Tuesday, December 01, 2009

My China List of 'Must Haves'

I've wanted to share some of the items I took to China that I used on a daily basis and am so very thankful I had them! Here they are:

  • Baby Bjorn - Hannah spent hours each day in it and still continues to spend hours in it most days even now that we're home. It may sound silly but I also believe it might have helped prepare her for travelling in a car seat at home. She was very used to being 'confined' in it when we were in taxis and sometimes in the bus. Her transition to the car seat was seamless (SO thankful for this) and I truly believe part of it is due to her daily time in the Bjorn. To this day she kicks her legs and gets that delightful grin on her face when I put on the Bjorn and begin to lift her into it!
  • Thermos - Each morning I filled it with boiling water from the hot pot in the hotel room. Using a combination of bottled water and this water it was easy to make bottles at the right temperature whenever we needed them. (Using the royal 'we' here as Norma was the master bottle maker when we were out and was a huge help when my hands were full of baby.) The weather in Beijing was quite cold so if the thermos had been filled with water at a cooler temp it wouldn't have been possible to get the bottles as warm as we needed them when Miss H needed to be fed.
  • Backpack Diaper Bag - This was a great type of diaper bag to carry as it had lots of pockets to easily store all we needed with us for a day of touring and also, it may sound silly but the weight of it on my back helped to offset the 16lbs. I was carrying on my front. :o) After about 3 days I could carry Hannah for many hours and over a lot of terrain and truly not feel uncomfortable at all.
  • Flip Video Camera - This was a 'spur of the moment' purchase in June and I am forever grateful that I made it!! This great little video camera captured hours and hours and....hours of our time in China and continues to do so at home too. It's so small that it easily fits in the pocket of anything I was wearing in China so was easily accessible but could also be tucked away when not in use. It's easy to download, recharges when plugged into my computer and the videos are also easy to send to family and friends so that they had up-to-the-minute videos of all the action in China. It holds up to 2 hours of video on it so there was ample room. I downloaded it daily and kept all important videos while deleting some of the others once they were saved onto my computer.
  • Tights for Hannah - The wonderful little Chinese Grandmas like to make sure the little ones are warm enough. The only day I was scolded by a Grandma was the day she was wearing 'only' a onesie, long pants, tights, socks, a sweater, jacket and hat. Oh yes...it was 27oC/80oF! The little Grandma showed me her 5 sweaters and scolded me for not having enough on Hannah. I just smiled at her....and took her picture. :o) I did find though that because Hannah's legs were always covered I was far less scolded by the Grandmas.
  • Comfortable shoes - I only took 2 pair of shoes and truly did not need any others. Sandals for Changsha and running shoes for Beijing. We did find a lot of people checking out our feet in Changsha as it quickly became evident that they didn't wear sandals so our toes poking out seemed to draw their attention. I think my mom wishes she had brought boots to Beijing but truly, who would have thought we'd have 3 days of snow in Beijing the beginning of November?? Comfy shoes are a must as you will do a lot...and I mean A LOT of walking in China! The places that surprised me most were The Summer Palace and Tienanmen Square/Forbidden City day. Sure was glad my feet were comfy as we walked for more than 2 solid hours on both of those days!
  • Laptop - I found I wanted to capture as much of the trip as I possibly could for Hannah and this was the best way to do it. I still have a few days to go back and catch up but much is here and I'm so thankful for that. It was also a great way to keep in touch with family and friends back home.
  • Stainless steel bowl and colander - These were great to have for washing bottles each night. I'd fill the hot pot with water and then pour the water into the bowl to wash the bottles. Used chopsticks to transfer clean items to colander to dry. Bowl was then available for doing assorted laundry which normally consisted of bibs and a few baby items. We bought dish soap and plastic clothes pins in China and used these daily too.
  • 30 Canadian diapers - These were used for travel days. The rule of thumb suggested to me was to have on hand 1 Canadian diaper for every hour of travel from the moment we left the current hotel until we either reached the new hotel or home. It worked really well. Neither of our flights were delayed but after the disaster we faced on our Beijing to Changsha flight I was super cautious to have enough diapers on hand!

Hope this list is helpful to those of you who are preparing to travel. (Congratulations!!) I thoroughly enjoyed our time in China and just writing this list has made me want to go back. Someday we will Hannah. Someday......


  1. The tights must have been really important to mention them twice. I wonder what babies where in the summer months when it is hotter than 80 degrees.

  2. Thanks...got it all and checked off my list!

    Keep smilin!

  3. Catherine, I really am enjoying all the "installments" in your story of life home with Hannah. Well written to share with her in the future and to be enjoyed by your friends and followers,now.
    The going to sleep video in a previous post is just too precious.
    Hugs from Texas,

  4. Thanks for all the great tips Catherine! I will be ordering my Flip Video Camera in the morning!! It just seems much more convenient than lugging our bigger video camera and it sounds like it will be easy for all of us to use.
    I am also very glad you took your laptop with you because I really enjoyed following your journey to little Miss Hannah!

    I hope Hannah is feeling better.

    Smiles! :o)


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