Expecting a new baby is an exciting time, but it can also be exhausting – especially the first few days home from the hospital. To ensure you have everything on hand for feeding baby, we’ve compiled the following list of essentials:
- Bottled water
- Nursing pillow
- Nursing bras
- Breast pump (sometimes insurance will cover cost)
- Collection bottles and bags for storing breast milk
- Nursing pads
- Nipple cream
- Contact number or email for trained, lactation professional if breast-feeding becomes difficult
If formula feeding:
- Mix of 2-, 4- and 8-ounce bottles and nipples
- Bottle warmer (can warm bottle in pan of water, but never heat bottle in microwave)
- Bottle brush or steam sterilizer for cleaning bottles
- Bottle basket if using dishwasher to clean bottles
- Baby bibs and burp cloths
- Iron-fortified formula
- Nursery® water for mixing formula
- Pacifier – if you choose
Of course, what goes in must come out. In fact, you’ll change your baby’s diaper at least 6 times daily after the first week of life. While you may be tempted to buy a truckload of diapers, it’s best to buy in small amounts as babies grow quickly.
If your partner is pregnant, she’s probably paying extra attention to her health at this important time. But, did you know that your health is also key for baby’s well-being? So, if you’re due for an annual check-up, make an appointment. Your healthcare provider will make sure you’re up to date on vaccines and will screen for health conditions such as obesity, pre-diabetes and high blood pressure. And consider the following healthy steps:
- If you smoke, stop. Infants who are exposed to secondhand smoke are at increased risk for sudden infant death syndrome or SIDS.
- If you haven’t seen the dentist in a while, make an appointment. Routine professional dental care for parents may actually have a positive impact on a baby’s health.
- If your diet is in need of an overhaul or you need more physical activity, now is the perfect time. Research shows dad’s weight correlates with childhood obesity.
Once your baby arrives, be patient. It takes about 6 weeks for most women to feel better after giving birth. Be aware that not only women suffer from postpartum depression (PPD); dads do as well. Contact your healthcare provider if you suspect you or your partner is suffering from PPD.
Water is one of the body’s most essential nutrients; however, healthy babies do not need extra water for the first six months of life because it exists naturally in breast milk and is added to formula. Giving babies extra water can be dangerous as it can disturb the baby’s electrolytes and potentially lead to seizures. So, when can baby start drinking water?
- According to the American Academy of Pediatrics at about six months, most babies are eating solids, and it’s okay to introduce a few sips of water at this time
- If it’s hot outside, you can give baby a little extra water, but always check with your pediatrician as to how much
- After the first year, the recommendation for toddlers is about five and a half cups of water each day, but that includes water from all food and beverages
And, remember, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends breast milk or formula as baby’s sole source of nutrition for the first six months of life and a major source of nutrition for the first year. So, at six months, give baby a few sips, but don’t fill her up on water.