Friday, March 8, 2013

Packing (Part 2 of 2): Things You Need, Don't Need, & Shopping

This is basically for a 2-week stay (post-baby).  Part 1 of "Packing" is here.

Things we brought (and actually used):

  • Phil & Ted's Cocoon Carrier - Best thing ever!  We got our green one at Also get a newborn insert so he or she doesn't roll around in the cocoon.  We also used the insert in the crib our apartment provided us.
  • Diapers & Wipes: Newborn-Sized (figure 8-10 per day - Pampers Swaddlers worked best for us, Huggies Little Snugglers were a close second, the generic store brands didn't seem soft enough or didn't conform well to her body).  We scoured M-Block for newborn-sized Pampers and the ones they have are comparable in size to size-1 diapers in the US.  We ended up finding Pampers Swaddlers at Denzine Kids at M-Block (also found the Similac there) but the newborn size was just too big.  Wipes are available almost everywhere, but if you plan to bring some from home, I would suggest 2-3 packs.
  • Formula:  We decided to start with Similac Advance and brought 2 cans of powder & 2 boxes of ready-to-feed bottles (or 16 two-ounce bottles) for the plane rides home.  In the end, we should have brought an extra can of powder.  Because our little singleton made it to 40 weeks, she had a ravenous appetite and we paid through the nose to get a can of Similac in M-Block (about $70 US dollars!).  The ready-to-feed bottles were  life-savers on the plane, as British Airways couldn't heat a bottle or supply warm bottled water (they offered us the hot water they use for coffee, but could not tell us if it was filtered or not). My only suggestion is to buy the extra nipples that fit the ready-to-feeds, they only supply one nipple per box and you'll have to clean the same nipple for the other seven bottles. Our reasoning for bringing the formula was so we wouldn't have to switch her from Nan formula when we got back home.  Nan is comparable to Gerber GoodStart (both owned by Nestle Nutrition), so switching shouldn't be an issue if you choose that formula, but consult your pediatrician or doctor before making your decision.  We also rolled the dice on bringing regular Similac: if she was born with an allergy or sensitivity, we would have been out of luck.
  • Bottles: We brought 7 bottles, and could have easily got by with 4 or 5 since we ended up washing them so frequently.  Bring a few extra nipples, just in case.  We use Tommee Tippee Anti-Colic bottles and none of the stores carry that brand.  We bought a bottle brush and drying rack at one of the baby stores at M-Block.
  • Newborn-Sized Clothes:  Onsies and Sleep & Plays (feety pajamas) are available in India, but the sizing is way too big (newborn size is 0-3 months size there).  When we found out we had a girl, we wanted to buy some girlish clothes and everything newborn there was way too big for her (and she was over 7 lbs!).  Before you leave for Delhi, get a few newborn-sized items to take with you and leave the tags on (or wash them before and donate them if your little one is too big).  I didn't even see preemie-size anywhere (Denzine Kids, Mothercare, Mom & Me, or Weiners), so plan accordingly.  We also brought much more clothes than we needed or used.  We had a washing machine in our apartment, and we could have got by with about four Sleep & Plays, four Onsies, four gowns, and two pants.  We also brought a pack of socks (6 pairs), newborn hats, and scratch mittens (she never wore the mittens).
  • Munchkin microwave sterilizer bags (so easy and takes up virtually no room).
  • Pacifiers - Saffron's never taken to them, but it never hurts to have 1 or 2, just in case.
  • Bedding: Receiving blankets (4-6), regular blankets (3-4), burp cloths (4-6), waterproof mattress pads (2), and cloth diapers (6-10).  Cloth diapers are good for burping and cleaning up spit-up (you could skip the burp cloths if you bring these); we also used them on changing pads to keep things neat and tidy.  They're also cheap enough to leave behind if you run out of room in your luggage.
  • Miscellaneous: Grooming kit, nasal aspirator, thermometer (we brought Vicks thermometer patches), diaper-rash cream, and gas-relief drops.
  • SwaddleMe by Summer Infant: We didn't bring this, but wish we did.  Our little escape-artist got out of every swaddle we put her in.
  • Lullaby/Music Player: We brought a portable cot for co-sleeping and never used it, but it came with a music player/vibrator (get your mind out of the gutter!).  The awful music this thing played was very calming to the baby and often soothed her to sleep.  I'm sure an iPod or MP3 player would work just as well, so load it up with unbearable baby music.
  • Diaper Bag/Backpack - we got a masculine diaper backpack.  Personally, I think men can look a bit silly carrying a diaper bag.  Plus the backpack frees up your arms.  Bottom-line, when you go out or fly home, you're going to need food, clothing, and diapering supplies close at hand.
  • Big-People Clothes:  This is where we were smart, we took about 5 changes of clothes each and just did laundry every few days, so our luggage was really light.  Hey, they lasted us a month! 
  • Medicine: We never got Delhi-belly, diarrhea, or vomiting.  We both got (unrelated) sinus infections, and that's it.  We drank only bottled water, but I ended up taking a few gulps of water in the shower by accident and brushed my teeth with tap water and nothing happened.  That being said, be prepared: get your shots, malaria pills, bismuth (Pepto Bismol), and anti-diarrhea pills ready.  The chemists/pharmacies have almost everything you need (a lot of prescription drugs in the US are available over-the-counter here but they have different names, so do your research).  Consult with a doctor before taking something with unfamiliar ingredients.
  • Entertainment:  You're going to get bored.  Yes, even with a baby, boredom will find you. Load up your laptop or tablet with TV shows, movies, music, books, and games.  If you have a smartphone, bring it and turn off the cell/data services and use WiFi only. You can play games, Facebook, and IM with one hand during those middle of the night feedings.

Things we bought in India:
  • Bottle drying rack (was cheap enough to leave behind, too bulky to take back)
  • Vaporizer/Humidifier: Things were very dry there--cost about $50 USD, but worth it (gave it away - we had no room in our luggage and also would have had to use an adapter to use it at home)
  • Sponge for bathing the baby (dry off with a receiving blanket).
  • Traditional Indian clothing.  We wanted to get Saffy some nice clothing from the country she was born in.  Most of it is for when she's a little older, but you can't really get it anywhere else.
  • Mosquito net (we never used it).

Things we didn't need to bring:
  • Clothes (we brought too much!).  Having a washing machine in our apartment, we could have packed much lighter.
  • Baby shampoo, lotion, oil, powder.  They sell it all there, just buy small bottles so you don't waste them and don't have to bring them back.
  • Baby Bjorn Carrier - I used it once and could have done without it.
  • Burp cloths and bibs (if you bring cloth diapers, you really don't need them).
  • Travel cot/bed sleeper.  Our apartment came with a crib/cot, but you can easily use the Phil & Ted's Cocoon for sleeping.

  • M-Block (GK-1): They have three baby stores: Denzine Kids, Weiners, and Mom & Me. They also have a Coffee Bean, Dunkin' Donuts, and several other cafes & restaurants. Places we liked to eat at: Cafe Coffee Day, Brown Sugar, and Spice Water Trail.  There are some nice clothing stores, an iStore (which is like an Apple store), small grocery stores, chemists/pharmacies, electronics and toy stores, and more.
  • Kailash Colony Market (Kailash Colony):  Lots of small stores, has a pretty big grocery store, chemists/pharmacies, and restaurants.  Saleem's Restaurant was a pretty good place to eat, they also deliver.  Another good restaurant that had more western-like food was The Big Chill.  Maxim's has really nice cakes and sweets that will appeal to everyone (there's also another store that has more traditional Indian sweets a few doors down).
  • M-Block (GK-2): A few clothing stores, groceries, and restaurants - I didn't really care too much for this M-Block, but they have a really great place to eat called Not Just Paranthas (absolutely delicious!).
  • Select Citywalk/DLF Place (Saket): This is pretty much like a typical big-city mall.  Lots of clothing stores, cafes, restaurants, movie theatres, electronics, toys, etc.  They have a Mothercare and Mom & Me in both malls.  Select Citywalk has a Chicco store, but it's a bit overpriced and has nothing you can't get back at home.  DLF Place also has an "Apple store" called Imagine.  If you're staying at Svelte or the Hilton Garden Inn, and don't want to venture into Delhi too much, then you should be able to get everything you need here, though probably at greater cost.  We stayed in S-Block in GK-1 and had everything we needed at the local markets.  Also, locals love taking pictures at the mall!  Get your face ready to photo-bomb!
Hope this helps those getting ready for their journey!

Oh, and the best souvenir:
This is how I knew we were having a girl!


  1. FANTASTIC list guys! That is so helpful, many thanks for taking the time to do that.

  2. Thanks so much! This is amazing!

  3. You guys are Awesome with a capital A! Never even thought about getting a newborn insert before, and now I leave you to order mine from Amazon. Thanks a bundle for the tips!!! How is the beautiful Saffron?

  4. Hey Morgan and John, this post is absolutely great! Thanks also for giving me tips about the formula on my post. Hugs and kisses to Saffron. Cheers!

  5. You posts are so helpful. I hope to be able to put your advice in action by January. Thank you!!!

  6. wow AmAzInG list, i will deffo be taking note and multiplying the numbers for the extended stay we have (from the UK) Hope you guys and Saffron are keeping well x

  7. Congratulations for your baby and your blog. We have found very useful this post. We are from Spain and travelling to pick our babys in a month. We would like to make a question to you: we have already bought Phil & Ted's Cocoon and we were thinking in buying a mattress but we have found that you got a newborn insert instead and we love the idea. Do you recommend the newborn insert instead a mattress? Thanks a lot.

  8. Great list!!congrats again! I just wonder did you use a car seat in India? And, Did you buy an air ticket for Saffron? If so, I suppose you need to reserve or bring your own car seat and fix it to airplane seat?


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