Preparing for your newborn - Minimalist guide on what to buy

Shopping for your newborn (especially if it's your first) can be overwhelming. I remember standing at Robinsons, Mothercare and Motherswork feeling lost over what I need to get to prepare for the twins arrival. Does a new little being (or two) really need so many new things? Looking back at my journey, here's my list of essentials during the twins' first 6 months.
 

SLEEP

  1. A decent cot. As much as we enjoy having them sleep with us on our bed, our preference is to let them get used to sleeping in their own cots - one that they will be able to use for at least the next 4-5 years. We went for the standard cots from IKEA which can be converted into toddler beds, at a really decent price and quality. 
  2. A mattress suitable for the tropics: I like the fact that it's 100% natural latex and is more suitable for this climate. Friends and family recommended the latex mattresses from Babysafe. Almost a year down the road and happy to say that the twins sleep very well on it. 
  3. Loveys: These are comfort objects for them to hold, usually at naptime/bedtime. It was only till they were 4 months or so when they have a better grip for objects, did they start getting more attached to their loveys. Theirs is a little bunny that were gifted to us by a good friend in Austria. It is now an indispensable bedtime item for them and it's what comforts them when they wake up in the middle of the night. 


CLEAN

  1. A compact bathtub: We bought the Stokke Flexi Bath, which folds easily and is great for space saving people and people with small bathrooms. Works well and even fits two of them together. We also bought the infant insert but I'll say, skip that, you're better off holding them in your arms and they outgrow the use of that in a few months anyway.
  2. A few good and soft face towels: A friend of mine recommended these Nanofibre towels from this website called Kovia House, and by far, they have the best face towels.  Super soft and perfect for cleaning up the babies in the tub or for wipe-downs. 
  3. Bath towels with hoodies: Ours are from Robinsons and I personally love having the hoodie over their wet heads after a bath. 
  4. Diaper changing table and changing pad: We didn't actually buy a changing table (no space!), but made use of a space in the bathroom which was the perfect height, and top it up with a changing pad. Please avoid any position that is too low (e.g. your bed) as that will only cause chronic back issues in time to come if you do that too frequently.
  5. Toiletries: Diapers, diaper rash cream, shower gel/shampoo, Ru Yi oil, cotton pads, wet wipes, steriliser (for milk bottles and accessories).


WEAR

  1. Comfortable cotton rompers and PJs: Big fan of the plain white Mothercare sleepsuits and bodysuits. Wherever you get them from, 3-4 pieces of day rompers/outfits, and 2 PJs per baby should suffice assuming you wash them everyday. 
  2. Muslin cloths / swaddles: These are essentially big breathable cotton cloths that are super multi-purpose. We got ours from aden + anais as well as from Tollyjoy, and have been gifted a number of these as well. To date, they have been used as a swaddle, a picnic cloth, a blanket, a sun-cover for the stroller, a diaper changing cloth, a towel, a burp cloth and more. In short, a couple of these will make your life easier. 


PLAY

  1. Play Mat: Ours is a hand-me-down from my sis, and from about 4-5 months onwards this was extremely useful. Though now at almost 11 months, we don't use it as much anymore as they are crawling all over the house, so perhaps getting a hand-me-down will be a good idea!
  2. Toys: Frankly, don't bother spending too much money here for their first 6 months. This article by Magda Gerber says it all. The simplest things (some can be found at home) are the best.
  3. A bouncer (or two if you have twins): I found this to be a good safe space for them if we need to be away from them temporarily. Ours are hand-me-downs but I've seen decent ones from Baby Bjorn that might be worth checking out. 


FEED

  1. A reliable electric breast pump: This is subjective, and not everyone needs it (but I did!). 
  2. Milk bottles: I spent too much time researching on the 'best' bottles and we, until now, are still using the no frills Medela bottles. For 2 babies, we only need 4 bottles and find that you really don't need more at any given time. 


GOING AROUND

  1. A twin stroller: Side by side or tandem (front and back)? We went with the side by side option for the sake of being equal as the tandem option felt a bit like business class for the front seat and economy class for the back seat. My only regret here is that we didn't get the compatible car seat which makes commuting around by taxis very cumbersome. 
  2. Baby carriers: We have 2 Ergo baby carriers which in this tropical climate proved to be too hot for us to use regularly, especially when out and about. That said, whether you choose a wrap, sling or a carrier, I'll highly recommend one as baby wearing is very convenient and is a nice way to bond. 
  3. 2 car seats: My preference is to always commute with car seats - it's the least I can do as a parent to ensure they are safe on the roads.

We have been very fortunate to have received some of these as gifts from family and friends and were able to put them to good use. I believe less is more when it comes to babies and hope this list is somewhat useful for you as well. 

 

To the new mums (and my mum-to-be friends)

To the new mums (and my mum-to-be friends)

The Third Plate by Dan Barber

The Third Plate by Dan Barber