> What to buy for baby, and what is NOT recommended
What to buy for baby, and what is NOT recommended
Many parents are excited to buy (or get as gifts) cute newborn things; however, many items sold for newborns are not safe. While we cannot present a comprehensive review of everything, these are common items that you need ... or need to avoid. Remember when choosing any purchase, spending more does not make it "better." Expensive brands can be recalled or have problems as well as less expensive models. In the picture, the baby is at risk of SIDS due to a bumper pad and stuffed toys in the bed.
Things you will need:
- Car seat:
- Register your new seat so that you will be notified of any recalls.
- Never buy a used car seat... you cannot verify it has not been in an accident.
- Use only car seats under 5 years old... did you know they expire?
- Be sure you know how to get it in your car properly before baby is born.
- Click here for more car seat information.
- Safe place for baby to sleep:
- A crib works well for many families, but often new parents desire to have the newborn in the parent room for a few months, when baby is up frequently feeding. A bassinet works well for this.
- Be sure there is no excess bedding: see below for details.
- Having several fitted sheets available is ideal... babies soil their clothing and bedding often!
- Receiving blankets that are big enough to wrap the baby in (or a sleep sack designed to make swaddling easier). Again, have a few because babies soil!
- Diapers: It is ideal to have several sizes available, and not too many newborn sized diapers... they grow fast!
- Clothing: Again, babies go through several outfits a day, so have these available. Don't get too many 0-3 month sizes... babies gain a pound every 2 weeks the first few months in a lot of cases!
- Burp cloths: Again, babies are messy... have these on hand. They are available cheaply as the old style "cloth diapers".
- Scent-free hypoallergenic laundry detergent. This does not have to be baby specific. I actually recommend buying hypoallergenic detergent for the whole family, because baby spends a lot of time being held close to parent's clothing!
- Humidifier or vaporizer: These are wonderful in the dry winter months, especially with upper respiratory infections. Never put medications in the vaporizers. Use only where you can insure no burns to your child(ren). Keep them clean to avoid build up of mold or other germs.
Things to Avoid:
- Car seat accessories: Anything that comes between baby and the seat/seat belt should be minimized. We don't even recommend thick clothing in the car seat because it allows too much "give" in an accident.
- Car seat covers that go behind baby add bulk and are not preferred. Car seat covers that have elastic and fit on top of the carrier are preferred ... or you can simply use blankets.
- Car seat toys that dangle from the handle are okay for use outside the car, but during the drive are not recommended. The toys sometimes make it difficult to properly click the car seat carrying handle into place. They also can hit a baby during a sudden stop. Your baby will not be able to see these toys when in the car.
- Be careful that any signs, window covering, mirrors, etc do not fall on your baby when driving in the car!
- Medications: Newborns should not take most medications unless directed by your provider. Exceptions include:
- Fever reducers (acetaminophen) can be used safely only after 2 months of age.
- Gas drops can be safely used if gas causes baby discomfort. Talk with our office for other ways to decrease gas (such as changing the bottle or changing feeding type).
- Gripe Water can be used for fussy babies or babies with colic. Be sure to pick a brand that does not have alcohol (read labels!)
- Bumper pads and comforter sets are not recommended at all by the American Academy of Pediatrics. They are expensive, and you can spend this money wisely elsewhere. Both bumper pads and comforters cause a risk of suffocation and should NEVER be used. Ties on the bumpers have strangulated babies. Newer "breathable" bumpers are available, but safety data is lacking and babies are safe without any bumper.
- Cotton tip swabs: Never put anything in your baby's ear ... even the "safe" cotton tip swabs. These can push wax deeper and increase plugging. Other cotton swabs can actually scratch the very sensitive lining of the ear or if inserted too deeply damage the eardrum. Clean the ear with a soft cloth or even a tissue paper.
- Lavender and Tea Tree Oil: These ingredients are sometimes added to baby products, but have been associated with premature puberty. Read labels and avoid these ingredients.
- Fancy thermometers: In our area, the hospital will send you home with a digital thermometer that can be used rectally or under the arm. Ear thermometers are not reliable in an infant's small ear canal. Pacifier thermometers, forehead strips, and other types of thermometers are not reliable. In the first few months of age it is critical if a baby has a fever, so an accurate thermometer is essential.
- Scented lotions and soaps: A baby's skin is very sensitive. Avoid harsh soaps, laundry detergents, and anything that smells great or is colored.
- Walkers: With so many options available for stationary play stations, there is no reason to get a walker with wheels for your baby. Far too many infants are injured with walkers. Saucers without wheels are a safe alternative.