All newborns need love and closeness. They also need clean diapers, food, sleep and regular visits to a pediatrician. Here is a list of the top 10 items that all new moms need!

Parents with child1. Car seat—You will want to purchase a car seat well before the baby’s birth.  Car seats (and booster seats) should always be purchased new, never used. Used car seats are a huge safety concern because you can’t trace a complete history of a used car seat. A crash or fender bender can damage the integrity of the seat even if you can’t see it from the outside. The seat also may have been recalled. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends the safest place for infants is facing the rear of the car in the center back seat. For reassurance, call 314.454.KIDS (5437) to make an appointment with Safety Stop to have your car seat properly installed.   

2. Diapers—You will need to decide whether to use disposable or cloth diapers. Newborns typically need a diaper change after every feeding, which is every three to four hours during the first few months of life. A few extra cloth diapers will be handy to use as burp cloths, otherwise you will need to purchase burp cloths. Don’t forget the diaper bag and baby wipes!

3. Clothing—Make sure baby’s clothing is simple to get off and on, and makes for easy diaper changes (think snaps here). Sleep sacks are a safer alternative than blankets to prevent SIDS, and they also keep your infant calm and secure. And for mom, have on hand a comfortable pair of pants since you might not fit back into your old clothes right away.

4. Crib or bassinet—These must have a firm, snug-fitting mattress. Soft bedding should be avoided. Since 1992 when the American Academy of Pediatrics began to recommend placing all babies on their backs for sleep, deaths from sudden infant death syndrome have dramatically declined. In October 2011, the American Academy of Pediatrics expanded their recommendations to include sharing a bedroom with your infant, but not sharing a bed. Also, make sure the crib is away from any curtains or blind cords. Crib slats should be no more than 2 3/8-inches apart. Beds with sides that move up and down need to have a secured latch. Newer beds do not have movable sides and are considered safer. Make sure all hardware is tight and secure.

5. Health needs—A bulb syringe, baby nail clippers, diaper rash cream and a digital thermometer for temperature taking are essential items.

6. Healthy snacks for mom—When on the run, foods like protein bars, yogurt, nuts and fresh fruits will provide the essentials a new mom may need to keep healthy.

7. Pediatrician—A good pediatrician and regular visits to keep up to date on immunizations are important for your child. If you are looking for a pediatrician, call our Physician Referral specialists at 314.454.KIDS (5437).

8. Good Resources:

  • The Family Resource Center at St. Louis Children’s Hospital is a great resource for questions about growth, sleep or your baby’s health.
  • Kid Care, St. Louis Children’s Hospital’s free app to help diagnose pediatric symptoms, is available for the iPhone and the Android Market.
  • StLouisChildrens.org is a trusted website for all your child’s healthcare needs.
  • My Child Is Sick! Expert Advice for Managing Common Illnesses and Injuries by Barton D. Schmitt, MD
  • The Happiest Baby on the Block by Dr. Harvey Karp is a great resource for learning how to swaddle, cuddle and calm your baby.

9. Bouncy seat and pacifier—For those times you need to lay your baby down to tend to other things. It’s nice to have another place to lay your baby safely and still keep him or her close to you. A few pacifiers on hand can save the day if your baby is having a fussy spell. 

10. Breast feeding support—The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends new moms breastfeed their infants at least during the first six months of their newborn’s life. Not only does breast milk provide the perfect nutrition, but the immunities mom passes on in her milk will serve to keep the baby healthy. Even if you nurse, you will need a few baby bottles to store pumped or expressed milk. Which brings us to the subject of a breast pump—you might find this essential if you are breastfeeding. Dad or grandparents can take a turn feeding the baby so that you might be able to catch up on a little sleep. A rocking chair or glider is an ideal place to feed your baby, and a comfortable pillow will keep your arms and back from becoming strained. Keeping a good water bottle close by will keep mom well hydrated.

This article was written by Sue Griffard, RN, a pediatric nurse on the St. Louis Children’s Hospital Answer Line.

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