All future parents want to offer their children a secure and well-suited living environment. But once faced with the purchase of childcare equipment, doubt often arises. What is essential or not essential during the very first weeks of an infant’s life? What are the standards to be met? A practical guide for childcare purchases with complete peace of mind.
The right room equipment
From pregnancy, the baby’s room is often at the heart of preparations. And for good reason: it is in it that the imminent arrival of the baby and the family project materialize. However, there is no point in overdoing it. It ultimately takes little for the baby to be happy!
a. Important childcare equipment
In the first months of life, the baby does not need an overly equipped room. It is therefore sufficient to provide in the sleeping area:
- a small wardrobe or chest of drawers for storing your belongings (to be fixed to the wall upon installation),
- a breastfeeding or comfort corner with an armchair to make yourself comfortable, a small table or a pedestal table to install a lamp or a night light,
- a changing table or mattress, which can also be installed in the bathroom,
- a bed, a mattress and if you wish, a small mobile.
b. What is not essential (or can wait)
Conversely, there are many childcare products dedicated to baby sleep, which will not necessarily meet your child’s needs, such as:
- the cradle or the cradle: these “beds” for infants only accompany the baby’s nights during his very first weeks. To avoid multiple purchases, it may be advisable to buy a small cot directly.
- the ergonomic nest which, by marrying the shape of the baby, soothes him during sleep. Interesting for premature babies, anxious or who need to be contained, it is used, again, only a few weeks (up to about 3 months). It is, therefore, better to plan the purchase, if it seems essential to you, after the arrival of the baby and if the advice is given to you by your pediatrician.
- the inclined plane: depending on the model, it can be placed in or out of the bed and soothes babies suffering respiratory discomfort. In other cases, it does not really interest, even can be dangerous if it is badly installed. To buy on the advice of your pediatrician too and not on your own initiative.
- In addition, the purchase of a deckchair or an activity mat can often wait a few weeks after birth, when the baby gradually opens up to the world and needs less sleep.
c. How to choose a baby bed?
Above all, it is essential to buy a bed that meets the safety standards in force, relating to fixed and folding cradle beds for domestic use for children). Also, the essential criteria to take into account are:
- the bars of the bed must not be spaced more than 6 cm apart,
- the height between the mattress and the top of the bed must be at least 50 cm.
- For your comfort and the safety of your child, it may be advisable to invest in a bed whose bed base can be adjusted in height.
- As for the mattress, it must be firm, suitable for the chosen bed model (you should not be able to slide more than two fingers between the mattress and the bars), and preferably made from natural material (bamboo, organic cotton, etc.). To be covered with a cover and a draw sheet. Finally, the bed should preferably be installed facing the door, away from windows and radiators and away from shelves or any furniture from which objects could fall.
d. What to Avoid
The American Academy of Pediatrics (learned society of American pediatricians) for several years advises against the use of the bumper for infants. The cause: it is one of the factors favoring the risk of sudden infant death syndrome.
The right equipment for bathing and changing
It is in the bathroom that the baby experiences his first moments of awakening, especially when touched. Between the bath, the care, and sometimes the massage, the toilet is rich in accomplices and privileged moments. Hence the interest of being well equipped to take full advantage of it.
a. Important childcare equipment
For the change and the bath to take place peacefully, it is important to acquire:
- a changing table and/or a changing mat,
- a non-slip mat for the bathtub,
- a bath thermometer,
- toiletries (nail scissors for babies, brush, comb, rectal thermometer, etc.).
- To be completed with a set of terry towels, one or two bathing capes and care products (care for the change, cotton, physiological saline)
b. What is not essential (or can wait)
We often think that it is important to get a small baby bathtub (with a drain system, which can be integrated into a changing table or placed on legs). However, if your bathroom allows, it is quite possible to wash your child in the sink for the first few weeks. Then, as soon as he is too tall and able to sit alone, the toilet can take place in the family bathtub. Note: there are now many accessories to support and install the baby in the bathtub (bathing ring, deckchair, etc.). Far from being essential, they can sometimes pose security problems. Use with care.
c. How to choose your child’s changing table?
There are many models of changing furniture: changing chests which have the advantage of offering lots of storage, wall-mounted, or folding changing tables that take up very little space. The choice, therefore, depends above all on your space and your way of life. However, whatever the furniture is chosen, it is essential that it meets the standards relating to changing devices for domestic use. It is also better to favor an extremely stable changing table with side protections.
During installation, certain security measures must be favored. To prevent falls, be sure to wedge the changing table at an angle or against another piece of furniture, do not hang anything on it to prevent the piece of furniture from tipping over, and make sure that the baby is always installed well in front of you. If you have chosen a simple changing mat, be careful to always change the baby on a firm surface, where there is no risk of falling.
The right equipment for the meal
It is only between 4 and 5 months that the baby begins the great adventure of food diversification. Before that, he will need almost nothing.
a. Important childcare equipment:
Until the first purees, and if you are not breastfeeding, you will only need:
- 4 or 5 bottles of size, shape, capacity, and in the material of your choice. Indeed, following the entry into force of European legislation on this subject, plastic baby bottles no longer contain BPA, an endocrine disruptor decried for many years. Glass or plastic, so it’s up to you!
- plastic or silicone teats, adapted to your child’s age, to be changed regularly to avoid wear,
- a bottle brush
- To be completed with a few swaddles and 5 or 6 bibs.
b. What can wait (or is not essential):
If the high chair is practical from the first “big” meals, it is not recommended before the child can sit alone. Its purchase can, therefore, wait approximately 6 months. The baby tableware kit (plate, cutlery, and beaker) can also be considered after a few months, once your child has gained autonomy.
Other childcare products are of more limited interest, such as:
- the bottle drainer: if it prevents the bottles from stagnating in the water, it can also take up space in an already crowded kitchen. There is nothing to prevent your bottles from drying on your classic dish rack, provided you place them on top of the rest of your dishes.
- the sterilizer: systematic sterilization of baby bottles is no longer recommended by pediatricians. It is therefore not necessary to acquire a sterilizer. On the other hand, it can be good to boil bottles and teats before first use. To clean baby bottles and teats, the dishwasher is perfectly suited (program at 65 ° C).
- the baby steamer: practical for preparing baby meals, it can be easily replaced by your usual kitchen utensils.
c. How to choose a high chair?
The high chair chosen must comply with standards. The latter stipulates in particular that a chair must be equipped with at least 3, even 5 attachment points (between the pelvis and the crotch). Stability is also essential. If you choose a chair with casters, make sure that the brake is always engaged. Finally, the child should not be able to reach the hinges with his fingers (risk of pinching) or stand on the footrest. If you choose a scalable chair, it is therefore important to fix it according to the instructions in the manual and to adapt the settings to the size of your child.