1 July 2011, by Tan Yi Lin

Be Prepared!

A few months ago, one of my colleagues kindly shared with me her checklist of items (and suggested quantities of each item) to buy when preparing for a baby’s arrival. Such checklists from experienced mums are a lifesaver for first-time parents. Many a time, I’ve wandered into Mothercare or the baby section of a departmental store and left feeling totally bewildered – and empty handed. Of course, I didn’t end up buying every single item my friend listed, but it provided a good overview of the necessary items to have on hand before the baby arrives. And that, for clueless parents-to-be, is a very good start indeed.

Nappies? Check!

Newborn tops and bottoms? Check!

Baby toiletries, wipes, bedding, blankets, bibs, towels, mittens, booties, etc. (yes, the list DOES go on…and on…and on…)? Check!

Baby hardware e.g. bassinet, bouncer, pram, carrier, etc? Check! Check! Check!

Awfully mumsy and unsexy stuff  for self (think breastpads, nipple cream, nursing bras, breastpump, maternity pads, paper undies)? Check!

Packed the hospital bag and have it on standby in the car? Chh…well, mine isn’t ready just yet but I’ll get there.

Think you’re done?


The Admin Stuff

There is a load of administrative procedures to settle before or once the baby arrives, which stretch across a range of categories — health, finance, corporate, etc.  Each has its own deadline and requires you to present different types of documentation for verification. How do sleep-deprived, newly-minted parents remember when and what to do/bring/photocopy/submit/etc, especially in the hazy aftermath of childbirth and with a demanding infant on hand?

Ah, that’s when my new DIY admin checklist comes in handy! I resolutely sat myself down one morning, combed through the pile of pamphlets about the Baby Bonus and vaccinations, hospital admissions forms, maternity leave application forms, etc. and summarised the gamut of information into one, neat document titled ‘BABY PAPERWORK’. The table format makes it a little difficult to share on the blog so I’ve reproduced it the best I could:

(Disclaimer: this is not a one-size-fits-all checklist. Do take the time to tailor it according to the administrative procedures set by your employer or chosen hospital, bank, insurance company, etc.)

Before Birth

1) Hospital Pre-Admissions (Admin)

When: 1 to 1.5 months before EDD (for KKH)

Remarks: bring credit card to pay deposit, parent whose Medisave will be used must be present, collect Baby Bonus information packet and list of what to pack for delivery from counter staff.  Clarify admissions procedure for day of delivery (e.g. where to bring labouring woman, what documents to bring for admission, etc.)

2) Maternity Leave Application (Admin)

When: at least 2 months prior to EDD

Remarks: submit choice of baby hamper (if offered by employer)

On D-Day

3) Hospital Admission (Admin)

When: upon (real) labour!

Remarks: bring outpatient appointment card, admission form and cord blood banking kit (if you have opted for private cord blood banking)


4) Birth Registration at Hospital (Admin)

When: EDD + 14 days

Remarks: bring Notification of Live Birth Form, Report Form for Registration of Birth (BD13), parents’ NRICs, original marriage certificate, registration fees ($39.40 for KKH)

5) Inform Human Resource Department (of Respective Employer) of Birth (Admin)

When: Immediate

6) Apply for Baby Bonus & Child Development Account at Hospital Birth Registration Counter (for KKH)(Finance)

When: together with birth registration (for KKH)

Remarks: bring MCYS Form BB (green form), original bank book of nominated bank account into which the cash gift will be deposited, 2 copies of bank book page showing account numbers and account holders’ names, CDA account opening application forms (either OCBC or Standard Chartered), original and copy of child’s birth certificate, original and copy of parents’ NRICs, MCYS self-addressed envelope (all forms can be found in the Baby Bonus information packet)

Cash Gift ($4,000 for first-time parents): within 3 weeks of submission, MCYS will confirm eligibility for Baby Bonus. You will receive notification by post that the cash gift (first $1,000) has been deposited into your nominated bank account.

CDA Matching (up to $6,000 for first-time parents): the Government will match amount of savings in the CDA in the month after the parents make the cash contribution to the CDA (until the child is 6 years old)

Child Development Credit ($300 or $400, depending on annual value of property owned): this is automatically credited into the CDA one month after the CDA is opened. No application is required.

7) Cord Blood Banking (Health)

When (notification of birth): if you have signed up for cord blood banking, you need to submit your child’s birth certificate on the organisation’s website 30 days from birth (for CordLife)

When (payment): payment using the Baby Bonus is done after opening the CDA. Submit CDA information online (for CordLife). Must be done within 8 weeks of delivery.

8. Submit Copy of Birth Certificate to HR (Admin)

When: as per timeframe given by respective employer

9) Financial Planning for Child (Health, Education)

When: purchase health insurance for your child as soon as possible after birth. Also a good time to discuss with your financial planner on available education funds.

10) Register for KK Juniors Club (for KKH)(Fun)

When: the sooner you sign up, the sooner you can start enjoying the perks!

Remarks: sign up at Patient Education Centre. Bring copy of birth certificate and $15

11) Vaccination (Health)

– BCG and Hepatitis B (1st dose): immediate

– 6-in-1 (and optional Rotavirus): 2 months after delivery

– 5-in-1 and PCV (and optional Rotavirus): 4 months after delivery

– Vaccination for 6-in-1 and PCV: 6 months after delivery

– PCV: 12 months after delivery

– MMR (and optional Chicken Pox and Hepatitis A): 15 months after delivery

– 5-in-1 booster (and optional Chicken Pox): 18 months after delivery

I hope this list comes in useful for all first-time parents!

The Great Maternity Leave Plan

Many people have been asking me how I intend to use my 16 weeks of maternity leave (especially my colleagues, but that’s a totally valid concern on their part since they will have to take on the bulk of my work while I’m away!)

With my EDD on 24 August, I’m planning to keep working until the Friday before i.e. 19 August. I don’t really want to be twiddling my thumbs at home, waiting day after day for my water to break. It’ll be back to work on 1 December for me, after I clear 3 months of maternity leave and some of my vacation leave entitlement.

What? Only 3 months, I hear you say? Am I dying to be back at work so soon? Well, yes and no. I want to start work again in December because that’s the best month to be in the office! 😀 Everybody’s in a more cheerful, relaxed, holiday mood and the atmosphere in the office is always more festive at year-end.

How about the remaining 4 weeks of maternity leave? That works out to be 20 working days, which I will utilise by taking every Wednesday off work, starting from December. So I’ll ease myself back into the daily grind with a 4-day work week. Better still, by taking a day off mid-week, I only have to work 2 days at a stretch before my next day off or the weekend comes round.

Isn’t that a great arrangement? 🙂 I can’t claim credit for the brilliant idea though. I have my colleague to thank for sharing her wonderful idea, which was also how she spent her maternity leave for her two boys.

Oh and guess what I picked from the extensive gift catalogues for my office baby hamper? I bypassed the options for baby rockers, bouncers, toys, clothes, balloons, bouquets, health tonics, etc and went straight for the DIAPERS! Packs and packs of them!

With less than 8 weeks to go, I think I’m more or less sorted in terms of baby gear and paperwork. Now, I’m just bracing myself and waiting for the baby to arrive – and throw my nicely-administrated world into total chaos!


Tan Yi Lin

Yi Lin

July 24th, 2011 at 3:51 pm    

Hi Carol,

Hope all is going well back at work and at infantcare. Yeah, speaking to experienced mums to find out how they use their maternity and childcare leave is pretty useful. Got some great ideas out there, esp. on how to best maximise the quota!


July 17th, 2011 at 5:54 pm    

Oooh! that’s a great leave plan. i didn’t think of that even after two babies, haha! [and i have just gone back to work after 16 weeks and a few more days of my own leave to settle eli in the infantcare centre.] well, i guess it’ll be something to keep in mind for baby #3. that said, i think i have enough of childcare leave and balance annual leave from last year to apply for a mid-week break every fortnight for the rest of the year, which is not too bad either! =)

Tan Yi Lin

Yi Lin

July 6th, 2011 at 4:11 am    

Hi Jesz, wow, yes, I guess it’s rare to be away from the baby for 2 whole weeks so soon after birth. But hey, as long as you had some form of help while you were away, and the baby is no worse off from it, then so be it. I’ve got a work trip scheduled for March next year already. At this moment, not planning to bring the baby due to long distance travel and cold weather. Well, let’s see whether things go as planned re the travel, work and maternity leave plan.

Alex, haha, it all looks good on paper (or online!) I don’t know how closely we’ll follow it once baby arrives but at least it forces me to look through all this paperwork NOW, understand it all and sort things out in my head. Of course, it would be great if husbands could take on this part of the preps, but somehow to-do lists, paperwork and admin stuff seem to end up on the woman’s plate. Cos we do it better, maybe?


July 4th, 2011 at 3:33 am    

This is really such a helpful list. Even with 2 kids, I was fumbling fuzzily after birth… It’s really good to be organised so as to have time to concentrate on learning how to handle a newborn, how to breastfeed, bonding time with baby etc. 🙂


July 2nd, 2011 at 5:35 pm    

Very systematic indeed… Fret not – u’ll do jus fine.
I ONI prepared a 1pager of impt details (personal, contact nos. etc), dirNs 2 get 2 hospital & critical things 2 do upon admission lest the flurry of activities induce giddy spells in us.

I contemplated the same arrgmt but din materialize cos of duty travel. My foreign colls cant believe i left my 2mth old for 2wk duty travel; expensing the remaining mth within nxt 6mths (12mths fm birth now) was torturous =( So I did nt battle an eyelid to tke straight 3mths when #2 came along

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