All the equipment you need for your baby’s first year

It’s true that at first, your baby won’t do too much, yet it’s still important to equip the house with a number of essential items.

 Baby foot (Illustrative) (photo credit: Negative Space)
Baby foot (Illustrative)
(photo credit: Negative Space)

If you ask your mothers about the period when you were babies, you’ll find that they didn’t stock up on many things for you at the beginning of the journey. They had a stroller, a playpen, a blanket to spread on the floor. These were the basics and you wouldn’t find many mothers who added other special equipment. Today we’re in a completely different period. The baby world has evolved and with it the understanding that there are accessories and aids that greatly help the lives of little ones in the first weeks and months.

Shlomit Schuster is an infant development specialist, family counselor, and parenting instructor. She highlights the benefits of a number of accessories to buy after the baby’s birth. You don’t have to, of course, buy them all, but you should know the differences between them and their functions.

Poof

This is an essential developmental accessory. It continues the feeling of the womb because it helps babies learn the limits of their bodies, allows for a cradled posture, moderates the Moro reflex (panic reflex), and at each developmental stage, there’s a different function. For example, during the crawling phase, the beanbag will become a wonderful obstacle that the baby will have to go through. Of course, put the baby on its back on the poof, move it gently and make sure your baby’s face doesn’t sink into the poof.

Sling

A sling is a great way to carry and calm down babies and let them experience touch, movement, and closeness. The sling allows the baby to be closest to you which is exactly what is needed for the first few months. Also, it frees your hands for other tasks when the baby is on you, helps relieve gas, and helps you get a good night's sleep as you can gently rock the baby to sleep, then put him/her in his crib where they should sleep well.

 Baby with pacifier (credit: INGIMAGE) Baby with pacifier (credit: INGIMAGE)

Bouncy chair

This is not a developmental tool, but it does enable you to leave the baby in place for a moment safely, which can be relaxing and even fun. Note that you place babies on a bouncy chair for a reasonable amount of time; don’t "neglect" them there for your convenience.

Physioball

You can almost get addicted because it’s effective, but when used in moderation, the physioball is a wonderful tool for relaxation and also for developmental exercises such as tummy time, which after six weeks a baby needs daily in order to strengthen neck muscles. You’ll see that it significantly relaxes and relieves babies when they are colicky or gassy.

Activity mat

This is a must-have accessory so we will expand on it: a baby mat or university is an essential item for all stages of motor development because everything happens through interaction with the mat. The starting surface should be soft but not too soft, one that is pleasant to stay on and even fall asleep. Later, as babies develop, it’s best to move to a stiffer surface. Such a surface will be excellent for crawling time because it allows for real resistance that will facilitate progress and the start of crawling.

The surface shouldn’t be too decorated; babies should be able to find the toys and parts on the mat. The background should be neutral and choose a surface that will be easy to clean or wash, easy to carry and not too hard to fold and store.

This article was written in partnership with the JAMA parenting app.