With a new baby comes lots of stuff! Some necessary and some that will end up at a yard sale or landfill. Gifts from friends and relatives are great, but sometimes they miss the mark. It is hard to know exactly what you might need ahead of time so I compiled this comprehensive list based on the items I found most useful during the first year of my child's life. All of our needs as parents are different. Let this be a starting point that you can add or subtract from to create your own baby gear list.
We often need much less than we think. However, it can be fun to indulge in your biological urges to nest and gather items before birth. I highly recommend searching on local parents listservs as a starting point. Online groups can be a great way to connect and make a few friends. In addition, they can be an excellent way to find free and cheap items for your baby. If there aren't any parent listservs in your area, craigslist often has some baby items that could be of interest. There is so much waste when it comes to birth and babies (and well... people in general), any chance to reuse, get a discount or a freebie is good for your bank account and great for our planet! Click on the bold words below to access a link to find or buy the mentioned items.
- Find a Supportive Care Provider (OB, CNM, CPM, etc...) who has a similar birth philosophy as you & can provide the type of birth you are looking for (ie Hospital, Birth Center, or Home). This should NOT be something you settle on! Think of your baby's birth as a day that is as even more important than your wedding. Did you spend a pretty penny on that? Don't skimp on the type of birth support you want! The support you choose can have both a physical and emotional effect on you for years to come. While you are at it research and maybe even meet a pediatrician that is relatively close to home and has a similar philosophy on health and parenting. The wrong pediatrician can be a nuisance or (in my case as a parent) even lead to emotional trauma.
- Be sure to get your vitamins! I love the Rainbow Lite Prenatal Brand Multivitamin, Green Pasture Brand Blue Ice Fermented Cod Liver Oil, & Udo's Choice Plus Flora Brand Probiotics. Buy your probiotics from the refrigerated section of the vitamin store. If you must order online, be sure it is mailed quickly with dry ice.
- Have a Cup of Tea! Red Raspberry, Nettles, Alfalfa & Oatstraw are lovely herbs to drink as a tea or nutritive iron rich infusion. If you are having a baby in the summer months make iced tea or ice cubes!
- Read Birth Positive Literature! Penny Simkin's The Birth Partner is a great evidence based read with actually useful information for pregnant women & their birth partner. Ina May Gaskin's Guide to Childbirth (or really anything written by her) imbues positive experiences as told by mothers. Orgasmic Birth by Elizabeth Davis & Debra Pascali-Bonaro helps reinvent how we perceive this intense rite of passage. Really anything that helps encourage you and dispels fears is what I'd recommend!
- Avoid Annoying People & Family That Tend To Pry! Instead fill up your schedule with friends & family that are supportive and fun to be around. This may sound harsh but it is better for you to start creating healthy boundaries now. Do not be afraid to keep details about your birth, baby, or estimated due date to yourself. Afterall this is a very intimate subject, we don't share our menses or ovulation dates with these people, so why share the details of our birth? This goes for partners too! Ask before you share private information about your lady's birth & body.
- A Snoogle! A body pillow or pregnancy pillow that can help you adjust to side sleeping can really help! It can help you maintain healthy alignment during sleep and reduces pressure on your joints by adding much needed support. They are useful in pregnancy, and really anytime in life you find yourself side sleeping, reading in bed, or even useful later on when your baby is exploring tummy time.
- Treat Yourself! Money might be tight preparing for a baby and all the expenses that are related to birth. However this is the BEST time to spend some extra money on yourself for pampering and self care. Get a non-toxic pedicure, a prenatal massage, Cranio-Sacral Therapy, Myofascial Release, or Reflexology. Can't find the time to make an appointment? Take a warm (NOT HOT) bath with Epsom salts, light a candle, and play some Sade. Regular Acupuncture can also ease aches and help you prepare for birth in the last trimester as well (this is not everyone's definition of pampering but it can leave you feeling great!).
- Find a Doula! Last, but definitely not least, get some help! I'm not talking nervous mom or anxious friend I am talking a trained professional. Someone that has attended births and can provide individualized emotional and physical support. The more challenges that come up in life the more I wonder why we don't have a doula to walk us through everything. Birth is unpredictable, can be scary or exciting, and is never quite what you'd expect. Therefore, having an extra pair of caring hands to help walk alongside you and your partner (if applicable) should be a MUST! If you are birthing at home or in the hospital, either way, a doula is essential. Once baby is born it can be a huuuuge adjustment and having an extra pair of hands from a knowledgeable postpartum doula can help keep you sane. Let them do the dishes, fix some food, watch your newborn while you shower or help you with breastfeeding issues that might have come up. Many postpartum doulas are experienced mothers and lactation counselors as well. They can provide evidence based problem solving when you need it and they know when to keep their mouth shut when you don't. Their care is very different than a family or friend coming by to help out... which usually means just holding your newborn. Look here to see why visitors might not be as helpful as they sound and a postpartum doula might actually be one of your best investments as a new parent.
- Postpartum Goodie Bag! You might want to have a non-toxic waterproof mattress cover for lochia, baby spills, and new mommy sweats. Herbal sitz bath blend, use the herbal solution in a peri bottle if you are more comfortable (if you have a cesarean, these can still be useful! Especially if you develop hemorrhoids). Placenta Pills! Placenta Pills have been known to reduce after pains, increase milk supply, balance hormones, and boost your iron. A salve can also be made for women who have had a cesarean. Find a specialist that has been certified in Bloodborne Pathogens and Food Safety & Handling to be sure you are in good hands. Night time pads or adult diapers to last up to a week or two. Nutritious pre-made homemade frozen meals, meal train, postpartum meal delivery, or healthy take-out options can save you time and energy in the first couple weeks as you recover and adjust to feeding and changing a baby.
- The Belly Wrap! Whether it is a belly bandit, an old fashioned tight girdle, a tuppler wrap, or a traditional bengkung style wrap using a long carrier. Wrapping your mid section (from xyphoid process to pubis symphasis) can assist your healing process after birth and support your abdominals as they work to knit back together. They are essential for women with diastisis recti and post cesarean mothers. I would argue that every mother should try to use one for the first 3-4 weeks postpartum if not longer and avoid all rectus & oblique work for the abdominals. Take your time! "Bouncing back" can be oppressive, can create lasting issues with unstable pelvic joints, and even cause pelvic organs to prolapse. Wait till your body tells you it is ready (4-6 weeks is the minimum for most new moms to safely begin moderate postpartum routines). For the time being see if you can embrace who you are right now, you are and always will be enough!
- Prepare to get out there! Get a list of La Leche League, new parent meetups, and mommy & me classes for your area. Getting out of the house can help keep your mood up, help you make local mommy friends, and offer much needed support from those who are also going through the same transition. If you (or a partner) notices a constant change in your mood and you seem to have lost interest in doing things & feel hopeless or depressed please seek a professional. Early detection of postpartum mood & anxiety disorders can help! Go to: www.postpartum.net, www.womensmentalhealth.org, or www.postpartumstress.com
- Dipers! I did a combo of cloth (second hand prefolds & bumgenius) during the day and The Honest Company during the night & when traveling. The Honest Company disposable diapers were the most absorbent we could find without yucky dyes and harmful chemicals. Also, once our baby was sitting up on her own we would seat her on the potty. Potty training early in a low stress/ low mess version of Elimination Communication can save you money and time. Don't want to do laundry but want to use cloth? Many cities offer local diaper services for cloth diapers as a nice alternative to buying & laundering your own. When buying or registering be sure to get a few newborn and several size 1 diapers. Babies come in all kinds of sizes, so it is nice not to overstock on the tiny ones. If you buy Honest brand diapers from their website they will send you a return slip and mail you another size free of charge.
- Wipes! I liked The Honest Company Wipes best in consistency and ingredients. Some people like a damper wipe, if so Water Wipes are pretty decent. Want to be super green and even more super duper busy? Buy some cloth wipes & use a homemade butt spray. Fill a small spray bottle with water and add a few drops of Dr. Bronner's Baby Castile Soap. Spray on baby's bum and wipe clean your little one's tush. Wash, reuse, repeat!
- Onesies! Get a selection of Newborn & 3-6 months. Your baby will grow fast! Buy Organic cotton to avoid flame retardants and icky chemicals if possible. Kimono Style is easy for quick changes. Also, read this to help with onsie changes after a poop-splosion or extra messy spit up.
- Swaddle Blankets or Wraps! You only need 2-3 of these really! I like these blankets as my daughter hated to be swaddled I was able to use these on the rug or as a stroller cover instead of buying the velcro wraps.
- Burp Cloths! These can be soft dish rags that you repurpose or hand towels for spit up & burping. We got these despite the company being owned by Clorox, their burp cloths are organic, affordable, and so soft!
Breastfeeding and beyond...
- The Pump! I am not a huge fan of manual pumps I'd rather just hand express, but some women swear by it. Most insurance companies are required to supply new or expectant mothers with a pump thanks to the Affordable Care Act. There are a few small loopholes and some grandfather clauses that mean it might take some research and time on hold with your insurance company. However, most women can now get a double electric pump via insurance! I urge you to call your provider when you are still pregnant and order it as soon as your plan allows. It can take time to arrive. While many breastfeeding mothers don't need a pump right away, some do! You wont necessarily know this prenatally. It is a nightmare if you do need one and don't have it, or have to wait 4 weeks for it to be shipped to you! Your baby eats a minimum of 12 times a day so imagine the stress that you'd go through if you needed it and it wasn't there for you. That said, it is nice to have for later on as well. Date nights, an appointment in the city, or if you are building a stash for when you plan to go back to work. Pumps are useful tools. They are only free for a window of time, so it is important to order this ahead of time. If your insurance doesn't cover breast pumps due to a shady legal loophole I do not recommend getting a pump used. If you absolutely have no other options please get a CLOSED system pump from a friend, family member, or neighbor. Closed system pumps like the Hygeia Q (seen above) or Hygeia Enjoye or the Ameda Purely Yours are safe to get passed down. The Medela Freestyle or Pump in Style are OPEN system thus they are not recommended to be used by more than one person even with a new set of tubing.
- Hands Free Bra! I bought two of these adjustable bras and it revolutionized pumping for me!
- Storage Bags! With Pumps comes the discussion of storage. I found the BPA free Medela 4oz bags were strong and easy to fill and didn't get holes or cracks in the plastic as some other companies did when I used them. I've had clients ask for eco and baby friendly alternatives to these types of plastic baggies. I've heard of women using ball jars but I am not sure that would create a good enough seal and it is not as easy to travel with glass jars. In short, I'm still looking into better options.
- Bottles! I like bottles that are simple, easy to wash, with as few parts as possible. Otherwise I can't deal! Evenflo (seen above) & Avent make 4oz bottles in glass that consist of only 4 parts. A cap, nipple (get newborn slow flow nipple), a ring, and the glass bottle. I love these bottles! They are affordable and I have dropped them and not one has broken (don't test that out though). They work just as well as everything else and are easy to clean! Forget those bottles that have the expensive silicon sleeves or extra straws claiming to reduce colic. It just means more cleaning time and places for mold to grow. Follow the instructions on how to sterilise your bottle and pump parts before the first use. Remember when bottle feeding to feed your baby upright, feed your baby slowly (paced as they would drink at the breast), & burp your baby gently. If there is an issue with gas or colic look at my suggestions for that here. Bottles can be cleaned in a dishwasher (if you have one) just place them in a bin like this. Dry bottles on a clean & dry dishcloth or on a bottle rack.
- Nursing Bras, Tops, & Camis! If you plan to breastfeed these are essential! Pull your button down flannel and oversized V neck shirts out of storage they will be useful too! Wear loose fitting regular tops with a breastfeeding cami underneath and slide your shirt up without revealing your tummy to the cold and peeping toms. V necks and button downs work well without a bra (for those that normally would go without) and with a breastfeeding bra (for those that require sturdy support). If it is in the budget to buy a comfortable nursing dress or a few breastfeeding blouses go for it! You need to be comfortable for this to work. It is worth a bit of an investment. Some women find it more comfortable to sleep in nursing bras or jammies. I find a comfy robe can work well too! Pea in the Pod, Destination Maternity, Gap & Old Navy Maternity all have discounts and sales from time to time. The selection is NOT stylish but it does the job.
- Nipple Pads! Not all women need the following but many do & boy did they make my life easier! Nipple pads for leaks, surprise letdowns, and just plain going out in public, were a must have for me. Bamboobies is my absolute favorite. They are soft, reusable, and breathe. They are a better option than the plastic lined disposable ones. Disposable pads can create a damp environment around your nipple that thrush thrives on! Reusable is better for your breasts, baby, wallet, & our earth!
- A breastfeeding pillow! I love the ones that can clip on and have a somewhat firm surface. These can make the first month or two of breastfeeding a bit less stressful. Maneuvering a floppy sleepy newborn is tricky enough without rolling up blankets and having tiny pillows slide out mid-feeding. The Boppy & My Breast Friend are trusted brands but many new small companies are coming out with beautiful supportive options as well.
- Carriers! We evolved from apes but we are still meant to still carry our young for several years and keep them close. A ring sling, baby k'tan, or moby in the first couple months can be soooo useful! There are more advanced styles to wrap babies and it is really as beautiful an artform as it is supportive. Try on several wraps or structured carriers prenatally to find what is the most stress free option for you. Wearing your baby soothes them to sleep while freeing up your hands. It also helps reduce gas, helps to regulate their temperature, heartbeat, & breathing. Once my baby was large enough for the Ergo it became our go to and we still use it from time to time today! For babywearing safety check this out.
- A Car seat! Most hospitals require a car seat for discharge. As a homebirth mom it was still on the very top on my list. I knew I would need to take my baby to see the pediatrician and eventually venture out to see family and travel. It is important to read the manual before baby comes and maybe even practice on a teddy bear so you know how the straps work before putting your newborn in. Also, practice installing it in a car before your baby arrives! This is NOT an item you should skimp on or buy second hand. If it has been in an accident or is six (or more) years old then it is no longer safe to use. One way to save while not sacrificing safety, is to get a car seat that is convertible for newborns to toddlers (as seen above). I love the Diono Radian!
- Strollers! I recommend baby wearing whenever possible as it has so many benefits for your baby and really frees you up to use your hands, do some shopping, etc... That said, if you are active, the fact is, at some point you will probably need a stroller. Babies grow, backs ache and healing pelvic floors are not always up to the added baby weight for extended periods of time. I recommend having either a clip in stroller that you can put your carseat in for city dwellers. If you own a car or don't use your stroller often I recommend an umbrella stroller. The Uppababy G Lux worked for many months of NYC bus and train travel. It has an awesome stand upright feature that is a great space saver when dining in a restaurant. Now that we have a car, we keep it in the trunk for long shopping trips, naps, & travel. If you are a runner, jogger, or love to take long walks investing in a strong jogging stroller is a must! I love the Bob Revolution Strollers! They are lightweight, easily glide up and down curbs, bumps in the road, and are very easy to maneuver quickly.
- The High Chair! Once a baby is around 6 months of age they can start to benefit from slow introduction to "solids." High chairs can be fancy like space pods or they can be rustic traditionally Amish made. They also come in a huge range of prices! My suggestion is to scour the internet for discounts and deals, craigslist & parent listservs, or even try your luck at the local thrift store. The highchair make and quality (like bedding, clothing, & diapers) was important to me because my baby's first meals were in it. I didn't want something with a ton of plastic or harmful enamels around my little eater. I ended up with the Stokke seen above. I love it because it is mostly wood and a few non-bpa plastic parts that are removeable. It can adjust for a 6 month old to an adult. I also ended up getting one of those travel high chairs that screws on and off of tables for visiting family. I do not recommend it! They don't work on a lot of tables, they are cumbersome, heavy, and once baby gets around 20lbs or so it just doesn't seem secure! I recommend this for travelling instead. It is affordable and adjustable and works on most chairs. Want a wooden chair but can't afford a Stokke trip trap? IKEA makes a suitable high chair for a fraction of the price!
- Bouncers & Baskets! We had no desire to get a massage chair for our newborn as we don't have one for ourselves and I happen to be certified in Infant Massage. So why would a new little human need one? Surely a nice rock in a parent's arms or in grandma's rocking chair is good enough! It did the trick for hundreds of years and it doesn't come with a hefty price tag. I found having a bouncer very useful, for nap time and when I needed a break from babywearing. When washing dishes, using the computer, folding laundry, eating a quick lunch, or reading a book it is nice to have a moment of relative autonomy. I got a wonderful baby bjorn and also an Oeuf bouncer (seen above). Both were used and not the current models that are available but they worked well and would actually help my baby take a nap. Both are lovely and simple (no music, no vibration -other than a natural bounce, and best of all NO PLASTIC -aside from the clasps). I'd say a bouncer or moses basket, nest, or cocoon are a must have for new moms in the early months when babies are mostly sleeping. Baskets are also great travel beds in the early months should you and baby find yourselves on the road.
- Sensory Toys! I love the organic cotton and wooden selection on amazon. It is affordable and there are tons of options for your little one. If you are crafty you could always knit or carve your own toys. I am not so crafty so I chose a few crinkle, squeaky, and rattle toys in bright colors in easy to grasp sizes. Stacking cups, magic balls, shakers & drums, and natural teethers are among my must haves! Green Tones, Haba, Plan Toys, The Manhattan Toy Company, Hevea, & Dandelion toys were big hits with our little one.
- Activity Arch & Mat! You might only use it for a few months for tummy time and some sensory play. However, this marks an important milestone in your baby's development. Baby will start to focus on the items hanging from above, reach, eventually grasp and even roll over or wiggle to some bright or textured toy below. This can be exciting to watch as your little one begins to learn and explore! Yes, even IKEA is selling affordable wooden alternatives to the popular plastic arch options on the market. If you are trying not to spend a lot on a mat perhaps you have a colorful quilt in storage? The ribbons and various fabric colors, patterns, & textures are wonderful for this age.
- A Playmat! As your baby begins to roll and wiggle, scoot, crawl, and even pull themselves up to stand, it will become increasingly important to have a mat, rug, or soft surface in their play area. Their heavy little heads topple over and can easily get bumped and bruised on hardwood or tile floors. There are some fancy options that were outside my budget and some cheap options that seemed sketchy or dangerous (most are made from EVA foam or synthetic fabrics). Instead, I opted for a thick 100% high pile wool rug. In addition, be sure to also secure furniture to the walls, get a safety kit to secure the flat screen, and baby proof sharp furniture edges with something like the non-toxic sticky foam seen above.
- Baby Books! It might seem like something you can wait on however, babies begin to hear around 23-27 weeks gestation. It can be a relaxing and centering activity to read your baby a book or two before bed. I started reading baby books to my belly in third trimester. You can also sing lullabies! I have had several clients that had a special song they always sang to their baby in the womb. A few broke out in song or played a recording right after baby was born. It was as though those babies recognized the song, their voices, and was able to feel calmer despite just being born. I remembered this and chanted almost daily in pregnancy. When my baby was born I chanted the same mantra to her I had while pregnant and she fell right asleep. That has become our bedtime song and that, with a few baby books, has become our relaxing bedtime routine since birth.
Notice I left something out? As I mentioned in the beginning everyone is different and what one person absolutely can't live without is very different than another. Just look at this article to see the differences in birth bag "necessities" around the world. I didn't need or use the following popular items:
- Cribs There are many reasons we humans don't need cribs. They eat up real estate in small city apartments, they are a relatively new invention, they are pricey, and your baby will outgrow it before you know it! Full disclosure, I got a used crib from a local mom and my child used it for about 6 naps in total before she refused to ever go in it again. I have been bed sharing with my little one since the day she was born. Most cultures around the world bedshare and have done since the dawn of human kind. That said, it is NOT for everyone. Look here for safe ways to bedshare with your baby.
Some new parents & couples need their own sleep space in order to get quality rest. It doesn't mean they sleep through diaper changes or miss important night nursing sessions. It simply means they need space to feel comfortable and sleep well. Bed sharing with my newborn was a big change at first and it is not ideal for everyone. For this reason, I'd love to recommend some great co-sleeping & crib options should you really want a crib. Remember, it is best for mother and baby to be in the same room so keep your spare room as an office space and move your baby into your room! If you want to co-sleep but need a little space (or take sleeping medications, etc) and don't want to buy a whole crib this is a lovely rental option some of my clients have used. If you got a crib second hand or have a beautiful family heirloom you couldn't turn away this is a safe & comfortable mattress option for crib owners. Finally, if you really must get a crib buy one that can convert to a toddler bed like the Fawn Crib by Oeuf or the Stokke Sleepi Complete that can last your child for up to 7 years!
- Baby Monitors If baby is near you there is no need for these expensive and questionable devices. If you live in a multi level home, other options are baby wearing or carry your baby with you in a moses basket. Try leaving your doors open, that is the original baby monitor! Just think we survived this long without them is it really all that necessary?
- Changing Tables They take up a ton of real estate and honestly once your baby can crawl it is more of a danger than a convenience. I recommend getting a sturdy diaper pad instead and fix it onto your dresser or table in the bedroom.
- Diaper Genie I recommend just throwing out dirty diapers in the kitchen trash can or take them directly to the shoot (or bin outside) if they are extra stinky.
- The Baby Bjorn Read this article on why Baby Bjorn is not my first choice carrier.
- Baby Bath Tub In fairness, I did have a beautiful Puj travel tub gifted to me that I loved (in theory). I waited to give my baby her first bath till she was 3 1/2 weeks old. The first bath was seamless. I even got what seemed to look like a few smiles! I made chamomile tea and poured it into the bathtub and mixed it with warm water before getting in with my baby. She was calm, curious, and could easily be held and even nursed through her bathtime. When I switched to baths in the baby tub they were not so smooth. They were a mess, she would get scared and cry, and in only a few weeks she outgrew the tub! I realized a baby tub was just another excuse to expose my newborn to a warm bath of endocrine disruptors in the plastic that it was made out of. Instead of wasting money on a tub that your baby will quickly outgrow or crawl out of in a few months, I recommend investing in a water filter for your tub & shower. Also, if you live in the city or own an old tub, check to see if the enamel is lead based. If so, use the kitchen sink as a tub for as long as you can till you can get the tub fixed or find a safe alternative.
- Wipe Warmer On a cold day I get it. But really this is more a luxury item than a necessity. Save your money for an extra hour of postpartum doula care instead.
- Exersaucers, Jumpers & Walkers My baby would get bored after a few minutes in the second hand jumper we had. It didn't even spare me a trip to the bathroom alone! This is not something everyone will want to invest in. I find these a waste of space and plastic. Babies generally reach milestones without needing a crutch. It is always more exciting to see them master these skills on their own & at their own pace.
- Bumbu Seats (same reasons as stated above)
- Diaper Bag Okay, I have one. But really any bag with compartments or better yet a tiny backpack will do!
- Plastic Toys When at all possible choose cloth, wood, or natural rubber options as babies love to put things in their mouths to explore and learn.
- Toys with Batteries They will give you a headache (if you don't have one already). Babies are over stimulated enough as it is. They are getting used to the ceiling, mesmerized by the lights, and totally head over heels in love with you. Ultimately, they have enough to focus on, so there is no need to bring loud annoying toys into their life before their first year is up.
- Pack & Play I am into free range babies & toddlers (when in a baby safe home). Babies need to be able to scoot, crawl, and walk freely. If you live in a very tight space find ways to baby proof rather than box your little one in. They will develop spatial awareness and learn more if they are free to explore. If you live in a home with stairs or rooms without doors a small gate can keep baby safe and help you avoid helicoptering over your child's every move.
- Bottle Warmer & Bottle Sterilizer I warmed my baby bottles in a mug with hot water from the tap for about 5 minutes. It was free. I received a bottle sterilizer second hand from a neighbor. I used it a handful of times and then decided to repurpose it for sterilizing my tincture bottles before filling them. Boil the bottle and breast pump parts as directed before their first use. After the first sterilization wash after every use with warm soapy water. No fancy kitchen counter space capers necessary!
- Binkies While pacifiers serve a purpose for preemies and the rare baby that needs to strengthen its suck, they can be disruptive to breastfeeding, are linked to inner ear infections, and can cause dental problems. When you need to soothe your baby I'd opt for the breast if breastfeeding and a clean well manicured (meaning cut nail no polish) pinky finger. Singing a lullaby and rocking or swaying can also be helpful ways to soothe a baby.
- Butt Cream, Nipple Cream, and Baby lotions Buy some organic food grade coconut oil... problem solved!
- Sippy Cups Many people have been surprised I do not use sippy cups. By the time your child is old enough to grasp a sippy cup they are usually capable of drinking from their own small cup. There will be spills... so clean them up! Again this is a new invention that isn't great for oral development and a waste of money. I recommend transitioning straight from bottle or breast to a baby cup instead.
- Baby Shampoo & Shower Gel Babies rarely need to be cleaned (especially newborns) unless they have poop, spit up or pee all over them. Later on crawlers & walking toddlers can get quite messy or sweaty outdoors & with food play which warrants a bath. It is great to clean your baby simply with water, chamomile infused bath water, or necessary a little soap. Shampoo can irritate newborn scalps. Babies tend to develop cradle cap & dry skin if over washed. Did you know many hospitals bathe newborns in this popular shampoo? Don't want your baby bathed or have your own soap you'd prefer to use? That is absolutely your right as a parent so feel free to let your hospital nurse or birth center assistant know!
- Baby Oil & Baby Powder Talcum powder is toxic and has been linked to cancer. As an alternative air out baby after wiping them clean. If needed sprinkle some natural french green clay to keep baby extra dry. Baby oil has been linked to breathing issues in infants that inhaled fumes from the oil on their body. It is also a dangerous substance if swallowed and should be kept out of little one's reach. Did you know many care providers use mineral oil as a lubricant during the birth process? Don't want to use it? Use your own oil (sunflower or olive are great) and let your provider know your wishes.
- Toddler Toothpaste Most toothpastes are potentially dangerous substances and it should be kept out of children & babies hands as are household cleaners. The poison control hotline is printed on the back of tubes as a reminder this is not to be swallowed. Children love to taste things and put them in their mouths (play dough and crayons for example), so it is important to keep toothpaste out of their reach. But what about training toothpaste? It has a host of preservatives and flavoring that is unhealthy for little ones to be exposed to daily. According to the Fluoride Action Network's website "a single tube of bubble-gum flavored Colgate-for-Kids toothpaste contains enough fluoride (143 mg) to kill a weighing less than 30 kg." Although the last reported death to toothpaste poisoning in the United States was in 2002, that is still quite upsetting. I do not use fluoridated toothpaste in my home as a result. A simple dentifrice can be made from water and baking soda. You can also simply apply some organic coconut oil to your toddler's toothbrush dry if they do not care for the taste of baking soda. A surprisingly simple natural tooth cleanser and whitener that your toddlers will love is strawberries!
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