Feed them, clean them and put them to sleep—that’s all babies need, right? Wrong! If only taking care of them was limited to this! Welcoming your baby starts with understanding her needs at different stages, and listing products that are safe, made with care and offer your baby comfort and stimulation. If you step out there, you’ll be stumped by the glut of products that are available in the market. So how do you make your choice? Here’s a buying guide that will help you identify and pick up the best and safest baby essentials!
When babies turn 3-5 months old, they start chewing on anything that their tiny fingers can catch hold of. If you spot this behaviour, good news! Your infant has reached an important developmental milestone. It’s also time for you to hand them teethers—which your baby can suck and chew on. Along with soothing their itchy gums, teethers promote development of periodontal membrane present on gums. And since a teether spends most of its time inside your baby’s mouth, it must be extremely clean and sterilised every single day. Carefully look out for any sharp edges or tiny trinkets that may end up hurting the insides of the baby’s delicate mouth. Ideally, buy BPA-free teethers with handles for the infant to grip on to.
Teethers come in a variety of materials such as silicon, plastic, fabric, wooden and rubber, among others! Silicon ones work best, as they are soft, easy to clean, odourless and non-toxic. Add fun to their teething experience by purchasing teethers that squeak when chewed on. This will keep your little ones engaged along with developing their listening skills.
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One of their favourite teethers- your fingers! So cut off those long nails and always wash your hands clean before handling babies.
Post 3 months your baby will start developing an interest in the world around them. Apart from being adorable, the toys you choose should be stimulating and entertaining. Babies start observing their surroundings, listen to the sounds around them and grab on to anything within their reach. So, shortlist a bunch of toys that enhance all of these senses. Points to note, the paints used in toys should be lead-free, it should not have jagged or sharp edges and it should be light weight. Babies love brightly-coloured cot mobiles and blocks; rattles and music boxes stimulate the auditory abilities and toys with thoughtfully made textured materials aid in developing your baby’s tactile skills. Toys that you must absolutely avoid buying are the ones with fur, or those with detachable or small parts. However cuddly a soft toy may appear, they are germ traps and may cause allergic reactions like rhinitis or asthma in kids.
And yes, pay attention to the cleanliness of toys, making sure they are clean and safe to chew or play with.
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You will need tons of these! The two varieties that you can choose from are- cloth and disposable. Disposable diapers are very convenient and come in handy during outdoor activities, travels, and for overnight wear. Cloth diapers are good for the environment, as they are reusable. However, cleaning them is a dirty business.
If you choose to go with disposable diapers, choose one that is sensitive on your baby’s skin, is cost effective, has good absorbency and also cares for the environment. Oh, and one that smells good too! Diapers come in different sizes and types. The pant-style ones are convenient to just pull up. Choose a diaper that doesn't cause any leakage and fits snugly around your baby’s waist and hips. Avoid stocking up too many diapers of one size as your baby is likely to grow out of one size within just a few weeks.
Sterilizing baby products is one of the key tasks that cannot be overlooked. Be it teethers, bottles or nipples, good sterilizers are a must-have for all new parents. You can go for the traditional method of boiling water in large containers and tossing in toys and other things to be sterilized in it. Or simply buy a sterilizer—easily available in most baby stores and leading online shopping sites. Sterilization kills harmful bacteria and is a good hygiene practice. You can choose from a number of sterilizers—boiling and through steam being some of the most popular choices.
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Giving nourishing massages to babies has been an age-old Indian tradition and with good reason. It moisturizes your baby’s gentle skin, keeps them warm and helps them catch a sound sleep. For the parents, it’s a great time to bond with your baby—tickle, play, stretch and exercise his tiny limbs. Picking a good oil here becomes essential. Virgin coconut oil, almond oil and olive oil are the most loved ones. Look for paraben-free, and chemical-free varieties. Keep away oils that have a strong aroma—it may end up making him more irritable and restless. The last thing we want, right?
For the first six-months your baby should be exclusively breastfed, which means you will be required to feed the baby round the clock. May get tough if you’re working and need to be away from your infant. Pick a good breast pump so you can express milk and refrigerate it for later use. You must thaw the milk before giving it to your baby. When you’re picking a bottle to store and feed expressed milk, pick the right one. For younger infants with smaller appetites, small bottles of 100-120 ml are available while for older babies, bigger bottles of up to 200 ml capacity are useful. The bottles are either available in plastic (good quality and BPA free) or glass (which is heavier and runs the risk of shattering).
Baby bouncers come in handy to give your arms a rest and place your baby safely while you carry on your chores. Before you buy a bouncer, make sure you go through the set of instructions that clearly indicate the weight capacity of the bouncer. Most bouncers accommodate babies up to 11 kgs. Additionally, they also specify the age-group it is best suited for. Babies grow rapidly and reach a number of milestones in a short span of time in the first year. So, if you see your baby attempting to sit upright, or wanting to crawl, it's time you stop using the bouncer.
This post is in partnership with MamyPoko