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Babies For Parents Toddlers

Sleep training for babies: Is it too early to start

Right after birth, your new baby is immediately dependent on you for all his needs, including the need to rest when he is tired. Very often, mothers of very young children look forward to the day when their babies are developmentally advanced enough to soothe themselves to sleep, because how well-rested your baby is, affects his wellbeing and that of your family’s as well.

As sleep is so important, sleep training is getting very popular these days.

Would you consider sleep training your baby?

What is sleep training?

Sleep training is the process of helping your child learn to fall asleep independently in the first instance and to soothe himself back to sleep during the arousal portion of his sleep cycle.

Generally, sleep training experts recommend sleep training anytime from 3 months old to 6 months old. Sleep training newborns are generally not encouraged as they have tiny stomachs and it is natural for them to wake frequently to feed.

To sleep train or not to sleep train?

There are two camps to the idea of sleep training.

Generally, parents who are against sleep training believe in allowing nature to take its course. In contrast, parents who are for sleep training believe in equipping their babies with the ability to thrive through ample rest by their intervention.

If you’re in the process of making that decision for your family, you may want to understand the various reasons for and against sleep training.

Reasons against sleep training

  1. My baby is smart! He has the ability to develop naturally and learn how to soothe himself to sleep when he is developmentally ready. I feel like what works best for my family is following my baby’s lead. (Read: Tips and tricks on Getting Babies to Sleep.)
  2. My baby has the need to be comforted at bedtime. At this stage in his life, I want to choose to provide it to him. Sleep training feels like I’m trying to compromise my baby’s needs for the sake of my modern lifestyle.
  3. I’m not a fan of some sleep training methods, like the Cry It Out method. I don’t want my baby to give up hope that I will respond to his needs.

Reasons for sleep training

  1. I want to stop feeling helpless when my baby is frustrated at being over tired.
  2. With intervention, my baby can learn when and how to sleep independently. This enables critical brain developments that are dependent on adequate rest.
  3. Sleep training can improve the sleep for all members of the household. It is the best decision for my family.
  4. As long as I select sleep-training methods that are suitable for the personalities and circumstances of my family, I believe that my baby will not be emotionally affected by sleep training.

Some parents feel that it is too early to start sleep training their babies, and wait till their kids are one-year-old, or toddlers.

Pros and Cons of Sleep Training

Whichever camp you are on, here are the pros and cons of sleep training to help you further with your considerations:

Successful sleep-training can end the days of sleep deprivation for good.

Advantages of sleep training your child

  1. If successful, sleep training allows everyone in the family to get sufficient rest on a daily basis. This supports the family’s wellbeing.
  2. Your baby gets to benefit from developmental growth that is dependent on adequate sleep.
  3. Parents are less likely to experience stress in the marriage that comes with having to cope with a cranky baby and flared tempers from sleep deprivation.

Disadvantages of sleep training your child

  1. The process of sleep training may cause some levels of stress to your baby.
  2. Skeptics of sleep training believe that some sleep training methods, like the Cry It Out method, could have long-lasting negative effects on emotional development.

Whether parents decide to sleep train their child ultimately lies in the parents’ beliefs and your family’s needs. There are gentle sleep training methods too, so you may wish to consult a sleep training expert that you are comfortable with.

Have you embarked on sleep training for your child? Do share your thoughts in the comments below!

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Babies Babies Family Fun For Parents

Postnatal Care: Why is it important for mums

Congratulations on your new baby! As a new mother, you may experience many changes, both physically and mentally. It is therefore important for you to practice good postnatal care and receive necessary support to recover from childbirth as you take on parenthood. Good postnatal care can also help to identify medical and physiological conditions that may occur after pregnancy and childbirth.

Particularly in Asian culture, new mothers traditionally undergo confinement for 30 days, or, up to an extended period of 3 months immediately after childbirth. During this period of post-partum recovery, depending on the culture you belong to, there may be many confinement rules to observe (Read: Confinement Myths), but generally, you can expect to gradually fall into a routine and adjust to your new normal. In the meantime, here are tips on getting the postnatal care in check as you get in the groove with the new addition:

Schedule rest

A family that gets enough rest stays together.

Getting sufficient rest is one of the most challenging things to achieve postnatal. The lack of rest can leave one feeling tired, more susceptible to emotional changes and slower recuperating for your childbirth wounds. Hormones are often out of whack during this period too, so it is important to rest. While you will need to make time for daily activities like eating, bathing (if preferred) and toilet breaks, you can aim for maximum rest by taking short naps throughout the day. As the saying goes “Sleep when your baby sleeps”, many mothers find it helpful to plan rest time around the baby’s sleep schedule.

Eat nourishing foods

Load up on greens to nourish your postpartum body.

Foods that are considered nourishing during confinement varies across cultures and traditions. In generally, maintaining a healthy diet of whole grains, proteins, fruits and vegetables as well as good amounts of fluid intake will give your body the necessary resources towards a speedy recovery from childbirth. Eating well is essential during the postnatal period to allow your body to heal and replenish lost blood and energy. If you are breastfeeding, it is necessary to ensure that you take in at least 2 litres of fluids daily, to stay hydrated.

Take a breather and focus on your wellbeing, new mummy!

Even a 5-min break can do wonders for you, new mum!

In the process of adjusting to motherhood, new mothers sometimes neglect caring about your own wellbeing. It is important to ensure that your postnatal period is a comfortable, happy and healthy one. This may be an overwhelming and stressful time; new mothers will benefit from being patient with yourself and to take breaks during the day to do what you enjoy doing. It can be as simple as reading the news, or, watching your favourite show – dedicating time to yourself can do wonders to your mind, body and soul!

Seek help whenever you need

Grandparents are often very willing helpers – consider roping them in as part of your postnatal care plans!

In order to prioritise rest and your well-being for postnatal recovery, do not hesitate to raise your hands to seek help or accept help from family and friends.  (Read: How dads can help with breastfeeding.) Other than direct latching to breastfeed, others will be able to help you with things like preparing meals, run errands, care for other children at home, or even hold the fort for a few hours for you to have some me time or couple time. Remember, receiving help is less about the inability to cope on your own. It is more about prioritising your family’s needs during this recovery period with a vision on adjusting to the family’s new normal in the long run.

Motherhood takes time to adjust to and sharing feelings and the burden of problems with your family helps tackle them together, and brings you closer together as a family unit.

We hope this simple guide can help you transition into motherhood with more ease. Please feel free to share what you worked for you as part of your postnatal care plans.

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Babies For Parents Toddlers

Guide to Preparing Infant Formula Milk for Babies

As milk is an infant’s source of diet, it is necessary to be equipped with the knowledge on how to prepare, store and use infant formula to feed our baby.

Storing infant formula

To avoid contamination and rapid deterioration, one of the first things to do is to focus on proper storage. Avoid subjecting infant to extreme temperature or temperature changes – they should be kept at room temperature away from direct sunlight.Make sure to follow manufacturer’s instructions on storage of your chosen infant formula, but here are general guidelines on storage for your reference:

Powdered Formula – Once opened, powder formula should be stored in an airtight contain with a secure lid in a cool, dry place. Do not store powered formula in the refrigerator because the humidity can cause your infant formula to clump up.

Liquid Concentrate Formula – Once opened, liquid concentrate formula milk should be stored in a clean container and refrigerated immediately. Unused portions should be discarded after 24hours of preparation.

Ready-to-feed Liquid FormulaReady-to-feed liquid formula should be stored in a sealed container and discarded if opened for more than 48 hours.

Selecting and handling milk bottles

Do you know what to prepare besides buying a tin of infant formula milk powder?

It is necessary to sterilise bottle-feeding equipment until your baby is up to 12 months old to reduce his risk of getting sick. This is because his immune system may not be strong enough to fight off some infections on its own.

Wondering which baby milk bottle to buy? Find out what other parents in Singapore look out for when shopping for milk bottles.

Making infant formula

It is important to follow the specific manufacturer’s instructions on the packaging of your chosen infant formula to prepare your baby’s formula feed. Make sure to check the expiry date of your powdered formula and refrain from using any opened tins of formula after one month, or, if the formula milk powder has changed in colour or smell.

Generally, the basic steps for making infant formula are as follows:

  1. Wash your hand through before preparing infant formula
  2. Pour the required amount of boiled water that has been cooled, into a milk bottle that has been sterilized. Making formula milk powder with boiling water can cause clumping and reduce its nutritional value.
  3. Add the exact number of scopes of infant formula into the milk bottle. “Scoop” usually refers to leveled scoop and you can do this with a sterilized knife or similar tool.
  4. Seal the milk bottle well with its cap and rubber ring.
  5. Tap the bottle gently to help powdered infant formula fall into the water. Mix through by gently shaking or swirling the bottle.
  6. Check the temperature by dripping a few drops onto the inside of your wrist. It should feel lukewarm.
  7. Throw away any unconsumed feed that is leftover in the bottle because the mixture of infant formula and your baby’s saliva can cause bacteria to grow.

Pre-prepared infant formula

Storing pre-prepared formula feed can save you some time to appease a crying, hungry baby.

Infant formula, which has not been consumed within two hours of preparation, must be discarded unless it has been refrigerated immediately after preparation. If stored in the fridge right after preparation, infant formula can be used within 24 hours. However, always the details stated on the brand of formula milk you have purchased, or, check with the manufacturer prior.

Using infant formula when you’re out and about

To prepare infant formula milk powder when you’re not at home, carry boiled water that has been cooled and the powdered formula with you in separate containers, rather than have them pre-mixed.

If you must be out with pre-prepared powered formula, ensure that they are taken out from the refrigerator just before you step out, and transport them in a cooler bag with ice packs or a thermal bag meant for baby bottles.

Any pre-prepared bottled formula that has been transported properly and not used within 2 hours of you stepping out may still be returned to the fridge. However, they must still be used within 24 hours from the time of preparation.

Warming up infant formula

Infant formula does not need to be warmed up, but if you prefer to give your baby warmed formula or you are using pre-pared bottles of formula feed that has been refrigerated, you may do so.

You can warm up formula milk by setting a milk bottle with pre-prepared infant formula into a bowl of warm water, use a bottle warmer, or, hold the bottle under warm running water. Remember not to microwave pre-prepared infant formula or use boiling water, as it can cause “hot spots” that could burn your baby.

Preparing formula feed safely for our babies relieves us from worries.

Besides buying a tin of infant formula milk powder from the supermarkets in Singapore and getting milk bottles, refer to our checklist on what to prepare for bottle-feeding.

Now that you know what to do after buying a tin of infant formula, you can use them for your baby safely and without worries. Do you have other tips for using infant formula for your baby? Do share it with us in the comments!

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Babies For Parents Uncategorized

Mums share: Breastfeeding concerns that we struggled with!

Breastfeeding has many benefits for babies and mummies. However, it is a skill that needs to be picked up by both mother and baby. Some may learn it faster than others, but contrary to what most mums think, this learning process may not be instinctive nor is it one that naturally falls in place for some of us. In fact, many variables make breastfeeding challenging for a majority of mothers, even those who are not first-time breastfeeding mums.

Often, breastfeeding is an emotional process. It is the next immediate emotional rollercoaster you ride on after birthing your baby. Do not be surprised if you feel intense feelings from time to time and there is nothing to be ashamed of if you decide it is necessary to prioritise your family’s well being and opting for infant formula instead.

To provide solidarity for mums who may be struggling during their breastfeeding journey, we ask our friends to share about their own breastfeeding woes and how they eventually handled them.

Some breastfeeding mum don’t have enough support

One of the most common encounters amongst our friends is a lack of support for their breastfeeding journeys, largely from extended families, particularly those with whom they live with. Husbands, who may or may not be supportive themselves, may feel trapped between his wife and his other family members.

When members of the household are not equipped with breastfeeding knowledge or unwilling to respect a breastfeeding mother’s decision, it gives rise to tremendous pressure for the breastfeeding mother to “perform” and/or persist in breastfeeding. There may be a domino effect from these pressures which add additional stress onto the new mother.

Some of our friends mitigated the situation by attending breastfeeding courses with their husbands during their pregnancy, and, share nuggets of breastfeeding knowledge with extended family gradually over the course of their pregnancy.

Equipped with breastfeeding knowledge, you can also take the chance to gradually and gently set expectations with household members on how it might be like during breastfeeding, so that they would be mentally aware of what it entails. Adjustments and compromises can be made as you go along, to reach a balance that works for everyone in the family.

Breastfeeding mums believe that they do not have enough breast milk

It can be devastating and stressful for breastfeeding mothers if they experience a delay in milk coming in, are not aware of how little baby actually needs initially or, have to endure opinions of this nature.

One of our friends broke down in tears after trying to express breast milk for the first time, because all she managed was a tiny ring of milk that covered the base of a milk bottle, in addition to having to endure comments that her baby was inconsolable from being hungry due to her insistence to breastfeed.  Unknown to her at that time, the amount of breast that she managed to express is actually just about the amount her newborn baby can stomach.

Newborns only require a very small amount of breastmilk. 

Knowledge gives rise to confidence that we are progressing in our breastfeeding journey. With the necessary breastfeeding knowledge, you are less likely to panic, feel out of control when you encounter situations that may not seem to be in your favour.

Breastfeeding mums endure sore and cracked nipples

Almost every breastfeeding mother has experienced sore / cracked nipples at least once, usually in the beginning of their breastfeeding journey. This commonly happens because baby may not yet have a correct latch, or, when mums have sensitive nipples that suffer abrasion from having to repeatedly

Cracked and bleeding nipples during the start of your breastfeeding journey can be nerve-wrecking for new mums.
Photo credits: Estella Goh

The breastfeeding mother can bleed from her nipples due to repeated latching after abrasion and the baby may even swallow blood from her mother’s nipple. The pain and sight can be scary for a first-time mum, as she struggles with getting her baby fed while riding through her physical pain.

Breastfeeding mothers can apply lanolin cream, nipple relief cream or breastmilk to relieve themselves of sore and cracked nipples.

Breastfeeding woes with mastitis

Mastitis is an infection that occurs from plugged milk ducts in your breasts. Usually, this can be encountered at any point in your breastfeeding journey, especially when mums do not empty your breasts of breast milk efficiently enough.

Symptoms include fever and flu-like symptoms as well as a pair of painful, rock hard breasts. Mastitis may need to be treated with an antibiotic treatment, during which you may have to pump and throw away breast milk within 2 hours each time you consume the antibiotics. Wasting breast milk is a huge source of distress or breastfeeding mothers, who may already find it difficult to provide enough milk for their baby.

Cold cabbage leaves work to reduce milk supply quickly and are very effective in reducing engorgement. They could be used in initial treatment of mastitis, by leaving these cold cabbage leaves on for about 5-10 minutes. As this method is also used by breastfeeding mums who wish to reduce their milk supply, remember not to leave them longer for 10 minutes as some may experience a reduction in breastmilk thereafter.

Having to express breast milk in unsuitable environments

Not all workplaces are breastfeeding-friendly and breastfeeding mothers who need to return to the workforce may not have a suitable place to express and collect their breast milk hygienically.

Several mothers reported that they were required to express their breast milk in the toilets or storerooms. To manage the situation, they suggest procuring a suitable container, which you can sanitize daily, to hold your breast pump, parts and bottle during expressing. At the very least, the surfaces that are in contact with your pump equipment are clean!

Travelling for work while breastfeeding

Many working mothers have to travel on work assignments. In order to continue giving their babies breast milk, they need to ensure that their milk supply does not drop or prevent themselves from suffering infections such as mastitis, breastfeeding mothers have to work around their pump times and/or figure out how to transport expressed breast milk from one country to another.

Our friend, Florinda Tay, felt compelled to share her knowledge on preserving and transporting expressed breastmilk on a work trip in her photo album here: https://www.facebook.com/florinda.tay/media_set?set=a.10156206580292794&type=3

Photo credits: Florinda Tay

We hope that these true stories of breastfeeding struggles can give you some insights on how every breastfeeding mother may experience their own challenges. Hopefully these stories can help support and encourage you on the tough journey of breastfeeding.

We’d love to hear your breastfeeding stories too, share with us in the comments below!

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Babies For Parents Pregnant

Pregnancy week 41 – 42: Going past baby’s due date

At week 41, if your expected delivery date has come and gone and your bun is still nestling comfortably in your oven, don’t worry just yet!

Pregnancy Week 41 – 42: Large watermelon

Your baby is now the size of a large watermelon! He may be 55cmto 70cm long and may weigh about 3.5kg to 3.9kg.

As your body gears up for labour, your baby’s endocrine system, which is responsible for hormone production, gears upas well for him to send the necessary chemical signals to trigger the labor process.

During this time, your baby will produce more stress hormones than any other time in his life, but rest assure that this is good stress for your baby. These fetal stress hormones are the same ones our body produces in flight or fight response to a life-threatening situation or a stressful event. They help your baby to transition and adapt to their life outside of your uterus in the following ways by helping him breathe, increasing blood flow to your baby’s brain and kidneys, increasing your baby’s immunity and supplying energy to the baby after birth.

There may be changes in your baby’s movements in utero at this stage, because the space your uterus has become much smaller for your baby since he is at his full size and weight now. You should still feel his movements and do consult a doctor if there are any significant decreases in fetal activity.

Going past your estimated delivery date (EDD) – pregnant mum’s emotions

You can’t wait to have your baby and it can feel like the longest weeks of the pregnancy, although it seems like you have just entered the third trimester! On one hand, you may feel tense, restless, frustrated, apprehensive or anxious in one moment due to the uncertainty of labor, or the fear of impending labors pains. On the other hand, you may feel anxious, excitement and happiness on the impending arrival of your baby.

It’s normal to feel anxious when you’re baby is staying longer in your womb than it’s expected due date.

There are a whole lot of feelings going on inside you and you might find yourself having intense, realistic dreams about baby. Feeling tired even if you have had a lot of sleep, and, imagining all kinds of situations about the birth of your baby and your life afterwards is to be expected too.

During this time, telling yourself to relax and stop feeling or thinking is likely to be counterproductive. You are entitled to allow yourself to experience all of these feelings, so take time for it and give yourself the necessary space to do so. Often, acknowledging our own feelings leads to acceptance and even relaxation and better rest, after you’ve been taken care of emotionally.

Changes in your overdue pregnancy body

 From this week onwards, you may be asked to note down baby’s moments and any bodily discomforts or changes you notice. You could also be asked to check in with your gynae more often for assessments on how the baby and yourself are doing.

From week 41 to week 42, mums may be experiencing physical discomfort such as backache, strong pelvic pressure, cramps, frequent urination and the inability to rest well due to these discomforts.

The estimated delivery date, or EDD, given to you by your gynae is a working due date that has a five-day margin of error and is not necessarily the time nature decides to takes its course. In fact, fewer than 5 percent of babies arrive on their due date, and you are actually not considered overdue until 42 weeks gestation.

There are several signs that help you know when you are going into labor. One sign of impending labor is a bloody show, which is a pink or brown tinged mucus discharge from the rupturing of blood vessels in your cervix in preparation for labor. You may have hemorrhoids, more commonly known as piles, because there is increased blood flow to your pelvic area and the pressure rests on your rectum. You could experience diarrhea too because the internal muscles are loosening in preparation for childbirth. One of the most obvious signs is, when you experience a constant fluid leak that is probably your water bag breaking.

Tips to induce labour when baby is past his due date or over 40 weeks

There are several ways to help “quicken” your baby’s arrival, the most common one of which is a “Stretch and Sweep”, where medical practitioner will separate membranes attached to the amniotic sac with a finger or two during internal examinations. This method will feel uncomfortable, but it is an effective method that can trigger the hormone that stimulates your uterus to begin contractions.

Other ways to speed up labour include eating spicy food, getting an induction massage from a credible therapist, going for walks, squats and having sexual intercourse.

Kudos on the pregnancy journey, and now it’s time to welcome your new baby into the family.

 

Waiting for the arrival of your baby in the final stages is an experience in itself. Now that your hospital bag is packed, your birth plan is ready and you have read our guide to preparing for a new baby, do try to indulge in enjoying the couple and me time available now. You’ll be glad you did!

Did your baby arrive past his or her due date too? Let us know in the comments below!

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Babies For Parents Uncategorized

Breastfeeding mums – Tips for Pumping at work

Transiting from maternity leave to return to work can be stressful for moms, especially when it comes to the logistics of pumping breast milk at work.

Getting your breastfed baby comfortable with bottle-feeding

One of the most stressful concerns for a working mother returning to work is whether your baby will take to being fed by his caretaker. This is often a key concern for mums who exclusively latch their babies, and babies who have refused bottles or hardly drink from milk bottles.

If mum needs to be away from your baby, let a trusted caregiver feed your child with expressed breastmilk in a bottle.

To counter this, after your milk supply has been established and baby does not have nipple confusion, it is a good idea for other caretakers (for example, baby’s father and other family members) to start bottle-feeding (here are things to prepare for bottle feeding for reference!). There are babies who may not take to bottle-feeding (have you heard of these bottle feeding myths?) and it is best to find solutions or alternatives before heading back to work.

Communicate your breastfeeding needs to colleagues

Before you return to work, it is a good idea to inform your Human Resource colleague or team mates about your need to express breastmilk during working hours. This would give them a heads-up that you will need to take some time during the day to pump, and most people would generally be understanding of a new mother’s needs.

To ease your transition back to work, have a casual chat with your boss and/or colleagues about the need for you to express breastmilk during working hours.

You may want to fill your colleagues in on the duration, or even general logistics of your pumping sessions so that they have some understanding before you commence on your pump sessions at work.

Scheduling pump sessions during the work day

Before you return to work, it is important to be aware of how long you can go without a pump session, while maintaining sufficient breast milk for your baby. With this knowledge, you will be able to estimate how often you will need to express breast milk when you return to work. However, having said that, you may have to pump within a limited time at your work place and may need to lengthen the interval between each pumping session.

Examine a regular workday and first find pockets of time that you could possibly fit in a pump session. For example, you can choose to express milk before you leave for work, during lunchtime and after work. If that already works for you, great, if not, you can make adjustments depending on the nature of your job.

Prepare yourself mentally for the pumping sessions at work

It is not uncommon for breastfeeding mothers to experience a dip in breast milk due to the stress of transitioning back to work and maintaining your breast milk supply. (Here are other reasons why breast milk may dip as well)

In such situations, breastfeeding mums may try out breast milk inducing foods (here are 5 of them!) or even have a few favorite photos of baby on hand to help you stimulate letdown during your pump sessions.

Wearing breastfeeding-friendly clothing that enables pump sessions

We often have to maintain a professional image at work and the usual nursing wear or breastfeeding friendly clothing may or may not work in this setting. To counter this, you can get the following types of clothing that may be both work and pumping appropriate, the best part is that you may already have these in your wardrobe:

  • Button down tops or dresses
  • Zip front tops or dresses
  • Flared tops
  • Wraps / Tie front tops or dresses

Wear work-appropriate outfits that allow you to pump milk easily without fuss.

Tips for working mum who needs to pump

  • Breast pump

Some breast pumps need to run with power from an electrical socket while others can operate just as well on battery.  You may want to pick a portable, powerful breast pump that allows you to pump even on the go as this will come in useful if you need to schedule pumping sessions in the car or while travelling for work.

Some breast pumps allow you to be hands-free while you are pumping and you will be able to still work while having your breast milk expressed.  If you can, keep a set of breast pump accessories at work to eliminate the situation where you forget to pack them to bring to the office.

Tip:Did you know that if you leave your pump parts in an airtight container in the fridge, you will be able to use the equipment to pump throughout the day without having to wash them? This is because breast milk can stay fresh in the fridge for up to 4 days, hence a few hours interval will not cause the breast milk on your equipment to turn bad or affect the quality of the milk collected

  • Milk bags

Pick milk bags that are BPA-free and lock securely. Once you are done pumping into a milk bottle attached to your pump, you can very carefully transfer your breast milk into the bags and lay them flat in the freezer or refrigerator in your office pantry. Freezing milk bags flat allow you to easily store more milk within a limited amount of space.

Tip:Keep spare milk bags in the office for times when you might have forgotten your milk bottle, or even your breast pump. At the very least, you will be able to hand express some of your breast milk.

  • Cooler bags / Ice packs

Transporting your precious milk does not have to be stressful.  You can either transport them by placing them in between ice packs alternately within an insulated bag, or, buy one of the freezer bags that comes with build-in ice packs. Both types of bags are available at baby care stores in Singapore.

With these tips on hand, we hope that you are now more well prepared to transition back to work while continuing your breastfeeding journey.

Breastfeeding working mums, how did you manage transit back to work while providing breast milk for your babies? Share some tips in the comments!

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Babies For Parents Toddlers

Oral Motor Development: What Parents Need to Know

Most parents usually look out for gross motor skills development in their baby, but did you know that oral motor development should be observed as well?

Oral motor development refers to the use and function of the lips, tongue, jaw, teeth, and the hard and soft palates. The movement and coordination of these structures are very important in speech production, safe swallowing, and consuming various food textures.

Complex oral motor skills are needed to consume a simple meal like this. Read on to find out which milestones to look out for in your baby’s oral motor skills development.

Oral motor skills are the finest of the fine motor skills we develop as human beings. These reflexes that support feeding at full term begins in the womb between the 28th week and the 37th week of gestation, and are fully developed and established when your little one is three years old. By about five years old, most children can safely eat and drink without choking.

Here are some important milestones for oral motor development that you should look out for in your baby from birth till five years of age.

During gestation, the baby begins to develop the sucking and suckling reflexes. At birth to three months, the baby starts to demonstrate many reflexes to protect his airway. She responds to stimulation in and around the mouth, turns her head toward the nipple when the cheeks are stroked, signalling that she is ready to be fed. She is able to consume breast milk or formula milk using a nipple and coordinate her breath with two to three sucks of liquid before swallowing and breathing.

If you are bottle feeding, it is important to choose the appropriate teat for your baby as different teats have different flow rates and your baby might choke if the flow is too fast or be frustrated if the flow is too slow. New parents, check out the bottle feeding guide to see which teat to choose for your baby!

Choosing an appropriate bottle and teat for your child may take some trial and error. Be sure to check out other tips to make baby more comfortable during bottle feeding.

At three to six months, the baby is able eat rice cereal or pureed fruit and pureed vegetable from a small infant or toddler spoon during feeding. At six to nine months, the baby is able to clean the spoon with her upper lip and eat pureed meats and a variety of pureed baby foods.

When the baby is nine to twelve months, she demonstrates lip closure while swallowing liquids and soft solids. She may attempt to eat small, soft dissolvable solids such as soft crackers and small cereals. At this time, she starts learning to drink liquids from a sippy cup and is able to consume mashed table foods. With her oral motor skills improving during this period, she begins to drink through a straw.

Once your baby is able to coordinate drinking from a straw, you have the option to start weaning her off the bottle.

At 12 to 18 months, the toddler is able to coordinate sucking, swallowing, and breathing patterns for longer sequences. With these improved oral motor skills, your toddler begins to eat finely chopped table foods and is able to bite through crunchy foods such as cookies and crackers. She is also able to move the food in her mouth from side to side as she chews.

At 18 to 24 months, the toddler starts to self-feed with some assistance. At twenty-four to thirty-six months, the toddler consumes a variety of liquids and solids through straws and open mouth cups. At this stage, she moves toward fine tuning all her feeding skills.

Between 36 months old to five years old, the child progresses and starts being able to chew and swallow advanced textures (for example, meats, fried foods, whole fruits) with close supervision. Lastly, she is able to drink from an open mouth cup with no assistance.

The presence and strength of reflexes is an important sign of nervous system development and function. Having poor oral motor skills usually also translates to speech development issues.

Some of the more noticeable signs to look out for include:

  • Mouth frequently hangs open
  • Refusing to eat food that needs to be chewed
  • Gags frequently when eating
  • Has trouble sticking out his tongue or moving it from side to side
  • Drools excessively (past the age of 18 months)
  • Lisps excessively

Hence, should you notice that your child lags behind in the above milestone developments, or exhibits any of the signs, it may be time to make a trip to the paediatrician who will refer you to the Speech-Language Therapist or an Occupational Therapist to evaluate and develop a plan to strengthen your child’s oral motor skills.

Do share with us if you have any concerns about your child’s oral motor development!

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Babies For Parents Toddlers Uncategorized

How to manage older siblings while breastfeeding

It’s your second baby and you’re all excited to breastfeed the way you want it to be this time round. You think you’ve got all the techniques down to a T and you’ve diligently taken your supplements and fluids and soups in a bid to boost breast milk production.

You pick up your baby to nurse and suddenly, in comes your toddler, throwing a tantrum or insisting that you carry him instead. All your grand plans seem to have gone out of the window with a crying baby and a whiny toddler at hand. But rest assured, there are ways to make breastfeeding manageable, and even an enjoyable journey, for everyone in the family.

Breastfeeding not only provides babies with the necessary nutrients, it’s also beneficial for mums!

Talk to your older child(ren) about breastfeeding the baby

If you can, speak to your older children about breastfeeding the baby before the baby is born. Let them ask whatever questions they might have and answer in a way that they can relate to and would understand.

After the baby is born, and before feeding time, speak to them again to remind them what you have discussed earlier. If they have any more questions, they can still ask them. Keeping them informed and involved would help them to cope with the anxieties and insecurities of having a new baby sibling around.

Involve your kids during nursing time

We all feel slightly more forgetful after childbirth, and sometimes we forget that extra cushion or pillow to prop ourselves up or that little hanky to wipe the dribbles off baby’s face. In come our little superheroes to save the day.

Instead of disrupting the feed, simply get the older siblings to help bring you the items. Remember to lavish them with praise, to thank them for their effort in helping to make nursing the baby go smoothly. Children love to be involved and praised, and you’ve just done both, so you’re off to a good start.

Make those breastfeeding sessions a special time for the family

When I used to nurse my baby, I’d read to my older child or sing songs with her. She’d get to pick out the book before the feed and sit right next to me during the feed. Sometimes, she would want to sing and dance to a song and we’d have a good chuckle.

If that’s too much activity for your nursing infant (not all babies are the same), you can try putting on a special cartoon or movie to watch together with the older siblings, or allowing them access to some toys which are only available to them during nursing time. You would be surprised that the older siblings might look forward to breastfeeding time!

A simple box containing some special toys reserved for nursing time can come in handy to keep older kids entertained when you need to breastfeed your newborn.

You can always ask for help from those you trust

“It takes a village to raise a child.” We are not supermoms all the time. Sometimes, even supermoms need a breather and some help. You canask for help when you need it. It is understandable that not everyone provides good or reliable help, so ask from those whom you trust your children to be with. They could take the older siblings for a walk in the park or keep them entertained while you nurse. That’s when dads could chip in too!

Dads are often neglected when it comes to the topic of breastfeeding. However, they can play a crucial role!

Mothering is a rewarding but challenging task. Not every day will be a good day and there might be more bad days than good ones at the start. But knowing what to do and having someone to help out and share the load with would make it less overwhelming. Continue to hang on in there as you supply your little one with liquid gold!

Do you have any more ideas on how to manage older siblings during breastfeeding? Tell us in the comments below!

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Babies For Parents Pregnant Uncategorized

Pregnancy Week 33 – 36 

Congratulations! You are in the eighth month of your pregnancy, which means there’s just one more month to go!   

Week 33: Pineapple

Your baby is now about the size of a pineapple! He is between 40 and 48cm long and weighs between 1.7 and 2.1kg.  

This week, your baby’s bones are hardened with the exception of the softer skull which needs to be malleable to fit through your birthing canal in a few weeks. His skin is losing its wrinkles and the immune system is being developed this week. Antibodies are being passed from you to your little one as he continues to develop his fetal immune system, which will come in handy once he’s outside the womb to fend off all sorts of germs. 

During this period of time, about 3 in 4 pregnant mums start to experience third trimester insomnia. With the hormonal changes, midnight bathroom runs, leg cramps, heartburn and your basketball-sized belly, it’s no wonder sleep becomes elusive. Try to make yourself as comfortable as you can – do something that soothes you before bedtime, such as reading a novel, listening to some soft music or drinking a cup of warm, comforting milk; or better yet, get your partner to give you a loving massage because you deserve it! 

 Week 34: Wongbok 

It’s week 34 but you may feel like you’ve been pregnant for longer. Your wongbok-sized darling is working hard on putting on the pounds this week, weighing about 1.9kg to 2.4kg, and is about 40-50cm long. Your little precious one is in a deep sleeping and waking routine now. This is a good time to start talking and singing to your baby as this helps with bonding. 

Pregnant mums, besides talking and singing to baby, you can also start reading to him.

 

This week, you might find yourself being unable to see as clearly as usual. But don’t rush off to get your prescription lenses changed yet because this blurry vision, as with the rest of the discomforts you’ve been experiencing, is another result of pregnancy hormones. While it may be slightly uncomfortable, it usually clears up after the baby is born. 

Week 35: Winter melon 

Intense brain growth is occurring for your baby this week! The neurons and early connections in their brain are developing more so that at birth, they will be able to receive stimulation. So, remember to eat foods rich in DHA and Omega 3 and continue to take in the essential nutrients for pregnancy to help support your baby’s brain growth. 

Your baby will still be gaining around 450g this week and laying down fat cells, which will help to insulate them when they are born. 

You may be a little weepy and prone to emotional meltdowns this week. With the increasing weight you have to bear and all the discomforts stacking up against you, that is perfectly understandable. Do something you enjoy before the baby arrives. Go easy on yourself and rest for a couple of days if you can. Everyone needs a little rest and tender loving care, and guess what? You deserve it now the most! 

Week 36: Celery  

One more week to a full-term baby! Your baby weighs about 2.7kg this week and is about 51cm long. With his pink skin and chubby legs, he’s looking more like an infant now. This week, your precious one’s hearing will become even sharper so don’t forget to continue talking, singing or reading to him! 

If you wake up one morning and find yourself fussing over the tiniest details in the house, and trying to clean every nook and cranny, or you become the newest Marie Kondo convert overnight, that would be the nesting instincts kicking in. Getting anxious about the arrival of a newborn is natural. To alleviate your anxiety, you can start by reading about the necessary preparation for baby’s arrival. Some mums also start buying more baby essentials at this stage or when there are baby fairs or online sales, whichever scores them a better deal. If you have family, friends or colleagues to bless you with hand-me-downs, that’d be even better!  

 Are you feeling ready for the last lap of your pregnancy? Let us know in the comments! 

Categories
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.