Essentials for Heading Out with a Baby

If you’re a parent, you’d know that getting out of the house is no longer a breeze like before (to think preening in front of the mirror or deciding which outfit used to be nerve-wrecking!) and new parents (we can tell when you’re one!) might either: 1) get so overwhelmed during their first trip out; or 2) battle it out and overcome their first trip easy-peasy.

It’s important to be prepared with things that baby needs – depending on what’s lacking, it might not be easily gotten quick enough. Arm yourself with a diaper bag, filled with essentials that you baby might need. Being prepared is half the battle won :P

Some of what's in our diaper bag! Not forgetting the rest as well as mummy/daddy's stuff too. *phew*

Some of what’s in our diaper bag! Not forgetting the rest as well as mummy/daddy’s stuff too. *phew*

Here’s a quick checklist on what to pack:

Baby’s stuff

1) Diapers
We usually pack at least 5 pieces for a full day out – you’d never know when those poop moments will come!

2) Wet wipes and tissue
Definitely essential to clean poop as water will not be readily available. Choose those gentle for baby’s delicate skin. Find out which brands we like.

3) Milk bottle
Unless you’re planning to nurse, don’t forget the bottle. There were times we had everything else, except the bottle. Fortunately, the portable milk provided (i.e. thyself) was around; otherwise the Hub had to drive back to get it.

4) Milk powder/Expressed milk
If milk powder is used, remember to bring enough and at least one extra serving, just in case. With the Avent milk powder container, we bring along 3 servings and put one more portion in the bottle. Make sure the bottle is dry before doing so. Once the baby alarm rings, just add water and it’s ready. Expressed milk requires extra care, as they are susceptible to temperature changes. Freeze an ice pack and put the bottles/milk storage bagged milk into an insulated bag (Medela Freestyle has the full suite needed) to keep milk cold. Bring along a cup (or it could be the cup from your thermal flask) to warm milk when needed. If you’re dining at a restaurant, request for a bowl of hot water to warm up milk before offering baby.

5) Water
If formula is used, don’t forget to bring along a flask of cooled boiled drinking water and another flask of hot water. If you’re heading to a friend’s place, you may considering skipping this to lessen the load.

6) Diaper changing mat
We can’t imagine how dirty it might be outside, even at nursing rooms/Koala Kare/in the car, plus, we won’t want to risk having baby V lay on some dirty surface. Bring one that can be wiped with wet wipes should it get dirty. Our choice is Tollyjoy’s mat.

7) 2 sets of clothes
For those moments of emergencies like a mega poop! Clothes, booties/socks, mittens (if below 3mo) should go in too – you’ll never know when baby’s foot might step into her own poop during a diaper change or a mitten falls off and lands on the road.

8) Handkerchiefs
Can’t do without hankies – great for wiping drools, regurgitated milk, runny nose etc. Just make sure not to use it if it falls on the floor – germs attack, especially for your little munchkin.

9) Plastic bags
Be civilized – don’t secretly dump a dirty diaper under a table. Put all dirty wipes, tissue, dirty diapers into a plastic bag and bin it. A separate one can be used for soiled clothes, booties/socks.

10) Swaddle/blanket
Useful for covering baby when she’s cold or while she sleeps in the stroller. Also big enough to shield baby from the glaring Sun when in the car or to “black-out” when sleeping in stroller.

11) Nursing cover
If you’re nursing in public, protect your modesty with one. Pick one that gives you good coverage; most of them come in just one size but do try it on if you can, before purchase. Unless you’re comfortable with doing without, go ahead. Some babies reject nursing covers, so alternative methods such as nursing on a carrier is possible. Do experiment at home prior to heading out… make sure both baby and mummy are comfortable with this position!

12) Pacifier
Baby V doesn’t take to the fake stuff, so we don’t bother bringing this along anymore, since we tried to when she was around 2mo. Can be a lifesaver for parents, if you’ve got a screaming bub outdoors. Some parents use this to associate with sleep – that could help baby fall asleep more easily too.

13) Toys
Babies get bored too, so a little entertainment can help make things better. Personally, we avoid the gadgets like smartphones. So, a simple toy on the go can be handy. On her stroller and in the car seat, there’s a toy too.

Mum’s stuff
The point is to keep things to a minimum, so bye-bye mummy’s handbag. Yes, I’ve hardly used my own bags since baby V arrived. LOL. Don’t forget these when heading out too:
– Wallet
– Mobile
– Keys
– Sunglasses

Diaper Bag Tips

  • A waterproof lining makes it easy to wipe clean should spills occur.
  • Multiple compartments can keep your items organized and easy to find – use a bag organizer to help keep things in place, especially bottles.
  • Prevent leaks by packing medicines and snacks in resealable plastic bags.
  • Save time by packing similar items together, such as clothing or diapers with wet wipes, in a resealable bag.
  • Try diaper bags on for size and comfort; whether it is easy for you to manoeuvre.

Ours is from Scout, which we bought from Amazon. It was larger than imagined but we thank our lucky stars cos after packing everything, there really IS lots to put in there! Its waterproof material is great and the bag itself is light, so no additional load! Tip: Look beyond bags labeled “diaper bags” – you might just find something that suits you!

Out and About

Stroller
Lightweight was the key deciding factor when we chose a stroller for baby V while she was still in my tummy. Many parents are using the bulkier types which definitely looks more sturdy but can weigh as much as 15kg on its own! Boy, I definitely can’t lug that weight around – given that plus baby plus a diaper bag – that’d be a huge deterrence for stepping out. Aprica was a natural choice for us – weighing only 6.5kg! It may not be as stable when the terrain gets bumpy but this really depends on baby; a light sleeper might be waken. Its compact ergonomics makes it easier to maneuver in tight spaces e.g. between cars in a carpark; takes up lesser space in the car boot too. Baby V’s limited edition starry ride (yea, there are some UV-printed stars on the outer surface of the canopy and had to pay more for this cos the red one we wanted apparently got discontinued after placing a deposit to confirm the order.) boosts a drawstring method to adjust the back rest to a desired level. The downside: When adjusting the canopy, it gets a little noisy (“tiak tiak tiak” sound. Ugh.) and the stroller “moves” – very frown-worthy when baby is almost lulled into dreamland and gets awaken suddenly.

"Okay, why am I in the stroller again... I can't sleep, mummy... and daddy is enjoying his buffet...."

“Okay, why am I in the stroller again… I can’t sleep, Mummy… and Daddy looks like he’s enjoying his buffet….hmmm… not for long now… hehe”

Baby V prefers to be in Daddy's safe arms during our buffet session.

Baby V prefers to be in Daddy’s safe arms during our buffet session.

During the initial months, baby V didn’t take too well to the stroller. It was a real challenge every time we went out – taking turns to eat was expected, taking long intervals between mouthfuls were pretty normal because one of us would have to carry her, walk away and pat her to sleep. If we got lucky, we’ll quickly put her onto the stroller when she has drifted to dreamland and we can continue with our food. Gone were the days when we could have a slowly, laidback meal with conversation going on. Well-meaning friends who are also parents shared that strollers are too opened which causes babies to feel insecure especially during the newborn stage. There were options of a bassinet such as Maxi-cosi, which is portable enough to carry anywhere (almost like a shopping basket), and yet can be affixed to selected brand strollers for pushing around instead of carrying by the handle. We didn’t go for that, thinking that a single stroller would be good enough; bassinets have a shorter usage span (something like for the first few months only) so we shelved that idea as we figured we’ll probably not head out much during the first few months. As such, more often than not, the stroller ended up as a trolley for shopping bags and the heavy diaper bag, while baby V was safe and secure in our arms. Shopping was definitely no mean feat – but that’s probably how we toned our arms too. LOL.

Infant Carrier
With so many types of carriers in the market, it gets tougher to decide. Realized that most parents rely on word-of-mouth and feedback from friends/colleagues/support groups etc. We knew getting a carrier was a must, and probably a lifesaver for us since baby V doesn’t seem to sleep well or stay long enough in the stroller for us to even have a proper conversation, much less a meal. *Sigh* We count our blessings, having won a Baby Bjorn Carrier One, crowned as the Rolls Royce amongst carriers. Like many others, we’ve heard and read the circulated article about it causing hip dislocation etc. but we believe that the brand invests in proper R&D before manufacturing products for a fragile being. In fact, Baby Bjorn was the first brand that I knew of – an ex-colleague requested for this brand as a baby shower gift when she had her first child. Her daughter is now an active and joyful 5 year old – healthy, no less! The best thing about the Baby Bjorn Carrier One? You don’t need to wait till your bub is 3 months old before putting her in there – there is a simple zip adjustment that can be easily done to sit newborns all the way to toddler stage. When baby is 5-6months old, she can be positioned forward-facing so the inquisitive little one can be more aware of her surroundings. Amongst all, I’ve to commend that the brand custodian managing Baby Bjorn at Mothercare did a terrific job in explaining the instructions and safety pointers. He was patient, and shared in detailed, step-by-step, with nary a hint of impatience. Thumbs up, Jonathan, and thank you so much for sharing with us – including burning a weekend of day off too. *oops*
For those who are keen to know more about the Carrier One, here’s a video for better understanding.

So, what did baby V think of the carrier? We let the photos do the talking ;)

dee carrying vera in bbj1

Close and safe in Mummy’s arm, sitting comfortably in Baby Bjorn Carrier One. Seated using “newborn” position.

 

Baby Vera taking a peek - hello!

Baby Vera taking a peek – hello!

Heading out with baby V becomes easier when she sleeps soundly in the carrier while we run errands. She started drooling, hence the hankie. Heh.

Heading out with baby V becomes easier when she sleeps soundly in the carrier while we run errands. She started drooling, hence the hankie. Heh.

Baby Bjorn carriers are available in most baby stores such as Mothercare, Motherworks and online sites such as Pupsik Studio and Kulily (got my Medela Freestyle here!).

Enjoy the fun day out with babies! It takes plenty of practice and a word of warning: babies change their habits often and their moods can sway like the weather – take heart and nurture patience in the process – everything else will fall into place and before you know it, your little one will be a sensible child growing up faster than you think. Happy parenting! :)