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Shopping for your newborn: What your list should include

July 28, 1999
Web posted at: 10:40 AM EDT (1440 GMT)

In this story:

Buying the right clothes

Linens for snuggle softness

Hygiene and first aid for newborns

Functional, not fashionable: The list of furnishings

Necessary travel gear


By Amy Chamberlain

This past April, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission and other safety and health organizations revised their Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) guidelines. While putting your baby on his back to sleep is still the most important prevention tactic that parents can employ, one new recommendation is to remove all soft bedding -- including blankets -- from the crib until your infant is 1 year old. Blankets, pillows and stuffed toys can become molded around a baby's face, resulting in suffocation. Instead of using a blanket, use a sleeper. If you must use a blanket, place your baby with his feet at the foot of the crib and tuck a thin blanket around the crib mattress, not allowing the blanket to go up further than your baby's chest.

(WebMD) -- Linda Corrado hasn't had much time to rest since she had her baby. From the minute she came back from the hospital, her newborn's cries have kept her busy feeding, bathing and tending to the baby's numerous needs. Fortunately for Corrado, 6-day-old Katarina is her second child, so the New York City resident knew what to have on hand.

"Before I had a baby, all I could think about were cute Baby Gap clothes and mandatory crib blankets," Corrado says. "But gifts from friends provided what I really needed, like side-snap shirts, baby nail-clippers and a nasal aspirator."

Getting prepared for a new baby can be a smooth process, says Gemilyn Bringas, newborn-parenting instructor at California Pacific Medical Center's Lactation Center in San Francisco. She says parents often get bogged down creating a long list of expensive items, or they make the mistake of overlooking the obvious. She offers concerned parents-to-be the following tips: 1. Find out what works well in the first week -- newborns will let you know. 2. Just because a product says "baby" on it does not mean you need it. 3. You know a lot more than you think you do -- go with your instincts.

Buying the right clothes

Buying big is the key to clothes shopping, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics. Most newborns require larger sizes than you might expect and, in any case, they tend to outgrow "newborn" sizes within a week.

New moms also should shop for themselves before the baby comes. "I wish someone had given me advice on what nursing bra to buy, or how many nursing pads I would need," says Anne Wilbur, a mother of two from San Anselmo, California. Veteran moms suggest having several nursing bras on hand (so you won't have to do laundry every day if your breasts leak) and plenty of nursing pads. Nursing pads need changing as soon as they become damp, to prevent bacteria from growing.

Linens for snuggle softness

Experienced parents also recommend keeping an extra stash of cloth diapers for burping and spills in addition to changings. Tiny soft washcloths are great in the bathtub and for feedings.

Other linens you need include:

  • fitted sheets
  • fitted mattress pads (you should be able to fit no more than two fingers between the edge of the mattress and the crib side; anything looser than that is a suffocation hazard)
  • waterproof pads
  • terry-cloth hooded towels
  • Hygiene and first aid for newborns

    When it comes to stocking your bathroom, don't fret about buying everything right away. Things to consider for the medicine chest include:

  • liquid aspirin substitute (in the form of drops for infants)
  • syrup of ipecac
  • antiseptic cream
  • hydrogen peroxide
  • calamine lotion
  • Band-Aids
  • tweezers
  • thermometer
  • Functional, not fashionable: The list of furnishings

    Assemble the dresser, bookshelf, toy chest and crib ahead of time. The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) recommends buying your crib new, which ensures that it meets current Federal safety regulations and industry voluntary standards (ASTM). Also, don't forget the following:

  • bumpers (they should be secured in place in each corner, the middle of each long side and on both the top and bottom edges)
  • changing table (with safety straps)
  • diaper pail with a lid that fits tightly
  • non-skid baby tub
  • intercom
  • Wilbur suggests setting up a rocking chair where you will be nursing. "Test it out; make sure you feel comfortable. You'll spend a lot of time there," she says.

    Necessary travel gear

    And last, but certainly not least, you should buy a rear-facing car seat. Babies should use the rear-facing seat until they are 20 pounds. Children weighing 20 to 40 pounds should use a car seat that is front facing. All car seats should go in the back seat.

    Lastly, a diaper bag to store all your essentials will make your list complete.

    Copyright 1999 by WebMD, Inc. All rights reserved.

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