Doula tips for success!
Part One | Car Seats and Diapers
“Are they going to just let us walk out with her!?”
Words spoken by Amy Hammer, doula and owner of MDDS, on the first thing that came to her mind as she was leaving the hospital. While ready to be home after a long 5 day stay in that hospital in Germany, those feelings of ‘are we ready to take care of this new human?’ seeped in. This is normal. If you are feeling the same way don’t worry, us doulas got you! Follow our tips for bringing home your brand new baby in our blog series.
TIP #1- Think ahead and prepare! What do you need?
CAR SEAT –
To get the baby home you will need gear. One important item to do this is the car seat! There are many to choose from so think about what matters to you most. All car seats follow strict safety standards so a higher price doesn’t necessarily mean safer. It may mean easier to use, easier to clean, easier to install, or simply its super cute. Safety comes in all price points. Its not a bad idea to check them out in store if you can. Locally you can do some car seat research at Modern Natural Baby in Ferndale.
The main styles are an infant car seat, which is known as the bucket style and convertible. Infant car seats have a base installed in the car, and then the baby is placed and buckled in the infant carrier (bucket) portion. That infant carrier then clicks into the base. This allows parents to get their baby in and out of the car without unbuckling them right away and offers something to carry them in. These usually last from newborn days up to 24 months (for some way shorter than that, for example 6 months), depending on your baby’s height and weight as well as the brand.
The other style is a convertible car seat. This car seat is installed in the vehicle and you buckle your baby in the seat that is already in the car. While they are not portable like the infant car seat type they tend to last longer before your child outgrows it.
Doula tip- Follow the instruction manual for installing your car seat! It is easy to install car seats incorrectly. Very smart people will make mistakes, so don’t guess on how to put it in. Pull out the booklet and follow it to a tee!
Once you have it purchased you will want it installed before the big day. CPSTs, or child passenger safety technicians, can assure your car seat is properly installed. We highly recommend connecting with Buckle Up Detroit who can do this for you, or most fire stations can do this for you, and even some baby stores have CPSTs on hand to help.
Some hospital policies will include having a staff member check your car seat and your baby in the car seat before you get the all clear to leave at the time of discharge.
DIAPERS AND WIPES-
We all know, everybody poops. Well babies sure do and they don’t come potty trained. You will want to figure out what types of diapers you want to use ahead of time. Disposable or cloth?
You may want to determine which brand is the best for you based off what it is made of, and price. If you do not have a preference that is ok too! Some are more eco-friendly and dye free, (This blog has a list of brands ), some have cute patterns, and some of them focus on affordability. They will all fit a little differently and hold fluid a little differently. Building a huge stash of diapers so you don’t have to run out to the store right away when you are home brings peace to some parents. Some folk may decide to wait and try a couple different brands to see what they prefer using with their baby.
Disposable diapers come in different sizes. The newborn size usually fits for a few weeks and has an accommodating cut out around the belly button for those days of the umbilical cord stump hanging around. (Yes, your beautiful new baby will come home with a little piece of its umbilical cord still attached. It will dry out and fall off anywhere from a few days after birth to up to 14 days.) Newborn size typically fits a baby up to about 10lbs in weight and you may only need a package or two. Size one is usually for newborns as well, and up to 4 months old or up to 14lbs. It isn’t a bad idea to have both of those sizes available for the immediate time at home.
Preemie diapers are another size offered. You can plan on these if you know you are giving birth before 37 weeks. If you have an unexpected smaller baby do not fret, the hospital will have the size you need. You can then order a package online to be delivered for your arrival home. The world we live in today is amazing for that!
Doula tip- Newborns dirty about 8-12 diapers a day. Use this as a baseline to help determine how many diapers you will need for your home supply.
Most newborn and size 1 diapers will come with a yellow line down the diaper that turns blue as the diaper becomes wet. This can help you out as you are figuring out the diapering routine.
Cloths diapers have become really popular! People choose them for a variety of reasons. They are an eco-friendly option, a money saving investment, and can be gentler on a baby’s bottom.
Cloth diapers come in all types now a days! So you will want an idea ahead of time on what kind you want to start with. There all all-in-ones, pockets, pre-folds & covers, and hybrids. Some areas still have diaper services available to them too. Again you can head over locally to Modern Natural Baby to see some cloth diapers and learn more about them.
The style of diaper is selected will then help you determine how many you may need and how many different sizes you will need. Many cloth diapers can grow with your baby. They may be extra bulky at first on a little newborn bum, but as they age they grow into them. The pocket style allows you to control the amount of absorbency and they dry faster than an all-in-one style. Pre-folds with a diaper cover can allow for smaller sizing in the first few weeks. Covers can be purchased in newborn sizes. You truly can get creative with a cloth diaper stash and use a few different styles. If possible try out different kinds and brands to try to see what you may prefer using in the actual day to day. Overwhelmed by cloth diaper choices? Check out this blog or this article.
For a cloth diaper stash 20 diapers to fit your newborn is ideal. A total of 24 diapers in general will work for most families. Along with the diapers laundry detergent that is ok to use with them, and a wet bag to hold the dirty diapers as they accumulate is needed as well.
Don’t forget doing a mix of cloth and disposable is an option too. Perhaps starting out with disposable the first couple weeks while the baby is tiny and switching over as the baby gets a little bigger. Whatever works for your family!
Don’t forget the wipes! Just like the diapers these come in a variety of brands and different solutions to keep them moist. You will certainly want at least 2 larger size packages on hand to begin with. You may go through more wipes than you think. Cloth wipes are an available option as well.
Both cloth and disposable wipes can be used in appropriate wipe warmers. Wipe warmers help lessen the shock of a cold wet wipe on your baby’s bum at diaper change time.
It’s a good idea to set up an area in your home for the diaper changes. Check out our previous blog for more tips and even a checklist to have the perfect set up!
With these items on hand you can feel good about having the essentials when coming home with your baby! Need help navigating all of the choices? Reach out to your doula or contact us today!
Authored by: Andrea Stainbrook