As an expectant teenage mother, Ms Yap KaiQing was, by her own admission, clueless about parenting to-dos such as breastfeeding, diaper changes and vaccinations.
“Being a mum was a very big step for me because I was quite young back then. There were so many things I didn’t know about,” she said.
As her delivery date neared, KaiQing found a source of support in the KIDS 0-3 programme, which provides a comprehensive spectrum of community-based care for mothers from vulnerable backgrounds and their children up to the age of three.
“Even before I gave birth to my first child Kyler, a nurse frequently checked on me at home and taught me what to expect after delivery,” said KaiQing, now 21.
“KIDS 0-3 taught me about breastfeeding, which I had thought would be a natural instinct for me and my child, but it wasn’t. “I didn’t attend any prenatal classes so I was really grateful to have someone to turn to. I learnt a lot from the programme.”
While home visitations are a key feature in the KIDS 0-3 programme, the programme also extends a helping hand to families through centre-based activities at the Temasek Foundation KIDS 0-3 Centre.
The Centre has been a host for playgroup activities and evening caregiver workshops as well as a hub for the monitoring of child health and development. It has also functioned as a respite place for mothers requiring the much needed break and informal peer support.
For KaiQing, KIDS 0-3 was an important lifeline during trying times in Kyler’s formative years.
“When Kyler had a prolonged fever, I couldn’t afford to send him to the hospital as I wasn’t financially stable,” she said.
“Thankfully, KIDS 0-3 had a doctor on hand for me to consult and I found out Kyler had Bohn’s nodules.
“As a first-time parent, it’s a relief to know that I can seek professional help if anything happens.”
Besides giving Kyler a healthy head start in life, KIDS 0-3 has also been invaluable in helping KaiQing navigate her journey of parenthood.
“Without KIDS 0-3, I wouldn’t have been able to take such good care of Kyler.
“It has definitely made me a better parent.”