Ordinarily, my ovaries twitch whenever I spot the cutest onesies, mittens, you-name-it. When I got pregnant, my ovaries went ballistic over all the cute outfits I was plotting to dress my baby in. The husband probably panicked at the amount of stuff I wanted to put on the shopping list, but let me tell you, he went out and bought a few unnecessary, adorable dresses for our daughter too. And we’re just talking about the things that a baby doesn’t really need.
Things Your Baby (Actually) Needs
As much as you want to give your child the best of everything, the very thought of this can put a dent in your wallet. More often than not, many purchases end up as white elephants, and you will be better off whittling down the shopping list as much as possible, until you determine that your child needs yet another (cute) teether.
Here is a list of some things that were essential for my daughter in the early months.
1. Breathable and easily worn clothing
It’s tempting to purchase an oversized heap of clothes for your darling, but in the early months, you only really need lightweight clothing that can be easily worn and taken off. It’s hot and humid all year round in this part of the world, so breathable clothing makes perfect sense.
Your newborn is going to poop and pee so often, that you will want to dress him or her in clothes that can give you easy access to your baby’s bottom. I stayed home most of the time in the early months, so other than purchasing two outfits that are a little dressier for special occasions with photo-ops, I didn’t get anything other than the staple kimono-style wraps and bottoms, and one week’s worth of onesies for casual jaunts out.
2. Baby sling / carrier
I made the mistake of purchasing a stroller before my daughter was born. She never took to one until recent months and yes, she has outgrown the stroller we bought. I did prepare two baby slings (to alternate when one is in the wash) and they were such lifesavers. I simply popped her in the sling whenever she needed to be cuddled at times when I had to free up my hands; this happened pretty often, as you would discover in the early months.
When she got too heavy and her neck was rigid enough to stay upright without any support, we switched to the soft-structured baby carrier, again, a must-have, especially when we didn’t want to end up pushing an empty stroller around. Some babies do very well in a stroller, much sooner than my daughter of course, but in the early months, a carrier of sorts is a godsend for most parents I know.
Related post: Combi Mega Ride Stroller
3. Car seat
This is a mandatory purchase for those who reside in Singapore and a number of other countries. We were very fortunate to be loaned an infant car seat. When she outgrew it, we spared no expense and invested in one of the best brands on the market. You will need this right from the day your newborn gets discharged from the hospital, so be sure to have one installed in your car in the weeks before your estimated due date!
4. Furniture with ample storage space
I never bought into the idea of getting cutesy, miniature versions of wardrobes for the nursery. They offer enough storage space for only a few months, and once your baby’s collection of clothes, toys, essentials expands (this will happen very quickly with the influx of gifts from family and friends who adore your darling), you will be kicking yourself for not buying wardrobes and drawers designed for big people instead. You can decorate the adult-sized pieces of furniture with cutesy decals, which are widely available now, so why splurge on kiddy storage that wouldn’t give you good mileage?
Related Post: Where to buy children’s furniture in Singapore
5. Books and open-ended toys
I splurged on books. Cloth books for when my daughter was an infant, and board books for when she could hold books up easily. I find that these were and still are great ways of entertaining a young child, and these books are sturdy enough to withstand lots of wear and tear. We also shied away from musical toys (those that made all sorts of sounds when buttons are pressed), and opted for open-ended toys such as stacking cups and wooden blocks instead. You could do all sorts of wonderful things with these toys and stretch your dollar whilst you are at it.
What’s your list of baby items?
This list may differ, based on your child’s preference of course. In my case, I regretted quite a few purchases, such as the rocker, bouncer and ‘jumperoo’ as my daughter didn’t like them. And I was pleased that I skipped out on getting things like a changing table (I find it too small; I simply change her on the bed), walker, etc. My advice is to just get hold of the daily necessities, borrow stuff that you think might be good for your routine and observe what your baby likes or dislikes before committing to certain purchases. And if you do this, you might feel less guilty for dropping a tiny bomb on two or three cuter outfits…just sayin’.
By Rachel Tan
This article was first published in The New Age Parents e-magazine
Stay tuned for the rest of our ‘First Time Mum’ series!