Home Decor I was reading through a magazine this weekend and came upon this image…
Bringing Home Baby
New to parenting? Hoping to start a family in the next few months? Unless you’re very disciplined in your use of the internet and social media then you would have undoubtedly started that first foray into Google to see what it is you need to welcome home a new baby.
If you have done this then you’d be quite forgiven for feeling completely overwhelmed. The list of ‘absolute necessities’ for newborn babies is endless and confusing. Many such lists are unashamed sales points to advertise miracle sleeping solutions or clothes that your small baby simply won’t need.
In this article we take a realistic look and what life is like with a newborn over the first three months and what they really need in terms of equipment and clothing.
The Fourth Trimester
Why did we choose to look at the first three months? Because to many this is known as the fourth trimester. For nine months your baby has grown happily away, knitted to your body with every three months marking a significant point in their development.
For those first few weeks after birth, your baby is still going through some significant developments as it gets to know you, a partner and learns the art of feeding whether from the breast or through a bottle.
It’s during these three months that a strong learning curve takes place, both for parents and baby. They get to know each other, habits begin to form, sleep gets lost and they fall deeper in love with each other every day. It can also be stressful, worrying and have you feeling at a loss of what to do.
So what do you need to get through this chaotic, wonderful time? Not much actually. Clothes, nappies and bottle/sterilisation are the basics. Many parents hope their baby will sleep in a Moses basket or crib and while some do, there are many that still need the closeness of a parent to take naps.
This can be achieved through having a cot right next to the bed, there are sharing versions that allow one side of the cot to come down, making it easier for a parent to be close to their child, feed and settle.
There are also some parents who choose to co-sleep with their baby. Current guidance advises against this practice but for those who do, there is clear advice on how to do this safely.
You don’t need to spend money out on a new cot but if you do pick up a second-hand one just make sure to change the mattress if it’s older or have it properly cleaned.
In terms of what your baby wears at night and what they sleep under. Be guided by the temperature of the room they’re sleeping in. Baby sleeping bags have become phenomenally popular over the past few years and for good reason. They’re safe, easy to take on and off and come in a variety of tog ratings, making it easy to change up in summer and winter.
Once your baby has grown out of those early days of feeding and napping and is looking a little more alert there will be lots of advice on the types of baby games and stimulating educational toys you might want to buy.
Don’t be made to feel pressured into buying all of these products, like anything you’ll want to take an overview of the most popular models and see which ones you like the look of. You’ll be looking at increasing tummy time for your baby over the coming weeks to help them strengthen their neck muscles and get them ready for the weaning stage. In terms of clothes and equipment, a decent pushchair will be the best investment at this stage plus a baby carrier, such as a sling if you want to carry your baby this way.
Current guidelines suggest weaning start somewhere approaching six months. Some parents will start a little earlier and some a little later but six months is usually a good time to start. If your child does start showing signs of interest in food a little before that then a taste won’t do any harm.
Depending on what style of weaning you’re going to approach will dictate what equipment you’ll need to buy. Either way it’s going to be messy so a selection of wipeable bibs is a good place to start. Cloth bibs are useful for wiping faces but save them for older babies who’ve got the hang of getting food in their mouth.
If you’re following the more traditional approach of pureeing food and gradually introducing solid food then you’ll need some kind of food blender that can be altered to give varying levels of pureeing, ending up with chopped food rather than smooth as the baby grows.
For those following baby led weaning, you’ll need less preparation but may choose to combine pureed food along with food your baby can happily gum such as breadsticks, rusks and so on.
At this point you may need to invest in some more clothes as your baby’s almost definitely going to spend a lot of time getting covered in mess.
Becoming a parent for the first time is a daunting prospect and one that can’t help but change your life. Those sleepless nights seem to last forever but in reality, for many parents at least ,they’re a fleeting part of those early stages of baby and toddlerhood.
Your baby is as unique as you are. Some will settle to sleep with a simple rock, while others will need more from you to help them. No amount of gadgetry will be able to replace the closeness and comfort that you and your partner can provide, though it can be tempting to try anything, particularly in those early days of sleep deprivation. If you’re feeling overwhelmed then do reach out and tell someone how you’re feeling. It can be tough and talking to someone about the challenges of looking after a small baby might help.
That first smile, those first words, it’s all worthwhile.