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Newborn Equipment Checklist

Here's a checklist of what you should have on hand before your baby arrives. This was adapted in part from Consumer Reports, an excellent resource for recommended baby items. You can research specific brands of equipment at http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/babies-kids/index.htm .

Tooling around
_____Car seat (look for an infant model that accommodates a baby to at least 20 pounds- the Chicco KeyFit 30 can be used for babies up to 30 pounds and 30 inches- http://www.chiccousa.com/gear/car-seats/keyfit-30-extreme.aspx .)
_____Stroller (a frame that can be used with an infant car-seat is handy for the first few months. An infant is ready for an umbrella stroller at about 6 months of age.)

Beds and linens
_____Crib.
_____Crib mattress.
_____Bassinet/cradle (if you don't want to put your baby in a crib right away).
_____Two to three fitted crib sheets.
_____Four or more cotton receiving blankets for swaddling baby. Stiffer blankets swaddle better.
_____Two mattress pads.
_____One to two waterproof liners (for crib or bassinet).
We DO NOT recommend crib bumpers, or any soft toys/pillows/blankets in the crib or bassinet. Sleep “wedges” are not necessary.

Diaper duty
_____Diapers. Disposables: One 40-count package of newborn (birth weight under 8 pounds) or of size 1 (birth weight over 8 pounds). Cloth: Two to three dozen, plus six to 10 snap-on, waterproof outer pants, OR eight to 10 all-in-ones or diaper system covers; two to three dozen diaper system inserts.
_____Diaper pail (with refills or bags as needed).
_____Diaper bag.

Dressing baby
_____Four sleep sacks (like long nightgowns with elastic on the bottom- for easy changing)
_____Six side-snap T-shirts.
_____Six one-piece undershirts (onesies) that snap around the crotch.
_____A small baby cap (although the hospital will probably give you one).
_____Six pairs socks/booties. Footed outfits are easier.
_____Four to five soft, comfortable daytime outfits. Get with attached feet if a cool-weather baby. Avoid snaps/buttons up the back. Zippers are great (see Hanna Anderson one piece outfits.) Get only a few items in newborn size. Then, go for clothing in the 3-6 month size--your baby will grow into it quickly. But don't buy baby sleepwear that's too big--it's a safety hazard.
_____Cotton sweater or light jacket.

Summer babies (can substitute short outfits for long sleeved/footed outfits)
_____Brimmed hat.

Winter babies
_____Snowsuit with attached mittens or fold-over cuffs, or heavy bunting.
_____Heavy stroller blanket or carseat “BundleMe”.
_____Warm knit hat.

Feeding time
If you're planning to breast-feed:
_____Three to five nursing bras.
_____A box of washable or disposable breast pads.
_____Breast pump if you expect to use one (manual or electric).
_____Four small baby bottles with newborn nipples for storing expressed breast milk.
_____Bottle-drying tree.
_____Bottle brush.
_____Insulated bottle holder for diaper bag (the hospital may give you one).
_____Three packs of cloth diapers or burp cloths.
If you're planning to bottle-feed:
_____Six 4- to 5-ounce bottles, plus nipples, rings, and a dishwasher basket if you use a dishwasher. No sterilizer necessary.

Bathing/Grooming
_____Plastic infant bathtub.
_____Three soft hooded towels.
_____Two packs of baby washcloths.
_____Twelve plain cotton diapers (all purpose burp clothes, bassinet liners, etc.)
_____Baby body wash that doubles as shampoo.
_____Pair of baby-sized nail clippers and baby nailfile
_____Zinc-oxide-based diaper rash ointment (a tub of Triple Paste will last until your child is potty trained!)
_____Soft brush and comb.
_____Mild laundry detergent (Dreft, Ivory Snow, or other fragrance/color-free detergent)
BABY WIPES are not initially necessary- try using warm water and a washcloth or soft paper towels to avoid irritation by chemicals. A refillable, travel size packet of wipes- fragrance and alcohol free- is useful for the diaper bag.

Medicine chest essentials
_____Digital rectal thermometer (Rectal temperatures are preferred in infants, but in a pinch you can take an axillary (underarm) temperature and add a degree. Ear thermometers are best for children over one year old. We do not recommend old-fashioned glass thermometers because if they break, the mercury is hazardous.)
_____Infant acetaminophen drops (for pain/fever, DO NOT USE without consulting a physician)
_____Cotton balls
_____Q-Tips
_____Nasal aspirator (take the one in the bassinet from the hospital)
_____Saline nasal drops for infants
_____Rubbing alcohol.
_____Petroleum jelly or A&D ointment
_____Calibrated medicine dropper (1 teaspoon or 5 ml size)
_____Oral rehydration solution such as Pedialyte (check expiration date- you may not need this for a while)

Keeping baby happy
_____Pacifiers.

Extras: Nice but optional
_____Baby monitor.
_____Changing table.
_____A rocker or glider.
_____Sling or strap-on soft carrier (such as a Baby Bjorn- be sure to check weight requirements)
_____Boppy, a doughnut-shape pillow designed to make holding baby during breastfeeding or
bottlefeeding easier.
_____Nursing coverup. Attaches at your neck and allows for private breastfeeding when you and your baby are in public.
_____Infant swing.
_____Bouncy seat.
_____Cool mist vaporizer
_____Night-light.
Guidelines on Making Layette Choices
Here are some suggestions to keep in mind when selecting items for your newborn:
  • Buy big. Unless your baby is born prematurely or is very small, she probably will outgrow “newborn” sizes in a matter of days—if she ever fits into them at all! Even three- month sizes may be outgrown within the first month. You’ll want a couple of garments that your child can wear in the very beginning, but concentrate on larger sizes for the rest of the wardrobe. Your baby won’t mind if her clothes are slightly large for a while, or if she wears the same outfit every day.
  • To avoid injury from a garment that catches fire, all children should wear flame-retardant sleepwear and clothing. Make sure the label indicates this. These garments should be washed in laundry detergents, not soap, because soap will wash out the flame retardant. Check garment labels and product information to determine which detergents to use.
  • Make sure the crotch opens easily for diaper changes.
  • Avoid any clothing that pulls tightly around the neck, arms, or legs or has ties or cords. These clothes are not only safety hazards, but are also uncomfortable.
  • Avoid pacifier cords/strings- they can get caught around an infant’s neck.
  • Check washing instructions. Clothing for children of all ages should be washable and require little or no ironing.
  • Do not put shoes on a newborn’s feet. Shoes are not necessary until after she starts to walk. Worn earlier, they can interfere with the growth of her feet. The same is true of socks and footed pajamas if they’re too small and worn for a prolonged period of time.
  • A trip down the children's medication aisle is enough to give any parent an ulcer, but for now remember one thing: Never give any medicine to your newborn without first checking with the pediatrician. Always measure medicines with calibrated droppers or spoons; you'll need a one-teaspoon medicine dropper.
 
Using an old-fashioned crib or high chair that’s been passed down is a quaint idea. But it’s better to skip the sentimentality and buy new because those older cribs and high chairs won’t meet all current safety standards and may be in disrepair. In fact, according to the Juvenile Product Manufacturer’s Association, each year, 50 babies suffocate or strangle from becoming trapped between broken crib parts or in cribs with older, unsafe designs. They advise consumers to buy a new crib instead of using an heirloom or buying a secondhand one.

If you must use an older crib, avoid those built before 2000, about a year after the latest voluntary standards for slat-attachment strength took effect. (Check the manufacture date on the crib label, which is required by law.) So if you have a crib you used with a pre-2000 baby, you really should get a new crib for your new baby. Buy the mattress at the same time to make sure you’ve got a snug fit. (If you can fit two fingers between the mattress and the crib frame, the mattress is too small, and therefore unsafe for baby.)

Before buying any used item, check the U.S. government’s recall Web site, www.recalls.gov, to make sure the high chair or crib you select hasn’t been recalled.

DO NOT PURCHASE USED CARSEATS. Any carseat that has been in an accident may not be safe- avoid such items without knowing their history.