–          By Adeela Kasoojee

Congratulations! You are expecting a wonderful gift from the Almighty and you are truly blessed. Along with all the excitement and joy at your impending arrival there is a sense of trepidation, after all – babies come with huge responsibility. Besides their material and physical needs and utter dependence – you, as a parent, are also responsible for their education and spiritual growth. There’s so much to do and prepare for, that nine months suddenly feels like a very short time. With the help of other experienced mothers, good advice and my own innate sense of what I required and what worked for us as a family – I drew up a list of sorts to aid a new (and nervous!) mum. There are some tips which you may not find useful or applicable but which may appeal to other mothers, particularly those with an interest in South African Indian home remedies and Dutch medication.

Please note that the views expressed are not medical advice. They are merely suggestions. We are in no way responsible for any consequences that may arise from use of the article or the tips contained herein.

The Ultimate Baby List


For the new Mummy:

You will require –

1.         A few sets of nice comfortable pyjamas to receive your visitors whilst in hospital. I found that matching gowns and hijaab are also a help- I purchased about 4-5 sets and zip up gowns for breastfeeding. You may also have abayas made up with a zip down the front to facilitate feeding baby.

2.         A pair of bedroom slippers in nice dark colour – navy/black – trust me on this one. Remember to buy warm socks to match your gowns. Hospitals can be quite chilly.

3.         4-5 good quality feeding bras that fit well – buy this after your 8th month because your breasts will become quite large in preparation for breastfeeding

4.         4 pairs of disposable panties and 5 linen savers – set of normal inexpensive panties in a larger size as well. These will be used post-partum.

5.         A “Trim n Lift” or any other tight belt/corset-type device to wear on tummy. – I do not recommenduse of this type of belt/corset if you have had a Caesarean section. You could cause extensive internal damage or ruptures by the use of such a belt/corset. Be careful.

6.         2 boxes of breast pads to avoid the milk let-down reflex from staining your clothing.

7.         A few packets of maternity sanitary towels – Dr Whites/new Freedom maternity pads – Do not use ordinary sanitary pads since post-partum lochia is somewhat excessive. You need to be comfortable and the unbleached cotton in Dr White is a good choice, especially if you have stitches. Also try to sit on a pillow for a few days to ease discomfort after normal vaginal birth.

8.         Nipple Cream – Lansinoh/Bennets. Lansinoh is an ideal choice. A little dot works wonders when massaged into nipples before after feeds and after baths. Also make sure baby latches properly. Put as much of your breast into baby’s mouth. Not just the nipple. The nipple needs to be quite far in baby’s mouth.  Milk does not flow well after a Caesarean birth because the hormones released during the natural birth process (that aid in breastfeeding and stimulate the let-down reflex) are not released as they would normally be – you have to persist with breastfeeding effort and InshaaAllah, it will come. Breastfeeding can be quite painful initially but that soon passes and the experience becomes quite enjoyable especially since it means you are cuddling and comforting your baby. Remember to feed from each breast at each session and to wake a baby that falls asleep at the breast. Burping is also very important – ensure that you do it after each feed to avoid any mishaps that could arise from choking on a large amount of regurgitated milk.

9          Rough Salt (Fill into a clean, empty mayo bottle – measure salt out into the mayo lid each time you go to the toilet or bathroom and dissolve in warm water. Rinse the episiotomy cut with this water for healing.)

10.       One tube of Betadine ointment (put a line down the centre of the sanitary towel to avoid any contamination)

11.        Bor capsules and ginger paak (for the back) Drink only after stitches are healed. Don’t use bor if you have a Caesar.

12.       Huwa paanee/Lewens essens – Drink after birth to clean inside. Don’t use Lewens Essens if you have a Caesar.

13.       Schlehens Blackthorn Berry Elixir/Brewer’s Yeast/oats porridge – makes more milk

14.       Bio Oil or Happy Event Stretchmark Cream

In the event of a Caesar – please keep your wound dry. It will heal better if kept dry. Take quick showers until the Doctor removes the dressing – around one week after the birth. Do not take bubble baths or soak. Do not take any laxatives unless the doctor prescribes them (if breastfeeding – they can affect baby) and do not strain in the toilet – you can cause internal damage by doing so. You will be constipated for five to seven days– just wait it out.

For the Baby:

Don’t forget to take at least three (3) sets of clothing for yourself and baby to the hospital – depending on what they tell you. They usually give a list once you register and book a bed. Some hospitals dress baby in the hospital issue clothing until the day you leave. If this is the case, remember you will need an outfit for this day and the wraps and blankets as well. It helps to package each day’s clothing into separate bags (Ziplock freezer bags in a large size work well). You can also do this with your own clothing and toiletries and even snacks for each day. This type of organization prevents scrambling around trying to match a vest to a onesie and a babygro when you have to give baby a bath. A nice way of doing it would be to arrange a vest, outfit, babygro, wrap, hat, booties and light blanket in each packet, dependent on the season, of course. You may do the same with your own clothing.

1.         Three-six (3-6) Wrappers – white, yellow, green, orange, cream

2.         Three-five (3-5) Receiving Blankets – buy cotton cellular – can be used in summer and winter too.

3.         Two-three (2-3) Towels – with hoods

4.         Three-five (3-5) Facecloths –washing

5.         Three-six (3-6) Fancy Facecloths – burping

6.         Change mat or Pitstop

7.         Five-eight (5-8) sets of outfits (leggings and tops) –
You may take 3 sets to the hospital. Purchase either Newborn/0-3 months in size – they can be used as pyjamas when you return home

8.         Five-eight (5-8) Babygros long sleeve

9          Ten (10) long sleeve vests (Bodyvests) – take a mix of 4 short and 2 long sleeve in Summer. All long sleeve in winter.

10.       Three–Six (3-6) Babygrows – short sleeve (for summer)

11.        Six-eight (6-8) pairs of newborn socks

12.       Bibs (small round – 2 packs of 3) – get the big ones later when baby starts solids

13.       5-7 Hats – babies lose most of their body heat through their heads. Keep covered for 1-2 months or so

Keep baby warm not hot – you can check temperature by putting your hand on the back of his/her neck or feeling the tummy. Do not judge his/her temperature by feeling hands and feet. These will be cool. Do not overdress baby. They cannot regulate their own body temperature initially and may overheat. The rule is one more layer than you would wear – winter/summer. Baby must be 36.5 -37 degrees at all times. Bath water must be tested by putting your own elbow and wrist into the water. If you can comfortably handle the degree of warmth with your elbow area – it’s good enough for baby. Do not use your hand to judge temperature – the skin on our palms is thicker and therefore able to withstand higher temperatures that may be unsuitable for a baby.

1.         One (1) Big Blanket (Take to Hospital for use on the day when you return home)

2.         Crib/Cot and Cot Mattress (aerated i.e.-with breathing holes) – Remember mattresses come in different sizes – standard cot size and camp cot size. If using a crib – ensure that the spaces between the bars are very small, so that baby’s head cannot fit through the sides. Remember a bassinet is really pretty but you cannot use it long term. Consider this when purchasing your cot/crib. My baby slept in a camp cot for a very long time.

3.         Car Seat (0-4 years) – for the first nine months, you can use a capsule car seat – it’s smaller and less expensive. You can replace it later with a bigger one, once baby is around 5-7kg.

4.         Two (2) Towelling Sheets (I bought cotton as well – more comfortable for Summer)

5.         Nappy Bag. Choose one that suits you – check Woolies and Edgars

6.         One (1) aerated Pillow &Two (2) Pillow Slips – not really necessary for the first year

Baby must sleep on his/her back to avoid SIDS/ possible suffocation with the blankets tucked in at the end of the cot and his/her feet touching the end of the cot. Blankets/duvet must not be loose in the cot as baby moving around may dislodge blankets and cover his/her face. Turn the head to the sides (alternating each night to avoid “Flat head syndrome”). I chose to put my baby on her side to prevent choking and it worked well. I alternated sides each night.

7.         One (1) Duvet Set. Avoid the bumper that comes with it. This is a risk for suffocation, if baby gets stuck.

8          A good quality Pram that reclines completely (two separate handles – folds better and allows for more space)

9          Baby Bath and Bath seat – I bought the bath on a stand – more comfy. You can opt for a compactum that includes a bath however the bath on a stand is less expensive and works quite well. There are inexpensive baby bath support devices that can be inserted – that have a toweling finish and I have seen this work well to support baby whilst having a bath.

10        2 Buckets (Washing, soaking)

11         Breast pump – if you are going back to work – look at the option of purchasing a good quality breast pump. I bought the Medela Mini Electric breast pump. I breastfed my daughter for 11 months (I also used formulae to supplement) and I made extensive use of this pump. It is quite efficient and not too cumbersome.

12        Feeding Bottles – you may be breastfeeding but you will definitely use the bottles if you go back to work – A good suggestion is to purchase a starter pack around R399-00 (Baby Boom/Edgars etc.). Some brands are developed to simulate breastfeeding so babies don’t get nipple confusion. Feel free to find out about each brand. But remember not to use anything cheap or unknown – these may end up costing you far more in the long run by damaging baby’s teeth – so be quite careful. There is also a risk of the nipple breaking off in a cheaper brand and this could cause choking etc. Also try to purchase BPA free bottles to curtail the risks of chemicals being released when plastic is heated as these chemicals may have adverse effects on your child’s health.

13        One bottle Brush

14.       Dummy (good quality, branded) & Dummy Chain – this depends on whether baby takes a dummy

15.       1 small tin of formula – just in case you are unable to breastfeed for any reason. We supplemented my daughter breast feeds with one bottle in the evening and she had both formula and breast milk as a result. It works, if you intend going back to work or your flow isn’t particularly strong. Wait until you leave the hospital before buying this as they may have supplemented her there and you will want to continue with the same formula. Babies are quite fussy little creatures. If the hospital used NAN – they may prefer to only drink NAN. I used S26 gold because it was recommended by our Pediatrician. There are a number of brands – be sure to ask the nurse and remember to use No. 1 (ie 0-6 months stage) of any brand that you buy. Purchase formulae in the correct progression as your child grows and their need for differing vitamins increases.  Later on, when baby is over a year old –you can introduce baby rooibos and a little honey but do not ever allow then to fall asleep with bottles in their mouth as this causes dental caries (decay of the baby teeth) and it is a cause of low self confidence as well as ill health in even little children.

16.       Wet wipes (case) – I chose to use the TLC brand of sensitive wipes – they are cheaper than Pigeon, Pampers and Huggies, remain wet even after weeks and are of a better quality. I also preferred thinner interleaves but this is a personal choice.

17.       Hairbrush

18.       Scissors and Nail Kit – I purchased a pair of sharp cuticle scissors and cut my baby’s nails once a week when she was asleep. This was on the advice of a few older mothers. It was way better than the blunt scissor you get for baby’s nails in the grooming kits.

19.       Thermometer

20.      Behoedmiddel (for cramps & wind – do not give to babies less than 2.5kg)

21.       Entressdruppels (Dip earbud and dot around baby’s navel or use in bath water – they sleep better)

22.       Telament drops (for colic)

23.       Bennets Saline and Nasal Aspirator (and Eazi breathe kit) or Chamiflor saline solution – This was used for cleaning baby’s little nose. Newborn babies’ noses are often stuffy for the first month or so. Do not panic. Use the saline and then the aspirator and the Eazi breathe kit if you are panicky – read directions. I also consulted my pediatrician if I felt uncertain.

24.       Panado/Calpol Syrup – give baby 2.5ml ½ hour before vaccinations. Do not use without the guidance of your medical practitioner.

25.       Syringe/Medicine dropper/medicine dummy

26.      Sunlight Baby Washing Powder/Sunlight green soap to wash baby’s clothing. Remember to rinse well and try to dry in sunlight.

27.       Sunlight Baby Fabric Softener

28.      Navel Powder – Weleda – Graze and Weeping Wound Powder – dust very little over navel after cleaning with spirits and drying. I don’t know if this is still available but it was a particularly good purchase. You may contact Weleda directly or ask at a natural health pharmacy.

29.       Cotton Wool – dip in tepid boiled water and squeeze well to clean face, ears and bum as well as private parts, very gently. This is very handy for cleaning poo off little girls. Trust me!

30.      Safety Ear buds – available from Clicks. Do not use in baby’s ears. Just clean outer ear. Don’t put anything into baby’s ears – they are self-cleaning.

31.       Surgical Spirits – to clean the umbilical cord. Dip an earbud into spirits and clean carefully around navel after every nappy change and bath. Lift clamp and clean around there too. Then clean with a dry earbud and fold nappy down below navel so that the area gets as much air as possible. The more exposure to air – the quicker the navel will dry out and fall off. (Contrary to popular Indian belief!)

32.       Bandage – only if you intend covering the navel – I didn’t do this and my baby’s navel was perfect. Once again, please discuss this with your medical practitioner.

33.       Safety Pins– only if you intend covering the navel – I didn’t do this and her navel is perfect

34.       Baby Body Wash – I suggest using unscented (blue box) Aquabar from Clicks (approximately R25.00) and Bennets Aqueous Bath Drops

35.       E45/Lotion – I do not suggest using scented products – they dry baby out and cause a rash. Later on, as baby grows and his/her skin is less sensitive, I recommend the Elizabeth Anns’ special baby shampoo which is like a body wash. A big plus is that it is approved by pediatricians and dermatologists. It smells marvellous and has added moisturizers so it doesn’t dry the skin!

36.       Baby Powder – I recommend that you do not use talcum directly on baby’s skin. Rather, put some on your hands t before applying to baby’s clothes – after all this is just for the lovely baby-like smell. You may also use Johnson’s baby eau de toilette on his/her clothes if you love the fragrance. These are available in ‘Splash’ and ‘Joy’

37.       Bennets bum cream/ unscented vaseline – After every nappy change, clean Baby with wet wipes and cotton wool dipped in water initially. And later when you have more confidence and they are up for the fun – you hold them over basin and rinse well with warm water. I have found that warm running water is the best way to clean a baby and they enjoy it tremendously!

38.      Bepanthen Bum Cream (Nappy Rash/nipple healing cream) and Candizole – this was my nappy rash solution of choice. I purchased small tubes and mixed a small amount of each. This mixture of the two works very well for nappy rash when teething.

39.       Vaseline

40.      Nappies (3-5 packets – number 1/newborn – you may need more) – I bought 2 or so Jumbo packs in each size 2, 3, 4, 4+ whilst I was pregnant and every month once my baby was born. I just added on to the collection and I never ran short of nappies because of this foresight.

41.       Nappy Packets –always a boon to purchased scented bags and use only for poo nappies

42.       Olive oil/Baby Oil – to massage baby before a bath and put a little in baby’s hair – what you use is your choice. I used baby oil out of personal preference.

43.       Hot water Bottle in a slip-cover to warm cot (optional during winter – if you choose to use this – remember to remove from the cot before placing baby in to sleep and watch for holes and leaks)

44.       Milton’s solution to clean bottles and dummies etc. I also boiled my little one’s bottles for 10 minutes by immersing all the bottles, nipples etc. and bringing cold water to a boil. This was done after washing them with cold water and sunlight liquid and the bottle brush thoroughly. I also used fine salt on the teats. You need to be conscientious and regular about doing this so that your child does not develop thrush.

45.       Some soft baby suitable toys in bright colours and/or black and white for initial use and a feeding chair for later use. I used the “Bumbo” chair a lot when my daughter was little. We used a good quality feeding chair when she grew older.

46.       Sleep sacks: This is a good purchase for a little baby but it’s not necessary. I like it because they kick off their blankets at night (especially after 6 months of age). This is like a babygro that fits over the arms but the bottom is like a sleeping bag – sewn closed. Baby never overheats and they can never kick off this blanket/sack. It’s perfect! You can get it at Mr Price baby (only certain branches) and it’s available in winter and summer options.

47.       A Baby change station or compactum (really helpful when changing nappies and sometimes includes a bath – so you need not purchase that additionally)

48.      A chest of drawers/compactum – for neat storage of baby’s clothes