When I found out about my 2 pregnancies, I was 6 weeks pregnant. Even though I did not know the genders of my babies, I wanted to head out and get all the baby essentials immediately! My husband was equally thrilled, so we headed out on a shopping trip to celebrate the good news.
Until I realized that I did not even know what were the important items to get. So after going through 2 pregnancies, including a twin pregnancy, here are my 6 essential baby items that you should get during your pregnancy, and how to choose them.
Are you intending to use disposable diapers or cloth diapers? With a raising awareness to be environmentally friendly, many mothers are turning into cloth diapers instead. You will need to factor in time spent to wash these cloth diapers, and how regularly you intend to wash them. This will help you determine how many cloth diapers to prepare and what types you should get.
A newborn baby needs a diaper change anything from 8-12 times a day, and for new parents I strongly recommend using disposable diapers.
It is not necessary to purchase diapers in newborn size. The hospital will usually provide a packet of newborn-sized disposable diapers, and once you get home, your baby will most likely fit well in a S-sized diaper. My twins wore size S diapers when we got home and they were born at 2.6kg and 2.3kg respectively.
There are many brands of milk bottles – plastic or glass; silicon or latex; wide or narrow necked; big or small.
Plastic bottles need to be replaced every few months, and because glass bottles are fragile it will be advisable to use them with silicon sleeves.
Latex bottle teats tend to wear out earlier than silicon ones, which also need to be replaced every other month.
Wide or narrow necked bottles are a personal choice, although wide-necked ones will make it easier to prepare formula milk and are easier to grip.
Finally, small bottles are ideal for the first couple of months and bigger bottles can be bought later on when your baby consumes more milk.
If you intend to bottle feed breastfeed to your baby once you return to work, there are some bottles on the market that cater to breastfed babies. These imitate the shape of a mother’s breast and are made to help avoid nipple confusion. Using such bottles are not advisable until you have established a good milk supply after 4-6 weeks.
It is a good idea to get a pram that allows your baby to be fully reclined. Some strollers are lightweight and you can easily operate them with one hand, very convenient if you often bring your baby out alone and you only have 1 free hand to open or close the pram. Umbrella strollers are usually more sturdy but require a little more effort to operate. Parents who travel by public transport often will appreciate the convenience of umbrella strollers, while those who drive will not mind umbrella strollers.
For parents of twins, there is the option of side-by-side of front-and-back strollers. The latter usually allows the seats to be fully reclined, while the the latter usually only has one fully reclining seat which is at the back.
In the first 6 months, I used my baby carrier more often than I used the pram because it was simply more convenient, especially on crowded weekends. My baby was able to sleep comfortably. If you want to use a baby carrier, get an ergonomic one to reduce the stress on your back and shoulders.
Strollers are convenient especially as you can let your newborn baby sleep in it, especially if you are going out for long, while carriers are ideal for short trips and errands.
I personally feel that a value-for-money cot will be one which can be converted into a toddler bed when your baby gets older. These cots usually come with 2-4 levels that you can adjust accordingly. The highest level is usually used from newborn until your baby is able to flip. I love cribs that allow you to easily lift and slide down the side with one hand.
The most common crib size is one which uses a mattress size of 28” by 52”. This makes it easier to buy mattress sheets and will last longer as your baby grows bigger.
3-4 pieces each of body suits and sleep suits. Body suits are usually short-sleeved for the day time while sleep-suits are long-sleeved which are suitable for night time. Depending on the room temperature, you may also wish to dress your baby in an extra layer for cold nights or use a baby sleeping bag. Blankets are not recommended. If you are planning less laundry washes a week, then simply increase the number accordingly.
You may receive some clothes during your baby’s full-month celebration, so you can also take that into account when planning how many clothes to buy.
First-Aid & Sick Supplies
Your basic first-aid and sick supplies should consist of the following:
- Nail clippers or baby scissors
- Paracetamol for infants
- Nasal aspirator
- Diaper cream/ointment
What about Breast pumps?
Breast pumps are not usually an essential item, and can be bought after you have given birth to your baby. Many mothers like to leave this out because they are not sure if they are able to breastfeed successfully.
For mothers who are challenged by inverted nipples, it might be a good idea to buy one beforehand as it can help you get ready for a feed.
Even if you are intending to return to work after delivering your baby, leaving this out till later will also enable you to figure out what features of a breast pump are important to you and your pumping habits. This way you can make a better buying choice as good breast pumps are generally quite a costly (but worthwhile!) investment.