Guides & References
Preparing And Caring For Baby
Before your baby arrives, there are a few things that you would need to prepare in advance. For example, essentials like milk powder and diapers are “must-haves”. In your free time, go baby shopping! Make sure your baby is warmly welcomed into the world. Read on for a checklist of baby essentials.
Caring for your child
Even though you probably have your own set of motherly instincts, there are still so many things to learn when it comes to raising a child. There’s no easy way out!
Small But Demanding: Cindy
For Cindy, her pregnancy caught her completely off-guard. Young and unprepared, Cindy wasn’t quite expecting her baby to require so much attention. Though small, the baby was loud and fussy and his crying threw Cindy into a frenzy. She wasn’t prepared for the non-stop crying. She didn’t know how to make it stop. She didn’t know what he wanted. To Cindy, her frustration wasn’t in the crying but from her helplessness.
As Cindy didn’t know how to help her child and had no one around to ask, she took to Google and started doing her research. Although it would’ve been better had she prepared beforehand, the old saying still holds: better late than never.
There’s homework to be done. Read on to learn more about how to care for your child in his/her early years.
There is also an abundance of useful and reliable resources on how to care for newborns and babies. Click here. Or perhaps you are curious and want to find out more about your child’s development throughout the pregnancy? Check out baby’s development month by month.
By the way, in case you are looking for guidance, sharing, or a support group for new mums, Joyful Parenting (Helpline: 6488 0286) offers a dedicated pool of mum volunteers, some of whom are experienced family educators, International Board Certified Lactation Consultants qualified nurses, and home-makers.
To prepare you ahead, we’ve come up with a basic checklist of the essentials that you will need.
- Milk powder
- Milk bottle
- Baby clothes (mittens and booties)
- Wet wipes
- Swaddling blankets
- Baby carriers
- Baby bath
Do Your Homework
It may be quite challenging to take care of your little newborn. Health institutions KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital and Health Promotion Board (HPB) offer you valuable information. Find out why the baby catches a cough and cold, has fever or diarrhoea, develops colic (excessive crying), rashes and skin conditions. It will be good to know the immunisations your baby needs and the skills you need throughout his/her growth.
Read more here – Parent Hub (by HealthHub)
Feeding Your Baby
Congratulations! Now that your baby has arrived, perhaps one of the most immediate decisions for you is whether to breastfeed.
Mothers are recommended to breastfeed their babies during the first 6 months if they are physically and mentally prepared for the best source of nutrition. Breast milk contains not only nutrients your baby needs but also valuable antibodies to prevent infections. Grace Quek, Senior Dietitian, at the Department of Nutrition & Dietetics, KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital shares in the following article why breast milk offers the best nutritional start for your baby and some information on milk formula.
Breastfeeding is the best way to feed a newborn baby. The Division of Nursing and Lactation Clinic at KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital explains why.
However, it may not be advisable if the mother has health issues as explained by Dr Peter Chew, an experienced doctor in Gleneagles Hospital.
Reasons for not breastfeeding
- Short nipples
- Bacterial infections
- Medical conditions (e.g. heart disease, cancer)
- Taking certain medication
- Insufficient nutrients in mother’s body
- Metabolic diseases in baby
Preparing for Breastfeeding – Physical Considerations
- Maintain a balanced diet (HPB recommended) during and after pregnancy (i.e. Have adequate meats, vegetables and fruits)
- Visit the doctor for a breast examination
- Get suitable clothes, mainly support nursing bras, loose blouses or T-shirts
Preparing for Breastfeeding – Mental Considerations
- Attend a breastfeeding workshop or find out more about it early
- Plan how long you would breastfeed your baby
- Be confident and positive that you can perform the task
- Breastfeed your baby as soon as possible to build up your milk supply
- A healthy baby usually needs 8-10 feeds per day, or every 2-3 hours
- Collect your milk using a breast pump and store it in a bottle to continue your breastfeeding routines while working
♥ Milk Formula
There is always an alternative if breastfeeding doesn’t work out for you. Formula feeding can also be a healthy choice for your baby if you choose a suitable formula for him/her.
You may want to read: The Essentials of Bottle-Feeding
♥ Subsequent Feeding
Milk alone is sufficient for first 6 months. Beyond that, your baby needs other food to complement his/her nutrition needs.
When and how should you introduce solid foods to your baby? How do you know if your baby is ready for solid foods? Read on to find out.
If you’re unsure of what to feed your baby, click here for a guide on how to introduce solid food to your baby.
Perhaps you may want to try out the below sample menus for your growing baby (6 to 12 Months), as recommended by the Department of Neonatal and Developmental Medicine at Singapore General Hospital.
|Time||6 Months||7 to 9 Months||10 to 12 Months|
|6am||– 180 to 200ml milk||– 210 to 240ml milk||– 210 to 240ml milk|
|9am||– 3 dsp of infant rice|
cereal mixed with
120ml milk- ½ to 1 egg yolk
(hard-boiled or mixed
in cereals)- Few tsp of water
|– ½ bowl infant rice/|
with 120ml milk- 1 hard-boiled egg yolk- Few tsp of water
|– 1 hard-boiled|
egg yolk- 1 slice of bread- 120ml milk
(try serving in a cup)- Few sips of water
|12pm||– 180 to 200ml milk- 3 tsp unsweetened|
(1½ tsp juice diluted
with 1½ tsp water)
|– ½ bowl thin porridge- 2 tsp sieved spinach- 1 dsp scraped meat- 4 tsp scraped apple- Few tsp of water||– ½ to 1 bowl thick|
porridge- 3 tsps mustard green
leaves (cut into small
pieces)- ½ piece soft beancurd- ½ dsp chopped liver- 2 dsp watermelon,
cut into small pieces- Few sips of water
|3pm||– 180 to 200ml milk||– 210 to 240ml milk- ½ teething rusk|
or ½ baby biscuit
(if baby is teething)
|– 210 to 240ml milk- 1 teething rusk|
or 1 baby biscuit- Few sips of water
|6pm||– ½ bowl of thin porridge- 1 tsp scraped meat- 1 tsp sieved spinach- 1 tsp of scraped papaya- Few tsp of water||– 1 mashed potato- 1 dsp mashed carrot- 1 dsp of mashed baked fish- 4 tsp scraped papaya- Few tsps of water||– ½ to 1 bowl|
thick porridge- 1 to 2 dsp pumpkin,
chopped into small
pieces- 1 to 2 dsp
minced chicken- 2 dsp banana- Few sips of water
|9pm||– 180 to 200ml milk|
(some babies may need
one to two extra milk
feeds at night)
|– 210 to 240ml milk|
(some babies may
need one extra
milk feed at night)
|– 210 to 240ml milk|
Be sure to also check out the following reads and tips:
Attending to Your Baby
♥ Know Your Crying Baby
Find out the reasons why your baby cries. We understand it can be stressful as you try to stop him/her from crying.
♥ Bathing Your Baby
Step 1: Ensure fans are switched off, with windows and doors closed.
Step 2: Prepare a large absorbent towel, new clothes, a diaper, nappy cream and baby moisturiser (if necessary).
Step 3: Fill warm water in the bath tub to reach between 5 and 7 cm high.
Step 4: Test water temperature by dipping your elbow into the water, temperature between 32°C and 37°C, water level of 8 to 10cm.
Step 5: Add a little soap-free baby wash.
Step 6: Place a muslin cloth beside the tub.
Step 7: Cradle baby gently and start bathing him/her.
Check this out: Your Guide to Bathing Newborn
♥ Diapering Your Baby
Learn basic steps from BabyCentre on how to change cloth diapers or disposable diapers for your baby. Ensuring good hygiene can protect him/her from getting diaper rashes, a very common symptom among babies.
Don’t panic if your baby develops rashes. Click here for treatment options available for the common baby skin conditions.
♥ Getting Your Baby to Sleep
KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital states that a full-term baby can sleep up to 16 to 18 hours in a day, but it is tough to know their sleeping patterns. You may end up having little or no sleep trying to help him/her sleep. By understanding baby sleep basics, both you and your baby can sleep better through the night. Read on:
♥ Finding a Caregiver
If you are unable to manage your child on your own, you can consider hiring a helper to relieve your load. Or perhaps, you can consider having a babysitter or finding infant care that suits your needs.
Here are a few nanny/childminding service outside of normal childcare operating hours for your consideration:
NannyPro (It provides regular, part time, ad-hoc or urgent care services)
Morningstar (CareNights is an evening support programme for children aged 6 to 14 years)
Aunty.sg (Aunty is an App that connects you to a community of local, trusted babysitters)
For hiring foreign domestic helper, you may want to take note of the hiring procedure: (Hiring tips: All you need to know about hiring a foreign helper)
- Apply for a work permit either on your own with MOM, or through an employment agency.
- Attend an orientation programme (if you are hiring a foreign helper for the first time)
- Select a suitable helper and set an agreement on the working conditions
- Prepare various documents before and after her arrival
- Pay levy within first month of her arrival
♥ Baby Development
While babies develop at a different pace, all babies share the same development milestones.
♥ Health Issues
Listed below are the common infection and medical issues seen in young children. Do not panic when encountering the situations — find out what to expect and what you should do, and consult a doctor for detailed review.
» Lactose Intolerance
» Skin conditions
» Respiratory problem
♥ Common First Month Concerns
Click here for the first month concerns and related practical advice given by the Khoo Teck Puat – National University Children’s Medical Institute, the pediatric arm of the National University Hospital, Singapore.