Throughout your pregnancy, you’ve done your best to keep baby healthy by eating nutritious foods, taking your prenatal vitamins and attending prenatal appointments. Before welcoming home your little one, you have one important task left: stocking your baby’s nursery.
Stroll through the baby care aisle at any store, and you’ll likely find a seemingly endless variety of choices. These six suggestions can help you decide what products you need, what products you should leave on the shelf, and whether or not hand-me-downs are safe for your newborn.
1. PURCHASE A BASSINET OR CRIB INSTEAD OF CO-SLEEPING WITH YOUR INFANT
If you’re planning on using a hand-me-down crib, make sure it complies with current safety guidelines. Safe cribs, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics, have slats that are spaced no more than 2 3/8 inches apart and feature at least 26 inches of space between the mattress and the top rail. As of 2011, manufacturers are no longer allowed to sell cribs with drop-side rails, so you should also avoid these types of cribs.The only thing babies need inside their crib is a firm mattress. Infants’ sleeping surfaces should be free from items such as bumper pads, pillows, and stuffed animals, according to Teresa DeMoe, RN, BSN, IBCLC, Women and Infants Services, HSHS Sacred Heart Hospital.
2. WATCH OUT FOR MARKETING CLAIMS
Some manufacturers have developed products, such as wedges, special mattresses and pillows, and positioners that keep babies on their sides or back, that claim to prevent sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). The U.S. Food and Drug Administration warns against using these products. Why? No item is proven to reduce the risk of SIDS, and using a positioner that elevates a baby’s head and prevents movement actually raises the risk of injury and suffocation, according to the FDA.
3. ONLY USE A HOME APNEA MONITOR IF YOUR CHILD’S PEDIATRICIAN RECOMMENDS IT
Home apnea monitors track babies’ heart and breathing rates and alert parents if pauses in breathing are detected, but these monitors offer little to no protection from SIDS and aren’t useful for healthy babies, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics.
4. BE CHOOSY ABOUT PLASTIC
Certain types of plastic, including bisphenol A (BPA) and phthalates, may not be safe for use during pregnancy or early childhood, according to the March of Dimes. To make sure you’re using BPA- and phthalate-free sippy cups, baby bottles, and toys, check the bottom of the product for numbers or letters that specify the type of plastic the product contains. The March of Dimes recommends avoiding products with a 3, 7, or the letters “PC” and instead choosing items labeled with a 1, 2,or 4. Glass is also a safe alternative to plastic in baby bottles and storage containers.
5. DON’T PURCHASE A USED BREAST PUMP OR SHARE A BREAST PUMP WITH FRIENDS OR FAMILY MEMBERS
The Nemours Foundation states that even with thorough cleaning, germs may become trapped in the pump and pose risks to your baby.
6. MAKE SURE TO GRAB THE ESSENTIALS
Every new family needs a car seat, diapers, blankets, and clothing. Planning to breastfeed? DeMoe advises breastfeeding moms wait four weeks before giving their babies a bottle or pacifier to make sure breastfeeding gets off to the best possible start. For more information about Women and Infants Services at HSHS Sacred Heart, visit sacredhearteauclaire.org and select “Women and Infants” from the “Medical Services” drop-down menu or call 715.717.4156.
New Additions for Your New Addition
HSHS Sacred Heart Hospital has begun renovation of its Women and Infants Services. The project will make over the current space and include:
- An expanded six-bed, Level II Neonatal Intensive Care Unit with private rooms so parents can stay close by
- An advanced infant security system
- An additional operating room, which will allow physicians to perform more C-sections on the Women and Infants Services Center floor rather than on the general surgery floor
A Family-centered Birth Experience
There’s no one-size-fits-all approach to childbirth. Some women prefer to get an epidural to help manage their pain, while others prefer to walk, use a birthing ball, or take a shower or bath. The Women and Infants Services’ new labor, delivery, recovery, and postpartum (LDRP) rooms give women choices. The first phase of the project is expected to be completed in May, with seven remodeled rooms available.
Our LDRP rooms feature hydrotherapy tubs for pain relief, rocking chairs, portable fetal monitoring so women can remain mobile during labor, and a sound system for playing music. HSHS Sacred Heart Hospital is also the only hospital in Eau Claire and Chippewa counties that have birth slings in each of its LDRP rooms. “Birth slings support women so they can comfortably remain in an upright position,” says Teresa DeMoe, RN, BSN, IBCLC, Women and Infants Services at HSHS Sacred Heart. “The upright positioning leads to more effective contractions and helps babies descend through the pelvis faster.”Following delivery, women will now remain in the LDRP room where they gave birth, as opposed to moving to a different room for the remainder of their hospital stay. To make sure women and their families have access to everything they may need during recovery, the new LDRP rooms also have private showers, recliners, microwaves, refrigerators, blanket warmers, and a special sink for bathing baby.