Eat, Sleep, Repeat is a motto often associated with newborns. Many soon-to-be parents feel trepidation, mingled with excitement when they consider the first few months ahead. Second, third or beyond-timers know that parenting in those early weeks and months is hard work, involving late nights and early mornings. It makes sense, then, to stock up and do your research on must-haves as you get your home ready for a new baby that can make those first few months a time of loving, bonding and connection. In this blog, we take a look at 3-less obvious Newborn Must-Haves to stock up on in 2021, with a view to eco, non-toxic and sustainable options. Perfect for values-driven parents who want the very best for their new-born without compromise.
Organic Swaddle Blankets
Swaddling is an ancient, tried and tested way to soothe and settle newborns. Dr Harvey Karp has pioneered the concept of the first three months of a new-born’s life as a type of “Fourth Trimester”. A time in which baby adjusts to a gradual adaptation to life outside of the womb. Swaddling can provide support and containment to your baby that mimics some of the familiar “snugness” of the womb, helping your baby to feel secure and relaxed.
Swaddling is the practice of wrapping a baby up gently in a light, breathable blanket to help them feel calm. They should only have their body wrapped and not their neck or head. Many babies wake because of the startle reflex (called the Moro reflex) when their arms suddenly twitch or move in their sleep. Swaddling means your baby is less likely to wake from the startle reflex and more likely to enjoy restful sleep. A calmer baby equals a calmer Mom and Dad. There are plenty of products on the market that fit the bill, ranging from simple and low-cost organic cotton squares to shaped swaddle wraps including helpful hook and loop fastening to make the swaddling process easier and fuss-free. For the most sustainable options, consider if the swaddle you are considering is made from locally produced materials.
With swaddling, it is important to follow safety guidelines, to avoid your baby overheating or being wrapped too tightly. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recognize that responsible swaddling following safety guidelines can promote sleep. Such safety guidelines include:
- Use thin materials.
- Do not swaddle above the shoulders.
- Never put a swaddled baby to sleep on their front.
- Do not swaddle too tight.
- Check baby’s temperature to ensure they do not get too hot.
So, whilst they may be an ancient practice, swaddle blankets are at the top of many parents list when it comes to 2021 new-born must haves.
There’s been renewed interest recently in the Montessori method. Prince William and Princess Kate have chosen a Montessori school for their first child, Prince George, to attend. As a result, parents on both sides of the Atlantic have been finding out more about the Montessori approach.
Dr. Maria Montessori established her now world-famous Montessori method to child development and learning in the early 20th Century. Montessori believed that fostering imagination through play was best achieved by offering children a simple and natural environment to allow children to learn things through exploration. Montessori believed developing minds absorb that which surrounds them.
You can adopt a Montessori approach with your new-born by attending to the toys that surround them in their first few months of life:
- Well-chosen, quality toys that are non-plastic and toxic-free are fantastic for providing rich and open-ended learning and development and sensory play.
- Classic wooden toys with simple moving parts and toys that stimulate the senses are a great choice.
- Sorting games, simple wooden blocks and products that can be moulded and manipulated all fit the Montessori philosophy.
- And don’t overlook metal options. Kleynimals offer a fantastic range of non-toxic, food-grade and dish washable stainless-steel rattles, jangles and key sets that allow curious little ones to mouth and explore the sounds, texture and temperature of the products.
- These are toys that last, and can be a family-orientated approach to reducing waste in 2021: your baby’s Kleynimals teething toy can become your grandchild’s go-to learning tool in the future.
Simple, high contrast black-and white graphics have been shown to promote visual development in early infancy. In the early 1960’s, developmental psychologist, Dr. Robert Fantz, began research on patterns and colours that young babies were drawn to. He found a simple patterned black and white checkerboard held the infants sustained attention. Since then, researchers have repeatedly shown that newborns prefer to look at black and white geometric shapes, rather than pastels or gaudy bright primary colours. The latest research reveals that the visual interaction provided by black and white simple graphics has a positive effect on visual function maturation in very young babies.
For these reasons, a host of companies now offer black and white board and fabric books and other resources for newborns. These are all part of an increasing theme in childcare dubbed: “neuroparenting” – that is, using neuroscientific findings to inform parenting choices.
Options here include soft blocks, playmats and soft toys featuring black and white geometric shapes and patterns. Some parents print black and white visual graphics on paper or cards to display in the nursery.
As a soon-to-be parent, or parent again, you’ll want to stock up and get prepared on the things that help you and your little one to enjoy those early new-born days together. Crib sets, diapers and sleep suits are standard baby must-haves for those beginning weeks. With eco-credentials, baby development, and safety in mind, some of the aforementioned options discussed are smart choices for parents who want to prepare to give their newborn the best start in life.