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By Mandy Loh
 
Getting everything ready for the arrival of your bundle of joy may seem like a daunting (not to mention, expensive) task for expectant parents. But with a handy checklist and a comfortable budget in mind, it won’t be quite as overwhelming as you think.
 

The good news is that you can pace yourself with the shopping. Not everything has to be bought now – for example, a high chair would not be needed until your little munchkin is at least 5 or 6 months old. Focusing on the essentials needed for the first month or two will make this task easier.

 

Talking Dollars and Sense

Before hitting the stores, it is of utmost importance to sit down with your spouse and agree on a budget. Bear in mind that newborns outgrow things really quickly, and while many products are desirable and good-to-have, most of them aren’t really necessary.

 

In addition, you might wish to ask relatives and friends with kids if they have any pre-loved items (clothes, toys and even furniture like cots and changing tables) to hand down. You’ll be able to save quite a bit this way!

 

And Now, the Checklist…

 

The Nursery

1Cot and mattress
 
A cot is one of the most important pieces of furniture in the nursery. Choose a sturdy one with a well-fitting mattress. To maximize your dollar, consider a cot that can be converted into a toddler bed that can be used for at least 5 years.
 

Additional tip: Getting a cot that has an adjustable base height and a drop-side rail will prevent strain on your back when you put down and pick up your little darling

 

2
 
Cot sheets and mattress protectors
 
A few sets of fitted cot sheets and waterproof mattress protectors are all a newborn needs for bedding. Pillows, bumpers and blankets are unnecessary at this point, and could even pose suffocation hazards!
3Changing station
 
You can change a baby anywhere, with just a changing mat on a flat surface like the bed or floor. However, a changing table will elevate the baby to a comfortable height for diaper changes, which would be much kinder to your back.
  
Additional tip: Get a simple caddy or organiser that hangs on the side of the changing table, so that your diapers, creams, and wipes are always within easy reach.
 
4Chest of drawers/ cupboard
 
Basically, you would need a storage solution for the multitude of baby clothes, towels, diapers, muslin cloths, bibs and other itty-bitty items.
  

Additional tip: Get drawer organisers to create numerous small compartments, perfect for maximizing space and keeping things neat.

 

 

 
Clothing
5
 
Bodysuits or nesies
(4 – 6)
 
Newborns outgrow their clothes really quickly, so get just enough to last a laundry cycle. (You would probably receive a few gift sets from friends and relatives too!)
6
 
Sleepsuits and sleeping bag
 
Sleep suits are long-sleeved, one-piece cover-alls for cold days. Some even have built-in mittens and socks. A sleeping bag is basically a wearable blanket and is a safer option (than a normal blanket) with less risk of suffocation.
 
7
  
Mittens and booties/
socks
(3 – 4 pairs)
 
These keep baby’s hands and feet warm and toasty, and also prevent baby from accidentally scratching his or her face.
8
 
Swaddle cloths
(5 – 10)
 
Newborns love to be swaddled as they feel more secure. For the budget-conscious, multi-purpose muslin cloths are great for swaddling.
 
 
Feeding Essentials
 
 
10
 Nursing bras and tops
(4 – 5)
 
Breast pads
(3 – 4 pairs)
 
 
Nothing beats breast milk in providing for a newborn baby’s nutritional needs, with a bonus benefit of not requiring much logistics if baby latches on directly.
   

You can choose to get either disposable or washable breast pads, with the latter being more cost-effective.

11
 
 
12
 
 
13
Milk bottles
(3 – 4)
 
Sterilizer
 
 
Breast Pump
 
 
It is advisable to have a few feeding bottles available on standby, as well as a sterilizer, just in case formula feeding is required, or if baby is to be bottle-fed with expressed breast milk during night feeds.
 

The breast pump and breast milk storage bags would also be needed if mom intends to continue expressing breast milk for baby after going back to work.

 

Additional tip: Do not buy too many bottles at the start. You can always purchase more when baby’s needs are better established. For breast milk storage, buy space-saving and easy-to-use disposable storage bags.

 

 
 
 
Bath Time Essentials
14Bath tub
 
A simple bathtub with a non-slip surface will do.
 

Additional tip: Place bathtub on a table (with a non-slip mat under the tub) so that you can stand, rather than stoop, during bath time. Again, your back will thank you.

 

15
 
Towels and wash cloths(3 – 4)
 
Hooded towels help keep baby’s head covered and warm after the bath. Small, soft washcloths are handy to gently cleanse baby’s skin during baths.
16
 
Body wash, shampoo,
and
body lotion
 
Get an all-in-one shampoo and body wash for babies. These are formulated to be tear-free, gentle on skin, and usually smell wonderful.
 

Give your baby a post-bath massage with baby lotion or oil. It’s great for parent-baby bonding, and relaxes baby too.

 
 
Other Essentials
17Diapers
(2 – 3 packs)
 
 
Expect to go through 6 to 8 diapers a day. However, don’t stock up too much either, as babies outgrow the newborn size very quickly.
 

Some parents prefer re-usable cloth diapers, but do be prepared that the laundry could be quite a challenge!

 

18
 
Diaper cream
 
These creams help to keep the diaper area dry, and can prevent and/or treat diaper rash.
19Baby wipes/ cotton wool
 
Wipes are great for diaper changes on-the-go, but cotton wool and water are kinder on newborn’s delicate skin.
 

Additional tip: Use warm water to clean baby’s bottom. Your baby will appreciate the thoughtfulness.

 

20Baby laundry and bottle detergents
 
Although not absolutely essential, detergents formulated for baby clothes are recommended, as the ingredients are less harsh.
 
Additional tip: Wash baby’s clothes separately from adult laundry, especially in the early days, in case baby has sensitive skin.
 
 
 
Out and About
21Stroller
 
Choosing the “right stroller” from amongst the plethora of options available really depends on your lifestyle. A lightweight, easy-to-maneuver model is good for navigating through crowded shopping malls, while a bigger and sturdier one would probably fit outdoorsy families better.
 

Also ensure that the stroller seat is able to recline, so that your newborn can lie flat.

 

22Car seat
 
Traffic regulations require a baby to be secured in a child seat when travelling in a car. For infants below one year old, the seat should be rear-facing.
 

Additional tip: Consider getting a convertible car seat (that can convert from rear-facing to forward-facing), as your little one would be able to use it from his newborn days until he becomes a toddler.

 

 
Although the list above is not exhaustive, it would probably get you prepared sufficiently for the first few weeks of baby’s arrival. All the best, and happy shopping!
 

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