Whether you’re Kiasu, Conscious or Chill – or a combination of the three! – we’ve got great tips to smooth your journey from pregnancy to birth and beyond.
Surely, you’ve heard this Singlish term for someone who hates to miss out on the latest thing or best deal. Typically, kiasu people register for everything early, are willing to queue for something they really want and will look through dozens of online reviews to make a fully informed buying decision.
Despite the sometimes negative connotation – being kiasu can be seen as “grasping” or “selfish” – it isn’t necessarily a bad trait when it comes to raising kids! You know what they say, “Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars.” Here’s how to navigate your new parenting journey, all of you Kiasu mummies and daddies:
Clearly, you will do your research here, weighing the pros and cons of private hospitals like Mt. Alvernia Hospital vs. public ones like KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital. Fortunately, medical hub SG has accomplished doctors and technological advancements at both types. Questions you’ll want to ask, when deciding on where to give birth:
• What are the admission procedures like?
• Are there childbirth classes available?
• Do you like and trust your obstetrician? Ditto the nurses or midwives?
• Is there a Neonatal Intensive Care unit if your newborn requires it?
• Will there be a competent paediatrician to attend to the baby once it’s born?
Make sure to sign up for hospital tours of maternity and labour wards.
Tip: Register early, as they can fill up fast.
For the Birth:
Many expats are surprised to learn that their employer-provided insurance doesn’t cover “elective” care, which, in Singapore, refers to nearly all costs related to pregnancy and delivery. So, plan ahead, and invest in “top-up” personal or maternity insurance such as AXA, Expat Insurance and Prudential. Depending on the policy, it can cover routine pregnancy and delivery costs as well as those for complications. Just FYI, you may need to be covered by the insurer for a set period of time before you’re eligible for its maternity coverage.
Caring for Your Newborn:
Nursing? Pumping? Formula feeding? However you opt to feed your wee one, you want to do it effectively. Struggling with latching or producing milk? Consult the lactation specialists at Mother & Child, or try Flower Moon Clinic’s TCM lactation treatments. Want a good-value pump? Choose a double-pump that’s powerful and quiet, plus a smaller one for travel or work, from a reputable store such as Mothercare.
Without question, your little one’s first 100 days or birthday party will be epic. Click here to see how Confetti Parties can make your dreams come true. Also awesome: aBite Atelier, which plans “unforgettable” events for kids and grownups.
For you, it’s all about sustainable living and mindful parenting. Who wants to leave the planet to the next generation, if the environment is in terrible shape and your kids aren’t good people?! You opt for organic foods and products whenever possible, and you’re into wellness practices like yoga and meditation – both for yourself and your bub. You don’t mind paying a little extra to ensure that you’re not depleting the world’s resources, or your own. Here’s where to find what you’re looking for, Conscious folks:
Similar to the Kiasu new parents, you’re not going through pregnancy without looking into hospitals and services that align with your values. You might want to consider the following q’s:
• Will the doctor and nurses respect your birth plan, particularly if you’d like to have a natural, drug-free birth?
• Will they allow a doula in the delivery room, if you want?
• Can you wear your own clothes, bring essential oils to use, etc., during birth?
• Will you be able to try for a VBAC (vaginal birth after Cesarean), if that’s a concern?
In addition, if you’d like to hire a doula (a.k.a., a non-medical professional, trained in childbirth), it’s best to book yours early. One popular service with Conscious parents-to-be is Four Trimesters, which offers HypnoBirthing prenatal classes, trained doulas, birth photos (like the water birth captured by Keidi Lim), placenta encapsulation and more. “People don’t know what they do not know,” explains founder Ginny Phang-Davey. “Coming into our Four Trimesters community exposes them to what is possible. It gives them back their personal power to feel confident in their parenting journey.” Other doula groups to look into in SG: Childbirth Odyssey, ParentLink and Doulas of Singapore.
For the Birth:
If you’d like to opt for a water birth, try the National University Hospital (NUH) – it’s the only public hospital in Singapore to offer water-birth facilities. Or, perhaps you’d like to feel as if you’re staying at a comfortable hotel, rather than a sterile hospital. If so, there are plenty of private options to pick from, including Mount Elizabeth Hospital – either its Novena or Orchard location – as well as Gleneagles Hospital, Parkway East Hospital and Raffles Hospital. Still too “medical” for your tastes? Set up a consultation with Dr. Lai Fon-Min of A Company for Women, said to be the only obstetrician in SG who attends home births.
Caring for Your Newborn:
We’re going to go out on a limb here, and guess you think “breast is best” when it comes to feeding your tiny human. And, no less than the World Health Organization (WHO) agrees: Breastfeeding has been shown to improve infant and child health and helps with cognitive development.
So, obviously, you’re going to need to get yourself some good nursing bras and tops! Shop local with hip brands Jump Eat Cry or Milky Way. Or, try Mothers en Vogue’s eco-chic nursing attire, or invest in European-made maternity bras from Change Lingerie.
Even if you’re committed to attachment parenting – and prefer to “wear” your baby in a carrier – it’s not advisable to travel this way by car if you don’t have a vehicle of your own. Meet TaxiBaby, which tests the safest ways to get around with tots in tow. Likewise, Deer Industries is the Conscious parent’s BFF for sourcing affordable furniture that grows with your LO. Its high-quality pieces are sustainable and stylish.
Raise your hand, if this sounds like you: You didn’t rush to take a pregnancy test when you thought you might be preggers because “What’s the rush?”. You believe in letting kids be kids. Plus, you’re way too busy
to be taking them to every sort of activity around town! You’d rather trust your intuition or first-hand advice from family and friends – when it comes to caring for your growing family – than spend a lot of money for
a professional to tell you the exact same thing. Here’s how to cruise along your new-parent ride, Chill people:
Not your first rodeo? If you’re on Baby #2 or more, you’re probably less fussed about how this pregnancy and birth stuff works. Expecting your first bambino? Register for an actually fun birthing class at Beloved Bumps , which focuses on creating a supportive community amongst pregnant peers.
Sure, you’re usually low-key about your beauty regime, but this is a great opportunity to pamper yourself. Try the B.C. (Before Child) Massage at Spa Esprit, which has locations around the island, or have a masseuse come to you with Jari’s home-spa experience. Oh, and make sure to squeeze in a quick, yet relaxing babymoon before you pop!
For the Birth:
If you haven’t already bought “top-up” insurance, and you’re not a Singaporean or Permanent Resident (in which case, you’re eligible for maternity savings accounts), you’ll likely have to pay for all birth-related costs out of your own pocket. Consider signing up for a credit card like the UOB One Card, which provides a generous 5-percent cashback.
While you definitely want to like your gynae and trust the hospital where you’ll deliver, for you, convenience is key. There will be shorter waiting times for appointments at private hospitals, though they’re more expensive than public ones. Just SYK – depending on the ward class, length of stay and room-type – public hospitals here can range from $1,000 to $6,500 for a normal delivery, or $8,000 and up for a Caesarean section or emergency delivery. (Tip: Both NUH and Singapore General Hospital, specialise in high-risk obstetrics, if that is a concern.) The same options at a private hospital will run from $8,000 to $12,000, or $12,000 and up, respectively. (See previous slide for SG hospitals.)
Also, factor in travel time for your appointments. Some Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) train lines go straight to hospitals such as the orange Circle Line to NUH, while the Mount Elizabeth Novena Hospital is also found close to Novena MRT.
Caring for Your Newborn:
Naturally, you’ll figure out this new-parenting gig as you go, swatting away well-meaning tips from aunties and scary medical websites alike! You are not worried whether your wiggly is dining on breast milk or formula, as long as he or she is eating enough.
Open to Eastern ideas? The traditional Asian “confinement” period might be of interest. It’s when you stay home for a month after giving birth to let your body heal and nurture your newborn. Thomson Medical Centre provides a confinement service with English-speaking nannies, confinement foods and/or medicinal herbs to aid with postpartum depression, milk production and more.
No need for fancy outings. You’re happy just taking your tyke to the park to explore. Find amazing options around SG like the Jacob Ballas Children’s Garden via National Parks, or consult our list of free playgrounds here!
“By starting your child in Infant Care during his or her first months, rest assured that your precious one will be nurtured by professionals in a space perfectly suited for those earliest stages of development,” shares teacher Nurulhana Abdul Latif of it’s impressive Early Learning Village, which caters to tots aged 2 months to 6 years.
The Nursery & Early Years Programmes at GEMS (Singapore) are designed for children from 2 to 5 years old and offer an engaging play-based education focused on the development of the whole child as an inquirer, both in the classroom and in the world outside.
The College provides a well-rounded education founded on academic rigour complemented by rich co-curricular programmes. Its DUCKS students (aged 2 to 7 years old) are enrolled in a Dual-Language Mandarin
Programme, a learn-to-swim programme and varied enrichment activities. (see here for more!)
For children aged 18 months starting preschool at EtonHouse, the first week gives plenty of time for the child and parents to become familiar with the new surroundings. “We provide parents with an honest reflection of their children’s progress and always talk to parents to know how they are feeling about this new experience,” says Anastasia Edwards, Principal of EtonHouse International Pre-School, Claymore.
If you want your child to benefit from SG’s cultural diversity, give OFS a look. It offers Mother Tongue classes in 14 different languages, from at least Pre-Kindergarten 2 to Grade 8. Bonus: Classes are integrated into the curriculum at no additional cost.
With 17 centres islandwide, there’s a good chance there’s a Kinderland near you that fits your ethos. The school’s holistic integrated curriculum nurtures your child to be curious, creative, capable, confident and caring. (see here for more.)
“Early Childhood is the foundation of a child’s education and we want our parents to be a part of this journey,” says Judy Cooper, Principal at Nexus International School. “Our young learners are nurtured in a safe and happy environment, where they can lead their learning, take risks, make mistakes, and learn from every new experience.”
Blue House supports children from 18 months to 6 years in taking ownership of the learning journey. Their fields of inquiry flow with their questions, theories, opinions and ideas – powerful in the knowledge that their voices are important to the world. (see here for more)
“Globally focused, distinctively Australian” is how AIS describes its unique approach. Housed at the Reggio-Emilia-inspired Early Learning Village, it builds in lots of time for purposeful play and outdoor exploration for kiddos aged 2 months to 6 years.
By Sara Lyle Bow, Karola Clark, Candy Lim + Neena Mittal / Photos: 123RF.com, respective businesses and organisations + Keidi Lin (Unison Photo), The Finder Issue 299
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