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Basic essentials to prepare before baby is born

To me, clothes are the last thing you should buy before baby is born, because you may get hand-me-downs. And newborn hand-me-downs tend to be in really good condition because they are usually only worn for a couple of months. However, you do need to ensure you have enough washed and ready by the time you are around 36 weeks pregnant just in case you give birth early.

What is enough? With the range of choices out there and the numerous new terms, many new parents-to-be get overwhelmed and end up buying too much. In my opinion, the following are essentials:

  • Around 10 sets of clothes to wear in the day (ie. short sleeved 1-piece rompers (my faves as it is the simplest) OR short-sleeved tops + shorts). Half of these can be 0-3m sized while the other another half can be 3-6m sized.
  • Around 6-8 sets of clothes to wear in the night (ie. footed pajamas OR long-sleeved rompers + footed pants/long pants + socks). Half of these can be 0-3m sized while the other another half can be 3-6m sized.
  • Around 4 pieces of swaddle cloths. I recommend at least 2 to be made of muslin material as they are not too warm for our weather and these tend to be quite large in size so they can last the baby for a long time. I also recommend at least 1 to be an easier/tighter design eg. with velcros or zips.
  • Around 20 pieces of cloths you can use to wipe drool, milk spits, etc. These can be handkerchief sized or larger pieces like receiving blankets.
  • Around 10 sets of mittens and 10 sets of socks/booties.

That’s it! Not too much at all right? With this you should only have to do baby clothes laundry every 4 days or so. And if people give you clothes as gifts, you can appreciate them and not be overstocked.

In addition to clothes, the other basic essentials to get ready before the baby is born are:

  • Around 4 pieces of waterproof cloth mats which can be placed on cots, daybeds, etc in case baby spits up, pees or poos on mattresses, sofas or wherever you will place baby but do not want absorbing any of that goop.
  • 3 packs of newborn-sized diapers. They get through about 8 pieces per day in the initial month so stock enough for at least 2 weeks (ie. ~120pcs), but do not stock for more than 1 month worth as they may outgrow newborn size a lot sooner than u expect.
  • A tube of nappy rash cream, baby moisturizer for sensitive skin, baby soap for sensitive skin
  • A few packs of cotton wool/pads for cleaning baby’s eyes/ears/umbilical cord.
  • A baby bathtub to bathe the baby in if you do not have a suitable basin/sink to do so.
  • A carton of baby wipes.
  • A pacifier in case baby needs something to suck on in between milk feeds.
  • At least 6 milk bottles, of which at least 3 need to be the larger 240ml ones. At least 4 of them need to have the smallest teat sizes. Personally, I prefer my bottles to be compatible with my breastpump so I don’t need to transfer milk from pumping to feeding.
  • A silicone suction breastmilk collector.
  • A breastpump and a hands-free pumping bra.
  • A baby carrier which is suitable to be used for newborns.
  • An infant compatible carseat, even if you don’t own a car but intend to take taxis.
  • Hand sanitizer for anyone who would handle the baby.

Other optional items to purchase before baby is born which I find super useful:

  • A sterilizer so that you don’t have to keep boiling a huge pot of water. UV Sterilizers act as good storage space for clean bottles too.
  • A pair of nipple shields and pure lanolin nipple cream as sore nipples are very likely whether you choose to latch or pump.
  • A change table system (ie. with a baby bathtub and/or storage shelves and/or connected to a cot) so that you don’t have to bend over every time you want to change baby’s diaper or swaddle baby.
  • A cot so you always know baby is safe, and so at least 2 sets of sheets for the cot.
  • A baby monitor so you can close the door and do something far away from your sleeping baby
  • A rocker so that you have somewhere to place the baby down besides lying down all the time in the first 3 months.
  • A tin of formula milk powder and a milk powder dispenser, even if you intend to fully breastfeed, to avoid a mad scramble if your milk takes too long to come in and the baby keeps screaming for milk but you are exhausted (honestly, a very common scenario). TBH, milk usually takes 3-5days to come in and so if you want to ensure your newborn drinks sufficiently to pee/poop enough to avoid getting jaundice, one hack is to allow formula feeds a couple of times a day in the 3days.
  • A pram isn’t essential for the first 3 months, but you may want to choose one which has a compatibility option with the infant carseat you choose so you might as well get them together.
  • While any bag can be used as a diaper bag, a good one has lots of well-thought out functionalities in the design.

You may have noticed that I do not mention the need for any toys. They are not essential and you will probably be given some at some point of time, so there is no need to buy any. From 0-3months, the only appropriate toys are probably only brightly coloured items or rattles which they will stare at for a few seconds anyway.

For what the essentials are after the first 3 months of baby’s life, please see this other post.

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