How do new parents know what’s really essential?
In kiasu Singapore where even your choice of milk can frequently cause national debates, first-time parents can be overwhelmed by the thousand and one items they may or may not need to stock up on.
This is my list of essentials for feeding and diapering with tips learnt through trial and error.
– Small bottles 125ml
2 bottles. You may not need them after a few months.
– Medium bottles 260ml
2 bottles. Buy an extra bottle if you are sending baby to infantcare.
– Large bottles 330ml
About 2-3 teats for each stage
Get one that has a larger capacity so you can sterilise more items at once. I use Philips and Pigeon.
To take sterilised teats out of the steriliser.
– Milk powder
Newborns go through about 1 x 900g tin of milk a week. I encourage breastfeeding, but if you don’t have enough supply, don’t stress yourself out.
– Milk powder container
– Portable Thermal flask
Small one to carry hot water. My cheap Endo flask has lasted 4 years and still going strong. This also saves you from having to lug around bulky insulated bottle bags.
– Large thermal flask
To store hot boiled water at home.
– Cleanser for baby accessories
To wash bottles and other baby items. I use Pureen, which can also be used to wash fruits and vegetables.
– Bottle brush
Big+small, I find Tollyjoy the best brand so far.
– Bottle drying rack
Optional. I usually let the bottles dry in the steriliser. A cheap way to dry milk bottles is to use a few chopsticks in the mug to hold overturned bottles.
– Breast milk pump
If you plan to pump at work, consider investing in a hands-free pump like Spectra.
– Breast pads
Try Avent washable pads which are useful and environmentally-friendly compared to disposable pads.
– Nursing bras
3 to 4 bras as you have to wash the bras regularly. My favourite brand for soft bras is Emma Jane, and Spring Maternity has pretty padded bras.
– Breast milk storage bags
Essential only if you pump faster than what your baby drinks, if not just pump and store in a milk bottle.
You can buy storage bags from a local mumpreneur
– Breastfeeding cover
Helps you breastfeed or express milk in public without having to hide in the smelly toilet. You can also try using a ring sling baby carrier for this purpose.
– Baby bowl, plate, cup, spoon and fork
Try to buy a colourful set with characters
– Training cups / bottles
Some kids prefer a sippy cup, some want straw, others drink directly from the cup. You may have to experiment.
– Baby chair
This helps your baby to stay in one place so you can feed him like a pro. If you hate messy floors, spread out a washable mat under his chair.
– Baby cereal
Nestlé has a good range of baby cereal. Try brown rice at 4 months old and graduate to other types of cereal thereafter
– Baby biscuits
Rice biscuits are less heaty than wheat biscuits. Ensure your baby drinks lots of water if he has been chewing on biscuit
– Porridge / puree
Depending on your preference, you can cook porridge using a small claypot (which minimises burnt rice grains) or steam and blend food using an Avent steamer-blender.
– Bibs / Handkerchiefs
Use damp handkerchiefs to wipe the insides of your baby’s mouth and tongue. Scrub bibs and handkerchiefs to remove milk suds (the washing machine won’t do this for you).
I love Drypers tape and Mamy Poko pants.
They have great customer relationship management, sending free samples at different stages of my baby’s life together with thoughtful gifts such as educational toys and a small snack container.
Newborn babies go through about 8 to 10 diapers a day. Please don’t over-stinge on diapers as baby’s skin should be kept as clean as possible to avoid nappy rash.
– Diaper cream
Earth Mama Angel Baby bottom balm is not bad, but it’s expensive.
Desitin Creamy (blue packaging) and Sato (yellow tube) are suitable to use on a daily basis.
For nappy rash, I use a very thin layer of Sudocream (available at Mothercare) or Desitin (purple packaging).
– Wet wipes
Having a Pigeon box with a one-touch lid and Pigeon wipes which are easy to pull out is really a life-saver especially when poop occurs.
– Cotton square pads
It is better to use damp cotton pads to clean baby’s skin instead of using wet wipes all the time. You can use soft tissue paper to pat dry before applying diaper cream.
– Tray/basket organiser for your diapering items
Daiso and Japan home offer cheap bargains.
– Diaper mat
To save your bedsheets from poop.
– Bin lined with plastic bags
You’ll need lots of plastic bags
The list goes on and on, and you’ll realise one day that you have more baby items than TV channels.
The trick to staying sane as a new parent is to plan in advance, join a support group and chill when ‘accidents’ like poop happen.
We all start from 0% as new parents. No parent ever started from knowing what to do 100% of the time, so it’s OK to make small mistakes and figure things out along the way.
Enjoy the journey with your child, it will end some day.