It can be really mind-boggling as a first-time parent to figure out what's necessary and what baby items are good-to-have. After all, we're constantly being flooded by ads online and by Instagram influencers, all of whom seem to say that pretty much everything is a must-have! 

Instead, I turned to the helpful community of Dayre mummies for advice, and consolidated our own version of a truly Minimalistic Baby Essentials Checklist that we'll be using:

Image credits

In this list, I also share where I chose to get many of my baby items from, and there are plenty of ways that one can get for free or at a reduced price if you're savvy enough to know where to look. I started my search on Mothercare, but didn't end up purchasing any from it in the end as I found cheaper substitutes elsewhere - Qoo10, Carousell and Taobao were my go-to places for value purchases!

Item Price Source
3-in-1 Baby crib $110 Taobao
Baby bath tub Free Mount Alvernia Hospital
Baby bathing net $4 Taobao
Breast pump set $100 Spectra S1 (pump was second-hand from friends, parts were from Qoo10)
Breastmilk storage bags Free Goodie bag from attending Cordlife pregnancy conference
Milk bottles x 3 Free Goodie bag from attending Cordlife pregnancy conference & gifted by AXA's Know Your Planner
UV Sterilizer Free Free from Cordlife package
Bottle warmer $12 Carousell (second-hand)
Baby clothes* $140 Taobao, Primark (London) and friends
Diapers (70 pcs) Free Free samples by requesting from Merries, Goons, Huggies, Drypers, Mamy-Poko and from other baby goodie bags by insurance agencies. Also from NTUC Good Start Bundle.
Baby wet wipes $10 Cloversoft, Pee-Ka-Poo & NTUC Good Start Bundle
Waterproof changing mat Free Goodie bag from attending Cordlife pregnancy conference
Ruyi / Eucalyptus oil Free Goodie bag from Mighty Sprouts
Car seat $120 Baby fair
Stroller $55 Taobao
Baby carrier Free Gifted by a friend / also a free gift with Aviva's MyMaternityPlan 
Nail clippers Free Goodie bag from Mighty Sprouts
Baby soap Free Goodie bag from Mighty Sprouts
Nursing cover Free Goodie bag from Nestle (request online)
Baby towels $10 Taobao
Waterproof mattress protector $10 Taobao
Nursing bras (5 pcs) $25 Qoo10
Diaper bag $13 Taobao
Crib Storage Organiser $18 Taobao
Nursing pillow $13 Taobao
Diaper & nipple cream $20Blended
Breast padsFree Goodie bag from attending Cordlife and TMC pregnancy conference

Feel free to build on this list or make more suggestions in the comments below if you think there's anything else I've missed out on!

How many baby clothes to prepare?

*For baby clothes, we bought:
- 8 x newborn rompers
- 6 x 3 months old rompers
- 2 x newborn mittens
- 4 x pajamas
- 4 x socks
- 5 x bibs ($3 from Carousell, and 2 were free from goodie bags)

I didn't go overboard on buying baby clothes because my mother-in-law said that friends and relatives would probably gift them to us when they visit us and the newborn baby, and she's usually right so we're taking her word for it. Otherwise, if you're not too fussy, preloved baby clothes would be a good alternative too as they're usually softer, and your baby will outgrow them in no time anyway!

We're trying to hold back on buying too many baby clothes because the mileage for them isn't great, but at the same time, we want to have some to dress baby up and take nice photos for memory sake as well! Do balance this out according to your budget and affordability.

Preparing for a baby sure isn't cheap, and we've yet to factor in the full costs of diapers which we intend to get after our son is born so that we can assess which is a better fit for his size. Considering most newborns use 8 - 10 diapers a day, this should set us back by about $50 - $60 each month.

(At least in the first few months, we do not intend to use cloth diapers because there'll also be water and electricity costs anyway, and we foresee that we won't have enough energy to wash them then.)

The NTUC Good Start Bundle

If you don't already know, there's another initiative that all new parents HAVE got to know about - the NTUC Good Start Bundle!

As long as your baby is born between 2016 - 2019, you're eligible to redeem your free bundle! This is specially curated by NTUC and its 8 social enterprises, and I've personally had my eye on this ever since my friends at Dollars & Sense told me about it.

Here's my bundle, given to me as a press kit for this review

What's in the bundle?
Over $300 worth of essentials and benefits to help you and your newborn cope with this major change in your life:
  • NTUC FairPrice "FairMily Kit" - contains $100 worth of groceries for your baby and family, such as infant formula milk powder, baby wet wipes, diapers, baby toiletries and more. The oats are also great milk boosters for mothers who will be breastfeeding your babies!
  • Free 1-year health insurance coverage for your newborn - this is a Medisave-approved Integrated Shield Plan administered by NTUC Income and worth up to $205 (excluding MediShield Life premiums). You can choose between the Standard or Enhanced Plan, which will help pay for hospitalisation costs incurred. There are also options to include additional riders for a daily hospital cash benefit or a child illness rider to protect your baby's well-being, if you'll like.

    P.S. I know I've mentioned previously that hospitalisation insurance is the FIRST plan you need to get once your child is born, but instead of having 2 health insurance policies running at the same time, you might as well save on premiums during the first year through this initiative! However, if you've already kanchiong spider and bought one of NTUC IncomeShield Standard/Enhanced  plans for your baby prior to signing up for this Good Start Bundle, don't worry, you'll still get to enjoy automatic waiver of your second-year premiums.
  • Free Plus! cards for non Plus! members - for parents to earn LinkPoints on your daily and baby essentials at over 1100 outlets.
  • Complimentary playtime entry to The Little Skool-House Early Literacy Centre - bond with your child on Thursdays for free at the centre and partake in the different activities catered for children from 0 - 3 years old. Worth $180, all you need to do is to make an appointment with ELC by calling 6585 5292 or email in advance, and that's it! I intend to bring our son here to play very soon :)
  • Early Experiences Matter : Parent-Child Activity Book - by NTUC First Campus and worth $15, when you attend any of PA's Embracing PArenthood celebratory events held in all constituencies in Singapore (just pick the one nearest to you!)

    I really like this activity book as it gave me some great ideas on how to cut costs further and DIY my own activities with my child in his early formative years - including wind streamers, sock puppets, DIY crib mobile, jigsaw puzzles, and more! Will post more on that when I get down to making them :P
With so much goodies inside, I bet you won't want to miss out on this one.

To redeem your own free bundle, head over here to register!

P.S. This post is written in collaboration with NTUC Good Start Bundle, who sent over my pack prior to my baby's birth for purpose of this review so that fellow mummy readers can benefit. All opinions and lists are that of my own. 

With love,
Budget Babe