So you’ve read all the literature about how to prepare for your baby. You have your feeding, napping and bathing schedules down. After you take stock of the helpful items donated by other parents that their babies have outgrown, you’re still left with the big-ticket buys that just cannot be “pre-loved”. For these, the sheer plethora of options can be overwhelming — as are their prices. Just what’s right for you and your family? Here are some practical hacks to guide your decisions.
1. Baby Transport
Walking My Baby: The range of prices and brands of strollers on the market can stymie any parent. Yet the most practical advice might come from parents with buyers’ remorse. Many have paid thousands for fancy names and technological features, only to find junior hating his ride altogether. Else, commuters eventually find that lugging a heavy-duty push cart just does not work for their lifestyle. In truth, most mid-range strollers are as durable as top-of-the-line options.
One mother-of-three offered this bit of good sense: “Singapore’s malls can be quite congested. You need something lightweight and narrow, which folds easily, so you can get on and off an escalator without constantly looking for a lift. The weather is also hot, so you need something that isn’t too heavily padded, so air can circulate. Newborns are hot bodies!” A decent stroller ranges from $80 and up.
Car Seats: To find the ideal seat, consider how often the primary caregiver has access to the family vehicle. A mum who does not have the car all day may need a seat that easily transitions from one automobile to the next. One mother of two, who favours rear-facing seats, as well as five-point harnesses, pointed out that safety ratings are a better gauge of effectiveness than price itself. “I do not feel the pressure to spend a lot. I read reviews online to see which ones are recommended, and check safety ratings. So my car seat decisions are based on that, as opposed to price.” At any rate, a car seat that takes up too much space in the back will not be practical when a second child comes along, and you have to somehow fit grandma between them. Expect to park anything from $200 and up for one of these.
2. Feeding Options
Breast pumps: Store assistants are generally knowledgeable about their stock. Ask for recommendations, as well as samples, so you can choose the right fit. Shields have to be the right size, as each woman responds differently to various pumps. Some considerations are whether you require a double or single pump (double tends to be faster and higher yields) or whether you prefer a battery-operated option, or working manually with a hand pump. Offerings range from about $20 for hand pumps, and into the hundreds for fancier models.
3. Early Childhood Education
Given the “start-up” consumer costs a newborn might call for, the POSB Smiley Child Development Account (CDA) offers strong support for baby purchases.
Its accompanying POSB Baby Bonus NETS card offers deals at over 40 merchants. The special savings account for your newborn comes with dollar-for-dollar matching from the Government, and offers a 2 per cent per annum interest with no minimum required. The POSB CDA savings account is valid until December 31 in the year your child turns 12.
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.
The POSB CDA savings comes with additional benefits. A joint POSBkids Account is included when you open the POSB Smiley CDA for your little one. The monthly e-statements make it easy for you and junior to track transactions and account balance together too.
Pregnancy can be tough. Find out how the POSB Smiley Child CDA #TakesALoadOff
4. Thinking About Risks
Shopping for the right insurance plan can get complicated depending on how comprehensive you’d like your coverage to be. Policies can cover the needs of expectant mothers and children; these days, they are more diverse than ever.
They address the risks of pregnancy complications and congenital illnesses for a newborn, while others function more like savings plans, offering payouts for the rest of your child’s life after the initial first 10 years of premiums. Most folks are keen to cover their infants especially in the first year of their lives, so they look for coverage for death, disability, early stage critical illness, accident as well as child-related illnesses.
But long-term planning for a child’s future, including savings and education, is also critical. Start early to give yourself time to process the many factors involved in financial planning. You might be considering endowment plans that offer savings functions, or ensure a protected education fund, in the event of a parent’s death or critical illness. Annual premiums can range between a few hundred dollars, and over $2,000 for more comprehensive offerings. While trawling online options may work out, having an insurance planner you trust can open up insights and experience that could be just the help you need to choose the right products for you.
5. Pimp Your Baby Crib
Making over your baby’s room can be a loving project that you pour months into. But if you, like one of our mothers, had her adopted baby drop in overnight, having to turn a library area into a habitable space for an infant puts priorities sharply into focus. The unseen environment of a room -- its air and ventilation set up -- need to be pristine. So air purifying, wall, floor and ceiling cleaning are a must. With more time, a fresh coat of paint, wall stickers and shelves can be worked into your plan.
Closer to the date, you’ll need a crib with bedding, a changing table, and ease of access to shelves holding items such as pacifiers, nappies and bottle warmers. More recently, tech-savvy parents have installed video monitors. But a pragmatic mother once told me, “Stick your child’s feeding schedule up in large type so everyone knows what’s next. That’s more helpful than fancy wallpaper!”
A handy tip is to have a feeding station set up in the room, with a rocking chair, and a thermos with warm water, and perhaps cosy touches such as a musical mobile. Depending on how much time you have, as well as how much equipment you want to kit the room with, a room renovation can cost anywhere upwards of $500. But the thing baby will most benefit from is the love you fill it with.
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.