At the time of writing this I have 3 children aged 10, 6 & 2 with another one due Oct 2006. I am also a qualified nursery nurse & childminder. This guide is based on & around the items I have prepared for the arrival of my new daughter. For first time mums this can be daunting so I hope this helps.
The following is a list of clothing you will need in the first few weeks:
- Sleepsuits - Most guides will tell you that you only need a few. From my experience I would say you need at least 6. I can remember one day when my eldest daughter got through 13 sleepsuits in one day! My figure of 6 is based on you having a washing machine & drying facilities.
- Vests - I would suggest the same amount for vests
- Clothes - 4 mix & match outfits - This all depends on your personal tastes of course.
- Socks/tights - The amount depends on wether you intend to use them under sleepsuits. I have got a pack of 5 pairs of socks & two pairs of tights.
- Hat - Really you only need one of these but a spare would never hurt. The hospitals often suggest that you bring a hat in with you as it can be cold in corridors etc.
- Coat - I find the best kind is an all in one zip up ski-suit type. These can be especially useful in the early weeks as you can always tuck the coat around baby if they have fallen asleep.
- Scratch Mitts - To be honest I wouldnt waste your money. Not one of my babies have managed to keep them on for more than 10 seconds.
- Shoes - Optional but I love them coz they are sooooooooo cute & tiny! I have 5 pairs but I bought them from eBay at a fraction of their original prices.
- Bibs - Again optional but I would always advise tucking one under babies chin in order to catch the dribbles. Dribbled milk can cause staining to the neck of sleepsuits especially if your baby is on soya milk.
These are the most expensive items so make sure you shop around for a good deal. Buying second hand is always a good idea but never a car seat. If a car seat has been in an accident it may no longer be safe to use. I would also advise replacing the matress on a second hand cot.
- Cot/Cot bed - Once you have made your purchase you will also need at least two of the following: Blanket, sheet & a fitted cot sheet. If you would prefer you can now buy special sleeping bags for babies. The verdict is out on cot bumpers. Some people swear by them but others feel they can cause problems. I personally have never used cot bumpers for any of my children.
- Car Seat - Make sure the seat is the right stage for your baby. Practice fitting the seat in your car so you are familiar with it when you come to use it. As mentioned before never buy a car seat second hand as it may be unsafe!
- Buggy - Make sure you choose a buggy that is suitable for baby & you. If you can push the buggy around the shop & try opening it & folding it up. You & the buggy are gonna be fast buddies for awhile. Ideally you want one you can open with one hand & foot. You'll know why once your baby is born!
- Others - Strictly speaking all other large items are not essential for tiny babies but you may like to buy early or use things such as a baby carrier. I had one for my first baby but I found having her strapped to my front a little awkward.
Toiletries & Feeding
Well thought I would put these things together as they are related! Eeek!
- Bottles - You will need at least 6 bottles. The type you buy is obviously your choice but I would always recommend silicon teats over latex. My prefered teat is made by NUK. They are anti-colic & they work! If you are breastfeeding you may want to buy some bottles so you can express.
- Sterilizer - There are many types on the market but I have found the best type for me is STEAM. I originally had a cold water sterilizer but it was time consuming & annoying. I must admit I have not used microwave. Always give a baby under six months sterilized bottles.
- Milk Powder - Even if you are breastfeeding I would suggest that you buy a ready made mix for emergency. If you reach the end of your tether it will be in the night which can make buying some difficult. My prefered make is Cow & Gate. However two of my children were lactose intolerant for the first few weeks (quite common) & so they had to have soya milk. I chose the SMA brand called WYSOY.
- Dummies - Your choice completely. But if you do use one I would suggest silicone over latex. Once again NUK do a good range.
- Changing Mat - Optional but keeps mess in one place & can save carpets.
- Nappies - If you are using traditional nappies you will need at least 12, pins, liners & a bucket to keep them in when soiled. I would suggest you keep a pack of disposables handy just in case.
- Wipes/Cream - If you choose to use wipes then my recommendation is JOHNSONS as they are not to wet & are impregnated with baby lotion. For bum cream I use SUDOCREM. You can usually but small packs/tubs of these items so try out a few to see which is best for you & your baby.
- Nappy Sacks/Wrapper - A wrapper can be expensive but you can get the same results by buying a small lidded bin & using fragranced nappy sacks.
- Bath/Bath Essentials - The best bath I have found by far is one made by MOTHERCARE. It fits on the bath making it a lot easier for washing & draining. You will also need a towel, cotton wool, shampoo & bubble bath (optional but smells lovely). Soap my not be needed in the earliest days but if you do want to use it I would recommend either a special wash for babies or a mild liquid soap. To be honest in the very earliest days you can just wash the baby in the sink but I prefer to use a bath.
Strictly speaking these items are not essential but I wouldnt be without then form day one.
- Cot mobile - There are loads out there but I prefer the types which have a remote rather than wind up. I would recommend TINY LOVE or EARLY LEARNING CENTRE for the remote types.
- Cot Activity Centre - This gives baby something to look at & reach for helping to develop their vision & motor skills.
- Play-Gym - A fab item which babies seem to love. There are loads out there so get looking.
- Rattles - Good to help baby with hand-eye co-ordination.
- Monitor - Good to keep your mind at rest when baby is asleep in another room. There are many many types so make sure you shop around for the one that suits you best
- Changing Bag - These are useful items but to be honest a ruck sack & a travel change mat do the same job!
Well thats about all I can think of at the mo....if I think of anymore I will update this guide. I'm suffering from pregnancy brains at the moment so I've probably forgotten something major. If this is the case, sorry! If you have read this guide & have found it interesting please make sure you vote for it.