Welcoming Baby: Shopping for baby

Posted: Thursday, April 24, 2014 --- 7:51 p.m.

As a soon-to-be new mom, browsing the baby section at area stores can be overwhelming.

There are so many products marketed to us as "must-haves."

So we went shopping with a pediatrician to find out what is really needed, and what's a waste of money.

Meriter pediatrician, Dr. Dana Johnson, recently had her second child.

"My oldest is 8 years old, so it kind of felt like starting over a
little bit and going back into the baby section and seeing what was
available," she explains.

Dr. Johnson says even with the aisles packed with items, there are only 4 baby care necessities.

"A crib, a safe place for the baby to sleep, a stroller, because you
need to get around, a car seat and then lots of diapers!"

Another obvious item: bottles. But how many? Before you buy, Dr.
Johnson says think about your future plans.

"It kind of depends on whether you plan to breastfeed or formula feed,"
she says, "And how long you're going to be at home with the baby, and if
you're returning to work."

If you have some extra cash, there's a lot of baby gear that's nice to
have, but not necessary: a rocker, for feeding and soothing, a baby
bath, a pack-n-play, for travel or to use if the baby will be sleeping
in your room in the beginning and a swing.

"I think as many of these things, if you can borrow or buy used or share
amongst people, because they only use them for a couple months, so you
end up storing them afterwards or paying a significant amount of money
to use it for 4 or 5 months."

And there are two popular items Dr. Johnson says are a waste of money.
A baby food maker...

"Most of the things that they use to make baby food are very similar to
what people have in their kitchens already," she explains.

And a crib bumper.

"They're not safe. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends against
them. Babies can get caught in them, they can cause strangulation,or
they can cause suffocation if the baby rolls into them and can't roll
away to get fresh air."

A few things to keep in mind. Dr. Johnson says it's perfectly fine to
use a hand-me-down crib or buy a used one. Just make sure the slats
aren't more than 2 3/8 inches apart, so your baby's head won't get
caught between them.

Car seats are a different story. You should never buy those used,
because if the seat was involved in a car crash, it's no longer safe.
Also, the majority of car seats are installed incorrectly, so it's a
great idea to have your car seat checked before you head to the hospital.

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