Sure, you’re happy about expecting a brand-new baby, but you might be feeling utterly stressed out, as well. Don’t worry, new Mommy or Daddy. It’s totally natural to feel a combination of joy and anxiety at this wonderful time. In the interest of less stress for all concerned, we’re pleased to present a few savvy tips about how to cope with baby-proofing and other preparations in anticipation of your joyous occasion.
What a newborn really needs
Like it or not, there’s no getting around the fact that your newborn will need diapers. Lots and lots of diapers. Whether you opt for easy disposables or choose to use ecologically optimal cloth diapers, stock up on plenty before baby is due. A one-week-old baby produces around four soiled and six wet diapers daily, notes WebMD. Do the math, and you’ll see why it’s a brilliant idea to load up on cloth or disposable diapers now.
You’ll also want to get a diaper pail with a snug-fitting top as well as a diaper bag with ample room for fresh diapers, bottom cream, baby wipes, a plastic bag for stowing away used diapers, and a change of clothes for baby.
Equip your medicine cabinet with a few essentials. If your little one gets the sniffles or develops a slight fever, you won’t have to run out in the middle of the night to try to find a drugstore that’s open. Get a digital thermometer. Newborns can’t hold a glass thermometer under their tongue, so go ahead and obtain a thermometer that’s suitable for rectal use. Tape-style thermometers that stick on baby’s forehead are also available, but typically not as accurate as a rectal or axial armpit thermometers. A nasal aspirator is handy for clearing stuffy noses. Baby aspirin or acetaminophen may be added to the cabinet, but don’t ever give medicine to a baby until speaking with your pediatrician.
It’s as natural as anything to sit in a rocking chair and cuddle your sweet-smelling newborn for a nap in your arms. They will, however, need a dedicated sleeping space of their own. A bedside bassinet is convenient for the first weeks after baby comes home, but you’ll want to have a crib in place, as well. Don’t go overboard when it comes to outfitting your baby bed. A couple of fitted crib sheets, a pair of waterproof mattress protectors, and a selection of pretty monogrammed blankets are all your baby really needs, advises Parents magazine. To reduce the risk of suffocation, don’t put your newborn to sleep in a crib filled with pillows and stuffed animals. If you wish to dress up the space, hang a black-and-white mobile above the crib. Be sure to suspend the mobile well out of reach of your baby, recommends Parenting magazine.
Feeding time with baby
If you plan to breastfeed, you won’t need to buy a bunch of baby bottles and formula. In fact, if you wish to successfully breastfeed, you might want to decline the formula samples offered at the hospital where you deliver. Buy a dozen cloth diapers. They make excellent burp cloths for the inevitable feeding time spit-up.
Bottle-fed babies require a few more accessories. You’ll want a dozen bottles and at least as many bottle nipples. A bottle brush and a drying rack should be on your pre-delivery shopping list, too. An insulated carrier will let you take a bottle of formula with you during short family excursions.
Baby-proofing room by room
You won’t have to completely baby-proof your home until your little one starts crawling, but it’s a good idea to start now. Install plastic plugs into exposed electrical outlets. Put door latches on low cabinets to prevent your future crawler from getting into cleaning products and other safety hazards.
In the bathroom, be sure the water temperature never exceeds 120 degrees. In the kitchen, place dial covers on stove and oven knobs. Get in the habit of turning pot and pan handles toward the back of the stove. If you have stairs in your home, install safety gates at the top and bottom of the staircase.
If you’ve never lived with a baby before, there’s a lot you’ll need to learn before the arrival of your newborn. Fortunately, most of the tasks involved in priming your home for a baby are simple, inexpensive, and logical. Parents have been preparing for new arrivals and baby-proofing homes for centuries. You can do it, too.
Ben Shah became a Father 6 months ago and well remembers the panic he felt on suddenly being expected to raise this tiny person into a happy, healthy adult! He writes about parenting topics, both the practical as well as the emotional side.