Berlin Baby Shopping
Let's get to one of the fun parts in pregnancy: Discovering all the products that retailers and the media want us to believe we need in order to bring up our baby in the best and easiest way. My suggestions is always to start small and if you feel you're missing something, you can either send out your partner or find a friend or family member who would love to bring you a gift (or order online).
My lists and ideas are a culmination of my own experience as a mothe and that of clients and friends. The items and the suggested amounts are based on a regular household in Berlin. (with a washing machine inside the apartment.) I strongly recommend washing every item before putting it on baby's skin. Almost all production facilities working with textiles use chemicals against bugs and rats. Also, Berlin and Germany, in general, have a big culture of second-hand products and I want to encourage you to check the options of second-hand. Clothes are washed already, maybe many times, so the chemicals are less and they are softer, plus in the long run, it is more sustainable and also cheaper (which means more budget for the important things in life like chocolate, cake and coffee!)
What to buy before the birth
10 muslin diapers (Mullwindeln) for baby - they come in all kind of colours and with different prints, you can buy them in any baby shop including DM and Rossmann. Wash them twice so they get softer. I like aden+anais bamboo swaddles, which are expensive, but beautiful, soft and huge, so you can also use them as a blanket or even as a scarf for yourself. The German company Lässig also does beautiful colourful swaddles/ muslin diapers (Lässig Swaddles) You will use them a lot and for a long time (and maybe for more than one baby!)
One warm blanket (wool or cotton)- here you really need to see what your budget is or how generous people want to be. I would always recommend a wool blanket. You can also use it in the spring and fall in the stroller and for the snuggly corner in the toddler room. It should say Merino or Schurwolle (100%). This store has a nice collection. There are also wonderful cotton blankets, for instance in DM or very simple ones in IKEA and H&M.
1-2 baby sleeping bags according to the season (that is a typical hand-down, second-hand product) H&M, DM and vertbaudet have soft and nice ones. (The general recommendation is that babies should sleep on their back in a sleeping bag in an empty bed. The bed should be in the room of the parents for the first 12 months. see also: Download more info)
All the clothes mentioned here, I would buy at German size 56. If baby is tinier, you can still buy something smaller (or send out a message to friends and family)
3-4 onesies (Body) if you want to get them from wool/silk, which I certainly recommend, have a look on my Winter post. Otherwise, I like the onesies at H&M, which wrap over the body (called Wickelbody in German). Vertbaudet is another brand with good quality Wickelbody
3-4 pyjamas - H&M, Vertbaudet, DM and ZARA have great ones.
3-4 smurf pants - I call them smurf pants, but H&M calls them just jersey pants / Jersey Hosen
1-2 hats cotton or wool-silk - I am a big fan of little hats, out of wool silk- like DM's organic label Alana sells them (Häubchen 70% Schurwolle 30% Seide) or out of cotton like DM and H&M
2-3 pair of wool socks- DM sells great socks, I always had cotton ones and wool ones depending on the season
1 wool cardigan (Strickjacke) – for the first 4-6 weeks, I would always use real wool (Merino or Schurwolle) and then later according to the season either a mix with cotton or only cotton. Etsy, Dawanda and Ebaykleinanzeigen are great sources.
1 suit / overall – according to the date of arrival of baby, I would consider wool or cotton. Here is a wool list.
Optional: baby towel with hood - please see that it is 100% cotton. Also a typical present from a friend.
Diapers - (Windeln) Most hospitals will put a pampers newborn on your baby. If you do not want that you can bring your diapers. Pampers newborn do a good job, but there are also more alternatives like NATY or even the organic brand from DM. If you want to look into pre-folds and clothes diapers, I recommend joining this group.
Molton or Muslin Washcloths - (Molton or Mull Waschlappen) - in order to keep our trash bin emptier and the tush of our baby-less exposed to chemicals, I strongly recommend washing baby's diaper area instead of using wipes. All you need are a pack of the Molton washcoths (yes, DM sells the Mull version, Ali has a very nice bamboo version and also a bunch of other stores) and a small bowl, which you can get easily in the Euro shops. It will save you money (think about the chocolate) and nerves as washed babies seldom get diaper rash. You most likely won't need any diaper cream. You can also buy a big Molton diaper and cut it into pieces.
Cotton pads - for a quick clean it is always good to have a pack of these at home
Fever thermometer with flexible top - can be bought at Rossmann
Heilwolle - for sore bottoms (which will be rare if you avoid wet-wipes) and sore nipples, we have this wool which is so raw that it has a similar healing effect to lanolin. DM and pharmacies usually stock it.
Water Bottle - get yourself a bottle you can open with one hand. My boys and I have this one which works great for us.
Nursing bra/top - for the first couple of days, I would not recommend buying something fitted. Your breast will most likely change shape in the next couple of weeks. I really loved these tops by Medela. They are bit stretchy and still support in a comfy way.
Breast pads - (Stilleinlagen) you can get some cheap ones from DM for home and sleeping or the premium version which is like the pampers among the breast pads and great when you want to go out.
More sustainable solutions are LILYPADZ, wool silk pads, like DM sells them by their own brand (offline) and the ones of Elanee. (click here for the google shopping generated list)
Nipple cream - I always recommend having some lanolin at home. If you end up not liking it for your nipples you can use it in the winter on your lips or your hands (baby lips like it too). Pay attention that is clean lanolin, so you don't need to wash it off.
Hygiene pads - for the first couple of days after giving birth, I recommend the cheap night pads from DM or Rossmann which have NO plastic surface like Always does. These are examples of the DM brand Jessa:
Maxi-Binden Extra Lang Plus or Maxi-Binden Lang Nacht
And after approx 8-10 days, I recommend changing to thinner pads and change more often, so the entire area gets to 'breathe' again. Also here, the cheap brands from the drugstore will do.
The organic version would be from natracare.
Snacks and Food - Personally, I would recommend stocking up on favourite snacks, dry fruit, nuts and also almond butter for the first couple of days home. Also some canned soups and frozen dishes can be life savers.
Things you may want to know about
Cotton gloves most babies are born with longer fingernails and it is not recommended to cut them in the first 6 weeks in order to avoid injuries, so they tend to scratch their faces. You can get so-called Antikratzhandschuhe or 'scratch mitts', this is how they look from DM and Rossmann.
Heater for the changing table. There are lots of these on EBay Kleinanzeigen. We had this one. Make sure it's fixed firmly on the wall, at the correct distance from baby.
will be continued...