I’m not exactly one to write articles with tips or a check list for motherhood or parenting because I personally never felt like what I have to share is of any good or use. I’ve been criticized for my way of parenting before (let the children sleep late, play xBox and other game consoles, encourage eating of ice cream and cake regularly are just some of them) so that further deterred me.
However, I have been getting questions about parenthood and how to prepare for it from friends who have either just given birth or are expecting their first child. And I thought that it might be good if I put it all down somewhere they can refer to in future cos messages tend to disappear really quickly and scrolling back to find certain parts can be quite a pain in the neck (literally).
So here goes… Some of the parenting tips/hacks/whatever-you-call-them for first time parents. I hope these will be of help in some ways and potentially save you from a ton of headaches. And no, don’t expect of a list of things to buy. The main bulk of this post is to help you save money!
Two of the most important necessities one can get samples for are diapers and milk powder (only available for 6 months and up). This is great for the initial stage where you’re still trying to figure out what works best for your baby. There is really no point in spending $10 to $20+ buying a big pack of diaper or $40 to $80+ for a 900g-1.8kg tin of milk powder just to see how well your baby will take to it. Get as many samples from as many brands as you can!
You can find them either online or at baby fairs. Typically, requesting for samples online is a one-time thing per address, but that doesn’t mean you can’t use more than one address to get samples. I used my own and my mom’s home address. For baby fairs, one of you should try to head down (I will strongly suggest not to bring baby along) and collect as many samples as you can for all the various products available – don’t limit it to just diaper and milk powder!
Here are some for starters:
Milk Note: Regardless of what WHO and other pro-breastfeeders say about breastmilk being the best and only thing a newborn can consume, having a tin of milk powder on standby will be good in the event that the mother is unable to produce milk or, like myself, ends up hating the whole process of breastfeeding which, by the way, drove me close to off the cliff. Remember – Healthy mind, healthy mom. Healthy mom, healthy child. That’s all I’ll say.
Diaper Note: When buying your first pack of diaper, don’t go over the top with the newborn size cos babies grow really fast. And because they grow so fast, they’ll outgrow the newborn size in no time at all. Both Blake and Nakayla went straight to size S when they were born!
Clothes, that is.
Blake’s growth within three months
Babies grow really fast. I cannot stress on this enough. Within 3-4 months, they double in weight and size (maybe more). So when buying clothes, always buy the bigger size. This was something I learnt on-the-go. The romper on Blake (above picture, left) was only worn once – that very day we took the photo. He couldn’t fit into it a week later. So if it’s just fitting, get one or two sizes up!
Oh yes, and when buying baby clothes, check the cutting. Baby clothes can all be labelled with the same size (usually by age, in blocks of 3/6 months), but the cutting may run small or large compared to others. I usually check the arm holes and shoulder width of the clothes over the labelled sizes.
What works best are actually hand-me-downs. They are worn in, comfortable and it will save you a lot of money. Just make sure they are clean before you put them on your baby!
Side note: When it comes to shoes, babies don’t really need them. Just think about it. The baby is either being carried, laid down to sleep or sitting in a baby chair of some sort. Do they really need shoes for any of these three activities? Socks are enough to keep their feet warm when you’re in an air-conditioned place.
Blake only wore this pair of shoes once, for this photo, before outgrowing it.
The only time I will say shoes are necessary for a baby is if you’re traveling to a really cold country (below 18°C). You will need all the layers you can pile on!
From potential emergency C-section (bill can run up to the 5-digits!), to the possibility of baby being kept in hospital for overnight observation (both Blake and Nakayla stayed overnight for jaundice treatment)… All these can put quite a dent in the savings.
While there are insurance plans that may cover emergency C-section, it’s not a sure thing. Insurance is never a sure thing with me. And sometimes, you need to pay it off first before the insurance companies reimburse the sum (if they actually approve your application). In other words, you better have enough rainy day cash!
Insurance didn’t cover the surgery Blake had to undergo
So think really carefully about that cute and expensive (insert item) you want to get. Try to find a cheaper option. The rule of “expensive means good” isn’t a definite and can be quite the contrary at times. There are quality items that are wallet-friendly out there. You just have to go find it. Don’t be lazy!
“All recommended immunisations under the NCIP (except Pneumococcal) are fully subsidised and provided free of charge at all polyclinics for children who are Singapore citizens.” (source)
Yes, it’s for real, and the little ones get major priority too!
If you visit a GP or PD for vaccinations, it can easily set you back a couple of hundred dollars.
We didn’t know and had vaccinations done at the PD
Buying certain items in bulk can save you some money, energy and a lot of trouble. I usually buy milk powder and diaper in bulk here and have my order delivered to my doorstep.
Works best for milk powder because it goes in stages. There is no outgrowing it and you can still give them the lower stages of milk powder even after the labelled age group. In fact, some parents encourage mixing the two stages during the transitional period!
Diaper is a little trickier because babies grow fast. However, diaper sizing has been pretty accurate for most as it goes by weight, across the brands.
For my two little ones, an almost 3-year-old and just turned 5-year-old, they’re both wearing size XL now (Blake wears diaper to sleep only) as their weight falls on the two extreme ends labelled on the diaper. So far so good for us!
Besides buying from the online store, I also keep a look out for promotions in supermarkets as well. These promotions are also in favor of bulk purchases, and some are even more worthwhile! Selected supermarkets also offer free delivery with a minimum purchase.
That’s just about most of the things I share with friends who have spoken to me.
Oh yes. One last thing…
If you’re buying a bath tub, get one that comes with the plug at the base of the bath tub. This makes clearing up after bath time so much easier!
Also, there’s a particular brand of bath tub that has the plug and can hold a maximum weight of 30kg (Blake is 5 years old and weighs about 18-19kg now). Blake and Nakayla have one each (it is that affordable!) and they have been using it for about two years now. If you want to get it, you can visit Kiddy Palace and look for the Latido brand bathtub.
I personally think this is a very value-for-money bath tub because this one bathtub is all you’ll need for your child’s growing years! And no, I didn’t get sponsorship for the bath tubs. I bought the blue tub first, and then the pink one a few weeks later. On both occasions, I took the bus, lugging the bath tubs home. Haha!
Okay. That’s really all. I hope this particular list of something (really have no idea what to call it) will be able to help some of you!
when there’s time, I’ll update this post with your sharing!