Essential Baby Equipment
You’ve found out you’re expecting, congratulations! You’re about to go on a huge journey. You’ll want to make sure that everything is best for baby, and there is a lot to get your head around! What does baby need? What do you want for baby? Mindful Mum Investigates those essential baby equipment purchases.
by Louise-Anne Geddes, Mindful Mum, 29th September 2011
According to the NHS, the main baby equipment essentials are:
Before making such a big purchase, it is important to spend some time shopping around to see what is available and is best for you and your baby. Don’t feel pressured into making a choice quickly. Ask other Mums for their advice on what has been useful for them, and feel free to ask if you can try out prams and buggies before you purchase.
A car seat is also known as a safety restraint and you MUST use one if you are taking baby in the car, including when you bring them home from the hospital. Carrying your baby in your arms in the car is not only illegal, but extremely dangerous. The best way for baby to travel is in a rear-facing infant car seat in the front or back seat. This is held in place by the seatbelt.
- Make sure the car seat is fitted correctly.
- Do not place a rear-facing infant care seat in the front passenger seat if your car is fitted with an air bag.
- Do not buy a second-hand car seat as it may have been damaged in an accident.
See Child Car Seat safety for more information.
Prams, pushchairs, strollers and buggies…so many to choose from and so many features to consider!
Prams give baby a lot of space to sit and lie comfortably, but can often take up a lot of space so this is something to consider when purchasing. Will it fit easily into the car, or be easy to dismantle on the bus or the train? Prams tend to have a lie flat system which is suitable for newborns, while pushchairs may have a reclining, forward facing seat which is more suitable for a toddler. There are so many different models to choose from, with many now offering reversible seating units which allows the baby or toddler to be rear or forward facing. There are 3 or 4 wheeler prams, and whether you intend to use your pram in rugged terrain, or just pounding the streets while shopping, pushchair options explained offers further information on how to choose the pram/pushchair which is perfect for you, whilst offering safety videos to set your mind at ease. There are also travel system options which includes a car seat for easy transportation. Before use, always check the following:
- The brakes are in good working order.
- The handles are at the right height for pushing.
- The frame is strong enough
Strollers and buggies are usually a more lightweight and easy to transport option. They are versatile and easy to fold, making those daytrips/quick visits to the supermarket much much easier! Like with the prams and pushchairs, strollers and buggies will usually also have a reversible seating unit, allowing you to have your child rear or forward facing.
A carrycot is a light, portable cot with handles, similar to (but smaller than) the body of a pram and often attachable to a wheeled frame. Baby can sleep in the carrycot for the first few months, and the cot can be attached to the frame to go out. Most modern carrycots can also be taken in a car with appropriate restraints, but it is always a good idea to check with the supplier when purchasing. Try it out before buying, because if you don’t feel comfortable with the length of the handles, or feel it is too heavy you simply won’t use it. All carrycots come with washable mattress covers, and it is very important to make sure that the mattress fits the carrycot properly to ensure baby’s safety while sleeping. A three in one is a carrycot and transporter (set of wheels) which can be converted into a pushchair when baby has outgrown the carrycot.
Baby carriers (also called slings) are attached with straps and baby is carried in front of you. Most babies like being carried like this because they are close to you and are kept warm. The back part of the carrier must be high enough to support your baby’s head, and you should make sure that buckles and straps are secure. Older babies who can hold up their heads and whose backs are stronger (at about four months) can be carried in carriers that go on your back. Using baby carriers and slings safely offers these tips on choosing the right carrier for you.
- Choose a carrier that will hold and support your baby securely and is the right size for him. You don’t want something that’s too big, where baby could run the risk of falling out.
- Look for a carrier that has wide padded shoulder straps and ensure all straps are adjustable.
- Some carriers have an extra padded waist or hip belt. These can help distribute your baby’s weight better and reduce the strain on your shoulders.
- Ensure that the harness, straps, buckles, snaps and belts all seem durable and hardwearing.
- Look for a sling that’s made of soft, warm and breathable cotton.
- Slings need a generous amount of fabric, but ensure it’s not too big – otherwise your infant could get lost in all the extra fabric.
- Check that the leg holes on carriers have elastic or padded fabric to support your baby’s legs.
- Ensure a carrier has a padded headrest, to support your baby’s head and neck.
- Try on slings and carriers before you buy. They need to be easy to get on and off. With a carrier, having one that requires two adults to get it on and off might not be practical for your needs.
- Decide whether a front facing or back facing carrier is best for your needs.
- Look for models that are easy to clean.
Photography: Eduardo Merille @Flickr