Congratulations on being first-time parents! The feeling of welcoming a new family member can be so incredibly exciting and yet overwhelming at the same time. There are plenty of worries that you might have and one of it would inevitably be the added financial responsibility of raising a child. This particularly resonated with Heartland Boy when he became a first-time father to baby Olympia last year. To ease your concerns slightly, Heartland Boy has compiled a useful list of free baby stuff and samples that first-time parents in Singapore must not miss!
Baby Essentials Gift Bags/Boxes
1. FairPrice Good Start Bundle
The NTUC Good Start Bundle consists of various goodies such as the FairPrice FairMily Kit (worth up to $100), Early Experiences Matter (mother tongue reader/parent-child activity book) etc. Heartland Boy in particular found the FairMily kit very useful as it contained not just baby essentials but also daily household necessities such as brown rice, cooking oil and toothbrushes etc. The Aptamil milk powder acted as a safety net of sorts should the house ran out of breast milk. There is also a coupon promo code for you to punch in for your first purchase on NTUC online.
Besides the FairMily Kit, make sure you participate in the Embracing PArenthood celebration event held in your constituency’s community center. Not only would you be able to meet other parents with young children in the same neighbourhood, you can also walk away with either a complimentary Mother Tongue Reader or a Parent-Child Activity Book. These are fantastic free gifts to stimulate your child’s development.
Who’s eligible: Families with Singapore citizen babies born between 1 January 2016 and 31 December 2019.
2. Mighty Sprouts
In collaboration with more than 25 brands, the Mighty Pack by Mighty Sprouts is a complimentary gift box of sponsored product samples, gifts and exclusive privileges (vouchers which could land you some good bargains). Mighty Pack allows busy parents to save both time and money. Although Heartland Boy regrettably did not register for the Mighty Pack in time, he knew that this would have been a very useful gift box because it contains items such as the Palmers’ Cocoa Butter Formula Massage Lotion- an item that Heartland Girl used it to mitigate the appearance of stretch marks caused by pregnancy. As a new mother, she was especially concerned about this side effect.
Who’s eligible: Expecting moms or parents who are Singaporeans or Singapore Permanent Residents residing in Singapore whose baby is below 3 months old
Do note that there are plenty of organisations that curate such baby freebies boxes for parents or parents-to-be. They almost always involve giving away your personal data and some of them could be pseudo-marketing platforms for insurance companies to sell baby-related insurance plans. While these freebies are really handy and receiving these bounty really help you save a bit, just make sure that you sign up with your eyes wide open and know full well what you are getting yourselves into.
Free Samples (Diapers, Milk Powder, SkinCare, Baby Wipes)
As aforementioned, free samples are really great but don’t mistaken parents as cheapskate. Having become a parent now, Heartland Boy can truly empathise with the saying that every baby is truly different. Each baby may react differently when introduced to a new product for the first time- the diaper, formula milk, body lotion etc. Worse, it may also be the first time that parents discover that their child may have an allergic reaction to something. Therefore, free sample products are great because they allow parents to test a new product at no cost before making a firm commitment. This is a laundry list of free samples of some baby essentials:
1. Baby Diapers
Brands that commonly give out free diaper samples (not exhaustive): Drypers, Huggies, Mamy Poko, Merries
The Heartland family tried a few samples but eventually settled on Drypers Wee Wee Dry. Thankfully, it turns out to be one of the cheapest brands in the market. (Olympia understands the value of money very early on) It is absorbent enough to hold her pee for the entire night without leaking and she does not have any skin reaction to it thus far.
2. Baby Formula Milk Powder
Brands that commonly give out free samples (not exhaustive): Aptamil, Bellamy’s, Dumex, Nestle NAN, Friso, Enfa ,Einmilk Abbott
When Olympia was born, Heartland Girl bought a tin of Danone’s Dulac infant milk. It is three times cheaper than most brands in the market and is one of the 2 brands mandated to be used in government-hospitals. Thanks to Heartland Girl’s hard work, Olympia has a steady supply of breast milk and there is no need to get a second tin!
Brands that commonly give out free samples (not exhaustive): Cherub Rubs, Cetaphil
It is really important to get samples of skincare products because Heartland Boy feels that there is absolutely no certainty on how a baby would react to cream or body lotion applied externally to their skin.
For a more detailed list of free samples, please refer to this website compiled by a very hands-on Dad.
Free Books For Babies
To cultivate lifelong learning (from a really young age), National Library Board has rolled out a special edition ‘My First Library’ Card for babies! It consists of 3 board books, a rhyme and fingerplay book and a height chart. It is free for all babies who are Singaporeans! Parents only need to bring along the child’s birth cert and the parent’s NRIC to activate the baby’s library card. Heartland Boy realises that Olympia’s eyes always light up when she sees colourful images in a story book. Therefore, he is really thankful for the books in this gift pack as it keeps Olympia entertained, albeit for a few minutes.
Moreover, going to the library to borrow books is not only easier on the wallet, it is also environmentally friendlier.
Free Vouchers And Extra Benefits
1. Mindfef/SAF – $100 credit for NSMen
All eligible NSmen who welcome a newborn will receive $100 worth of credits. These credits can be exchanged for numerous items such as F&B vouchers, grocery vouchers or child-related activities. Heartland Boy recalled that he combined this with other gift credits and redeemed a session at BabySpa + Redmart voucher. Redmart voucher is awesome because it delivered the heavy items such as wet wipes and diapers to his house. Alternatively, if you are ordering baby essential items, you may consider getting it from Amazon.
While this may come across as damn right obvious, do not forget to inform your employer of the change in your family unit. More often than not, having a newborn could trigger a change in your fringe benefits. For instance, by law, you will be entitled to childcare leave. You child may also be automatically added into your company’s insurance coverage, you may also enjoy higher flexible benefits. Besides all of the above, Heartland Boy was grateful enough to receive a hamper from his company that was delivered to his wife’s delivery suite in KKH.
Indeed, having a newborn is a life-changing event not just to your lives but also to your finances- a dependent changes your perspective and responsibility significantly. (Find out how much I spent in my first year raising Olympia) Hope this article would go some way to give you an easier start into parenthood.