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Are You Ready to Bring Your Baby Home?

August 10, 2012

Over the course of nine months, there is a lot to prepare for when you’re expecting a new baby. The list can feel overwhelming, especially when it includes items like decorating the nursery, buying a stroller, and choosing toys and books for your new arrival. But the good news is that you don’t actually need to do everything before the baby comes. It’s a great idea to get most big projects out of the way, but don’t fret over the size of your baby’s shoe wardrobe or childproofing absolutely everything. In those first few weeks, there are really only a few preparations that are musts.

Your first order of business is to buy an infant carseat and install it properly. Hospitals are actually required to discharge new moms and babies after checking to make sure your car is ready with a carseat. It is recommended, for at least the first two years of your baby’s life, that your carseat be rear-facing. And properly installing the seat can be trickier than you think. When you buy your carseat, ask the retailer if they can recommend a local service that checks your carseat for safety and proper installation.

And of course, for the first few weeks, your baby will spend a lot of time sleeping and will need a sleeping area. Some new parents choose a small bassinet for their newborns instead of placing them in a large crib. Bassinets are not necessarily safer than cribs in those early days, but because newborns are so small and don’t move around very much, the crib can seem a bit excessive to some. Other parents, however, start their babies in the crib from day one. And still other parents enjoy co-sleeping, and buy a co-sleeper that allows their baby to sleep just adjacent to mom’s side of the bed, for easy nighttime feedings.

If you’re planning on breastfeeding, have nursing bras, nipple cream, a breast pump, and bottles ready at home. If you’re going to be formula feeding or supplementing, have plenty of formula handy and a supply of bottles. Burp cloths are especially valuable to have around. Stock up, because while they’ll absorb their share of spit-ups in those first few months, they’ll also be useful for all sorts of excessive leaks, drools, and spills!

Buy diapers. You will need them. Your baby will go through 8-12 diapers per day, so stock up! But remember, they won’t be wearing newborn diapers for long. Have a supply of newborn sizes on hand, but purchase the next size up for that unexpected growth spurt!

And remember to have some food on hand for you and your family! Making a few large dinners in casserole dishes, and freezing them a few weeks prior to your due date, is a great idea. Keep easy-to-grab snacks around the house. And when friends and family offer to bring over some food, take them up on it!

As long as you have the essentials completed before the ninth month rolls around, some of the less pressing concerns, like perfectly coordinated nursery furniture and jars and jars of baby food, can wait. Stock up on your must-haves and enjoy the first weeks of your baby’s life, when their only real necessities include milk, diapers, sleep, and you.

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