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Baby's layette

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Many parents-to-be enjoy putting together their baby's layette. This is the clothing and supplies your baby will need in the months ahead. There are countless baby items, and every gadget comes in different shapes, sizes, and brands. So, it can be hard to know what items you will really need or use.

The list that follows will give you some ideas about what you might need and want. Ask mothers you know about what items they couldn't live without and brands they liked. Also, keep in mind that the cost of brand-new baby gear can add up. Many new parents keep costs down by borrowing clothes and gear or shopping at consignment stores.

Safety is also an important factor when shopping for supplies. Some products may pose a risk to your baby if safety guidelines are not followed. And used products are more likely than new items to be dangerous. The websites listed in the resources section can help you to choose a safe car seat, crib, clothing, stroller, and other items.

If you are overwhelmed by the number of baby products out there, just remember this: Your baby really only needs food, shelter, and you.

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What your baby will need at the hospital

  • Undershirt
  • An outfit such as a stretch suit, nightgown, or sweater set
  • A pair of socks or booties
  • Receiving blanket, cap, and heavier blanket or bunting, if the weather is cold
  • Diapers and wipes (some hospitals provide an initial supply of these)
  • Infant car seat – Most hospitals will not discharge the baby unless the car seat is checked for safety and correct installation.

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Things you'll need to transport your baby

  • Rear-facing infant car seat – A proper car seat is the best way to protect your baby on the road and the only legal way to transport your baby in a car. Buying a new seat is best, so that you can be sure the seat is safe and in good condition. Be careful when using an infant car seat outside the car. Do not place a car seat holding a baby on table tops or other elevated surfaces. Improper use of car seats outside the car puts babies at risk of injury and death. Common reasons for car seat-related injuries include falling out of car seats, car seats falling from elevated surfaces, and car seats overturning on soft surfaces.
  • Stroller
  • Soft carrier, sling, or backpack
  • Diaper bag – since this is something you will be carrying around for about three years, choose one that is comfortable and durable for you.

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Items for your baby's room

  • Crib and crib linens – Most brand new cribs and mattresses purchased in the United States are safe. If you are planning to use a used crib, make sure it conforms to the current government safety standards. Do not use infant sleep positioners, which are dangerous and not needed.
  • Play pen or portable crib
  • Changing table
  • Dresser
  • Glider or rocking chair
  • Clothes hamper
  • Baby monitor
  • Night light/soft lighting

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Infant care items

  • Diapers or cloth diapers – you can get a couple of different brands of diapers so you can test them out and choose your favorite.
  • Receiving blankets
  • Clothing
  • Breast pump (if you plan to breastfeed)
  • Bottles – be sure to get the correct size of nipples, such as preemie, or newborn.
  • Rectal or digital ear thermometer
  • Bathtub
  • Washcloths and baby wipes
  • Diaper rash ointment and/or petroleum jelly
  • Hooded towels
  • Diaper disposal system – good to have, but not necessary.
  • Burp cloths and waterproof lap pads
  • Bulb syringe – for suctioning baby's nasal passages if necessary. Your baby's doctor will tell you if, when, and how to do this.
  • Baby nail clippers/scissors manicure set

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Things you'll need as your baby gets older

  • Outlet covers, cabinet locks, and other items to "childproof" your home
  • Toys
  • Books
  • High chair
  • Gates

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Content last updated: September 27, 2010.

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