Baby Shower Themes and Planning Tips

Often, the first step in planning a baby shower is picking a theme. Even picking a color theme can make your planning easier by narrowing down the choices! Blue for a boy and pink for a girl are traditional, but of course any palette can be charming.

Fun and creative baby shower themes

Tea Party: A chic alternative to your standard baby shower, guests can dress in formal attire and enjoy a sophisticated sit-down party with real china, fresh flowers, and elegant food.

Book Shower: All the guests are invited to bring their favorite children’s book! You can include something fun like a stuffed toy or game that matches the subject of your book.  A great way to start baby’s library!

Mommy Shower: Focus on the mom-to-be instead of the baby! This is a great idea especially if she’s already got a lot of the baby paraphernalia she needs. Guests can bring gifts for mom such as gift certificates to her favorite (grown-up) store, fashion accessories, books, etc.

Scrapbooking Shower: If the mom-to-be is a scrapbooker, have all the guests bring something meaningful, useful, or funny to include on her scrapbook page. It can be something written, like a story, poem, letter, or parenting advice. It can be photos or other objects that recall a fond memory. Lots of creative options!

Noah’s Ark: A fun theme for the mom expecting twins–guests bring 2 of everything!

Nine Months: Everyone is invited to come to the party nine-months pregnant! Stuff your top with pillows so the mom-to-be won’t feel self-conscious… it’s a great ice-breaker too if your guests don’t all know each other!

Freezer Party: If mom is expecting a second or third, she may not need all the stuff that new moms need. Instead, each guest can bring a freezer-friendly meal to be put away for later! Now the family has a home-cooked meal to eat even when mom does not feel up to cooking.

Baby Shower Invitations

Once you’ve got an idea or theme for your party, the next step is picking out invitations!

E-mail or Snail mail: Email is the economical choice, but it’s always fun to send and receive real paper invitations. There are so many lovely colors, patterns, and designs to choose from!

Plan Ahead: Give your guests a few week’s notice. This will hopefully prevent them from scheduling something else on that day, and give ample time for gift shopping!

All the Info: Make sure to include all the important information such as date, time, and location, who it’s for and RSVP instructions. Include registry information if the mom-to-be is registered anywhere. If you’re having a theme, let the guests know so they can plan/dress accordingly!

Baby Shower Planning

Here are some helpful guidelines and tips for planning a shower!

Hosting: Although traditionalists will say that a non-family member should throw the party (so it doesn’t look like anyone’s begging for gifts) it’s really OK for anyone to be involved in the planning.

When: Showers are usually held near the end of the pregnancy, when excitement about the new arrival is peaking. Having a baby shower after the baby is born is fine too, especially if the sex of the baby is being kept a surprise.

Guests: Consulting with the mom-to-be is definitely best when putting together a guest list. You don’t want to leave out anybody important! Baby showers are traditionally a women-only affair, but co-ed parties are becoming more popular… especially if Dad wants to be part of it.

On the Agenda: Showers usually consist of some sort of refreshment or meal, an activity or silly game, socializing, and gift opening. You can offer prizes for the game winners, or party favors for everyone. A theme can make the planning a lot easier to pull together!

Epidurals: Not so Horrible After All?

I like to do things naturally, really. I like natural food, natural medicine, natural cleansers, natural births. But epidurals… well I really like epidurals. I’ve given birth three times and gladly taken the epidural each time. And every time I hear something about how awful it is to subject your body and your baby to the pain-numbing pleasure of an epidural… well, I just kind of ignore it.

So I’m rather pleased to read The Truth about epidurals by ,which relates that “concerns voiced by natural birthers are exaggerated.” And that’s a relief, because I’ve been really concerned that I was missing out on something, as I dozed through my contractions.

Ms. Moyer enumerates some of the main concerns that have been voiced about epidurals:

  • Epidurals and other pain-relieving drugs contribute to the over-medicalization of motherhood. They argue that such treatments create a snowball effect, necessitating additional interventions and intrusions: IVs, synthetic oxytocin to speed up the labor process, catheters, blood pressure monitors, and electronic fetal monitors.
  • Epidurals make it more difficult for women to push when it comes time to deliver.
  • Epidurals lengthen labor.
  • Epidurals’ numbing effects on pelvic muscles increases the risk of cesarean section, a surgery entailing a long recovery, risk for post-op infection or hernia, and future pregnancy complications.
  • Epidurals prevent newborns from suckling properly, which could impair nursing success.

After examining the available research, Ms. Moyer cuts down these popularly held beliefs. Epidurals today (which are different than those administered 20 years ago) do not impede a woman’s ability to push. Epidurals have been associated with c-sections, but not as a direct cause. One study showed that women with epidurals did, in fact, dilate more slowly and take longer to deliver, but they were no more likely to undergo C-sections than women who did not have drugs. You can read her article for a complete review of studies and findings.

So now I’ll throw in my personal experience for what it’s worth! My first birth was induced at 42 weeks. I took the epidural, pushed for about 5 minutes, and delivered a lovely, healthy baby who had no trouble nursing. My next two births were also aided by an epidural, and again I had no trouble pushing them out, and they also breastfed without any apparent side-effects. No C-sections, thank God, and no post-delivery complications. It is definitely possible that the epidurals lengthened my labor, but if you can’t feel the pain, does a little extra time matter?

I have great respect for women who birth naturally without any drugs at all. I still envy them a tiny bit. I kind of want to know what that feels like. But I’ll probably take an epidural again if given the choice.

feature image: Womenshealth.gov

Co-sleeping: Cause for Alarm?

A few weeks ago,  the City of Milwaukee launched a provocative ad campaign warning parents of the dangers of babies sleeping in adult beds. The ad depicts a baby sleeping in an adult bed, surrounded by puffy pillows and blankets, with a large knife is tucked in the covers nearby. The headline reads, “Your baby sleeping with you can be just as dangerous. Babies can die when sleeping in adult beds. Always put your baby to sleep on his back, in a crib. If you can’t afford a crib, call (414) 286-8620.”

Not surprisingly, this ad caused a huge stir. Personally, I kind of rolled my eyes and went on with my day, since I’ve happily and safely slept with all my three babies in my bed (currently sleeping with my 19-month old). What’s the big deal? I know that when done in safe manner, co-sleeping can actually be more beneficial for your baby than sleeping alone in a crib can be.

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image from Babyphotos.co.in

Not that I think we should ignore the safety of the world’s babies. The men who unveiled the campaign, Mayor Tom Barrett and Commissioner of Health Bevan Baker, have the admirable goal of trying to reduce the city’s sky-high African-American infant mortality rate by 15% by 2017. At least nine children have died this year in Milwaukee in an unsafe sleep environment.  But is scaring responsible parents away from co-sleeping really the answer?

I would say no. For the record, there is no correlation between co-sleeping and SIDS. I’m with Dr. Sears, who states:

Every night millions of mothers and babies the world over sleep close to each other, and the babies wake up just fine.  Instead of alarming conscientious parents, like the recent shocking and insensitive ad campaign in Milwaukee did, as reported in the Journal Sentinel, sleep advisors should be teaching parents how to co-sleep safely.

You can check out this article by Dr. Sears for the “show-me-the-science” proof, but from my own experiences I can say that throughout the night, however deeply I may be sleeping, I am always aware of my baby. And not just the baby in my bed, but even my kids in the other room… I wake at the slightest movement. It’s like I’m subconsciously wired to jump out of bed at the tiniest rustle or whimper.

Or, as Dr. Sears puts it: “Mothers enjoy a heightened awareness of their baby’s presence, what I call a “nighttime sleep harmony,” that protects baby.  The co-sleeping mother is more aware if her baby’s well-being is in danger.”

Despite being easily and frequently awakened, I think my babies and I get a good night’s sleep together. I nurse them “on demand” and we enjoy each other’s warmth and closeness.  I know that this is not the most comfortable situation for every mother, but for me and my babies, it’s what works. And I know my babies feel the same way, because our older kids still love jumping into bed with us (although it gets a bit squishy with all those elbows and knees)!

Says Dr. Sears: “Research shows that co-sleeping infants cry less during the night, compared to solo sleepers who startle repeatedly throughout the night and spend 4 times the number of minutes crying. Startling and crying releases adrenaline, which can interfere with restful sleep and leads to long term sleep anxiety.

And less crying and anxiety (I know I feel anxious when my babies cry, especially in middle of the night!)  is obviously beneficial for everyone involved! Then there are the extended health benefits of breastfeeding for babies and moms. Plus the research showing that “infants who sleep near to parents have more stable temperatures, regular heart rhythms, and fewer long pauses in breathing compared to babies who sleep alone.”

I should point out that Dr. Sears defines co-sleeping not as bed-sharing, but as “sleeping close enough to baby for easy comforting.” This could be in a crib in your room or a bedside sleeper. But for now, I’ll keep my babies in my bed, thank you very much!

So, how to do it safely? Here are Dr. Sears‘ guidelines:

  • We recommend using a bassinet that attaches safely and securely to parents’ bed, which allows both mother and baby to have their own sleeping space, while baby still enjoys sleeping close to mommy for easier feeding and comforting.
  • If bed-sharing, practice these safe precautions:
    • Place babies to sleep on their backs.
    • Be sure there are no crevices between the mattress and guardrail or headboard that allows baby’s head to sink into.
    • Do not allow anyone but mother to sleep next to the baby, since only mothers have that protective awareness of baby.  Place baby between mother and a guardrail, not between mother and father. Father should sleep on the other side of mother.
    • Don’t fall asleep with baby on a cushy surface, such as a beanbag, couch, or wavy waterbed.
    • Don’t bed-share if you smoke or are under the influence of drugs, alcohol, or medications that affect your sleep.

Dr. Sears concludes:

We have enjoyed sleeping close to our own babies.  I have promoted safe co-sleeping in our pediatric practice for nearly 40 years and have witnessed only positive outcomes, such as: babies sleep and grow better; promotes better bonding; breastfeeding is easier; and infants grow up with a healthy sleep attitude, regarding sleep as a pleasant state to enter and a fearless state to remain in.

Because I highly value safe sleeping arrangements, I have thoroughly researched this subject.  If you wish to read my research references that go into co-sleeping and bed-sharing in scientific detail, as well as more practical and safe nighttime parenting practices, consult the following:

Scientific Benefits of Co-Sleeping
Safe Co-sleeping Habits
7 Benefits of Sleeping Close to Your Baby
Co-Sleeping: Yes, No, Sometimes?

As well as our books, which can be ordered here.

Happy co-sleeping!

Belly Mapping: How YOU can determine your baby’s position

Belly mapping is a way that moms can tell what position their baby is in, during the last couple months of pregnancy.  This is helpful because it can alert  you to potential complications that may arise during childbirth, which could lead to a complicated labor or a C-section. Often it is impossible for your doctor to know what position the baby is in by doing an internal examination– an ultrasound would be required. However, belly mapping provides a way to figure it out on your own! Then, your doula can help you to change the baby’s position.

Click here to read the complete article by DONA International, via SpinningBabies.com.

Download the free Belly Mapping parent handout in English,

Preparing Kids for a New Baby

A baby or young toddler may not really understand that there’s a baby growing in your belly. And he also has no concept of time. So it’s not necessary to clue him in until you are nearing the end, otherwise you may hear every day, “Is the baby coming out yet?” Since the concept of a new baby is pretty much out of their range of understanding, you don’t need to spend much time preparing him for it.

Older toddlers and children should definitely be clued in to what’s happening in a way that will make them feel involved and excited. Life will be very different after the baby is born, so your kids should be prepared, and hopefully looking forward to the new addition.

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image from hypeplug

Here are some ideas from Dr. Sears to introduce the topic and learn about new babies!

1. Arrange to be around very young babies. This lets your older children hear how they sound, see what they look like, observe you holding one now and then, notice that they need comforting, and learn about nursing.

2. Talk about the new baby. Once your belly is really big, eight months maybe, talk about the new baby. Referring to the baby as “Suzy’s new baby” will add an extra degree of protectiveness instead of competition.  Let her feel kicks, help her talk or sing to baby, and stroke your belly.

3. Show her simple children’s books about new babies. Show pictures of when she was a tiny baby and tell her about all the things you did for her. Say things like “Mommies hold tiny babies a lot because they need that.”

4. Tell older toddlers and preschoolers about the baby early on in the pregnancy. The older the child, the sooner you can tell him; very young children may be confused or disappointed when the baby fails to arrive the next day. With an older toddler or preschooler, try all of the toddler suggestions above, and in addition, use the diagrams in books on birth to talk about how the baby is growing, month by month. You’ll be surprised by questions like “What part did baby grow today, mom?”

5. Depending on the age and level of understanding, tell your child why you are feeling so tired, grouchy, short-fused, impatient, and whatever else you feel while pregnant: You might say, “Baby needs a lot of energy to grow, and that’s why mom is tired and sleeps a lot…” Or, “The hormones baby needs to grow make mommy feel funny…”

6. Expand on what newborns are like. For example, let them know babies cry (some cry a lot) and they like it when you talk to them and make funny faces. Explain to them “You can help me change the diaper, bathe baby and dress baby. Babies can’t do anything for themselves for a long time, and they can’t play games until they grow bigger. They need to be held a whole lot, just like I held you when you were little.”

7. Take them to your doctor’s appointment. Children close to three should be able to behave well at the visit to your healthcare provider and may learn from this visit. For older children already in school, include them on special visits, such as the three-month visit when you are likely to first hear baby’s heartbeat, the visits at which your practitioner has told you will include an ultrasound, and several visits toward the end, so they’ll catch the excitement and be more tuned in. Prenatal bonding cannot be overdone for siblings old enough to understand.

8. Give a hands-on demo. Usually by the fifth or sixth month, older children can feel their baby brother or sister move. During times of the day or evening that experience tells you your baby moves the most, lie down and invite your children to feel the show. Let them guess which body part they are feeling.

9. Encourage baby bonding. Invite your children to talk to and about the baby. If you already know the gender and have chosen a name, you can encourage them to use it when referring to the baby. Or you can welcome the baby nicknames your child invents. Babies can hear around 23 weeks of age, so this is a good time for the kids to start talking to the baby so he or she will get to know them. After about three months of this, their voices will be very familiar to the baby still in utero, and bonding will already be under way. Studies show that babies tend to turn toward voices they recognize right after birth.

10. Know your limits. Realize that it’s impossible to give other family members the same degree of attention they are used to while you’re pregnant. Sooner or later the children will realize that they must share mom with another tiny taker in the family. Fortunately, pregnancy provides you with plenty of time to prepare your older children for what life will be like after the baby arrives. Getting them used to helping you while baby brother or sister is still inside is actually another good tool for bonding. The children will have invested their time and energy already even before baby comes, and the baby will have more personal value to them.

For more pregnancy, birth, & parenting info, visit Ask Dr. Sears.com!

Prenatal Vitamins Help Prevent Autism

Another huge reason for taking prenatal vitamins! In addition to warding off birth defects and assisting with proper fetal growth, a new study shows that taking prenatal vitamins may help prevent autism and autism spectrum disorders, reducing the risk by some 40 percent.

According to researchers, the three months before conception and the first month of pregnancy are the most vital times for taking prenatal vitamins. So women who want to or may become pregnant should be particularly vigilant during this time frame.

Folic acid is one of the essential ingredients in prenatal vitamins, and plays a major role in healthy fetal development.  Talk to your doctor about a healthy diet and appropriate prenatal vitamins.

Brachial Plexus Injuries: A Preventable Newborn Injury- Please Read!

Three out of every 1,000 babies born in the USA suffer from injuries that could have been prevented. More children are inflicted with Brachial Plexus injuries at birth than suffer from Down’s Syndrome, or Muscular Dystrophy, or Spina Bifida.  The terrifying reality is that Brachial Plexus injury is a doctor-cause damage, occurring when a baby’s head is tugged or twisted in order to pull him out of the mother, damaging the delicate nerves in a newborn’s neck.

Symptoms may include a limp or paralyzed arm; lack of muscle control in the arm, hand, or wrist; and a lack of feeling or sensation in the arm or hand. The tragedy is that most of these birth-related injuries are preventable.  Like many of today’s problems, a little bit of education can go a long way.

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The problem is that a baby’s shoulders can become lodged behind the mother’s pelvic bones. Some practitioners panic and start pulling on the babies head. They call it “gentle traction” but it is hardly gentle.  In order to help shift the baby’s position, the mother needs to change positions, and this will help the baby to “slide out like a little fish.”

How? Laying flat on your back during labor is the WORST position for childbirth.  Although it is deemed most convenient for doctors, it narrows the birth canal by up to 30% and makes it much harder to push the baby out. Simply rolling over on your side, standing up, squatting, kneeling, or getting down on all fours will help. But never, never, never let anyone pull on your baby’s head.

C-section babies can also be injured.

Why aren’t more people aware of Brachial Plexus injuries?

The United Brachial Plexus Network explains that the reasons are complicated and include the following:

* Since there is no mandatory reporting or tracking of this injury, the widely stated assumption that the injury is usually transient cannot be validated.
* Misconceptions exist regarding the life-long implications and disabilities associated with this injury.
* Birthing practitioners do not want to take responsibility for enabling these injuries through medicinalized labor protocols.
* Medical providers are resistant to the idea that this injury is often preventable.
* Birthing practitioners have succumb to the belief that brachial plexus injuries are an unpreventable and acceptable risk of vaginal childbirth.
* Patient’s guardians often feel the injury is minimized by hospital personnel and are usually told the injury will go away after a few days or weeks.

Please watch this 5-minute video and visit the United Brachial Plexus Network website for more information. A full-length 25-minute video is available there.

7 Tips to Beautify Baby’s Room

It doesn’t take a fat wallet or a team or interior designers to create a lovely baby nursery! Dive into your creative side head first– now is your chance to do something different and have fun! Here are some tips to help achieve big style for your little one, on any budget.

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1. Start with the Walls

Paint or wallpaper is a great way to set an ambiance.  There’s no need to follow the pink-or-blue trend; try something unique. If you stick to gender-neutral, timeless colors and prints, it will last you way past the baby years. (This is also handy when you don’t know the baby’s gender!) You can also use stencils or decals to create designs on the walls. White walls are  sweet too, you have plenty of other areas for adding color and contrast.

2. Keep it simple

“Less is more” is a good rule of thumb when decorating children’s rooms. We think a baby’s room can be fun, colorful, and interesting, but should maintain a peaceful and serene vibe. You only need one or two focal pieces, so conserve your money to splurge on something that you really love, like an antique mirror or beautiful bedding.

3. Search for Treasures

It’s nice if your children’s room contains a few objects that didn’t come straight from the store. Antique finds at the second hand shop, old family photographs, dolls from when you were a child… many things can be incorporated that you might not have thought about at first. Look for heirlooms in your parent’s attic or local thrift shop. You’ll be sweetly surprised at how much meaning these type of decorative elements give your nursery.

4. Keep Crib Bedding to a Minimum

This is more for safety than style. An overabundance of stuffed pillows, fluffy blankets, and crib bumpers can pose suffocation hazards for small babies. The crib is NOT a good place to focus your creative juices; wait til your child is older to make up a dream bed full of throw pillows and flouncy covers.

5. Fancy Floors

Because your little one will spend lots of time on the floor, it’s a great place to focus attention. Bright colors, stripes, and patterned rugs are great if you have wood or tiled flooring. Soft wall-to-wall carpets are a nice touch and keep little explorers comfy. Look for materials that are easily cleaned!

6. A Corner for You

We know you’ll be spending a considerable amount of time with your baby. Even if baby sleeps with you at night, the nursery may be the place you go to change diapers, snuggle, and play during the day. Stick in a comfy arm chair or rocker, an end table to hold some books and a glass of water while you’re feeding.

7. Fill it with Love

Even if you don’t have the means to go all-out decorating, the physical trappings of your baby’s room are not what’s most important. I like the way it’s said here: “While decorating your baby’s room is personal and fun, remember that the heart of your child’s room is not what is physically held within the four walls. Rather it is the relationship of the parents and child. So if your baby is born into a room of stark white walls, with boxes crammed in a corner, so be it. It won’t change how you love him or her, nor will they grow up decoratively challenged.”

Vitamin D Levels for Pregnant Women: Experts Recommend 8 Times Higher than FNB Levels

Thousands of studies over the last 10 years have shown that high doses of vitamin D are crucial to maintaining health in many areas. The Vitamin D Council, a highly regarded non-profit organization states: “Higher doses of Vitamin D help in many areas of health, among them: heart health, brain health, pancreatic health, muscle health, nerve health, eye health, immune health, colon health, liver health, mood health, skin health, and especially fetal health.” (emphasis added)

For this reason, the Institute of Medicine Food and Nutrition Board (FNB) has created a tumult for stating that the high levels of vitamin D currently being recommended by many health professionals are unnecessary and may even be toxic (November 2010). The FNB only slightly increased its recommended daily intake of vitamin D from 200 IU to 600 IU. In contrast, Harvard newsletter (December 2010) recommends 1,000-2,000 IU of vitamin D per day, while the Vitamin D Council recommends up to 5,000 IU a day.

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image credit: Mother Earth News

The fact that there is no difference between the amounts of D a 15 pound baby and a 300 pound man should take is deemed “absurd” by experts. When it comes to pregnant women, the FNB also makes no differentiation.  But respected vitamin D experts recommend at least 4,000 IU a day, and 6,000 for nursing mothers.

In response to the conclusions of the FNB panel, the Vitamin D Council statement responds:

“Disturbingly, this FNB committee focused on bone health… and ignored the thousands of studies from the last ten years… Tens of millions of pregnant women and their breast-feeding infants are severely vitamin D deficient, resulting in a great increase in the medieval disease, rickets. The FNB report seems to reason that if so many pregnant women have low vitamin D blood levels then it must be OK because such low levels are so common…

“Pregnant women taking 400 IU/day have the same blood levels as pregnant women not taking vitamin D; that is, 400 IU is a meaninglessly small dose for pregnant women. Even taking 2,000 IU/day of vitamin D will only increase the vitamin D levels of most pregnant women by about 10 points, depending mainly on their weight. Professor Bruce Hollis has shown that 2,000 IU/day does not raise vitamin D to healthy or natural levels in either pregnant or lactating women. Therefore supplementing with higher amounts — like 5000 IU/day — is crucial for those women who want their fetus to enjoy optimal vitamin D levels, and the future health benefits that go along with it.

“My advice, especially for pregnant women: continue taking 5,000 IU/day until your 25(OH)D is between 50–80 ng/mL (the vitamin D blood levels obtained by humans who live and work in the sun and the mid-point of the current reference ranges at all American laboratories).

“Gestational vitamin D deficiency is not only associated with rickets, but a significantly increased risk of neonatal pneumonia, a doubled risk for preeclampsia, a tripled risk for gestational diabetes, and a quadrupled risk for primary cesarean section.

“Today, the FNB has failed millions of pregnant women whose as yet unborn babies will pay the price. Let us hope the FNB will comply with the spirit of “transparency” by quickly responding to our Freedom of Information requests.”

How To Get Enough Vitamin D

There are 3 ways for adults to ensure adequate levels of vitamin D: (Vitamin D Council recommendations)

  • regularly receive midday sun exposure in the late spring, summer, and early fall, exposing as much of the skin as possible for 20–30 minutes (being careful to never burn). (Those with dark skin will need longer exposure time — up to six times longer.)
  • regularly use a sun bed (avoiding sunburn) during the colder months.
  • take 5,000 IU per day for 2–3 months, then obtain a 25-hydroxyvitamin D test. Adjust your dosage so that blood levels are between 50–80 ng/mL (or 125–200 nM/L) year-round.

Checklist: What you need to Buy for Baby’s Arrival

Layette (baby clothes, for those who need translation!)

  • 8-10 bodysuits or onesies (like little undershirts that snap at the crotch)
  • 4-6 one-piece PJ’s
  • 2 blanket sleepers for winter nights (these are like little wearable sleeping bags, very handy for drafty daytimes, too)
  • 1-3 rompers or other “dressy” outfits
  • 4 pairs of socks, or booties (I find that socks often fall off and get lost. You’re better off with footsie pajamas if it’s cold weather)
  • 2-3 hats (sun-hats with brims for summer baby, warm  hats that cover ears for winter baby)
  • Bunting bag or fleece suit for winter outing

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Nursery

You can skip some of this for a while if you plan on keeping baby nearby (which is best in my personal opinion), either in a bedside bassinetter or in your own bed.

  • Crib, cradle or bassinet (follow safety guidelines)
  • Firm, flat mattress that fits snugly into crib
  • 2 washable mattress pads
  • 2-4 fitted sheets
  • 4 soft, light receiving blankets
  • 1-2 heavier blankets for winter
  • Comfy chair for nursing, or pillows to prop yourself up in bed
  • Baby monitor, if you will out of hearing range of baby’s room
  • Nightlight (this is for you, to make nighttime feeding and changing easier)
  • Dresser for storing baby clothes and paraphernalia
  • Swing or bouncy chair

Diapering station

It’s nice to have a changing station where you have everything handy for changing your baby. But you can always improvise by putting a changing pad down on your bed or on top of a dresser (never leave baby alone there, of course).

  • Changing table or cushioned changing pad
  • Changing table pad cover
  • Diaper pail and liners (optional but handy)
  • Diaper cream
  • Unscented baby wipes (these are supposed to cause less irritation, although simply rinsing baby’s bottom in the sink is even better!)
  • Disposable newborn-size diapers, or 6-10 dozen cloth diapers and 6-8 diaper covers

Bath

Again, you can improvise when baby is small by plugging up a  bathroom sink,  lining it with a towel (to keep baby from slipping around) and filling it with warm water.

  • Baby bathtub
  • Baby shampoo (can use for hair and body)
  • 2-4 soft towels/hooded baby towels
  • 2-4 soft washcloths

Feeding

For nursing moms:

  • 1-3 nursing bras (Start with one size larger than your maternity bra, as breasts swell right after birth. After a couple weeks you can purchase additional bras.)
  • Nursing pads (bra inserts that protect you if you leak)
  • Nipple cream (alleviates soreness for beginner breast feeders)
  • Nursing pillow (props baby up so you don’t hurt your back by curling up over him)
  • Pump and milk storage bags (in case you ever need to leave baby for an extended amount of time)

For bottle feeding mothers:

  • 10-16 bottles and nipples, both four and eight ounce
  • Liners, for disposable bottles
  • Bottle warmer (cuts down on nighttime trips to and from the kitchen)
  • Bottle sterilizer (some dishwashers have one)
  • Bottle brush
  • Formula (if not nursing)
  • 4-8 bibs
  • Burp cloths/cloth diapers
  • High chair (not necessary until baby can sit up on his own)
  • 2-4 pacifiers

Medicine Cabinet

  • Baby nail clippers
  • Cotton balls (to clean baby’s nose, ears, umbilical cord)
  • Baby thermometer
  • Bulb syringe/nasal aspirator
  • Infant acetaminophen (Tylenol) and medicine dropper
  • Antibiotic cream and sterile gauze (for circumcision care)

Travel

  • Infant or convertible car seat
  • Stroller (reclining for infants)
  • Diaper bag
  • Changing pad
  • Baby carrier/sling

If you can check off most of the things on these lists, then  you are probably ready for for the stork’s special delivery. Congratulations!!

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