Preparing to bring a baby home involves extensive preparation. While your home will be abuzz with joy, a new baby will also involve oodles of diaper changes, frequent feedings and extended periods without sleep. Getting organized before your baby arrives is the key to making the first few weeks at home less chaotic. From baby-proofing rooms to gathering baby essentials, there’s much to do before baby comes home.
Baby-Proof the House
Nearly 4.5 million children nationwide are injured each year in their homes, according to Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt. Parents can prevent many household injuries by eliminating dangers around the home. Go room to room to make other necessary adjustments for a safer home.
Use doorknob covers and cabinet locks to prevent children from getting into places deemed unsafe. Install window guards and tie up cords to blinds to avoid common window injuries. Cover all electrical outlets and purchase a fireplace hearth to reduce your child’s risk of shocks and burns. Once babies start to crawl, install gates at the bottom of stairways to prevent falls. Get at a baby’s level on the floor and look around each room to spot furniture or other items that could be potentially dangerous. Babies are also more susceptible to germs, dust and dirt, so make sure the nursery and whole house is kept clean. use a high-powered vacuum, like the Dyson at Macy’s to keep carpets free of allergens and make sure you check your cleaning supplies for kid-safe ingredients.
Set Up the Nursery
Create a comfortable, warm and safe place for your new baby to sleep several months before your due date. While babies can sleep comfortably in a cradle or bassinet for the first few weeks, you’ll eventually need a crib. The U.S. National Library of Medicine recommends a sturdy crib with no more than 2 3/8 inches of space between crib slats to prevent injury. You’ll also want to invest in a comfy rocking chair to sooth baby to sleep and make nighttime feedings cozier. Clothing and toy storage, a baby monitor, and a newborn grooming kit will also come in handy.
Gather Baby Supplies
Purchasing all the essential supplies for your newborn is overwhelming, but having what you need when you need pays off. Babies need both light and warm clothing, preferably several undershirts or onesies, nightgowns, stretchy sleepers, newborn hats, booties or socks, scratch mittens, jacket or snowsuit, and several “dress up” outfits. Babies need several cotton blankets, as well as receiving blankets, which can double as burp cloths. Include many disposable diapers or several dozen reusable diapers, as well as a changing pad, wipes, soft cleaning cloths, and baby ointment.
Breastfeeding mothers may not necessarily need any equipment (unless you plan to pump), but may still want bibs, burp clothes, milk storage containers, a nursing pillow, nursing bras, and breast pads. If you plan to formula feed your baby, you’ll also want bibs and burp clothes, in addition to newborn bottles with nipples, a bottle and nipple brush, and formula. For bath time, newborns can safely bathe in a plastic infant tub or while being held in a sink. Purchase several washcloths, baby soap, and soft-hooded towels. Before bringing baby home, you’ll also need an approved infant safety seat for your vehicle.