Newborn Essentials Checklist
At long last, baby has arrived. As a new parent, your mission is simple: Keep baby alive and thriving.
In those first days at home, you may feel overwhelmed by the round-the-clock demands of your newborn. Keeping baby healthy requires monitoring his or her every move: Eating! Sleeping! Pooping! And, hold on, is baby still breathing?!
To help YOU breathe just a little easier, here's a handy checklist of newborn health essentials you'll want to check off your list:
Hand sanitizer. Station hand sanitizer around your home for anyone who will be handling baby. The changing table is an obvious spot, but a strategically placed bottle of Purell will remind visitors to clean their hands as soon as they walk in the front door.
Bath thermometer. It's too easy to accidentally scald a baby in the bath. Choose an inexpensive bath thermometer to take the guesswork out of bath time, or check with your local burn foundation, which may offer free scald prevention kits.
Baby scale. A digital scale will help you track baby's weight gain to the ounce between doctor visits. This isn't totally essential, but you can always use it to weigh your postage later. Trust me, you won't have time to go to the post office, anyway.
Diaper ointment. A good "butt paste" will keep baby's bottom protected as it gets used to wearing a diaper. Your baby will thank you later ... when he or she learns to talk.
Nipple cream. If you're breastfeeding, it's a good idea to keep a small jar or tube of nipple cream handy. Not everyone needs it, and if you're lucky enough not to, you can always use it to cure chapped lips or cracked heels. Waste not, want not!
Baby soap. Regular soap will dry out baby's delicate skin (soft as a baby's bottom, remember?). Make your soap work overtime by choosing a gentle liquid soap that can double as a baby shampoo.
Baby thermometer. If you have any health concerns about baby, the first step is often to check the baby's temperature. Choose from rectal, ear or temporal thermometers -- whatever works best for you.
Nail clippers or scissors. Eliminate the need for those pesky "hand socks" -- one of a pair will undoubtedly go missing, just as with regular socks -- by keeping baby's fingernails neatly trimmed. Some parents prefer to use nail scissors on baby's soft, curvy nails.
Nasal aspirator. Baby can't blow his or her nose, so help out by clearing mucous with a nasal aspirator. Most hospitals will provide the standard bulb aspirator, or you can choose a fancier model such as Nosefrida's Snotsucker, which works just as it sounds. These also come in handy when your baby is slightly older and has congestion from a cold.
Car window sun shade. Depending on the season or where you live, you may want to invest in a sun shade to keep baby shielded from harsh rays on your drive home. A newborn is too young for sunscreen, but it's never too early to practice skin safety.
Night light. You'll be up at all hours of the night. A soft night light won't disturb a sleeping baby (or a sleeping spouse), but will keep you from crashing into furniture or stumbling while carrying baby in the dark.
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