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Babies For Parents Toddlers

Tips to Stop Breastfeeding and Gently Wean Off

You may have been breastfeeding due to the many benefits for both mother and baby, but have decided to stop. Weaning is the end of breastfeeding and there are many reasons why nursing mums decide to stop breastfeeding.

Common reasons relate to mum’s health, and that should not be taken lightly. Perhaps your breast milk supply has been decreasing, or your baby has to attend infant care, or you simply feel that it is time to transit your baby over to formula milk.

Whatever the reason is, weaning doesn’t have to be abrupt and painful. Gentle weaning can be attempted through these tips:

Don’t offer the breast when your baby is hungry, but don’t reject your baby if he asks for milk.

 

  1. Replace one feeding a day
    If your child is below six months old, you can replace one feeding session a day with previously pumped breastmilk, donor milk or formula milk using a cup or a bottle. If your child has been introduced to solid food, you can replace the breastfeeding session with healthy snacks such as fruits, carrot or cucumber sticks or proteins. Instead of expressing out milk from your breasts, skip the nursing session in order to decrease your supply. Wean gradually by increasing the number of replaced sessions.
  2. Don’t offer, don’t reject
    This tip is more appropriate for older children who can express their needs. By not offering to nurse until your child requests for it, it sends the message that they can still return for milk if they need it.
  3. Start by cutting day feeds
    Babies and toddlers who are used to latching to sleep find it difficult to end it due to the emotional security it provides. Try to cut off day time latching sessions first before proceeding with night weaning.
  4. Distraction is key
    Offer your child something else in place of nursing, like a snack or favourite toy to take his mind off latching. Be sure to provide easy access to fluids and water while doing so.
  5. Don’t attempt to wean during major transitions
    Children find emotional comfort and security in nursing. If you are attempting to wean your child gently, be sure to do it at a time where there are no major changes to his schedule i.e. moving house, changing schools, or, the arrival of a new sibling.
  6. Provide an alternative comfort item
    If your child is no longer reliant on breastmilk as his sole source of nutrition, it means that you can start to wean gently by giving your child a small comfort item. This can be a small stuffed toy, blanket or even a pacifier.

Transiting to formula milk? Einmilk is produced in Singapore to nourish infants, babies and toddlers.

Once your child is weaned, you can replace breast milk with either fresh milk, UHT milk or  formula milk, depending on the age of your child and his dietary requirements. If you are searching for a formula milk that is close to breastmilk, Einmilk formula milk includes nucleotides to promote healthy gut development and improve metabolism.

Did you wean your baby from breastmilk to formula milk powder? Share some tips with fellow mummies in Singapore so they know that they’re not alone.

Categories
Babies Family Fun Toddlers

12 Smart Ways to Reuse Milk Bottles

Most baby milk bottles are made from plastic material that needs to be replaced regularly every few months. Some parents use glass milk bottles, but even then, find that they have too many to deal with when their baby stops drinking milk.

What can we do with all these milk bottles that seem like a waste to simply toss in the trash?

Recycling is not the solution, as there is simply too much plastic to segregate and actual recycling rates are low. Repurposing milk bottles for use around the house is an option you could try out to reduce waste.

Give your baby bottles new life by repurposing them!

  1. Vase
    Simply stick some flowers into an unwanted milk bottle to liven up your house instantly! You can enlist the help of your child to decorate the bottle using paint, washi tape or stickers. 
  2. Night light
    Another fuss-free way of decorating your house is to throw in some solar powered fairy lights into a bottle and it will become a beautiful night light.
  3. Vertical garden
    Bring in some greenery into your homeby creating a vertical garden out of unwanted milk bottles. Cut off the bases of the bottles and overturn it. Fill it with compost, some soil and plant some seedlings in.
  4. Bird feeder
    Cut out a hole at the side and hang up the bottle. Fill with bird seeds and watch the  birds congregate in your garden!
     

Milk bottles can be repurposed into flower vases with a simple touch-up

  1. Salad dressing shaker
    No alteration is needed for this. Simply reuse your milk bottle by adding some strawberry jam and vinegar and shake it all up. You’ll have strawberry vinaigrette for your salad.
  2. Snack holder
    Milk bottles often come with sealing discs for mums who express milk. Replace the milk teats with these sealing discs and reuse the bottles to hold snack puffs, fruits and nuts for your little one!
  3. Candle holder
    If you use glass milk bottles, they can be repurposed into candle holders by placing a tea light at the bottom. If you use plastic milk bottles, you can achieve a similar effect by using a LED tea light that can be purchased from dollar stores.
  4. Donate them to an animal shelter
    They may not be suitable for your baby’s use, but can come in handy at animal shelters where certain animals need to be bottle-fed. Before donating, please ask the shelter managers if they require them.
  5. Measuring cups for liquids
    See those measurement markings on milk bottles? They come in handy to measure out liquids when you are baking or cooking. 
  6. Pretend play
    Children love to play pretend and instead of buying bottles for dolls, why not use existing bottles that your child no longer needs?
  7. Container for washing paint brushes
    Reuse unwanted baby bottles as containers to hold water for washing paint brushes during art jamming sessions.
  8. Kitchen spice storage
    Organise your kitchen pantry by using unwanted baby bottles to hold dry grains and spices.

 

What are some clever ways you have repurposed your child’s milk bottles into? Share your creative ideas with us!

Categories
Babies For Parents Toddlers

Baby’s Brain Development & Milestones: 0 to 1 year old

Did you know that babies grow tremendously in the first year of their life? From helpless newborns to learning how to sit, crawl, walk and talk, the first 12 months is full of milestones for your baby.

This list of developmental milestones will help you see if your child is on track or if there could be possible developmental delays. If your baby is premature, use their corrected age instead.

Birth to 3 months old
In these first three months, your baby will spend most of their day sleeping, drinking and crying. At birth, their eyesight is poor and the world seems like a big, noisy and scary place. Your voice will be the one that is most recognisable to them as they have been listening to your conversations from inside the womb.

At about two months old, your baby will be able to figure out that they have some control over their body and start to kick their legs, grasp your finger tightly and even smile when you smile at them.

 Milestones:

  • Smile in response
  • Track objects with eyes
  • Moves fists from closed to open
  • Brings hands to mouth

Activities to stimulate brain development:

  • Cuddle and sing
    Babies thrive on touch and keeping your baby close to you fosters a stronger parent-child bond.
  • Massage your baby after baths
    Gentle touch has been linked to improved growth and better motor development, especially for premature babies.
  • Hang a colourful mobile above their cot
    Babies thrive on sensory stimulation, and a cot mobile aids in their visual development.

Infants and young children love bopping to the beat of music, and music has been known to stimulate brain development too!

4 to 6 months old

No longer a newborn, your infant is now alert and active. Curious about the world, babies love learning about the world through simple activities. You will notice that your baby is learning how to flip and can raise their head when lying on their tummy. With clearer vision, your baby can enjoy toys with complex patterns and colours.

 Milestones:

  • Flips from back to tummy and tummy to back
  • Reaches for nearby objects while on tummy
  • Able to lift head up
  • Turns head towards sounds
  • Babbles to get attention

Activities to stimulate brain development:

  • Play simple games
    Simple games like peek-a-boo or hiding a toy under a blanket encourages your infant to interact with you in a fun manner.
  • Read to your baby
    It can never be too early to introduce your child to the beauty of books. Reading promotes speech and thought development. Start by reading basic picture board books featuring large, bright pictures and be as descriptive as possible.
  • Offer simple toys
    Building a sensory boxcost very little, and you don’t have to specially buy things intentionally for this purpose. Look around your house for items that you can use to stimulate your baby’s sense of smell, touch, sound, sight and taste.

Reading is a good habit that can be cultivated from young

 

7 to 9 months old
Your infant is becoming more mobile and if he hasn’t started crawling yet, he will soon. One of the most exciting moments of this stage is that your baby can have his first taste of solid food. His gums may begin to ache and your baby may be drooling more often than usual.

Milestones:

  • Says first word
  • Stands with support
  • Sits upright
  • Grasps objects between thumb and forefinger

Activities to stimulate brain development:

  • Introduce stacking toys
    Among the fun activities that a 7 to 9 month old baby can do is stacking. It doesn’t have to be limited to blocks. Books, cups, containers – anything can be stacked up.
  • Offer finger food
    Whether you’re doing traditional weaning or baby-led weaning, finger foods such as steamed broccoli, avocado or teething rusks encourages your baby to self-feed and explore various textures and colours.

10 to 12 months old
Before your baby turns one-year-old, you can expect greater cognitive skills, evolving language skills and a distinctive personality unique to your toddler. Infant development is rapid at this age.

Milestones:

  • Pulls to stand or cruises
  • Stands without support
  • Claps hands
  • Shakes head
  • Waves goodbye

Activities to stimulate brain development:

  • Converse with your child
    Your toddler may be babbling, but did you know that babbling is how toddlers develop communication skills? By responding to your child’s babbling in proper sentences, your child will feel respected and engaged.
  • Outdoor play
    The benefits of outdoor play are immense, and the world is your toddler’s playground. A walk at the park or even to the Zoo can be an exciting trip for him.
  • Teach action songs

Action songs like “Head, shoulders, knees and toes” or “Hokey Pokey” not only teach your toddler about her body parts, but gets her bopping to music. Dancing is a way for toddlers to express themselves, much like singing.

As your baby enters toddlerhood, their reliance on milk decreases. Some mums may wish to transit their baby from breastmilk to formula milk, or supplement their diet with formula milk powder. Ensuring that your toddler eats well and right helps them to meet their growing needs.

What was your most memorable baby milestone? Share it with us in the comments!

Categories
Babies For Parents

Parents Share: Tips and Tricks on Getting Babies to Sleep

Do you struggle with getting your baby to sleep?

With a newborn or a toddler, the subject of ‘sleep’ is often discussed and pondered over.

It is essential for babies and children to obtain sufficient sleep as having ample rest supports healthy development. The younger the child is, the more sleep they need. And while they sleep, parents can get their rest too, or possibly score some pockets of time to prepare meals or simply “me time” to unwind for the day.

So, what do you do to get a baby to sleep? When do babies sleep through the night? That sounds like a distant dream!

Let’s hear it from parents in Singapore who have successfully found ways to get their babies and young children to sleep – yes, tips and tricks that work!

There’s just something about a sleeping baby, isn’t it?

 

#1: Trial and error to more zzz’s

As with parenting, there comes certain situations where trial and error becomes your best bet. Armed with the mission to ensure your newborn sleeps well, and clocks in sufficient naps throughout the day, parents pretty much start from Ground Zero.

Some parents may discover certain sleep strategies that work for their kids. Like Elizabeth Wu, who has 3 children, she counts physical caress as a technique that works for her family.

“Stroking the bridge of the nose gently, white noise and gently running fingers through hair!” she shares.

It sounds so easy, but when she first tried it, the kids probably thought that mummy was playing with them!

Getting the children to sleep also calls for disciplined parents. These parents unanimously agree that a bedtime routine is essential, since children learn through conditioning and repetition.

For Serynn Guay, she believed in sleep training her newborn. Here’s what she does, which involves her special magic trick on days when getting her child to sleep becomes a tall order:

“Nothing forceful, but I established a routine – after wipe down, change PJs, tuck in with baby and turn off the lights. Even now (boy is 3 years old), turning off lights is always a solid cue to sleep. Usually I’ll pretend to fall asleep too (sometimes I’ll fall asleep for real!). If all else fails, use Hylands Teething Gel. It knocked my baby out goooodddddd!”

She also shares that eliminating distractions such as screen time at least an hour before bedtime is important. This is supported by neuroscientists who advise that sleep quality becomes compromised with the blue light emission from our smartphones and gadgets – which is also true for adults too, isn’t it?

A comfortable, sleep-conducive is essential when it comes to bedtime settings.

 

#2: Establish a bedtime routine

Most parents who successfully establish a bedtime routine that syncs with their baby sleep patterns are all praises for this must-do!

All of them agree that the familiarity and association with pre-bedtime activities allowed kids to understand and anticipate that it’s almost bedtime. Parents advice? Start early.

Mummy Ryn Ryn started a bedtime routine when she was pregnant. She turns on a particular piano music throughout the night until now whenever her three-year-old daughter sleeps or naps.

“(It has) became a(n) SOP… sometimes if I forget, she will say “mummy please on the sleeping music”..!”

Besides developing a routine, being consistent from the start is equally important, shares Qiqi Low, who has 2 young daughters. She also shares that when the kids start Primary School, the bedtime routine will then have to change to accommodate the child’s schedule so it’s still boils down to making it work for the family.

Parents who have a consistent bedtime routine in place for the children are really pleased with the “results”. While some days are hits and misses, Maria Wee explains that “(Our bedtime routine) is part of his everyday life…. now, he falls asleep within half an hour but most of the time within 15 mins or so. If he’s tired, even faster.”

While it sounds like clockwork going on, what happens if schedules on some days are out of the norm, or, the kids are home later than their usual bedtime?

 

Need to put two young kids to bed? Establish a bedtime routine that fits your family’s schedule.

Mok Yizheng shares, “Both my kids sleep by 830 every day (except for the odd weekend we are out till late). It’s also routine… after dinner they play awhile then when it’s bathing time they will know it’s sleeping time soon. We’ll go into the room and they’ll drink milk around 8pm.. cuddle abit and they’ll fall asleep within 15-20mins.”

Elayne Gan seconds that routine is key and helps to manage the family’s schedules. She affirms, “Regardless the time, the routine remains. That’s one way for baby to recognise it’s bedtime.”

Both mummies Mok Yizheng and Elayne Gan stick to their daily practice even if it means doing certain activities twice, or the same activity at close intervals. For example, bathing them before changing into the pyjamas despite a bath just a few hours ago.

“So many points but so important for sanity!” Elayne quips.

That’s pretty true! Anything to keep parents sane counts as an ally!

 

#3: Have a game plan to get the kids to sleep

As your children grow older, their bedtime routine may change and morph into something quite different. Or at least, not what you may have expected at the beginning.

With 2 or more kids, siblings may get up to quirky antics at bedtime, which can be really heart-warming to watch after a day of being away from them.
Raye Kiu, sticks to a bedtime routine for both kids. Things are a little different now as the routine “includes silly dances, silly games … milk … brushing teeth, (switching) off (the) lights”. She occasionally resorts to white lies as well by announcing that it’s 11 pm, when it’s just 9.45pm. Things parents do to get their kids to bed!

Also, expect that what used to a fool-proof plan to get them to sleep may suddenly not work when your child is older.

For Mel Goh, “initially, playing soothing baby sleep music helped a lot… once after 6 months, it didn’t really work that much.”

So, her game plan had to change. Now her son hugs a bolster instead. If they are out and her child is yawning, she babywears him and pats him to sleep.

When out and about, babywearing your child lets him know that daddy or mummy is close to him. Alternatively, tuck him in the stroller for naps.

#4: If your child fights sleep, it’s time to see the fun side

If you’re feeling frustrated when trying to get your baby to sleep, remember to see the fun side of things and breathe a little easier.

Researchers have been linking insomnia and intelligence, so who knows? Your sleep fighter could be a little genius! At least that’s what Drea Kang Gruszka convinces herself too: “Take comfort in that possibility the next time you’re ready to slaughter them… At least that’s what I psycho myself to believe when (my daughter) Kinia is driving me nuts at midnight!”

Managing a child who fights sleep can be nerve-wrecking, but with a simple routine in place, you might find one that works for your family. Raising happy, healthy children takes patience and some experimentation at times – we hope you find a way to develop healthy sleeping habits with your children.

Do you have any tried-and-tested methods to get your children to sleep? Do share them too!

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Babies For Parents Pregnant Uncategorized

Pregnancy Week 29 – 32: Welcome to the Third Trimester

Welcome to the third trimester! In this last lap of pregnancy, one of the symptoms that may return is fatigue. This happens when your body grows larger and makes sleeping difficult. Losing balance and feeling clumsy is something many pregnant mums in their last trimester experience as well as the centre of gravity moves forward. Maintaining good health and continuing with a nutritious diet during pregnancy is important because immunity can be passed onto your baby.

Nesting instincts commonly kick in during the third trimester of pregnancy, and mummies start preparing for the arrival of your new baby.

Week 29: Cabbage

Your little one is about the size of a cabbage, measuring about 38cm in length and 1.1kg in weight. At this point, things are getting a little cramped inside, but you should be able to feel your baby’s movement. Your gynaecologist will also teach you how to count fetal movements such as jabs, kicks or hiccups so that you can monitor your baby’s well-being. If your baby has less than 10 movements per day for two consecutive days, alert your doctor immediately.

You could possibly experience exponential weight gain as your baby fattens up before meeting the world. If you have been diagnosed with gestational diabetes,managing the condition is important to prevent pregnancy complications.

Week 30: Zucchini

At 30 weeks, your baby’s brain is growing rapidly, developing wrinkles and grooves on its smooth surface. The reason for the wrinkles is to increase the amount of brain tissue to allow your baby to prepare for life outside the womb.

Red blood cells that were once produced by the spleen and tissue groups are now being produced by your baby’s bone marrow. Your baby’s eyes can now open wide too!

Though you might feel bloated and exercising may be the last thing on your mind, keeping active throughout pregnancy could help your labour process as oxygen-rich blood courses through your body during exercise. You don’t even have to go to the gym to exercise!

During the third trimester of pregnancy, it’s also a good time to start planning for baby care after baby is here, or after your maternity leave is over.

Week 31: Asparagus

Your baby’s brain can be likened to a computer, and this computer is hard at work making billions of connections between individual nerve cells. His brain is able to process information and track light from his senses. He won’t be able to smell outside scents when he is still enclosed in the womb, but once he is out, he will be able to breathe and process the scents and stenches in this world.

Babies at this age have been seen making faces, hiccuping, swallowing and sucking their thumbs in the womb via ultrasound. Thumb sucking will remain a source of comfort for infants and young children.

Some common pains and aches at this late stage of pregnancy include water retention, swelling (edema) and leg cramps. As contradicting as it sounds, drinking more water actually helps to relieve water retention and flush out toxins.

 Week 32: Butternut Squash

Your baby’s toenails are now visible, 32 weeks into your pregnancy. The lanugo, or soft hairy skin covering, will start to shed off to reveal your baby’s smooth skin. His skin is now more opaque as fat builds up beneath it. Your baby is now practising how to breathe by inhaling amniotic fluid.

As your bump expands, you may experience more itching and stretch marks that can be managed by applying moisturiser liberally to soothe the skin. If you’re feeling miserable waiting out these last few weeks, why not pamper yourself with some retail therapy? Maternity wear has evolved to become chic, versatile pieces that can be worn throughout breastfeeding and even as normal casual and workwear.

How are you coping with being heavily pregnant during your third trimester? Let us know in the comments!