Bringing a baby into this world is truly a miracle, but most parents are not really prepared for their new family member. While packing a hospital bag and stocking up on diapers, wipes, and bottles are obvious tasks, your new role as a mom will require a few more essential items that may be surprising. Before you head to the hospital to welcome your new family member, make sure to stock your diaper bag and nursery with these must-haves that will benefit both you and your newborn baby.

Digital Thermometer

Older family members may recommend the old-school thermometers that can be used on your baby in numerous ways. While these do seem easy to use, they do not provide fast, accurate results. Using these thermometers will be even more difficult if your baby is fussy from fatigue, a diaper rash, or an illness of some sort.

Today, more and more doctors are recommending multi-use digital thermometers that measure temperatures using your baby's underarm, mouth, or rectum. It is also important to note that rectal readings provide the most accurate temperatures, so using digital thermometer is best for fast results.

To use, make sure the thermometer is sanitized using rubbing alcohol or soap and warm water. Add a small amount of lubricant to the thermometer's tip, as well. Be sure to insert the thermometer tip into the anal opening about ½ inch to 1 inch only.

Nostril Cleaner

One of the most important and often-forgotten tools you will need for your newborn is a bulb syringe that will be used to clear away snot and mucus from their nose. Clearing your baby's stuffy nose will help them breathe, eat, and sleep better, so this tool should be a must-have for your nursery and diaper bag. Thankfully, they are also simple to use.

Allow your baby to lie on a soft surface, such as their crib mattress or on top of a comfortable changing table. To use, squirt a small amount of nasal saline into your baby's nostril. This will moisten the nostrils and help loosen up the mucus.

Squeeze the air from the bulb syringe before inserting the tip into one of your baby's nostrils. Release the bulb to initiate the suctioning motion. Remove the tip and squeeze the bulb again to empty the tool into a tissue. Be sure to wipe the tip clean before placing it into your baby's other nostril.

Do not use excessive force when placing or squeezing the bulb syringe, since this could cause your baby some discomfort. Also, clean the syringe using the saline solution before and after each use.

Nail Accessories

You may have purchased or been gifted a kit that contains grooming essentials for your newborn. Hopefully, this kit included nail accessories to help keep your baby's finger and toe nails trimmed and clean. If not, purchase a good pair of nail scissors to use on your baby.

Nail clippers are effective for trimming nails, but the short blade-like pieces can actually trim away some of your baby's skin, as well. This results not only in bleeding, but also crying and discomfort that will leave everyone stressed out. Nail scissors are easier to use, reducing the risk of irritation and cuts to the skin of your baby's fingers and toes.

Also, purchase multiple sets of mittens and booties for your newborn. These will keep your newborn's hands and feet warm, but they are most used for covering the nails to protect your baby's skin from scratches.

You may have taken classes to prepare for labor and delivery, but you should also do some research to prepare your newborn's nursery. With this guide, you will have a few more things to add to your list of must haves. For additional advice on how to care for your newborn, contact a pediatric doctor at an office such as Willow Oak Pediatrics.