Changing mat Make to size of available surface, preferably not less than 100 cm x 75 cm

You need: 4 cm thick foam cut to exact size of surface; 1,60 m plastic sheeting or oil cloth (available from most bazaars and fabric shops usually about 130 cm wide) for a mat 100 cm x 75 cm. Sharp scissors and matching thread.

You do: Cut two rectangles of sheeting to top and lower surface size of foam plus 1,5 cm all round for seams. Cut two strips to depth by the width of foam and two strips to depth by the length of foam, all with 1,5 cm seam allowance.

1 Sew strips together at short ends.

2 Sew one rectangle in place to raw edges of strips and clip seam allowance at corners.

3 Sew 2nd rectangle in place to remaining raw edges of strips leaving one short end open. Clip seam allowance at corners. Insert foam and sew up opening by hand.

Note: If you do not have a wooden strip around the changing surface to prevent the mat from slipping, sew cotton tape into the seams and tie around the legs if you are using a table or attach to some other suitable anchor point.

Prams, cribs and cots. Newborn babies usually sleep in a pram, crib or carry cot. If your baby is going to sleep in a pram, you will have the advantage of being able to rock or at least move it rhythmically which is soothing.

A crib or basket is likely to be made of wicker and left plain or covered in fabric. It may be on a wheeled base or have handles for carrying. A carry cot is usually made of plastic and is similar to the body of a pram with handles for carrying. Optional extras may include a wheeled base or wheels that convert it into a pram.

What you choose depends on your taste and pocket. Covered wicker cribs are pretty and romantic, but they are soon outgrown. Moses baskets are made of softer cane and can be carried around; they are also useful afterwards.

It is an advantage to have a carry cot or crib that you can take the baby about in while she is asleep, especially if it fits into a car easily. If the baby will be travelling in the back of the car while lying in a carry cot you should have a special safety harness that buckles over the cot to keep it secure.

If you choose a pram that converts into a pushchair and has a lift-off carry cot, you have probably got the most practical item. The only aspect that I’m not entirely happy about is the fact that the baby will be more or less encased in plastic. Whichever you choose, I suggest you remove the plastic covering on the mattress if it does not have air vents, and substitute a washable cover made from heavy cotton fabric. You will be using a waterproof on the lower half of the mattress to protect it anyway. Plastic is dreadful to sleep on, and makes the baby sweat. When buying a pram go for the best you can afford – there is always a market for it later on – or start with a good secondhand one.


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