As with all first-time parents, there were a whole list of stuff to prepare before Elliott arrived. I was pretty much the one doing all the “nesting” while the husband looked on with a mix of shock, horror and amusement. “Why does a tiny baby need so many things?”, he asked on more than one occassion. I conveniently ignored him and continued to procure all sorts of stuff, both online (online shopping rocks!) and at the shops. There was always something new and exciting to buy for baby!
Now that the excitement of a new baby has somewhat calmed down, I thought that I’d write an entry on what I found to be useful to get BEFORE baby arrives, versus getting AFTER baby arrives.
BB – BEFORE BABY
This includes but not limited to:
- Breast pumps (electric? manual? single? double?)
- Breast pads (a mix of disposable and washable ones)
- Breast shells (these were a lifesaver and I had to send the husband out to buy them when it hurt too much to breastfeed)
- Nursing bras (for home use – I find the sports bra style the most comfortable and affordable. Lots of cheap options on Qoo10.)
- Nursing tops (for home use – I used to wear t-shirts, but found them to be cumbersome when they fell onto baby’s face. Again, I found cheap and cheery ones from Qoo10).
As I have lamented in an entry before, breastfeeding is challenging, especially for first-time moms. As such, I find that it is useful to have essentials on stand-by so that it is one less thing to worry about other than feeding your child and praying that your milk supply comes in. I only had one nursing bra because a friend warned me that my boobs will explode in size, hence she warned me not to overstock. In the end, I had to succumb to shopping online because I was running out of clean nursing bras that don’t reek of sweat and breastmilk. Trust me when I say smelling clean and nice during the initial weeks of motherhood will save your sanity.
These were a must-have from the get go. Babies needs to be swaddled to feel safe so you can imagine how many swaddles we went through each week! I got a 2-pack muslin swaddle from Carter’s, as well as another 4-piece pack from aden+anais when they were on sale at 50% off. I was a little concerned that I might have overdone the buying of swaddles but oh man, we couldn’t wash them fast enough! In the early (poopy) days, the swaddles get soiled as much as their onesies so they were constantly being washed. I was quite glad that I had 6 swaddles to go around! Also, between the 2 brands, the aden+anais ones were definitely softer and thinner (good for our crazy weather!) so I always ended up picking them over the ones from Carter’s.
We also ended up buying 2 pieces of Love-To-Dream ‘Swaddle Up’ Original because Elliott always seemed to sleep better at night in them. He just crossed 3-months old and still loves to sleep in it. A point to note: It may be a bit warm in a non-airconditioned room so I would say that these are best if your baby sleeps in a cool/cold environment. Also, it depends on what he wears to sleep, which brings me to my next item…
Before baby arrived, I was happily buying all sorts of cotton onesies. Short sleeved, long sleeved, footed pyjamas, etc. In the end, I had to run out to buy mesh clothing from Uniqlo. I got a mixture of sleeveless onesies, as well as mesh tees. In fact, he practically lives in them in the day – a mesh tee-singlet and diapers. That’s it. The weather is way too hot for anything else! Then again, Elliott is a very sweaty baby so it really depends on your child. Don’t forget that baby needs to be swaddled to sleep so anything thicker, he breaks out into a sweat and gets cranky. And those full-length footed PJs? I rarely use them unless it’s a cold night, i.e. it has been raining loads and the air-conditioning is on.
There are loads of brands on the market with all sorts of fancy names. It can get quite mind-boggling for a new mum! I simply asked my BFF the brand of diapers that she used for her 3 babies (MamyPoko) and stuck with it. I foolishly asked the BFF if I need such a “big pack” of 52 newborn pieces. Obviously, that ran out in no time and we had to keep stocking up. We now use Merries because we find it really soft and importantly, Elliott doesn’t get any nappy rash. The same BFF passed me a whole stack of cloth diapers to try. Unfortunately, Elliott doesn’t like having a damp bum so he’d yell whenever it got a little wet. This means that we ended up changing his cloth diapers all the time. This also translated to more washing and drying of the diapers. When he pooped, it was also a pretty messy affair so in the end, I gave up and kept them away, sticking to disposables. Might give them a try again when he’s older.
Again, the BFF told us to buy one before the baby’s arrival. She advised that there’s nothing worst than having to rush out and buy one when baby is running a fever. Good advice, I say! Along with the thermometer, good to have on hand some baby fever patches as well. We had to run out to grab them. I also learnt that fever patches have different durations, i.e. 4-hour ones and 8-hour ones (probably for night use). I am not sure if they worked but hopefully, they helped make a feverish child better.
There are a whole list of other miscellaneous stuff that I have not included but the above are some of the items that we found very useful to have on hand.
Infant car seat
This is, of course, assuming that you own a car. There are many websites out there who sell pre-loved ones if you are not keen on getting a brand new one. This is for the first ride home from the hospital as well as subsequent rides.
This seems like an obvious thing to get but I hesitated putting it under this area because guess what? Our baby crib is severely underused! Due to a lack of space in our room, we bought a crib instead of a baby cot. This means that it can probably only be used from birth till about 6 months before baby grows out of it. So far, Elliott has been co-sleeping with us and we have only started to use the crib after he turned…what, 2 months old? And the reason for putting him in there? For him to stare at his crib mobile while we scramble about to get ready to head out. He sleeps with us on our bed at night! I shall attempt a separate entry on co-sleeping so watch this space.
Now, let’s move on to the items that you do NOT need to buy BEFORE baby arrives.
AB – AFTER BABY
For some odd reason, every new parent-to-be rushes out and buys a stroller when they find out that they’re pregnant. I wonder why…? To be honest, I was very enthusiastic about getting one too but the wise husband said to hold it off first. I was a little miffed at first but now, I see wisdom in his words. For the first month, you will definitely not be going anywhere with the baby, except perhaps to the PD for checks. You do not need a stroller because baby is still tiny and light. Instead of a stroller, you can also use a baby carrier. And if you’re adhering to the one-month confinement practise, trust me when I say that by the time the one month is up, you’d be DYING to head outside for some fresh air (and shopping). This might be a good time to purchase a stroller.
Again, I was very tempted to buy a baby carrier before baby arrived but I held on (with a lot of self-control, if I may add). The reason for buying this AFTER baby arrives? So that you can take said baby to the shop to try out the carriers! There are shops out there that allow you to try baby carriers before buying them. This will allow you see how your baby fits into them. There are loads of brands out there and sometimes, the more popular ones does not mean that it is best for YOUR baby. Also, do take into consideration the heat generated by these baby carriers. Baby carrying in Singapore is HOT. Many carriers are made to be used in temperate countries! We use a Beco Gemini and it does get warm when used in non-airconditioned environments. However, I love using it when we are out and about because it is much easier than lugging a stroller around. Also, it seems to have a magic “sleep” button that causes Elliott to fall asleep once we start walking. Ok, I kid. There’s no magic button. When he’s all snug in it and we walk around the malls, it puts him to sleep easily.
To be honest, any large bag can be a diaper bag. Even hospitals give out diapers bags! I admit to buying one halfway through the pregnancy only because I HAD. TO. BUY. SOMETHING. Not that I don’t appreciate my diaper bag. I love my diaper bags very much and erm, I now own two (!). However, I also realise that it is not a die-die-must-buy before baby arrives. You can always get one online when you’re bored during confinement 😉
Baby play mats (and everything else for older babies)
The tendency to want to buy everything is very real (yes, I speak from experience). However, I do realise that buying something that can only be used after 6 months (or a year!) somewhat crazy. Not only does it end up collecting dust and taking up space at home, there will always be something new to buy every other month! Some new parents rush out to baby fairs and buy everything that is on sale but have you realised that baby fairs occur almost every other month or so? Also, I am not too sure if the prices are that attractive in the first place. I am sure there are some genuine bargains but many a times, if you stop and do some basic calculations, the savings are not that substantial.
For example, diapers. At a recent baby fair, it was advertised on Facebook that a certain brand of diapers was going for X dollars with a BUY NOW! GRAB! DON’T MISS OUT! tag. Loads of new parents got really excited and left comments such as “Let’s head down to grab! So cheap!”. When I took a closer look (with some basic calculations), it turned out the supermarket in our vicinity is selling it at a similar price per piece. I know I am starting to sound penny-pinching when I start calculating the cost of diapers on a per piece basis but I just wanted to know if it was indeed ridiculously cheap or just frenzied herd mentality buying. As the saying goes: If something sounds too good to be true (i.e. way too cheap), it is probably not true then.
Also, some baby fairs are ridiculously crowded! Are the savings worth the time and effort spent? I guess it is easy to buy into frenzied marketing for baby fairs (BUY NOW!! SAVE MORE!!! FIRST COME FIRST SERVED! LIMITED TO 10 PIECES ONLY!!) but do stop and do some prior homework before rushing in.
Of course, there is a whole long list of miscellaneous items that I have not listed down. Also, I am sure there are new mothers out there who insists that buying a stroller before baby arrives is a must. To each his/her own, I guess. I guess hindsight is always clearer and that is the purpose of this post.
So. Hands up, all of you who rushed out to procure a stroller the moment you found out you were pregnant 😉