People say you need a lot of stuff to have a baby.  We were lucky enough to time our visit to the US when I was in my second trimester, which meant I was able to stock up on all things baby. Before we left, I asked every expat mom I knew what they suggested I bring back with me and what I should just plan on purchasing here.  So I made extensive lists.  Buy there, buy here.  And in the U.S., I did lots of shopping.  I did lots of thrift shopping. I had two baby showers generously hosted for me. I had online registries. In the end, we came back to malaysia with a lot. Probably 75% of our luggage space was baby gear! Reuben even stuffed baby clothes inside his guitar that he had as a carry on.  It came out to about 200lb of checked luggage, not counting carry-ons.  Holy cow.

This was some of our luggage on our trip back.

Part of that gigantic number on the scale was due to the fact that I knew we might not go back to the U.S. for another 2 years.  So when I was shopping for clothes, I was looking for everything from birth to two years.   In addition to clothes, we brought back diapers, books, and other random bits that I anticipated needing.    A lot of it we could have purchased here in Penang, but the mark up for many imported gear is steep (e.g. you'll pay twice as much for bottles and car seats).  I didn't want to have to buy everything brand new, so I thrift shopped in the U.S.  Second-hand stores don't exist here (except for one small one run by YWAM).  I was also lucky enough to have several friends who had decided they were finished having kids, so they generously passed on things like play mats, swings, and blankets.

Ellis is one month old now and how much of these baby things have we used? Let's see...

Diapers. We started cloth diapering when Ellis was 1 week old.  We have 15 right now and don't have enough to do cloth exclusively.  We also have cloth wipes, which I love.

Burp cloths and blankets.  I love the giant muslin blankets for swaddling and I made my own burp clothes.  We go through these like crazy.

Clothes.  Ellis only wears clothes when we go out (we're classy like that), so that means he's worn clothes maybe 4 or 5 times? He's already outgrown some things he never wore.  I know that as he gets older we'll be getting out more and need more clothes.  To be honest, baby clothes here are pretty tacky (normally made of some thin, cheap polyester and sporting some knock-off version of Mickey Mouse) and low quality, unless you are willing to shell out tons of cash for the high end stuff.

Toys.  One thing that we did NOT bring over with us, except for a few cloth toys that I handmade.  He's definitely not interested in toys right now. He favourite things are faces, curtains, and the shadows on the wall.

Diaper bag: this is going to get a lot of use. It's jam-packed with diapers, extra clothing, blankets, a nursing cover, and snacks for me.

Crib organiser: I was inspired by this  from Pottery Barn and made my own.  It is super handy and helps us be organised, especially because the crib is in our room and there's really no space (right now) to store baby things anywhere else.

This holds blankets, extra crib sheets, wipes, diapers, etc.  So handy.

Other essentials:

A music player. My sister gave us her old iPod.  I never replaced mine after it got stolen a few years ago. We play lots and lots of music at home. My favorites right now are an album called "Scripture Lullabies" and one called "The Kingdom of Heaven is Like This" by Rain for Roots.

A baby bath.  I like to think that because he was born in water, Ellis loves baths. When he's fussy, it's the only thing that will calm him.

Ellis might not like this rain, but he really loves the sound of running water.  Thank you, YouTube.

Something to wear the baby.  I have a ring sling and a mei tai.  Despite my struggles in the beginning it is getting easier now.  We haven't even glanced at our fancy Baby Jogger stroller.

Washing machine: Because I cannot believe how much laundry a little person produces!

Yup, that's about it.  We haven't even looked at the stroller, swing, and so many other things.  I wonder how much I will just forget I have, since it's mostly stored in bins!

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