Any expecting mommy can easily find a comprehensive baby checklist on the Net. I used one too, and found it very useful. However, having a frugal husband who tends to question the necessity of every spending, instead of rushing to buy everything on the checklist, or influenced by all the must-have advice I received, I went to get some practical advice from my dear elder sister, a seasoned mother of one.
There are certain items on the list which might seem like things you can live without, but in my case I found these 5 items (which I thought I wouldn’t need) which I didn’t regret every single cent spent on it:
1. Medela Freestyle Breastpump.
This costs a bomb.
In fact, this is the single most expensive baby item I bought at RM1450 without warranty. Some dubbed breastpumps as best friends to nursing mommies, I reckon that is really true. I recalled the first six months of my breastfeeding, especially since I was back in the office, this thing has been with me and proven itself to be very very useful. It is quick, not painful, efficient, silent, double, and versatile in a way that I can pump even while doing house chores or even driving! And the fact that it can work both plugged and unplugged (i.e. on battery) allows you to pump almost in all occasions. And though the pump you used won’t dictate how successfully you can breastfeed, it does help in a way that it will make it more efficient should you choose the right one.
So I’d say go for a Medela Freestyle breast pump before expensive, over-engineered stroller!
2. Nursing Pillow
I didn’t know that this item which I crossed out pretty confidently on the baby checklist as an item that I don’t need turns out to be a saviour. Well, in a way. I think how highly you need a nursing pillow depends on your situation post delivery. In my case, I was badly torn out, had haemorrhoid, had a relatively big baby (Isa was 3.29 kg at birth) who wanted to be fed very often, and I couldn’t confidently breastfeed lying down for fear of suffocating my baby. All these factors meant that sitting down, for more than 15 minutes would be very painful and tiring. Finding the right, most comfortable position took a long time and a lot of pillows (I needed at least four at one time, to support my leg, my elbow, to put on my lap, and at my back) – hence a nursing pillow which arrived two weeks after birth was a mercy. I bought it online at RM45, after 50% discount. The typical price was RM89.90, some are priced above RM100. Pretty expensive for a pillow, but I really, really suggest this for a first-time mom who will almost definitely struggle with breastfeeding. It allowed my arms to rest as it held Isa just at the right height and put Isa in the position where he could face me easily without me having to support his body all the time. Then I can have my another hand free for my iPhone!
Please note though, that depending on how quick your baby grows, this item will not be needed as soon as your baby reach 2 months old. Isa was too big to be put on a nursing pillow beyond that.
Even better if you could make it yourself – I know a friend who did and that sure helps in a money-tight, baby-expecting situation most soon-to-be parents are facing!
3. Pigeon Nose Cleaner
I had two bulb syringes once Isa was born, but none of them proves to be helpful when Isa was down with his first cold at 4 months old. Luckily, at one lunch time when I was breastfeeding Isa in his crèche, my colleague showed me hers, and I was like ‘I should get that NOW!’. It was easy to use, no need for anything to be put into the nostril, and you don’t need to suck really hard to get the goo out. I bought one of Pigeon brand, if you are in Malaysia you can find this in Sogo – it costs me around RM15. Get this thing on standby – I fully recommend it!
4. Ear Thermometer
This is in all baby checklist I assume – it’s even more important for a baby because any increase in temperature should be monitored closely so that you can precisely report it to the paed later. I had a cheaper, more conventional rectal thermometer, but hell no, that one is too challenging for me to do with one baby who won’t stay still for longer than two seconds. Ear thermometer could be expensive, mine costs RM120 if I am not mistaken, but it is so easy to use. I strongly suggest for all parents to have one ready by the time your baby has his/her first fever. Just in case it goes beyond 39-40 degrees Celsius you can sprint straight away to your paed.
5. Baby Napkins
I didn’t plan to use the traditional cloth napkins for my son, so I almost cross this one out in my checklist, until my sister intervened saying that this thing is so useful in more ways than I could imagine – and it is indeed! It is so cheap, sold in dozen – it doubles (if that is a correct term) as ad hoc blanket (remember that I live in a tropical country) against the cold air-conditioned buildings, baby head cover when you are running to your car through the rain with no umbrella, to wipe off any mess, as a swaddle or semi-swaddle if your baby if small enough, travel diaper changing mat… and so the list goes. In short, just buy it. A dozen will be great.
So those are five items I could think of now.
If any more stuff qualifies, I will definitely write again.