THE FIRST THREE MONTHS
The following is a list of items which we think are useful for your baby. It is not essential to have every item. Remember you may receive gifts, especially clothing.
Pre wash all clothing, bedding, towels in pure soap (lux/persil sensitive/ecostore) before using, whether the item is new or preloved. Biological washing powder can cause reactions.
- 4-8 Cotton singlets/bodysuits worn summer under clothing and winter under woollen singlet.
- 2-3 Woollen singlets with cotton singlet underneath to avoid rashes.
- 2-4 Gowns provide easy access to change nappy without waking. Look at neck lines, drawstring bottoms and built in mittens are handy (cotton).
- 4-12 Stretch 'n' grows/all in ones. Babies need changing often in the first weeks, always have plenty spare.
- 2-6 Wool cardies/cotton in summer. Wool requires hand washing.
- 1-3 Cotton hats/wool/merino beanies for out and about, especially in winter.
- 4-8 Socks / booties. Booties look nice but look for pairs which will stay on. Same colour socks means if one is lost you can match with the others.
- 1-3 Scratch mittens keep hands warm and stop tiny nails scratching their face.
- 2-8 Bibs for spills, dribbled milk. Don't leave bibs on when baby is asleep.
Find somewhere to keep babies clothes: draws, stackable baskets or wardrobe dividers.
A bucket for soaking soiled clothes with a sealable lid is handy to remove stains from clothes and cloth nappies.
Regularly check babies draws removing items that no longer fit and replacing those that do. Sometimes babies grow so quickly you miss putting them in something really cute!
Avoid the following: scratchy fabrics, acrylics, back fastening items, ribbons or ties near the face and polar fleece sleepwear.
WRAPPING/SWADDLING A BABY
Most but not all, babies like the security of being wrapped up firmly and will settle to sleep more quickly. Use gauze wraps in summer and flannelette wraps/bunny rugs in winter. Not only will wrapping provide security but it makes a newborn easier to handle and catches spills before they hit clothes. Wraps are also be useful over the shoulder for winding and on the change table. Ask your midwife or plunket nurse to show you how to safely swaddle your baby. Do not put it over their head.
See the video clip on this link http://www.birthresources.org/display/BirthResources/Resources showing a baby bath demonstration by Denise Garcia, Midwife from BirthResources. Pre-order the full DVD from the merchandise page on www.birthresources.org
Think about where you are going to do babies bathing.
It is difficult to bath a newborn in an adults bath as it is hard to lean over the side and hold onto baby at the same time. If using a adult bath you might want to get in the bath with your baby, thus you can hold onto them better.
In the kitchen there is a bench at the right height, and the bath can be emptied into the sink. Clean the sink well afterwards. Normally these areas are set up for water and easy to heat. If you have a portable change table take this into the kitchen then everything you need is there.
Putting the baby bath at the base of a shower means that you can fill it up with water from the shower. Then to empty down the shower plug, thus reduces lifting a heavy bath filled with water.
Baby Bath Think about size and depth. Baby baths are used for a long time especially if you don't have a bath at home and make great water play for toddlers. You may wish to buy a cheap plastic large container instead of a special baby bath.
Bath Support Optional. A piece of towelling on a frame which supports baby and leaves both hands free to wash (never leave baby unattended on one of these).
Change Table/pad It is useful to have everything you need for changing in one place so don't need to reach or turn away from your baby. Think about space and storage. Plunket recommends changing baby on the floor to reduce the chance of falls.
Baby Towels Are thinner than our towels to get into skin folds and a hood to keep head warm after washing hair.
Baby Flannels For bathing, changing nappies, wiping spills, noses. You can also use gauze squares. Baby wash, shampoo and lotions These are only optional and not necessary. Look for products with natural ingredients so as not to cause irritation. Baby balms and lotions are useful in avoiding and treating nappy rash.
If using cloth nappies:
- 2 dozen (24) nappies.
- Washable or disposable nappy liners.
- 4 - 8 overnaps depending on type.
- Nappy bucket with sealable lid.
- Nappy wash (nappysan or baking soda or vinegar).
- Rubber gloves to protect hands.
- Somewhere warm to dry, or a dryer.
BABIES FIRST BED
Please also read the bed safety section on the Plunket website.
While it is fine to put a baby straight into a cot from birth it is worth while having some form of portable sleeping equipment for the first couple of months as it means baby will always be near by. You will find you will get more done or relax more easily if you have them sleeping in the lounge with you during the day as you won't have to keep creeping into the bedroom to check on them. It also gets them used to sleeping through everyday noise (useful for later).
Bassinet, Moses baskets and hammocks last from newborn until 3 - 9 months depending on the style and size of your child. Always buy a new mattress when using a borrowed or preloved bassinet, this is to reduce the chance of dust mites or bacteria. Look for portability, wheels with locks if there are other children around, storage friendly, good airflow and that it meets safety standards.
- Mattress Protector.
- 2 - 3 Sets of Bassinet/Cot Sheets. Ideally good cotton or cotton blend.
- 2 Wool Aircell or Merino Balnkets
- At least 2 Cotton bassinet/cot blankets.
- Pillowcases to put under baby?s head so if there are spills or dribbles you won't need to change all the bedding.
- 2 - 6 wraps either gauze, flannelette or cotton; useful in many ways to wrap baby, use as a towel, put over your shoulder for spills, use as bassinet sheets or a clean area for baby to lie.
Polar fleece can be used during the day and is easy to wash, but avoid using on baby's bed as they can overheat. Avoid duvets which cannot be secured and can flap onto babies face. No toys in the cots or anything with tags, buttons, ribbons and ties. Plunket recommends not using sheepskins in babies bed.
HOW TO MAKE UP BABIES BED
1. Put the mattress protector onto the mattress according to manufacturers instructions. I prefer to put it from babies shoulder area down so babies head is not lying directly on this (a pillowcase can catch spills).
2. Fitted sheet next, securely tucked in.
3. Top sheet, I would advise putting the top sheet with the longest part going across the bassinet/cot (the opposite to what you would do on a bed). Secure the side further most away from you and the bottom tightly under the mattress and leave the section loosest to you to be tucked in once baby is in bed. This means you have more to work with and baby is less likely to kick off sheets/blankets.
4. Next a cotton blanket to put a layer between baby and the woollen blanket. Again long ways across the cot/bassinet to make it easy to tuck in.
5. Finally a woollen aircell or merino knit blanket doubled over (can be single in warmer weather) and secured tightly so unable to flick back onto babies face.
When putting baby into a cot make up the bedding half way down so babies feet are touching the bottom of the cot. This way baby cannot shuffle down under the blankets.
We recommend lots of light layers of breathable natural fibres for bedding. Depending on your baby and the temperature of your house you will need to adjust how many layers you have. Test babies temperature but placing your finger down the back of the clothing between the shoulder blades they should feel neither cold nor clammy. Babies hands normally feel cold. In summer you may want 2 cotton blankets (or one which can be doubled over) and one wool thermaweave or aircell blanket. In winter you will want one cotton blanket and two or more layers of a wool thermaweave or aircell blanket. Do not use duvets and bumper pads until the baby is (at the very least) six months old as they may flap