Ten essentials you might not think of
New kid in town or expecting one soon? If so, you’ve probably received advice from everyone and their ayi about what you need to buy for your new baby. Even so, there’s a good chance your shopping list might not include some of the most essential items. Here’s a list of ten less-than-obvious things we could not have done without during our first couple of weeks of Beijing parenting. All products listed below, aside from the Nolo sling and the IQ Air, are available from both Leyou and Lijiababy.
Infrared Ear Thermometer
Leave the anal probes to bad science fiction stories about alien abductions. While more expensive and a bit less accurate than the up-the-bum types, the infrared variety gives you a temperature reading instantly with a minimum of fuss.
Babies typically lose weight for a few days after birth and begin putting on the baby fat later as their tiny appetites increase. A digital scale with readings in grams will go a long way towards keeping mom and dad at ease for those first few weeks.
Nothing simulates the safety and comfort of the womb like being carried in a sling. There are a variety of slings and wraps available, all designed to keep your baby warm and swaddled and pressed close to you, just like she was in the womb. Some parents design slings or wraps out of lengths of cloth, but most new parents will prefer to purchase a ready-made one. Unfortunately, these are very difficult to find in Beijing – we purchased a second-hand Nolo sling from NU2YU Baby Shop (www.nu2yubabyshop.com).
When it’s 3am and baby goes on a crying jag, you’ll do anything to get the screaming to stop – even something as silly-sounding as placing her in a battery-operated vibrating chair. Even if it only works once, and for just a brief moment, this device will still have paid for itself.
Beijing’s number one form of air pollution is particulate matter small enough to inhale. A fine mesh net for your baby’s crib will help keep at least some of the bigger bits out of her tiny nose. And if you have a summer baby, it will help keep summertime mosquitoes at bay.
Another weapon against air pollution (plus the formaldehyde and god-knows-what other kinds of chemicals emitted from your floorboards, cabinets and furniture), an air purifier is a good investment, at least for the nursery. Look for one that uses HEPA (High-Efficiency Particulate Air) filters and a carbon filter for odors. China’s most well-known brand in this category is Yadu; their top-of-the-line model (KJF2801N) is a shade under RMB 4,000 and comes with a very effective built-in humidifier. For a higher-end international brand, seek out the IQ Air, retailed in China by Villa Lifestyles (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Wall Thermometer with Humidity Gauge
An easy-to-read thermometer will give you an unbiased answer to the question of whether your nursery is too hot or too cold (and put an end to bickering between Grandma, Mom and Dad). A humidity gauge is also essential in arid Beijing, because you’ll want your little one’s breathing passages to remain moist.
This 1.5-meter-long floppy, banana-shaped pillow is a perfect prop for late-pregnancy bellies. After the baby arrives, the pillow does double duty as a backrest or prop to assist Mom while she works to find that magic breastfeeding pose.
Newborns have sharp little fingernails at birth and no control of their flailing limbs: bad combo. A small pair of mittens does the trick and protects baby (and Mom and Dad) from scratches until the nails are long enough to clip safely. They also make your baby look cuter than you can ever imagine!
Home Delivery Baby Product Catalogs
The two baby store heavyweights in Beijing are Leyou and Lijiababy. Both have enormous catalogs and websites filled with baby products (but only in Chinese, so enlist Ayi or a friend to help you if your language skills are not up to par). Best of all for housebound moms and dads, both stores deliver.