Congratulations! You have successfully navigated your infant adoption home study and prepared an adoptive parent profile. Now you are in full nesting mode while you wait for Baby. Decorating the nursery and gathering all the essentials like diapers, bottles, and formula are on your project list to round out your preparations. Have you thought about stocking your medicine cabinet? A well-prepared medicine cabinet – secured and out of reach of any little ones – is an excellent idea for hopeful infant adoption parents to consider.
First Aid First
In the early days of bringing home your baby, it will be helpful to have basic first aid supplies on hand in an illness or accident. Whether a sickness or injury happens to Mom, Dad, or baby, you want to mobilize quickly to address the symptoms and assess whether further care is needed.
It is a good idea to keep a variety of bandages, antibiotic ointments, pain relievers, and quick-acting ice packs easily accessible.
Not All Pain Relievers are Right for Baby
Remember that pain relievers do not all work the same way, nor are they all safe for every child. Be sure to understand the differences between acetaminophen and ibuprofen. Refresh your knowledge of their usage and doses as your baby grows. It will help to have a handy dosing chart stored near the pain relievers.
Keep an eye on expiration dates and refresh your stash regularly to ensure efficacy. Some parents find it helpful to set reminders on their phones. In contrast, others highlight the expiration date on containers with bright colors to keep them front of mind.
Other Helpful Hints for Emergencies
In an emergency, it’s also helpful to have your doctor, pediatrician, and local hospital information programmed into your phones. However, if you are not present during the emergency, you should store the data inside the medicine cabinet door, on the fridge, or somewhere similarly visible.
You can also print updated immunization records and a list of the baby’s regular medications to store in your diaper bag or wallet and the medicine cabinet.
Basics to Stock Your Medicine Cabinet
You should never administer over-the-counter medications or supplements to your baby without your pediatrician’s approval and guidance. It’s prudent, though, to stock your medicine cabinet with essentials to serve various needs that crop up in daily living. These products usually have expiration dates, so include them in your review and refresh schedule.
1. Allergy and Cold Care
Your new little one may experience allergic reactions like hives, rashes, itchy eyes, or stuffy noses. While you must figure out what they might be reacting to, you must treat the symptoms first. If the baby’s stuffy nose or itchy eye worsens quickly and impacts breathing, get help immediately. Anaphylaxis in babies (or any child) is an emergency.
Generally, pediatricians advise that you let a common cold run its course and keep your baby comfortable without medication. However, sometimes you might be unsure if this is a cold or an allergy. After you speak with the pediatrician about your concerns and hear guidance on managing Baby’s symptoms, you can reach for the supplies that you have on hand:
- Saline spray
- Pain relievers – appropriate for your baby’s age/weight and approved by your pediatrician
- Ice packs to help with topical swelling
- Antihistamines – ONLY if appropriate to your baby’s age/weight and cleared by your pediatrician
- Silicone nasal aspirator – affectionately also called a booger or snot sucker (avoid latex which is a common allergen)
- Menthol rub
2. Skin Care for Baby
Most of the time, simple water and baby soap are enough skin care for your little sweetie. However, some babies develop dry skin, infant acne, cradle cap, or eczema. Again, check with your pediatrician for guidance on managing the symptoms of these conditions. But your medicine cabinet should include a few essential items to help you keep the baby’s skin healthy:
- Baby lotion – Look for water-based, dye, and scent free for baby’s delicate skin.
- Antibiotic ointment – Again, use as recommended by your pediatrician
- Diaper rash ointment – Talk with your nurse or doctor to determine the severity of the rash. There are a wide variety of products to consider. Products with zinc oxide are heavier and create a barrier while healing.
- Petroleum jelly – Use this to aid in protection and barrier for circumcision sites and other wounds or rashes.
- Hydrocortisone cream – limited time use, and only as cleared by your pediatrician
3. Care for Baby’s Belly
Sometimes, babies are gassy or colicky. You can hear their discomfort in their cries. They may also be restless, pull their knees up to their bellies, and be difficult to soothe. In addition to a session of baby-belly massaging and “bicycling” their legs, you can try a warm bath to help manage the discomfort.
Two standard over-the-counter products are recommended for your medicine cabinet to treat a baby’s troubled tummy:
- Simethicone drops (commonly called gas drops)
- Gripe water (usually a combination of chamomile, peppermint, or fennel) – When shopping for gripe water, avoid European versions that might contain alcohol.
4. Tools of the Trade
You should consider a few additional accessories for stocking your medicine cabinet before the baby comes home.
- Q-tips/Cotton balls
- Rectal thermometer (most accurate for the newborn and early baby stage)
- Nail clippers
- Medical tape
- Sterile gauze
Stocking up on Confidence
We know it’s unpleasant to consider the situations for which these supplies would be necessary. It might be a rite of parenting passage to stumble into your local pharmacy at 2 am for gas drops. Still, we hope this information helps you delay that inevitability for a long time. Being well-prepared for the ordinary – and uncommon – incidents of caring for your baby will help you feel confident and ready to tackle those middle-of-the-night fevers or colicky cries.
How did you stock your medicine cabinet when waiting for your baby? Tell us in the comments!
Image Credits: Christa Grover; Sarah Chai; Laura Garcia