We surveyed over 70 Hopewell Family Care parents to see what their 'must-haves' for new baby were. The following list is what they came up with.
- Ergobaby carrier or Moby/Solly wrap. When you're exposed to the same air and germs as your baby, your body responds by making immune-boosting milk for baby to keep them from getting sick. Wearing your baby ensures you produce the correct antibodies in your milk for your baby. It's optimal to keep baby home for their first 8 weeks. If you have to go out, wearing baby is the next best thing.
- Fractionated coconut oil or baby oil. Having a small travel size spray bottle of oil on hand is helpful for the first 3-4 days. Spraying a little on baby's bottle after each diaper change can make getting meconium off easier.
- Newborn diapers with belly button cut out. Folding baby's diapers to accommodate for their umbilical cord can be tricky. The diaper can rub baby's belly button, causing irritation, possible infection, and even premature removal of the cord stump, which can make the belly button ooze for several weeks. Diapers with the belly button cut out make this less likely.
- Onesie gowns. Gowns cover baby and keep them warm, and they make it easier to change diapers at night. In the beginning months, it's normal for babies to poop 4-5 times and 6-8 wet diapers daily. Little shortcuts like gowns are helpful when you are getting less sleep.
- Alcohol wipes or Goldenseal. If baby's belly button becomes red or begins to stink, application of alcohol or Goldenseal can help dry up any infection trying to start. If using alcohol, use a new alcohol pad or gauze each time, and gently wipe in circles around the area.
- Muslin blankets. These are light and allow for safe swaddling. Aiden and Anais is a good brand and is available at most baby stores, including Target.
- Hand sanitizer. Handwashing before touching baby is very important. However, when you're out of the house, using sanitizer before you or others touch baby is also very important. Don't be afraid to demand that others use sanitizer or refrain from touching your baby.
- Double electric Medela pump. Regulation of breast milk can be difficult at first. A pump is an incredibly useful tool for overproduction and even underproduction. Some insurance companies will even cover a pump. Your doctor will have specific instructions for your specific situation.
- Milk storage bags. Milk can be frozen for 6 months and kept in the refrigerator for 4 days before expiring.
- Bottles. We recommend Dr. Brown's Natural Flow bottles due to their contour that is similar to the breast. They also make the baby work for the milk rather than developing a lazy suck. Babies seem to go well from breast to bottle and vice versa with this brand. Every baby is different so you may have to try a few different brands. Some of our HFC mothers like the Medela brand as well.
- Rescue Remedy by Burt's Bees. Your nipples can become sore and cracked from breastfeeding. Having a healing salve on hand can be a lifesaver. Coconut oil from DoTerra applied to cracked nipples is beneficial too, and is an excellent antibacterial and antifungal. Hydrogel breast pads are also recommended to soothe nipples and can be purchased at Target. If breastfeeding is difficult or painful for you, seeing a lactation consultant is important for long-term breastfeeding success. Don't wait too long to seek extra help.
- Boppy. This pillow is a beneficial tool for getting into the correct breastfeeding position. Position of both mom and baby is important in achieving a great suck.
- Well-fitted bra. Having a well-fitted bra that is not too snug but gives good support is important. HFC recommends Bravado brand bra. This particular bra also has a snap feature that allows a window for your breast rather than pulling your bra up. Pulling your bra up or having a bra that is too tight can cause issues such as clogged ducts of mastitis.
- Soothie pacifiers. This specific brand of pacifier most resembles the nipple and is least likely to cause nipple confusion. It can also be used to strengthen the suck of infants who have a weak suck. In the beginning, baby should be put to the breast as often as possible. This will help your milk come in and establish milk supply. Only utilize the pacifier in situations when breastfeeding isn't possible, (i.e. a car ride). Otherwise, keep baby on the breast whenever baby needs soothing the first few weeks.
- Pacifier container or clip. A pacifier can often introduce bacteria to baby from touching other objects or the floor. Store it in a container when not in use or keep it on a clip. Wiping the pacifier off before each use can help prevent ear infections and colds.
- Cribs. Keep crib sheets and blankets to a minimum. Avoid plush or fluffy material or stuffed animals in the crib. These increase the risk of suffocation. Attempt to lay baby on their back to sleep.
- Co-sleeper on bedside. Co-sleeping can be a very satisfying arrangement when done with care. Some parents prefer to have a co-sleeper within arms reach at the bedside. This allows the mother to breastfeed in bed and then put the baby back with minimal effort or movement.
- In-bed baby delight snuggle nest. Some parents want to keep the baby in bed, but are afraid of parents rolling on baby. A snuggle nest puts a small barrier between parents and baby, yet still allows them to be in bed together.
- Bed wrap mattress case for in-bed co-sleepers. Babies can soak a mattress in a multitude of ways. For parents who keep children in bed with them, it's a good idea to invest in a wrap mattress case to prevent damage to the mattress.
- White noise machine by Homedics. If your baby is a light sleeper or if you have multiple children in the house, having a white noise machine can help. It will drown out all other exterior sounds and potentially provide more sleep for everyone.
- Lavender oil. A little essential oil sprayed on the sheets or diffused in the room can help soothe the senses and help baby drift off to dreamland.
- Bath thermometer. To prevent burning, set your water thermostat no higher than 120-140 degreed Fahrenheit. To test the water temperature, feel it with your elbow before putting baby in the water. A bath thermometer is a good objective way to see whether the water is too hot or not.
- Large sink sponge shapes. Babies can be slippery when wet. Placing them securely on a baby sponge in the sink or tub can make bath time easier for them and you. Never leave baby unattended in the water. If there is an emergency elsewhere in the house, take baby with you.
- California baby bath products. HFC likes these products due to their limited, natural ingredients. We are also fans of making your own products specifically for your skin type and preferences. If your baby develops a rash or is irritated by a product, try to find an unscented product you like. If your baby has a persistent rash, seek care from your physician to determine the root cause.
- Nail clippers. Babies can often scratch their faces and ears. Not only is this painful, it can also cause infections. To prevent this, purchase a nail clipper with a big handle for steady hands and keep baby's nails clipped short. The Frida Baby brand (same as Nosefrida) has a safety feature with a window to see what you're cutting to avoid cutting baby's skin. For cuts or cracks in baby's skin, apply geranium and lavender diluted in oil to soothe and promote healing.
- Thermometer. This is an important tool to have for the first illness, and all the ones after. There are several types of thermometers, such as rectal, oral, tympanic (ear), temporal (forehead), and axillary (armpit). It's up to you which one you use, but keep in mind that each will vary in degrees. The further away you take a temperature from baby's core, the lower the reading will be. For rectal thermometers, a fever is 100.4F. For oral thermometers, a fever is 100F. For tympanic, temporal, and axillary thermometers, a fever is 99F. Once baby is 6 months and older, applying a small dot of lavender and peppermint oils on the feet is a natural solution for an elevated temperature.
- Vaporizer. A cool mist vaporizer is preferred to a warm mist. Warm mist humidifiers tend to have more bacterial growth when not cleaned properly. Cool mist humidifiers also need to be cleaned regularly. The mist moistens the airway and quiets dry hacking coughs. To thin mucus and help with a stuffy airway, holding baby in a steamy shower on steamy bathroom can achieve good results. A few drops of eucalyptus oils in select models of vaporizers can also help open the airways and calm a cough. This should only be run with eucalyptus oil for an hour at most.
- Snot sucker by Nosefrida. This particular sucker can really get a lot of mucus out of the nose and allow baby to breathe freely while they are sleeping or breastfeeding.
- Saline drops. Placing saline drops in the nose can this mucus and followed up with some suction. Breast milk also works!
- Diffuser. A diffuser is different than a vaporizer. A diffuser is made specifically to suspend droplets of water and oil in the air. Diffusing oils are one of the safest applications of essential oils for babies 6 months of age and older.
- Essential oils. Consult your physician before using essential oils for baby. Breathe (for colds), Eucalyptus (for congestion), OnGuard (as an immune booster), Oregano (as an antiviral), Peppermint (as natural fever reducer), and Lavender (for soothing) are oils I recommend when baby is 6 months of age and older.
- Baby Trend EZ Bouncer. Allowing baby to be on an incline is hepful so that the mucus drains down their throat and doesn't collect in the back of throat and airways.
- Baby gates. Your baby will be moving before you know it. Take note of the areas you need to block off (i.e. kitchen or stairs) and purchase accordingly.
- Outlet covers. Babies are curious creatures. Keep them from sticking their fingers or toys into outlets by keeping all unused outlets covered at all times.
- Cabinet locks. Babies like to investigate. Make sure you put your cleaning supplies and chemicals up high. If you only have low cabinets, keep them locked.
- Poison Control magnets. It's always a good idea to have the poison control number posted on your fridge and in your phone. In our area, the number is (615) 936-2034. not all poisons are created equal, so call them first before taking any action like inducing vomiting or giving milk or charcoal.
- Teeth pain. This can be a stressful time for baby and parents. Chewable jewelry, amber bead necklaces, Roman chamomile essential oil diluted in coconut oil, Sophie the Giraffe Teether, and Punkin Butt Teething Oil (which we sell at our office) are some of HFC mothers' favorites. Also keep in mind that if baby develops a fever, it is likely they have a minor virus in addition to teething. Pain causes cortisol to go up in response to stress, which causes the immune system to be depressed. Babies often get additional viruses due to putting everything in their mouths to chew. If they develop a fever, keep them how and treat them like they're sick.