Baby Gear

The ultimate baby gear list

9:35 PM

Now I have some time, and I've been thinking about this one for a while so I better get to it and strike the iron while still hot (or in this case baby sleeping and mommy not too pooped out).
I finally decided to put a list of all the essentials you need and when you need them, sounds silly since zillion books and websites might give you lists, but this one is based on my experience (limited I admit but still) and specifically address the items you can find in India.

Oh you will probably notice that "Mothercare" is a store I will mention a lot, do not worry I don not get commissions each time I mention it, but this is the best baby shop in Bangalore and it isn't always costly.
Another thing to keep in mind when I mention prices that seem high, think that a bargain isn't necessarily cheap, and a low price tag do not mean you got a real bargain.


Things to get before the baby arrives

A car seat
Yes this one is THE most important item to purchase if you own a car, I'm frequently horrified at seeing ladies holding a baby in their arms on the front passenger seat without wearing a seat belt themselves not realising that this is the most dangerous situation EVER, I would never dare putting my child's life in jeopardy that way. Mothercare has the best car seats around, they meet European strict norms and the prices start at 3500 rupees for an infant seat cum carry cot, a real bargain considering it saves lives, and peanuts when one bought a 4-5 lacks car. Oh and one of the good thing about Mothercare, is that they have free cards on the how to for almost every baby situation, including the car safety standards, pick one up if you visit the store.

Cot/crib and bedding

Even if you plan to co-sleep (meaning baby in your own bed) you will need a crib, because unless you plan to nap each time baby naps and watch, a baby should never ever be left unattended on a grown up bed, especially once they start rolling over, accidents happen and this one is easily available.
cribs and bassinets are actually pricey around here and most do not meet any safety standards, again mothercare is well supplied in all type of sleeping arrangement, so is Lifestyle, keep in mind a wooden rocking bassinet will set you a good 4000 rupees, and cannot be used after the baby turns 5-6 months, so if you want to get more for your money, invest in a "pack n play" or foldable cot which for most models has a removable bassinet option Lifestyle has a starting price of 5000 for these, but if you plan to use it regularly, it would be better to get a better mattress. DH and I got both a big cot/bed that can be converted into a toddler bed from mothercare with matching mattress and a pack n play. The extra perk of the pack n play, it is foldable and can be carried, ideal if you travel, you always have a suitable bed for baby.
As far as bedding is concerned, the first year you need nothing apart from fitted sheets and a good firm mattress, resist the temptation to buy a quilt, duvet, pillow and other soft things, they are actually dangerous to use the first year, SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome) is no joke, and can be prevented to a wide extent, again mothercare has a leaflet for that. The other added perk of not having to buy all this...is that you save precious money when you are starting preparing for your baby's arrival. Trust me getting ready do not come cheap at all.


Clothing
Do not buy much, you will probably get lots of things from family and friends, but it is a good idea to have a few simple cotton wear, onsies are great because they are easy to put and give a good access to the diaper and are easy to use as an under layer. My tip is to buy them directly in the size 3-6 months, bypass the 0-3 month trap, first because trust me they outgrow them faster than what the label says, and then because you will certainly get gifts in the newborn size, if you really end up having a tiny baby you can still buy them in a smaller size later. To save money, go for the multipacks, mothercare has sets of 7 onesies for about 899, do not be tempted to buy a lot of cute frilly thingy, babies soil them fast and they end up in the washing machine a lot, and with a baby in the house trust me the last thing you want is worry about ironing, delicate wash cycle and how to get a big poop stain out of a synthetic outfit, white cotton can be dumped in hot water and cleaned properly. Another must must have is a few sleep suits (one piece outfit with covered feet) again buy them a size bigger, and you'll save money. small long sleeved t-shirts and pants, ideal in Bangalore most of the year, remember to buy socks too, and the best trick for socks is to buy all the same pattern, that way if you loose one you can still match it with a stray from another pair. Cotton blankets, or receiving blankets, I found that 3 were enough, and that Ishita hated swaddling from minute one of life, but still are a great things to have, I bought mine at Lifestyle, and I used them and still use them a lot, not for sleep time because you should not use loose bedding around a sleeping infant, but they are great to cover her in the pram, or her bouncer, they double as burp cloth, high chair padding, play mat...

Bathing essentials
No matter were you shop, a bath tub will set you around 700 rupees, so just choose the one you like the most (parent indulgence), you'll need one or two towels, the hooded baby towels are great to wrap baby warm after bath time, and you will need one depending which hospital you go to, as they ask you to provide your own bathing supplies for baby the day after birth. Soap, and shampoo are also must pack items in the hospital bag, so have these ready, the most common brand is Johnson's baby, the quality is debatable, but they have "starter's kit" at an affordable price, the only thing you don't really need in the kit is the baby powder, as they will probably tell you in hospital anyway. Have a pack of diaper and baby wipes ready for your hospital stay too.

Grooming and first aid
Before baby arrives have these few essentials ready : infant nail cutter, cotton pads or balls, baby lotion, rash cream, thermometer, and band aids, you never know when you will need these, and it's better to be supplied, once baby arrives ask the pediatrician about other essentials you will need in the first aid department.

Bouncer or Swing
These are must haves, as you will soon realise that you can't carry baby around the whole day and get on with your own grooming and personal needs, look for one that has a good harness, is stable and has a sturdy frame. Ours was a Fisher Price one, and we used and abused it, Ishita is starting to be a bit strong for it so we might have to pack it soon, but for the first 5-6 months of life they are a sanity saver for sleep deprived over loaded new parents, most come with a vibrating option to soothe baby and they have a toy bar, which you will notice the first few week is pretty useless, but start being entertaining for your little one when they are around 2-3 months old, Ishita is 4.5 months and figured out how to remove them from the Velcro strap and throw them on the ground, apparently the "game" is exiting because she will do it over and over and over again and fuss if we don't put the toys back on it.

Feeding
Even if you plan on breastfeeding, be prepared, with a few bottles and a good breast pump, trust me I didn't think of it as essential, but 10 days into breastfeeding I needed a pump to relieve engorgement and all that expressed milk can be stored in the fridge for 24 hours, or in the freezer for 3 months or more a life saver once you will go out and need a bottle of breast milk. Do not kid yourself into thinking that you don't need one like I did simply because you will stay home, do not listen to people telling you you don't need one if you are a stay at home mom, breastfeeding is paved with a few obstacles and it's better to be prepared. I Wasn't and I found myself rushing to Mothercare to get their manual pump with an angry baby in toy, leaky boobs and generally be miserable, not something I would recommend. There are several brands and models out there, do not invest in an electric pump right now unless you know for sure you are going to use it, start with a manual one, and look for one that has the feeding bottles attaching to it directly and buy a few bottles from the same brand just in case. Sometimes the best intention of breastfeeding can be sidetracked and it is better to have the "bottle feeding" plan B set, if plan B turns out to be a reality then you can supplement your feeding gear later. Oh while we are at breast feeding, get breast pads, and nipple cream too, I waited for my postpartum to get the name of the lanolin cream available on the market here, silly me, the brand is "nipcare" purchase a tube from your pharmacist before birth that way you are all set already and that will be one thing less to worry postpartum.

Things to buy after baby arrives and as needed

Toys
Not really an essential in the first few weeks but sure is an indulgence, once you know the gender you can go googoo gaga over pink and blue soft toys, rattles, musical toys...And by then you'll know what family and friends would give and plan budget accordingly. Choose them washable, without removable parts, or button eyes, and age appropriate. Fisher Price is a safe brand, mothercare has cute stuffed toys too.

Sleeping bag
Also called napsack, is a blanket thing that you dress your baby in, and the only blanket to use if you need one (in cold weather). Mothercare has them, but they are ridiculously costly. In Bangalore head for "Apple of my I" in Indiranagar, they have a cute all cotton version for 849 rupees, November and December nights are cool enough to use it now, and they are the only safe way to keep baby warm, and prevent cot death (SIDS). Keep in mind though that it should NOT be used in warm weather, babies contrary to the popular belief should not be dressed for arctic climate at all cost, they are in fact well equipped to deal with the climate just like you are, overheating poses a serious threat, heat strokes can be fatal for little ones, and at night you might not even realise it is happening.

Pacifiers
You will see soon enough if your baby is one who swear by them or not, so you will have time to buy these later, Ishita had a phase, she seems to have outgrown for now, but we still have them ready.

Highchair
Don't buy it until baby can sit up this is a big ticket item and you will need it to table manner train your little one, but good to have before the bouncer or swing becomes useless as you will see it's a great way to keep baby out of trouble when you are busy in the kitchen or living room and it gives them a new view on the world. Cheap isn't the best bet here, you need a chair that is sturdy enough as your child will use it until the age of nearly 2, so go for something of quality, with a foot rest and a proper harness, look for a washable seat fabric as well, and if possible an detachable tray to allow you to wash it. Ishita just started solids and we had the chair, trust me it gets messy you want those pureed carrots bits to be wiped easy. Mothercare has a "Chicco" brand model that is great and stable, a must in our big dog family, it folds easily after use and do not take space, set us a mean 5000 rupees, but had gift money to spare and I already sear by it in the kitchen, and we aren't yet using it full time.

Feeding
Once baby starts solids you need spoons, resist the urge to buy baby feeding bowls if you are on a tight budget, the Indian way of dinning means you might have a few stainless steel bowls or melamine ones around, but a weaning spoon is a must, a regular teaspoon is too big for baby's mouth and hard on the gum. Ishita started solids as I said, and she is already eager on helping me with the spoon, and it often results in her ramming my hand and spoon in her mouth, so a plastic one with soft rounded edge is a MUST. You will also need bibs, lots of them as they get stained fast, go for something easy to wash and available in multipacks, they spend more time on the cloth line and in the washing machine than around baby's neck.
If you bottle feed, like I was pushed to do, you need 5-6 bottles, and preferably a sterilizer since boiling the bottles not only is time consuming it also damages them. Mothercare has a model starting at 3600 rupees only draw back is that it has a UK plug, so have an adapter ready, I would not go with their "microwave pod" because you end up spending a fortune on sanitizing tablets to use it, and the microwave uses more power than their electrical model. The pro of having a sterilizer is that it also provide a great way to store your bottles when not in use.


More clothes and toys
you will see as you go what your baby needs and can purchase it then, a great tip from my mom: Buy whenever there is a sale, and buy for the months or year to come then, Mothercare become incredibly advantageous during sales, so during their summer sales, buy the clothes you will need the next summer, and in winter for the next cold season, thinking about the sizes accordingly, you'll save big big bucks that way, because as cute those little outfits are, they aren't cheap considering that your baby wears them a very short period of time before outgrowing them.

Baby carrier
That one is a must in India since most sidewalks are totally stroller unfriendly, and this is one area where you shouldn't go cheap at all. DH and I made the mistake result we ended up buying a cheapo one from a small shop, only to use it twice realising that not only it was complicated to strap on and secure baby in it, it was also having loose clips threatening to come undone anytime, and killed my back due to improper strap location and bad weight repartition, it was also painful to Ishita due to improper proportion, rough irritating synthetic fabric and too narrow leg openings. result instead of saving a few extra hundred bucks we ended up wasting 1700 rupees.
Advice number one: Insist on trying the contraption in the store with baby in it so you can see how it fits, in this country baby will spend a lot of time in it while you are running errands outside...heck I use mine daily to walk the dog and have Ishita with me and allowing the use of my two hands!

Advice number two: look for simplicity and functionality, something that requires 2 people to put on and secure baby is a waste, a good carrier can be fastened alone and with one hand (the other being to hold the baby until secured in it), the fabric should be soft and washable.
Advice number three: You are wearing it, baby gets heavier, so for the sake of your health, manage you back, look for a model that offers excellent back support. Again Mothercare has one that was designed with a team of physiotherapist and posture specialist, the cost 2900 rupees, if you aren't buying a stroller, this is even a cheaper price than you would think, your back is as important as your baby's comfort, and should be cared for, health has a price after all. That's the model I purchased after our disastrous attempt at cutting cost, and I LOVE it, and Ishita loves it too, enough of a proof that it was money well spent indeed!

7 comments

  1. Hi, it's a very great blog.
    I could tell how much efforts you've taken on it.
    Keep doing!
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    ReplyDelete
  2. Deepa2:24 PM

    Ok, I think I'm gonna end up commenting on each of your posts :p

    That's good info about pack n play. Let me check it out. So here's my problem -
    My boy doesnt sleep well unless I lie next to him. The only way to make him sleep by himself is to put him on his bouncer. So his day time naps have all been on the bouncer till now. However he is growing a little too big for it, and also he shocked me the other day by trying to turn around and lie on his tummy when in the bouncer! Do you think a rocking bassinet will work now? How safe is it? I mean can the baby fall off from it?

    ReplyDelete
  3. deepa2:39 PM

    Another thing. About Mothercare. I've been there too and like their clothes, esp the rompers and onesies. But for all other branded stuff, Mothercare is expensive because they charge MRP. There are lot of stores which give you a permanent 5-15% discount on MRP. So you can get the same Fisher price, leapfrog, Graco, Chicco, Pigeon, Mee mee (etc etc) products for less. Mothercare targets US-returned indians and expats like you who would rather safely shop at a known name even if it means shelling a few hundred rupees more, rather than go looking for new shops. Some of these imported brands dont even have an MRP and the shops are free to charge whatever they want. You might wanna pay a visit to Orkidz on Indira Nagar 80 feet road and Ramdev toys n toys on BEML road as I mentioned in my comment to your other post. There are atleast a dozen such shops in Jayanagar but I presume you live in this part of the city and may not want to drive that far.

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  4. Hi Deepa, congrats to you on the birth of your little boy, I was wondering how things were going.

    If you can find a sturdy bassinet I would upgrade him to it, but babies start pulling up around 7 moths of age, so that means you just have a few months left until that stage, so unless you can get a good deal I would pass on it.

    I actually did check quite a few other baby stores, for brand like Fisher Price, Graco and Chicco you can get better deals in other places, but found that lots of these big brands have a Mothercare house brand that cost way less but still have the same quality. For big items like a car seat or crib, it is better to look for quality, I saw quite a few scary looking one in other stores. Lifestyle also has a great choice of quality baby gear, though I'm a bit disapointed with their clothes, all the stuff I bought at lifestyle were weird size wise (a 12 months t-shirt that looks like a 0-3 months for example) and they shrink after one wash, loose shape after 5 and look raggy after 10, and they aren't even cheap.
    The best to do for clothes is wait for the sales at Mothercare, because then you get a solid 30-51% off on almost everything, and even the cute high end clothes become a real steal and you feel less guilty for buying in bulk for the 6 months or even the year ahead :-), and yu can wash them over and over and over again they don't loose shape or shrink.

    ReplyDelete
  5. I AM FROM HYDERABAD. IS NIPCARE BRAND STILL AVAILABLE.
    THANK YOU

    ReplyDelete
  6. Hi,
    I am hyderabad. Is Nipcare cream brand still available
    thanks 4 ur help.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Hi Krishna,
    I think Nipcare should still be available, it's an Indian brand. Bu t I remember having all the troubl ein the world getting it, my local chemist had trouble ordering it, in the end I went to the hospital pharmacy and they had it there. So if you can't get it at your local chemist I would definitely go to a big hospital with a well stocked pharmacy and ask there.

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