If you are in Japan and need something for your baby, just visit Akachan Honpo. You can find diapers, toys, clothes, foods, toothbrushes, anything!
Akachan Honpo is a famous shop for maternity and childcare goods.
Akachan = Baby
Honpo = Speciality shop
I am a Japanese mother raising two children; 0-year-old boy and 2-year-old boy.
I was asked by a friend, "Do you have any recommendations for a pregnant foreigner to buy at Akachan Honpo in Japan?"
She says that Japanese sanitary products are famous for their high quality, and she has high expectations for baby products, too!
OK, these are my answers.
1. "Merci Pot" (BabySmile Nasal Aspirator S -503)
"Merci Pot" is a nasal aspirator for babies, and this is the product I recommend the most. The official website in English only explains about S-502 model, but S-503 is the latest model. I think S-503 is much easier to use because it is smaller, lighter and has fewer parts.
Babies can't blow their noses by themselves. When your baby's nose is stuffed, the baby will not only be in a bad mood, but there is also a risk of otitis media. So, you should clear his/her stuffy nose. In Japan, high-quality electric nasal aspirators are sold at reasonable prices, and "Mercy Pot"(S-503) is the most popular among Japanese mothers.
The price is about 12,000 Japanese yen.
The size is 23.5 x 9 x 16 cm, so you can easily put it in your suitcase.
It weighs only 798 g.
You can buy it at Amazon, too.
When you buy Merci Pot at Akachan Honpo or Amazon, you can not get an English instruction manual. Call the Customer Service Center (03-4511-8855) and they will mail you an English manual. I think they do not ship overseas.
For those who don't have time to get it by mail during Japan stay, let me briefly explain how to use it.
1．Fill a cup with water.
2．Turn on the switch and suck in some water from the cup (to moisten the nozzle and prevent runny nose from sticking).
3．Seal your baby's nose with the silicone tip.
4．Turn on the switch again and start aspirating (Do not continue aspirating for more than 5 seconds at a time.).
5．Remove the parts, throw away the water with a runny nose and wash the parts.
It may sound complicated, but once you use it, you will find it's very easy. Step 1 to 5 takes about 3 minutes.
2. "Mama Hanamizu Totte" (Mom, clear my runny nose!)
This is a manual nasal aspirator, not an electric one.
You put one of the nozzles on the baby's nose and put the other in your mouth to suck the runny nose. There is a container in the middle of the nozzle to keep the runny nose, so baby's runny nose will not enter your mouth.
The suction power is weaker than electric nasal aspirators. But the risk of getting a cold from a baby is lower than sucking a runny nose directly from nose with your mouth.
The price is about 700 yen.
The size is 12.2 x 8.2 x 3.4 cm, and it fits easily in a handbag.
It weighs 40.8 g.
Actually, I put this in my emergency kit. Even if electricity is not available, you can easily suck the baby's runny nose with it.
3．Baby's Front-Open Clothes
In Japan, front-open clothes are common for a baby before he can hold his head up. I know there are some countries where newborns wear pullovers/head-over clothes, but I think front-open clothes are easier, especially for newborns with shaky neck.
Various baby clothes are sold at Akachan Honpo, so you can choose your favorite color and pattern.
The size "50" is for babies from newborn to 3 months old.
"60" is about 3 to 6 months old.
"70" is from 6 months old, but babies in this age may roll over or crawl, so a head-over type may be better than a front-open type.
If you are pregnant and preparing clothes for your baby, I recommend buying at least 3 or 4 pieces of size "50" and 3 or 4 pieces of size "60".
If you are looking for something very Japanese, my recommendation is "Jinbei" which looks like kimono/yukata. I think Jinbei is good for souvenir, too.
4. Maternity stockings
Japanese stockings are famous for their high quality. You can buy stockings for pregnant women at Akachan Honpo. The waist is wide, so even pregnant women in the last month can wear it without tightening their stomach.
If you want to wear stockings until just before birth, I recommend you to buy maternity stockings at Akachan Honpo.
5. Other recommended items
At Akachan Honpo, there are many products for pregnant and lactating mothers such as decaffeinated drinks.
Supplements such as DHA are also popular. It is said that if pregnant and lactating mothers take enough DHA, it is good for the baby's brain.
Have a nice trip in Japan!