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Preparing for a Newborn

Preparing your home for a newborn is an exciting and challenging time. Provided below are a few tips and checklists for planning for a newborn, starting with some tips prior to pregnancy and ending with your first follow up visit at the pediatrician’s office.

Prenatal Planning

  • Visit your primary care physician to review your immunization history as certain infections can be detrimental to a developing fetus if caught by a pregnant woman, such as rubella
  • Avoid alcohol, reduce/stop drinking caffeine, start exercising, drink more water, eat a balanced diet
  • Start prenatal vitamins before getting pregnant which help reduce the incidence of spinal cord disorders in the first month of the fetus’ development

Purchasing a Crib

  • All new cribs/bassinets meet current safety standards, if you will be using a hand-me-down crib, ensure that crib slats are spaced no more than 60mm (2 3/8 inches) apart
  • Purchase a firm mattress that fits snugly in the crib/bassinet
  • Do not place your baby on a waterbed, sofa, soft mattress, or pillow to sleep
  • Do not place soft products in the crib (pillows, comforters, soft toys)
  • Always place your baby on his/her back to sleep

Purchasing a Car Seat

  • The National Health Safety Transportation Administration offers recommendations for choosing a car seat, car seat checking centers, and car seat ratings online at www.nhtsa.dot.gov
  • If you buy an infant-only seat, you will need a convertible seat later.
  • Your infant will need to remain in a backseat rear-facing car seat until he or she is 1 year and weighs 20 pounds
  • Have your car seat inspected – www.seatcheck.org (1-866-SEAT-CHECK)

Preparing for Breast/Bottle Feeding

  • Find local breastfeeding classes – www.llli.org (1-800-LALECHE )
  • Purchase breast pump if planning to breastfeeding and at least 2 nursing bras
  • If bottle feeding, start with standard bottles and purchase both slow flow and standard flow silicon nipples

Miscellaneous Supplies to Purchase

  • Large diaper bag – You will need about 10 disposable diapers a day for the first few weeks
  • Baby wipes
  • Bulb syringe for cleaning baby’s nose
  • Rectal thermometer
  • Baby brush and comb
  • Baby nail clippers or scissors
  • Three to six receiving blankets
  • Clothing (it is best to get more 6-8 month old garments with a few newborn items, be sure to wash all baby clothes, bedding, and towels in baby detergent before using)

Other Information

  • Check out www.healthychildren.org for more in depth discussion of supplies and information on preparing for a newborn, including preparing older siblings for a baby and the latest safety information on infant products.

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