Baby Gear: Essentials checklist

Gear for your new baby:

  • A cot. As your baby grows, he will need a cot. Here are some important pointers for the right one:

  • Make sure the cot slats are less than 6 cm (2 3/8 inches) apart and that none are missing or broken.

  • Make sure that the mattress is firm and fits snugly (you can get no more than two fingers between it and the rails).

  • Baby Monitor These range in price and type. Many mums choose a video monitor as it lets them keep an eye on their sleeping baby.

  • A car seat You can get an infant seat specifically designed for newborns and young babies, or a model that can be used for small infants and later converted for use with an older baby. Ensure you get the car seat checked to see if it is fitted correctly.

  • A changing table Set this up away from windows or radiators. Use the safety straps, and be sure that all changing supplies, including plenty of nappies and wipes, are within easy reach.

  • A Changing Bag Getting out and about with your baby can take a bit of practice. Having a changing bag packed with the essentials will help you get on your way more quickly.

  • A baby carrier or baby sling This holds your baby close to your chest and lets you get things done while keeping in close contact with him. Be sure there is good head support for your baby.

  • A pram Consider a pram that converts from a reclining infant model into an upright version suitable for older babies. A wide base, firm locking mechanism and straps to secure your baby are all must-haves.

  • Bottles and teats Whether you choose to breastfeeding or use formula, having a few bottles on hand will help you to share the feeds with dad. Newborns generally use the 120 ml (4-ounce) bottles, while older babies will need the 240 ml (8-ounce) kind. Note:

  • A Bouncy Chair It's important to have a safe place to sit your baby while doing something else. Remember, never place an occupied infant seat on a high counter.

  • Baby swing Some parents swear that a swing soothes your baby like nothing else. Make sure to buy a safe, reputable brand, and follow the installation instructions closely and use the straps every time.

  • Baby Bath You can give your baby a bath after his umbilical cord falls off. You'll need a small plastic tub or basin and a safe place to set everything up.

  • A thermometer Digital thermometers are easiest to read but are more expensive. Avoid an ear thermometer until your baby is 3 months old.

Remember, every parent and baby is different, take your time and figure out what works for you.

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