So it’s been 1 year & 5 weeks that I have been able to call Beijing home. When I look back at all the research and preparation that my husband and I did to make the move a safe one it seems crazy on top of dealing with the stress of having our first child, but somehow we did it.
So before I go and stash all this research away permanently I thought I would post it just incase there is even 1 person who randomly stumbles across my blog and is bravely making the move east pregnant too.
The single best piece of advice I can give is use this forum: Beijing Mamas (the most amazing online forum of supportive mummies imaginable. You can ask ANYTHING here and someone will be able to help you)
This is by no means a definitive list of things to pack, just some things that were invaluable to us. This list was compiled from my email contact with about 20 mums I met via the Beijing Mamas forum before I left the UK. (I told you these people are like gold!)
IQ Airs & Blue Air (expensive but essential if you want you and your family to breath safe air) They really do work but you need to have enough for the size of your home and adjust them constantly dependant on the air outside. My husband tested the air in our apartment when it was toxic outside and the air was excellent by world health standards inside. Phew!
Humidifiers (the air is crazy dry especially in winter but I found it a shock when I first arrived even in spring time)
Bring these with you or expect to pay a huge premium for western brands.
Non-prescription meds e.g. Calpol, Calprofen, teething gel, sudocrem
Aveno or lots of good face and body moisturiser for the dry air
Baby hair and body wash
Favourite breakfast cereals
Favourite treats e.g. Special chocolate (Green & Blacks, Whittaker’s)
Baby washing powder. (I paid 118RMB/24 NZD for that box of Persil below to wash my babies clothes. Ouch!)
If you are shipping your contents to China make sure you take the essential baby things with you on your flight as I have heard of shipping taking months to be cleared and the baby arriving before the shipment. Best to be prepared
Paperwork. In your packing for the flight, include your marriage certificate and both of your original long form birth certificates. You will need these to register the baby and get it’s passport. Depending where you were born you may also need other paperwork – check the embassy website for registration. The babies birth certificate will be partially in Chinese.
Hospitals (popular amongst expat families)
Beijing United Family Hospital. Dr Afnan is highly recommended, if he is still there? I had a very good experience at BJU. I would definitely recommend it.
Pollution monitoring by the US Embassy. Familiarise yourself with this site, you are going to need it. http://aqicn.org/city/beijing/us-embassy/
Get a good ayi (Chinese cleaner/nanny). I didn’t fully embrace the whole ayi thing, I had Xiao come just on occasion to clean but still it was a huge help when you don’t have any family support. Use the Beijing Mumas forum to get a referral. The Chinese tend to love kids, I have seen some wonderful ayi’s and heard about some bad ones unfortunately so do your background checks.
Western supermarket – trusted supermarkets with imported food
April Gourmet and Jenny Lou’s
Local Organic or Imported fruit, veg & meat
Tootoo Organic. Amazing service, they deliver to you door and check the quality of every piece of fruit. http://shop.tootoo.cn
Good yoga classes for expectant mummies, english classes available.
Most importantly if you like coffee as us antipodeans do
Cafe Flat White http://www.caffelaffare.com.cn