As Christian families, many of us foster children or we adopt from the foster care system! Fostering a newborn is incredibly rewarding but it IS different from giving birth or even adopting a newborn in one way; you often do not get a lot of notice that a baby is placed in care and so you don’t often get a baby shower!
Foster families typically have to stock up on items themselves and, if you haven’t had a baby in the house in a LONG time (like me) there are so many new items you may know nothing about!
Well, let me help you with that by sharing what I feel are helpful items to have on hand when fostering a newborn!
Fostering a Newborn – Must Have Baby Items to Have Ready
If you decide fostering a newborn is for you there are some things you want to have on hand before that phone call comes in! Often that call comes in at night when stores are closed so, if that happens, you don’t want to find yourself without needed items.
Disclaimer – Always check with your state agency to see if they allow these items or not prior to purchasing. I am going by what I have in my state but your state may have different requirements so please check with your agency first to see if any of these items are NOT allowed.
If you are choosing to foster a newborn there are some things you want to have on hand before you get the call!
That being said, some must have baby items you will want to have ready for the little one are:
A Crib or Bassinet
If you will be fostering a newborn you should probably have a full sized crib (and you will need one at some point) but, if you don’t, you can make do with a bassinet in many cases (again, check with your agency).
You definitely need a place for baby to sleep! Most states have adopted the Safe to Sleep campaign (formerly known at the Back to Sleep campaign) that indicates it is safer for a baby to be placed to sleep on their back in order to reduce the risk of SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome). But again, check with your state!
Converts to toddler bed, day bed, and full size bed with conversion kits (sold separately)
- GREENGUARD Gold Certified – screened for 360 VOCs and over 10,000 chemicals
- Converts to toddler bed, daybed and full-size bed (conversion kits sold separately)
- Made of sustainable New Zealand pine wood and CARB II compliant MDF, and lead and phthalate safe, non-toxic finish
- Meets ASTM international and U.S. CPSC safety standards
What I like best about cribs such as this one is that you can use it for various ages. So if one time you foster you have a newborn and the next time you have a toddler, you can use the same crib for both ages!
Many states require cribs that have stationary sides (sides do not lower) so if you have an older crib it may not be permitted. I hate to sound like a broken record but check with your agency! What they require should also be in your training as well!
- Keeps your baby cozy and close
- Adjustable cradle for bedside use
- Soothing sounds lull baby to sleep
- Storage pockets keep necessities nearby
- Converts into a crib alternative (up to 1 year
I use this item and I love it. It is pretty and I love the mesh sides for airflow! I also love the pockets where I can store diapers, wipes, etc., to make nighttime feedings and changes nice and easy! It does NOT rock so it won’t pose an issue for some agencies that absolutely do not allow rocking bassinets!
I have not used this with a larger baby so I cannot say how it works with it lowered but I do like it for an infant for nap times. This is a great thing to have on hand if you do not yet have a crib (again, some calls come in last minute) or just to keep in the living room, etc., for when you need to lay baby down to check on dinner!
Enjoy space-saving convenience with stylish, built-in storage shelves that allow you to keep blankets, diapers, pajamas and other necessities close by.
The Newborn Napper DLX play yard grows with your child through the years. Newborns can enjoy the cozy micro-fleece napper station, while infants can stay close to mom in the bassinet. Toddlers have a secure place to play and rest in the full-size play yard.
This is perfect for using when you go visit someone or just to have in the house if you need to have baby in a different room. It’s easy to move around and pack in the car!
Fostering a Newborn Means You are Required to Have a Car Seat
I know…it’s a travel system but I figured if I am going to buy a car seat I may as well get a stroller that will work with it too! After all, we may want to take baby for a walk and not just a car ride!
So for the cost, you may as well get the travel system!
I love this stroller! It is so easy to push and great for long walks!
The Baby Trend Skyview Plus Travel System allows your little one to roll in style. This modern and sleek stroller combines maximum comfort and style. The 5-point safety harness with padded harness covers keep baby safe and the plush seat pad is equipped with multiple-position recline for maximum comfort.
The deluxe parent console has 2 deep cup holders and a covered storage compartment. The extra-large storage basket is perfect for everyday essentials, and the removable/swing-away child’s tray is equipped with 2 cup holders and a snack tray.
In addition, the 2-panel ratcheting stroller canopy is thoughtfully designed with a peek-a-boo window and sun visor. Engineered with a height adjustable handle and an easy one-hand fold, the Skyview Plus Stroller is lightweight and folds compact. Stroller recommended for children up to 50 pounds or 42 inches.
These are easier and safer than using receiving blankets since many agencies won’t allow any blankets in the crib with baby!
This will allow you to swaddle baby without worrying about it coming loose if you have an active baby (like my foster child was!!).
Babies love these and they are so easy to use!
- CUDDLE YOUR BABY WITH THE BEST: No more worries about cheaply made blankets and unsafe baby wraps. Cuddle your little angel with our deluxe cotton swaddle blankets and find your peace of mind. Forget about skin rashes. Forget about discomfort. Create a calm womb like feeling for your baby effortlessly.
- MAKE THE MOST USEFUL BABY SHOWER GIFT: Forget about searching for the most useful baby shower gift. You have just found Bublo swaddle blankets. Make an expecting mommy happy and a newborn feel safe and sound. The unisex colors and gender neutral patterns make these blankets great for girls and boys from 7 to 14 lbs!
- EACH DELUXE SWADDLE BLANKET SET INCLUDES: 3 high quality swaddle wraps. Each blanket measures 21×26 inches and is 100% breathable, elastic, ultra soft, easy to use and comfy. Open the package and discover our exceptional patterns. Cute arrows, shining stars and playful zigzags. Use for sleeping, nursing, relaxing and traveling.
- ADJUST SIZE TO YOUR BABY’S NEEDS: Cleverly designed to facilitate your life to the fullest, these receiving swaddle blankets have 2 adjustable hook and loop fasteners that conform to your needs. Adjust as much as you want to create a soothing cocoon for your newborn. Prevent spontaneous movements like startle reflex from waking them up.
- 100% RISK FREE PURCHASE FOR ALL: Your 100% satisfaction means the world to us. That is why this deluxe baby swaddling blanket set is backed by our unconditional satisfaction guarantee policy! Love these cute swaddling blankets or get your money back. No questions asked. Ensure a much more peaceful night’s sleep for your baby.
This one is a no-brainer when fostering a newborn! Where there’s a baby, you need diapers!
I like the Huggies NB and Size 1 Diapers! But Pampers is also good!
- Featuring fun Disney Mickey Mouse designs, HUGGIES Snug & Dry Diapers Size 1 fit babies from 8 to 14 lb.
- Trusted Leak Lock system helps eliminate leaks for up to 12 hours
- Four layers of protection absorb moisture quickly, and a quilted liner helps keep baby feeling dry
- Wetness indicator changes color when it’s time for a diaper change
- Pair with HUGGIES Natural Care Wipes to help keep your baby’s skin clean and soft. Packaging may vary from image shown
- #1 Choice of Hospitals, Nurses and Parents (Hospitals: based on hospital sales data; nurses: vs. other hospital brands, among those with a preference; parents: based on retail sales)
- 2x softer with up to 12 hours of protection (vs. the every-day-of-the-year brand)
- Heart Quilts provide our softest comfort ever, while pulling wetness and mess away
- Air Channels allows air to reach baby’s skin to help keep them dry and comfortable
- Wetness Indicator so you know when it’s time for a change
- NOTE : “The expiration date is for REWARDS not for the product
Babies can come down with an illness faster than you can imagine! I once left my very healthy 1 yr old with a sitter so I could go visit a friend. A few hours later I came back and he was running a fever. The next morning we were at the hospital where he spent 3 days in an oxygen tent! He took a turn THAT fast! So always be prepared!
Rectal thermometers are the most accurate so I recommend them (and make sure you have some petroleum jelly on hand for them!)
- Made in US
- RECTAL THERMOMETER FOR BABIES: The short, flexible tip makes this baby thermometer gentle and safe to use for taking your baby’s rectal temperature. The large digital display gives a fast, accurate reading so you quickly know if your infant has a fever.
- DIGITAL THERMOMETER: Digital thermometers provide fast, easy to read temperatures so you can tell if you or your child has a fever quickly and accurately. A sick baby or child is never fun, but Vicks digital thermometers make sick days easier to handle.
- VICKS THERMOMETERS: Vicks helps you help your family feel better and get healthy during a cold or the flu. While humidifiers, vaporizers, NyQuil, DayQuil, VapoRub and other cold and flu medications help relieve symptoms, thermometers help you track them.
- VICKS FOR FLU SEASON: A fever can be a symptom of many sicknesses, including colds or ear infections, & fevers are also symptoms of the flu, common in the colder months. A fever can be one of the first signs of sickness, especially in babies & children.
- RELIEF AND CARING FROM VICKS: For over 100 years, Vicks has been helping families continue life, even on sick days. Try a Vicks thermometer next time if you’ve used Braun Ear and Forehead Thermometers, Kinsa Smart Thermometer, or Mobi Thermometers before.
If you have ever had a baby with a stuffy nose or one that has somehow aspirated formula, you will know how necessary this little item is! This can be a game-changer when baby has a cold as they are obviously not able to blow their nose.
I have had every one of my kids spit up milk at some point and somehow ended up with it in their nose! So I highly recommend this item! The hospitals often give one when baby goes home but as a foster parent you may not receive it.
Fostering a Newborn – Bottles Are Clearly a Necessity
When fostering a newborn you have to be prepared for the fact that many times you’re getting a baby with NAS (Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome) who has been exposed to substances in utero that could have difficulty feeding or have digestive issues. Because of this, many times, the choice of bottle will depend on the baby. You may start with one and then, depending on whether baby has gas or other issues, may need to go to another.
Because of these digestive issues they often have, it is important to reduce the amount of air that gets into baby’s belly.
Here I will share the two I chose to use.
The Dr. Brown’s Specialty Feeding System is a unique bottle/nipple/valve system designed specifically will be beneficial for infants and bottle-fed children identified with severe to profound difficulty in efficiently expressing a fluid bolus during sucking. Infants with the following conditions – cleft lip/palate, oro-neuromotor dysfunctions, congenital heart disease, common or rare syndromic sequences and/or craniofacial anomalies will demonstrate strong outcomes while using the Dr. Brown’s Specialty Feeding System.
The unidirectional flow valve known as the “Infant-Paced Feeding Valve” is inserted into the silicone nipple at the nipple base and placed into the collar. Once full assembly of the Dr. Brown’s Specialty Feeding System is complete this system allows the infant to use their own tongue and jaw movements during sucking to adequately express and deliver a fluid bolus into their intra-oral space for safe and efficient swallowing. The feeding becomes “infant-directed” and allows the infant to feed safely, efficiently and successfully.
The Dr. Brown’s Natural Flow bottle is fully vented to create a positive-pressure flow for vacuum-free feeding. As baby feeds, fluid enters the infant’s mouth and air is channeled back from the infant through the nipple and the vent system bypassing the breast milk or formula during feeding. This system prevents the negative effects of a vacuum, allowing babies to feed more comfortably and eliminating discomfort from ingesting air, thereby reducing the symptoms of colic, spit-up, burping and gas.
Playtex Baby Nurser Bottles are made to work like mom. They provide a closer to natural feeding experience that’s ideal for newborns, breastfed babies or any stage of introducing a bottle. Naturalatch silicone nipples mimic the breast to encourage latching and control the flow of liquid. Our bottles feature pre-sterilized liners that are easy to replace, recyclable** and guarantee a clean* bottle every time.
The Drop-Ins Liners and leak-proof design make bottle time convenient and easy for home or on the go. Playtex Baby offers a variety of uniquely designed bottles that provide total tummy comfort and meet all of your baby’s feeding needs. All Playtex Baby products are BPA, PVC and Phthalate Free.
Must Have Baby Items – Pacifier
This one item is a lifesaver!
A pacifier can calm a baby sometimes like nothing else can. Again, if your foster baby is born exposed to drugs they can be extremely fussy and suffer from various side effects. A pacifier can not only soothe them while they are in your arms or in their crib but it has been shown to reduce the risk of SIDS.
These pacifiers are my favorite!
- The pacifier brand distributed in hospitals nationwide
- Used by medical professionals to calm newborns
- BPA free
- Highly durable
- Sized and shaped for baby’s mouth
- Latex free
- Hospital grade silicone
- Durable, one piece construction
Must Have Baby Items – Clothing
If fostering a newborn, you definitely want to have a couple of outfits on hand for baby and in different sizes. Newborns come in different sizes! You may have a preemie or you could have a linebacker!
You can always go get more once baby is placed with you but it is difficult to go out to get more if baby doesn’t have anything to wear outside! You cannot put an infant in a car seat in a swaddler as most of them do not have the openings for the belt. So have at least one or two outfits in different sizes on hand to get you by until you can go shopping.
I have been a big fan of onesies since my first child was born decades ago!
They are great for adding some extra warmth on colder days, protecting clothes from diaper messes, and for using in the summer when it is just SO hot!
The rule of thumb for dressing a newborn is, whatever clothing you are comfortable wearing, put them in that and add a layer. So if the weather makes you comfy in a t-shirt and shorts, put them in a t-shirt and long pants or a t-shirt and shorts with a onesie!
So this is a must have item in my opinion!! And you can buy them with longer sleeves for winter time!
Must Have Baby Items – Pajamas
I also recommend one piece footie pajamas with the sleeve that allows you to fold over their hands so they don’t scratch themselves. I don’t like the little mittens they have for that purpose as they can tend to fall off. So I only use these types of outfits!
So this is my list of initial must-haves for fostering a newborn!
Again, check with your agency! There are other items such as formula but that is going to be dependent on the child, their age and their specific health requirements so I will not list them here.
These are just some items you can buy ahead of time and have on hand when the time comes when you get that exciting call!
Fostering a Newborn – Some Other Tips
Fostering a newborn can be such a wonderful, yet challenging, experience. Don’t be afraid to ask your agency for help in obtaining needed items for baby. Many agencies offer a voucher for you to purchase some items when baby comes to your home. So be sure to ask whether your agency does that or not. Even a little bit will be a big help.
Fostering a newborn who has medical issues or has been exposed to substances in utero also means you will likely have a parade of people in and out of your home the first few weeks, such as visiting nurses and social workers. So be prepared for that as well.
Ask if your agency provides foster family advocates. They can prove to be invaluable, even just in helping you communicate with your agency.
I pray fostering a newborn baby is the most wonderful, rewarding experience for you and your family and thank you for providing care for these most vulnerable in our society!
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