First time parents and purchases

29 04 2010

———— This was a post that I forgot to publish last year! 😛  ——————

Went to an exhibition for mothers recently.

Being an experienced mother, I get less excited over all the exhibits and booths. I just zoom into what I need, and head on. Even then, I would be distracted by some products but more aware of what are good deals, and those that are just nice to look at, but not very practical.

Pregnancy, motherhood, and a new baby can be daunting. What to buy, which to buy — decisions that are often not easy to make when you have zero experience. Most of the time, we would rely on magazines/internet/books or recommendations from friends and family.

Guides in magazines are good, but they are sometimes obligated to advertise or do a good advertorial for the client so as to meet their targets. Even with recommendations from friends or relatives, it can get all too confusing for the parent-to-be. Cost is a major factor, and as first timers,  it’s all too easy to go overboard (especially when one is expecting a baby girl).

Here’s a list of purchases that one should consider:

Diapers

Parents need to decide: cloth or disposables?

Cost is an issue with disposables, but they are readily available and there’s no washing required. Cloth nappies would be technically more cost-effective and also more environmentally friendly, but take into consideration of the washing required. Parents with multiples? Disposables may be a better option.

The hospitals would generally provide 1 pack of disposable diapers (newborn sizes, up to 5 kg), and newborns can go up to 8 diaper changes in a day. Though some brands may have better absorbancy, parents may want to weigh the costs, because with the frequent diaper changes, sometimes the diapers doesn’t become full before you have to change it again. I have tried a lot of brands and supermarket house brands may not be a bad idea. Try not to buy in bulk yet. Try and test first.

Clothes

100% cotton. Front button tops worked better for me than wraps. The strings are too much to handle 😛

At least 6sets of clothes for a start for a singleton, double that for twins. More are welcome. With the baby outgrowing clothing really quickly, it would be best to get hand me downs where possible.

Nappy rash cream

There are a few options in the market: Drapolene, Desitin, Mustela etc. Drapolene is good for daily use, Desitin has the most raves for getting rid of nappy rash. Mustela Vitamin barrier cream is good as well.

Prams

I have wrote about this in a previous entry

Baby carriers/Slings

I swear by the sarong slings. If you plan to have more than 1 child, it just gives so much leverage.

There are places that aren’t exactly pram/stroller friendly, so the baby carrier/sling do help to offset some of the pressure with carrying the child, and it just makes one more mobile without worrying about another piece of equipment.

Especially true when you don’t drive or you rely on public transport.

Breastfeeding equipment/related accessories

I was a “100% breastpump mom”. For all my kids, I express my breastmilk 100% for various reasons. Therefore it was very important that I got a good breastpump that is heavy duty, and is able to allow me to achieve letdown quickly. It should also be a dual electric pump, just for efficiency and less stress on the fingers (Try using the manual pump for 30mins, and you will understand what I mean).

I started using the dual electric pump in the hospital once I delivered, to stimulate the milk flow. Obviously, this is going to be contradicting to what lactation consultants would advise if you plan to latch on. Totally understand, but some milk is better than no milk when you are trying the best to learn latching with the baby, and sometimes, it’s just impossible to latch.

There are many good pumps in the market, but for heavy duty usage, I like the Medela Pump in Style Advance. It was a life-saver, and the good piece of equipment has lasted me 2 pregnancies, fed my 3 kids, and it’s been loaned to a few friends. ROI definitely has been achieved.

Another accessory I would recommend is a hands-free bottle/funnel holder that you wear around the neck during expressing. I only got it in my 2nd pregnancy, and it was like the 2nd best thing I had. Hands free during expression, it allowed me to read, surf the web and more. I hear some mums even catch a nap, or drive when expressing in car.

Bottles and milk bags

Once you start breastfeeding, and plan to continue doing it when it’s time to return to work, it’s impossible to not have a breastpump. Next up would be bottles/milk bags for storage, and if the supply is abundant, be prepared to spend on bottles/milk bags. For milk bags, I think the zip lock type of sterilised milk bags are the best. Easy to store, easy to pour the defrost milk out with little mess. It’s slightly more expensive than milk bags that do not have the zip lock feature, but imagine trying to use a rubber band or some other device to seal the milk bag. That’s another cost.

Preferred generic bottles vs using a specific brand with a customised size like Avent because those bottles can fit to any regular size teats, and can be used for feeding. Of course, if one is using the entire series from a certain brand, than sticking to that brand may make sense. I used Pigeon bottles and milk bags for storage, on top of collecting glass bottles (and then buying separate bottle covers as sometimes they throw away the bottle cap) at the hospital where possible.

Always stack milk bags flat in the freezer. Sort by date, first in last out (so that you always give the baby the freshest milk). I used plastic boxes to hold the milk bags in the freezer, just for easy sorting.

Nursing balm/nipple cream

Very important to have these on hand because during the early stages, and sometimes, the nipple may crack and it’s not going to be comfortable expressing/breastfeeding the baby. Some people like Lanolin, I prefer the texture of nipple creams (e.g. Mustela) for regular use, and Lanolin for the very serious condition 😛 The other best cream: Your own breastmilk. Just spread all over after you are done with feeding/expressing. Worked for many people.

Breast pads

Leaky breasts that show through your clothes is no fun. Either choose disposable breast pads or buy washable ones. One may not leak all the time, but if you are out of the house, it’s not fun to see wet spots on your top.

This is not the most exhaustive list of items to purchase, but I think it covers the basics.

Hope this helps some of you out there!

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