Benefits of a Humidifier in the Nursery

One of the most important benefits of having a humidifier in the nursery is the protection it provides against dry air. This is especially true in the winter months when indoor air tends to become dry from your heating system robbing the natural moisture in it.

You may have noticed the effects of the harsh air with more frequent sore throats, dry sinuses and stuffy noses. Since babies are much more susceptible to congestion, they easily fall prey to the infections and sicknesses that often run rampant in the cold months. A humidifier adds much-needed moisture to the air and creates optimal breathing conditions, allowing your baby to sleep comfortably and loosen the build-up of mucus.

Since a humidifier adds moisture into dry air, it also helps relieve your baby of irritated, dry skin. Baby’s skin is sensitive to dry climates and can result in red patches and tender, chapped lips. The dry air may also be aggravating to common skin conditions, such as eczema. By using a humidifier to add moisture back into the air, the skin remains soft and clear by retaining its natural moistness.

Another benefit of a humidifier in the nursery is the white noise it provides. The rhythmic, comforting hum of a humidifier is reminiscent of the whooshing sounds your baby heard in the womb. Not only will it help to drown out household noises like dogs, television and kids playing, but it will also help lull baby into a peaceful sleep.

How Humidifiers Work

There are two main types of humidifiers, warm mist and cool mist. To determine which is the best unit for your home, consider the following information.

Warm Mist Humidifiers:

Some pediatricians encourage warm mist humidifiers because the warm air they emit can kill germs and viruses. The warmer air also helps baby to breathe by reducing mucus build-up and opening the respiratory passages.

Cool Mist Humidifiers:

Since a cool mist humidifier does not have a heating element installed, the air it releases is cool, or room temperature. The main reason doctors may recommend a cool mist humidifier is that a toddler or young child cannot be scalded when touching or playing with it. A doctor may also recommend a cool mist humidifier if your child suffers from croup.

Both types of humidifiers will add moisture to the air, with the main difference being that a warm air humidifier releases heated air, while a cool mist humidifier’s released air will be room temperature or slightly cooler.

Types of Humidifiers

There are three main options when it comes to humidifiers for your child’s room. Here is a breakdown of each.

1. Tabletop Humidifier

A tabletop humidifier is often the most popular choice for nurseries. It is compact and portable, meaning it is easily moved for cleaning or to maneuver your child into another room. Tabletop humidifiers only work to emit moisture in the room they are located.

2. A Console Humidifier

If you want a humidifier that can emit moisture into the entire house, then consider a console humidifier. They are much larger units than the tabletop version and can hold between five to nine gallons of water at once, depending on the model.

3. In-Duct Humidifier

To humidify the entire house at once, you may consider an in-duct humidifier, which are installed right into your home’s air ducts. It keeps the air in the home moist for everyone, has great efficiency and doesn’t require a lot of maintenance. It’s also the most expensive humidifier option.

If cost is a factor, the tabletop humidifier is often the most economical option. The in-duct humidifier is the most expensive of the three options listed above, often costing several hundred dollars and requiring a professional to install it.

4 Precautions to Consider

There are many benefits that accompany using a humidifier in your child’s room, but there are also several precautions that need to be considered. Follow these safety precautions to ensure the humidifier is being used properly and that your child won’t be harmed by it.

1. Cleaning

Humidifiers should be regularly sanitized to prevent mold, bacteria and mildew from building up inside. Remember that it only takes about 48 hours for damp surfaces to be covered in mold, so it is highly recommended to carefully follow the cleaning instructions and guidelines for the humidifier you purchase.

2. Burns

If you purchase a warm mist humidifier, it’s important to remember that they can potentially cause burns to your child if they play with it. The hot steam of a humidifier should be kept well out of reach of little hands that can grab it. While it may look like a fun kids toy, it’s still an appliance that may cause harm if used improperly.

3. Distilled Water

Depending on where you live, your tap water may contain mineral fragments, especially if you have hard water. Instead of allowing the minerals to blow through the humidifier and into the air, consider using distilled water every time you fill up. This isn’t necessary for it to work and may even cost extra to do so, but distilled water is recommended for better performance.

4. Drying

It’s important to allow your humidifier to completely dry between uses. Not only does this help eliminate the possibility of mold, germs and lint accumulating within the machine, but it also prevents possible damage to the unit.

Installing a humidifier in your baby’s nursery or child’s bedroom is one of the most natural ways you can help reduce cold symptoms and allow your child to sleep peacefully. If you live in a dry climate, or at least a climate that produces dry, arid air in winter, consider purchasing a warm mist humidifier to restore moisture in the air.

If you aren’t sure which type of humidifier is best for your climate, discuss with your pediatrician. Chances are, they get that question quite a bit.

Keeping a humidifier in your child’s room will go a long way in helping them stay healthy and sleep happy, not to mention helping with heating costs in the winter. Crank up the warm mist humidifier, turn the thermostat down and enjoy the smaller utility bills.

Buy your Humidifier now

Baby Shopping Guide

Going shopping for new items for your baby? Here are the must-haves (and the don't-needs) to help you shop smart.

Around the House

Register at a baby gear store and you may be given a list that's even longer than this one. Of course, they want you to buy everything they've got! Try to keep in mind that all you really need for baby is diapers, a place for him to sleep, and a blanket to bundle him in.

But we know you're not living in the Stone Age. You need and deserve the accessories that will make your job as parent a whole lot easier. We've listed those as "necessities." Other things that you might appreciate (but which some parents have found to be a waste of money) are listed as "It's nice to have." Items that are merely decorative or not very useful are categorized as "strictly optional." Products that are unsafe appear under "no-nos."

Nursery furniture

The necessities:

____ Crib or co-sleeper

____ Crib mattress

It's nice to have:

____ Changing table

____ Bassinet (though it's only safe until 3 months or 15 pounds)

____ Rocking chair or glider

____ Humidifier or vaporizer

____ Dresser/chest

____ Hamper

____ Baby monitor (if you have a big house)


  • A secondhand crib (get a new one for safety)


The necessities:

____ 2 fitted crib sheets

____ Crib bumper that ties on securely (this is controversial -- some people worry that they're a SIDS risk; others say they keep baby from banging into the bars)

____ Several thin cotton receiving blankets

____ 2 waterproof mattress protectors

Strictly optional:

____ Matching quilt or a crib skirt (they're only decorative)


  • Pillows (a SIDS risk)
  • Sleep positioners (yet another SIDS risk)
  • Mattress padding (ditto)


The necessities (not an issue until 4 months or later):

____ Gates at the top and bottom of all stairs

____ Cabinet latches

____ Drawer latches

____ Outlet covers

____ Fireplace bumper

____ Furniture anchors

It's nice to have:

____ Toilet lock

____ Corner guards for low tables


For formula feeding

The necessities:

____ 8 or so bottles with newborn nipples (try several brands to find the one your baby prefers)

____ Bottle-cleaning brush or a dishwasher basket

____ Bottle-drying rack

____ Several weeks' worth of baby formula to start

____ 6 or more cotton bibs

____ 6 or more burp cloths (cloth diapers do the job)

____ Insulated cooler/carrier for outings

It's nice to have:

____ Dry formula dispenser

____ Bottle sterilizer

Strictly optional:

____ Bottle warmer (heating in hot water takes the same amount of time)

____ Bottle proper (unless you have multiples and use it sparingly when you can't otherwise feed all the babies at once)

For breastfeeding

The necessities:

____ Nursing pillow

____ 2-3 nursing bras

____ 2-3 boxes of nursing pads

____ 6 or more cotton bibs

____ 6 or more burp cloths (cloth diapers do the job)

It's nice to have:

____ Breast pump (electric if you'll use it every day at work, otherwise a hand pump is fine)

____ Breast milk storage bags or containers

____ Several bottles and nipples if someone else will be feeding baby pumped breast milk

____ Nipple cream (for the first few weeks)

Solid-food feeding

The necessities (not an issue until 4 to 6 months):

____ High chair

____ Plastic bibs

____ Infant feeding spoons

____ Infant bowl

It's nice to have:

____ Mess mat for under the high chair

____ Baby food mill (if you're ambitious enough to puree your own baby food)

Basic Baby Care

For diapering

The necessities:

____ 2 packs of newborn diapers to start

____ Wipes

____ Diaper rash ointment

____ Waterproof changing table pad

____ 2-3 changing table pad covers (usually cotton or terry cloth)

____ Diaper pail or trash can with a lid

It's nice to have:

____ 4-5 waterproof square or rectangular pads for under baby's bottom (protecting the cover that's protecting the pad -- you won't be sorry)

____ Baby cream (if your baby has dry skin)

____ Non-talc powder (to help the diaper area dry faster)

Strictly optional:

____ A wipe warmer

____ A diaper stacker (though they're pretty)

For bathing and grooming

The necessities:

____ 2 hooded towels

____ 4 washcloths

____ Infant tub (for after the umbilical cord falls off)

____ Bath seat or inflatable tub-within-a-tub (for after 6 months)

____ Baby bath wash

____ Baby shampoo

____ Baby comb and brush set

____ Nail scissors/nail clippers/nail file set

____ Cotton swabs

____ Cotton balls

It's nice to have:

____ Bath toys

____ Mesh bag to hold bath toys

____ Bath thermometer

____ Faucet guard

Strictly optional:

____ A baby-size robe (it's hard enough to get baby dressed in her real clothes!)


The necessities:

____ 7 or more snap-crotch bodysuits/onesies

____ 3-4 T-shirts and/or side-snap shirts

____ Several snap-up rompers

____ Several shirt-and-pant sets

____ 7 pairs of pajamas and/or sleeping gowns

____ Sun hat

____ Cold-weather hat

____ Cardigan sweater

____ Bunting or snowsuit if it gets cold

____ 6 pairs of booties and/or socks

____ Baby hangers for the closet

It's nice to have:

____ A special outfit to bring baby home in and/or show her off

____ Several diaper covers

____ A wearable sleep sack, to use instead of a blanket

Strictly optional:

____ Shoes (until baby is walking outside, i.e., the toddler years)

Going Out

The necessities:

____ Car seat that fits a newborn

____ Stroller that accommodates a newborn

____ Diaper bag filled with diapers, wipes, and a spare outfit

____ Front carrier, like a Snugli or Baby Bjorn

It's nice to have:

____ Sling (for the newborn stage)

____ Baby backpack (for after 6 months)

____ Stroller that your car seat fits onto

____ Rain cover for the stroller

____ Infant headrest for the car seat (if it doesn't come with one)

____ Warm blanket or "boot" to wrap baby in during winter strolls

____ Sunshades for the car windows

____ Big diaper bag for overnight trips


  • Mirror to see baby in the car (it can be a hazard if there's an accident)
  • A secondhand car seat (always get a new one)

Just for Fun

First toys

No necessities, but it's nice to have:

____ Soft books and board books

____ Rattles

____ Plastic links

____ Soft blocks

____ Activity gym/play mat

____ Crib mirror

____ Toys that attach to the stroller

____ Something plush that crinkles, rattles, and squeaks

____ Baskets to store toys in all the key places: baby's room, the living room, the kitchen


  • Car seat toy bars (an added risk if there's an accident)

For sitting baby in

The necessities:

____ Bouncer seat or infant seat

____ Stationary activity center (once baby is 4 months old)

____ Heavy blankets and quilts to lay on the floor

It's nice to have:

____ Swing

____ Moses basket (though only usable until baby reaches 3 months)

____ Portable play yard


  • Walker (get a stationary center instead, for safety)
  • Jumper (also generally considered unsafe)

When Something's Wrong

For soothing

The necessities:

____ Several pacifiers (try different brands to see which one your baby prefers)

____ Mobile for over the crib or changing table

____ Lullaby CDs or other soothing music

It's nice to have:

____ Music box made for the crib

The medicine cabinet

The necessities:

____ Thermometer

____ Petroleum jelly

____ Infant Tylenol

____ Nasal aspirator

____ Electrolyte drink (such as Pedialyte, to treat dehydration)

It's nice to have:

____ Teething ointment or other teething remedy

____ Vapor cream and/or vapor bath

____ Saline nose drops

____ Antigas medicine

5 things you didn't know about breastfeeding

Breastfeeding is like a hike through the woods: Natural, but not always simple. In fact, it can be challenging, breathtaking, and full of the unexpected.

Here are the big breastfeeding surprises moms reported to us:

The hormones can be intense

It's the ultimate paradox. Here's this odd-looking creature sporting a belly-button stump, acne, and peeling skin. He can't even hold a decent conversation, let alone get you a cup of coffee – and yet whenever you nurse him, you're filled with head-over-heels devotion. What's up with that? We have one word for you – oxytocin.

This powerful hormone is responsible for breast milk "letting down," or moving to the front of the breasts. And it also happens to be the same chemical released in the brain when a person falls in love, says Laura Viehmann, assistant professor of pediatrics at Brown University and spokesperson for the American Academy of Pediatricians. No wonder you couldn't care less about all that spit-up and poop! You're too busy swooning.

Read the full article: