must have items for your baby

By Associate Professor TAN Thiam Chye Head & Senior Consultant, Dr Janice TUNG Associate Consultant, Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, KK Women's and Children's Hospital

You're at week 21 and one of the most exciting things for expectant parents now is to pick out items that your newborn will need. From clothes and booties to the cot and car seat, shopping for these items is an exciting event for the parents. And let's be honest — shopping is a national pastime in Singapore!

However, with entire shops and even whole floors in malls dedicated to babies, where exactly are you supposed to start? To make things easier, start with the following essentials:

mom and baby

1. Towels

These include handkerchiefs and bath and face towels for the baby.

2. Washbasin

A washbasin is handy because it's a good size and can be easily stowed when not in use. Alternatively, you can bathe your newborn in the sink — which may make it easier for you to handle!

3. Toiletries

These include baby wash, nappy wipes and nappy rash cream.

4. Nappies

Cloth nappies are washable and cheaper in the long run. However, if you prefer disposables, buy just a few packs in the size for your newborn. That's because your baby is likely to outgrow this size very quickly.

5. Baby Clothes

Buy for a range of ages — you'll find that the 0–3 months stage goes very quickly! Consider choosing one-piece suits, better known as onesies, with leg openings so that you can change nappies easily and escape the need for clean clothes at every nappy change!

6. Cot

Here's a useful tip: The cot should be sturdy with an adjustable base. That way, you won't have to bend too far to lift your baby during the early months. An adjustable base also means that it can be lowered for the baby's safety as your little darling will grow and might try to climb out of the cot. Make sure to select a cot with plastic covering, as teething babies tend to chew everything in sight.

7. Baby Carrier or Papoose

Baby carriers allow you to carry your infant in front of your torso — this keeps your wee one warm and close to your chest. This also means that your hands will be free to do everything else, like carry a diaper bag.

8. Stroller

There are many strollers on the market, some of which can even convert to prams and bassinets. Choose one based on your needs. The key is to select one that has good brakes and, if you take public transport often, is light and easy to handle.

9. Car Seat

In Singapore, it's illegal to have a baby in the car without a car seat. Find one that fits your baby comfortably and practise fixing and removing it in the car before baby arrives.

Note from your doctor: Always ensure that you have tested and know how to easily work the safety straps and mechanisms that come with your cots, carriers, strollers and car seats to prevent unfortunate accidents.

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Sources:

The New Art and Science of Pregnancy and Childbirth 2008, World Scientific

Healthy Start for your Pregnancy 2012, Health Promotion Board Singapore