All About You
Worried about going into labor with your partner nowhere in sight? Make sure you have your cell phone charged and ready. Also, make sure you and your partner have your doctor and hospital numbers programmed into your phones.
With delivery day quickly approaching, you may already be feeling some false contractions, called Braxton Hicks. At times, you may notice your abdomen tighten and then relax. Braxton Hicks contractions help your body gear up for the real thing. If you take time to relax and put your feet up, the contractions should go away. Snagging some sleep becomes harder as your belly makes it difficult to find a comfortable sleeping position.
Buying for Baby: What You Really Need
Tempted to go on a buying binge at your local baby superstore? What mom-to-be wouldn't love a decked out nursery with a matching crib, dresser, changing table combo, designer bedding, and of course a gliding rocker for late night feedings? But you don't need a fully stocked baby room—or to spend thousands of dollars—to give your baby everything she needs. There are a few items you'll want to pick up before your baby arrives, but surprisingly there are several purchases you can hold off on until your child gets older.
Infant seat (car seat): You won't be allowed to leave the hospital unless your infant is snugly tucked into a car seat. When car seat shopping, you'll find a variety of cloth styles, handle designs, and prices. Try out several models before you buy. Many parents enjoy travel systems that include a stroller. (These allow you to take Baby, still in her infant car seat, from your car and click the seat right into a stroller.) While you're shopping, remember that your baby will log many hours in this seat: For the first year of his life he'll be facing backwards in his seat while riding in cars. You'll also be carrying him in this seat on errands. In fact, many store shopping carts are designed to have baby seats clip into the front.
Diaper Bag: Another must-have, diaper bags have grown up over the years. In style are sleek, efficient bags that can carry bottles, diapers, and wipes while still looking good. Don't limit your search for diaper bags to baby superstores. Many fashion designers are now catering to the baby crowd. Check online or at your favorite clothing store for diaper bags or even large purses that might do the job. You may even want to purchase a couple of bags to fit different occasions. And remember, diaper bags aren't just for moms; many designers also offer models specifically for dads.
Diapers, onesies, sleepers, and blankets: Stock up on these basic supplies for your home. Load up on diapers, but keep your receipt: depending on your infant's weight, he may fit newborn diapers or he may be big enough for size one. Along with diapers you'll need several changes of clothing for your little one. Purchase plenty of onesies, sleepers, and blankets for your baby's daily needs. (Save the cute outfits and delicate blankets for when you take your baby out to meet friends.)
Feeding Supplies: If you're planning on nursing you may consider purchasing a breast pump. These pumps can be especially helpful in the first few weeks after delivery when your body is adjusting to your baby's nursing needs. If your breasts produce too much milk, you can simply pump the excess out. You can also use the pump to store milk for times when you're away from your baby at feeding time. Along with the pump, buy a few cloth or disposable nursing pads, and bottles. (You may be able to borrow a pump from a friend or relative.) For formula-feed babies you may want to purchase some beforehand. But don't go overboard. Your baby's pediatrician may have certain recommendations about what kind of formula to use. If you can't resist the urge to stock up, call the pediatrician's office and ask about what kind of formula your baby will most likely need.
Baby carrier: Although it's not a must, baby carriers can make getting around with your baby easier. These cloth-made contraptions hold your infant close against your body. There are several designs—and price ranges—from which to choose. One reason to wait on this purchase is so you can try it out with your baby. While some carriers look nice, they may be difficult to use once you're trying to hold your child and strap the carrier on at the same time.
Crib: There are several highly rated cribs you can buy for around $100. Of course, the price for cribs goes up from there into the thousands, but just because cribs are a nursery mainstay doesn't mean you have to buy one before Baby. If you plan on co-sleeping (having your baby snuggle in bed with you at night), a crib may be unnecessary for the first few months. Some parents also opt for portable play yards that include built-in bassinets for newborns.
You may choose a cradle or bassinet instead of a crib as your baby's first bed. Eventually, you will need a crib, but don't rush into buying one you don't like—remember your baby will most likely be sleeping in this crib for two or three years.
Stroller: There are literally hundreds of strollers to choose from in a wide range of designs and prices. As with baby carriers, you may want to wait until your baby arrives to buy. Stroller models that look great in the store may not be as wonderful once you start using them everyday. And you might not want to buy just one stroller: you may decide you need at least a couple.
A Word about Used Baby Items
Friends and relatives may offer you their used baby items. Before you accept these hand-me-downs, do a little digging to make sure the items haven't been recalled by logging on to the US Consumer Product Safety Commission website. Even if you don't find the item on a recall list, keep in mind that many of these products, such as car seats, go through safety design overhauls every couple of years.
Save Your Receipts!
If you can't resist the urge and buy several big-ticket items before your baby's arrival, hold on to your receipts. Check the store's return policies so that you don't get stuck with a stroller you can't stand or a crib that just doesn't fit your baby's nursery.