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The Ultimate Checklist for New Parents

04/06/2015 03:28 pm ET | Updated Jun 05, 2015

What should I know when having a baby?: originally appeared on Quora: The best answer to any question. Ask a question, get a great answer. Learn from experts and access insider knowledge. You can follow Quora on Twitter, Facebook, and Google+.

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Answer by Ryan Chew, Ardent diaper changer

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I'll just list some of the practical stuff you need to know.

Clothes

  • Don't buy onesies, your baby will quickly outgrow them. Buy two piece jammies that're slightly too big, and roll up the sleeves and pant legs.
  • Don't buy too many. A half-dozen two-piece outfits for the first 6 months, and a half-dozen two-piece outfits for the next six-months is more than enough, notwithstanding winter clothes.
  • When buying clothes, turn them inside out and rub gently. Pay particular attention to tags, seams, the inside of logos and edges. If it feels scratchy, find another one.

Pregnancy

  • No alcohol
  • 1 cup of coffee a day maximum
  • Find an Ob/Gyn who's soft spoken, patient, and has a record of successful natural births. This means he/she will not likely push a c-sec on you without just cause.
  • A mark of a good Ob/Gyn is a wall or shelf overflowing with thank you cards. More thank you cards = experienced, friendly, or both.

Birth

  • Camera. Empty memory card and charge batteries beforehand.
  • Diapers. Hospitals charge an arm and a leg for them.
  • Hot chicken soup in a thermos.
  • Bring comfortable pillows from home.
  • Bread.
  • A good book.
  • A Whatsapp group to announce the birth to everyone.

In case of jaundice

  • Strip baby and sunbathe in the morning. Cover eyes.
  • If sun is unavailable, rent a UV light machine for the home. Cheaper than a hospital stay.
  • Feed, feed, feed. If baby is too weak to breastfeed use formula. Whatever it takes to flush it out of her system. Revert to breastfeeding when baby is able to suck. The more poop, the better.

Breastfeeding

  • Breastfeeding can be tough for a first-time mom. Much support and patience is needed.
  • Prepare a bottle of water for the mother prior to feeding. Put within arms reach.
  • Invest in a breast pump. As your baby feeds on one side, you can pump the other side and bottle feed with the pumped milk when you're unable to breast feed. Chill in the fridge and reheat with a bowl of hot water. If you have more than your baby can reasonably consume you can freeze it in sealed milk bags you can get from a baby store. Label bags with date. Use FIFO system, first-in-first-out, consume earliest milk first.
  • Invest in a few Dr.Brown's natural flow bottles for your pumped milk.
  • Use a breastfeeding pillow to minimize backache/ tired arms.
  • Neck support with a firm bolster essential.
  • Always burp after feeding. Over the shoulder works best.
  • If you're going out, bring a breastfeeding apron and don't wear one piece dresses.

Diapers

  • Reusable diapers keep your costs low.
  • Mother feeds, Father cleans poop.
  • One-piece pants type diapers are difficult and messy to remove in case of diarrhoea or a big poop. Use front button or elastic stick-on type diapers instead.
  • If you're going out, always bring a spare set of baby clothes in case of leakage.
  • Wet tissues are a must.
  • Invest in a big bottle of sudocrem or any other hypoallergenic nappy cream.
  • One portable water-proof changing mat. Bring along on outings so you can change pretty much anywhere.
  • Be prepared for projectile diarrhea and/or streams of pee.
  • Prepare clothes, new diaper, nappy cream, and changing mat before washing your baby. Ditto for bath times.
  • Cut your nails.
  • If it's a girl, check her *woohoo!* for poo.
  • If baby is very fat, check folds of fat on thighs for poo.

Bathtime

  • One small foldable bathtub
  • One small scoop for the hair
  • One small towel for the face
  • One bath thermometer
  • One big towel to wrap your baby
  • One small stool for you to sit on
  • Keep everything within arm's reach

Vaccinations and milestones

  • Keep a notebook with a record of vaccinations, height and weight.
  • Schedule baby vaccination reminders into your smartphone.
  • Find a pediatrician/neonatalogist who's patient and explains things thoroughly. As a first-time parent you'll need lots of handholding.

Crying Drill (DUHB)

  • Diaper - Easiest way to check is with a sniff and a squeeze to see if it's full.
  • Uncomfortable - Cold, diaper rash, fever, scratchy clothes, gassy etc.
  • Hungry - sucking on fingers
  • Bored and just wants some tender loving care

Easiest way to calm a hysterical baby down is to walk very swiftly with the baby while gently rocking her from side to side.

Essential Accessories

  • Car seat.
  • A baby stroller that you can plug the car seat into. Bonus if it can be converted into a stroller for use well into the toddler stage. If you can't find a baby stroller that does both, just use your arms/car seat/or baby carrier for the newborn stage and get a stroller for the toddler stage.
  • Light and handy baby stroller > Heavy and fancy baby stroller.
  • Ergobaby carrier > All other baby carriers.
  • A toy rabbit if its a girl
  • Storybooks. Lots of them.
  • Classical music/jazz CDs or playlist on shuffle.
  • A security blanket.
  • Nightlight.
  • A photobook journal detailing your baby's early years.

Unnecessary

  • Baby cot. A mattress on the floor works just as well, is safer for toddlers who like to climb, and you won't have to dispose of the cot later on. Cheap wooden baby cots may have splinters/gaps where baby's fingers may get caught. Some may even have paint that rubs off when your baby chews on them. If you must get one, get a lightweight foldable cot.
  • Toys with flashing lights.
  • Iphone/Ipad.
  • Expensive shoes.
  • Expensive height adjustable baby chair.

Travel Kit for a 12 hour journey/outing

  • 3 bottles of pumped milk in a chiller bag with inserts.
  • If feeding with formula, 3 bottles pre-filled with appropriate amount of warm water and a see-through baby formula dispenser with single-serving compartments. Just top-up with hot water, dump one serving of formula into bottle, give it a good stir, and bob's your uncle.
  • 1 thermos flask of hot water with a cover that doubles as a cup.
  • 1 blanket.
  • 1 small pillow for breastfeeding.
  • 1 breastfeeding apron.
  • 1 Ergobaby carrier.
  • 1 smaller see-through diaper change bag with 6 diapers, 1 spare set of clothes, 1 bottle of nappy cream, 1 small towel, 1 packet of wet tissues, 1 roll-up water-proof changing mat, 1 plastic bag for soiled clothes.

Adjust quantities as needed. Keep everything in one bag for convenience. Choose a bag that's lightweight with comfortable straps. Backpack > Sling.

Mothercare

  • Hot chicken broth.
  • Make friends with the OB/GYN and his/her receptionist. Send a thank you card to the doc, and a gift for the receptionist after the birth. Makes it that much easier to get advice or a last minute appointment for your follow-up.
  • Massages. Deep-tissue, neck and back.
  • Girls' night out.

Fathercare

  • Boy's night out once a month at least. Arrange for a friend or relative to be at home with the wife. Be back early to help.
  • Alone time.

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