The Concerns Of A New Parent
After going through the 40 weeks of pregnancy and enduring the hard labor, here comes the real test: raising our little one and raising her right.
There are endless challenges especially for first-time parents like us. Having zero parenting experience, nearly every little thing makes us extremely concerned - like when our baby will finally sleep through the night, and why in the world we can't stop the baby crying every once in a while.
Admittedly, many of the points covered in this article are in fact complex and warrant deeper discussion. Parenting can be tough and is a lifelong learning journey. This only serves as a simple guide for new parents who might need a bit of advice, so take it with a pinch of salt.
Of course, the first thing we had to consider was the baby’s source of sustenance - whether it should be breast milk or formula milk.
Experts recommend breastfeeding as the best method if possible.
A baby’s immunity is significantly strengthened through breastfeeding as antibodies and other germ-fighting factors are passed from a mother to the baby when breastfeeding. Breastfed infants thus have lower chances of getting many types of infections and are less often hospitalized than formula-fed infants.
However, most mothers will only be able to produce breast milk a few days after giving birth. This was the case even for ourselves, so we needed to supplement the baby’s diet with formula milk to provide energy, hydration and nutrients.
During busy periods or being outside where it is not so convenient to breastfeed, we have also given our baby formula milk.
At the end of the day, what really matters is that the baby's getting fed - this issue regarding breastfeeding or formula feeding is not causing us too much physical or emotional stress.
If your baby sleeps through the night right away, you may worry that she's not eating often enough.
On the other hand, if your baby is not sleeping through the night, you may worry that you're setting him up for a lifetime of bad sleeping habits by failing to teach him to sleep through the night.
The fact of the matter is babies do sleep a lot. However most babies aren’t developmentally ready to sleep through the night until they reach 12-14 weeks old.
Each baby will have different sleeping schedules. One baby might be sleeping all night while another baby is waking up every few hours.
Trust your gut. let them sleep up to 3-4 hours during those early days if they want to sleep. As long as they aren’t losing weight and there’s no other issues, we’re doing great!
Turns out, a baby's poop patterns are about as varied as weather cycles. After the first few weeks of life, it's perfectly normal for a breastfed baby to go seven times a day or once every seven days; formula-fed babies often poop somewhere between several times a day to once every two days.
What’s next is the color of the poop. Poop comes in all colors and textures (and it only gets more complicated as our baby gets older and starts eating solid foods). In the beginning, our baby’s poop will be black (meconium). Green (transitional) stools come next, followed by yellow (breastfed) or brown (formula-fed), depending on how our baby is fed. The only colors we need to be alarmed about are black, red, or white.
White can mean that the liver is having trouble metabolizing food, although this is not a common problem. And bloody red stool can be caused by a number of things, such as an anal tear, allergens, even blood from the mother's cracked nipple.
Many new parents are shocked to discover how long and how often newborns cry, and may worry that the crying could be a sign of a more serious problem.
You’ll definitely need to do something about the crying, but try not to panic or worry too much about it. Crying is a baby’s only means of communication and the only way they can let you know what they need.
Listen carefully and we’ll be able to decode her different cries. Knowing what those whimpers, wails and shrieks mean can help us figure out what our baby is trying to tell us.
According to experts, there are five basic sounds your baby makes just before crying:
Neh – hunger
Eh – upper wind (burp)
Eairh – lower wind (gas)
Heh – discomfort (hot, cold, wet)
Owh – sleepiness
We may feel heartache and heartbreak when we cannot respond to our babies’ cry. When we come to understand and respond to what our baby is trying to tell us, it will foster a strong bond and give our little one a deeper sense of comfort.
The question “What do I do with this baby?” will likely wander into your mind during the free time between feedings, clothes/diaper changing and sleeping sessions.
Since the baby’s mind and body are developing in many beautiful and wonderful ways now, we’d be inclined to maximize this period and make sure all the baby’s waking moments are spent on development enhancing activities. However, we actually don’t have to do a lot to keep the newborn entertained.
The senses of newborns are already engaged to their fullest capacity most times. From the first moment we hold them after they enter this world, all their senses are at work. They can feel our warmth, see our face and listen to our voice. These simple connections are the very beginning of what can count as “play” in the early newborn days.
And some other activities include:
Sing a song
Take a walk
Just simply focus on the baby and slow down to their pace. Relax and enjoy it.
It is inevitable for our little ones to fall ill. After all, they’ve not spent long here and their immunity systems have not yet been strengthened.
In the first year, we will very likely encounter many times of the baby falling sick, including getting the cold, fever, even bumps and bruises.
Before their immune system fully develops, most babies get at least three respiratory illnesses and a couple of diarrhea-inducing intestinal infections.
While we can provide a safe and healthy environment for our baby and bring her to regular baby checkups for vaccine and immunization, we also have health and accident insurance to take care of outpatient bills due to accidents, multiple and extensive hospital bills, and major illness that despair our child’s normal education and livelihood.
Book an appointment now to find out the types of insurance you need for your little ones.
Being a responsible parent, we also want to be financially ready to assist our baby in fulfilling her dreams in the future.
We all know it’s going to be expensive to raise a child, especially in a city like Singapore.
As our little one grows, we need to plan for her studies, all the way from preschool, primary and secondary school, tertiary education, and university.
While the good news is our primary and secondary school fees are subsidised for Singapore citizens, preschools don’t come cheap. Once our child reaches tertiary level, their preferred pre-university institute will also make a difference. The annual fees for citizens are as follows: junior college (S$400), Institute of Technical Education (S$625) and polytechnic (S$3,000) respectively for citizens. Next comes the big one — university fees. The annual tuition fee alone at a local university can scale up to S$29,000, depending on our child’s major. An overseas education often costs considerably more, plus living expenses do snowball.
All things considered, raising a child to adulthood can ring up a six-figure sum.
It is important to plan our finances early. Many procrastinate on the need to plan early and the longer one waits, the more difficult it is to achieve one’s goals. Start putting some serious thought behind our family’s financial plans in advance. This will give us time and space to focus on more important things — like enjoying time with our newborn or children.
Start planning now.
Month by month, our baby will master important skills such as rolling over, sitting upright, crawling, walking, and talking. It is a path filled with laughter, lots of love, hard work and challenges.
No matter what, we want to be the best parents we can for our baby and we want to assure you that it is definitely a rewarding journey.