brush to be sure that
you have removed all traces of old milk.
you are going to bottle-feed, you will
need half a dozen bottles with nipples,
plus sterilizing equipment. Some
professionals argue that the high
temperature of the water and air-drying
in a dishwasher make sterilizing
unnecessary. If you plan to put bottles
in the dishwasher, check that they and
their nipples are dishwasher-safe.
You don't have to buy a high chair until
later, when your baby will start eating
solid foods. Still, it's worth budgeting
for one now.
new baby does not need many toys, but
she will like one or two small ones -
she will not be able to focus on
anything large - that become familiar
from the start.
Check that toys conform to safety
standards and are suitable for a
newborn. Anything with sharp edges or
small, detachable pieces is a hazard.
must for every baby and required by law
in all states. They have a variety of
them now. Check Consumer Reports for the
best and safest seats.
You may feel an almost physical "nesting
instinct" in these last few weeks, an
urge to make your home just right and
comfortable for your baby.
If you feel a
surge or energy as the birth draws near,
use it profitably to complete any light
household repairs or garden tasks you've
been meaning to do "when you get around
Plan to do as much housework ahead of
time as you can, to cover the two weeks
or so following the birth.
pleased at the extra time this gives you
to spend with your baby, and you'll
appreciate the chance to catch up on
rest and sleep, as the baby allows.
well is as important after the birth
as it was before, but you may have less
time to cook and be too tired to do so.
Cook in bulk now and stock the freezer
with meals you need only to heat and
Stock up on pantry items (pasta,
legumes, grains) and household supplies.
about safety while you still have time
to do something about it.
You may never
need them, but it's worth learning
infant cardiopulmonary resuscitation
Ask your prenatal teacher or
doctor for advice on where to go. Some
hospitals offer courses, and instruction
videos are available.
measures second nature before the baby
Run the cold water into the
bath first, then add hot.
thermostat down a couple of
Shield fires and
Remove scatter rugs and fix
any loose carpets, particularly on
Fit locks on cupboards
containing medicines or chemicals.
Dated 28 February 2013