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Newborn Baby Parenting Hacks & HK Tips

Clearly it would be a tall order to try to cover every parenting hack and there are hundreds of other amazing tips floating around the interwebs, but here are some that helped, and continue to help, me get through this incredible rollercoaster.

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Becoming a first time parent is one of the biggest life changes and challenges. Sometimes a lonely challenge. Definitely an exhausting challenge… but always an absolutely wonderful challenge with the most rewarding moments to cherish. I won’t lie, its tough and a marathon. However every cuddle, smile and giggle is incredible to watch as your little one grows, and quite literally the BEST THING EVER, providing the magic fuel to keep you going on the tough days when you battery cells are running low.


• Find Your Birth Club Tribe •


Lullaby Images Newborn Photography

So we don’t have ‘Peanut’ here in Hong Kong yet (think tinder for mamas wanting to connect with other parents in the same boat). We do however have Birth Club groups. I cannot recommend this enough as a way to connect with other mums who are going through more or less the same marathon rollercoaster of all-things-newborn as you. Within the group, there are usually spin off smaller groups for those based in different locations in Hong Kong, and some other fun groups (think prenatal yoga, baby wearing yoga or baby wearing dance classes…). It’s impossible to connect with everyone in the group (I had 200+ women in one of mine!) but even if you connect with a few, in your lonely moments when you are at your wit’s end, they will pick you again in a way that only they can because quite simply, they get it.  It’s either happening to them now or just did, and still very fresh. Also a fab space for sharing advice and tips, from challenges and wins with nursing, baby gas, baby poop, baby specialist doctors, baby sickness… etc

Word of the wise: mute the group chat! Otherwise you will go absolutely bonkers… I’ve lost count of how many times I opened up my Whats App to see 200+ messages sitting in my birth club group chat after just a few hours of down time. Find your Geobaby Birthclub here, Sassy Mama Birthclub here and Little Steps Asia Birthclub here.


• Spotify is your Friend •


 

Spotify is fantastic! ‘Super Simple Songs’ has a whole bunch of kids songs from nursery rhymes to songs about shapes and colours… but it doesn’t have to be all about the “Wheels On The Bus”. For your sanity, check out ‘Rockabye Baby’ with a huge amount of lullaby renditions of regular artists from Nirvana to P!nk to Coldplay.  On the same note, ‘2 Cellos’ also do great cello covers of regular chart songs. Spotify has a load of ready made playlists for white noise, lullabies, calming piano, classical music; you name it, it’s there.


• Double Up •


Lullaby Images Newborn Photography

Lets face it, you will be knackered alot of the time. Save yourself the trouble of having to make your babies bed at awkward times in the day, when they spit up, vomit, or worse… layer your crib bedding in alternating layers of a mattress protector, sheet, mattress protector, sheet; then if you need to, you can just pull off the top two layers and chuck it in the laundry bin to deal with later. Job done. No rummaging around to remake the bed in a hurry in the middle of the night.


• Need extra toy tags? •


Shower Curtain Rings Toy Tags

Just grab a bag of shower curtain rings from ikea for HKD5/ 12 pieces. Bargain. Same same. Great for clipping toys on to a stroller, car seat or high chair… I also use them to hang up all my spaghetti and tank tops on to a hanger, which is much easier to grab (better than navigating the unfolded chaos that used to be the state of my draws).


• Portable Mini Baby Diaper Caddy•


Lullaby Images Newborn Photography

Stocked with hand sanitiser, cotton wool, tissues, wet wipes, diapers, burp cloths, barrier cream, alcohol swabs, spare onesie, etc. Easy to grab no matter where you are at home and have what you need. In Hong Kong where space is a premium, we didn’t really bother with a dedicated changing table. It’s easy enough to just grab the diaper caddy and change our baby anywhere we happen to be at home.


• Fail to plan. Plan to fail •


Lullaby Images Newborn Photography

Prepare for blow outs. If possible, carry a spare onesie just in case… They are so mini and take up hardly any space. I keep a spare in the car and my diaper bag. On the same note, burp cloths are not just for wiping up spit up. You can use them to save you the hassle of washing fitted car seat cover, strollers fabric, etc. Place them under the head and butt area. It’s much easier to pull them off and wash, then argue with the fitted covers of any fitted baby gear.


• Size Matters •


 Lullaby Images Newborn PhotographyLullaby Images Newborn Photography

We all know the price of real estate in Hong Kong is epic and space is a premium. This absolutely applies for baby swag. I’ve lost count of the number of parents I’ve spoken with who have all regretted choosing items that might be considered normal sized gear for the rest of the world, but for Hong Kong feels oversized when sit up in their home.

Case and point, chunky strollers that barely get used on Hong Kong’s unfriendly for wheels streets and don’t fit in most vehicles unless you ride in an SUV! Hong Kong convenient stroller options – GB Pockit + is the lightest (4.8kg) and folds down to the smallest (30 x 18 x 35 cm, can easily fit in the overhead locker when flying!) on the market. It’s for babies over 6 months on its own, BUT you can use it with car seat adaptors from newborn. I love our Cybex Cloud Q car seat and GB Pockit + combination!  Another Hong Kong favourite that you see almost everywhere is the Babyzen Yoyo. Weighing 6.2.-6.6kg and folding down to 52 x 44 x 18 cm, it can also be taken as carry on with some airlines. I’ve also heard great feedback about them Doona for young babies, which is a car seat and stroller in one!

Despite the crazy temperatures and humidity we deal with in Hong Kong, I cannot recommend enough having a baby wearing option. Much like navigating which baby bottle ecosystems to choose, there is a world of baby wearing solutions. Check out Baby Wearing International for tips on figuring out which is the best style to suit your needs, as well as baby wearing safety advice. Generally i’ve heard great feedback for the support from Lille Baby Airflow which has a mesh panel great for HK heat. What’s right for you might not be what was right for someone else and your needs may change as your baby grows. I seem to have accumulated two soft structured carriers (SSCs) with buckles (Ergo 360 and a hip seat mesh carrier), a mei tai, x3 ring slings (two summer mesh and x1 woven fabric) and a wrap. We use different carriers for different occasions, but my go to is definitely a simple mesh ring sling that’s easy on/off, compact to shove in my bag and SO invaluable on flights.

 


• Two Way Zippers •


Do yourself a favour, forget poppers and buttons. Who has the time for all that nonesense every 2-3 hours in the beginning with newborns?! Or the energy at 3am to bother with it all! There are lots of brands that carry onesies with two way zippers (both long and shorties). Seriously, it will make your life SO much easier! Buy enough so that you don’t have the pressure of doing laundry every day…


• Hong Kong Tips •


Lullaby Images Newborn Photography

For the parents based in Hong Kong, here is a round up of some other more local tips and resources, which has been a real help for me too:

Best baby changing and nursing rooms – For a list of some of the most accessible ones when you’re out and about, check out this post on Little Steps Asia (edited April 2018). Personally, I was in awe at the facilities at the Elements shopping mall. I’m talking automatic door opening, with mood lighting above the baby changing pad, full time on duty attendant for assistance, USB charging points in the sofa AND in the two private rooms with arm chair and screen, bottle warmer, water only wipes, baby weighing scale, high chair for feeding…

Best water only wet wipes – I’ve been bulk ordering from Lullaby for a few years now. They are good value and you can mix up a bulk order to include both the travel size or larger packs. The check out payment process is simple too, easy to use paypal. No need to set up and register as a Lullaby customer. I am not affiliated in any way, they just happen to have a great name 😉

Best value diapers – Up until now, we have been using Merries Diapers. The best value i’ve found so far, is bulk ordering them through Wonder Babies. They also stock most of the big brands. So far, super fast delivery.

Local Eco Friendly Online Baby Shop – Now that Anya is on solids and her poop seems to be more… erm, ‘manageable’, I will be trying to make a switch to cloth nappies. At least a trial while we are at home, with disposables when we are out and about, and go from there… A great online baby shop with thoughtfully selected natural, organic, eco friendly products is Petit Tippi. Set up by a local mompreneur. There are loads of products here from bamboo feeding accessories, to Peruvian cotton knit toys, to fun print cloth nappy options.

iHerb.com – This is a great online shop for nutritional supplements and organic products. Get everything from baby bottle washing liquid, to antenatal supplements, to organic baby food supplies, to baby pacifiers, to a range of ‘No No Nos’ products like laundry detergents, cosmetics and bathroom shower gels. Often cheaper than local shopping options, if you have enough in your cart to unlock free shipping. First time user? Get hold of an existing users referral code (ahem, mine is ‘KQG742’), to both enjoy a discount. Win win!

Need ingredients to try and boast your breast milk supply? Regal Spices is reasonably priced and freshly packaged per order. Load up on Fenugreek and fennel seeds at a great price, with a choice of packaging size as well as optional grinding for an extra $10, with free home delivery. Stock up your pantry with all the other awesome spices, herbs and seeds while your at it! These are two excellent tried and tested breast milk supply boasting recipes, lactation muffins and lactation cookies.

The Chinese Soup Lady – I’ve loved this blog for years. There is a fabulous section on confinement soups. I am so grateful that my mother batch cooked a whole bunch of incredibly nutritious and tasty soups, which she portioned out and froze. We jammed my freezer full of these and they were perfect for my postpartum recovery and saved the need for ordering in too often.

Need a Nanny? Short and long term options available. Try The Nanny Experts, Baby Sitter HK, Rent A Mum, Dream Care  and Hong Kong Teen Sitters Facebook Group. For a more affordable options (HK$70-90 ph), you can try Employee Retraining Board (ERB), which is a local organisation offering training to individuals for a range of services, including infant and child care as well as post natal care for a month postpartum, with the option for on going or temporary contracts. Check ERB out too for local part  time cleaners and qualified massage therapists!

Midwife Weekly Groups – these are great as they are quite social and a great way to meet other parents, whilst checking on your baby’s progress (weight checks etc) and the opportunity to ask advice from the experts. Run mostly by western trained midwives there are also sometimes weekly topics too covering anything from basics to baby safety (calendar of the topics featured on their respective websites. Check out the drop in Parents & Baby Group at Matilda Hospital every Friday’s at 11am (Only $90 per session or $250 for a pack of 6 sessions). Annerley Clinic in Central also run Baby & Breast Feeding Clinic drop in sessions on Tuesday and  Thursdays, 10:00-12:00, $350 per session (packages: buy 5 get 1 free, buy 10 get 3 free). They get busy though, so it’s strongly recommended you get there as early as possible if you want the chance to speak to their midwives.

Other Drop in Sessions & other spaces to hide inside when needed – St John’s Cathedral Playgroup is a drop in session on Thursday afternoons 14:30-16:30, with donations welcome from around HK$20. Baumhaus have two locations in Wanchai & Harbour City with cafe and play area, they run various events and classes too. Maggie & Rose at The Pulse in Repulse bay, though it is a family members club only. Check out Little Steps Asia’s post here, for a more detailed run down!

Social Media Interest Groups – If you ‘do’ social media, the following Facebook Groups might interest you too – ‘Babywearing Hong Kong’, ‘Swap it HK Baby Club’, ‘Hong Kong Breastfeeding – women only’ (cannot stress enough how much fabulous support and advice is here), ‘Hong Kong Moms’, ‘Mums w/o Helpers’. There are loads more, check out Hong Kong Hubs comprehensive list here.


• Helpful HK Websites, Expos & Shops •


Geobaby –  http://www.geobaby.com

Hong Kong Moms – http://www.hongkongmoms.com.hk/

HK Moms Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/groups/hongkongmoms/

Little Steps, Hong Kong – http://www.littlestepsasia.com/hong-kong

Sassy Mama – https://www.sassymamahk.com/

For a comprehensive list of Baby & Toddler Shops in Hong Kong check out Sassy Mama’s post here

There are a bunch of baby expos & conferences hosted throughout the year in Hong Kong, keep your eyes pealed for the ‘Hong Kong Maternity Conference’, Healthy Matters’ ‘Hong Kong Maternity & Baby Event’ and ‘ Pediatric & Parenting Conference’, ‘Hong Kong Baby Products Fair’ and ‘Mothercare Baby Expo’.

Did I miss out your favourite parenting tips that you couldn’t live without? Share the love and add it in the comments x

 

 

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Lullaby Images is run by Louise Ng, a full time mum and a part time professional newborn photographer. Louise loves photographing newborns, capturing beautiful baby photographs; from classic timeless posed images, to lifestyle portraits and adorable detail shots of pouty lips.

Based in Hong Kong, Lullaby Images specialises in newborn baby photography. Our mission is to ensure you have a beautiful collection of timeless photographs, by capturing the priceless tiny details of a baby’s first days. Louise has been a photographer since 2000 and has been professionally trained by two award winning photographers in newborn posing and safety.

We don’t do engagements, weddings or corporate events. We specialise exclusively in newborn portrait photography. So you know that your baby is in the safest hands, being posed with their well being at the heart of every movement and image.

contact@lullabyimages.com

+852 9443 8806