It doesn't matter if you have a baby or a toddler, hygiene and health are big concerns for every mother when it comes to looking after their child. Do you know what you should have in a first-aid kit at home? There are many American versions online, but we do it a little differently in Singapore - this is my list of hygiene and health essentials for babies in Singapore!
DISCLAIMER: This is a post about the items that I have ready in a "first-aid box" in the event of a medical emergency at home. I've also included some essentials for hygiene as it is one of the top concerns of mothers all around the world, after all - prevention is better than cure.
DISCLAIMER #2: Most of the photos are taken by me, except for a few when I want to make references to products I do not have. Image credits to their respective owners.
Introducing my first-aid box! Read on to find out more about what's inside :D
- HYGIENE ESSENTIALS -
#1: Hand Sanitizers
This is the must-have item that I feel all mummies (especially with newborns) should have at home. I have three actually - one in my room, one in my parent's room (where my son spends his weekdays at) and one travel-size bottle for when I'm on-the-go. I've gotten a hospital-grade one from the hospital when I delivered and they gave the remaining bottle to me (it's free so why not? I probably paid for it haha), and the other two are from Dettol.
I prefer the hospital-grade one (pic on the right) as it dries quickly and without much residue. The Dettol ones tend to have a slightly sticky feeling after application and takes a little longer to completely evaporate.
#2: Antiseptic Solution, Sterile Cotton Balls and Clinical Thermometer
The solution is more for the older children or in case of an emergency where your child gets cuts, scrapes or open wounds. I've gotten the bottle of antiseptic from Watsons, but you can get it at most major convenience stores (eg. Unity, Watsons, Guardian etc).
You can also see that I have two different types of sterile cotton balls - one with a tray and one without. This is to provide you, the parent, with convenience depending on the situation & location that the incident happened. You may need the cotton balls to be placed in some sort of container if your child got injured at a wet area (eg. toilet), or maybe you just needed sterile ones to ensure you don't infect the wound.
As for the thermometer, I actually gotten this as a kind blessing from a Carouseller when I was looking for one suitable for my son (he was 3 months old). I bought this infrared thermometer (the cheap kinds) for my son before he was born in case we needed to take his temperature. Well, the time came when he had his vaccinations and started having slight fevers - I tried the thermometer and all it gave was 36.5°C at anything and everything I point it at - other than the aircon and hot water. When I checked with the Carouseller, they got me this thermometer which a paediatrician recommended as babies have too small of foreheads to have their temperatures measured by an infrared one - so, if you're looking for a thermometer for your little one - keep this specific thermometer in mind! PS. It goes below their armpit and NOT orally or through the back end.
#3: Cotton Balls
Cotton balls are used for cleaning the eye and diaper area for babies as they are gentle and can get to places that wet wipes or washcloths are unable to reach. For me, I am currently still using cotton balls to clean my 4-month-old's eye area before we give him a bath to minimise water contact with his eyes.
However, please do not get any random brand of cotton balls if you plan to do the same - I recommend the brands shown above as they are more known to be safe for babies to use. I received cotton balls from unknown brands/value shops before and the quality of the cotton deterred me from using them for my son, especially since it'll be used to clean sensitive areas like his eyes and diaper area.
#4: Baby Wipes
Some parents prefer to use wet wipes when it comes to cleaning the diaper area (especially when babies poop), even though cotton balls are highly raved too as they do not have any added ingredients which would reduce the probability of having a rash due to sensitivity - but you'll have to use wet wipes someday, so I prefer to use wet wipes with no added scent/harmful chemicals.
As for wet wipes, they can be used up pretty quickly - especially when you have a newborn since they poop almost all the time. To be more cost-efficient, I use Watsons' unscented baby wipes - they're $2/pack from retail and even have discounts during sales. If your child is sensitive to these "unknown" brands, I'd recommend using Pigeon, LEC, Kodomo, Merries or other well-known brands.
#5: Nail Clippers
You may see something like this, or things marketed as baby nail clippers - but I'm here to tell you they aren't really necessary. I had one of these "baby nail clippers" and they were still hard to use, so I ended up using a normal one with a curved tip to cut his nails. Tip: Cut your baby's nails when he's drinking milk or asleep so it is less likely to injure your baby.
- BATH ESSENTIALS -
#1: Shampoo & Body Wash
You don't have to give babies a bath until they're a month old or so (just sponging would do), I started my son with baths when he turned 3 weeks old and he has grown to love bath time - he HAS to have a bath in the early afternoon and a sponging session in the evening.
I use Kodomo as I made a stockpile of travel-sized Shampoo & Body Wash as I couldn't afford to get much for my son due to a lack of financial ability. These were given by hospitals when you give birth, and many parents do not use them so they were okay with giving them to me! Don't estimate the bottles, I am still using the 3rd bottle for Shampoo and 5th for Body Wash - and still have quite a few left.
If you went baby shopping/had a baby shower, you might have come across microfibre washcloths that are packed as gifts. I prefer to use cotton ones like the ones above as it gives me the assurance that my son wouldn't accidentally swallow anything from it when we clean his mouth.
#3: Baby Lotion & Diaper Creams
I delivered at Thomson Medical Center, and they gave this pack of baby essentials in their mummy luggage when I got discharged. I gave the body wash away since I had my stockpile of Kodomo products, but kept the baby lotion and bottom balm - and I fell in love with them ever since. They're gentle on the baby's skin and get absorbed well without any oily residue!
Desitin is another diaper cream, so why do I have two? The baby bottom balm from Thomson is for daily use, and the Desitin is only for when he has a diaper rash (which was only once so far haha).
#4: Baby Oils
You probably can't see them very clearly, but I have an eucalyptus oil, "yu yee" medicated oil and 100% pure olive oil. The first two are used for tummy massages, one when sponging and another when bathing. I use the olive oil to moisturise and soften his cradle cap (he's 4 months old now but still have some final bits of cradle cap left) so that they fall off easily.
BONUS: California Baby Calendula Cream
Another cream? I use the baby lotion from Thomson most of the time - but my son had some rash on his neck because his milk sometimes drips down and gets lodged between his double chin HAHA. My cousin (who has two kids) told me about this cream and I managed to get it from Carousell, it works best when you leave it in the fridge and take it out just before you give your little one a bath (so it isn't too cold when it is used but still provides a soothing effect).
- HEALTH ESSENTIALS -
#1: Mosquito Repellent
This isn't only for children, it's for the parents too! It's been raining everyday this week, so there are more breeding areas for mosquitoes if the stagnant water isn't cleared well! With Zika and Dengue still around, you can't blame me for being cautious. For children, it is more recommended to use mosquito repellent patches instead of sprays so they don't get into the airways or skin of our little ones.
I recommend Tiger Balm Mosquito Repellent Patches as they are the most effective in repelling mosquitoes for me, and I am like - a mosquito magnet. Whichever brand you choose to go with, DO NOT GO WITH "OFF". It is a perfume for welcoming mosquitoes, leaves a sticky residue and attracts other insects too - they only smell nice, to humans and insects.
#2: Gripe Water
Some babies have colic while others do not. Colic is basically episodes of crying for more than three hours a day, for more than three days a week, for three weeks - when your child is feeling okay and doesn't seem to be in any pain.
Gripe water is known to relieve "wind" in the stomach, soothing colic and sometimes as remedy to teething pain, hiccups and flatulence. I chose Woodward's because it seems to be the most known brand, and have been giving it to my son since he's 2.5 months old. The taste may be a little strong for babies so my parents give it with a little bit of water (20ml or so) to dilute it, but don't add too much/give too often as water taken before 6 months old may cause water intoxication - I only give this once to my son each day, or none at all.
#3: Emergency Relief
The whole reason behind getting a first-aid kit ready at home is for your convenience as a parent. When your child is unwell/in pain, you would not want to have to rush out/get someone to get over-the-counter medication. These are some of the other emergency relief that I have prepared in case of emergencies.
Calpol Suspension and Axcel Paracetamol are essentially just like panadol, for kids. I bought the Calpol Suspension while gotten the Axcel one from polyclinic when he gotten his vaccination.
The infant colic drops are an alternative to Gripe Water, and I haven't used them yet. There are many brands of colic drops available, but I chose this as it had the best reviews (local and overseas) in helping to solve the colic for babies.
Olbas Decongestant Oil is for when your little one has a flu or issues breathing well due to sighness or blocked nose. I don't really know why I got this, but I guess it was to help if he happened to get breathing difficulties.
NOTE - I do not promote the use of any of these products if you are able to find other alternatives for your baby. Breastmilk has antibodies in them which help to boost your child's immune system when the mother/child falls sick, so do not stop giving them breastmilk just because one of you got sick - instead, practice good hygiene!
BONUS: Koolfever Patch for Baby
Have gotten this in preparation for fevers that may occur, especially after vaccinations. I prepared two boxes, one placed in the fridge for immediate use and the other in the first-aid box as a spare. Do note that this pink one is for 6 month old to 2 year olds, while the blue packaging is for older children and adults!
If you're wondering why I stored the items in a black box, it is because I have this Trofast shelving system from IKEA that is mounted onto the wall in my room - this is how I store them as I have an aircon in my room and it is easily accessible. Don't store them in a place where the items would spoil or you don't have much access to!
PS: You can also see my stockpile of Kodomo products in the white box on the left.
That's all for now, I hope this has been useful to any parent who are expecting a baby's arrival/do not have any items ready for your little one in case of emergencies!