Q: I recently found out I was pregnant after years of not being able to conceive. I am excited and nervous all at the same time. What will I need to have on hand when I bring my baby home?
A: Congratulations. Let me begin by saying that the first thing you need for your baby is to see a health care provider that specializes in taking care of pregnant women.
Prenatal care is not only for the mother, it is for the baby as well. Pregnancy can be a strain on all of your bodily systems. Your health is very important for you and your baby.
As far as "stuff" you need, you might be surprised, the list is not that long.
You need a safe place for your baby to sleep. That means a firm surface that has sides that are high enough so that the baby cannot roll out.
You will need two sets of linens for that sleep surface so that there is always a clean set available for the baby to sleep on.
Another high priority item is a car seat that is a rear-facing infant car seat. You should either have a new one or one that you know the history of the car seat.
Car seats do have expiration dates. Check on the bottom of the car seat to make sure that it's not expired.
You do not need anything that does not come with the car seat. That includes toys, head supports and mirrors.
The car seat should be inspected in the car that the baby will be travelling in before you bring the baby home from the hospital.
You can call MOMMs place at 941-745-6925 for a list of places you can go in Manatee County for a car seat inspection.
Diapers are a must. Most people use disposable diapers. If you are going to be using disposable you will need at least 50 to start.
If you are using cloth diapers, you will probably need around 48 (four dozen).
If you are washing your own diapers you will also need a diaper pail. Some people just put the diapers in a dry pail.
Others put a coupleof inches of water in the bottom of the pail with some vinegar or borax and gradually add water as more diapers are added to the pail.
You can figure out what works best for you.
Something to clean the baby's diaper area is also a necessity. Many people rely on commercially prepared diaper wipes. We usually recommend water the first few weeks as the skin of a baby is very sensitive.
Obviously you are going to need clothes for the baby. Many of the mothers primarily use "onesies." Depending on what time of year you are going to deliver will determine what kind of clothes you will need.
Other than those items, I am a believer in taking classes to prepare you for the birth, caring for a baby, and finding out where to turn to for support before delivery and after you have your baby.
A very wise man Iknew always said: Prior planning prevents poor performance. The first baby is hard because you want to do everything "right."
You will be just fine with a few things, good prenatal care, and the knowledge you will get from going to classes.
Katie Powers, R.N., is aboard-certified lactation consultant and perinatal educator at Manatee Memorial Hospital's Family BirthPlace. Her column appears every other weein Healthy Living. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.