Making room for a baby

Building a cosy nursery does not have to break the bank


I will be honest — setting up baby’s room was the last thing on my priority list when my husband and I found out we were going to have a baby.

Over the last seven months, we have been so preoccupied with reading up on how to be reasonably competent parents (how do you even hold a baby, much less swaddle?) and stocking up on baby essentials (did I mention the mind-blowing choices of strollers out there?).

Now that I am nearing week 34 of my pregnancy, the reality that a new little housemate will be joining us soon is slowly kicking in, and my husband and I have started to prepare our cosy little nest in earnest.

The problem is, we live in a soho shoebox apartment, all 700 sq ft of a little nook tucked away in Jurong East. Admittedly, it is more bachelor pad than family home, so we do not have a lot of space to play around with.

We are converting our one and only guest room which till now has been used primarily for laundry drying and ironing into the nursery for the little one, not forgetting my mother who will be moving in to take care of him.

Fail to plan, plan to fail

With our space constraints, planning ahead for the nursery was essential.

Sticking stringently to our budget, purchasing second-hand items where possible and accepting hand-me-downs has also helped us significantly in keeping our decoration costs low.

Our nursery furniture has to fit exact dimensions in the room. So far, there is the $50 second-hand baby cot that we purchased; large storage containers for baby’s diapers, clothes and the like, which can be tucked away underneath the cot just perfectly; a firm yet comfy single bed which can be converted into a breastfeeding chair or couch for guests in the day; in place of a changing table, we are opting to use a changing pad which can be placed on the cot and stowed away when not in use.

Other nursery essentials we have purchased include a firm mattress for the crib, a night light for nighttime feedings, and a battery-operated mobile to amuse the cranky baby.

Let your creativity flow

The lack of space for our bub can be a real downer, but that does not mean we cannot make our little nursery as cosy as possible with a little creativity and DIY.

These days, social media makes it easy for amateur interior designer mamas and papas to pool ideas on how to build up nurseries on a budget.

It helps to stick to a design and colour scheme of your choice — we are going with a  minimalist aesthetic, replete with shades of neutrals.

Visiting friends with newborns have also been especially handy in learning what is useful and to get design inspirations.

Through the decorating process, my husband and I realised that a little help goes a long way; be it physical, emotional or financial support.

Help is always good

While we have each other and this is a beautiful journey, the stress of the great unknown sometimes gets to us. It is comforting to know that family and close friends — even colleagues — are more than happy to cheer us on and lend a hand from time to time, showering us with excellent parenting advice, gifts and good hand-me-downs.

At the same time, we are also heartened to know that there are financial tools to ease our financial stress. For example, the POSB Smiley Child Development Account (CDA) is a special savings account for your newborn with dollar-for-dollar matching from the Government. It offers a 2 per cent per annum interest with no minimum required, a POSB Baby Bonus NETS card with deals at over 40 merchants and plenty of other benefits.

It even helps your little one get started on his or her saving journey with a joint POSBkids Account. Account holders earn daily interest, and there is no minimum deposit and fall-below fee until the child turns 21 years-old. The coin deposit fee is waived until your child turns 16; and monthly e-statements make it easy for you and junior to track transactions and account balance together.

This, to my husband and I, is a great start to building our bub’s future. I mean, what’s better than having your savings matched dollar-for-dollar?

The POSB CDA savings account is valid until December 31 in the year your child turns 12 years-old. Should there be balances after the term ends, the unused savings will be transferred to your child’s Post-Secondary Education Account (PSEA) in the following year. These funds can then be used to pay for post-secondary education fees in Singapore for your child and his or her siblings.

Think of it as a journey, not a destination

Last but certainly not the least, prepping for a baby does not have to be a chore. Do not let the stress take the fun and happiness out of this amazing future that you will be building together with your life partner.

Nesting can be an enjoyable joint project for you and your significant other; and the nursery, an expression of your hopes and dreams for your little one.

Deposit Insurance Scheme

Singapore dollar deposits of non-bank depositors and monies and deposits denominated in Singapore dollars under the Supplementary Retirement Scheme are insured by the Singapore Deposit Insurance Corporation, for up to S$50,000 in aggregate per depositor per Scheme member by law. Foreign currency deposits, dual currency investments, structured deposits and other investment products are not insured.