Is baby almost here? Be sure to pick up these 10 things before you head to the hospital; you’ll want to have them on hand when you return home with your new little bundle of joy.
1. A Breast Pump and Baby Bottles
If you plan on breastfeeding, a breast pump is an essential assistant. It’s great for helping do everything from stimulating milk production in those first days postpartum to allowing tired mamas to rest while their partner feeds baby with a bottle of breast milk. If you’ll be returning to work, consider investing in a hospital grade or hands-free pump to cut down on the time it takes to express milk; ask your lactation consultant or postpartum nurse if your hospital rents them. For moms who will be staying home, a single or manual pump is probably sufficient.
2. Newborn Diapers
Whether you’re choosing disposables or cloth, you’ll want to have some diapers waiting at home for those countless changes you’ll be tackling in the first few days of baby’s life. Unless you’re sure your baby will be teeny-tiny, don’t buy more than a small package of the newborn-sized ones; if your baby is close to 10 pounds at birth, he’ll have outgrown them before he even tries them on.
3. A Crib, Bassinet, or Co-Sleeper
Even if you’re planning on co-sleeping, your baby needs a bed of his own. Some things to consider when buying a baby bed: bassinets are nice to look at, but are quickly outgrown. Secondhand cribs and bassinets are not recommended since they are likely not up to the frequently-updated federal safety standards. To help prevent against Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), be sure to purchase a firm mattress that is appropriately-sized for your crib, and make up the crib with only a tightly-fitting sheet.
4. Swaddle Blankets
Most newborns take solace in the soothing act of swaddling. To make your baby burrito, you’ll need blankets that are the right shape and size. You can either buy blankets specifically designed for swaddling, or choose lightweight square-shaped baby blankets and getting wrapping.
5. Newborn Car Seat
It’s the one baby item that your hospital might require you own before they’ll discharge you: an infant car seat. This snuggly seat could prove to be worth its weight in gold as many infants find them to be cozy spots for napping. Be sure to thoroughly read through the instruction manual in the weeks before you’re due, make sure you know how to adjust the straps, and install the base in your car well before baby is due to arrive.
6. Maxi Pads and Ice Packs
Expect fairly heavy bleeding for three to five days after you give birth; this is the first stage of the postpartum vaginal discharge known as lochia. Depending on the woman, the bleeding and discharge may last from two to six weeks, so be sure to stock your bathroom with plenty of maxi pads, not tampons. Ice packs are helpful for numbing any soreness and swelling you might experience from the delivery, or, if you have a C-section, for your incision site.
7. A Present From the Baby
A new little brother or sister is a big change for any child. To help ease the initial adjustment period, wrap up a special new toy and present it to your child as a “gift from the baby.” Associating the baby with generosity and fun in your child’s mind can only be a good thing!
8. Baby PJs
You’ve stocked your baby’s dresser with onesies, those ubiquitous baby jumpsuits, but consider also picking up a few two-piece kimono-style top and pant sets like like these from Gerber. We love them especially for that first week or two when newborns still have the umbilical cord stub, which can be rubbed the wrong way by a one-piece bodysuit. Plus, the kimono-style tops easily slip right on instead of needing to be pulled over baby’s head.
9. Burp Cloths
Newborns spit up, a lot–after nearly every meal, and they eat every two hours! As a new parent, a burp cloth slung over your shoulder could be as close as you get to accessorizing for the next three months, so be sure to pick colors and patterns that you like. Buy enough to have a stack in every room, especially next to any spot where you’ll be feeding baby; it’s not an exaggeration to say you’ll want one within arm’s reach at all times.
10. A Water Bottle and Some Fruit
If you’re planning on breastfeeding, you’ll want to drink plenty of water; filling up on li0 can also help flush out some of the baby bloat and weight from pregnancy. Figure out the most convenient and enjoyable way for you to stay super-hydrated: if you’re not a water bottle person, using a straw might be a good option. All that plain water might get a little boring, so mix up these fast and easy fruit waters for delicious, no-calorie treats.