Friday, 24 July 2015

Summer Celebration

The thing about summer is that there is so much to do!  And not enough time to do them all. 

Take two weekends ago for example.  There was the Summer Celebration - two days of festivities, including a parade, boat rides, a festival/carnival/fairgrounds, fireworks etc.

However, we also had a birthday party to attend, and a Day Out with Thomas.

We managed to see the parade on Saturday before going to the birthday party for lunch.  Unfortunately, we were all to tired out to make it to the park for festivities and fireworks when we got back.

On Sunday, we managed to stop by for a Norwegian Pancake breakfast.  Yummy crepes cooked on a barbeque topped with your choice of jam, honey and sugars (normal, cinnamon or powdered).  There was a fairground with lots of inflatables, rides, entertainment and even more food.

Unfortunately, we had to rush of to attend the Day Out With Thomas at Snoqualmie, so we could not stop to play just then.  We promised to make a day out of it and go back after we were done with Thomas, but by the time we got back, they were done for the day (and summer!). So the children could not play on any of the inflatables or rides.  They were really good about it, and enjoyed themselves on the playground, though.

Next year, I'll need to plan better and ensure that the fun stuff that we want to do don't clash.  :)

Wednesday, 22 July 2015

Someone I know is expecting her first child, and was asking for recommendations of what baby items she absolutely has to buy, and what she doesn't. 

Hi Ladies,
My friend, a new mum, was asking about what items she needs to buy, and what she doesn't. Some of my personal must-haves are a carrier, car seat (if one has a car), and nursing bras. What I had no use for were the breast-feeding pillow (Even though I nursed both for 2 years - strangely, it gave me more of a backache then without.) and changing table.
I was thinking of compiling a list of Must Haves and No Need to Haves (from Birth till 1) from experienced Mums. ...If you would like to contribute, please indicate your interest below and I'll give you the details. Of course, you'll be credited.

I agree that must-haves and don't-needs are very individual. I think it would be interesting to see what different Mums like and dislike, and why, and it would be a good opportunity to reassure new Mums that as long as their choices make sense to them, there is no wrong choice! smile emoticon

I'd also be interested to see if there are any commonalities. smile emoticon

Absolute Essentials:
Whether cloth or disposable, babies poop and pee A. LOT.  So you want to always have these on hand.

You don't really need that many sets to start with, because you (or someone else) will be washing them every day.  Milk spit-up needs to be washed asap, or they will stink.  I think I used only three, at most five sets regularly.  Why?  because they were on the top of the pile.  I really didn't have the time to pick and choose.  Especially so when they start to flip and crawl.

For the first few months at least.  Most babies love to be swaddled.  It gives them a sense of security.  After all, they've been squished up in the womb for nine months.  They're not used to all that space and freedom.  I didn't invest in any of the fancy swaddles.  I used the trusty cloth nappy or baby blankets.

To clean up after they poop and pee.  Which happens A. LOT.  I know it is not terribly environmentally friendly.  Some mummies I know will wash them instead, but this is most conveniently done at home.  So they'll still come in handy when you bring baby out.

This one depends on whether you plan to breastfeed or not.  If you have no plans to breastfeed, then obviously you need to buy formula.  If you plan to breastfeed on the other hand, you might want to wait before buying formula.  Breast milk may take a few days to come in.  Even though studies have shown that babies can survive for a few days without milk, and on very little milk at the beginning, it can be very scary in the interim.  The nagging from elders will not help either.  Some mummies would rather not have any formula in the house, so that they won't "give in" and give baby formula.  Some would rather have a standby tin at home, so baby has something to drink in the meantime. 

Definitely if you plan to bottle feed the baby.  If you plan to breastfeed, you may choose to bottle feed baby (if so, you will need breast pumps and storage bags too).  This may be a good choice because Daddy (or Grandma, or ...) can feed baby too, so you have time to do something else, like go to the loo, or bathe.)  If you plan to nurse, then no need for all this paraphernalia.

My Personal Must Haves:
Car Seat (if baby is going to be ferried around regularly in a specific vehicle)
This for me is an absolute MUST.  One of the leading causes of unintentional deaths of children in the United States (I could not find any statistics on Singapore) is motor vehicle accidents.  As a rule, my children have to be buckled in their seats whenever they're in a car.  Even now.  Even when they were screaming their heads off as babies, with willing laps and arms to carry and soothe them.  One reason was their safety.  The other was I was often the only adult around.  If they got used to being carried while in the car, we would not go anywhere.

I alternated between a soft structure carrier (Beco) and a pouch (Pupsik).  I know mummies who love their ring slings and wraps.  I loved closeness and bonding with the Littles while carrying them.  The carriers help to give the arms a rest.  For longer durations, I would use the Beco, as that distributed the weight much better.  The Pupsik pouch would give me a backache after a while, but was good enough for quick trips.  I also had it in my bag, though, as it was useful as a nursing cover and blanket if necessary.

I also love the convenience of carriers.  When Little Man was a baby, he would sometimes (often) fuss and refuse to nap.  I just would not be able to soothe him. So I would strap him on and then go for a bus or MRT ride.  It was great.  I could eat, shop, buy a drink and read at Starbucks.   The only thing I could not do was shop for clothes. 

"But you could do all that with a pram," I hear some of you say.  "You could even try on clothes!"  I lived in a three-storey walk-up at that time.  Meaning no lift (elevator).  So carrying a pram down, and then up three flights with a baby on my own?  Nope.  (I didn't always have the use of the car.)Doing that with a toddler and a baby?  Nothing doing.   Also, the carrier freed my arms for other things, like carrying groceries up said flight of stairs, or giving the toddler a piggy-back ride up the stairs when his tiny legs were too tired. 

Comfortable and Supportive Nursing Bras
With Little Man, I did a mixture of expressing and nursing.  Little Lady only nursed. Nursing bras were therefore very important to me.  I found the ones at Mothercare fit and supported me best.  The ones at Marks and Spencer were not bad either.

Nursing Tops and Dresses
For four years, I mainly shopped for clothes at Spring Maternity.  I did buy a couple of pieces online, but I preferred to be able to try my clothes on before buying, and there was an outlet somewhat close to home.  I know some mummies were able to make do with their ordinary clothes and a nursing cover or shawl.  Both my kiddos hated the nursing covers and would either rip or flip them off.  So to protect my modesty, I lived in nursing tops and dresses.

Diaper Changing Mat
I had several of these - many came free.  I had a pretty, unpadded one made, so that it would go in my bag and not take up too much space.  I am not a clean freak by any stretch of the imagination, but I would always use my own diaper changing mat on public changing tables as I am not sure how often those get cleaned, if at all.

What I had no need for:
Breastfeeding Pillow
Ironically, the breastfeeding pillow I used with Little Man gave me such a bad backache. The height wasn't right for us, and he kept slipping between me and the pillow.  What worked better for us was arranging ordinary pillows and/or cushions just so.

Changing Table
In addition to having no space for an extra piece of furniture, I much preferred using diaper changing mats.  Any flat surface would do.

Baby Monitor
One of my aunts kindly gave us a baby monitor at the First Month celebration (Thanks Si Gu and Aunty Grace!).  It went largely unused.  Firstly, my place was not that big.  Secondly, I somehow developed this super hearing, where I could hear the baby 'eh' in the next room, even over the hubby's snores or gameplay.  Eventually, the cot was moved to our room, and eventually, the baby(s) moved to our bed, so there really was no need for a monitor.

Chair Harness
You know, those fabric things that can convert any chair into baby chair and keep them there while you feed them and yourself while dining outside? No? This one:
Didn't manage to keep either of my wrigglies in place.  In fact, they protested so much they were disturbing the other diners more than without it.  Besides, because the harness was designed to only strap them in, and not lift them up, that meant that their mouths were perfectly aligned with the edge of the table, and I do not imagine gets cleaned very much.  How often do you see cleaners wipe there with their (already not very clean) cloth?

Justina Tey Lisa: ok here goes! I am assuming this is for babies til 1 yo?
Baby carrier, nursing cover, foldable diaper mat (2 & 3 means you can feed & change dipes anywhere), car seat, silicon bibs (when weaning)

No needs: breastfeeding cushion (used it only for #1 for the first 2 weeks, changing table (it was just easier to change the kid on the bed with a mat underneath), pram (we only used that after they turned one and became too heavy to carry in the carrier, much easier to go around on public transport without the pram). Oh & diaper bags. I prefer a regular backpack. Way cheaper!

Seng Tzer Jing Here goes:

For non-breastfeed baby:

Must have - milk bottle and milk dispenser (those u scoop into certain amount so it's ready to use when u go out), sterilizer, car seat, toys/books, pram

For breastfeeding baby (latch and pump):
Must have - sling (act as carrier and nursing cover), dual electric breast pump, sterilizer, car seat, toys/books

Don't need to have:
Baby monitor, nursing pillow, diaper bag, changing mat (never used any though i have many free ones)

Rachel Lim I contribute too.. I was a breastfeeding mum.
Top muz hv: nursing cover, baby carrier (for me, it's juz easier to strap &.go), breast pad (useful for 1st 3mths), wipes (lotsa of it), breast pump
No need: nursing pillow, diaper bag, baby bath tub (mt a & Thomson both gv),

Jacqeline Ho Contrary to you all I prefer Diaper bags. Because they have many compartments so I can organize the bag properly. You know when you have an emergency (like a poop accident), knowing exactly where your diaper and wet tissues are is a saver. Or maybe I'm OCD, LOL.

My list of must have: Diaper Bag, Thermal Flask (for keeping hot water to make milk or heat up bottled breastmilk, or make cereal when they start solid), swaddle cloth which doubles up as blanket when they grow older, sterilizer, dual electric breastpump if mom is working and wants to breastfeed beyond her maternity leave.

Not necessary: new born diapers (the one from hospital is enough if you use cloth diaper in the morning) just skip directly to small size, changing table, powder (use only when they are older as the powder can get into their respiratory system), cooling gel teethers not sure if that is what its called (I find sophie giraffe works best. Those with cooling gel just didn't work for my two)

Liang May My Must Haves
1. Pram
2. Playmat

3. Cot mattress protector
4. Changing table
4. Breast pads

My Don't Needs
1. Nursing Bras
2. Nursing Covers
3. More than 1 milk bottle
4. Breast Pump
5. Diaper Bag

I am not a carrier type of mom and prefers the pram so that I have less load on me. I breastfeed exclusively so no milk bottles are required. Pumping to me is wasting precious time for rest so I latch the babies directly. No need for nursing bras and nursing covers because I dress myself either in nursing tops or nursing friendly combinations. I do not wear a bra most times. Just stick breast pads under singlets like those stick-ons u use when u need to wear a backless dress. Breast pads in our case so that it'll absorb any ugly leaks. Never had to carry diaper bags. All a baby needs when we head out is 1 diaper, 1 romper, 1 changing mat and 1 pocket size wetwipe which can fit easily in a regular handbag.

Ashlyn Thia It's interesting to see how different the must have and don't need every mum has. I'm not experienced mum, only 1 girl but here's mine.

Must have:

1. Back facing infant car seat for safety
2. Pram
3. Electric double Breastpump - after starting work
3. Breastpad
5. Ear Thermometer

Don't need:
1. Bumbo seat - only used 1-2 mths
2. Cot bumper
3. Nipple cream (not effective for me)
4. Bottle warmer
5. Glider/arm chair for nursing (I got one bouncy kind but ended up gave away as it became quite a hazard for my girl to climb)

Janice Wong Here's my thoughts
Must have:
Carrier (u goto b mad if u don't hv one)

Nursing cover
A portable pump n my freemie cups for pumping on the go when I'm not with baby
Diaper bag (mine isn't a big complicated one. It's just one sling bag with minimal stuff. However now with two, it is getting a tad bulky)
High chair (for feeding n strapping the lil dude when u need to go to the loo)
Change of diapers
Wet wipes

Don't need:
Nursing pillow
Baby monitor (i can hear my baby scream so y need that?)
Cot bumper. Absolutely useless! Pretty but useless.
A super exp n chio cot. Some babies simply won't sleep in it (like my no.1) n others keeps rolling n bump against the wooden planks (like my no.2)

I did a post on frivolous needs. U might wana take a look:

Dominique Goh For me
Must haves are
1. Comfy nursing bra

2. Nursing shawl
3. Breastpad
4. Wipes/ diapers
5. Messenger bag to put all the stuff
6. Ear/ head thermometer
7. Baby carrier
8. Wet wipes/diapers
9 car seat with 8 pt harness( My kids all have spiderman tendencies) / infant car seat when they were younger
10 extra set of clothes for the baby and top for me.

Not needed
1. Baby seats/ prams
2. Nursing clothes.. super frumpy looking
3. Nursing pillows/ chairs
4. diaper bags
5. Breast pumps and bottles
6. changing mat

Mabel Lee for first year, besides all the necessary wet wipes, diapers, more than 20 sets of clothes etc.... these are my must-haves:

1. baby carrier/sling (i need my hands to be free!)

2. duo electronic breast pumps
3. burp/milk cloths (placed between baby's neck and chin when drinking milk, burping)
4. philips avent steam blender
5. bath tub with a rubber plug at the base (pull it when baby's done bathing and it'll be drained after you have dressed baby, provided you bathe baby in the bathroom.)

not needed:
1. diaper bag (i use normal backpack)
2. moses basket and pillows
3. baby shoes (socks will be sufficient)
4. baby monitor/night light/crib light (with or without sounds)
5. cold/hot maternity compress for engorgement (normal towel will be sufficient)

Michelle Hon I have written such a post too. Feel free to pick from my list!

Madeline Heng Me wanna contribute too! smile emoticon must haves: car seat, nursing bra/pads, carrier, stroller, nipple cream for the first few weeks, nursing cover, pump, baby swaddle. No need: baby hat (they keep pulling it off), baby booties (can NV keep it on for more than 10 sec!), baby nail clipper (can use normal one if u got skill), 0-3 months clothes (my kids outgrew them in 2 weeks), stretch marks cream (quite useless cos can buy the all in 1 four cow farm calendula remedy).

Cen-Lin Ting I agree the must haves and don't need really differs. For my number I prepared everything only to realized so many white elephants. Basically just need to get those that need to use immediately when bb is born. The rest can slowly buy.

Must have:

1) car seat to bring bb home.
2) comfortable nursing bras those very auntie one for beginning and can change along the way.
3) baby bathtub and a gentle bath soap
4) cot bed (so its of correct height to change bb's diaper etc, I didn't had one cos mil kept saying it's useless and my back really hurts for one month due to changing the baby's frequent pee and poos)
5) BB sling or wraps so easier to carry bb when bringing him for jaundice checks.
6) super long sanitary pads in cotton for after delivery use. I don't use the maternity pads.
7) disposable cotton panties to last one month! tongue emoticon so no need to wash at all. Hahaha. I did it for both my pregnancies!
8) nursing covers becos I nurse anywhere and everywhere.

Don't need:
Breast pads
Nipple cream


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