I have waited 6years to have Zara (I'll blog about the 'wait' another time), when we knew she was coming (and 'staying'), we started the shopping spree, clothes, toys, necessities and non-necessities, to prepare for her arrival. The shopping intensified after she was born, and it's still a weekly event.
Here are some of the good buys that we'd made, and I'll recommend them if you are shopping around for such items. My views are bias, determined by Zara's willingness to 'use' it, its usability (by us) and Zara's liking for the item (nobody pays me to do this).
1) Baby Bjorn Baby Carrier/Sling:
This was a gift from my sister, being very generous, she bought one of the best in the market. I must say it's worth it, and if I would have to buy it (and pay for it with discount), I would get this same one as well.
Zara started being carried around the Baby Bjorn when she was a week old. It's very comfortable for Zara, as well as for whoever is carrying her. Today, when we go to the wet market or for walks (recently to the zoo), we carry her in this carrier, and she always enjoys it (even if she's in it for a long time).
Suitable for new born up till the baby reaches 10Kg. Babies are carried face in initially and then face out when they can support their head.
If you are looking for a baby carrier, get this (if you have the budget), and if not, try to get a good one. Cheap carrier causes discomfort to both the baby and the person carrying the baby and not to mention the potential danger (of the baby slipping out of the carrier).
2) Tripp Trapp The Chair that grows with the child
I was attracted by the design of the chair when I first saw it in Singapore. Bebehaus in KL carries it, and it's cheaper here too.
The seat and the foot rest is adjustable, so it grows with the child, later, it can be converted to a proper adult chair. It comes in beautiful colours and pretty cushions.
We like the chair because it allows Zara to join us at meal times at the dining table (the chair is w/out a tray, so it can be pushed very close to the table). She normally can sit through the whole meal on this chair (we can't do it in other chairs at restaurants, she gets restless half way through). I believe it's because her feet are comfortably rested on the foot rest, and if she wanted to stand up she can as well (if the chair is adjusted properly, the baby can stand up, but won't be able to climb out of the chair).
This is the most expensive item we got for Zara by far, but we always look at it as an investment, since she can use this chair for many years to come (support up till ~145kg), and it'll be our 'kah-chong' (嫁装/dowry) to her.
3) Lamaze Freddie The Firefly Plush Toy
The Dragonfly (it says it's a firefly, but it looks more like a dragonfly to me) has provided a lot of play hours and fun to Zara. Starting from her 3rd months, this was the toy that we took for shopping trips and dinners since it keeps her happily occupied. She doesn't seem to get tired with it (maybe very soon, she will).
4) Graco Infant Carrier cum Car Seat
It can be any brand, but I think an infant Carrier is much better than immediately getting a car seat. Many a times, Zara fell asleep in the car when we were on our way to lunch or dinner or to visit friends/relatives, all we need is just to bring the carrier down. We didn't have to interrupt her sleep, and she has a comfortable place to sleep on.
Occasionally, we even put her in the carrier to rock her to sleep if she has problem getting to sleep.
5) Baby, Boo! (a photobook)
Zara started appreciating books and giving kisses after we exposed her to this book.
The phrases in the book are simple, and comes with baby photos. This is still one of her favourite books.
And here are the ones which I think are bad buys, and if you are thinking of buying, make sure your little one really likes it or you will use it on her (even if she/he doesnt' like it) before getting it.
**disclaimer: I have nothing against these products, but they are not something my little girl likes; and this may be just her preference which is not shared by others.
1) Baby Einstein DVDs
Much hyped about program developed by Disney. Some titles can be introduced to new borns. An original DVD costs ~RM90/copy, I got the entire set of 18 DVDs from eBay for ~RM200 including postage (I think they must be pirated).
The program teaches baby different body parts, animals, colours etc using story board method (a bit like flash cards), with very soothing (too soothing) classical music played at the back ground.
Maybe Zara isn't Einstein. She is not interested in any of them, she'll be yawning (sometimes even falling asleep half way), or playing with her toys when we put this on for her. She only likes 1 section of the Old Mc Donald disc (~3mins out of the 18x30min= 540mins total DVDs play time, only ~0.5% utilisation) where the song Old Mc Donald is sung.
2) Leap Frog Baby Tad
I got this for Zara after she recovered from her 2 days fever to cheer her up. She showed no interest at all (and still show little interest). It plays 6 nursery rhymes, and I think I could get about 10 original nursery rhyme CDs with the price I paid for this green fella.
3) Molto Baby Chair
Molto is a company that manufacture toys in Spain. The baby chair from them looks and feels like a toy too. Zara is constantly complaining (and want to get out of it) when she's placed in the chair during meal times.
It has an easy to install but difficult to remove tray, making quick exit for the child (with the help of an adult) difficult. When fixed on a dining chair, it does not stay on well and the height adjustment very 'fah hok' (化学/flimsy).
We bought this first, then regretted it, and bought the Tripp Trapp. Now, this is used in my brother's house for her weekday (while I'm at work) feeding. My maid said, most of the time, few minutes into a meal, Zara would be fretting, and she'll end up standing or just sitting on the floor eating.
4) All the crib shoes I bought (before Zara's arrival)
None of them have been or will be worn. When she hasn't started walking, she's left bare footed most of the time; if we go out to an airconditioned place, I put on a pair of socks for her instead.
Now she's started to walk, it'll be too flimsy to support her weight, and too slippery for her to walk around with.
So these pretty little crib shoes are just lying in the cupboard, waiting to be given away on the next full moon invitation I get (kekeke).
5) All the long sleeves dresses, blouses, cardigan I bought (before Zara's arrival)
We always thought babies should be protected from cold (from all the angmoh child care websites and books), not knowing Malaysia's weather is never THAT cold. Zara wore one of the long sleeve cute little blouse on the first night she was home (from hospital) in a fan room (so worried air con would be too cold for her); next morning, she had heat rash all over her back, no thanks to the kiasi parents.
Together with the pretty little crib shoes, waiting to be given away on the next full moon invitation I get (kekeke again).
Phew, luckily not that many regret buys. I try to control my spending now, and only buy things necessary (only if I'm not hit with the next too-good-a-bargain-and-hard-to-resist sales). Hytex Warehouse sales, lets see if I can buy any will-regret-after-paying things.