Preparing for the arrival of your baby is not just about the physical aspects of pregnancy or the emotional rollercoaster it takes you on , it is also about the practical financial aspect.
From the moment you conceive to giving birth and beyond, there are expenses involved at every step and the expenses only increase as your little one will come with his/ her needs and requirements. So how does one prepare for/ budget for the increased costs?
In this informative series on “Financial Readiness for your Baby’s arrival”, Parents World guides new parents/ parents to-be in this very crucial aspect. Part 1 of the series is about knowing what to budget for.
Following are the minimal costs that you need to factor in while planning your finances:
- Doctor checkups, pregnancy tests and screenings
Once you know you are pregnant, you will need to routinely meet your gynecologist who will monitor and oversee your pregnancy and advise you in case of any issues. There are several mandatory and recommended tests and scans to make sure that the pregnancy is healthy and that the baby is growing well. The important ones include screenings for hepatitis and other sexually transmitted diseases, combined screening to rule out chromosomal abnormalities such as the Down’s Syndrome in the first trimester, ultrasounds that detect Placenta Previa or a low-lying placenta and any malformations in the baby, screening for Gestational Diabetes in the second trimester and the Group B Strep Test to check for presence of the Group B Streptococcus bacterium in the reproductive tract, in the third trimester.
Unless you can get coverage under maternity insurance packages, costs for follow up doctor appointments along with the screening tests and scans (even if subsidized) can dent a big hole in your pocket.
- Antenatal Supplements and Vitamins
It is essential for pregnant mums to eat well and healthy. You may be asked to supplement your diet with vitamins and other nutrients, if required. All pregnant women are advised to take 400 microgram (mcg) supplement of folic acid (vitamin B9, an essential nutrient that protects your baby against brain and spinal cord problems such as spina bifida.
This may not seem like a big expenditure but it is good to factor it in.
- Maternity Clothes
A not so minor side-effect of pregnancy is that your regular clothes are no longer able to fit your increasing girth, especially from the sixth month onwards. You will need to buy maternity wear but assuming you will lose the extra inches after child-birth, it is a good idea to scour for affordable maternity wear options. It is also a good idea to borrow maternity wear from friends or family or buy these second-hand as you need them only for limited time and you can put those dollars to better use.
- Maternity Services
By your second trimester, you would have probably zeroed in on the hospital where you plan to deliver your baby. In Singapore, there are options of both public as well as private hospitals to choose from. One major factor to choose a particular hospital besides its location, reputation and amenities is the cost involved. Depending on whether you have a normal or a Caesarean delivery, you may need to stay in the hospital for 2 to 5 days. Most hospitals offer economical delivery packages that also include post-natal services, breastfeeding support and more. Check out our informative article offering a comparison of maternity hospitals in Singapore.
It is important to plan and budget for delivery costs from early on and explore insurance options if available.
- Post Natal/ Postpartum Services
It is easy to feel overwhelmed once you are back home after delivery, looking after a little being while still recuperating and regaining your strength post-delivery. You need all the help you can! It is excellent if your parents or in-laws can help but if not, if you need to look at options for confinement nannies who can look after the newborn and either delivery of confinement food or hiring someone to help with the cooking to tide over the tough first 6 weeks. Many mums also go for postnatal massages that help and support recovery and relieve muscle aches and pains. Here are some useful tips for your confinement period.
Needless to see, all these services come with a cost and it is important to budget them in or choose the option that suits your pocket.
- Breastfeeding Essentials
You newborn needs to be fed. Even though breastmilk is nature’s gift, there are many ancillary products that need to be arranged. Some essential products are nursing pads, nursing bras, breast pumps, baby bottles and sterilizer. You may also need nipple cream for sore or cracked nipples and a nursing pillow for comfort. Once you get back to work, you may need milk storage containers and down the line, if you introduce formula to your baby, you need to factor in cost of formula milk as well.
Take a look at our pick of breast pumps and breastmilk storage options for mums.
- Kid Essentials
One item that’s top on the grocery list every week, in a new parent’s life? You guessed it right! Diapers! Newborns use 10 diapers every day, that’s a whopping 300 diapers a month. It is a major cost to factor in, so start watching out for bulk buys/ deals to save costs. Baby clothes are another major cost, especially if you see how quickly your baby outgrows the clothes you so lovingly bought for him/ her. You will also need mittens, booties, swaddle blankets, towels, bibs and sleepsuits.
You will also need to arrange for baby cot or bed with bedding essentials and a changing table.
Another quintessential item to budget for are strollers or prams. This is not a cheap item but with some comparative research and store/ internet browsing, you might be able to pick an economical option. We also have a handy list of stroller brands to choose from, if you are confused. If you own a car, you will also have to invest in a child car seat which is a mandatory requirement in Singapore.
- Infant Care Needs
Finally, it is never too early to start planning of who will look after the baby, once you return to work. Check your budget and see what works best for you – a full-time helper if you have an older relative to supervise things at home, or you may have to consider sending the baby to an infant care. Start checking out infant care facilities in your locality or near your office and do a comparison of the quality, amenities and costs to shortlist for future use.
Hope you found our comprehensive article useful. Look out for our next article in this series of financial readiness where we guide you on how you can be better prepared to face these costs.