There are many surprises that first-time parents will have, from baby kicking in the womb, to birth, to first step and to that special moment when the baby starts to call Mommy and Daddy. It’s a magical moment that married couples will like to have after they start their new life together. If you are planning for a baby or waiting for the arrival of your baby, you will discover that there is a ‘hidden surprise’ of raising a baby in Singapore – the cost of raising a baby can be a huge hefty sum.
Before you become a parent, you may think that the cheapest gynecology, maternity care, infant care and preschool service will do – after all, your parents did not pay premium for these services and you turned out fine! However, things are different once you are a parent – many parents-to-be started to seek friends’ recommendation, do up pros and cons memo and the list goes on. Don’t know where to start? We do the math for you.
Maternity to Delivery
Visits to gynecologist, including standard test at different stage of pregnancy, cost about $3,000. There may be additional visits required if there’s initial spotting or other issues encountered during pregnancy. For delivery without complications, it cost about $1,500 depending on number of days stay and choice of wards.
Post-Delivery Medical Expenses
Medical expenses doesn’t stop after delivery. It will continue to incur after delivery – both for mommy and baby. Typically, there will be follow-up consultations required to see the gynecologist and the pediatrician, sometimes also lactation consultant. Gynecologist consultations cost about $350 for 3 visits post-delivery and pediatric consultations cost about $350 for 3 visits.
Lactation consultation can cost about $200 for 2 visits. While immunization for baby to help them fight diseases and illnesses can cost around $500 for the first two years of their life. This is already at a subsidized rate if you go to polyclinics. The costs will be higher if you head to private clinics or hospitals.
As an estimate, medical expenses (without any complication or medical condition) would be about $6,000.
Baby – Essentials
The good news about baby essentials is that most items are perfectly good even if they are hand-me-downs. However, for hygiene and safety related items like milk bottles, car seat or stroller, you may want to consider getting a new one. A quick checklist of hand-me-down items so that you can start asking around for it!
- Maternity clothing – Dresses and nursing bra
- Baby clothing – Baby suits and don’t forget the mittens and bibs
- Baby feeding – Breast pump (can cost up to $800, depending on model), breast feeding support pillow and
- Baby sleeping – cot, playpen
- Baby essentials – diapers, baby wipes and baby sling
These added up to about $15,000 over two years, with a mix of new items and hand-me-downs. Some items like breast pump really need careful evaluation. It will be recommended to get a new one for efficiency and hygiene. These days, there are so many different breast pumps in the market from manual pumps to electronic pumps – you will be able to find one that suit your needs. If you are open to a second child, keep some of these ‘unisex’ clothes, baby’s furniture and products that are in good condition such as play pen, stroller and breast pump.
You can consider getting insurance for your child – various options are available under medishield. This can be fairly inexpensive to cover hospitalisation, payable by Medisave or can cost about S$2,500 per annum for a more comprehensive plan covering pregnancy, congenital complications and critical illnesses. As this varies significantly, we assume no cash payment involved if you take up one that is payable by medisave.
Related post: Types of insurance plans for mothers and mothers-to-be
Infant care and Preschool (up to nursery)
Sending your child to full-day infant care and preschool is increasingly adopted by parents, especially for families without the support of grandparents or helper. Assuming going to infant care from about 5 months to 18 months, it can cost about $7,000 with government subsidy. Private preschools are more expensive than government-subsidised ones and from 19-months to 4 years old, it can cost about $40,000 per annum.
Whichever preschool you choose for your child, do stay with your child the trial period (the first 3 days). You will get the chance to understand the school system and also, help your child get through this difficult transition.
Monthly Baby expenses
Baby expenses include toys you may buy for your child, clothes, activity books and the list goes on. A rough estimate is about S$400 per month for children aged 2 to 4 years old, that would add up to about S$10,000.
You will be surprised with the cost adding up to almost $78,000 for raising a child from baby to 4 years old. With baby bonus cash gift for first child of $4,000 and maximum child development account matching contribution of $6,000, this would reduce the cost to $68,000. It is quite a hefty sum to raise a baby! However, think of the love, hugs and affection you will received from your child, you will think that all these are really worth it!