Having a baby in Singapore 101

Congratulations! You are having a baby for the first time! It might be daunting for youespecially with tons and tons of information online. Here’s a simplified step-by-step guide for you that might help you with your pregnancy journey.

  1. Choose a doctor

After that pee test, look for a doctor who is able to confirm that you are indeed expecting. It’s always reassuring to ‘double-confirm’ this happy news. First steps though, are you going the public or private route? For me who’s undecided at first, I spent almost 1.5 hours waiting for the polyclinic doctor to take the pee test again just to choose the private route for my second baby as well (like my first). Ironically, for my first gynae who did not allow appointments, I also spent the same amount of time waiting to see her though I spent an exorbitant amount of money because she didn’t have “packages” available too. For my second gynae, he was really efficient so the wait was really short. I highly recommend Dr. Benjamin Tham from Thomson Medical, and I have at least 5 other friends who went to see him!

  • 2. Plan a timeline

Are you superstitious and will not announce your pregnancy till after the 3-month period? Does your workplace need to find a maternity replacement for you? What are the items that you need to buy? What is your budget? What’s your birth plan? Do you need a confinement nanny or will confinement food delivery do?

Sit down with your partner to talk about a good timeline for you. Book your hospital maternity tours(to take a look at the environments and delivery suites), though this will largely depend on which doctor you are choosing because they do not deliver at all hospitals! Apart from the hospital tours, you can also look at antenatal classes. For my first child, I delivered at Mount Alvernia Hospital. For the second, I was at Thomson Medical. Both were really great, nurses were attentive and caring, to be honest I thought the environment at Mount A was a little better because it felt bigger.

  • 3. Baby stuff checklist

While I bought mostly new stuff for both of my kids, you can save a lot if you get clothes (which babies outgrow quickly anyway) or even big ticket items like cots and baby car seats from family and friends. Here’s a good checklist to have.

For me I created so many lists, which was only helpful to an extent. Since everything is easily available, buy what you need. I also did some research online on brands that are best for babies e.g. California Baby Shower Gel, Similac Formula Milk, Pampers etc.

In my head I visualised how I would take care of my baby and what I needed. For example, baby in baby cot cries, is it accessible for me to change his or her diapers? Where should I place the bottles and milk? If I need to breastfeed the baby should I save the milk in the freezer and is it easy for me to warm it up at night? Do remember though, you will need to plan for yourself too. Both my babies were delivered through c-sect, so it was difficult to bend. Make sure you have a short stool for you to sit while bathing the baby in a bath tub. Or a high enough bed.

Summary:

  • Find a doctor, go for regular check -ups, confirm the hospital that you’re delivering at, look at your budgeting (remember, you get baby bonus too so it’s not too bad!)
  • Start on antenatal classes and yoga classes to keep fit.
  • Notify your bosses and colleagues early if necessary.
  • Start getting baby stuff, and make sure you visualise the process of how and what should be done.
  • Confirm your confinement nanny or help/delivery food services that you’re going to get.
  • Be clear of government initiatives : Baby Bonus, Maternity leave entitlements, how to register your child at infant care
  • Confirm your birth plan, and pack your hospital bag (actually it was nothing much for me apart from the breast pump and clothes).
  • Decide if you will like to take maternity leave early.
  • Have a baby shower, before the baby, if you’re westernised!
  • Make sure you have support at home once the baby is out!

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