Are you ready for baby? Here's a handy checklist to help you make sure you’ve got everything covered for this next chapter of your life!

Financial Planning


The arrival of a baby can alter your family’s financial status. You may suddenly find yourself living on a lower income, if one spouse works less or not at all. And you will definitely have more expenses — starting with costly baby gear and possibly including infant or child care.


What you can do is to be prepared. Start by reviewing your budget. Consider setting up a separate account just for maternity and baby needs. Add up all the incidental expenses — like childbirth classes, postnatal massages, confinement help, parent-craft consultations and so on. You will also need to budget for things like diapers, milk powder (if you are not breastfeeding), the baby shower celebration (if you intend to have one), paediatric visits and vaccinations.


You should also consider reviewing your insurance coverage.


Click here to refer to the following topic:
• Why Insurance Matters


Work Arrangements


Some mums find working part-time or working from home can offer them a good balance between family and career. Speak to your boss to find out if your company offers such an option. If you are the first to do this, you will have to be prepared to break new ground!


It will help you if you can come up with a proposal on how you intend to fulfil your job scope while working from home. Your proposal should cover the targets that you intend to hit, within a reasonable timeframe, and how you intend to stay in touch while not being physically in the office. With modern technology, this should not be a problem at all.


One such mother to enjoy such work arrangements is web designer Madeline Tan. She only works in the mornings and leaves the office at lunch-time to pick up her 10-month-old son, Amos, from his infant care centre. She then spends the rest of the day with him. “To me, this is ideal. I am not earning as much as before, but I am less stressed and I love being able to spend time with Amos!” says the 33-year-old mother. She catches up on her work when Amos is napping or after he goes to bed at night.


Click here to refer to the following topic:
• Becoming A Stay-At-Home Parent


Child Care Options


From birth to the age of three, babies thrive better under the care of a dedicated caregiver. But with the escalating cost of living, it may be impractical or impossible to quit your job and take care of your baby. You might need to depend on an external child care provider — and it is never too early to start exploring your infant or child care options. Start by asking if your parents or your in-laws willing to help take care of their grandchild. Are there any child care or infant care centres near your home or workplace? What about a nanny?


For the latter two, you will need to do your research before putting down a deposit to confirm your child’s place. Visit the infant care centres you are interested and observe how they manage their young charges. Likewise, you should conduct a thorough interview of several nannies and visit their homes if your child will be cared for there, before picking one.


Click here to refer to the following topic:
• Infant Care Options


Household Responsibilities


With baby in the picture, you will have less time for household affairs. Who will take care of the daily chores? Who will cook the meals? Who will go grocery shopping?


Will you hire a foreign domestic worker or rely on weekly part-time help? It can take months to find a reliable helper who is also competent in baby care, so start your search early. You will also need time — up to a fortnight — to teach her how to do her job in your preferred manner.


Click here to refer to the following topics:
• How Should We Bring Up Our Baby?
Life With Baby
Managing Time With A Baby


Hospital Stay


The hospital that you give birth in will usually be the one that your ob-gyn operates in. Go on a hospital maternity tour to familiarise yourself with the place. Find out what is provided during your stay, and what you need to bring.


If you have a birth plan, check to see if the hospital you are picking has the appropriate facilities. Find out if the maternity plan includes confinement food, and whether you can opt for a different menu if you do not eat what they serve.


Think about which class of ward you want to stay in after birthing your baby. Some women prefer the privacy of a single room, while others like the camaraderie and companionship of fellow mothers in a four-bed ward. Do note that some hospitals will only allow your baby to room-in with you if you are staying in a single-bed room.


Click here to refer to the following topics:
• Choosing An Ob-Gyn
• Prenatal Check Ups — What To Expect


Baby’s Name


Did you know that you only have two weeks to register a name for your baby after birth? So, start your research early. As your baby’s due date approaches, comb through name books and web sites for suitable names — after all it is a name that will stick with your baby for the rest of his or her life.


There are lots of factors to take into consideration when you’re deciding on a name. Look at the ancestry and heritage of the name. Avoid names with embarrassing initials or nicknames, and steer clear of monikers associated with bad memories. You may want to look up the origin of the names on your shortlist and give your baby one that is meaningful.


Many couples compile a list of several names that they like, then select the one that fits the baby’s personality after birth!


Baby’s Arrival


A baby comes with baggage — literally. For example, you will need to get a cot or put together a sleeping area for your baby, if you do not

plan on having your baby share your bed when you return home from the hospital.


You should prepare for your baby’s arrival by making a list of what other necessities you might need. There are baby websites out there that provide comprehensive lists which you can refer to and download.


In reality, you don’t need to do too much around the home to make it safe for your newborn baby. It will be a while before your baby starts crawling around. Instead, focus on having the basics in place — prepare clothes for the baby, an adequate supply of nappies, feeding equipment, blankets, and a cot or moses basket.


You can save quite a bit by borrowing, renting or buying pre-loved items instead of brand new ones that will be used for just a short time. “My cot, bottle steriliser and baby clothes were hand-me-downs from my cousin, who gave birth two years ago,” shares Madeline Tan, who only bought a new car seat for her child.


Make sure your prep for the baby is done before you deliver. That way, you can focus on recuperating, relaxing and bonding with your new bundle of joy when you return from the hospital.


Click here to refer to the following topic:

• Keep The Flame Burning

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