If you’re expecting a baby, you’ll be itching to start buying all those newborn items, plus a few important things for you. It’s an exciting time and you want to be ready for when baby arrives. But how do you know what’s essential and what isn’t? If you’re unsure about what you need to buy or where you can find those maternity products, here are some suggestions for getting your shopping list together.
Babies grow very quickly. All you need for the first few weeks are enough clothes to make sure that your baby will be warm and clean. Onesies, cardigans, vests, hats, can all be found at Mothercare, Mamas & Papas, Babies ‘R Us, and Leyou. For organic clothing try BabyGro, which sells brands such as Wobaby, Organic Family, Snug-a-licious, and Bonds, or Nature Colored.
To clean the clothes, avoid washing powders with enzymes (bio powders) or fabric conditioner, as they may irritate your baby’s skin. Counting Sheep and baby international stock the BabyGanics range of safe laundry detergent.
For the first few months, you’ll need a crib, a carry cot, or a Moses basket (a light, portable bassinet). If you are borrowing a crib or a cot, or using a secondhand one, you should ideally buy a new mattress. Ikea has a good range of affordable cots and mattresses, some of which convert to toddler beds.
If you’re looking for something more unique, Counting Sheep has some lovely nursery furniture. You will need sheets to cover the mattress, but don’t use pillows and duvets as they are not safe for babies who are less than 1 year old due to the risk of suffocation. Baby sleeping bags (e.g. Grobags) are perfect, with different thicknesses so that baby doesn’t get too hot or too cold in any given season. They are pediatrician-approved and can be found at most of the stores mentioned here.
For belly wraps, support belts, and maternity tights, head over to BabyGro Beijing, which also stocks oils and creams to help reduce stretch marks. Comfortable and supportive bras, including nursing bras if you’re planning to breastfeed, and front-opening or loose-fitting nighties or tops are all available from Mothercare, Mamas & Papas, BabyGro and Counting Sheep. You’ll need some super-absorbent sanitary pads for after the birth, which you can get from Watsons or hospital pharmacies.
If you are planning on breastfeeding, the main thing you’ll need at the start is nipple cream – and plenty of it. Products by brands such as Lansinoh Lanolin can be found at BabyGro or Medela Purelan at baby international. Nursing pillows will help you establish a good breastfeeding position and ensure your comfort; find them at Mothercare, baby international, Counting Sheep, and BabyGro. If you decide to pump milk, you’ll need a breast pump, BPA-free bottles for storage and feeding, and sterilizing equipment. Medela pumps and accessories are available at most of these stores.
There are restrictions in most countries now as to the number of tins of formula you can purchase in a single transaction. Gone are the days of filling your suitcase (or those of visiting friends and family) the day before you fly back to Beijing. We all know about the scares over tainted infant formula, so it really isn’t worth taking the risk with local products.
Imported formula can be purchased at baby international, which stocks the imported Happybellies brand. For bottle feeding, you’ll need bottles, nipples, cleaning brushes, and sterilizing equipment. BPA and phthalate-free brands, such as Philips Avent, Petit Terraillon, MAM and Pura, are available at most of the international stores, including Mamas & Papas, Leyou, Mothercare, and Babies ‘R Us.
Keeping Baby Clean
To keep baby clean, you’ll need baby wipes, top-to-toe wash, baby shampoo, and cotton buds. Watsons now has its own range of baby toiletries, which are incredibly good value and a great competitor to the better-known Johnson’s brand. BabyGro, baby international and Counting Sheep stock baby-friendly skincare ranges and wipes, including BabyGanics, Bella B, Weleda, and California Baby.
The hospital will provide disposable diapers for the duration of your stay, but you may wish to use washable cloth diapers when you get home. There are several types available with or without removable liners. BabyGro stocks the Bambino Mio and Charlie Banana brands of reusables.
Disposables are available at most supermarkets, Jenny Lou, DDs, April Gourmet, but can get very expensive. It’s best to go to the larger supermarkets like Carrefour or baby shop Leyou, and look for bulk buy offers. BHG has its own brand of disposables, which are fantastic and great value. BabyGro stocks the eco-friendly Danish brand of disposables called Bambo. If you have limited space for storing dirty nappies, Motherswork offers the Munchkin Nappy Disposal System, a compact and hygienic bin for storing dirty diapers before throwing them out.
If your baby was premature or had a low birth weight, you will not be able to find suitable diapers in Beijing. The hospital would provide you with a small supply, but your best option is online at Amazon China or Taobao. For swim diapers, head to baby international for Huggies Little Swimmers.
When Baby Is Sick
Unfortunately, babies may at some point need to take medicine. Motherswork stocks the pediatrician-approved Munchkin the Medicator, an easy and safe way to administer medicine to your little ones. The store also sells a range of thermometers and nasal aspirators. Baby sun cream can be purchased from most of these stores from brands such as Ego Sunsense, Banana Boat, and BabyGanics.
Out and About
Baby carriers (also called slings) are attached with straps and/or buckles, and your baby is carried either in front of you, or on your hip. Older babies who can hold up their heads and whose backs are stronger (around 3 months) can be transported in carriers that go on your back. Brands such as Baby Bjorn and Ergo can be found in most of these stores. Whatever the carrier, make sure that your baby remains in a comfortable “frog” position, with knees higher than their bum.
If you’ve got a car, you must have a car seat. Your baby must always go in their seat, including when you bring them home from the hospital. It’s very dangerous to carry your baby in your arms in a vehicle. Do not buy a second-hand car seat, as it may have been damaged in an accident. Mothercare, Mamas & Papas, Baby Land, and Motherswork stock a large range of car seats.
Daily 10am-9pm. Shop L3-37, Indigo Mall, 18 Jiuxiangqiao Lu, Chaoyang District (8426 0437) 朝阳区酒仙桥路18号颐堤港商场3层店铺号337
BabyGro Beijing 慧宝
1) Mon-Fri 10am-7pm. Shop 5058, Bldg A, 5/F, Chaowai SOHO, 6 Chaowai Lu (across from Central Park), Chaoyang District (5900 0601) www.babygro.com.cn 朝阳区朝外路6号朝外SOHO5层A座5058店铺（新城国际对面）; 2) Wed-Sun 10am-5pm. Cathay View Plaza, 2 Xiangjiang Beilu, Chaoyang District (8470 1690) 朝阳区香江北路甲2号观唐广场二期商铺
baby international 国际宝贝
Daily 10am-7pm. 2 Jiangtai Lu, Chaoyang District (8450 1189) www.baby-international.com 朝阳区将台路2号
Counting Sheep Children’s Boutique 洋洋宝宝店
1) Sun-Thu 10am-7pm, Fri-Sat 10am-8pm. 17 Gongti Beilu, Chaoyang District (6417 7622, email@example.com) www.countingsheepboutique.com 朝阳区工体北路17号; 2) Daily 10am-10pm. L3-38, Indigo Mall, 18 Jiuxianqiao Lu, Chaoyang District (8420 0451) 朝阳区酒仙桥路18号颐堤港3层38店铺
Mamas & Papas
1) Shop L-SMM-68 and L-VDM-10, Solana Lifestyle Shopping Park, 6 Chaoyang Gongyuan Nanlu, Chaoyang District (5905 6032) 朝阳区朝阳公园南路6号蓝色港湾L-SMM-68和L-VDM-10店铺; 2) Rm 4076CD, 4/F, Jinyuan New Yansha Mall, 1 Yuanda Lu, Haidian District (8889 3385) 海淀区远大路1号金源新燕莎MALL4层4076CD室
Daily 10am-10pm. Store L-VDM-20, Block 2, Solana Lifestyle and Shopping Park, 6 Chaoyang Gongyuan Lu, Chaoyang District (5905 6905) 朝阳区朝阳公园路6号院蓝色港湾国际商区2号楼L-VDM-20号店铺
Nature Colored 本色棉
Daily 10am-10pm. L3-35, Indigo Mall, 18 Jiuxiangqiao Lu, Chaoyang District (186 1842 1423) www.naturecolored.cn 朝阳区酒仙桥路18号颐堤港3层35店铺
Toys “R” Us and Babies “R” Us 玩具反斗城
1) Daily 10am-10pm. Rm 52, B1/F, CapitaMall Taiyanggong, 12 Taiyanggong Zhonglu, Chaoyang District (8429 7072) www.toysrus.com.cn 朝阳区朝阳区太阳宫中路12号凯德广场B1层52号; 2) Daily 10am-10pm. Rm 10, 5/F, Joy City Chaoyang, 101 Chaoyang Beilu, Chaoyang District (8552 2898) 朝阳区朝阳区朝阳北路101号朝阳大悦城5F-10
Mothercare, Leyou, BHG Marketplace, and Watsons have multiple store locations. For a complete list of addresses, see Directories under Shopping.