Most mums-to-be have their hospital bag ready and waiting by the door in those last few weeks of pregnancy but not many will have prepared the all important baby’s first health kit. As a doctor and mum to two children, I highly recommend you have the following close to hand for your baby’s first year:

1)  A good thermometer

The market is overflowing with various thermometers.  If you want a doctor’s recommendation – there is nothing better in my experience than the Braun Thermoscan.

Excellent because it is quick to use (in your child’s ear), accurate and has a very long life.

  • A raised temperature is one of 37.5 degrees Celsius or more.  Always take your baby to the doctor if they have:
  • a temperature of 38 degrees Celsius or more in a baby less than 3 months old
  • a temperature of 39 degrees Celsius or more in a baby between 3 and 6 months old

2)  Paracetamol and Ibuprofen

Commonly known by the brand names Calpol and Caplrofen, a bottle of the infant preparation of both is worth having at home.

Speak to your pharmacist about which is safe to use for what age and about how much to give.

  • You don’t have to buy the branded bottles (Calpol and Calprofen).  The unbranded ones have the same drug inside and will save you a bit of cash.
  • Over the age of 3 months it is safe to give both of these medications.  It does not have to be one or the other.  Much like for adults, it is fine to take paracetamol for an ache or fever and then take some Ibuprofen if you need more relief.  Speak to your pharmacist or GP further about this.

3)  Metanium nappy rash ointment

A combination of experience at home and in the workplace has led me to this recommendation.

  • The white Metanium is excellent for applications in between nappy changes if you are looking for something to use regularly.
  • The yellow Metanium works a treat if you start to notice some redness.

If the redness gets worse or the skin starts to look raw/as though it is splitting make sure you get a check up with your GP as sometimes the nappy area can become infected with bacteria or fungus.

  •  Don’t forget to make sure your baby has plenty of nappy free time whenever you can during the day/before bath times.

4)  Attend a first aid course

Ask yourself:

  • Would I know what to do if my baby was choking?
  • What would I do if my baby were to stop breathing?

If you do not feel confident that you would know what to do in those scenarios I highly recommend you book on to a child first aid session local to you.

Few skills in life are more valuable than knowing how to save a life, so please do run a quick search for first aid classes in your area.There are so many excellent courses available and plenty of charities offer either free or subsidised classes for parents.

Did you find a need for anything different in your baby’s first health kit?  Share your experiences and preferences with us and let’s help prepare more parents!

Please note: The materials in this article are in no way intended to replace the professional medical care, advice, diagnosis or treatment of a doctor. The article does not have answers to all problems. Answers to specific problems may not apply to everyone. If you notice medical symptoms or feel ill, you should consult your doctor.

Article by Dr Mummykins (Claudia) MBBS iBSc MRCGP