By Jorge Rubal M.D.
CEO and Medical Director of Laguna Beach Community Clinic
As a father to a newborn myself, we have recently lived through the preparation needed to be ready for a new addition to the family. With so many fancy (and expensive) gadgets on the market, it can be overwhelming to decide what is truly needed and what is extraneous. However, it certainly has come a long way from the days in Cuba when my grandmother would place my uncle in a dresser drawer to sleep.
Here is a handy checklist for tried and true items for the new baby – since he’s our third, we’ve pared down our shopping list.
Hospital Bag for Baby
At least one outfit (ideally two to three) for photo ops. You’ll likely take a family photo as you’re leaving the hospital, so it’s nice to have a special outfit on baby, too.
–Swaddling blankets. Learn from our mistake; we used the hospital-provided blanket and cap, which, though green and pink in person, photographed as very pink. We then had to field many questions about whether the ultrasonographer had been mistaken about our boy. We kept our son in a comfortable top and then used the blankets when family would come over. Bonus – it also calms baby.
–Cap. A lot of heat is lost from the head, and especially with the current weather, it will keep baby warm.
–Diapers and wipes. The hospital usually provides these for you, but you can bring extra for the car ride home if you prefer a certain brand.
–Pacifier. This is controversial, but we brought it just in case there was a lot of crying on the way home from the hospital. Critics worry that it will create nipple confusion and decrease the success of breastfeeding.
Hospital Bag for Mom
–Nursing bra and (even better) camisoles
–Nursing pads, either disposable or reusable
–Period panties and sanitary pads
–Robe and pajamas
–Toiletries, including toothbrush
–And don’t forget your electronic chargers to keep your devices powered!
At Home Necessities
–Somewhere to sleep. Most parents use a bassinet when their baby is a newborn, because it provides a smaller space that better mimics the womb, is typically smaller than a crib and so can be placed close to your bed and may even have features that allow you to stay in bed while getting (caring for) baby. In our experience, we didn’t need a crib until three to six months. Remember to always put your infant on his or her back to sleep.
–Diapers. You will go through a lot of these. In our experience, it was best to test out before buying in bulk as each of our kids had rashes to different diaper brands.
–Wipes. We love the plain dry cloths that can be moistened with water in order to minimize chemicals (and, consequently, rashes).
–Emollients. Clearly, we’ve dealt with a lot of diaper rash. We typically use a zinc oxide based cream. If the rash significantly worsened and looked fungal in nature, we would occasionally put a very small amount of over the counter anti-fungal cream on first.
–Carrier. This is essential. A newborn typically likes to be carried (you can’t spoil a newborn and so you may be carrying your baby a good amount). This allows you to continue to multitask while the baby is awake. We use the more structured carriers, mostly because the slings seemed complicated to put on.
–Swing. Our favorite swing is the Fisher Price Snugabuny with smart technology, it rocks and has a moving mobile that keeps our son entertained.
–Swaddle. This really helped us get the baby to fall (and stay) asleep. There are amazingly easy ones that have Velcro or zippers.
Of course, this is not comprehensive, but will hopefully be a useful jumping off point to begin readying your place for baby.