Parents spend big bucks to celebrate their babies

Parents spend big bucks to celebrate their babies
The elaborate set-up that Mr Mohamed Yunos Mohd Nor of Little Rizq Culla did for one of his clients.

At first glance, the beautifully decorated dais looks like those seen in Malay weddings.

Look again and you will spot a baby snuggled in a specially-crafted cradle.

The set-up, including the catered food, cost about $4,500. It was to mark the cukur rambut (Malay for hair-shaving) ceremony for Nur Arifah Ilyana last month.

The ceremony, where the child's head is shorn of all hair, is a tradition to mark the start of the child's life and to encourage growth of new hair.

Arifah's father had no qualms spending the money - more than twice his monthly salary - for the lavish affair, witnessed by more than 300 relatives and friends gathered to celebrate his two-month-old baby girl.

Mr Abu Suffian Miswari, 31, a courier driver, says: "She's our first baby and the first granddaughter for both sides of the family.

"We want the best for her so that when she grows up, she can look at the pictures and know that we love her so much."

Madam Laila Juma'at, 35, a recruiter, and her husband, Mr Ben Lucking, 32, a crude oil broker, spent close to $3,000 on the hair- shaving ceremony for their son Ryan Hazeeq when he was two months old.

Madam Laila says: "He's our first child and the first is usually the most pampered. We spent a bit more to spend time with our family and friends."

She had initially wanted a small do but many family and friends - about 300 of them - were excited to see the baby, so she decided to move the event from her 5-room flat to the void deck.

DECORATIONS

On why she went for elaborate decorations, Madam Laila says: "The void deck is bare and not presentable. You need decorations to jazz it up."

Comparatively, a no-frills baby's hair-shaving ceremony can be done at a mosque with a small donation.

These couples who splurge are part of a growing trend, according to service providers The New Paper on Sunday spoke to.

Madam Suhaila Mohd Sarit, 29, who planned the event for Mr Suffian, says that she has seen an increase in demand since she started My Dream Cradle two years ago.

"Last year, we were booked for an average of four to six events a month. But starting this year, we get up to 12 events a month."

A party for relatives and friends to mark the newborn's hair-shaving ceremony is a popular trend in Malaysia, says Madam Suhaila.

She says: "Sometimes, they put the baby in a cot with simple decorations.

"I came up with the idea to have a special cradle and customised it with my own creativity.

"Parents want to celebrate their babies, and have relatives come and see their babies."

She adds that she has also received many enquiries for grand baby-naming ceremonies too, another service that she provides.

Mr Mohamed Yunos Mohd Nor, 32, who owns Little Rizq Culla and planned Madam Laila's event, sees more new parents holding baby showers, with the average spending of $2,000, which includes catered food. The set-up for a baby cradle starts from $550, depending on venue.

Chinese families are also spending big on full-month parties for their children.

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