By Heidi Christianson
There are many lists and must-have items for expecting parents, but how much of this baby gear do you really need for the first six months? Besides a safely installed car seat, diapers, and breast milk or
formula, here are the top 5 must-haves for parents-to-be:
- Co-sleeper: Instead of a crib, which might as well be a football field to a baby, get a bassinette, co-sleeper, or a Pack n Play that stays right next to your bed and can be easily moved if needed.
Here’s why: Baby will be feeding a LOT those first weeks because their tummies are only the size of a cherry and eventually a small peach. Co-sleepers are ideal for the baby because it will be easy to feed through the night with the baby being so close to you, whether breast or bottle-feeding.
The AAP recommends room-sharing, but no co-sleeping, for the first year with the baby. We also know that a firm, flat surface where the baby is alone is the safest sleep safe. A safe set-up co-sleeper right next to your bed is the perfect answer to remaining attentive to the baby while adhering to safe sleep recommendations.
- A Wipe Warmer: Everyone will say the wipe warmer is not a necessity…we say YES!
Here’s why: Many people tell parents not to waste money on a wipe warmer because they are unnecessary with all of the elaborate and expensive baby items we were told to buy. On the contrary, we feel it’s money well spent when stocking your nursery because a wipe warmer can help keep baby asleep or calmer during nighttime diaper changes. How can anyone say that’s not worth $15?!
- A Comfortable Baby Carrier: A sling or upright carrier that can allow you to safely hold your newborn while keeping your hands free is an absolute necessity.
• Babywearing means comfort for the baby, with up to 43% less crying.
• Parents get to see the baby’s cues up close. Learning how your baby acts when hungry, sleepy,
or in need of a change of scenery or position means that you’ll respond quickly to all these
things. This makes everyone happier and healthier.
• Two free hands! Wearing a baby means you can tend to older children, do household tasks or get yourself something to eat. And don’t worry, you CANNOT spoil your baby by holding them too much. This should be common sense, but there are studies supporting babywearing.
- Onesies and Zip-up Sleepers: A common concern is wondering if the baby is too hot or too cold. The rule of thumb when dressing a baby is to dress them in whatever you would be comfortable in, plus one layer, so a onesie and then one-piece pajamas are usually ideal.
Here’s why: One thing we know about SIDS is that overheating can be a contributor, so ensuring the baby is properly dressed allows him to be comfortable and safe. So do yourself a favor and get some good zippered sleepers and onesies for peace of mind and ease of use. Additionally, it’s so much easier to use just a zipper rather than snaps or pants + shirts when doing diaper or clothing changes…especially overnight!
- A Fan for Baby’s Room: A ceiling fan or simple household fan should be in the nursery, parents’ room, or wherever the baby will be sleeping.
Here’s why: Running a fan in a sleeping infant’s room lowers the risk for SIDS by 72 percent. Researchers believe that exhaled carbon dioxide may get trapped near an infant’s mouth and nose during sleep when there isn’t adequate ventilation, so this simple adjustment helps keep infants safer.
Heidi Christianson, RRT, NPS, is a respiratory therapist, mom, and owner of Let Mommy Sleep of Idaho. If you’d like to connect with Heidi, visit her website, letmommysleep.com, or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.