What babes really need – In Cambodia Anyways


Now nurturing baby #2, I’ve been thinking through what baby items are really necessary. We got a lot of experience with #1 and are wizened to what baby bits are crucial and which aren’t. And it was a major reality check that first weekend we went away with Aya and tripled our baggage (and we definitely didn’t look as cute as the adorable VW bug!). 🙂

Here’s the non-exhaustive list (excluding crib and change table which are kind of a given and which we bought from friends here in Cambodia) of how we’ve survived with two kids in a developing, tropical country, and where we’ve gotten each item.

1. Baby carrier.

A caveat about Cambodia. The condition of sidewalks is not conducive for strollers. If there are open sidewalks without motos, food vendors, or people’s cars parked everywhere, then they are probably decrepit and bumpy with bricks and tiles jutting out everywhere, or big holes threatening to sprain an ankle or swallow a stroller wheel. Needless to say, we’ve used our carrier a lot. Like every day with baby #1. And it conveniently doubled as a restraint mechanism at restaurants while we were traveling with our daughter. Just plop her on a chair and strap her to it with the Ergo. So useful…

After trying a couple out, I prefer the Ergo – after 3 months – because of the waist strap, the versatility in ways to carry the baby, and the breathable fabric of the Performance Carrier. I say after three months, because the infant rather thick cotton padded insert on the Ergo scared us half to death. We were worried babe would either overheat (+30 degrees every day in Cambo), or lack breathing space.

Second time around I’ve opted for a baby sling for the first few weeks and am now borrowing a Baby Bjorn from a friend. The second she’s big enough for the Ergo though, I’ll move back to it. My back can’t handle hefting a growing kidlet around without the strong waist support of the Ergo. Plus, very keen to clock a few more kilometres with the Ergo this time around.

Procured in Canada

2. Stroller

After expounding the marvels of the baby carrier and the horrors of Cambodian sidewalks, I admit it. Yes, we have a stroller. We caved and bought a cheapo one at a shop in Phnom Penh. It has been particularly useful for international travel – roaming around airport terminals with a toddler in tow – as well as meals at restaurants. The rolling action has allowed the newborn to sleep while I catch up on emails at nearby coffee shops. That makes for one happy momma.

Procured in Cambodia

3. Bottle Sterilizer

After nearly burning our house down one day two years ago during an unfortunate bottle-sterilization-event, I dished out for a second hand sterilizer this time around. I am very happy with it, mostly because there is no risk anymore of incinerating bottles and pacifiers, and I don’t have to remember to put on any timers!

Procured in Cambodia

4. Cloth Diapers.

Not only are they good for the environment, they double up as super cute bottoms! Therefore, I don’t need to buy as many baby clothes. Plus it’s hot here all the time, so often our kids just run around in their diapers. We use them all the time when we are home and find, with our kids anyways, that they are easier on sensitive skin than disposables. The bonus with living in Cambodia is that they dry exceptionally fast in the hot weather.

Procured in Canada and Cambodia

5. Pea Pod.

We love our Pea Pod. So, we were completely shocked when we finally learned (a year after the fact) that it had been recalled.  (Yes, we are a bit out of the loop in Cambodia which has its pros and cons). We rarely used the blow up mattress, so were never really at risk for our kiddos getting hurt anyways. What we love about it is the compact size (we still try to travel light even though we are a family of four now!) and the built-in mosquito net. It is perfect for traveling in Asia where malaria is a risk when you leave the cities. No mosquitoes can get our babies tucked snug as bugs in their pea pods.

Procured in Canada

6. Kolic Water.

LIFE SAVER. I am a mom to two G-A-S-S-Y babies. It’s impossible to find this miracle substance here, so every time we have friends or family visit, we have them tuck a few extra bottles of this magic liquid in their bags for us.

Procured in Canada

7. Highchair

It might seem unnecessary, but we’ve found that the more immobile our daughter is during food times, the more we keep our sanity. We first tried a rattan version only to find it was rather insufficient. The tray was too small and too difficult to clean. Finally, we shelled out and bought a better quality “real” high chair from a fellow expat. I wish I’d just gone and bought it in the first place! The one we have can rise and lower, has a removable/washable cover, and has a beautifully large tray that manages to catch at least some of the food our daughter flings around during meals. Worth every penny.

Procured in Cambodia

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