31 October 2011, by Tan Yi Lin
I’ve been under a bit of a dry spell recently.
No, I haven’t set foot out of Singapore since giving birth more than two months ago, so I’ve been assuaged by what seems to be the arrival of an early monsoon season along with everybody else here.
It’s my brain that’s been feeling rather parched lately and I’ve been scraping the bottom of my skull thinking of interesting topics to blog about. It was much easier when I was blogging about the journey to parenthood given the dearth of local TCC (Trying To Conceive) and IVF blogs. In comparison, there are tonnes of mummy blogs out there! Many of them are written so well and in such detail that I find it a tad intimidating blogging alongside this group of seasoned bloggers.
So what’s a new parent to blog about beyond boobs, poop, pee and nappy rash creams?
I asked a couple of blogger friends who have been through the TCC stage and are now expecting their first child (happy happy joy joy!) what they would like to read about in a mummy blog on Maybebaby without boring the rest of the population to death by either neglecting the non-parent readers or regurgitating what experienced parents already know.
One request was to share what products and sources of information I found useful while pregnant. However, my pregnancy already seems miles away (was I really THAT big just two months ago?!), no thanks to a very foggy post-delivery memory. So instead, I shall share about a useful product that I received just very recently and am using right now: my FisherPrice backpack diaper bag (I was inspired by a meme that I was tagged in many months back requesting that I blogged about what was in my handbag.)
I had received the bag as a birthday present from a group of friends. The gifting rule is that the birthday girl or boy isn’t allowed to request for baby items as a birthday gift since it is their and not their baby’s birthday. However, I scooted around the restriction by saying that the REAL gift wasn’t the bag – it was the free manpower that came with it since I could now delegate the job of carrying a diaper bag to my mule 🙂
Not that Dan wasn’t willing to carry my original Kate Spade diaper bag – I didn’t let him. I detest the sight of men carrying women’s handbags – especially my man.
Obviously, the best thing about the bag is that it is a unisex bag. Next, I particularly like that this FisherPrice bag can be converted from a backpack into a sling bag. What I worried about most when carrying my Kate Spade shoulder bag was that the heavy bag might slip off my shoulder or accidentally swing forward and hit the baby. Also, in the event that I need to carry more than one bag, the FisherPrice diaper bag can be relegated to my back – so that I won’t look like a badly-decorated Christmas tree with bags hanging off both shoulders or across my body.
Also, while the Kate Spade bag looked really stylish and pretty, it wasn’t very cleverly designed. For one, it wasn’t even waterproof – and god knows how important it is that your baby bag is water/juice/cereal/drool/pee/puke-proof. Also, the Kate Spade bag was basically just a big handbag with additional pockets on the interior and a matching changing mat. It was designed with style in mind.
In comparison, the FisherPrice diaper bag seems to have been designed with BABY in mind.
There are designated compartments for various baby items and each one is marked with a little tag carrying an icon to show its intended use. For example, diapers:
The compartment is large enough to stash up to three diapers. A matching changing mat is provided and kept in a separate pocket. On a related note, here’s a diaper tip from my colleague (a revered experienced mummy with three young kids): salvage the resealable plastic wrappers that your magazines come in when delivered in the post. Place one diaper in its own bag when going out. This keeps the diaper clean and also provides you with a ready plastic bag to plonk the dirty diaper into. The sticky reusable seal is handy for keeping in poopy smells and leaks, especially when there isn’t a dustbin readily available when doing a diaper change (e.g. in the car) and you’re forced to carry a smelly diaper around for awhile.
Next up: a cleverly designed external side pocket for wet wipes. The bag comes with a plastic case for storing wet wipes. All you need to do when carrying the backpack is to reach back, press the tab on the case and hey presto – the lid pops open and you can easily help yourself to a wipe! Singlehandedly. Very useful when clutching a struggling baby in the other arm.
The insulated compartment on the other side of the bag is designed to keep milk (and other drinks, say, mum’s caffeine fix) nice and warm. Since our baby has milk on tap whenever she’s out with us, I use it to store a small drinking bottle filled with cooled boiled water for cleaning the pacifier or baby’s mouth after a feed.
Also located on the bag’s exterior is the pacifier pocket. Fussy baby? Just reach back, unzip and lo and behold – your lifesaver is within easy reach. Yes, I’m an ardent supporter of the pacifier. I also cave in and let the baby suck on her fingers once in awhile. Either way, there will very likely be a huge amount of effort to get the baby to break these habits down the road. My parents resorted to bribery, lies (little white ones – like how the black cat stole our pacifier/bottle/etc, which their gullible children all fell for), trickery and threats (rubbing chilli on fingers – familiar? Anyone?) but both parents and children survived, and none of us turned out any worse for sucking on a pacifier or our fingers.
On the exterior, there is also a discreet zip compartment under the bag flap where I can store my mobile phone and tissues for easy access.
The interior of the bag comprises one large main compartment and a few pockets of varying sizes. In the main compartment, we have:
– A spare outfit for the baby complete with mittens, booties, bib and hanky.
– A whole pile of cloth.See picture below (from left to right): baby carrier, nursing cover, baby blanket (for chilly restaurants and shopping malls) and a multi-purpose muslin cloth (for wiping up anything and everything, as a clothes protector for yourself, etc.)
– Stashed in one of the inside pockets, we have all sorts of cleaning paraphernalia: facial cotton squares (for cleaning baby’s mouth and face), small packet of wet wipes (in the event you just want to grab diaper and wipes without having to remove the above-mentioned plastic case from the external side pocket), Dettol wipes, antiseptic solution and facial tissues.
– Next up: items to make baby comfortable, namely a hand fan and insect repellant patches. Not pictured here is an item to make mummy comfortable: a pair of extra disposable breast pads, in case your overzealous boobies get to you.
In addition to the FisherPrice backpack, there are a couple of other bags I have had to tote around since the baby arrived.
For one, the breast pump bag. Usually carried in place of the diaper bag when I’m out without the baby (who is being bottle-fed with expressed milk at home) and a pumping session is required mid-way through the outing. I use a Medela tote which holds an electric breast pump, batteries (in the event that there is no power socket available to plug the pump int0), tissues, milk storage bags (just in case the bottle runneth over), a cooler bag and reusable ice-packs. Yeah, it’s an entire diary farm in a bag.
I also have a small pouch that we bring in place of the diaper bag when walking the baby in her stroller.
This is no ordinary pouch – it unfolds to become…. ta-da! A holder for wet wipes (in the plastic case provided), diapers and a changing mat. Handy, isn’t it?
Aaannnddd…. *deep breath*… that’s not all the stuff we lug around when out with – or without – the baby. We each have a spare set of clothes in the car, a lesson we learnt when we got splattered with pee and poop during Coco’s (very messy) newborn photo shoot. My colleague (the above-mentioned experienced mother) also warned of needing an urgent change of clothes in the most unexpected situations – such as when she had to lunge into the swan lake at the Botanic Gardens after her son tossed bread – and himself – into the water while feeding the fish and swans.
I hope the entry has been useful to new parents and parents-to-be. If any seasoned mums out there have tips to share about what else to stash into a diaper bag, please feel free to drop a note!