Getting Ready For Baby: A cheat sheet for the first 4 months
When I was preggers with An Urban Babe – I sent out a few emails to my new mommy friends – asking them what I’d need. I’ve since compiled a list of MUST HAVES for a few of my expectant friends. Of course – this is what has worked for me and some of my friends – this list is in no way exhaustive… but it may help if you’re trying to develop your registryor in the (frantic/panic) nesting stage right before baby arrives.
Here is a list of things me and some other mommas suggest for the newborn stage (0-4 months)
Things you’ll absolutely need:
- Lots of diapers- about 90-100 a week ( we didn’t start cloth until week 6 or 7) so we got through 4 packs of honest co diapers, half a pack from the hospital, one gifted pack and a pack of 92 that we bought for about $23. If your baby is less than 7lbs – newborn sized diapers will be crucial!
- Wipes, wipes, wipes. You use about 3 per poopy change. Cloth wipes are awesome for that reason, they grab more and sometimes you can get away with only using one. I have 3 different types of wipes – the terry cloth/washcloth type ones work the best. Honest company also makes really good thick wipes. I haven’t tried earths best or seventh generation though.
- Swaddle blankets. I loved the Aden + Anais ones – they are lightweight and super easy to use.
Newborns sleep so well when they are swaddled tightly. Sleepsacks are good too.
- Swaddles and Swaddle sleepsacks.
- Lots of baby safe washing liquid- you’ll be washing clothes, burp clothes, blankets constantly. Babies puke a lot. Plus, people will constantly be giving you stuff and you’ll want to wash immediately. If baby is small you’ll definitely want a lot of newborn sleep n plays. I prefer the snapped ones because you don’t have to open the entire front to change baby. Some mamas prefer the zippers (and men do too) cause it’s easier. There are Circo sleepers that zip from the bottom! Best of both worlds.
- A diaper caddy… You almost inevitably won’t be in the baby’s room with the supplies every time you want to change him/her. The caddy should have diapers, ointment (aka coconut oil/rash cream/etc), changing pad, hand sanitizer, burp cloths, grooming set (brush,comb,nail trimmer), wipes and anything else you use all the time. Ours actually sits on the changing table and when I plan to stay in another part of the house I just grab it. We keep a pack in play with changer and bassinet in the basement. I’ve really only used it once but I know some mamas use theirs a lot. *We actually use the pack n play more now. Since about 6 or 7 months – we’ve used it as a landing place for baby… when we just can’t hold him and need somewhere to put him. Since he’s rolling, crawling and standing – the rock n play is no longer that place.
- A rocker, bouncer, bassinet – something you can lay him/her in that fits in various places around the house. ***I love the rock n play for this very reason. Watching a movie, eating, cooking, washing clothes… I can lay him in it and see him whether he’s awake or sleep. He slept in it for the first 4 weeks, next to our bed. I like it because the head is slightly elevated and I get nervous when babies lay completely flat too early – especially when they puke a lot. *I also placed blankets between the pillow and the plastic base to prevent head flattening*
- A carrier – I love my wrap and my ergo. I have used them both out and both around the house. Hands free is crucial.
If you plan to go back to work – get (and get familiar with) your pump and choose a storage system. I pumped from day one because of A Urban Babe’s latch issues but most books will tell you not to start pumping until week 4(or baby has established a good latch). I had about 6 days extra milk frozen and 2-3 days fresh when I went back to work. I used bottles to freeze my milk at first – I tried 1 ounce cubes too… nope – get bags. They are much easier. Target sells their brand for like $8.50 for 50 bags.
- A breast pump and storage system
- Bottles – you’ll have to figure out what bottles he/she will like. An Urban Babe loves Tommee Tippy which is great cause I decided that’s what’s I wanted to use before he got here. Lol. I’m lucky because he seems to be particular about his pacifiers… But maybe because they don’t produce food and he’s not really into them.
- Pants! People love to give onsies – but often don’t think to get pants. One day we just went to Meijer and bought their $4.98 pants in every color: black, blue and grey in every size up to 12 months. Get some cheap socks too.. Target sometimes has them on sale for $1.
- Nursing pads – I started leaking before birth – so I got the organic cotton washable ones from BBB – I think they’re $5.99. Lanolin (take this to the hospital with you – NURSING HURTS!!! In the beginning – but I promise you – it gets better – sometimes not until month 3 – but it gets better and better along the way – patience and lanolin are key). *I’ve since learned that I prefer Mother Love nursing cream to lanolin. More expensive but it’s 99% organic and 0 on the toxic scale. If you have any trouble getting baby to latch – the lactation consultant should be on deck(in the hospital) to help, make sure they bring you a pump and pump every hour for 10-15 mins.. and ask for a nipple shield if you’re still having trouble at discharge. (We also use Mother Love diaper rash and thrush cream in An Urban Babe’s over night diaper since it stays on for 10-12 hours – LOVE IT)
People LOVE Boppy pillows – I have one.. but I tried a My Breast Friend pillow and I LOVED it. Boppys are really too soft for nursing – but they are great for other things like propping up baby later on, keeping baby in one spot, keeping pressure off your back. I’d put both on the registry.
- Boppy and a My Breast Friend nursing pillow
- Nursing bras and nursing tanks. I LOVE them. I wear a tank under regular shirts so that when I nurse – my stomach isn’t all out when I pull up my top shirt.
Get familiar with good sites: kellymom.com is awesome for breastfeeding info. The site has a ton of info and they also have a Facebook page that let’s you post questions to admin and other moms. Mothering.com has a ton of great forums. I swear by them for loss, pregnancy after loss, delayed/selective vaccinations, non/selective/delayed Vaccine friendly pediatricians etc.
- Good websites for nursing, vaccines, pregnancy, infancy, etc
- Get an app for baby’s – sleep, pee, poop, eat schedule. I had to make my own because I have to include pumping too. I used it diligently for the first 6 weeks. My iPad was my best friend for An Urban Babe’s schedule. When you’re exhausted and can’t remember if baby ate on the right or left or if he/she pooped 3 hours or 30 mins ago.. It saves lives. I just did mine in the notes app.
- Get the vaccine book,it has a list of every vaccine, the recommended schedule, the ingredients, pros and cons.
- Find a pediatrician now. We had to have our first appointment the day after we went home, I would have been super stressed if our pediatrician wasn’t already on deck. And by on deck I mean, name and number of someone you want baby to see that you know will be taking new patients when he/she is born. You can find that out in one phone call to his/her office.
- A bundle-me and a carseat canopy. Crucial in the winter. You’re not supposed to put them in snowsuits in their car seat- but they have to be warm.
- BIBS AND TEETHERS – At 3 months (just before) An Urban Babe started drooling all the time… I couldn’t have enough bibs. He was teething and wanted to put things in his mouth all the time. I went out and found some organic and wooden teethers. This is also around the time they get distracting during nursing sessions – a good nursing necklace will catch their attention and hands (and double as a teether). People swear by the Sophie teether. In the earlier months – the smaller Sophie with rings perfect for little baby hands is better.
An Urban Babe also started wearing his Amber necklace around 4 months. It helped calm him during teething and minimized his drooling. He still wears it 24 hours a day at almost 11 months.
- An Amber necklace for teething
- Thermometer – crucial. We got a temporal but most docs will tell you that rectal temps are more accurate. We opted for temporal because that’s what An Urban Babe’s pediatrician uses.
I had some organic gripe water on deck too… But we only used it a few times at night when he was super fussy and seemed to be bothered by gas.
- Gripe water
Because I was worried about skin problems…for the first 6 months we washed baby in Dr. Bronners Baby Mild Castile soap and used coconut oil for lotion.
That was it. We still use coconut oil for diaper “cream” at every regular diaper change. I use mother love diaper rash and thrush cream whenever his bottom gets red to prevent rash (and overnight, like I mentioned above).
Find some friends with 1 year old + sons/daughters who want to give away their infant clothes and supplies. I got a ton of burp clothes, changing table covers, the extra mats/toppers (also crucial) that go on top of the changing cover to catch stray poo and pee (I think we have 2 covers and 6 toppers), blankets and bibs that way.
*Babies are actually pretty simple when it comes to their needs and desires (food, sleep, warmth and comfort).. But there are certainly some things I needed more of or just didn’t know I needed until An Urban Babe got here – but you only want to make ‘oh so many late night runs to Target.
For the hospital:
Write out your birth plan. If there is anything you want specifically – talk it over with your doctor, draft a document with your name and Baby “Last Name” on it and print copies to take with you to the hospital. MAKE COPIES of it – give one to your doctor/nurse the day of delivery, have one for hubby and for your Doula.
MOST HOSPITALS PROVIDE EVERYTHING. Just check with them to make sure they provide – diapers, wipes, swaddlers, towels and wash clothes for you and baby. I took EVERYTHING – including newborn diapers. I didn’t need all that. I was glad that I took our all natural baby wash though. They use Johnson & Johnson and we took honest company. In fact honest.com has a bundle of baby products and newborn diapers you can try for free. I got that and I still use the trial sizes in my baby bag.
All you’ll really need for baby is the carseat, blanket and a going home outfit (and baby wash if you want). For yourself – just a change of clothes for going home and a nursing pillow. I took nursing tops and yoga pants – and I didn’t need anything until it was time to go home.
Let me know in the comments if you have any questions.
Here is the link to my favorite things: http://www.pinterest.com/anurbanma/my-favorite-baby-items/