Apart from the usual cot, milk bottles, nappies, booties, here are 10 things that I feel are a MUST to be well-prepared for your newborn’s arrival.

1. A cot or a playpen?

Most people have both but some people prefers the dual function of a playpen or even a cot.  I see the difference of a cot and playpen as below:
a) cot is for sleeping (the base is a solid piece) and playpen is for playing (the base has more cushioning effect and does not provide a good sleep support)
b) cot is made of wooden frame and playpen is made with fabric (better cushioning effect when baby becomes toddler and starts to bump around in the playpen)
c) cot is better ventilated since it has openings at all sides in between each wooden structure and playpen is less ventilated since it is covered with fabric on all 4 sides

My personal preference is to have both cot and playpen to serve different purpose.  Most people can get hands-me-down for these 2 bulky baby items as many would be delighted to give them away to clear some space in their homes.

2. Sterilized cotton balls

Do not buy just normal cotton balls.  Buy sterilized ones.
As newborn needs extra care for hygiene, sterilized cotton balls would be very useful for:
a) cleaning the areola before breastfeeding
b) cleaning your newborn’s eyes, ears and mouth
c) cleaning the belly button with umbilical cord still attached for the first days

3. Sterilizer for bottles

An electric steam sterilizer is useful compared to the traditional method of sterilizing in boiling water.  This is especially so when you need to sterilize your bottles and breast pumps in the middle of the night.  You wouldn’t want to stay and wait till the water boils, apparatus sterilized for a further 5-10 minutes before you can turn off the stove and go back to bed.

4. Baby sling

Baby sling is very useful for carrying the baby wherever you go, be it at home or out shopping with your girl friends.  I prefer it to stroller as it is so convenient to travel around and climb the stairs.  I find it useful even when doing housework or shopping for groceries.  The baby feels safe in your arms close to you, smelling you and is not so easily frightened.  You have your free hands to do what you want to do.  It protects your privacy as you breastfeed your baby in public too.  I would say this is certainly worth an investment.  One tricky part though, is to learn how to use the sling comfortably.

5. A good diaper bag

A good carry-on bag to put baby essentials would be your best “helper”. Get one that has many compartments, big and small, to organize the bottles, diapers, wash cloth, baby bites, nappy cream, etc.

6. Baby wash cloth/hanky

You will need lots of these. These are useful and inexpensive. They are used as “napkins” during feeding and burping, to wipe off saliva and milk stains. They are useful as breast pads at home!

7. Baby wipes

Baby wipes are great for its multi-purpose usage. You can get 2 kinds of baby wipes. One for nappy change and one for wiping hands and mouth. However, I prefer using a wet hanky for wiping mouth and hands during the first 2 months since babies are so sensitive to external products on their skin. Besides using the wipes on the baby, I use them to wipe high chairs, cutlery and cups when I go out dining with my children too.

8. PIGEON baby food grinder bowl with spoon

I love this product from PIGEON.  It is a transparent egg shape bowl with small grinding beads that jut out slightly on the base.  The spoon that comes with it compliments the grinding beads to mash food easily.  The spoon can be snapped back onto the yellow lid and it’s really great for taking outdoors for feeding your baby with baby food.  I have seen other baby brands imitating this product, but PIGEON makes it with better design and touch.

9. Bottle holder

This is another favourite product from PIGEON.  It is useful to carry warm water in milk bottles for going out.  In fact, I do not like to carry vacuum flask, so what I usually do is to fill up with hot water in the milk bottle with the baby feeding timing in mind. Then the bottle holder is able to keep the water to lukewarm by about 3 hours for me to prepare formula milk for the baby.  This bottle holder comes in double holder where you can put 2 bottles and even AVENT bottles which are big can fit in.  Hence, it doubles up as a storage for expressed breastmilk in AVENT bottles for me.  I just need to add some ice-cubes on the extra space on top to maintain the cold expressed breastmilk.  Simple, no hassle and no need for expensive warmer bags.

10. Boiled Cool Water

I feel that I need to mention this as one of the top 10 things.  The best part is this is easily available in your kitchen.  Boiled water that has been cooled can be used to treat several skin problems at least for the milder cases I encountered with my babies.  I used it for washing my babies’ bottoms with each diaper change coupled with my favourite brand DESITIN nappy cream.  I used it for treating milk stain rash on the face and heat rash too.  It seems to work better than tap water especially for newborns.  Since it’s a cheap solution, you can give it a try!

What other things would you consider a MUST GET for preparing for your newborn arrival?  Share with me!