Shopping for the baby arrival

Shopping for the baby arrival

More than a year ago, I wrote a post on what our shopping list for the upcoming baby looked like, and it didn’t look good. I kept reading and researching about baby stuff that new parents might need and the list just kept expanding. Somewhere in the process, quite confused with over-research, I asked my wife’s mid-wife for tips and she had a very simple answer:

“All that the baby needs is you.”

A year, later I have realized how true that really was. As the baby came into the world, we started to figure things out as and when we needed them. In any case, it never harmed anyone to be prepared but it is also important to know that there is a lot of marketing that pushes new parents towards buying stuff that they really would never need. For instance, do you really need one of those expensive baby monitors? Does a bottle sterilizer make any sense or should one use a pan instead? Before deciding to buy something, always ask yourself ‘why’ and ‘when’ you would be using it and then buy it only if you see a very clear need for it. But how to do you know for sure that you will need it as opposed to you being convinced by marketing? Just wait till the time the real need actually arises and then buy, like I did before buying our Baby Carrier.

So, from my experience as a recent new parent, here is a list of almost everything you will need for your baby in the first few months, along with the ‘why’ and ‘when’:

  1. Feeding Bottles
    For a new-born, remember that the priority should be to only breastfeed as far as possible. But you should still be prepared with at least a couple of bottles, in case you face difficulty with breastfeeding and need to give some formula or if you need to store breast milk for later use as well.
  2. Cot
    It depends on you personally if you plan to have your baby sleep separately in a cot or in the same bed as the parents. For us, even though our baby sleeps with us on most nights, it is good to have a secure place where we could leave her for some time and not worry about her rolling over and falling off the bed. Having her own cot also means that the baby can sleep undisturbed and one does not have to worry about being too careful getting on or off the bed.
  3. Changing table (with changing pad)
    Again, it is not a necessity and you can easily manage on the bed as well. But we did find it to be excellent use because it meant we did not have to bend in order to change our baby’s diaper, which was very good news for our backs and we were also able to store a lot of our baby stuff under our changing table, so it was easy to reach diapers, creams and other baby stuff while changing diapers. By the way, for our baby, we stopped changing her diapers on the changing table when she was around 9 months old because she became too big for it and kept wanting to get up and roll over so it now became impossible to use it any more, but we still use the space to store her stuff.
  4. Onesies
    This is a no-brainer. You will definitely need lots of these since they are easy to put on and don’t have to be taken off for diaper changes. I would recommend at least 6-8 along with a few pyjamas, caps, gloves and socks. In the early months, diaper leakages and vomiting undigested milk are more frequent and it is handy to have a few changes always at hand, considering that you might not be able to wash the baby clothes every day. Babies can also feel colder than we do and it is necessary to keep them warm and that is why you will need some gloves and caps. But remember not to pack the baby too warm that they start feeling hot.
  5. Diaper bag
    As well as keeping things handy and organized at home, diaper bags are a must if you want to take your baby out. And, of course you will. Buy one diaper bag and stick with it for s long as possible. Make sure the bag you buy has enough space to manage all the stuff you need and has a few compartments to organize stuff as well. Read about the contents of our diaper bag here.
  6. Moisturizing and Diaper Rash creams
    Baby skin can get dry and rough if the weather is cold or if not taken care of. If you think it is needed, remember to apply moisturizing creams (the ones for babies, not adults) on their body as well as face. Which cream you use depends on where you live and what is available, but for us our mid-wife recommended Decubal. Diaper changing creams are a must because they help cure diaper rashes, which are inevitable if the baby wears diapers for long. We used Bepanthen and Inotyol.
  7. Nasal spray
    We had bought salt water sprays, such as Näsfrida, which are specially developed for use with babies. These have been helpful on two occasions, when the baby developed congestion in her nose due to cold and when her mucus hardened in her nose and could not be dislodged easily. I would say carrying a Nasal Spray is a must. Check your local pharmacy or baby stores to know what is available.
  8. Mobiles
    We bought a mobile hanging from IKEA that we hung via a mobile arm that was attached to our baby’s cot. It turned out to be a very interesting distraction for our baby. Our mobile had bees hanging from it which always caught our baby’s attention. Whenever our baby cried, we only had to turn the mobile a little and she would get engrossed in the bees flying around. It was a great thing to have.
  9. Baby carrier
    A baby carrier is an expensive product, but it also has a good use case. We bought an Ergobaby 360, but we did not buy it in advance (read about our experience here). It was when my wife was having a hard time carrying our 2 month old baby all day long even at home and her back was hurting her, we decided that it was better for us to have a baby carrier. Now, we just strap our baby to our chest and can do other stuff at home, such as cleaning up, cooking, or even take her out for a stroll and she observes the world pass her by. We have made excellent use of our baby carrier, but I can advise waiting untill you really feel the need for it.
  10. Formula
    To breastfeed or to use formula milk is the big debate. But even if you intend to only breastfeed, remember that at certain times, formula milk comes in very handy. We have had very stressful initial few days and weeks where we weren’t sure if our baby was getting sufficient milk or if she was still hungry. We used to give her top feed with formula just to be sure she was not hungry. Also, when the mom is not feeling well, it is good to have some spare formula milk. We use Baby Semp here in Sweden, so check what is available where you live.
  11. Diapers
    It is next to impossible to avoid using diapers. Either one can dedicate their lives to washing and changing nappies as well as underlying bed sheets, etc. every time the baby pees or poops, or one can take the easy route of using diapers. We have been using diapers since day one, and even on days when we decided to use a nappy instead, we had a tough time keeping up. I would advise that you keep at least 15-20 diapers (which means a pack each) of size 0 and size 1 handy before the birth just to be sure which size will suit your baby in the beginning, and then stock up for at least a week’s worth of supply at a time. Small babies can use up as much as 6-8 diapers a day. You can also read here about which diapers we have utilized.
  12. Stroller
    If you re going to take your bay out of home in the first few years (of course you will), you will most definitely need a stroller. We got a Bugaboo Buffalo for our baby but not everyone needs such an expensive stroller. Think a little bit about how often you are going to use the stroller and in what conditions. Do you think the stroller you need should be able to accommodate a lot of stuff, such as when you are out shopping? Or is it more important for you that the stroller is light and folds compactly and fits in your car? Do you want to be able to fit a car seat to the stroller at times? In that case, do you get adapters to fix your car seat to that stroller? Do you need bigger wheels such as if it snows where you live or if the terrain might be a little rough, or will smaller wheels suit you since you are only going to use it when you are in easy terrains, such as in a mall? Think about these things and then decide.
  13. Car Seat
    Do you have a car? If yes, then you obviously need a car seat for your baby. If you don’t have a car, you probably don’t. But think about how you are going to bring your baby home from the hospital, and how you are going to take her to the doctor for the follow-ups and in emergency cases? Do you easily get taxis which come with infant car seats? Are you going to be travelling with your baby in a manner that might require a car seat? We bought a car seat despite not having a car, and over the last one year I have realized that we used it only in the initial few days and only when we had to take our baby somewhere in a taxi and going by public transport at odd hours with the stroller was not an option. But after she was 4 months old, we have never had to use the car seat, but the reason is that we have excellent and stroller friendly public transport in Stockholm and one can get to anywhere in the city with the stroller. But is your situation different?
  14. Bottle Sterilizer
    We almost fell into the trap of buying an electric bottle sterilizer which would have cost us a good amount of money. And though there are some good sterilizers available, I was lucky to have spoken to a friend who told me that they just wash the bottles and then sterilize them in a pan of boiling water in their kitchen. And my friend’s wife is a nurse, so that gave me the confidence that we did not need anything special. Now that I reflect on this decision, I realize that if I had bought the sterilizer, that would have meant one more thing that needed to be taken care of, such as cleaning if it became dirty, maintenance in case it malfunctioned, whereas a pan needs to maintenance at all.
  15. Baby Gym
    We bought a fancy one from Fischer Price which had a mirror, music and lights as soe of the features and we started to put our baby in it from when she was 6 weeks old. She took some time to get used to it, but we did notice that she tried to observe the hangings quite a lot and the music also occupied her attention. After a few weeks, our baby had started to enjoy and interact with the gym a lot and we could leave her in it for 15-20 minutes at a time and be free to do other stuff. So, I would say you will most certainly need a baby gym, but which one completely depends on you. The point is to give the baby things to observe and touch so she learns.
I hope this list is good enough and covers all basics and essentials. Have I missed discussing anything important? Could anything be added to this list? Please comment below to let me know or if you want more explanation about something. If you like my post, do press the like button and let me know and Follow my blog to receive notifications of new posts.

Why we bought a Baby Carrier and you should too!

Why we bought a Baby Carrier and you should too!

I had had a baby carrier in my list of things to buy while expecting our baby. Over time, I had done my research and decided that if I ever had to, I would buy the ErgoBaby 360 baby carrier. The reason I did not buy it in advance was because I wasn’t sure whether we really would need a baby carrier. I mean, I knew what it was for and how it could be beneficial, but the really high price (around $160 or SEK1500) made me put the decision on hold and buy it only if it deemed necessary. There are so many products out there and thanks to their marketing, everything seems necessary to first time parents.

Anyway, the first few weeks that I was home on parental leave with my wife and baby, we managed just fine as we also had my mom with us for help. All day long, either of us would take care of the baby so that no one in particular had to  stress out all the time. Despite this, within a few days I had started to feel my back hurt. Ditto for my wife as well. The reason wasn’t that the baby was so heavy (3 kg is nothing), but that your posture changes when you’re holding her up so much and it puts a lot of stress on the lower back. Over short terms, it doesn’t affect you much, but it takes a few days to start feeling the effect. At this stage, I did reconsider buying the baby carrier but the real push came a few days later when my mom left us and my wife and I were finally on our own.

On the very first day, my wife called me up at work around noon and told me that she felt absolutely tired because of holding the baby all day long and she wasn’t even able to prepare any food for herself. Her back was killing her and it was only day one of taking care of the baby alone by herself. I could hear in her voice how difficult she felt the situation was. I wasted no time and went online and purchased the ErgoBaby 360 from babyland.se and selected the same day delivery option. Fortunately, the delivery was free because the order was above SEK 1000 and we got the package delivered home the very same evening.

Did the baby carrier help us at all? It absolutely did. The first time I wore it around me with the baby in it, I could immediately feel the difference. My arms were finally free and by my side while the baby was held close to my chest and absolutely still. No longer was I forced to stand in an uncomfortable position in order to hold her correctly. Her head was just under my chin and I only had to bend my neck down in order to kiss her head. And the baby? She was so comfortable, she slept for over 1 hour in that position in the carrier. It was fairly easy for me to inspect her posture and ensure she was sitting comfortably inside the carrier. I did not feel any weight because the carrier’s thick band around my waist ditributed it very well. When I moved, it did not feel that it disturbed the baby at all. And so I spent the next one hour walking around our apartment, watching TV while standing, then sitting down for a while and getting up again. I joined my wife in the kitchen while she made something for us to eat. During dinner, I unfolded the head cover from the carriers front top pocket and covered the baby’s head so that I didn’t spill any food onto her. And it all worked just fine.

During the first couple of days itself we realized what a life saver the ErgoBaby 360 was for us. Though my wife finds it a bit difficult to put on by herself, I attribute that to her lack of practice rather than a problem with the product, though to be fair, it does take a bit of skill (but that is why you need some practice).

One of the reasons why I chose the ErgoBaby 360 over others was that I read more good reviews about this baby carrier than any other. My favourite review site bäst-i-test.se (though only in Swedish) also listed this as no. 1 and I usually take their recommendations without question. This carrier has a good build, a wide waistband and comfortable shoulder straps to distribute the baby’s weight well. For a newborn who cannot support her head during the first few months, one needs an ErgoBaby infant insert which is bought separately, but I purchased the ErgoBaby 360 Start Paket, which includes the infant insert.

Of course, ErgoBaby 360 isn’t the only option in the market. Another good option is to buy the BabyBjörn One baby carrier. It has equally good reviews as the ErgoBaby 360 and is comparatively slightly cheaper. Personally, I haven’t tried out any other baby carriers myself, but am quite convinced that these two are the best of the lot.

So, what should you consider while buying a baby carrier?

First and foremost, is the price. Can you afford a ErgoBaby 360 Start Paket (incl. Infant insert), which has a marked price of roughly SEK 1500 (I got it for approx. 1200 after discount on babyland.se). If not, there is no problem in going for a cheaper option by looking at other ErgoBaby models and the Babybjörn models. (There are some other brands also, but I haven’t done any research on them.)

Is the baby sitting in an ergonomic position in the carrier? Babies are supposed to sit in frog position and having the correct ergonomics is very important. ErgoBaby360 had the best ergonomics of the lot that I could figure out and therefore I went with it. Some older models of BabyBjörn were heavily criticized for not been ergonomic but the BabyBjörn One, released in 2015, has fixed that. So, do consider the ergonomics.

How long are you going to use the baby carrier that you are planning to buy? Is your child’s age/weight close to the upper limit for that carrier? Is it worth spending more on a carrier if you are going to use it for a shorter durations?

Material. Think about where you will be using the baby carrier. Will it be a hot environment or cold? Does the carrier that you are considering look like the baby will feel too hot in it if the environment is such? Having a mesh instead can help cool the baby down but it can get dirty easily and might cause a rash to the baby if it is expeosed to her skin. Is the material Oeko-tex certified? This basically means that the fabric is free from hazardous sunstances.

Baby position in the carrier: There are some carriers, such as the ErgoBaby 360 which allow the baby to sit in 4 positions: Front Carry Facing You, Front Carry Facing the World, Back Carry (like a backpack) and Carry on Hip. Not all carriers allow all 4 positions, so think about how you intend to carry your baby and invest accordingly.

These are the factors that I could include in this post and already, the post has become quite long. So, in a nutshell, our baby carrier turned out to be a life saver for us and it gives us the comfort and freedom we longed for without letting our baby out of site.

What do you think about this? Are you using or planning to use a baby carrier? Do share your experience by commenting below.

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Which Diapers do we use for our Newborn?

Which Diapers do we use for our Newborn?

We got quite a few diaper samples from the various babyboxes we had ordered. In addition, we also got a few discount coupons from promotions and other sources so we ended up buying quite a few different brands. These included Pampers, Libero Touch, Minstingen and Toujours (from LIDL). Here is a brief review of these diapers and how they worked for us.

  1. Libero Touch: Starts from Size 1, which is their smallest size. It is marked for weight category 2-5 kg. These were also the diapers that the hospital gave us when our baby was born. They were quite easy to put on, had an indicator which changes color to blue if the diaper was been soiled, and the fit was excellent for our baby. We found absolutely no leakages and it handled all loads equally well. At the end of 3 weeks, when I first started writing this post, our baby was still comfortable in this diaper, though now we had suspected that she might be about to grow out of this size. So, we did try Size 2 after a while and that worked absolutely fine as well. Our Review? Libero Touch was the best newborn diaper we have used. We also used Libero Newborn 2 for a while and it worked equally well. No complaints, except that it is a bit expensive compared to the other brands.
  2. Pampers New Baby: Also starts from Size 1 which is their smallest size. It is marked for weight category 2-5 kg. In our case, we tried these diapers a week or so after the baby was born but we found these to be slightly loose on the baby, as compared to Libero Touch Size 1. At around 3 weeks, we had already suspected that it leaked once slightly when our baby had filled it too much, but otherwise the diaper handled the load pretty well. Our baby is 2.5 months now and we have been using their Size 2 since over a month now. Theye are very good value for money and have done pretty well. However, it is worth noting that there have been quite a few instances when our baby pooped heavily and this diaper failed miserably to contain the load and the poop leaked from the top at the back side and spoiled all her back and clothes. I cannot say why there were such major leakages at times, but it could be because of too much poop and our baby was having a few problems with gas. But since we have not tried any other diaper during this gas problem, I cannot say if the leakage could have happened with other diapers or not.
    Verdict: I would rate the Libero Touch as having a much better and comfortable fit than Pampers, but the price per diaper is quite high for Libero. So, I would recommend you choose according to what works better for you.
  3. Toujours (only at LIDL stores): Starts from Size 2 which is their smallest size. It is marked for weight category 3-6 kg. In our case, we tried these diapers 2 weeks or so after the baby was born but we found these to be much bigger on the baby as compared to both Libero Touch Size 1 and Pampers New Baby Size 1. Now, it did leak once or twice when our baby had filled it too much, but that is understood because the diaper was obviously quite big on the baby. So, we decided to pause the use of these diapers and continue with Pampers and Libero. It wasn’t that this diaper was loose around the baby’s waste, it just seemed far longer at its lowest point when put on the baby and therefore there was a chance of leakage. We did continue using these diapers when our baby was around 4 weeks old and these started to fit quite well then. I don’t think we faced any more leakages, and even if there were, they were very minor. The good thing about Toujour is that they are lighter and much thinner than Pampers and Libero, without really losing a lot on capacity. I liked that. Toujour are also comparitively much much cheaper. It was therefore that we stuck to using Toujours a lot more than the others. Again, they do not perform as good as Libero/Pampers, but our approach was to use Toujours during normal course and put on Libero or Pampers at night when we expected a heavier load or if we were taking the baby out.
  4. Minstingen: Recently launched by Axfood AB and availale only in Sweden via Hemköp and Willys. We haven’t as yet been able to test these diapers since they start from size 3 and our little baby has still not grown into that category. However, working for Axfood myself, we recently got a lot of free samples to try and are looking forward to do that soon. One thing to note is that they appear to be good value for money since they are not as expensive as Libero. More on these later.

My recommendation: I have said this above and say it again. We liked the Libero Touch the best amongst all these diapers over the first few months. Their fit is really good. However, these are also the most expensive of all, whereas Toujour being the cheapest, was having the biggest fit and therefore slightly unsuited for newborns upto a few weeks. But after about 4 weeks, Toujour became our goto diapers for a couple of weeks until our baby became to big for them (week 6, maybe?). Pampers are priced between Libero Touch and Toujour, but their performance is also in between them both, and we found we used them the most after the baby reached 6 weeks and now we are already in week 9 and it looks like they might  fit another week.

And lastly, none of these diapers caused any diaper rash on our baby, but we did use diaper rash creams as a precaution once a day.

How has your experience been? Are there any other points worthy of noting when comparing these diapers? Do let me know by leaving a comment below.

And remember, you can always get in touch with me if you have any questions, by visiting my Contact page or emailing me at: peepoopburp@gmail.com.

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What’s in our Diaper Bag?

What’s in our Diaper Bag?

In the months leading up to the birth of our baby girl, I spent a lot of time researching what should go in our diaper bag. I know, I know, what some might say. That it is the job of mums and not dads to plan diaper bags, and my wife complains just as much that I never let her do it either, but what can I say? I just love doing this stuff.

So, coming back to our diaper bag. Let me start with the bag itself. We bought a Skip Hop Chelsea (Black) even though, at around £85, it was far more expensive than I had earlier budgeted for. There were other very pretty bags, and I liked the Elodie Details diaper bags in particular but my wife did not like them too much. So finally, we decided on the Skip Hop Chelsea for these reasons:

  1. It had a lot of different pockets and compartments outside as well as inside and seemed easier to organize the stuff.
  2. It is of very good build and will last us a long time.
  3. Its looks are elegant and classy and i thought my wife can easily carry it anywhere and it will look decent.

But do not think that I am recommending this bag to you over all others. This was just something that we liked personally but your choice might well be different.

So, that was the diaper bag. Now, what do we have in it?

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  1. Diapers: We have a collection on Libero Touch, Pampers and Toujours diapers at home and which ones we carry is not that important here. But we make sure that we have 3-4 diapers in the diaper bag which we do not touch at home. The reason for just so few is that we know we will never be away from home for more than 3 hours, so 3-4 diapers are enough. They also act as a buffer in case we run out of our regular supply at home. These can last us half a day.
  2. Waste bags: to dispose of those soiled diapers. We bought a pack of Libero waste bags which contain 45 pcs and we think they should suffice for a really long time.
  3. Diaper Creams: I had researched and asked a few friends about which diaper creams are good. We had also ordered some free babyboxes earlier which came with some sample creams. These, because they are small in size, take very little space in the bag and we know in the beginning that their use will also be very limited. The bigger sized creams we have are stored on our changing table and if we need to carry them with us in future, we will simply pick them up. We are using Bepanthen and Inotyol as diaper changing creams. We are also carrying samples of Burt’s Bee nourishing lotion, a small bottle of Libero baby oil, some unperfumed baby creams by Apoteksgruppen. Another body lotion that we have is one we found at the children’s clinic (Barnavårdscentralen in Sweden) as well and the nurse recommended it as safe for use on our baby’s body and face: Decubal basic, original clinic cream. Remember that all creams that we use on Babies must be without perfumes, colourants or parabens.
  4. Wet wipes: We find it practical to keep small packs of wet wipes (pack of 24 pcs) handy in the bag. At home we avoid using these packaged wipes, instead we soak dry wipes (see next point) in water and use them to clean the baby, whether it is just a sponge on her body or while cleaning her during a diaper change. But when outside, the wet wipe packs come in very handy. The only thing to look for is that the wipes should not contain any perfume or other chemicals.
  5. Wash cloths: in Sweden, they are also called Tvättlappar, and they are the recommend option. Our midwife told us not to use wet wipes, but dip these tvättlappar in water and use them for cleaning instead. One can either buy reusable (at grocery stores such as Hemköp) or disposable wash cloths.
  6. Hand towels: a couple of these, just in case.
  7. Changing pad and mats: Our diaper bag comes with its own changing pad which, though not an ideal solution, is definitely a life saver and can be easily cleaned. We also have a few single-use waterproof mats, or the Libero Changing Mats, which we got for free from the hospital. These come in handy too as they protect the changing pad from getting dirty.
  8. Pacifiers: in the beginning, we were very apprehensive of pacifiers and, though we have a few at home, we never included them in the diaper bag. However, on one of our short trips in the city, our baby girl started to cry bloody murder on the way back and at that time, we sorely missed having a pacifier at hand for such desperate moments. So keep a couple in case the baby spits out one onto the floor.
  9. Nasal Spray: we carry the salt water spray from Näsfrida. This contains no chemicals and is super useful if the baby has congestion in its nose due to cold. Just spray it into either nostril and it makes the mucus soft and allows the baby to breathe easy and can be administered as many times a day as needed.
  10. Spare change of Onesies, Caps, Mittens, Socks: you never know when the baby feels a little more cold or when the clothes she has on get soiled by a diaper malfunction.
  11. Nursing Pads: We have a box of nursing pads at home, but we have also kept 2-3 pcs of them in our diaper bag in case my wife is nursing away from home and there is leakage. You can either buy branded, such as Libero, or buy the local department store brands, such as COOP, Hemköp, and others.
  12. A small rattle toy to distract the baby.
  13. Cotton pads for wiping off dirt or oil from the baby’s face.
  14. A couple of bibs and burp cloths.
  15. A spare feeding bottle.
  16. Waterproof adhesive bandage for the baby.
  17. Lip balm for the parents, because you never know when you miss it.

You might also consider adding some spare cash for emergencies, a contact information card in case you misplace the bag, and any regular medicines that you yourself take.

So, what do you have in your diaper bag? Any recommendations? Do let me know by commenting below.

And remember, you can always get in touch with me if you have any questions, by visiting my Contact page or emailing me at: peepoopburp@gmail.com.

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Traveling with Babies: Do you really need to buy a car seat?

maxi-cosi-pebbleFor a long time before our baby arrived, I was in two minds about whether to buy a car seat for our baby or not. Car seats can be expensive, considering the fact that we don’t even own a car. The only reason I was even thinking about buying a car seat was in order to bring the baby home from the hospital after delivery and for those rare occasions when we might need to hire a cab. Another occasion could have been when we flew to India with the baby. Though many airlines offer a bassinet for babies, they are limited in number for each flight and there is no guarantee that you will get one every time, and to travel long haul with a baby strapped to your chest or in your lap sounded to us like a big nightmare.

So, I had my eyes on a few car seats which were not too expensive and kept a check on any offers online as well as offline. It finally happened that I ended up buying the Maxi Cosi Pebble.

This car seat has very good reviews everywhere and is accepted on all major airlines. Its market price was around 2400 SEK, but I got an excellent deal for it via babyshop.se, where it only cost me 1200 SEK after discount. So, it was a great buy. I also had the option of buying the 349 SEK car seat from Biltema, and in retrospect I feel it would also have worked out just fine if I were only going to use it in taxis locally. But since my plan was also to use them on airplanes when we visit India, I wanted to have the most approved model so that there is no confusion with the staff on a plane.

But, do you really need a car seat to bring a baby home from the hospital after delivery? I found that if you called up a taxi company, such as Taxi Kurir, you could then ask them to send a taxi with a car seat. So you don’t really need one of your own, unless you actually own a car and intend to use it regularly. Otherwise, with a good stroller, the public transport in Stockholm is excellent and one doesn’t really need to travel around in a taxi. I do not intend to do that either and am looking forward to many metro and bus rides with our baby in her Bugaboo. But you need to decide what works best for you. For me, it was a great deal at a great price and I could afford it, so I went with it.

So, in a nutshell, my belief is that you do need a car seat if you have a car. This is quite obvious. However, if you don’t have a car, then you can consider saving that money and spending it on something else, considering that taxi companies do offer the facility if you call and book in advance. It all depends on how big a use you think it is going to be, will you be flying with your baby with this car seat? How long can you use the specific car seat before the baby outgrows it and needs another model? Can you get by with a cheaper model, like the one from BilTema I mentioned above? Another important factor to consider is how good a resale value a specific car seat has as that can reduce the final cost of ownership.

Do share your thoughts on this with me by commenting below.

Bugaboo Buffalo: The Stroller We Finally Bought

buffalo2

The very first stroller that we checked out many months ago, and which we ended up buying last week, was the Bugaboo Buffalo. Back in July, while my wife was still only 3 months pegnant, we were in a shopping mall when we decided to have a look at the strollers.

The first thing we noticed about Bugaboo strollers was how premium they look. The color schemes were perfect, none of the curves or edges on any of the models looked weird or out-of-place. We thought that the Bugaboo Cameleon looked pretty amazing as well. However, we were completely blown away by the Buffalo, considering that its big wheels and higher load capacity suited the way of life in Stockholm much more than the other models.

So, at first look, we knew this was the stroller we wanted. However, when we found out the price of the Buffalo (at 11,500 SEK / 1300 USD / 1,00,000 INR), we weren’t sure we could spend such a high amount on it. But then, we had many months to go before we decided.

Over the next few weeks and months I did more research on strollers. I asked a few people for suggestions but never got a definitive answer. But everyone did agree that the Buffalo was great product. Anyway, we saw the Britax Smile 2 stroller, which was (at roughly 5,600 SEK) almost half the price of the Buffalo and was highly recommended by the stores which sold them. It was even recommended by the website bäst-i-test.se, which I follow seriously for advice. We liked the Smile 2 quite a lot as well, but I thought the shape of the chassis at the front was an eye-sore. Yes, that was the only thing I disliked about it, while also aware that it had a lesser weight capacity than Buffalo, but then the price was also accordingly low. But later I was told by one of the sellers that this model had frequent complaints of flat tyres due to them being air-filled. This made me think back to the Buffalo, which had foam filled tyres.

We also looked at the EmmaLjunga strollers and I found them to be very pretty as well. I definitely liked them much more than Britax models, but even the EmmaLjunga were a bit expensive. However, the biggest drawback to these were that they did not fold compactly enough, which was important for us from storage perspective.

While we had an open mind about the strollers, we started noticing other parents with their strollers all around Stockholm. Many of them had the Bugaboo which, incidentally, was our first love. They looked amazing and always stood out. By this time, my tolerance for the price was increasing and I knew that I could afford to buy it if I so chose.

So, then why exactly the Buffalo?
During my research, I ascertained that the quality of the Bugaboo Buffalo was excellent. There was nothing about the stroller which did not work as claimed. The foam-filled tyres, and their 12-inch diameter and swivel front hinges make the Buffalo wonderfully easy to maneuver, and its all-terrain capability make it perfect for heavy snowy conditions as well as other rough terrain. The two-wheel position allows you to effortlessly drag the stroller in sand. The handle-bar can be adjusted to different heights, which suits me (5’10”) and my wife (5’2″) equally well. The carrycot and the seat unit are approved to carry a child of upto an astonishing 17 kg. Add to this the 10 kg allowed in the under-seat basket and another 6 kg for hanging a diaper bag on the handle-bar and what you have is an actual Buffalo that carries all your load. And we tested the stroller with all these loads at a store and it made no difference to its maneuverability at all. It still moved equally smooth. The fabric colors were excellent and the canopy could be extended all the way down to completely cover the baby in very sunny conditions. And when folded, the Buffalo is deceptively compact.

Yes, there still were two downside to the Buffalo: its price and the fact that it weighs over 15 (or 17?) kg itself. The weight was a bigger concern for us because we weren’t sure if my wife would be able to handle it when moving around in metros and busses. But during the tests, she actually found this stroller easier to move around than the other lighter strollers from other companies. Moreover, the public transport infrastructure in Stockholm is so good that there is no place one cannot reach with a stroller.

As to the price, let me start by saying that nowhere in my research on the internet did I find a review of the Buffalo which said that they were overpriced for what they offered. The stroller is built like a tank, yet very easy to move with. It is the perfect combination of utility and aesthetics. The design is great and owners have been very happy. It comes with a 2+1 years extra warranty and I have heard that the stroller easily has a life of 5-7 years. And even then, the resale value is great as well. Considering all this, one could hardly call the Buffalo overpriced.

Finally, we decided that the first stroller we saw and fell in love with was actually a great product. We bought it at BabyTown, which is a nice little store in Stockholm and offered us a discount, which made it a much better deal for us. However, it is also possible to buy it online from the store BabyPlus in Netherlands. I have heard excellent reviews of this store (translate this link from Swedish to English and read in detail), they offer excellent discounts on the strollers and the accessories and ship to Sweden for only 20 Euros, and am quite convinced that they provide good service. The upside to buying the stroller from a store in Sweden is that you get förlossningsgaranti, which means that you can return the stroller and get your full money back in case something goes wrong with the pregnancy.

So, which stroller should you buy?
I realized that chosing the right stroller for one’s baby can be tough because different people have different needs. For some, the aesthetics are very important, while for others the budget is supreme. But going through all the tests, I discovered that there is no wrong choice. After all, I’ve never seen any strollers break up on the roads or children falling out because these were unstable. So, one must choose a stroller that they are comfortable with, and which they will enjoy carrying their baby around in, be it Bugaboo, Britax, EmmaLjunga, or any other brand. They all work just fine. For us, it was a stroller we loved at first sight, which we also found we could afford. So, we went with it and hope to have a nice time with our baby in it soon.

Do share with me how you decided on your stroller or if you have any questions.

Free Stuff for your baby in Sweden

img_3119Over the last few weeks, I have been immersed in researching what stuff we need to buy for our baby which is due in early January 2017. I have found, to my delight, that that many Swedish stores and websites send parents free stuff, also called Baby Boxes, which contain samples of various baby products such as diapers, baby moisturizer creams, bibs, soft pillows, etc. I think it is a good idea to get started with the these boxes to see and test what sort of baby products are available in the market.

I have already started registering and ordering these products and will describe each in a different post later, but for now the following are the options you have:

Babybox.se
Registering on this website places an order for a babybox from each of the following stores in Sweden:
Apoteksgruppen
Babyproffsen
Lloyd’s Apotek

All you need to do is, register online and they immediately send you an email with your order number. Go to your nearest Apoteksgruppen, Babyproffsen and Lloyd’s Apotek to collect your baby boxes from each of them. Each store has a different assortments in their boxes but basically you will get some helpful parental booklets, discount vouchers, baby creams, diapers, pillows, bibs, etc. (I have collected the free boxes from both the Apoteks listed on this site but am yet to go to Babyproffsen so I will share more details on their contents later.)

Apotek Hjärtat: Startbox
With Apotek Hjärtat, the box is named Hjärtats Startbox. You can read about it here. Even though the website here shows that the box is worth 349 SEK, it is free for those who sign up to become a member in their Klubb Hjärtat (for free). When I registered with them and ordered it, I got a mail saying it will be in stock in a week or so (owing to the high demand) and when it is available, they will send me a message to come and collect it. I will post details when I get it.

Allt för Föräldrar: Gravidpaketet
On this website, when you register and order your free Gravidpacketet, they will send you a post home with many free vouchers and discount coupons along with their parental guides. I have placed order for this already and I will update this post when I receive the packet. I guess these coupons might help obtain some stuff for reduced prices.

Libero Startbox
You can register for this here. They send you the startbox a few weeks before the expected due date. First, they confirm your phone number via email and then later send you an SMS with details of your order, which you can pick up from any ICA Maxi Supermarket. I have registered yesterday but will wait a while to see when they contact me. Then, I will post details of their box as well.

Babybag
Babybag is also a popular assortment of samples that is available with many of the hospitals and mödravårdscentral (mid-wife clinics) so it is best to ask your midwife about it. More information is available here. I will find out more about this when we see our midwife next. So, follow this post for more information on this.

BabyToBe
When you register at BabyToBe, they send you a list of discount codes, which you can use to buy some baby products at reduced prices as well as a free gift worth 300 SEK when you buy something from sveabarn.se.

Goboken
Goboken offers free books for kids according to their age. But honestly, I didn’t quite understand how it worked, though what I do understand is that if you register with them, they send you free welcome gifts. However, their registration asked for the baby’s name and birthdate, so I decided to register with them after the baby is born. Perhaps, if I figure out something earlier, I will definitely update this post.

I hope you found this list useful. There are many other resources available online but almost all are in Swedish, so I have tried to collect all this information in english so that it is easier for non-Swedish speakers to search and read. Naturally, this list isn’t complete yet, but I intend to update it with more information soon.

Have I missed anything here? Did you find any of my information is incorrect? Please let me know by leaving a comment below. I would love to know of more sources for free goodies for our baby.

Our First List of Baby Stuff to Buy

Our First List of Baby Stuff to Buy

When preparing for the arrival of a baby, buying the right stuff for it seems like a monumental task. Specially for new parents like us, who also need to figure out the What, When and Where from. Researching online has thrown up so much information that my initial list has now grown past 40 items.

newborn_list

Should I buy from H&M or other baby stores? Should I buy from an online store that is cheaper and delivers to Sweden? What should I do? And how soon?

I am just baffled. Does a tiny little baby that does not demand anything really need so many things to begin with? Do even adults with desires have so many things of their own?

Anyway, the first step for me to begin with is to divide the whole list into 2 parts: The Really Big Stuff and The Small Stuff.

The Really Big Stuff
This list, as the name suggests, contains stuff that is big in size as well as big in price such as Stroller, Car Seat, Baby Crib, Mattress, Baby Gym, etc.

This list is easier to make, since it contains so little, but difficult to fulfil. It has been months since we started looking into the various Stroller models across Stockholm but the problem is that we end up liking everything that we see. The price, the utility each model offers, etc. everything is so confusing. Similarly with the car seat. We don’t have a car, but do we need a car seat anyway? Will we need one when we take a flight with our baby? Do we need a baby crib right in the beginning or can it sleep in a Baby Nest instead? And so on.

The Small Stuff
This is the really tricky stuff and it seems to me that this list almost never ends, but keeps on growing. The stuff here might not be as expensive individually, but put together, they might surpass even the big stuff. Though it might seem easy, but when I think about which onsies to buy, how many, what size, what will they cost, etc., I feel overwhelmed and give up the decision-making for “later”.

For the sake of sanity, I have stopped adding more stuff to this list. The point of my post is not to overwhelm you but to show you how overwhelmed I myself am thinking about what to buy for our baby, which is due in January 2017.

Right now, I have no idea how I am going to start the shopping, let alone fulfilling everything in this list. With exactly four months to go before the baby is expected to come, it sometimes feel like we have a lot of time while at other times I feel a sense of panic. Adding to that the fact that we decided not to find out the sex of the baby, it has made our choices even more difficult because now we can’t even decide on the colors: whether it will be pink or blue. Hello Kitty or Batman?

I wish there was an easier way a first time parent like me could have my answers. Do you have any answers?