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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 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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For Parents Toddlers

Parents Share: How to Prepare Kids for their First Dental Visit

Parents are often unsure of when to bring their child to the dentist, and some wait until all teeth have erupted.

 

However, it is recommended that the first dental visit start from the moment the first tooth has erupted, and no later than one to two years of age. As with adults, children should visit the dentist once every six months, or more frequently if there is a dental issue.

 

Let’s find out how parents in Singapore made the first dental visit for kids less scary– with helpful tips for other families too!

 

Your child’s first dental visit doesn’t have to be as scary as you imagine!

 

#1: Search for a paediatric dentist

Mothers Jessie Pek and Larissa Sim agree that finding a good paediatric dentist is half the job done, as the experienced dentist would know how to manage kids better and deal with any fear that the child may have about having their teeth checked.

 

Jessie’s son was less than three years old when he went for his first dental appointment and the visit turned out to be surprisingly pleasant.

 

“There was a small decay, so the dentist suggested filing without polishing or washing other teeth to keep the visit short. After that, my boy has been okay with going for dental appointments”.

 

Larissa’s daughter encountered a bad experience at a generalist dental clinic as the cubicles were not soundproof and the cries and screams from another cubicle traumatised her greatly. Since then, she has switched to a private paediatric dentist.

 

Evonne Wong, mum to a three-year-old daughter, shares that her experience with a paediatric dentist was much better compared to the first time as the dentist was gentle. Her daughter reacted so positively to the dentist that “she will look for him whenever food is stuck between her teeth”!

 

#2: Familiarise them with the process

As there is fear from the unknown, children(and perhaps, some parents too!) tend to over-imagine things and scare themselves over the first visit to the dentist. The trick is to show them that it’s not so scary as they imagine! When explaining, keep it factual and avoid adding in emotions.

 

Mummy Larissa suggests reading a lot of books and showing videos of toddlers at the dentist, preferably those that feature dental tools and patients younger than your child to familiarise them with the process.

Use non-fluoride kids toothpaste for your child until they learn how to spit.

 

#3: Maintain healthy oral hygiene

Maintaining healthy oral habits on a daily basis is the key to preventing dental caries from forming in the mouth. Introduce the concept of brushing teeth with non-fluoride toothpaste at least twice a day, especially after meals and before bedtime. Reinforce to them that the cleaner their teeth are, the lesser time they will have to spend at the dentist’s clinic.

 

If your child is able to spit, use a pea-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste, as it is the key ingredient to keeping teeth squeaky clean.

 

For strong, healthy teeth, ensure that your toddler takes in essential nutrients such as calcium and Vitamin D through breastmilk and/or formula milk to support healthy teeth and gum development.

Parents can help children handle their first dental visit like rockstars!

 

#4 Be Positive

Mum Dandan Liang chooses to explain the positives of visiting the dentist to her son and it worked as her son’s first dental visit was a breeze. She took her son to the dentist as she was worried about some shadow on his front teeth. Before they entered the room, she described what the process would be like and what he needed to do.

 

“I told him that he had to open his mouth so the dentist could check what was wrong with his teeth and make it white again”, she adds. The experience went better than expected as the dentist fashioned a balloon with a smiley face out of a latex glove as a gift for her son.

 

#5 Expect the Unexpected

As the popular saying goes, “Expect the Unexpected”. There was no time for Mummy Jessica Lu to prepare her son, as his first visit to the dentist was an emergency when his sister knocked his front tooth loose. Surprisingly, her son remained calm and the dentist managed to save his tooth.

 

How was your child’s first visit to the dentist like? Do share your tips on making your child’s first dental trip a fearless one!

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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 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.

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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!

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Babies Babies Family Fun For Parents Toddlers Toddlers

How to choose the right infant care centre in Singapore

In Singapore, infant care centres offer educare services to newborns from 2 months old till 18 months old. It is an option for working parents who are unable to look after their infants during the day.

Making the decision of sending your baby to an infant care centre is the first big step forward. The second decision that requires some prior research is determining which is the “best”infant care centre in Singapore.

We’ve come up with a few pointers and questions you may want to consider when deciding on the right infant care centre to send your precious little baby.

Infant care centres in Singapore are overseen by the Early Childhood Development Agency (ECDA).

  • Location and Accessibility
    Is the infant care centre located within convenient distance from your home or workplace? Is it located near a bus stop or train station? It may not seem like much, but 5 minutes saved on travelling each day adds up to 100 minutes in a month of 20 work days!
  • Fees and subsidies
    The fees for infant care centres vary depending on centres. You can check out the infant care centres listed under ECDA’s Partner Operator Scheme and Anchor Operator Scheme, as these centres have a fee cap for both full and half day infant care programmes. Also, parents with certain household income may apply for basic or additional subsidies to save on the monthly infant care fees.
  • Educarer:Infant Ratio
    The stipulated educarer:infant ratio by ECDA is 1:5, but some infant care centres offer a lower ratio for more individualised attention. Do take note that centres with lower ratios may charge a higher fee. 
  • Cleanliness and Hygiene
    Infants below six months old are especially vulnerable to illnesses as their immune systems are still developing. Apart from standard temperature checks and hand sanitisation at the door and throughout the day, check that the educarers practise frequent hand washing and use gloves when changing diapers. This can be observed when you visit the infant care centre.

Infant care centres do more than plain routine care for infants.

 

  • Ventilation
    Most, but not all, infant care centres are air-conditioned. If the infant care centre that you are interested in is ventilated naturally, check that they have air purifiers in place for use when the air quality is unsatisfactory.Also, for non-air conditioned infant care centres, look out for safety features such as window grilles and the type of window blinds or curtains used. The latter should ideally not have hanging cords as they are a safety risk for curious infants and toddling tots.
  • Milk feeding arrangements

For babies who are on breastmilk, find out from the educarers if they have the knowledge and equipment to warm up expressed breast milk. For babies who are drinking formula milk, check with them what parents should prepare e.g. number of milk bottles, should you leave a tin of infant formula milk labelled with your baby’s name etc.

  • Curriculum
    Infant educarers do more than just routine care. There might not be a fixed classroom schedule for younger infants as they spend most of their day sleeping. When they are awake, educarers engage infants in activities that stimulate their senses, such as music, art and craft and sensory play.
  • Parent Communication
    As your infant will be spending many hours in the infant care centre, it is important that you are comfortable with the communication tool the school uses. Certain infant care centres use a communication book, where updates are detailed in pen on paper. Other infant care centres provide updates via an application where you can be alerted to updates the moment the details are keyed in. 

While there might not be a perfect infant care centre, do take some time to discuss the top three must-haves when choosing a comfortable centre for your baby.It would help to visit the infant care on a weekday and talk to the educarers and principal to understand about their processes and beliefs too.

 

Read our guide to choose the right childcare centre or preschool when your child turns 18 months old!

What were some of your deciding factors when selecting an infant care centre? Share it with us in the comments!

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For Parents Toddlers Uncategorized

Quick Tips for Potty Training Your Son

Potty training little boys is a process that requires cooperation and consistent encouragement from caregivers. Toilet training typically starts from 18 months of age in advanced countries where diapers are heavily relied on. The best time to start is when your son shows signs of readiness, and during a time where no major changes are expected.

 

Signs of readiness to use the potty include passing a motion at a regular timing, controlling his bladder, being able to stay dry for at least two hours and being able to pull his pants up and down.

 

Though most tips may apply to both boys and girls, there are slightly more challenges when it comes to potty training little boys.

Potty training your toddler requires patience and consistent reminders.

1. Teach your son to sit, not stand
One popular question when it comes to training boys is, “Should they sit or stand to pee?”. The answer is to sit. It takes more skill for young boys to keep still when peeing and sitting prevents the unnecessary mess. When they have successfully mastered the basics, you can then guide them to stand up to pee. Some little boys are able to stand and pee without going through the sitting stage – it all depends on your child’s readiness and comfort level!

 

2. Buy a cute urinal
Once your child can sit to pee, you can start training him to stand up to pee. There are child urinals which are colourful and attractive with water wheels to make it fun for your son to aim his pee at. They can be mounted on the wall and easily removed for cleaning.

 

3. Use loose fitting bottoms

Get him some loose fitting shorts with elasticated waistbands that he can simply tug down to remove when he needs to pass urine. To make it extra special, bring him along to shop for a few pairs with his favourite cartoon characters!

Be prepared to clean up accidents that happen during potty training.

4. Have potty training sessions
The key to successful potty training is consistency. Put your son on the potty every 15 minutes for two to three hours and whistle to encourage him to relieve his bladder, or ask if he needs to poop. At the end of the session, use regular diapers or training pants to go on with the rest of your day. Aim to have at least two training sessions in a day.

 

Training pants come in handy when potty training your son.

 5. Play a game of “Guess the colour of your poop”
For toddlers and preschoolers who can name colours, play a game of guessing the colour of their poop before putting them on the potty. Poop colour is a sign of your son’s health. If he guesses correctly after pooping into the potty, reward him with a small treat.

 

6. Do the Pee Whistle and Poo Hum
Studies have shown that sounds are an effective communication method to trigger the child’s bowel release. Mothers who practice elimination communication, the method of toilet training from infancy, use sound cues such as whistling to let their babies pee and humming for poo.

 

7. Settle day time training before a night training
It is tougher for your son to stay dry during his sleep as it takes much more awareness. Night training can be done after your son can keep his training pants or briefs dry during the day. You can use a waterproof mattress liner and sheet to contain accidental mess if you are letting your son sleep with loose shorts.

 

Limiting drinks before bedtime can help in reducing the need to pee while he is asleep.

 

Potty training involves a lot of communication and closeness to monitor your son’s cues. Don’t be disheartened if it seems to take longer than expected. If your son attends school, check with the teachers how you can work together to support your potty training attempts.

 

Is your son off diapers and uses the potty on his own? Share your potty training strategies in the comments below!

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For Parents Toddlers

Quick Tips for Potty Training Your Daughter

Potty training is the process of getting your child off diapers to relieve themselves in a potty or adult toilet. Going diaper-free is a huge milestone not only for the child but the parents as well. In some parts of Asia and Central America, the “elimination communication” method of toilet training is used, and infants learn from young to control their bladders.

 

For children elsewhere, diapers are used from infancy until they can control their urges successfully. Children can start on potty training anywhere between 18 months to 4 years old, and when they are ready, some children show cues of potty-training readiness especially when they are able to communicate their need to pee or poop.

 

We have compiled a few quick tips on potty training your daughter that you can try out. A tip from one parent to another: loads of patience needed!

 

 

Going on the potty can be terrifying for a small child.

 

  • Let your daughter choose her own potty
    Potties come in all sorts of shapes and sizes and range from the simple pot-like potty to the fancy, mini-sized version of regular toilet bowls, complete with flushing sounds and music. As the potty is something your daughter has to be comfortable to relieve herself in, letting her choose her own potty can make her open up to the idea of using it.

 

  • Incorporate potty time in her daily routine
    By now, you should have a rough idea of how frequently your daughter passes the motion, and when. Ask her at frequent intervals if she would like to try using the potty, or have specific “potty times”, where you lead her to the potty and sit her down. It doesn’t matter if nothing comes out, as the point is to get her familiarised with the action of going to the potty.

 

  • Buy cool training pants or panties
    Bring your daughter out to the nearest shopping centre for a mission – to buy cool training pants or cute panties, depending on your tolerance for accidental leakages. She may feel motivated to wear them if it has her favourite patterns or cartoon characters.

 

  • Set up a rewards chart
    For each time she successfully relieves herself in a potty, pass her a sticker that she can paste on a board to chart her progress and exchange for a small treat. Positive reinforcement (praises, treats and privileges) has been shown to bring out better outcomes than negative reinforcement (chiding, scolding, withholding affection or privileges).

 

Observe poop together
While it may smell, paying some attention to the appearance of your child’s output can give you an idea of your child’s well-being. After all, hospitals use stool samples to check for health conditions. Teach your child to look out for healthy poop and encourage her to eat more vegetables in order to produce healthy poop.

Check out this poop guide as the colour and consistency of poop depends on the type of diet your toddler has. Making poop observation a joint activity can encourage her to poop into the potty.

 

 

Training pants can be worn during potty training to prevent accidental leakages.

 

  • Encourage, encourage and encourage
    Some children get comfortable on the potty within days, while others may take a longer time. Parents have to constantly encourage their child that it is okay even if there are accidents. Most importantly, assure her that you will be there for her no matter how long it takes for her to be off diapers.

 

Ultimately, it all boils down to the comfort level of your daughter and while there are many potty-training tips out there, some trial and error may be needed to find out what works for your daughter. She may just surprise you one day by simply deciding that she no longer wants to wear diapers!

 

Have you started potty training your daughter? Do share some of your most memorable potty-training memories with us!