Tips for Expectant Mums

It has been relatively easy looking after Elise so far. She’s cheerful, loves to interact with people, playful and easy-going. She learned how to sleep through the night early on so I always managed to have enough hours of sleep. Food wise, she’s not picky and takes breast milk in any form (frozen, chilled, fresh). 

I’m not sure if it’s due to genes (probably got her father’s side since I was a very difficult baby) or if it was due to my relatively stress free pregnancy. Either way, she’s a happy baby and I hope that she’ll remain healthy and strong in character and spirit. Tips for Mums-to-Be

1. Aim for a less-stress pregnancy


When I found out I was pregnant, I chose to take up a contract job with lesser responsibility as my focus was on growing my baby. There was an unhappy incident with an ex-friend of more than 5 years who said nasty things about my character and pregnancy, so I cut him out of my life. 
If the stress is coming from home, it takes double the effort to filter out negative thoughts. That’s where your partner comes into play. If the negativity is solely coming from your partner, I have bad news for you.
To be fair, because we spent about half the pregnancy in a long distance relationship and there were days were I cried to sleep because we could only talk for 5 minutes. We fight very dramatically but it doesn’t last more than a day.
2. Eat meals on time, drink enough water
My mom often skipped meals when she was pregnant with me and I was a monster at night who refused to sleep. It sounds like an old wives’ tale, but when you are feeling satiated, the baby will be more peaceful. Remember to up your water intake as well!
3. Drink coconut water in the last trimester
I drank coconut water frequently (just the ones easily available from NTUC) and Elise came out clean and she didn’t have much cradle cap or infant acne. Coconut water supposedly helps to clean the baby in the womb. -_-?

4. Cheap does not always equal bad
I found out I was pregnant through a blood test at the hospital so I was promptly referred to its women’s clinic. All my visits were subsidised. Although I didn’t get to choose a gynaecologist, those on duty were professional and more importantly, the fees were extremely affordable. I ended up paying about $19 per consultation and $80 with scans. 

When it came to choosing a maternity ward, I chose the cheapest 8-bedder ward option. I felt that there was no difference between a 2-bedder ward or 8-bedder ward because the whole “private” experience is marred when your neighbour makes noise. 


I had skin-on-skin contact with my newborn and got to room-in with my baby to bond with her. As the hospital was pro-breastfeeding, I didn’t have to pay extra for lactation consultation sessions.

5. Maternity Pillows are a lifesaver

Best invention ever. It’s like sleeping on a fluffy cloud. I bought mine off Groupon.  I did a quick check on Qoo10 and it retails for about $30. In the third trimester, you’re supposed to sleep on your left side and this pillow helps you to do so comfortably. No regrets. Mine is compressed into a ziplock bag waiting to be reused. 

6. Breastfeeding helps to save money, sanity and build your baby’s immunity

My main intention was to save on formula because the prices alone scared me. Although not entirely free after factoring the cost of breast pumps, bottles, milk bags etc), it is still more affordable than formula and customised for your baby. It also makes a lot of difference in your sleep when you don’t need to leave the bed at night. 

I had lots of comments on my nipples; the nurses, lactation consultants and massage lady exclaimed that my nipples were “really short”. It was excruciatingly painful at the beginning because she had an incorrect latch and would clamp down, but the NUH lactation consultants helped me learn how to latch Elise and she was exclusively breastfed until she could take solids. I’m still breastfeeding her and will let her decide when to wean.

In a year, she has only been down with fever twice and she took about 3 days to recover each time. 

7. Spend quality time with your baby

Children grow the most in their first year. If you like children and have the luxury of staying at home, please do, because it’ll be the year where they accomplish many milestones from rolling over, lifting their head up, sitting, standing and eating. 

If you can’t though, try to make sure you put away all distractions and focus on your child 100%. Bring them downstairs to the playground or for a stroll. Children remember and these will become part of their memories. 
My phone is totally laggy because I can’t bear to delete any video or photo of her even though it’s already backed up in my computer. Woe.

8. Hear only the good things

From the moment you get pregnant, everyone suddenly starts to have their own opinion of your pregnancy.

In the first month of confinement especially, there’ll be tons of unsolicited advice and many outdated confinement rules which are no longer applicable to modern times. Read through the rules and the reasons for them, see how logical they are before deciding which one to follow. 

I did my own confinement (DIY confinement #1DIY confinement #2) without the help of a confinement lady. I enjoyed it tremendously because I didn’t have to live with a stranger in the house without knowing if she would be more of a hindrance than a help. It’s easy doing your own confinement if your family members are supportive. 

Baby Essentials

When I was pregnant, I did a lot of research and scoured through lots of lists. Now that my baby is born, I have a better idea of the items which are absolutely necessary, nice-to-have, and those which are more like a want than a need. 

Baby Checklist
*Nice to Have:

  • CocoonaBaby
    I bought a pre-loved one and was skeptical about using it because guidelines recommend that babies sleep on a flat surface but Elise slept SO WELL in the CocoonaBaby. It can only be used for a few months though.

Preparing for Baby’s Room

  • Baby co-sleeper
    For the first few months, it is more convenient to have a co-sleeper like the Arm’s Reach for easy access to the baby. We use a Moses basket.
    Anything is fine as long as it is a flat enclosed cushioned space. Babies in Finland sleep in cardboard boxes.
  • Playpen
    Not needed until baby is older. Haenim is a popular brand. 
  • Play mat/Baby gym
  • Wind-up mobiles/ Merry-go-round
    Not very necessary. Babies are easily soothed by cuddling if they aren’t hungry or uncomfortable.
  • Bumper
    I have a Breathable Baby mesh bumper for her cot.
  • Cot sheets
  • Mattress protector
  • Changing table
    Not needed. We have an IKEA inflatable babycare mat which has been extremely useful. We have two, one near our bed for easy changing and another one near her cot.
  • Chest of Drawers
    or storage chests from Muji or Toyogo, whichever works. Mine’s a chest of 4 drawers from IKEA
  • Swaddles
    We have a few muslin cloths, but the SwaddleMe is a godsend. Not even the best escape artist can escape a SwaddleMe. Swaddling helps curb the startle reflex in newborns and lets them sleep more soundly.
  • PacifiersThere are positive and negative effects of pacifiers, but I prefer not to introduce pacifiers to her. 
  • Mittens
    Necessary until baby is 6 weeks old
  • Bootees
    Necessary until baby is 6 weeks old
  • Diapers
    Disposable diapers or cloth diapers, if you don’t mind the extra laundry.
    For disposables, Merries and Huggies are more absorbent compared to the rest. 
  • Nasal cleaner
    I use the bulb type from Pigeon. Some mothers prefer the tube cleaner.
  • Clothes
    If you’re on a budget, pre-loved is the way to go. 90% of Elise’s clothes are pre-loved.
  • Long and short sleeves
  • Rompers
    Bodysuits are pretty but a huge pain to put on and take off. I recommend the front button baby bodysuits from Uniqlo or zippered types. 
  • Handkerchief
  • Safety pins
  • Face towels
  • Cotton balls etc.
  • Nail clippers
    Babies come with sharp nails but it’s recommended to cut them only after 1 month. I have the Pigeon baby nail scissors and little 
  • Cream to prevent nappy rash
    I use Bepanthen, but Desitin Blue is highly raved among mummies.
  • Ruyi oil/Minyak Telon
    For relieving wind in the tummy which causes discomfort.
  • Thermometer

    Easy to put on and take off. I have no idea why she hates changing clothes.

    Trapped


    SwaddleMe helps to stop her from attacking my boob. 

Preparing for Baby Bathing

  • Wipes
    Jeju wet wipes for the budget conscious, or Pigeon. 
  • Baby bath tub
    Use one with a bath sling such as the Fisher Price Sling ‘n’ Seat or Summer Infant Baby Bather so you don’t have to handle a wriggly baby with one arm.
  • Bath towel
    Mothercare hooded bath towels have been very useful in drying her up after her bath. 
  • Baby soap/shampoo/lotion
    Mustela, Baby Gaia, California baby and Cetaphil Baby are widely used brands that are gentle on baby’s skin. 
  • Cotton buds
  • Baby oil

Preparing for Feeding Baby

  • Milk bottles
    She is 1 month old but drinks expressed breast milk from Tommee Tippee, Medela Calma, Avent and Pigeon when she is not latched on. Pigeon has the softest teat but Calma doesn’t seem to produce as many air bubbles. It’s not the easiest teat to suck from, though. 
  • Bottle scrub brush
  • Warmer Hot water in a bowl does the same in a shorter time.  
  • Steriliser
    I’m using a UV steriliser which also dries and stores my equipment.
  • Highchair
    I have a Fisher Price one with adjustable recline, but a basic one from IKEA does the job. 

Bringing Baby Out

  • Play gyms/Play matsGood for tummy time. 
  • Bouncer
  • Stroller
    Mine’s an Aprica Karoon which I have yet to use as I’m always babywearing.
  • Baby carrier
    I use ring slings from Moms in Mind. I also have a Pognae baby carrier. 
  • Toys
    Lamaze infant toys are popular for infant stimulation.
  • Diaper bag
    Any large, study and roomy bag will do. 
  • Changing mat 
  • Nursing cover

Mummy Care

  • Breast Pump
    I’m using Spectra 9+ and it’s light and portable with good suction. Both Spectra and Medela produce quality pumps. 
  • Breast milk bags / bottles
    Jaco Perfection/Boots for mummies on a budget.
  • Hands-free Bra
    To hold your pump so you have both hands free to do something other than stare at your pump. I use one from Simple Wishes, but some women just cut two holes in their sports bra. 
  • Maternity Dress/ Pyjamas with front opening for breast feeding
  • Nipple Cream
    Lansinoh or Medela Purelan contains lanolin which soothes sore nipples. I have emu oil which is very moisturising.
  • Cotton balls
  • Breast pads
    Didn’t use these. 
  • Disposable panties
  • Sanitary pads
    I used Kotex 42cm night pads