SingaporeMotherhood | Parenting

November 2013

A New Mum’s Best Friends

When you got married, you figured out a system for your household, from the division of labour to what goes where, to finding a solution for the laundry/cooking/car wash that would be acceptable to both you and your husband. You were comfortable with your new routine for one or two years until good news came in form of a positive double line. After some 40 weeks of excitement, nausea, and a whole lot of what-ifs, you became three.
This is when the unexpected starts. How in the world does a baby latch on for hours and remain hungry? Why does feeding the tiny person whom I don’t even need to cook for result in an endless cycle of bottle cleaning? Will I ever have time for myself again?

In the midst of pondering the strange new world that you are now in, you may find yourself becoming quite enamored of these 10 particular items. I call them a new mummy’s BFFs.

Watch or Clock

Your watch has been there for you through thick and thin: at work, over dates and during the wedding. But now its role has reached a new level of importance. You’ll use it to justify everything — “I was in labor for 14 hours and 13 minutes and I didn’t complain a bit!”, the number of hours/minutes/seconds between Baby’s feeds, the exact time at which Baby woke up during the night and for how long, so that you can chart her exact sleeping and waking hours for each day, and yes, moan about it to every sympathetic ear.

Scotch Tape

It’s always a secret thrill when people drop by and they marvel at the cleanliness of our house despite us not having a domestic helper. The arrival of the baby however has driven me to shortcut our floor cleaning regime. Now I simply stock up on adhesive tape. It helps me get rid of unsightly lint from dark clothing, pick up fallen hair strands, crumbs and odd paint chips. It saves time and creates the illusion of steady level of cleanliness. It’s also used to display kiddy artwork, create impromptu hopscotch squares, and fix storybook pages torn by eager little hands.

Liquid Hand Sanitiser and Wipes

You may wince at people wiping their seat and table carefully with anti-bacterial wipes before eating at food courts. But believe it or not, having a baby will make you feel as if you have landed in the land of gigantic germs. Boiling water, Dettol, and non-scented wipes which promise the elimination of 99.9 per cent of bacteria will be your usual modes of attack and the day your baby develops oral thrush (or any kind of rash) will be the day you start doubling up all your sanitising efforts. I never leave the house without my sanitising equipment. But don’t worry, even a paranoid parent’s level of germ-consciousness will usually dip after a few years.

Plastic Bag / Ziplock Bag

Recycle what you get from buying takeaway food. It is useful for keeping soiled disposable diapers from polluting the air, even from inside a rubbish bin. It can store a piece of spare clothing and house the wet or dirty one. The Ziplock kind can be a disposable snack box or a mobile pantry, depending on its size. When there are no rubbish bins around, the bag becomes a mini dustbin. When it rains, it can help keep the wet folded umbrella from dripping all over your diaper bag. When baby does not finish his or her food, the bag becomes a doggy bag. Even when we check into a hotel and there is no toy to play with at the bath tub, the bag (always with parental supervision!) saves the day.

Mother with baby using laptop in room

Social Media

Being confined at home, alone and in charge of another person, can be a soul tearing exercise. To remedy the sense of isolation and the negativity that sometimes accompanies it, it helps to turn to social media. Join an onilne forum like SingaporeMotherhood (!) to share experiences and to commiserate with others in the same boat. Remain updated with what your friends are up to, brag about how cute your new baby is, and earn satisfaction from the number of likes her uploaded photo gets. Selecting photos, editing them and rearranging them on your laptop are also useful ways to while away the time you spend in nursing cubicles.

A Small Towel

A small absorbent towel (about the size of a face towel) is a necessity. Babies may drool or burp wetly, and their sweet little heads sweat a lot, especially when they sleep. A towel like this comes in handy in situations like these. It also multitasks as a bib, guards laps from juice that may spill over the table edge, and can be used to play Peek-a-boo games. Buy a couple of dozens early on. They are cheap, durable and when necessary, disposable without too much guilt. When my little one vomitted on the floor at a mall, I took out one of these, scooped up all the slimy half-processed dinner, threw it in the plastic bag (see above), and disposed of the whole thing.

Baby Carrier

We have one BabyBjorn, aged and faded, lovingly kept in the corner of the wardrobe. It served our two babies well. It may go on to serve another one someday, who knows? Our babies lived in them, even attended classes and job interview in them with me. Although people may have dissenting views about baby carriers, I found mine practical – for storing, travelling and bonding.

Good Posture

As a young mother, you will be exposed to many new manoeuvres which may not seem natural to you. There are at least three positions for breastfeeding, for instance. You’ll have to contort like an acrobat to pick up your baby, to lay her into the cot when she finally falls asleep in your arms, to reach for a soft toy which has fallen under the cot, and so on. Just remember, whatever you are doing, to keep your spine straight. I learned this in an aerobics class twenty years ago, and it still rings true today.


This is a matter of choice, but a friend of mine told me she has to thank the inventor of pacifier because it really ‘saved’ her life! Her baby girl couldn’t be without it. Either she would cry or be unable to sleep. My friend had several of them at any given time. Why? Because at night, when Baby has thrown hers out to who knows where and is screaming because it’s not in her mouth, it is easier to take one from a preset location than to search in the dark with Baby’s screams as your soundtrack. (Or if you are out and Baby has decided to test her throwing arm by pitching her pacifier into the fountain at the mall).

A Good Pediatrician

First baby plus clueless parents equals a constant mental debate whether it is time to call the pediatrician. The baby has tiny pimples around the eyes. She has had an all-day fever of 37.7 degrees. He has not pooped in three days. Are all these good enough reasons to call the good doctor on a weekend? After nearly eight years, we still go to the PD recommended to us by my obstetrician. Talk to friends who are parents, ask for recommendations, and go with your gut. You need someone whom you can talk to frankly about everything.

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A New Mum’s Best Friends