An infant carrier can help you hold your baby while you do errands or chores, indoors or out. Be sure the one you choose is the right size for a newborn. For longer trips, you’ll need some kind of stroller or carriage.
Make sure it is sturdy, safety approved, and easy to open and close. Most strollers have a seat that can be placed in either an upright or a reclining position for greater versatility.
In the car, your baby will need an infant car seat. Some car seats can do double duty as adjustable infant seats or carriers, but babies generally outgrow these seats by four or five months of age.
You can safely place a newborn in a larger car seat that can be adjusted for growth until age four or five, when the child can switch to a seat belt.
If you choose the full-sized seat, find one with a three-point harness (which latches at each shoulder and between the legs), and be sure to place it in the car properly, so that the baby is facing the rear. (When the baby reaches a certain weight, which varies for different seat models, you can turn the seat around.) Also buy a cushion insert to help support the baby’s head.
Other purchases you may want to consider include:
- A wind-up or battery-operated swing
- Baby-sized plastic bathtub
- Diaper pail
- Adjustable infant seat
Keep it simple in early infancy. Stretchable knit sleepwear and undershirts are the mainstays of a baby’s wardrobe, and since babies grow so rapidly, buying them in six-month or even one-year sizes is a safe bet.
Look for clothes that are easy to wash, put on, and take off. Light sweaters are needed for cool rooms or outings. In winter, blanket sleepers or buntings are the best choice, with separated legs an added convenience if your baby is often in a car seat.
In the early months, a baby’s favorite toys include faces and fingers, his own and yours. Provide some stimulating crib scenery by propping or attaching bright pictures, mirrors, dolls, or mobiles nearby.
(Don’t, however, attach these items with strips of elastic, which can strangle the baby.) Rattles are fun and provide practice in searching for sounds and looking at movement. Be sure all infant toys are safe.
Check for small parts, sharp edges, or trailing cords. According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, rattles with ends that are smaller than 1% inches in diameter pose a choking hazard. It’s fun to watch your baby respond to a musical mobile. The mobile should be eight to 14 inches from the baby’s face for optimal focusing. Bright, primary colors and sharp contrasts attract a baby’s attention more than pale shades.