Essential Equipment

Safety Car Seat

You will need a safety car seat before leaving the hospital. Consider buying one that is convertible and usable until you child reaches 40 lbs and 40 inches. Until you child reaches one year of age and weights more than 20 pounds, the car seat should be facing backwards. If you are not sure about the proper installation of your car seat, you may consult with the local fire department. Car seats must conform to federal safety standards and many times are ranked in consumer magazines. Do not purchase a used car seat because you do not know if it has been in a car accident or not.

For more info and detailed regulations, please read the AAP's section on car seats.

Crib

Safety is a big issue with cribs. Federal safety standards require that all cribs built after 1974 have space between the crib bars of more than 2 3/8 inches. That is approximately the width of 3 fingers. The reason for that is so the infant cannot get his head trapped in between the bars. The mattress should also have an exact fit, so there is no space for the baby to get trapped in. Bumper pads are really unnecessary in the first few months, since the baby will not be moving much, and it leads to another area where baby's head can get stuck.

Bottles and Nipples

If you plan on breastfeeding, you probably only need 3-4 bottles in case you need to supplement with formula or give pumped breast milk. If you will be feeding you baby formula, you need about 10 bottles with nipples. Make sure you have several bottle brushes and a drying rack for the bottles.

Nasal Suction Bulb

You will most likely be given one at the hospital, but make sure you have at least one in the house. It helps clean out your baby's nose from secretions and you can use it to also help baby's mouth clean from spit up as well. At times, we may instruct you to use infant nasal saline drops in order to clear out the more sticky and dry secretions

Thermometer

The most accurate way to check your baby's temperature is with a rectal thermometer. You may use a digital one that will obtain a reading in about 30 seconds.

Some other pieces of equipment that may be helpful are: - Changing table - Swing - Humidifier - Stroller - Playpen - Highchair (5-6 months) - Gates (after walking age) - Safety gadgets

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