Wednesday, August 20, 2014

10 things you need before baby comes

You could fill a book with all the things you want, but what do you really need now, rather than down the track?
10 things you need before baby comes
We’ve narrowed it down to 10 items that are must haves before the Big Day.

1. Child car-restraint

The Australian Standard is one of the world’s strictest, and all available car restraints meet it. You’ll need a rear-facing restraint to start with (from newborn to 9 kgs), which must be correctly installed.
What to look for:

  • Easy to install and use
  • Compatible with many vehicle types
  • Good range of harness adjustment

Safety tip: Always use the recommended restraint for your child’s age and weight. Don’t change the restraint style too early.

2. Cot or bassinette

Bassinets are quickly outgrown, but many parents find them useful because of their mobility. There are three types: acrylic on a frame, mesh portables, or traditional Moses baskets. Ensure it fits properly on the stand and that the wheels are lockable.
Cots are more than beds. They’re a place where your baby will sleep, play – and, eventually, climb out of. What to look for:
  • Sturdy, quality materials, a smooth fi nish
  • Bars between 5cm and 8.5cm apart
  • Check for loose screws, sharp corners, knots in the wood, cracks, splinters
  • Mattress must be fi rm and tight-fi tting, with no gaps
  • Childproof locking device, with clearly distinct locked and unlocked modes.

3. Changing table

Babies go through at least 10 nappies a day, so you need to feel comfortable, without bending, and with everything you need to hand. Available styles range from sturdy permanent ones to light fold-up ones.
  • Choose one with convenient shelves, storage for baby clothes and a washable pad.
  • Ensure collapsible frames are firmly locked before use. Many babies are injured rolling off change tables. 

Look for a model that has:
  • Strap-on restraints
  • Roll-off protection: raised sides or rails

Safety tip: Never leave a baby unattended on a table, even to grab something from across the room or answer a phone. Always take them with you.

4. Bedding

Small babies need very little in the way of bedding. SIDS Australia does not recommend pillows, doonas, quilts or cot bumpers. Use sheets and blankets that can be tucked-in tightly. Choose fitted sheets and lightweight blankets in cotton.

5. Stroller

Strollers range from sports models to classic carriages, but the basic types are:
  • Pramettes – a pram/stroller combo
  • Umbrella strollers that fold up easily
  • Layback strollers – drop-down back rests
  • 3-wheeler strollers
  • Doubles: side-by-side or front-to-back.

What’s best for you? Ask yourself:
  • Are there lots of footpaths and steps where I live? Will it negotiate supermarket aisles? Will I take it jogging or walking?
  • Will it fit in the car boot easily? Does it fold up easily for getting on the bus?

Safety tip: Strollers don’t have to meet the Australian Standard, but make sure yours does. Check out harness, brakes, wheels and stability. Watch for gaps, sharp bits and protrusions.

6. Baby carrier

A baby carrier, pouch or sling is the best way to transport small children while you’re out and about. Many mums want newborns on the front, facing in. But by 4 months babies are looking out at the world and are happy carried front or back. Some convert from in- to out-facing, and from front- to back-loading, as baby grows. Borrow a friend’s baby and try a few in the shop. Whichever you choose, check for:
  • Broad, well-padded shoulder straps
  • Broad hip or waist strap for even weight distribution and stability
  • Easy to adjust, put on and take off
  • Good head support for the early months
  • Well-finished seams for baby’s comfort
  • Dribble-proof parts, easy to clean
  • Convenient storage pockets.

7. Baby bath

Yes, you can wash your baby at the kitchen sink, but many first-time mothers find that modern feature-laden baby baths give them more confidence when handling a slippery baby. These come with safety nets, supports, temperature gauges and so on, to help a mum through the first months.
Safety tip: it’s not recommended to take a newborn into the bath with you. And never leave a baby unattended in the bath, not even for a second!

8. Monitor & night-light

On the baby unit, look for:
  • Mains and battery operation
  • Night light if you need one

On the parent unit, look for:
  • Belt-clip, mains and battery operation
  • Volume control
  • Light display to indicate sound levels

9. Baby clothes & accessories

  • 6 nighties or jumpsuits, 4 tops, 6 singlets or body suits size 0000 to 00
  • Hand mitts, socks/booties, sunhat/beanie
  • Lightweight cotton wraps in muslin or flannelette. Sleeping bag for travel
  • Nappies: 2-3 dozen cloth or disposables (60-80 per week)
  • 2 soft towels, 4 washers, 4 burping towels
  • Nappy-changing products: cotton balls, sorbolene, baby wipes
  • Bottles, teats, sterilising kit.

10. Your personal items

Before you get to use any of the above products, you’ve got a hospital (or home birth) experience to get through. Your state health department, hospital or midwife can advise you on what to pack or have ready.
Some new purchases include:

  • Maternity bras for breastfeeding
  • Ditto for a nightdress
  • Maternity pads
  • Breast pump, nipple shields
  • Refreshing toiletries like aromatherapy oils for relaxing, soothing body lotions, mineral-water face spray to revive yourself.

Selective screening

Make the most of your time before the baby arrives to shop around for essential buys. Before buying, apply this screening test:
  • Safety: Must conform to the Australian Standard, especially if buying second-hand
  • Cost: Is it good value? Do you really need the latest model? Try e-bay for bargains
  • Function and design: Is it easy to use/fold down, the right height, washable? Take an experienced mum friend with you.

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