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Preparing for Baby : Transporting your Baby, Breast- and Bottle-feeding

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Transporting your Baby

There are literally hundreds of products on the market for getting your baby from A to B, and some of them are extortionately expensive. Try to remember that almost everything your baby needs for getting around will need to be replaced in a few short months, as he outgrows them. So go for functional and safe, rather than top of the line.

Car seats

  • You may wish to consider a travel system, which allows you to transfer your baby from car to stroller/carriage base without removing her from her seat; if so, your car seat will be part of the package

  • Choose a car seat with an easy-to-fasten belt; some are trickier than others, and can cause enormous frustration when you are in a hurry or your baby is distressed—you want to be able to get her in or out fast

  • Look for a seat with a removable, washable cover

  • Babies will need a rear-facing seat until they are at least one year old and weigh at least 20 pounds (9 kg)

  • Some car seats are designed especially for infants; others can be adapted to face forward and carry babies up to about 29 pounds (13 kg). The convertible seats may last you longer, but experts recommend using an infant seat first, since it is contoured to hold and protect your baby

  • Make sure your car seat meets the latest government safety standards

  • Choose a seat with a five-point harness, for safety

  • LATCH (Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children) is an attachment system that eliminates the need to use seat belts to secure car safety seats. Vehicles with the LATCH system have anchors located in the back seat. LATCH-ready car seats have attachments that fasten to these anchors. Nearly all passenger vehicles and all car safety seats made on or after September 1, 2002, come with LATCH. However, unless both your vehicle and the car safety seat have this anchor system, you will still need to use seat belts to install the car safety seat

  • Experts recommend against using a secondhand car seat; however, if it has all original parts, labels, and manuals, fits your car, and has never been in a crash, it should be OK. Note: Products that are more than six years old are outdated and no longer considered safe; they should be destroyed

Strollers

  • Specialty strollers, such as joggers and foldable, umbrella types, are popular—but the latter is really only appropriate for short trips, and definitely only after the age of six months

  • Look for a carriage-style stroller that converts to an upright stroller when your baby is old enough to sit

  • Look for a stroller that can face toward you as well as outward; your baby can see your face when she’s small, and you can access her easily

  • Make sure it fits in the family car when folded, and is light enough to carry

  • Choose a stroller that is easy to fold—holding a baby in one arm and trying to collapse a stroller with the other can be tricky

  • Consider the terrain you’ll be treading—if you are a country mom, you may need something that can cope with rougher surfaces

  • Make sure your stroller is designed to fit through standard doorways

  • Test-drive your stroller before you buy

  • Good suspension and large wheels will give baby a more comfortable ride

Slings

  • Slings keep your hands free, so you can keep baby close while doing chores at home, or go out without needing a big piece of equipment

  • Make sure your partner comes along to try out the sling

  • If you plan to have several wearers, choose a wrap-style carrier—this style is usually one-size-fits-all

  • To protect your back and shoulders, look for wide straps and padding

  • Chest slings are better for new babies; you can graduate to one that fits on your back when your baby is a little older

  • Look for brands and styles that open easily for changing

  • Look for a sling that will allow your baby to face in or out


Breast- and Bottle-feeding

It goes without saying that you are unlikely to need much more than a comfortable place to sit if you are breastfeeding; however, you may find there are a few items that make the process easier. Bottle-feeders need very specific equipment, which must be kept clean at all times.

Breastfeeding equipment

Expression technique

Most women find it easier to express milk in a quiet, relaxing place. Others find they need to be near their babies for the let-down reflex to kick in. You could try expressing from one breast, while feeding your baby from the other—although this may require supreme juggling skills and manual dexterity.

  • 3–4 good-quality nursing bras, professionally fitted, if possible; fastenings should be easy to open with one hand

  • Breast pads to deal with leaking breasts

  • Breast shells (optional) to catch drips and keep your nipples dry

  • A breast shield, for sore nipples

  • Nipple cream to relieve sore, cracked nipples—choose one that does not contain peanut oil, which is linked with allergies in children, and that can be ingested safely by your baby; organic is best

If you plan to express, you’ll also need:

  • A pump (hand-held electric, battery-operated, or manual); electric pumps can often be rented

  • 2–4 feeding bottles to store your expressed milk

  • Nipples

  • A dishwasher and/or brush to clean the pump, bottles, and nipples

  • Specialized plastic bags or bottles for freezing your milk

  • A special nursing pillow to make the experience more comfortable

Bottle-feeding equipment

Bottle choices

There are a variety of different bottles available, including anti-colic and disposable bottles, and a choice between glass and plastic; investigate the options and choose the one that is best for your baby and your lifestyle.

  • 6–8 bottles—smaller bottles are more suitable for newborns and babies who do not consume much milk at a sitting; you can progress to bigger bottles as your baby grows and requires larger quantities

  • 6–8 caps and nipples—these should be slow-flowing for new babies; silicone nipples are more durable, whereas latex ones are closer to the feeling of a real breast—choose from a traditional bell shape or an “orthodontic” nipple, which manufacturers claim resembles a breast

  • Cleaning equipment—if you have chlorinated tap water, it’s OK to use a dishwasher or hand-wash; otherwise, place all parts in boiling water for 5 to 10 minutes

  • A nylon bottle brush

  • A tea kettle—you’ll need a regular source of boiled water available, sometimes almost instantly

  • A designated measuring scoop, spoon, and knife

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