Preparing to bring home baby
After nine long months, it’s almost time to meet your little one! During this exciting and emotional time, taking the steps to prepare for your newborn will help make your transition into parenthood as smooth as possible.
“While cute clothes and a nursery theme are part of the fun, it’s important to stock up on items to help care for your baby,” says Dr. Christopher Holtz, a board-certified pediatrician at Geisinger Mountain Top. Before you bring home your little one, here are some newborn essentials every new parent should have.
- Wellness kit
When considering the diapers, clothes, toys and other essentials, something that may be an afterthought is a wellness kit. A wellness kit contains everyday items used to care for a baby. Every household should have a thermometer, a comb, a bulb syringe, and nail clippers. These tools are vital for your baby’s daily care. Thermometers and bulb syringes are crucial during sickness.
“A bulb syringe is a must. Suctioning is necessary, especially when the body is producing so much mucus because of illness,” explains Dr. Holtz. “A newborn’s cough reflexes aren’t fully developed, so they need help getting rid of the excess mucus.”
And because babies aren’t in full control of their muscle movements, be prepared to trim sharp nails that can potentially scratch their delicate skin. Another smart addition to the wellness kit is a cool mist vaporizer. These humidifiers add moisture to the air, which help ease coughing and congestion.
- Safety gear
Your newborn may not be ready to open doors or climb baby gates, but new parents should consider stocking up on safety gear. As your child grows, safety locks, outlet covers, and baby gates can help protect him or her. Before they become mobile, they will need a rear-facing car seat with a Latch system or seatbelt. Be sure to get it checked by a certified child passenger safety technician to keep your little one safe on the road. At home, install a smoke detector and a carbon monoxide detector.
“Carbon monoxide can be extremely dangerous, especially in the winter. Without a detector, there are no warning signs, and high level of exposure can lead to sickness or death,” says Dr. Holtz. Always be cautious when it comes to the health and welfare of your baby.
- Medicines, ointments and creams
When you bring baby home, the last thing you want is to see them in discomfort. It’s important to be prepared to handle any rashes, fevers or upset tummies to soothe your little one quickly. Every nursery should have diaper cream and Vaseline® for chapped cheeks or a red bottom Additionally, a gentle skin cream is perfect for baby’s dry skin. Nasal saline can clear a stuffy nose and Mylicon® drops can tame a gassy stomach. If your child is running a fever, you should have Infants’ Tylenol® at the ready. Before giving any medication to a baby, especially one under the age of 3 months, talk to your pediatrician.
“Everything is new to your baby, just like it’s new for the parents,” says Dr. Holtz. “If you are unsure of what your baby needs, don’t hesitate to contact your pediatrician.”
You want to treasure every moment with your newborn. Taking care of these essentials will help ease your transition into parenthood.
Christopher Holtz, DO, is a pediatrician at Geisinger’s Mountain Top clinic. If you’re interested in scheduling an appointment for your child with Dr. Holtz or one of our caring pediatricians, call 800-275-6401 or visit Geisinger.org.