10 things new expecting parents should buy before baby arrives

We didn’t want to fall into the trap that most new parents do, buying many frivolous or hardly useful things (hello, diaper bins) so we thought it would be better to do the shopping after Liam has arrived. Bad decision.

Truth is, once the baby’s here, there’s simply no time. Especially for us as we do not have help. So for the benefit of those who are going to be parents soon, here are 10 things that you should really get before the baby comes because when he or she does, you’d need those things, NOW.

1. Double breast pump machine.

Trust me, just straight away get a double breast pump, the very best that you can afford. This is because if you used a single pump, you are basically setting yourself up to fail. Strong words, but I am not kidding you.

You need to get both your breasts up to speed, and trust me, oh my gawd, trust me you won’t have the sweet time to pump one breast after another. Imagine pumping 20 minutes for leftie, then baby cries, then diaper change then who knows what…before you realised, rightie is on the way to The World of Pain aka Clogged Milk Ducts.

So, don’t doubt yourself and just get that double pump. I’m talking a saving of up to 20 minutes per pump session!

p/s: Pumping milk is not a hands-free activity unless you got the rare hands-free pump so look into investing in hands-free bra which will hold the pump bottles in place. Mine is just an old bra with two holes cut out :)

# – My double pump. I’ve also made a pumping station in my study so I can still work and pump at the same time.

2. Swaddling cloths.

We were lucky that swaddling cloths were given to us as gifts. They are the most versatile and useful things ever. Besides keeping your baby calm in a swaddle, you can use it in so many other ways. Rolled up to prop baby up, for wiping down stuff (you’ll be wiping a lot of stuff), as a blanket, folded as cloth diaper, to keep your boobs out of sight in public while breastfeeding…and so much more.

# – No peekaboo with swaddling cloth.

3. Breastfeeding-friendly bottles.

I know some mothers are hell-bent on exclusively breastfeeding their babies. I felt the same way too, until I started the actual breastfeeding. You will be surprised by the suction power of little babies……raw nipples, hello? The first 2 weeks of breastfeeding was the most painful, shocking and stressful time for new mommies. Nobody told me that!

In order to maintain your own sanity (so that you can be in the best state of mind for your little one), get bottles so that your husband or helper could feed your baby with your expressed breastmilk. There are many breastfeeding friendly bottles in the market now that will make it easy for babies to transition back and forth from breast to bottle easily so get those.

# – Also, fathers can bond with babies during bottle feeding.

4. Steriliser bags or bottle steriliser.

You will be sterilising, A LOT. Of course you can use the traditional way of using boiling water, only if you’re a cheapskate with loads of time. What works for us are microwaveable sterilising bags. Wash, stick in bag, nuke for 3 minutes and voila…sterilisation, done.

# – We love these sterilising bags.

5. Bottle drying rack.

After sterilisation, there must be a place for the bottles, various attachments and knick-knacks to dry out. Otherwise you’d have to resort to using an oven rack with a kitchen towel on top of it #truestory

The fact is, those baby things need to dry out because as a first time parent, you’d find yourself asking a variation of these questions and then freaking out – (1) Are condensation safe for my baby’s consumption? (2) How much germs are in these condensation? (3) Will the milk taste bad mixed in with condensation? (4) Are water marks safe? (5) How much germs are in these water marks? And so on……

For seasoned parents, the answers are probably “Yes”, “A lil germs are good”, “No”, “Yes” and “A lil germs are good”, but if you’re a first-timer…the answer would be a definite “Not sure” for all. So yeah, get a drying rack and save yourself from delving into insanity.

# – Our bottle drying rack, another fantastic gift from dear friends.

6. Breastmilk storage bags.

As you should be expressing milk as soon as the baby’s born, getting milk storage bags are important because you’d start using them pretty early on. If you saw them on discount, GET EVERYTHING ALL because they run out pretty quickly once you start to get em boobs milking.

Also, a tip I learnt from Ringo, store the milk flat in the bag because then they will stack nicely in the freezer otherwise they look like the picture below lol. I was determine to maximise the space in storage bags but realised that buying more milk bags are way cheaper than buying extra freezer space, even in the long run!

# – My milk supply, in their bags.

7. Breast pads.

As soon as you begin expressing milk, your breasts will leak at whatever opportunity they get. Breast pads will save you that embarrassment of being caught with two large wet patches on your chest in public.

Don’t worry this will pass but it will happen while you are still nailing down your pumping/breastfeeding schedule.

# – Breast pads. There are cheap and also expensive ones…your breasts can’t tell the difference because they’re too sore to begin with #truestory

8. Infant car seat

This was in fact the very first thing we bought knowing we have to bring the baby back in car from the hospital. This is safety, so take time to research and make the best purchase before baby arrives.

# – By the way, babies love car rides. You will be thankful for your infant car seat when there’s nothing else that could soothe your crying bub.

9. Baby carrier wrap.

We didn’t get this until 1.5 months after Liam’s born but boy I wish I had bought it much earlier. What a lifesaver! This piece of unassuming fabric has returned so much freedom and time back to me cause babies will cry and fuss when you need both your hands the most.

Now I can blog, eat and do other things while still having my son strapped to my chest receiving the best of kangaroo care :)

# – Making sandwiches with Liam in the wrap. He loves it in there.

10. Nursing tops

I made the mistake of thinking that it’s okay to shop for nursing tops once my son has arrived. Stupid, stupid mistake. Now that he’s here, I can’t even peel myself away to take a dump, let alone to shop?

So, do the shopping before baby pops because honestly, the general selection of nursing tops on offer are incredibly hideous and overpriced so it will take you some time to find something that doesn’t make you both broke and looking like a frumpy mom. If all else fails, buttoned-down shirts and long tube dresses are your best friends.

# – This is basically a cropped tank with a long tube dress underneath. You can pull the tube dress down to breastfeed while having the tank discreetly covering your bits. I NEED MORE LONG TUBE DRESSES!

So there, my list of must-buys for new parents before the baby arrives. I suppose this would probably make a good guide for people buying presents for new parents too.

Fellow parents, anything else you think should make the list?

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This healthy chocolate pudding is so tasty you won’t believe you’re eating tofu!

Seriously!

Now that I’m breastfeeding, I’ve been a bit more careful with what I put in my body. As it turns out, what you eat really does affect the breastmilk.

So far, I’ve completely cut out chillies and almost all dairies from my diet because it’s a difference between my baby sleeping for 4 hours straight or wailing every 30 minutes. Thus my search for delicious dairy-free desserts. I wasn’t even sure if there’s such a thing!

So, when I  found the recipe for this dairy-free chocolate pudding, I was understandably skeptical. It uses, tofu.

Tofu!? What? Gross?

But curiousity got the better of me. And I had a block of silken tofu in my fridge.

Ingredients

  • 1 block or 300 gm of silken tofu
  • 2 tablespoon of cocoa powder
  • 100 ml of maple syrup (or to taste)
  • 2 teaspoon of vanilla extract

And it’s so incredibly easy to make this dessert. And so delicious!!

# – The ingredients

# – First, dump the tofu into a food processor.

# – Followed by cocoa powder and then vanilla extract.

# – Lastly, the maple syrup. You can use honey as a substitute.

# – Then, hit blitz till everything’s incorporated and smooth and soft.

# – Divide mixture into 4 ramekins.

# – Chill in the fridge for a few hours or more until firmer.

# – Finally, eat! You can serve with fruits and berries and whipped cream but I couldn’t be bothered.

It’s incredibly chocolatey with a slight nutty taste from the tofu. Surprisingly creamy but also light and fluffy at the same time. There’s no need for me to convince you that this is as healthy as healthy goes for a delicious chocolate pudding.

No milk, no cream, no eggs, no sugar. Just natural sweetener, pure cocoa powder and TOFU!

Yes, tofu! Am still trying to believe this hahaha

Also, this is incredibly cheap if you used honey instead of maple syrup….imagine, that one block of tofu was only RM0.99!

Go on, make it. Am heading out to get like 10 blocks of tofu.

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Give me a break – I am just trying to register a birth!

My plan to legitimise my son as a human being today has been folded.

Went to JPN to register his birth with the form filled out as well as original and copies of documents (IC, Passport, marriage certificate, verification letter from hospital, antenatal check-up appointment card).

Reached the office to find 2 out of 10 counters operating. Never mind, I took my number and there’s only 8 people in front of me. Still, it took an hour of waiting before my turn.

When it’s finally my turn, I was told that I can’t register my son’s birth because my antenatal appointment card only has dates for post-partum visits. What they need are both pre-natal and post-natal visits listed in the card.

At this point, I was a little panicked. Because I no longer knew where the older appointment card is. I mean, do people really keep these cards around even when it’s already fully filled out?

I never knew the importance of the appointment card. Basically, it’s just that small booklet that your nurse handwrite check-up dates in. Nobody has impressed upon me the importance of this card to me. If I had known, I would have kept it in a safe place.

I also questioned the necessity of this appointment card as everything I was submitting anyway pointed to a legitimate birth of a baby and that I am the parent?? If anyone could enlighten me of this seemingly redundant necessity, it would be much appreciated.

Anyway they told me to go to the hospital to print out my antenatal check-up dates (which I had no idea whether it’s possible) and to come back another time.

Also, on this day I found out that if you registered your child’s birth after 42 days, there would be a lot of mess to follow. You’d have to appear together with your spouse to “sumpah” and get every single document validated/notarised – information that weren’t available online or offline.

I discovered this via the counter staff…who thankfully warned me as I am precariously 2 days away from being over 42 days. And there I was thinking if we were later than 42 days it’s only a RM50 fine. We didn’t mean to wait so long to register his birth of course, but were simply caught off-guard by the sheer amount of time a baby takes up.

Only a fellow parent will understand how time just zips by in a haze of breastfeeding, milk pumping, diaper changing and coaxing a baby to sleep.

Sigh.

Why are information about important governmental procedures so scarce, inconsistent and incomplete? It’s ironic that I feel least Malaysian whenever I need to get something done at a government office!

Fortunately, my old appointment card turned up at the house after a short rummaging. So I’m going to try again tomorrow. Wish me luck!

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