This article was written in collaboration with NTUC Enterprise. All views expressed in the article are the independent opinions of DollarsAndSense.sg
In case you haven’t already figured, having a baby in Singapore can cost a pretty penny. Aside from the cost of delivering a baby in Singapore, which can easily be in the range of $5,000 to $18,000 or more, depending on the hospital you deliver at and the type of delivery, we also have to consider the cost we incur raising our newborn, which can quickly add up to another $12,000 just within the first year.
While it’s true that some of the costs can be defrayed through subsidies and accepting hand-me-downs (clothes, toys), there are other essentials that are non-negotiable. These are consumables which every baby will need.
To help parents make better financial decisions on how much they can expect to spend on baby essentials, we decided to take a look at common items that you will find yourself buying regularly for your baby.
Before we start, here are some important disclaimers.
> While we have tried our best to do a comparison across different brands and product types, this list is non-exhaustive. There may be other essentials that you need to buy for your baby which are not included in our list.
> Also, it’s possible that you may pay a lower price that what we have stated in our article if you buy during promotions or purchase items in bulk.
> All Information extracted has been taken from NTUC FairPrice On.
Let’s get started!
The day your baby is born is the day you need to get familiar with diapers. Diapers are going to be a big of your life for the next few years. Everywhere you go with your baby, you will need to have diapers on you.
Diapers vary in size and cost. For comparison purposes, we have used size M, which is for babies 6-11 kg, and have assumed a usage rate of 6 diapers a day, 30 days a month.
As and when it’s relevant, we have included promotional prices so that the cost comparison is accurate. Promotions are in parentheses.
* Pampers give a $12.15 discount if you buy 2 packets
** Huggies give a $15.95 discount if you buy 2 packets.
*** Drypers gives a $32 discount if you buy 4 packets
The comparison above tells us two things. Firstly, if you are intending to buy diapers from a particular brand, you should be purchasing in bulk for the most cost-effective solution.
Prices of diapers can also vary significantly. While parents are able to buy the FairPrice housebrand for less than $0.20 per diaper, familiar brand names such as Huggies and Pampers can cost close to double the price if bought without any promotions.
Besides diapers, you will also need to arm yourself with baby wipes. Similar to diapers, there are many different brands to choose from. We estimate a usage rate of 20 wipes per day, 600 wipes per month.
* Get $1.35 off when you buy 2 packets
** Buy $4.95 off when you buy 2 packets
*** Get $0.35 off when you buy 2 packets
Similar to diapers, many brands offer good discounts if you buy in bulk. That’s what you should do in order to maximise savings.
If we assume parents use the same brand for both diapers and baby wipes, here’s how much they can expect to spend on both items each month. Prices used include discount given for bulk purchase.
Depending on the brand you prefer, diapers and wet wipes can cost you from less than $50, to slightly under $80 each month.
For those who are less price sensitive, the difference of about $30 each month may not be significant. For those who are more price conscious, or have more than one baby, this difference can be substantial in the long-term.
For the first six months, breastfeeding is encouraged.
After six months, some parents may opt for Stage 2 formula milk. For the purpose of comparing the cost, we have based it on your baby consuming three 900g tins each month. Here is a price list of popular formula milk brands in Singapore.
*20% discount for AptaAdvantage, NTUC Plus! or NTUC Plus! Cardholders
Depending on the brand you go with, you can expect to spend $90 to $170 per month.
When it comes to food, getting a cost estimate is tricky because it depends largely on what you intend to feed your baby, and whether you are intending to prepare them from home, or to buy baby food off the shelves.
For our comparison, we will use baby food that can be bought off the shelves. Generally, by the time they are 8 to 12 months old. your baby should be able to consume about 2-3 small meals a day, with some snacks and milk in between. For comparison, we have based it on 110g per meal, 2 meals a day, 30 days a month.
Each baby is different, so don’t be alarmed if your little one easily exceeds the amount that we have allocated.
This cost can range from $126 to $242 per month, if you intend to go organic.
As your baby gets older, their appetite will inevitably increase. They will consume more, and continuously buying off-the-shelf baby food will not be sufficient to fill them or be cost-effective.
You will need to add rice, pasta, meat, vegetables, fruits and other food varieties to their diet. For home-cooked meals, the cost will vary, depending on the ingredient that you use. If you intend to go 100% organic, expect to spend significantly more.
How Much Will All These Essentials Cost You?
We added up the cost, using the most affordable and expensive options in each category to form the lower and upper range for how much parents can expect to spend.
You can see from the cost comparison above that by choosing more affordable options in each category, parents can save close to 50% of the total monthly bill compared to parents who choose premium options.
At this point in time, it’s important for us to stress that spending more does not mean you are giving your baby the best; the same way spending less does not mean you are depriving your baby.
For example when it comes to formula milk, the Ministry of Health have made it explicitly clear in a statement last year that “all infant formula sold in Singapore, regardless of price, meets Singapore’s food regulations and the nutritional needs of healthy infants”.
Similar for products such as diapers, baby wipes and food, presuming than a product is better just because it costs more is an unfounded concept. More often than not, it’s simply the preference of parents to choose a particular brand over another.
Getting A “Good Start” Today
To better engage and support families with newborns and develop a lifelong relationship with parents early, the largest group of social enterprises in Singapore, NTUC Social Enterprise, has put together the NTUC Good Start Bundle.
The NTUC Good Start Bundle includes a NTUC FairPrice “FairMily” Kit worth up to $100. This is a baby hamper that includes many essentials for your little one and you.
Some of the free baby essentials you can find in your NTUC Good Start Bundle.
On top of that, the Good Start Bundle also provides your little one a complimentary one-year health insurance coverage, courtesy of NTUC Income. The insurance coverage is a timely reminder for parents not to neglect essential healthcare coverage for their children.
There is also an “Early Experiences Matter” book developed by NTUC First Campus. This book gives essential tips to parents on how they can engage with their little ones in their learning journey from young.
The newest addition to the Good Start Bundle is Toddlers’ Thursday. It provides free entry for one child (age 3 years and below) and one adult every first Thursday of the month to eXplorerkid at Downtown East and AMK Hub. There is also complimentary entry to The Little Skool-House every first Thursday of the month, where children can learn the wonders of languages and literacy in interactive ways.
Families with Singapore citizen babies born between 1 January 2016 and 31 December 2019 are eligible to receive the NTUC Good Start Bundle.
If you have not heard of the NTUC Good Start Bundle, or have yet to sign up your baby for it, you can read up more and sign up on the Good Start Bundle website.
And if you have already signed up and received your NTUC Good Start Bundle, do not be surprised if you receive more goodies from time to time. That’s because NTUC Social Enterprises are constantly adding to the Good Start Bundle, and all existing members who have signed up previously will also be entitled to receive new goodies when they are added to the Good Start Bundle.
To stay updated on any new perks given, you can follow NTUC Enterprise on their Facebook page.