Health Feature Articles
The "Medical Layette"
Donna Dixon, R.N., M.S., former Human Development and Family Studies Associate, College of Human Environmental Sciences, University of Missouri-Columbia
Parents and family members spend hours selecting cute
baby clothes and purchasing a car seat, stroller and
crib. Baby shower gifts may add toys, quilts and bath
time products for the care of a baby. However, some of
the things that can prevent late night trips to
drugstores and help a parent cope with that first
illness are equally important to purchase. Here is a
list of items to request or purchase so that you will be
prepared for whatever happens:
Thermometer - A digital thermometer for under
the arm should be used until six months of age. After
six months you can begin using an ear thermometer but
they are not necessary. Use a rectal thermometer
lubricated with Vaseline only if your doctor asks.
Penlight/Flashlight - For checking hard to see
places, checking cuts, scrapes and conditions in the
middle of the night. Don't forget extra batteries.
Ice packs - In the breastfeeding bag that you
got at the hospital from the formula companies there is
an ice pack and zippered case for an ice pack to keep
breast milk chilled. The ice pack is also great for
applying to cuts, scrapes and bumps.
Tweezers - These are essential for removing
ticks, splinters, objects lodged in the nose or ears,
Alcohol Pads - A bottle of rubbing alcohol
along with cotton balls will work just as well to clean
tweezers, scissors, thermometer, etc. Never use rubbing
alcohol in a bath to help control fever.
Medicine Dispenser - A syringe is usually the
most accurate and easy to use. There are a number of
different types of measuring spoons, droppers, and cups.
There is a fancy pacifier that allows you to give
medicine but medicine can also be placed into a bottle
nipple and your infant will suck it right down.
The Well-Stocked Medicine Cabinet:
Infant Acetaminophen (Tylenol) or Ibuprofen (Motrin or Advil) - These medications are not only for fever but also are good for pain control. Ask your pediatrician or pharmacist for a dosage chart based on weight. Aspirin should be avoided in children.
1% Hydrocortisone Ointment or Calamine Lotion
- This is great stuff to relieve the itching of rashes,
poison ivy and bug bites.
Diphenhydramine (Benedryl) - An antihistamine
is helpful in handling any minor allergic reactions or
intense itching. Your doctor may also recommend it for a
baby who is having difficulty sleeping due to itching or
Antibiotic Ointment (Neosporin, Bacitracin) -
Cuts at risk for infection may heal faster. If a cut or
scrape appears to be infected already, consult the
doctor before administering the antibiotic ointment.
Syrup of Ipecac - This over-the-counter
medication causes vomiting and may be helpful in certain
poison ingestions. Never give this medication unless
directed by the Poison Control Center or the doctor.
Simethecone Drops (Mylicon or Little Tummies)
- Despite much debate by doctors, this medicine is
useful for some cases of colic related to gas and
stomach upset. Since it is not really a medicine that is
absorbed (it surrounds the gas bubbles and pops them),
it is generally safe.
Saline Nose Drops (Ocean Spray, Little Noses)
- For the first "cold" these salt water solutions can be
administered to thin nasal secretions and prior to
suctioning the nose. A cool steam humidifier and a nasal
aspirator may also be helpful
Diaper Rash Cream (A & D, Super Dooper Diaper
Doo, Balmex, Desitin) Anti-fungal Cream
(Lotrimin, Tinacatin) - If your doctor diagnoses a
yeast-infected diaper rash, an over-the-counter cream
may be less expensive than a prescription cream
Oral Electrolyte Solution (Pedialyte) - As a
first line of defense when your baby is spitting up
frequently, having difficulty swallowing due to nasal
secretions or other reasons determined by your doctor,
he or she may recommend a short period of this clear
fluid rather than breast milk or formula until symptoms
subside. Call your doctor first.
Oragel/Teethers - Generally teething is
preceded by several months of drooling which does not
need to be medicated. If you see reddened gums and the
baby is fussy, try an iced teething ring or cold
washcloth to chew on first. Resort to teething gels if
this is ineffective.
Sunblock - Infant preparations of sunblock are
at least 30 SPF and less irritating to the skin.
Lastly, post phone numbers in an easily accessible place - Include the pediatrician, Poison Control Center, a friend or relative you can call in an emergency, and emergency services if "911" is not available in your area.
Last Updated 05/05/2009