Millennials are having babies later in life. In fact, 2019 marked the very first year that there were more new moms in their 30s than in their 20s, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Whatever age you plan to welcome your first bundle of joy, the fact remains that some of us have very little experience with babies prior to holding our newborn child in our arms.
Put Your Baby's Comfort First: Think About Grooming And Bedding Needs
If you haven't heard already, there are some sobering facts for new parents. One of the messiest realities (literally) is that babies need their diapers changed an average of 10 times per day--or 70 times per week! Don't worry. Biology prepares us for these realities and releases a cocktail of feel-good hormones, like oxytocin, to help you bond with your baby and get through most diapers with relative ease. You do need to make sure you are prepared, however. Here is what you need to do:
- Stock up on these items for your baby's nursery and diaper bag: diapers, baby wipes, diaper cream, changing pads or paper diaper changing liners, at least one extra change of clothes, odor-containing diaper disposal bags, and cotton balls. During the first few weeks of your baby's life, the What to Expect foundation recommends cleaning your baby after changing their dirty diaper with a sterile, slightly damp cotton ball. In the nursery, you may want to invest in a diaper bin or bucket with a lid and a tight seal.
- For bathtime and grooming, purchase baby oil, baby bath soap, baby shampoo, Vaseline, a soft baby brush, a baby bath, a lightweight plastic cup, soft washcloths, and hooded baby towels. Whenever possible, opt for safety! Remember that portable baby bathtubs manufactured after 2017 include new safety features, making them the preferred option. Similarly, consider purchasing a soft, collapsible plastic cup for rinsing. That way, if you drop the cup--new parents are tired and new babies are squirmy!--or your infant grabs it, there are no accidents or injuries. Your baby needs a bath in mild water two to three times per week. Just two or three inches of water in the bath is more than enough, and make sure to test the temperature with a thermometer.
- Finally, it's time for your tot to go to sleep! The good news is that newborn babies sleep fully 16 hours per day, even if it doesn't always quite feel like it. Equip the nursery with lightweight sheets for babies; these may include fitted crib sheets and/or waterproof bedding. Even if you choose the best quality cloth or disposable diapers, occasional leaks are bound to happen! That means baby-safe, waterproof bedding is a must to keep your baby's crib intact and odor-free.
Nursing And Feeding Essentials
With diapers, baby oil, baby shampoo, and waterproof bedding purchased, you may think you have all you need. Think again! Babies are a big responsibility.
Don't forget nursing pillows, nursing pads, nursing tops, breastmilk storage bags, and a soft cloth to clean your baby's face after feeding if you plan to breastfeed. If you choose not to, have bottles, extra bottle nipples, and bottle brushes handy. Keep in mind that breastfeeding does not always go off without a hitch. Have bottles and formula ready just in case you end up needing them, even if you plan to breastfeed most of the time.
Formula-feeding can feed babies two or three ounces at a time. Babies may breastfeed for a total of 20 to 30 minutes per feeding. Generally speaking, doctors recommend feeding babies as often as they seem hungry--or as often as they cry--during the newborn stages.
Having a newborn is not as straightforward as you might think. Be kind to yourself, and patient with your partner. Put together a hospital bag well before the baby is born, and have cribs and waterproof bedding set up and ready to go several months in advance.