You’re expecting your first baby and about to embark on this incredible (sometimes bumpy) journey. The baby shopping list is both exciting and overwhelming at the same time…
…Tiny pyjamas, cute little socks! Ok, maternity pads, less fun. The last thing you want is to be faced with a plethora of baby gear that you “must get” unless you are one of those people who enjoy spending hours researching items to buy. Also, cue one minor problem: Your apartment is the poster child of shoebox living. Already you are doing everything you can to keep clutter to a minimum so it’s counterproductive to buy lots of things for your baby. Living in a pocket-sized apartment strewn with baby equipment and toys doesn’t sound like anyone’s idea of fun either.
I’ve done the legwork for you and narrowed down 5 smart buys first-time moms can’t do without following my own experience and a combination of sagely advice from mommy friends and hours scanning online reviews. Oh, and don’t buy too many baby clothes. Trust me, you will receive plenty as gifts!
Check out my 5 Smart Buys for Babies in the gallery.
For months I’d been eyeing the Stokke Flexi Bath which seems to take up the least amount of space although I was still struggling over where I could store it. Then a mommy friend told me about the Puj Tub and it’s probably one of my best buys so far! It fits in the bathroom sink and unfolds flat for storage – I’d even packed it in my suitcase when we came back to Singapore over Chinese New Year.
I ended up using it until my child was seven months old (one month longer than the recommended age on the box). Then it was straight to the bathtub after because she could sit up on her own by then. If your bathroom isn’t equipped with a bathtub and you are not comfortable letting your child sit on the floor for her shower, I’d say skip the Puj Tub and go straight for the Stokke Flexi Bath (with newborn support).
As with kitchen equipment, I try to avoid buying single-purpose baby gadgets. If you ask me, the muslin cloth is a versatile all-in-one workhorse all new moms must have. To date, I’ve been getting maximum mileage out of my lot, a combination of 60/70cm and 120cm ones, mostly from Aden + Anais.
In the first months, I’d used the smaller ones as burp cloths and the larger ones to swaddle my child every night. They are also great as nursing covers, blankets or even ad-hoc picnic blankets. I always have one handy in the stroller basket because they are great to cover the stroller with (or her head when she’s in the baby carrier) during nap times.
To be honest, I had only invested in a bassinet because I couldn’t quite decide which crib to get before I gave birth. I was glad I did though because the Babybjorn Harmony Cradle was a life-saver! I couldn’t have fitted a standard full-size crib in our bedroom otherwise. At night, I have it in our bedroom so I don’t have to go back and forth to the baby’s room for feeds.
In the day, I could easily move it to the living room to keep an eye on my child or have my mom help watch her while I took a catnap. The icing on the cake? It’s well-designed and easy on the eye, definitely not fighting for space in a small apartment. On the crib front, I eventually decided against a high-end evolving bed and bought an inexpensive classic crib and invested in a good mattress instead.
Our dining room is essentially a dining table in a corner of the living room and a highchair is unfortunately one of those pieces of baby gear that I can’t avoid buying. I know I would like a highchair in neutral shades so that it can blend in with the rest of my furniture – something vintage or a modern classic could work! Speaking of neutral shades, I’m a fan of buying toys in neutral shades which don’t give me a headache when I see them scattered on the living room floor.
After much deliberation, we ended up with a gorgeous and ergonomic Stokke Tripp Trapp in whitewash with the accompanying baby set in storm grey. Protip: I opted not to buy a cushion because it’s one more thing to clean. I have to admit it is one big investment of a baby equipment but it could grow with your child if you take good care of it so I’d highly recommend setting up a money pot for the highchair and letting your loved ones help contribute to it.
Right from the start, getting a changing table is out of the question, not that I’d wanted to buy one more piece of furniture anyway. Fine, we really don’t have room for it so I have to make do with what we have – luckily for us, I figured that our kitchen counter could make for an ad-hoc changing table as long as I keep it clean and clutter-free.
I bought a Skötsam inflatable changing mat at Ikea and store it by the kitchen counter. It’s a great solution in a tight squeeze of a space (if I could pat myself on the back) – the trash bin and tap are just within my reach behind me and I’m forced to be ultra-neat with my changing station essentials, which is not a bad thing really. Win-win for my tiny kitchen and new life with a baby!