Whether or not you have a baby shower, friends and family all look forward to buying things for your little bundle of joy. You will receive a lot of awesome gifts. However, most will be the fun ones, specifically those unbelievably cute onesies, which you might actually want to leave the tags on so you can exchange for different sizes based on how fast your baby grows. While those are also very important to have when preparing for a baby, there are a lot of things you need for a baby that aren’t so much fun to give as a gift. Here is a list of those essentials. (Related Post: 9 Baby Registry Items You Will Regret or Must Re-Buy When Baby Arrives)
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Butt Paste and Butt Paste Brush
Babies pee a lot and even if you are changing their diaper very regularly, almost all end up with a rash at some point or another. It is good habit to always use diaper cream as a preventative measure. Our favorite two diaper creams are Desitin and Boudreaux. We use Boudreaux on a regular basis as a preventative measure, and if L ends up with a diaper bad diaper rash, Destin will clear up anything within a day. If the rash is not clearing up, get your baby checked by a pediatrician as it might be a yeast infection, which is extremely common for newborns.
Now, while you might not think now you will be applying butt paste a lot, but you will, and the stuff is not fun to get off your hands. Save yourself a lot of hassle by buying a butt paste brush. This product is seriously ingenious.
Buy a Rectal Thermometer, not any other kind
There are a lot of fancy thermometers out there like forehead scanners which might even say the temperature aloud. Don’t waste your money. These are hugely inaccurate. When baby is sick, the pediatrician will want to know the baby’s temperature taken rectally. This temperature is most accurate. You also will only want to use a rectal thermometer so you know if your baby is actually sick. An example is just two weeks ago, L was burning up. We took her in and they first did a forehead scan temperature, which said 98.6F. The nurse knew this was wrong and then took a rectal temperature which said 102.5F.
The blue bulb thing they give you at the hospital does nothing. And trust me, nothing is worse than a baby who can’t breathe out of their nose because then they can’t nurse well either or sleep for that matter. While a nosesucker might seem gross now, it won’t when you are at the point that you would do anything to help your baby. I thought it was gross, so I didn’t buy it. When L had her first cold, I overnighted it. It works like magic.
Newborns aren’t very good at passing gas and pooping. Their systems are so immature, and they don’t know how exactly to get their muscles to do what they want, like fart. L was colicky and Windis really helped. It allowed her to really fart and not just get a little out. If she was crying a lot at night, we would try this and after she passed a lot of gas, she would go straight to sleep. If you are bored, the reviews on this product are absolutely hilarious, so many awesome parent anecdotes.
Changing Pad Liners:
Most people will buy a changing pad and a cover. Both are great. What is even greater are changing pad liners that you place on top of the changing pad cover. One side is terry, while the other side is waterproof. Babies love to go number 1 or 2 once their diaper is off. So with this, you can just toss it in the wash instead of having to take the full cover off. It is also cheaper to purchase many of these pads than multiple changing pad covers. Target also has something similar, but they didn’t last. After a few washes they were falling apart. These on the other hand are well-made and durable. Also, if you aren’t planning on it yet, you will want a changing station on the main floor and one in the room where baby sleeps. Newborns need a lot of diaper changes and it just isn’t practical to hike stairs that many times a day while also recovering from child birth.
Probiotics (you and baby) and Fish Oil Supplements (you):
If you end up being on antibiotics during delivery, or after delivery due to mastitis, or just have a colicky baby, then probiotics for baby and you are highly recommended. Antibiotics kill all bacteria in your body, both good and bad. Through either the umbilical cord or via breastmilk, a portion of the antibiotics can transfer to baby. Baby is just starting to develop the good gut bacteria necessary to digest food and antibiotics can really wipe out their biofilm. To help them rebuild it, you and baby should take probiotics as they will also transfer via breastmilk. If your baby is colicky, it could be due to tummy aches which are caused by digestion problems from the gut not having enough good bacteria yet. A great place to start is probiotics and reading about food intolerances.
Related Post: Baby Cries After Nursing, Why?
The other important supplement to take, besides a prenatal and probiotics, is a high quality fish oil supplement. DHA (omega 3) is from fish oil and it’s the building block for the brain. It is naturally found in breastmilk but if you don’t have enough in your diet, your body will actually break down your brain to help nourish baby. Research actually shows that a woman’s brain shrinks 5% during pregnancy because your body will break down the brain for DHA. Your body will also rebuild your brain but only when you nourish your body correctly. By taking fish oil, you are not only nourishing your brain but also your baby’s through your breastmilk. Another benefit of omega 3 is that it’s anti-inflammatory and will help relieve colic. My favorite brand of fish oil that was recommended to me by a nutritionist, who is an infant specialist, is Nordic Naturals because it is high quality.
Gripe Water, Infant Motrin and Infant Tylenol:
The first item that you might give baby is gripe water. It soothes a baby’s tummy. There is a gripe water that is for newborns so check that out. It essentially helps with those burps.
Before you know it, your baby will start teething. Teething is a process that always goes on. Teeth are constantly working their way through the gum. I have found that the 3-4 days before a tooth breaks through and the day it breaks through are the worst. As your child gets older, you will definitely begin to know when they are upset and not sleeping due to teething. Hands in the mouth and biting on anything and everything is a good sign. We have found that infant Tylenol works okay for teething and infant Motrin is amazing. Motrin works for 8 hours while Tylenol only works for 5 hrs. However, a pediatric nurse in our neighborhood told me that she recommends alternating because they work on different systems in the body since they have different active ingredients. By alternating, you give different systems in the body a break. Also, if you alternate when teething is bad or even if baby is just sick, they can always stay medicated. Just be sure to dose at the correct times. Another important note here is to dose correctly, which is strictly based on weight. Babies change weight fast, so you might be under-dosing and therefore it won’t be effective. As always, consult your pediatrician before using any product.
A cheap, easy to clean high chair
Personally, I wanted a high chair that was easy to clean and safe. I didn’t want to spend a fortune on one either. A mom of two told me about the Ikea high chair. Most high chairs are around $100 or more. This one is $20 and it’s well-made. Definitely worth it. While it might not be on your mind right now, 6 months goes by fast and then you will be starting the whole process of trying solid foods.
A toothbrush teether:
While this isn’t necessary to have right away either, it probably isn’t something that you will get as a gift and I want to make sure you know about it. Why? Not only was it L’s favorite teether, but she also absolutely loved “brushing” her teeth with it. This made it so easy to switch to an actual toothbrush when it was time. We also spoke to our dentist and she said the act of brushing the teeth is more important than the toothpaste to get crud off of them. Having your little one use this teether is a great start to keeping their teeth clean.
More ways to prepare
While this covers items that you probably won’t be getting as gifts, they are well worth their weight in gold.
Expecting moms, please don’t think I’m crazy.
But if you do, just wait 🙂
If you haven’t made your baby registry yet, Amazon is by far the best place to host your registry. While these items are not glamorous, they will fall in a good price point for many of your baby shower guests.
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Trina Fitzgerald is a wife, mom, and blogger. She is the co-author of the Week-by-Week Bump Smart Course, the Nesting Planner and the Breastfeeding Handbook. She attributes her success at breastfeeding her own children with working with lactation consultants in the hospital in the early stages and on a weekly basis afterwards. By writing at MomSmartNotHard, she educates mamas-to-be on all things pregnancy, birth and breastfeeding. Read more about Trina.