Your initial supply list will look something like the one below. We’ve noted the reasons for some items, and we’ve also listed other items parents frequently assume they’ll need, along with our reasons for not having them on hand.
- Syrup of Ipecac [replace every three years]
- Children’s acetaminophen
- Children’s aspirin [never give a baby with a suspected viral infection aspirin. It has been implicated as a possible cause of Reye’s syndrome.]
- Rubbing alcohol
- Petroleum jelly
- Baby lotion and baby oil [optional]
- Cornstarch and baby powder [To use, dust it onto your hands and then spread it on the diaper area. Never pour or squirt it on, if inhaled, the particles can be very irritating to the lungs. Also keep the container out of baby’s reach.]
- Ointment for diaper rash [after thoroughly cleaning the diaper area, ointment should be applied heavily to protect irritated areas against urine. Application without cleansing merely seals irritants against your baby’s skin.]
- Cotton balls [Never use cotton swabs to clean nose or ears. Swabs may introduce infection and even puncture eardrums.]
- Diaper pail [and disinfectant, if you’re using cloth diapers]
- Plastic garbage bags to line diaper pail, [if you’re using disposable diapers]
- Diaper liners [helpful in early weeks if you’re laundering diapers at home]
- Toilet paper for changing table, [Easier on plumbing than towelettes or tissues].
- Nasal aspirator
- Rectal thermometer
- Vaporizer, cool-mist type [optional]
- Baby scissors with rounded points
- Bar or liquid soap [ Liquid soaps are easier to use with one hand. All soaps should be used sparingly to preserve the baby’s own skin oils; a mild, non-drying soap is best]
- Washcloths [six is a good number to start with]
- Hand towel [two or three]
- Baby shampoo
- Brush and comb
- A Bathinette or portable baby bath
A word or two about bathing. Newborn infants do not appreciate baths because of the abrupt temperature change. It’s important to keep newborns warm and secure during bathing; sponge baths given under a baby blanket or towel are best for the first month.
You don’t really need to go out and buy a special tub for your baby. You can use the kitchen sink. However, specially designed baby bathtubs have slanted support areas for the baby that is covered with non-slip foam pads. These may be more comfortable. Their disadvantage is that they’re difficult to move once they’re filled, but if you can place the tub next to the sink on the counter, it won’t be a problem. Many times you can find these included in a baby bath gift basket, this is nice because everything you need for bathing baby is right there.
When buying a baby bathtub, look for one with smooth rounded edges. Don’t buy one with all sponge cushioning, since the sponge part can be torn off or eaten. Make sure the support area is a non-slip surface and check to see if the tub is sturdy and will hold its shape when full. It will be a plus to find a tub that has recessed water channels on the sides so you can bathe the baby without immersing him.