Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Apples of My Eye

Consumers nowadays are lucky to benefit from a fairly competitive market. If only the baby and mothercare industries were run by monopolies, I'm pretty sure they wouldn't be as keen investing in R&D to improve their products. While there are several options and alternatives available to us, here is a list of my personal favorites, when it comes to different baby-related items:

Huggies Dry Comfort - I have only tried 3 brands of disposable diapers - Drypers, because it was a free sample, Prokids, because I trust Taiwan-made products more than Phil, China, or Thai-made, and Huggies, because Baby came with this kind of diapers when she was taken home from the hospital nursery. It was a sureshot goodbye Drypers for me; it gave Baby rashes after the first and only use. I still found good use for the remaining samples; they make good hot compress for my breasts when I was suspecting plugged milk ducts during the earlier stages of my breastfeeding (or pumping, for that matter!)

Prokids are ok, but Baby would develop some rashes at times, so I decided to just finish the pack and then switch back to Huggies. I think Huggies is the best not only because it does not irritate Baby's sensitive skin, it's also super-absorbent, it lasts upto 10 hours. No more changing in the middle of the night, and Baby stays dry all the time.

Vandol ointment - There are lots of organic, expensive, and imported brands at Rustans, but I love Vandol. Vandol is not only used by babies for diaper rashes; grown-ups also use this for bites, wounds, and whatnots. It's vitamins A and D (you can never "overdose" or over-apply); it smells good; it's soothing on the skin. We would always have several tubes - 1 in Baby's organizer, 1 in Baby's diaper bag, and at least 3 in my medicine cabinet for buffer. Vandol is available in most drugstores.

Medela PureLan - I'm on my 10th month in pumping (and still counting!), and so far I have tried 3 different breast creams. Lansinoh is ok, but I feel it's a little too sticky. (I personally dislike that icky feeling.) Earth Mama-Angel Baby is neat, it works like butter (i.e. melts/softens when applied), and it's all-natural, but I feel it's not as effective in healing cracked nipples. Medela PureLan worked best for me. It's a bit expensive but a little amount goes a long way. I haven't tried the generic ones they have in Mothercare, and I'm not planning to because I've found The One. Then again, I think it's different for each one. Find yours here.

Sogo nursing bras - There aren't many choices when it comes to nursing bras. And among the limited selection, it could only be too cheap or too expensive. Bravado is a good brand (available at Crossings in Shangri-La) but one piece costs P2,000+. (I have 2 of these, thanks to my mom, who got those for me while I was on "house-arrest", i.e. a few days after giving birth.) There are also a few options at Marks & Spencer and Debenhams, but it's not easy to find your size. (And even if it was, I still find it impractical; I would rather spend the same amount on branded clothes so that people may appreciate, and not on something that would always be hidden under my shirt.)

Good thing there's SM. (They really got it all for you!) They carry cheap nursing bras like Sogo and Soen. I stay at home most of the time, so I don't really need nicely-padded bras. What's more important for me is that the bras should be comfy and non-wired. (I find underwired bras to worsen plugged milk ducts and do not help at all in pain related to breast engorgement.) Whenever I go out, I use my pre-pregnancy bras that are nicely-shaped and padded, but because of my bigger ahem, cupsize, I use extension hooks available in Big & Small Co.

Lansinoh breastmilk storage bags - I swear I have tried every kind of breastmilk storage bag available here at this time and Lansinoh is the ultimate winner. Breastfeeding By Blue comes in second. I say this with obvious criteria in mind - quality and price. The Nanny brand is the cheapest, available in SM Baby & Co at P250 for 25 bags. It can ideally store upto 10oz (I personally try to fit in 12oz to save on bags with no problems.) However, I have experienced wastage 3x because of sudden holes on the bags while thawing the milk. Bottomline: it's cheap for a reason - poorer quality.

Lansinoh bags are very durable. (Feel the plastic and you'll know the diff!) And it has a double seal to ensure freshness and to avoid spilling. The downside is that it's the most expensive one in the market. Mothercare carries this item at P479 for 25 bags. And it's usually out of stock. A better alternative is available here. I also like the brand Breastfeeding by Blue. I actually use this most of the time. It's always available at Babyland for P350 (with 10% discount if you're a Babyland member like me.) I wish though they also come up with an improved perforation version because it's easier and more convenient to just tear along the opening than cutting it open.

Kleenex/Surebuy - I always keep a box of facial tissues on my bathroom sink. This is where I pump the milk and I need the magic paper to dry my nipples, wipe my breastpump and pump parts, etc. I wasn't particular of the brand before all of this came. I actually preferred cheaper ones because it goes to the trashcan after each use anyway. But I realized I actually pay more because cheaper ones are not durable and so I end up using more pulls. I know Kleenex might be the most expensive brand, but I like that it's 3-ply; just one pull gets the work done almost every time. Surebuy (it's like the SM Bonus version of Rustans) is the next-best thing, but be sure to get their 3-ply tissues (even if they are a lot harder to find) because they also have 2-ply poor quality ones.

Pigeon wet tissue - There are also a lot of baby wipes in the market - Wet Ones, J&J, Lactacyd, etc. But I like the Pigeon brand because it's chemical-free. It's not only safe for the baby's bottom, it's also safe to use on hands and mouth. I recently got a free sample of NUK oral wipes and I love it! It's pre-sterilized, also chemical-free, and the texture is effective in taking the food residues and other dirt away.