I promised a friend of mine (weeks ago – sorry!) that I would send her the links to some things I’d purchased off AliExpress and musing on that led to this expanded list. They’re numbered for sake of ease but not in order of importance 🙂
- Washable bamboo wipes
- Washable maternity pads
- Washable breast pads
- Wet/dry bags
- Soft toy
- Muslin Cloths
- Soft blanket
Note: A number of items on this list are available on AliExpress. I’ve written previously about how AliExpress is awesome. You can find some great bargains for a fraction of retail price, and free international shipping!, if you take the time to search. Keep in mind that delivery can take 2-6 weeks so if you’re ordering them as a gift (or to have before baby arrives) then order in advance.
Scroll down for details and links 🙂
Washable bamboo wipes
I adore my double layer bamboo wipes. They are soft, durable, and have lasted over two years! These are much better quality than the really thin cotton cloths that often sold in shops (and fray easily).
These can be used from baby right up to toddler and beyond. They’re great for wiping up baby spit, baby food, snotty noses, grubby hands, and toddler faces. All you need is a little water to damp them and throw them into the soak bucket afterwards.
These could also be used as washable bottom wipes – just make sure that you choose an area of the body and stick with it!
These sell for around US$1.30 / item (with free shipping). Click here to see one supplier but there are plenty more to choose from.
Washable Maternity Pads
One of the less glamorous aspects of childbirth is six weeks or so of post-partum bleeding after a vaginal birth. There are disposable pads that you can buy from the store but the costs mounts up as you run through them and bamboo pads are so much softer on one’s bruised and battered nether regions (especially if stitches have been required!). If you want to use these exclusively then you probably want six to nine (the reality is that you’ll probably be doing daily washing anyway once the baby is born) with some disposables as back up.
The other nice thing about these is being able to choose pretty patterns! They sell for around US$6.29 / item (with free shipping). Click here to see one supplier but there are plenty more to choose from.
Washable Breast Pads
Not everyone leaks but an unexpected let-down of milk can definitely soak through a shirt. A nice and colourful gift can be washable breast pads. The other advantage of natural fibres is that they can be cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter. Bamboo, again, makes for a soft and durable option. There are lots of options for colours/pattern and they sell for around US$0.67 / item (with free shipping); just keep an eye when looking on minimum numbers for the order. For example, you might pay a little more to get just one pair sent to you, or click here to see an example of a 24 piece lot (so 12 pairs).
These are often sold as double zippered (two compartment) bags with a decorated outer and a water-resistant inner coating. The default size is around 30 x 40cm but smaller ones are available as well (at point I was able to find the perfect size small ones for a single formula bottle).
These have so many uses! They are ideal for nappies. For instance, use the front compartment for a plastic case of wet wipes, a tube of nappy cream, and a couple of disposable diapers (or 1 cloth nappy); a used wet nappy can then be rolled up and put in the back pocket till you can dispose of it at home. They’re also great for baby/toddler clothes that have become wet/dirty while out, or for snacks, or for the (mostly) empty formula bottle. They also make really handy bags for jigsaw puzzles!
These simply get thrown in the washing machine and hung out to dry. They’re good for about a year or two before zips start to break or they aren’t as water resistant anymore.
(Note: these are water resistant, not water proof. They’re great for damp clothing or a formula bottle that might leak a little bit but aren’t designed for an upside-down open water bottle!).
There are lots of options for colours/pattern and they sell for around US$3.95 / item (with free shipping); just keep an eye when looking on minimum numbers for the order. For example, you might pay a little more to get just one pair sent to you, or click here to see an example of a 3 piece lot.
Babies go through so many of these! Even before they’re eating, there’s drool. There are lots of options for bibs in stores. My preference ended up being for ones that have a cotton front/back but a waterproof layer in the middle – that way the drool isn’t soaking into the clothes underneath.
The fun thing with bibs is that you can choose some super cute designs. If you decide to go with AliExpress then you’re looking at around US$1.49 / bib (with free shipping). Click here to see an example with lots of patterns to choose from.
As they get older, their soft toy collection will grow and these may no longer be a welcome gift; as babies you can get in right at the start! Aim for something in the 20-30cm range (rather than a 1m tall giant bear) as bubs isn’t going to be too big to start with! Soft and cuddly is also important.
As a parent, when the later winnowing of soft toys may need to occur it’s the ones they’ve had since they were a baby that you often find yourself wanting to nostalgically hold onto.
Although these are often still referred to as muslin cloths, you’re more likely to find ones made out of cotton now rather than actual muslin.
These are great for babies. They can be used for swaddling, to lie on, as a shade cloth over the pram, and even as an emergency diaper if you get desperate.
A soft fluffy blanket can be a great gift – especially since it’s often to find them in gender neutral colours and patterns. They can last much longer than you’d think. I still have a fluffy baby blanket that was a baby shower gift. My toddler is far too big to sleep under it but she still loves to cuddle it and it makes a great car blanket for her.
Look for disposable diapers (or nappies) that are Newborn size. Aim to buy the smallest (quantity) pack available of a couple of different brands rather than a jumbo box. It’s not just that diapers differ across brands in terms of cost and absorbency, it’s also that they’re all slightly different in terms of cut and size. Some diapers are ideal for chubby thighs, some are ideal for super skinny legs. Every baby is different and it’s a nightmare to come from the hospital only to find out that you’ve stocked up exclusively on a single brand and your baby leaks out the side every single time! I went through several brands with my daughter before working out which brand fitted her best.
Clothing (or clothing vouchers)
Baby clothes are super cute and so much fun to shop for! Sizing can be tricky though; (here’s a handy sizing chart). The default size for a newborn is: NB / Newborn / 0000. Some babies, like my daughter, will be smaller babies and start off wearing Prem (premature) sizes and others will be bigger babies and start off wearing 0-3 months.
Babies can vary a lot as to how quickly they move sizes (and they do go through a lot of different sized clothes in the first year!) and brands will also vary with their sizing. Sometimes a Size 1 will mean that it will only fit until the child is (approx.) 1 year old and for other brands a Size 1 means that they will only fit after they turn 1 year. Because babies often change a clothing size every 2-3 months it means that their clothes are also very season specific .
If you want to buy clothes then you may want to wait until the baby is born (so you know gender and weight) or buy something that they’ll grow into (just keep seasons in mind). For instance, you might want to buy something super cute that’s size 1 (i.e. like pyjamas) because they’ll be able to wear them approaching their first birthday.
Gift cards for baby clothing stores are also a great idea because that way the parents can pick out something they really need in a suitable size.
Keep in mind that babies will go through a lot of clothes,very quickly, and don’t recognise designer brands. For example, you might get a single item of clothing for $20 at one store and four items of clothing for $20 at another store. If you’re in New Zealand, Baby Factory and T&T have lovely clothes for much cheaper than places like Farmers, Pumpkin Patch, and Cotton On.