Top 10 Must-Haves for New Parents
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6. Diapering equipment. A diaper-changing pad that fastens to the top of a chest or a dedicated changing table will simplify the 2,000 diaper changes parents face in the future. You'll also need an odor-resistant diaper pail for disposables, or a roomy pail for storing soiled fabric diapers until washday. Both types need a toddler-proof, locking lid.
7. Baby clothes. Newborns quickly outgrow tiny baby clothes, so buy just a few basics in that size. Include four or five tiny T-shirts with large neck openings, since babies hate having clothes pulled over their heads, and three or four long nightgowns with front snaps and elasticized skirts that make diapering easier at night. Other clothing items should be one or two sizes larger.
8. Baby bottles. Four small, four-ounce bottles with nipples are useful whether the baby will be bottle-fed or breastfed. Look for bottles that have a statement on their packaging that they are free of bisphenol-A and phthalates – chemicals used in plastic processing that are suspected of being unhealthy for babies.
9. Bathing supplies. Baby won't need a bath until her umbilical cord falls off, which may take weeks. Mild baby soap and shampoo will be needed, but skin lotions won't. Extra-soft towels are useful, and a small baby bathtub may make bathing easier.
10. Useful extras. These purchases don't fall into the "necessity" category, but could be considered comfort items: a miniature crib or bassinet for keeping baby by your side during the early months; a neutral-colored diaper bag that both Mom and Dad can use; a box of baby wipes and a wipe warmer; a soft front carrier that straps on parents' shoulders for carrying and soothing the baby.
The most important thing to remember when shopping for your baby is that the stores will still be open after your baby arrives. So don't feel pressured to have everything on board before you go to the hospital.
SANDY JONES and her daughter, MARCIE JONES, have co-authored a series of books over the past five years. Their newest, Great Expectations Best Baby Gear (Sterling Publishing, $14.95), is available this month. Other shared titles are Great Expectations: Your Baby's First Year (Sterling Publishing, 2007), Great Expectations Pregnancy Journal & Organizer(Sterling Publishing, 2005), and Great Expectations: Your All-in-One Resource for Pregnancy & Childbirth(Sterling Publishing, 2004).