Hi there soon-to-be Mamma,
I’m the mother of a 7 month old and, boy, you have a lot to look forward to! Advice from someone who was in your place just a few months ago: don’t worry! Things will fall into place quite easily. The first few months of having a baby are tough but then things just get easier and easier. Soon you won’t be able to imagine your pre-baby life — it will seem as though you’ve had your ball of dough forever!
Newborn Baby Checklist
Wondering what things to buy for a newborn baby? Wondering what your baby needs in hospital? Need a baby shopping checklist for first time moms? I’ll be making a newborn baby needs checklist, with load of useful information specific to Indian mothers — with links to items that can specifically be bought in India. I, to be honest, was rather anxious about my ‘baby list’. Did I have all the things I needed? What about the things I needed to take to the hospital? We made a long list, collating information from 5-6 friends, and man, was it complicated! (Credit for overcomplicating everything goes to our very own spreadsheet guru, Mr T). So here’s a simplified list of things required for new born baby in India:
Hospital Bag for Mammas
Toilet Kit – Toothbrush, toothpaste, hairbrush, shampoo, soap, lip balm, hair bands, deo. (Your hospital will most likely provide you with essentials like shampoo and soap.) Carry some stuff for the Dad too! And don’t worry — you’ll have plenty of folks who will be there to run errands for you if you forget anything.
Sanitary pads – XXL size for heavy flow. When you deliver vaginally or through a C-Section, you will bleed. And it will be heavy bleeding for the first week or so. (The hospital used Stayfree tied together, which was fine for Day 1 and 2, but
Disposable panties – Again the hospital will most likely provide this. In case they don’t, its best to carry a pack with you that is your size. Use and throw is easier than dealing with washing when you can barely move.
Rubber chappals – Essential item. You need to feel comfortable when moving around; nothing like your OWN rubber slippers.
Loose clothes to go home in – A loose nightie or a loose kurta is ideal. Avoid pants / churidars / anything that goes around the waist especially if you’ve had a c-section. (And you won’t know till the last moment).
Winter clothes – Hospitals can get cold, so carry a warm comfortable sweatshirt and socks.
Insurance card, Medical Papers & ID card – Tell your husband / family to carry this for you. You will have NO idea what’s happening when you go into labour.
Phone chargers – Cos you’ll be receiving millions of messages.
A book / Kindle – Not that I read much during my stay, but I’ve heard that in case labour gets long it’s nice to have something that can distract you.
Worst case – If you’ve left something at home, someone will be able to pick it up for you. Don’t worry; be happy!
Baby’s Hospital Bag Shopping List
(A checklist of items take baby home in)
Blanket – A soft warm blanket like the Mee Mee Baby Wrapper with hood. It’s easy to make into a pocket and take baby home, all snuggled. You’ll also use it for the first couple of months, especially if you have a winter baby.
Swaddling sheets – Cotton or muslin sheets work best. Your family will also gift you plenty of these!
Cotton cap – We used MotherCare.
Mittens and Booties – Again we used MotherCare for mittens. Mittens are surprisingly difficult to find, so socks are a good backup (especially in winter — although they say you shouldn’t leave socks on all night).
Onesie x 3 – Sleepsuits are what we found most comfortable (full sleeves covering the feet too). The best quality we found was in MotherCare, which usually has sales ongoing. Best to visit the store rather than shop online.
Diapers – We used Pampers throughout. Pampers Active New Born are what we started with, then progressed to Pampers Active Baby (Small – 3kgs to 8 kgs) and we are now on Pampers Active Baby (Medium) – for babies over 8 kgs (till 12 kgs) along with cloth diapers (Bumpadum) . Clearly I need to write a separate post just on diapering! Update – New discovery – Pampers Premium Pants! Launched a few months ago in India, these are SUPER soft pant diapers that do not leak. Highly recommended for all babies age 6 months plus. When our Baby turned 10 months or so, diaper changes became the equivalent of hell on earth (by his reactions). He refused(es) to take it lying down. There is screaming and shouting, wriggling and weeping, all for a quick diaper change. The Pampers pants were a saviour. Like I mentioned earlier, these are “premium” diapers, so very soft — no rashes on the upper thighs any more — and they come with a pee indicator (blue line) but by now we are experienced enough to know that it doesn’t mean much. Our baby (heavy wetter) can go through the night without a change or a leak in these super soft diapers.
Wet wipes – We preferred Johnson’s Wet Wipes over Himalaya. It felt like Johnson’s had less additives. In any case, we rinse the wet wipe in warm water before using. Update: 1 year on, we have progressed to Pampers Clean Fresh Wet Wipes Pampers Clean Fresh Wet Wipes which seem to have less additives.
Hand sanitiser – Himalaya. A nice big bottle is good to have around. We used it actively for the first 3-4 months when baby was tiny!
New Mother’s Shopping List (India)
Take care of yourself. Having a baby is hard work — both physically and emotionally. So make sure your needs are taken care of.
Cotton nighties – I’m a shorts and t-shirt kind of girl. However, after my emergency c-section I, too, ended up wearing nighties for a couple of weeks. It was much more comfortable, at least until the stitches healed.
Sanitary Pads – You’ll probably bleed for at least 1 month. Whisper Ultra was my go to here.
Maternity Bras – If you think you can make-do with your regular bras, your wrong. Not only do maternity bras have the clip thing so that its easier to breastfeed, they are built with much more support, which you’ll need as you start lactating.
Bra extenders – These are nifty clips that help extend your bra (useful 6 months onwards) when your breasts are expanding and you have no idea what size bra to buy. Also useful when you start lactating and need to wear bras at night.
Breast pads – Yep, you’ll be leaking colostrum even before you deliver (especially when you lie on your tummy). It’s best to wear loose bras to sleep (with the extenders) and put breast pads on to prevent leakages. I used Pigeon breast pads. Medela was also good.
Nipple cream – Lanolin based creams, usually recommended by your doctor. (Eg. Nipcare) Don’t worry about it right now.
Air ring pillow – Best to get this in the hospital (when you need it). Especially useful for vaginal deliveries when it hurts to sit!
Nipple shields – Again don’t worry about this right now. Let your doc recommend in case you are having trouble breastfeeding.
Newborn Baby Shopping List (India)
Keep in mind that your baby will be growing FAST. He or she will be out of clothes before you know it. But here are some essentials that you need.
Bathing Shopping List
Baby bathtub – Essential! Don’t think you can make do with a bucket / chilamchee. Bathing a baby in a bathtub is just so much easier and comfortable for the baby. We got ours offline.
Bathing chair – Do NOT get those folding chairs. They are of terrible quality. Instead, we used this bathing seat by LuvLap and our baby loves it till today!
Mug – These silicone soft sided mugs are excellent. Baby’s can be unpredictable, moving their head suddenly. This ensure no one gets hurt!
Towels (Big) – Big towels (can be hooded or not) are needed to wrap the baby after his / her bath.
Towels (Small) – Useful for multiple things — to wipe baby’s hair, to put in bath with him to cover stomach, to use a big cloth. We got a whole bunch of Amazon Basics microfibre cloths — they were simply awesome. Blue for bum related, white for feeding related, yellow for bathing related.
Towels (Very small) – Soft towels, mo like hankies useful for brushing baby’s tongue and gums.
Shampoo – Sebamed all the way. These are super gentle shampoos and soap products, very popular across India. While they are imported and more expensive, they are highyl recommended. Don’t think twice about it.
Bath wash – Sebamed again.
Baby lotion – Sebamed again 🙂
Massage oils – Cold pressed mustard oil for massage (we tried olive oil initially, but baby kept catching colds). I recommend Pure & Sure Organic Mustard oil. Since all babies have really sensitive skin you want to make sure that the oil you use is not of low quality. Mustard oil works best for our young man (mixed with garlic and ajwain for when he had a really bad cold). Coconut oil is good to apply on dry skin and on hair.
Brush / Comb – soft sided brush. Mothercare.
Nailcutter / scissors – I use a regular nail cutter, but friends swear by the scissors. Baby’s nails will grow incredibly fast so get prepared for some scary nail cutting sessions (best to cut after massage and bath, post-milk).
Medicine Shopping List
While your doctor will recommend tonics and other aids, try to stay off any harsh medications. If your doctor really advises you to give your baby strong medicines, consult another doctor! We made this mistake (doc said baby was colicky), and it was only when we went to the other doctor did we realise that our baby was hungry and nothing more!)
Here are some medications that are okay to give:
- Bonnisan / Colicaid – as a general tonic
- Vit D3 – Vitanova drops. Your doc will probably recommend this. We tried Ultra D3 also, baby hates it! It’s too harsh.
- Homeopathic medicines – we went to a homeopath who gave general medicines for cold, cough and indigestion. Worked like magic!
- Karvol – Capsules that can be put on baby’s clothes in case he has a cold.
- Nasal Spray – For blocked noses. There is some conflict here among doctors — some say there is no harm to use it and it is recommended, some say to avoid it. We use it when our baby has a bad cold.
Some other things useful to have:
Humidifier – This is a MUST buy for all babies. With all the pollution and germs around us, most babies will have several colds throughout the year. Congestion can really reduce with a humidifier. Just leave it on all night near where your baby sleeps. We used a Chicco Humidifier and it been working very well for over a year now.
Talcum powder – While its not recommended nowadays, we did use both Chicco and Sebamed for a while when our baby got creases and rashes in those creases. I’m quite a fan of talc just because of the smell. But you have to be careful to ensure that your baby doesn’t ingest it.
Digital thermometer – We got a fancy Braun thermometer that goes in the ear, but barely use it! Babies are resistant to things being poked in their ears — who would have thought! Any digital thermometer works well. work.
Bulb syringe – Not recommended Useful for clearing blocked noses. But agian, you have to be very careful and it’s not really recommended., since you are not fixing the source of the problem (a cold)
Travel Items Shopping List
Bjorn / Sling – Very useful and adorable to have. We have the Baby Bjorn, but my sister-in-law loves her ergonomically designed baby carrier way more (Anmol).
Stroller & Car Seat – Oh, the choices here will drive you mad. So I will tell you what to do quite simply: if you are in India and plan to use a stroller on Indian roads — buy a Graco Stroller! Graco strollers are awesome for India because they are built SOLID. They can handle India’s horrendous roads and potholes. They are also very safe and easy to maneouvre. The Graco Modes stroller also becomes completely flat (like a bassinet) so your newborn baby can happily sleep on it. The only downside is that they are a little heavy. However, you probably won’t be taking your baby on the stroller across the city (not by bus or metro at least), so chances are you won’t be lifting it too much. While the Maclaren stroller seems to be very popular nowadays, I find it prohibitively expensive! A similar stroller would be half the price with Graco. Also please buy it the US if possible. It’s less than half the price of India! Damn duty fees!
Stroller vs Car Seat vs Travel System
I bought the Graco Modes Travel System (which is basically the stroller + car seat, and both fit well into each other).
- Strollers are awesome to have. You can use the stroller indoors, to move the baby around while you do other things at home, and you can obviously use the stroller outdoors, on walks, etc.
- Car seats are only useful in India if you are planning on doing road trips. In the city, we generally do not drive very fast, so baby will be quite happy on your lap.
Most importantly, strollers are WAY overpriced in India, so plan in advance and try to get someone from the US to bring it back to you (it’s half the price!)
Baby Feeding List
Breast pump – An electric breast pump is recommended. Even if you are exclusively breastfeeding (direct), at some point in time you’ll want your life back. If you pump milk, your husband or a caregiver can give milk to the baby at night so that you can get some rest. Medela Pump in Style is what I have and I highly recommend it. It’s a strong, double pump that’s worked wonders for the last 7 months. I’ve heard good things about Medela Swing as well (which I believe is a single pump). Also, get a manual breast pump if you live in a place with power cuts.
Bottles – We started with Pigeon Peristaltic Bottles for newborns (that’s what they used in the hospital). However, the flow was too fast. Our baby didn’t like the Avent or Medela bottles. Instead, we are big fans of Dr Brown’s Narrow Neck Options Bottles. These are anti-colic bottles which ensure that your baby doesn’t take in too much gas. Baby loves them! Best to get the smaller sized bottles initially (4 oz / 120 ml) and then 4 months later invest in a few big bottles (8 oz / 240 ml).
Bottle warmer – You can invest in something like this if you are exclusively bottle feeding. However, we just used a container of hot water. Works as well.
A shawl/dupatta – Something to cover yourself when breastfeeding. Don’t bother with expensive nursing wraps.
Nursing pillow – Again wait till you have the baby to figure out what will work best for you. Some folks prefer regular pillows.
Cooler and ice pack – Medela Breastmilk Cooler set. Highly recommended, especially if you are carrying milk around in hot Indian summers.
Milk storage bags – VERY IMPORTANT TIP! If you are overproducing milk, don’t pump and dump. Store that milk in a bag and put it into the freezer. You will have days when your supply is low and baby is on a growth spurt. You WILL need that milk. In India, Trumum is a great reasonably priced brand.
Sterilizer – Makes life easier when you are using bottles. We have an unbranded one from Singapore, but there are lot of options available in India.
Drying stand – Useful to have, but if you regularly sterilise and seal the bottles (and immediately use) no need to dry.
Bottle cleaning liquid – We swear by the Pigeon Liquid Cleanser. Don’t even think twice.
Bottle cleaning brush – Pigeon bottle brushes are great, as are Chicco. You can rotate them to clean the bottles.
Electric kettle (optional) – Easier to heat water to heat milk, etc.
Baby Clothes Checklist
Onesies (also known as bodysuits) – Buy according to the weather (full sleeve / half sleeve). Remember you will probably be gifted a lot of onesies. MotherCare is the best!
3/4 suits – This is what our baby loves the most during the day. Half sleeves and 3/4ths legs. Remember its easier to put on suits that can be buttoned all the way up (rather than the ones that have to be worn like shirts).
Sleepsuits – Mothercare or Carter’s is best.
Cotton Vests – aka banyans. Most babies don’t wear this, but our guy loves it. Keeps him warm and his chest covered. Zero vests are of great quality.
Pants / shorts / shirts – Try and buy. Our guy couldn’t fit into most around the waist and didn’t find them comfy. He would pull up any shirt that he had one — revealing his midriff!
Caps & Mittens – Required for newborns
- Woollen sweater and cap – Get your nanis to start knitting (as if you can stop them!)
- Thermal vest
Baby Sleeping Stuff List
Bassinet – We used our nieces’ bassinet. It was amazing – we could put the bassinet wherever wanted and the baby slept happily on it (usually between us at night).
Dohar – Covers
Crib / Cot Bed – India, unfortunately, does not offer too many options for cribs. We initially had an Urban Ladder crib, which was of terrible quality (wheels collapsed). We checked out FirstCry cribs (BabyHug private label) and they were of terrible quality. We finally settled on overpriced MotherCare crib, which at least was of good quality.
Crib mattress – The great thing about India is that you can get a custom sized mattress built for you. We got a mattress slightly smaller than 140 cm x 70 cms (MotherCare size) built for us.
Thick blankets – Baby’s love to be cosy!
Mosquito net – An essential item, considering the number of mosquitoes around. Only a net will stop mosquitoes from biting your baby (no mosquito patches or repellants will work). FirstCry (BabyHug) have decent nets.
Diaper bag – Lots of options available. I prefer the backpack kind of bag (even a laptop bag) but a sling on bag also has advantages when you are holding a baby.
Diapers – Start with Pampers Newborn, and then progress to Active. Keep enough stock for your first week (4 big bags at least). I’ll talk about cloth diapers later!
Diaper rash cream – Desitin all the way! In 7 months our baby has had perhaps 2 diaper rashes (minor). Apply desitin blindly, everytime you change your baby’s diaper. A local Indian brand which is equally good is B4 Nappi.
A bowl and thermos – To keep warm water handy
Changing table – We are using an Urban Ladder chest of drawers as our diaper changing table (with a soft changing mat on it).
Diaper changing mat – We got ours from Ikea. Try and get one with padding and elevated sides, so that the baby can’t roll off.
Rubber sheet x 2 – Get a large size so that you can place it on the mattress , and on the diaper changing table.
Sterile cotton swabs, neurosporin etc – Your doctor will advise you on this. Usually for the belly button / umbilical cord area.
While your newborn will be more interested in sleep than toys, he/she will soon be kicking around like mad. To keep him occupied, here are some great toys:
Play Gym – ESSENTIAL – Fisher Price is obviously great, but check out some of the other local brands too. Especially when your child turns 3 months. This will keep him occupied and independent, and give you a chance to breathe! He’ll be busy grabbing and kicking and developing all his motor skills.
Rattles / Rings
Playmat – 3/4 months onwards you’ll need this.
Pacifier – Keep handy in the bag, especially when you are travelling. Our guy doesn’t like his beyond a few sucks, but still.
Baby books – I’ll be making a full list soon!
Rocker, etc – No one I know has had a baby who has happily chilled in a rocker in India. If you have any grandparents around or any other sort of help, it is most likely your baby will prefer “godi” to any rocker!
Phew, that was a long list! Ask me any questions if you have any questions on this list of things you need for a new baby!