13 June 2013, under
Dad-To-Be; More Dad-To-Be articles...
Being a new or expectant parent you are bound to be tempted by the latest innovative piece of baby gadgetry, after all you want the best for your baby and no one can argue with that, but that’s all fine and dandy if you have deep pockets or you happen to be married to premiership footballer.
The rules to formulating what is and isn’t needed starts first with speaking with other parents, shopping about for the best deals, staying within budget and looking closely at the second hand option.
Take a ramble round the rails of any baby store and the first thing that will hit you is that for the first year of a baby’s life the sizes are in months - why else do they call them baby grows?
Baby clothes are the one thing you can be sure that other parents a) have an EU butter stock pile of, and b) will be over-eager to dispense of. Gifts and donations will largely take care of baby’s wardrobe for the first few months. If you decide not to find out the sex of your baby, then neutral colours such as white and yellows are the best option. Don’t pay any heed to colours of second-hand items – at 4am in the morning, it’ll make no difference whether it’s pink or blue!
A Moses basket is an excellent ‘addition’ to your baby’s sleeping requirements. They are very portable and can be taken from room to room when required.
Times have moved on from the orphan Annie steel-barred enclosures. Today we are bombarded with a wide selection of contemporary cot designs with drop-down sides, varying sleeping levels and cot-bed models which can last up to five years of age.
Doctors warn that babies can suffocate against, be strangled or trapped by the popular padding or safety bumper which wraps around the inside of a cot and ties to slats.
Baby sleeping bags are a great substitute for blankets since they cannot be kicked off, slipped overhead or cause baby’s feet to get caught in the bars of the cot.
Fitted sheets that have elastic going around the entire sheet (not just at the corners) can make life a lot easier for new parents too.
A mattress protector can prevent any type of leakage finding its way through to the mattress.
Since babies spend ‘most’ of the time sleeping it is essential that you pay special attention to the choosing the correct mattress, quite simply by applying the 4 F’s:
- Firm: Speak to an experienced retailer about the different compositions and safety implications of each.
- Fit: The cot mattress needs to fit the cot properly. Large gaps can present an unnecessary danger to your baby. When pressed tightly against the side of the cot, a mattress should not leave a gap of more than 1.6in (4cm) between itself and the cot sides.
- Flame resistant: The ability to retard flames is crucial (as with all equipment types).
- First: Though it is recommended to factor in the second-hand option in buying baby equipment or borrowing from family and friends, it is strongly advised that in the case of the mattress always buy brand new.
Baby monitors do offer parents a great deal of peace of mind. As with the majority of technological purchases, the more you are willing to pay, the more features you can expect to have, including temperature gauge, talkback, mood lighting and video monitoring.
The Changing Mat & Station
A changing mat is an inexpensive wipe-clean item that comes in a variety of baby distracting colours. Odd as it sounds, a changing station is a ‘raised’ structure with the mat itself serving as the rooftop with a few handy storage shelves underneath. It’s more forgiving on your back than a conventional changing mat as bending over the bed or getting down on all fours can cause quite a strain.
The nappy is just the pizza base when it comes down to the changing process. Other ingredients include wipes, cream, cotton balls, nappy bin/bucket (no you don’t really need one!), and scented nappy bags.
Considering a newborn baby can go through up to 10 nappies a day you may wish to investigate a greener alternative such as a cloth nappy which could save you a few hundred Euros over two to three years. The modern eco cloth variety comes already nappy shaped and fastened with either handy Velcro, poppers or little clip ties.
The ways in which you bathe your baby is more important than the container or tub itself. However there are a multitude of cradle devices and non-slip bathing mats on the market.
Pumps, pads, bottles, teats, bottle brushes, steriliser, if you are bottle feeding.
If baby gear had an awards ceremony, then the muslin cloth would be the overall winner. It would not only walk away with the award for the ‘Most Useful Baby Item’ but would pick up the ‘Best Dribble Protector’ Award and the ‘Best Bulk Buy’ Award.
It is important when choosing a pushchair, stroller or buggy look for a model with a five-point safety harness which has straps which go over your baby’s shoulders, round baby’s middle and between baby’s legs for maximum security. Check also the brakes – can all wheels be locked together or just the back ones.
Making sure you use a child car restraint may be the most important thing you do for your child. EU child safety protection laws make it compulsory for all children to travel in the correct child seat, booster seat or booster cushion. The following are helpful tips in choosing the appropriate car seat:
- Don’t buy second-hand.
- Purchase a car seat from a retailer which provides a fitting service.
- Ensure that your chosen car seat is equipped with a head hugger or head-cushion insert which prevents any head-floppiness.
- Consider every car that your child will travel in before choosing your child seat.
- Many parents use the car seat to carry their baby to places they do not wish to take a pram. Check the carry handle is comfortable and that the seat is not too awkward to take about.
- It is advised to keep your baby in a rearward facing seat for as long as possible, bearing in mind that your baby’s head should never reach over the top of the seat.
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