What Do Newborns Really Need?

There’s no doubt you’ve come to realize there are an endless number of baby products available for purchase. Before you buy up the baby supply store, ask yourself, what do newborns really need? Or better yet, just keep reading…

Your precious sweet baby will certainly be a handful but when considering what do newborns really need, the answer is fairly simple: Not much! That’s not to say you won’t end up with a lot of baby stuff by the end of your baby’s first year. But you truly don’t need all that much from day one. In many cases, you can wait to meet your baby to determine her needs. And remember, you’ll probably receive many gifts so buying a bunch of “nice to haves” may be unnecessary.

What do newborns really need? Here’s the essential list:

Diapers and Wipes: Or better said, something to diaper with and something to wipe with because there are many options when it comes to diapers and wipes. If you go for the standard disposable varieties, you may want a small pack of a few different types to determine which ones your baby wears best without wasting money on a bulk supply. You really can’t go wrong with any type of wipes. For those who are taking the greener route, have your reusable diaper supplies ready to go and a simple washcloth works as a washable wipe.

What Do Newborns Really Need?A Bed: Notice we don’t say a crib. Your baby can sleep in several places in the first few months although experts recommend that she does have her own safe sleep space outside of your bed. A cradle, basinet or play yard can work as an early bed for your baby. Don’t feel obligated to have a crib right away. Many parents don’t bring in a crib out of superstition or may be waiting to transition a toddler out of the baby’s eventual crib.

Blankets or Swaddles: Your baby will likely enjoy being wrapped up snugly in a swaddle. In the hospital you’ll probably get some blankets that work just fine for swaddling but have a few more on hand. You can go for traditional blankets that you will fold into a swaddle or pre-stitched swaddles.

Clothes: Cute clothes are fun but when it comes to what you really need for your newborn, function is more important. Eight to 10 bodysuits and five to seven pajamas should do it. You’ll probably run your baby’s laundry several times a week (you’ll need a gentle laundry detergent!) due to diaper leaks and spit-up so too many items are unnecessary. Keep in mind that your baby will hit several growth spurts within the first month to six weeks of life so she’ll grow out of her newborn clothes rather quickly.

Feeding Supplies: When you’re breastfeeding, all you truly need is your body! However, you may want to have a nursing pillow on hand to make things more comfortable. Several nursing bras that you wore during pregnancy should transition to nursing for the few weeks and then you can buy more nursing bras once your milk comes in and you determine your size. Burp cloths are a good idea but regular wash cloths or hand towels work well too. Experts recommend holding off on giving your baby a breast milk bottle until at least four weeks after birth to establish a strong breastfeeding routine and to encourage milk supply. If you know you’ll need to pump and serve bottles before then, have your supplies ready before your baby arrives.

Car Seat: Many hospitals won’t let you leave unless your baby is secure in a car seat. Make sure you get one that is appropriate for an infant but also has room to grow.

Along with love, patience and a good attitude, that’s really all you need when you bring home a newborn. Your precious new baby will spend most of her time eating, sleeping, soiling diapers and hanging out in your arms, all of which is covered by our list.

Looking for things that will make your life easier or that you may need eventually? Here are a few “nice to haves”:

Rocking Chair: Rocking can be soothing to your baby but some don’t like it. If you can’t fit a rocker in your nursery, don’t worry. Bouncing, swaying or walking around work well for calming your baby too. And you can nurse anywhere so don’t feel obligated to have a rocker.

Stroller: Strollers male life easier when you’re out and about but chances are you won’t be going anywhere with your baby for a few months other than the doctor’s office. Some car seats are paired with a stroller system to transfer your baby without having to take her out of the car seat.

Baby Carrier: Planning to get things done around the house with your newborn? If so, a baby carrier will help you keep your baby close while freeing up your hands for other tasks.

Changing Table: Any old dresser can double as a changing table with a changing pad on top. Don’t feel like you must buy a table or baby dresser designed just for this purpose.

Baby Venues: Setting your baby down for a moment in a bouncy chair or infant swing may be helpful but again, not mandatory. In fact, sometimes these replace tummy time or interactive play, which can hinder your baby’s physical and mental development.

Baby Bathtub: Bathing your baby in the sink for the first few weeks (or months) is completely fine! As your baby gets bigger, it may be cumbersome to hold your slippery wet baby safely and then you’ll need a bathtub. Baby towels are super cute, but your regular bath towels are just fine too.

Sources: WebMD and Scary Mommy

What You Need to Know about Newborn Screenings

What You Need to Know about Newborn ScreeningsNewborn screenings are part of your baby’s very first health exam. Every baby regardless of symptoms or family history undergoes newborn screenings in the hospital. Babies not born in a hospital should be screened at a hospital or clinic within a few days of birth. Here’s what you need to know about newborn screenings:

Why are Newborn Screenings Important?

The short answer is: Newborn screenings save lives and help parents make informed decisions about their babies’ health. Newborn screenings test for a range of disorders. Some of them are life-threatening while others are less critical, at least in your baby’s immediate future. Also, some conditions need to be addressed with medication, supplementation, diet or procedures right away. Other conditions will give you information about your baby’s health that may not come into play for years down the road.

What Health Conditions are Checked in Newborn Screenings

Every state in the U.S. offers newborn screenings however the exact tests that are done vary by state. Most states run a battery of tests related to congenital diseases ranging from the baby’s ability to metabolize certain nutrients or produce crucial hormones, to immunodeficiencies, hearing lost or heart conditions. You can find out exactly which conditions are screened in your state from the Baby’s First Test website.

How are Newborn Screenings Conducted?

Most of the health conditions checked in newborn screenings are done through a simple blood test. A nurse will likely prick your baby’s heel to get a blood sample and the results will be sent to your pediatrician within five to seven days. A hearing test is done by placing a soft speaker near your baby’s ear to check her response to sound. A heart test is conducted using a pulse oximetry sensor on your baby’s finger or toe to check the amount of oxygen in her blood. Each of these tests takes a matter of seconds or minutes and are non-invasive. You may not even realize they are happening and your baby probably won’t either.

What Happens if a Problem is Discovered?

If your baby’s results come back abnormal, further tests will be done to get a better understanding of your baby’s health. Your pediatrician can review the test results with you and make recommendations on the best secondary testing necessary based on the lab results. Sometimes medication, vigilance or simply being aware of the problem is all the treatment that is required.

Sources: CDC, Baby’s First Test, March of Dimes and Kid’s Health

5 Things Not to Worry about with a Newborn

For many new parents, bringing home a newborn can be terrifying.  This tiny life has now been placed in your hands and you’re not exactly sure what you’re supposed to be doing.  This fear of parenting causes stress for new parents.  While there is a lot to think about as you enter this amazing stage in your life, there are some things not to worry about with a newborn.  Today we’re releasing you from stressing about 5 of the most common new parent concerns.

Holding Your Baby Too Much

Your parents may tell you that you’ll spoil your baby if you hold her too much.  That’s actually NOT true!  Babies want to be held and touched.  In fact, babies need it for their mental and emotional development.  The sense of touch is a babies earliest connection to love and safety, so being held makes your baby feel secure in this great big world on 5 things not to worry about with newborn__1453337181_108.89.137.58the other side of the womb.  Most experts agree that you should hold and comfort your newborn every time she cries, and most would recommend continuing this practice throughout infancy and early toddlerhood, with a few exceptions such as sleep training.  Newborns need to know that a parent or childcare provider will always be there to take care of her basic needs and pacify her fears.  This not only calms babies in the short term, it helps them cope with stressful situations in the future as well.

Whether or Not Your Nursery is Complete

With all the things you need to accomplish before your baby arrives, don’t freak out if the nursery is not ready for a magazine photo shoot by the time you give birth.  Trust us, your baby doesn’t care and she will not know the difference.  As long as you have a warm place for your baby to sleep – whether it is in a barren room or a bassinet beside your own bed – your baby will be just fine.  It will be months before your baby really absorbs anything special you may have placed in her nursery, including toys, bright colors, mobiles or pictures.  Most parents feel pressure to complete their nurseries before their babies are born but this is an artificial deadline.  Don’t let it stress you out.

The Amount of Time Spent Breastfeeding

Each mother and baby pair have a unique breastfeeding experience.  The amount of time your baby spends breastfeeding is not an indication of how much milk she is drinking.  Some mothers have quick let-downs and their milk flows fast.  For others, the flow takes awhile to begin and trickles in slowly.  Also, some babies are fast feeders – they drink what they want and are ready to move on to the next activity.  Other babies like to linger at the breast and find comfort sucking, even after they are full and there is little milk left.  Mothers often fret that their babies aren’t getting enough to eat because they don’t spend much time breastfeeding.  The true indications that your baby is eating well are weight gain, consistent soiled diapers and a sense of satisfaction or contentment after eating.

Certain Milestones

Milestones were initiated by medical experts to help give parents a range of normalcy for childhood development.  However, many parents are distraught when their babies don’t meet certain milestones within the “appropriate” timeframe.  What is often lost in developmental milestones is that some milestones are never met and are not a big deal.  For instance, when your baby learns to roll over or crawl is not necessarily a sign of a handicap.  Some babies take their sweet time rolling over and are perfectly happy lying exactly where they have been placed.  And some babies never crawl at all, but rather find a different mode of transportation before walking.  Talking is another milestone that new parents worry about.  While not talking by three years old may be a sign of a larger issue, not having a first word until well after your baby’s first birthday is no cause for concern.

Baby Acne and Other Minor Skin Conditions

Thanks to a mother’s raging hormones during pregnancy and while breastfeeding, newborns sometimes develop baby acne.  It may not be pleasing to look at, but it is harmless for your baby and will probably go away within a few months after birth.  You can clean facial skin with a gentle baby soap and otherwise let the blemishes run their course.  Other minor skin conditions that occur in newborns are dry flaky skin, cradle cap and diaper rash.  None of these are signs of anything serious unless they become extremely inflamed, cause bleeding or are upsetting your baby greatly.  Most of these conditions can be treated by keeping skin clean and moisturized and using over-the-counter topical creams and ointments designed for babies.


Capturing Your Baby’s First Year with Breastfeeding Photography

Capturing Your Baby's First Year with Breastfeeding PhotographyAlthough some women may feel uncomfortable in this situation, breastfeeding photography is beginning to be a big trend in today’s world. Campaigns, such as “Free the Nipple,” are emerging and getting much public attention. More and more women are embracing their bodies and their motherly abilities to feed their children, and while it might have been something labeled as “inappropriate” before, you will now find many women not being ashamed of breastfeeding out in public.

Artistically, breastfeeding photography can be such a beautiful thing which captures the act of love, and a precious moment shared between a mother and her baby. Today, we are going to focus on how to capture there moments during your baby’s first year:

There are many things to consider before trying to take photos of yourself breastfeeding your new little one. Because your baby is still so small and fairly new to your world, they might not be able to catch on to the whole art of breastfeeding. Before you try snapping a photo, remember to be patient and not try and force your baby onto your nipple. Time will come when they become pros. Other things to consider are your poses, clothing options, and what you believe to be explicit. Many women might be a little uncomfortable showing off their entire breast, where others don’t. Clothing and appearance is entirely up to you. A cute idea is to match a color scheme with your baby. An example of this could be a white onesie for your baby and a simple white tee for you.

If you’re choosing to hire a photographer you might be thinking about going somewhere to take the photos. You might choose a park as a location for a nice outdoor setting, or maybe you want to be a little more personal and have them take place in the comfort of your own home. For newborn photos you might find it easier to take them in your home. It gives you a little more privacy and comfortability, especially for your baby. If you are having someone else take your photos don’t forget to have fun! If you’re nervous try focusing solely on your baby and let the photographer get their best shots. Rocking, singing, and smiling are great ways to engage both you and your baby into the photos.

A great way to tell if breastfeeding photography is right for you is to first test it out. Practice in the mirror by posing with your baby. Documenting your breastfeeding experience with your little one is a beautiful thing and if you feel comfortable embracing then do it!



Enjoying Tummy Time with your Little One

Enjoying Tummy Time with your Little One Welcome home, little one! What’s the best way to introduce your baby to life outside the womb? By making tummy time an everyday adventure that develops your little one’s essential motor skills. Tummy time focuses on letting your little one develop neck strength and head control independently. Simply lay your baby on his or her stomach for a significant period of time each day and let them explore the mechanics of pushing up, rolling over, and eventually crawling. Of course a newborn is not going to have the same range of motor skills as a 5-month old, but starting tummy time earlier is developmentally favorable compared to waiting a few months for baby to grow.

Dedicating time for your little one’s motor skills development is very important considering how much time your baby spends on his or her back. At night, your baby should sleep on his or her back because it reduces the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), and while you’re on-the-go together during the day your baby is toted around in a stroller or car seat, both of which typically place your little one in a reclined position. Because your baby isn’t used to spending a lot of time front-facing, he or she may be distressed or upset during your first tummy time attempts. This is a typical infant reaction and shouldn’t make you feel as though your baby isn’t ready for tummy time; developing head control is uncomfortable for your baby but a necessary development phase.

Put your little one at ease during tummy time by joining in the fun. Playing together will help distract your baby and encourage more time spent front-facing. Peek-a-boo is a great way to engage your little one while lying down and a lot of fun for you as well. You can try laying your baby on your own stomach to help ease discomfort if your baby seems to fuss a lot while on your carpet or a special play mat. Make your tummy time space a fun, colorful area to further encourage play. Play mats with mirrors and lights can be enjoyable for baby, or you can place soft toys nearby to encourage more movement.

Be patient with your little one while they move through the pre-crawling movements and actions. Pushing up, rolling over and sitting are all small moments you will enjoy watching your little one accomplish. Make sure that your little one isn’t sleepy or hungry before starting tummy time though, as your baby should be alert and ready to play to make the most out of your time together. Your baby will be less fussy if there’s no wet diaper or hungry belly getting in the way of playing during tummy time.

Baby Bottles and Breastfeeding: How to Work Bottle Feeding Into Your Nursing Routine

Baby Bottles and Breastfeeding: How to Work Bottle Feeding Into Your Nursing Routine

Did you receive a breast pump as a baby shower gift, or did you plan on buying one after testing out breastfeeding first? Many expecting moms assume that breast pumps are most useful for women who plan to work shortly after giving birth, but the reality of breastfeeding is that breast pumps are a helpful tool for stay-at-home moms too. If you pump breast milk and feed your baby a bottle at night, you can not only cut down on nursing time (and maybe get back to sleep) but you can also get your baby used to taking a bottle. Even if you’re breastfeeding exclusively, you should introduce your baby to a bottle between three and five weeks after birth.

“I wish I had known to pump breast milk sooner and get my husband used to feeding our daughter a bottle regularly — it didn’t occur to me that she might reject it.”

One mom expressed the above sentiment on a Babycenter.com forum dedicated to sharing bits of motherhood wisdom to expecting moms. When talking about breastfeeding, there’s a lot of focus on how to get a good latch, how often to nurse, and why your nipples will hurt through the first few weeks—but not a lot of focus on breast pumps, bottles, and how to combat nipple confusion. By mixing up nursing sessions between breast and bottle (after five weeks of solely breast!), your little one will feel more comfortable taking a bottle instead of demanding only your breast.

But what happens if your baby does reject the bottle? There are a couple of steps you can take help coach your little one into taking a rubber nipple again. The Palo Alto Medical Foundation shares some of its expert advice for new breastfeeding moms: don’t change bottles if your baby is refusing the rubber nipple while nursing. The foundation stresses that your little one isn’t frustrated with whatever type of bottle you’ve been using; the problem is that your baby probably wants only to nurse from your breast. To help get your baby to take the bottle again, keep pumping breast milk and offering the bottle as a nursing alternative, but try to do so in places that will not remind your baby of breastfeeding. If possible, have a person other than yourself bottle feed your baby. If you’re not visible during these feeding moments, your baby will be more likely to accept the bottle. Until you get over the bottle-refusing hump, try keeping your schedule as consistent as possible and remaining hopeful that your little one will return to bottles too.

Did you experience this problem while breastfeeding? Leave your advice for new moms in our comments.


Pacifier Pros and Cons for New Moms

Pacifier Pros and Cons for New MomsWhich side of the fence do you stand on concerning babies using pacifiers? Some moms feel strongly again allowing their little one to use a pacifier for fear of nipple confusion or increased fussiness while other moms are relieved to use them as tools to provide peace and quiet while in public or napping. If you haven’t made up your mind one way or another yet, we’re proving some basic facts about pacifiers that might help you decide if the soothing tool is good for your baby or not.

Across the board, most experts agree that your baby should not use a pacifier before his or her first month if you’re breastfeeding. Until a consistent nursing pattern is established, there is a worry that your little one will have a hard time sucking and gaining weight if also using a pacifier. After your newborn has begun to consistently gain weight (something best noted by newborn check-ups) and you feel confident that his or her nursing skills are in place, it’s ok to start using a pacifier. Evidence that mixing a pacifier with breastfeeding will cause nipple confusion is inconclusive, so if you’re worried that your little one’s breastfeeding success will be compromised by using a pacifier, take careful note of how your wee one likes to suck and if they are prone to continue rooting or sucking after nursing. Pacifiers are not appealing to every baby, so being aware of your baby’s patterns is a good start to see if a pacifier is the right choice.

The biggest accolade pacifiers receive from researchers is that there is strong evidence to suggest that if a baby uses a pacifier while sleeping, then their chance of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) is less than an infant who sleeps without a pacifier. The explanation lies in the fact that if a baby falls asleep while sucking on a pacifier their consciousness is more alert and can help them wake up instead of being at risk to SIDS. There is also evidence that the sucking motion creates more airflow for baby’s breathing. Again, this research is not fully conclusive and many experts are quick to note that if a baby stops using a pacifier while asleep, you should not force it back into your baby’s mouth.

One more thought on introducing a pacifier to your baby: they can be wonderful stress-savers while out in public running errands with your little one. Sometimes when you’re juggling a full grocery cart in the checkout line, you’re not going to be able to give your little one your full attention. A pacifier can help calm your baby until you get out of the grocery store and into a space where you can give your wee one your love and affection. There’s a risk of relying too heavily on a pacifier’s soothing elements, though. Be careful that you don’t mask real causes of frustration or anxiety by popping in the pacifier each time your baby whines or cries. A pacifier can help with fussiness during a car ride home, but it should not act as a stand-in for your love and care.

What do you think, moms? Did you let your child use a pacifier? Let us know why or why not in the comments.

Postpartum Depression Felt in New Fathers Too

Postpartum Depression Felt in New Fathers Too Becoming a new parent (especially for the first time) can be a period of rough transition for some moms and there are important signs to watch for if you think you or a loved one is affected by postpartum depression. New fathers are also prone to feeling symptoms of depression too, a new study shows, and can display features of postpartum depression that linger up to five years after the birth of their child.

While raising a baby is a time of immense joy and excitement, it also presents new schedules, responsibilities, and the pressure of learning how to parent on the fly. The study, which was conducted by researchers from Northwest University and appears in Pediatrics magazine, also notes that younger men (around 25 at the time of their child’s birth) experience symptoms of postpartum depression that have a 68% chance of increasing over the next five years. This statistic applies to men who live at home with their partner and child; interestingly, men in the same category who live separately from their partner and child but still parent are less likely to experience depression with the same intensity or longevity.

A new baby changes the environment a couple once knew and coping with those changes, along with parenting expectations, is one way to help combat postpartum depression. Flexible schedules, freedom to go out on a whim, a full night’s sleep—all of those lifestyle features are put on hold when raising a newborn, and this perceived loss of control can be hard for a dad to accept. Keep the lines of communication between you and your partner open and honest as a way to save both of your sanity; admitting that he needs time to himself does not make any dad a lackluster father, so being appreciative of each other’s feelings and congratulate each other on the little things that make you great parents.

If you’re worried about your partner or another new dad you know, seek advice from a doctor or counselor that can recommend what steps you should take to help. Knowing that other new parents feel the same as you or your partner do can help, but sometimes it takes a licensed professional to administer the proper care to help combat postpartum depression.

Gender Predictors and Ultrasound Tests: Did You Find Out Your Baby’s Sex Before Delivery?

Gender Predictors and Ultrasound Tests: Did You Find Out Your Baby’s Sex Before Delivery?

What do you think, moms? Did you want to know your baby’s sex the first second you possibly could, or were you adamant about waiting until delivery to know if you were welcoming a daughter or son into the world? Choosing whether or not to know your baby’s sex is an important decision every expectant couple faces today. Recent advances in ultrasound technology make it even easier to accurately know your baby’s gender as early as four months pregnant. So, did you choose to wait or was your nursery painted blue or pink before your baby’s arrival?

Learning a baby’s sex before delivery might seem like a ruined surprise to some couples, while others are happy to have the extra months to plan, shop, and pick a name before the big day. But be careful if you reveal your baby’s sex before delivery—you might unknowingly open yourselves to unsolicited advice and opinions from well-meaning friends, family members, and strangers. Think about keeping the gender to yourselves and close friends if you’re set on knowing beforehand. After all, in less than a year everyone will know one way or the other!

If you keep your baby’s sex a surprise, don’t be alarmed when family members and strangers try out their baby gender predictions on you and your growing bump! There’s an ancient, folkloric element to guessing a baby’s gender before birth, and many cultures have unique traditions that predict whether or not you’ll have a son or a daughter.

Whether or not you choose to find out before delivery, it’s important to remember that your baby’s sex is only one part of your child’s identity. Hoping for a healthy, happy infant should be the #1 priority in every expectant parent’s book. We’re sure you will dote on your little one whether you have a boy or a girl! Foster your loving bond with your little one by caring for them with all the love you have to give.

Did you choose to wait to find out your baby’s sex? Why or why not? Let us know in the comments!

Colostrum and Important Breastfeeding Health Benefits for Your Baby

Colostrum and Important Breastfeeding Health Benefits for Your BabyDid you know that your breasts start producing liquid gold in the final weeks of your pregnancy? No, not the real kind of gold you’d find in Fort Knox, but a substance more precious to your newborn’s health. Colostrum, nicknamed “liquid gold” by nursing moms and lactation consultants, is the nutrient-rich breast milk a woman produces just before birth.

Why the nickname? Colostrum is not only precious for your infant, but typically carries a yellowish hue when discharged. This special breast milk comes in before your normal breast milk supply and is very important for your newborn’s immune system. While is rich in proteins, vitamin a, and antibodies, colostrum is also low in fat. Its natural composition makes it the best first food for your newborn. Also, colostrum has been shown to stimulate a baby’s digestive system without fuss. Packed with white blood cells, colostrum keeps infections at bay while your baby happily nurses and gets stronger.

After the first few days nursing, the colostrum will be replaced with regular breast milk. This natural transition is nothing to worry about—your baby will still get essential nutrients and vitamins without colostrum. With a proper feeding schedule and enough breast milk, your baby will continue to gain weight at a healthy pace. Colostrum jump starts the entire process and creates lasting immunity that’s crucial to protecting your baby against disease. Experts agree that babies fed colostrum have better immune systems long-term and are less likely to struggle with diabetes or obesity. Breastfeeding sets the tone for your baby’s health and lifestyle, so take steps to try nursing your little one, especially in the days just after delivery.

Worried about breastfeeding? Make an appointment with a lactation consultant to get all of the information you need. You can also turn to a female family member or friend who has nursed before for practical advice and support. You’re not alone in this, so reach out to others for emotional support while you get the hang of nursing!