As an expectant mother, you've probably heard more than your fair share of advice from helpful parents, friends and relatives. For example, your mother-in-law may insist that you breastfeed. Or your cousin might recommend napping whenever your baby does.
But as your due date draws closer, you may start to worry if you need more than cliché tips and pointers. You have a crib. You have plenty of nappies and bottles. And you recently inherited a month's supply of onesies from your best friend (whose toddler is growing faster than she can keep up with).
Should you invest in anything else?
1. Breathable Crib Mattress
Many new parents worry about sudden unexpected death in infancy (SUDI). And experts believe that babies who sleep on their tummies or infants that sleep on a soft surface (mattress, water bed or pillow) tend to have a higher risk of SUDI.
As an extra precaution, invest in a breathable mattress. These crib cots have a mesh surface that allows air to flow through the material, so your infant doesn't rebreathe his or her exhaled carbon monoxide.
Keep in mind that these breathable crib mattresses shouldn't replace back sleeping. Research shows that a back sleep position presents the lowest risk of SUDI.
2. Air Filters or Purifiers
Although you may do your best to keep your home clean in preparation for your little one, you may need to take a closer look at your indoor air quality.
Statistics estimate that indoor air quality can be up to 10 times worse for you than outdoor air. And since your child's lungs will still be in development, he or she will be more vulnerable to pollution and more likely to suffer respiratory infections.
Fortunately, an air filter removes dust, dander, allergens, mould and other particulates so your baby can breathe freely. As a general rule, look for air purifiers that meet or exceed HEPA standards. You may also wish to buy a dehumidifier to reduce moisture and minimise mould growth.
3. Audio and Video Monitor
As much as you love your infant, sometimes you need a break for an hour while your baby naps. You will want the opportunity to read a book, fold some laundry
or even take the time to sleep. But if your newborn has a medical condition, or if you worry that you won't hear his or her cry, you need a baby monitor to alert you.
Basic audio monitors allow you to check on your child wherever you are in the home. More complex video monitors let you see your baby sleeping, so you never have to worry about him or her rolling over during sleep (should you decide to forgo the breathable mattress).
As with breathable mattresses, remember that video monitors should never replace physical care. Don't assume that you can leave your baby home alone for hours at a time when you have a monitor on hand.
4. Night Lights
Many children don't learn to fear the dark until they reach two or three years old. So you don't have to worry about leaving a light on for your child just yet.
However, a night-light or dimmer switch helps you (and your partner) avoid stumbling in the dark or crashing into the crib during an early morning feeding.
Some parents recommend portable ball night lights, such as Boon Glo, as these dim lights can double as a toy for your growing child. But feel free to use a plug in, projection, lamp or squeezable toy that best suits your needs, budget and personality.
Talk to Your Doctor for Additional Recommendations
While you should definitely consider adding the above items to your nursery essentials check list, don't feel obligated to purchase everything. Talk to your doctor about the best products for your child, as he or she remains the most qualified to give you sound advice.