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For Parents Health & Nutrition Pregnant Pregnant

5 tips for post-delivery mums to maintain a balanced diet

Congratulations on your bundle of joy! You may have gained a few kilos from the pregnancy, and the post pregnancy body may not look pretty. Unless you have your doctor’s recommendation to do so, don’t be in a hurry to shed the weight gain just yet!

Fat gained in pregnancy on various parts of your body are actually stores of energy to help you through childbirth and the energy-sapping months that follow.

Although you were not exactly “eating for two” during pregnancy, you and your baby thrived on nutrients from your body and you need to maintain a healthy diet to restore important nutrients, so that you can be healthy and well to care for your newborn. Furthermore, if you choose to breastfeed, your body needs additional calories and nutrients everyday in order to produce quality milk.

Tips on eating healthy after having a baby

Don’t be surprised, good eating habits and a balanced diet can actually help you lose some of the weight you gained. Here’s a list of our tips for eating well to help you maintain a balanced diet after childbirth:

#1: Drink enough quality fluids

Soups are one of the most nutritious fluids that post-delivery mums can enjoy.

Your body needs a lot of fluids daily, particularly if you are breastfeeding your baby. We all have a preference in the type of fluids we enjoy having, but if you choose quality fluids like water or nutritious soups over bubble tea or sugary drinks, you would already be winning on fueling your body with the necessary nutrients.

#2: Nutrition over quantity

New mothers have high nutritional needs but are often exhausted – you may even find yourself opting to sleep instead of eat. It is good strategy to choose quality food that covers good carbohydrates, proteins, fats, fibre, vitamins and trace minerals each time you eat, regardless of the frequency or quantity you eat. (Read: Essential nutrients for pregnant mums are also good for postpartum mothers)

This strategy ensures that you are packing in your needs at every meal. (Read: This recipe for Wholesome Baked Eggs in Avocado packs wholesome good and healthy fats that are good for mothers too.)

#3: Choose natural instead of processed

When you consciously make the decision to pick natural foods over processed food, half the battle is won. For example, rice is a carbohydrate and so is bread, but rice is a much better source of carbohydrate as compared to bread, because it is a natural, whole food that contributes to nutrition instead of empty calories. (Read: Vegetarian mothers can eat natural whole foods too!)

#4: Limit instead of omitting

Post-delivery mums, setting boundaries allows you to truly enjoy your snacks and cravings!

Snacking can be stress relieving for new mothers and it’s entirely normal for us to have cravings from time to time. Emotional or irrational eating is not encouraged, but it is okay to indulge once in a while as a little treat. In fact, telling yourself that “I can’t snack” could backfire and trigger episodes of binge eating. To overcome this, you can decide that “I don’t” eat beyond a certain quantity rather than “I can’t” eat this junk food. Making and honoring your personal decisions on snacking sets helpful boundaries, which empowers you to relax and truly enjoy your treat without guilt or affecting your commitment to a nourishing diet.

#5: Choose quality snacks

A snack of nuts and chocolates makes a satisfying treat of energy boost for new mummies too.

Choose nutritious snacks like nuts, fruits or even good quality dark chocolates when you are not particularly craving for something. These are good opportunities to pack in beneficial nutrients while enjoying a nibble. Breastfeeding mums need an additional 500 calories so making smart food choices help fuel the body too.

We hope you enjoyed these practical tips and that they truly help you in working towards a sustainable, balanced diet. Don’t be surprised; you may also lose some of the pregnancy weight by adopting these tips. Do you have any personal tips that worked for you? We’d love to hear, please share them 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 Toddlers

Poop Diary for Breastfed Babies vs. Formula-fed Babies

Our child’s poop can vary in colour, consistency and frequency. Yet, it can tell us a lot about our child’s health condition too. We probably never expect to be as intrigued and concerned over somebody else’s poop until we become parents. Whether your baby is breastfed or formula-fed, you should observe your baby’s output to watch out for warning signs about your baby’s health.

Pay close attention to your baby’s poop as it can tell you much about your baby’s health!

 

The first few poops that a newborn produces is meconium, and it is made up of amniotic fluid and other waste materials from the womb. It resembles tar and is black and sticky. After the meconium days are over, your baby’s poop will reflect the body’s reaction to his or her diet, which is made up of breastmilk or infant formula milk.

 

Breastfed Baby Poop

 

Breastmilk is naturally produced by human mothers for their babies, and its nutritional composition is customised according to your baby’s needs at a particular stage, as well as his health. It contains two types of protein – whey and casein. The composition of 60% whey, 40% casein is the perfect balance for quick and easy digestion by infants.

 

  • Colour/Texture/Smell

A watery, golden mustard yellow is the standard for breastfed baby poop. Seedy and pasty looking, it resembles diarrhoea. As breastmilk is so easily digested, very little solid waste is produced, making it more watery compared to formula-fed baby poop. For healthy babies, the poop smell is less offensive for babies on breastmilk as compared to babies on infant formula.

 

When solids are introduced after the baby turns six months old, the stool may take on a thicker consistency, and colour of poop changes.

 

  • Frequency

Babies who are on breastmilk have a varied stool frequency with some passing motion as many as 10 times a day to once every 10 days! Though this may scare new parents, if the baby is producing enough wet diapers and the baby is feeding well and active, it is likely not a cause for concern. However, do check with your baby’s doctor if you are feeling unsure, or notice a change in the stools.

 

  • Watch Out

Green and frothy poop means that your baby has ingested too much foremilk (low-calorie milk) and lesser hindmilk (higher fat milk). To resolve this problem, simply let your baby finish feeding on one breast instead of switching sides after a set duration.

 

The ideal colour for breastfed baby poop is golden mustard yellow.

 

Formula-fed Baby Poop

 

  • Colour/Texture/Smell

Yellow, brown, green, tan – formula-fed baby poop may take on these colours depending on the composition of formula milk. The iron content in formula milk causes stools to take on a green tinge. The consistency should be like that of peanut butter.

 

When formula-fed babies start on solid food, their poop may become harder. Hence, it is important to offer your child with water throughout the day. This helps ensure your child is well hydrated as having sufficient water plays an essential role in digestion.

 

  • Frequency

Generally, as formula milk contains a higher percentage of casein, the digestion process differs and thus, formula-fed babies may poop less often than breastfed babies.

 

Whether your child is on breastmilk or formula milk, look out for changes in stools and seek medical advice if pooping is causing pain or discomfort.

 

What you should look out for

 

Whether your baby is formula-fed or breastfed, if you notice that their stools are hard and pellet-like, it is a sign of constipation and you should feed them more water or breastmilk.

 

For breastfed children, it could be due to a change in maternal diet which disagrees with the baby’s gut. Each child’s body reacts differently to different brands of formula milk, so it’s common to observe constipation symptoms during the initial transition from breastmilk to formula milk.

 

If your baby’s poop appears different from normal, it could warrant immediate medical attention.

 

  • Slimy, green streaks with glistening strings is a sign of mucus and could be due to infection.
  • Dark, sticky and black poop is a sign of digested blood
  • Red blood in poop could be due to a milk protein allergy, but if it is found in diarrhoea, it could be due to a bacterial infection. However, blood in poop could be a sign of other underlying issues, so it’s best to check with your child’s doctor for advice
  • Pale, chalky poop could be a sign of liver or gallbladder failure

 

Poop takes on many appearances and most times, it shows that your baby is well-fed, healthy and growing normally. However, if you notice a drastic change in your baby’s poop, observe the situation and contact a medical professional. If possible, bring along the soiled diaper in a ziplock bag or take a photo for the doctor to make a better assessment.

 

Have you been observing your child’s stools too? Do comment below on your experience with your baby’s poop diary too!

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Babies For Parents

How Can You Tell If Your Baby Has a Food Allergy?

Babies flourish on an exclusive diet of breast milk or formula for the first six months of their lives before they are introduced to solids, either through traditional weaning methods or Baby Led Weaning. Regardless of the method, extra care should be given to the ingredients used when introducing solids as some babies may be allergic to a certain food.

 

Food allergies occur when the body recognises a particular food as harmful and triggers the immune system to create antibodies to fight the food allergen. If the body is too sensitive, even touching or breathing in food can trigger a reaction.

 

Allergies vary from mild to severe and in some cases, can be potentially fatal. Reactions can occur within minutes or up to two hours after being in contact with the food.

 

A staggering 90%¹of all reactions in children can be attributed to eight common allergens: eggs, milk, peanuts, soy, wheat, tree nuts (e.g. walnuts and pecans), fish and shellfish.

Is your child allergic to eggs, a common allergen?

Symptoms of Food Allergies
Symptoms can present in any of these areas of the body:

  • Skin
    Itchy red bumps, eczema, redness and swelling of the face, swelling or the lips and tongue
  • Gastrointestinal tract
    Tummy ache, nausea, vomiting or diarrhoea
  • Respiratory system
    Runny or stuffy nose, sneezing, coughing, wheezing or shortness of breath
  • Cardiovascular system
    Dizziness or fainting

 

Food allergies can be life threatening if there is a severe reaction.

What to do if your child has a food allergy
Medical attention is necessary if your child exhibits the signs of a food allergy as the doctor can conduct further allergy tests to find out what else your child is allergic to. As food allergies are unpredictable, the same food that caused a mild reaction could cause a more severe reaction at the next feeding.

 

First foods
Soft first foods that seldom cause allergic reactions include avocado, banana, steamed butternut squash or sweet potato, steamed carrots and pear. Babies benefit from wholesome, fresh foods which will provide them with the necessary nutrients to grow healthily.

 

If you are following the traditional weaning method, you may want to make a puree using fruit or vegetables. You can start off with mild tasting foods like potatoes, avocado, spinach or the stronger tasting ones like carrot, pumpkin and beetroot. Puree can be made in advance, frozen and reheated.

 

Peanut allergy can be potentially fatal, and parents should seek medical help immediately.

When to Introduce Allergens

For decades, it was widely believed that allergenic food was to be avoided until a certain age in childhood. However, there has been growing evidence that controlled early exposure of allergens to young children could be beneficial in helping them develop immunity.

 

If your baby is at high risk of being allergic to foods, consult your doctor who can arrange for your child to be exposed to allergenic food in a controlled and safe setting. Termed as a “desensitisation” treatment, the process involves giving the child precisely measured doses of allergenic food in increasing doses in order for the body to rewire its response to the food.

 

At home, however, do observe your baby during mealtimes and record your baby’s meals, so that if an allergic reaction occurs, it would be easier to pinpoint the food which caused the allergy.

 

Does your baby have a food allergy? Share with us some tips on how you manage it in the comments below!

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Babies Babies For Parents Pregnant Pregnant

Breastfeeding Mums share: 5 Foods that Boost Milk Supply

During the first six months of a baby’s life, breast milk is the perfect food as it is tailored towards the baby’s requirements for healthy development. In addition, breast milk also strengthens the baby’s gut and provides lifelong benefitsfor both mother and baby.

Breastfeeding mums require an extra 300 to 500 calories on top of their daily nutritional requirements. There are certain types of foods which are known to boost breast milk supply. These are known as “milk boosters” and some of which are listed below. However, not all mums have the same reaction, and a milk booster for one mum may be a milk killer for another.

Keeping yourself sufficiently hydrated is essential when it comes to breast milk production. 88% of breast milk is water, so be sure to drink at least six to eight glasses of non-caffeinated water.

  1. Dark Leafy Green vegetables

Dark leafy green vegetables are a good source of calcium, iron, folate, Vitamin K and Vitamin A. Incorporate them into your diet by simply blanching these vegetables to retain the maximum amount of nutrients. Examples of dark leafy green vegetables include kale, spinach, broccoli and kale, among others. Chock full of fibre to aid digestion, dark leafy green vegetables also contain phytoestrogens that positively affects breast milk production.


2. Avocado

Over 75% of the fatin avocados are good, unsaturated fats. These good fats help the body to absorb fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K. Creamy and mild, avocados can be used to make guacamole, milkshakes and can even be shared with your baby if he or she has started weaning!

Avocados are heart-healthy and help you to keep satiated. Some breastfeeding mums have reported that regular consumption of avocados have resulted in their breast milk becoming creamier!

3. Salmon

Salmon is regarded as a galactagogue as it contains a rich amount of Vitamin B12 and Omega-3 fatty acids. It is one of the few foods that contain natural Vitamin D. Both Vitamin B12 and Omega-3 may help in fending off postpartum depression.

More importantly, salmon contains a large amount of DHA which is important for the development of your baby’s nervous system. DHA is often added to formula milkfor the same reason, in addition to supporting healthy eye and brain development. If you’ve held off eating salmon sashimi during your pregnancy, now’s the time to pamper yourself and boost your breastmilk supply at the same time!

4. Oatmeal

Low iron levels may result in a decreased breast milk supply. Oatmeal is the main ingredient in lactation cookies. Full of nutrition, oats contain proteins, vitamins, minerals, zinc, manganese and calcium.

An excellent source of soluble fibre, oats contain vitamin B that increases energy, regulates your mood and reduces your stress levels! Oatmeal can be eaten as porridge or left in a mug with fresh milk overnight to make overnight oats – a healthy breakfast for breastfeeding mum!


5. Sweet Potatoes

In just one sweet potato, you get all the Vitamin A you need for the day. Vitamin A is necessary for healthy vision, bone growth, immunity and cell growth. Breastfed babies rely on your diet to absorb the Vitamin A that they require.

High in fibre and potassium, sweet potatoes contain more grams of natural sugars but with more nutrients and fewer calories than a normal potato, making it the healthier choice for breastfeeding mums.

Naturally sweet, sweet potatoes can be served in a multitude of ways in various types of cuisine. Mashed, baked, as chips, the possibilities are endless!

Breastfeeding mums, which foods are your milk boosters? Have you consumed a milk booster that turned out to be a milk killer for you? Let us know in the comments!

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Babies Babies For Parents Health & Nutrition Pregnant Pregnant

Pregnancy Weeks 6-9: Congratulations on your pregnancy!

Congratulations! You may have just found out that you’re expecting and the news may be a little shocking. Pregnancy symptoms are starting to become more obvious and you may experience morning sickness. Some women have a severe type of morning sickness called hyperemesis gravidarum, characterised by severe nausea, vomiting, weight loss and possibly depression. Thankfully, this condition only affects about 0.3% to 3.6% of pregnant women.

Between week 6 to 9 of your pregnancy, your baby will grow from the size of a sweet pea into the size of a peanut.

Week 6: Sweet Pea
At six weeks pregnant, your gynaecologist may be able to pick up your baby’s heartbeat using an ultrasound probe. Foetuses are measured crown-to-rump, and at six weeks old, 4.5mm. Your baby’s face is starting to take shape.

 You may be starting to experience full blown pregnancy symptoms including nausea, fatigue, breast tenderness, bloating and gas. You may have heard that pregnant women need to “eat for two”. However, that doesn’t mean you need to consume two adult servings each meal. Rather, it means that you should be consuming more nutritious food to support your pregnancy.

Week 7: Blueberry
A mucus plug is a protective barrier that forms at the opening of your cervix, sealing and protecting your womb from bacteria. This makes its appearance at Week 7 and will stay until it falls off during labour. Your baby’s brain has developed and the arm and leg buds are present. Arm and leg buds are webbed feet and hands which will separate as baby develops further into fingers and toes.

 The amazing thing is that even at the size of a blueberry, your baby is already 10,000 times larger than at conception! You may find yourself frequenting the toilet more often than usual due to hormonal changes, but this doesn’t mean you should cut back on water! Instead, aim for at least 10 cups of fluids daily to stay hydrated especially with the hot weather in Singapore.

Yoga can be relaxing and calming for pregnant women. Consider attending a prenatal yoga class to learn yoga poses safe for pregnant women.

Week 8: Raspberry

Week 8 sees the development of all your baby’s essential organs. Pigment is forming in your baby’s eyes, giving them colour. Your baby is growing quickly, about 1mm per day. This measurement includes the growth of your baby’s hands, legs and other body parts. Your womb is expanding to accommodate the gradual changes in your womb.

Eating right in pregnancy is key. For a start, “eat a rainbow” to maximise the essential vitamins and nutrients that your body requires. Eating a colourful variety of fruits and vegetables also aid in smooth bowel movements and combats against constipation, a condition that many pregnant women suffer from.

You’ll notice that what you used to like now makes you want to retch, and even start to crave food that you never used to enjoy!Your taste buds might also turn bland making you lose interest in eating.If they are not foods to avoid during pregnancy, it’s okay to indulge a little to satisfy those cravings. Do watch out for high sodium or high sugar foods and go easy on them especially if there is a family history of health risks.

Sushi and sashimi are best avoided during pregnancy as they contain raw ingredients which may increase the risk of food poisoning.

Week 9: Peanut
This week, your baby looks less like a blob and more like the shape of a baby. It somewhat resembles a peanut and is also the size of one. Your baby’s muscles are forming and gaining strength, but you won’t be able to feel your baby kick for at least another month or two.

The good news is that for most pregnant mums,morning sickness starts fade over the next few weeks until the placenta is completed. If standard meal portions make you lose appetite, try splitting your meals into several nutritious bite-sized snacks throughout the day. Keep your arsenal of healthy snacks such as nuts, grapes and berries, small cubes of pasteurised cheese and low salt crackers close by. Eating well to obtain balanced nutrients help support healthy development of your foetus and promote a healthy pregnancy too.

Your gynaecologist may also have prescribed prenatal supplements to support your diet and baby’s growth. Folic acid, DHA, and calcium pills are some common supplements pregnant mums take from the early weeks of pregnancy.

You’re nearing the end of your first trimester! What is your preferred method to combat pregnancy symptoms? Let us know in the comments!

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Babies Babies For Parents Health & Nutrition

Mum’s Checklist: 5 Essentials Breastfeeding Mums Need

Breastfeeding is a wonderful way of bonding with your baby as it provides closeness in addition to your baby’s nutritional requirements.

Mums who breastfeed may do it in different manners: Some breastfeeding mums latch their babies directly, other nursing mothers practice exclusive pumping, while some mums offer mixed feeds to their babies with both breast milk and infant formula milk powder.

Many mums who return to work after their maternity leave struggle to keep up with maintaining their supply especially when their work schedule makes it inconvenient for them to pump.

Thus, we have compiled a handy checklist of breastfeeding essentials for you to power on in providing the best nutrition for your baby! Also, always remember to practice good hygiene by washing your hands before and after pumping.

  1. Breast pump with proper flanges

A breast pump helps to express milk efficiently into storage bottles for feeding your child. Hand expressing and manual breast pumps are cheaper than electric breast pumps but can lead to sore fingers and cramped arms.

There are a number of decently priced electric breast pump models in the market which serve the same function. Certain models have a separate message mode that sends vibrations to relieve engorgement and stimulate the breast for letdown before expressing milk. Be sure to get flanges of the right size, as flanges that are too small can result in nipple abrasion and flanges that are too large take in too much areola. Improper flange sizes result in a poor fit which in turn lead to less milk expressed from the breasts.

Using a compatible breast milk storage bottle with your breast pump reduces the risk of contamination.

  1. Breast milk storage bottles or breastmilk storage bags
    If you’re expressing milk, you’ll need a hygienic receptacle to store it in. Breast milk storage bags are widely used as they are disposable and can freeze flat, but they are not eco-friendly as the bags cannot be recycled or reused.

Choose breast milk storage bottles that are compatible with your breast pump so that you can express directly into the bottle for storage. This reduces the chance of contamination as there is no need to transfer the breast milk from a bottle into a breast milk bag. For most breast milk storage bottles, there is an accompanying bottle adaptor that allows you to fit a feeding teat over the bottle to feed your baby directly and saves time from transferring the breastmilk and risk spillage.

  1. Nursing bra and handsfree accessories

Nursing bras provide easy access when latching or pumping. Supportive nursing bras can be purchased from Lazada or Qoo10 online or from stores that retail maternity wear. Pumping bras come with slits to hold your breast flanges in place for hands-free pumping. Keeping your hands-free allows busy mums to multi-task, and this luxury can come in the form of hands-free flanges or breastmilk collection cups. Do ensure that the flanges and collection cups hold well in place as the movement may lead to leakage of liquid gold during pumping.

  1. Nursing cover
    A nursing cover comes in handy when you find yourself in a situation where there are no available cubicles or nursing rooms. A nursing cover lets you pump at your desk, or simply to cover up when latching your baby while protecting your modesty.

A nursing cover doubles up as a scarf in cold spaces!

  1. Contacts of lactation consultants or massage ladies
    New mums may find themselves engorged easily due to the overwhelming hormones and unregulated milk supply. Having a lactation consultant or reliable massage lady that can relieve blockages will be a godsend for times when you encounter problems with breastfeeding.

If your baby is above six months old, you may consider supplementing with infant formula milk powder if you find your supply dipping or if you wish to wean your baby. Though breast milk is the golden standard, infant formula that is enhanced with nucleotides can assist in helping your child develop healthily.

Do you pack other essentials for your breastfeeding journey too, mums? Share with us in the comments below.

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For Parents Health & Nutrition Toddlers Toddlers

Child Vision Development: 1 to 3 years old

Your child’s vision is constantly developing.

From blurred vision as a newborn, your toddler at 12 months old now has a relatively clear vision and will spend the next few years of his life working on his hand-eye coordination skills.

Milestone and development guides are approximate guidelines and do not reflect every child. Consult a pediatric ophthalmologist if you suspect that your child has vision problems.

Ensure that your child does not spend too much time in front of electronic devices as it may affect their vision and concentration.

1 Year Old

12-month-olds are starting to develop an interest in pictures and can recognise familiar objects and pictures in books. When asked, they are able to point out the objects. As they are unable to fully verbalise their needs, they rely on pointing and gesturing to convey their intentions.

They are beginning to enjoy social interactions and are curious about reflections in the mirror. It isn’t until about 18 months old that they realise that the little person staring back at them is their own image. To provide more opportunities for self-recognition, you can display child-safe mirrors around the house.

Another milestone is placing shapes into proper holes. This activity builds up their logic and problem-solving skills and a shape sorter toy is useful in doing this. Shape sorter toys can be easily purchased from Lazada, Qoo10 or large supermarkets such as Fairprice Xtra.

2 Years Old

At two years old, they are now able to focus on objects both near and far. Most two-year-olds have 20/60 vision, which means that in order to see the same things an adult with 20/20 vision sees, they have to stand 60 feet away instead of 20 feet away.

They are able to scribble with crayons or pencils and may imitate drawing straight lines, circles or shapes. This activity may appear simple but is an excellent way to develop their hand-eye coordination.

They can point to body parts when asked, which encourages them to communicate with parents.

3 Years Old

Their vision is nearing 20/20 acuity but will not fully reach 20/20 until they are about 7 to 9 years old. Preschools are eager to draw shapes and name colours.

As their fine motor skills get more developed, you can let them handle child scissors to practice cutting and pasting too.

Pay attention to these signs

Take note of these warning signs that could indicate eye conditions requiring medical attention.

  • Redness, swelling, crusting, or discharge in his eyes or eyelids that lasts for more than 24 hours
  • Excessive tearing
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Eyes that look crooked or crossed
  • Eyes that don’t move together
  • Holding the head in a tilted or other abnormal position
  • Frequent squinting
  • Drooping eyelids
  • Frequent eye-rubbing

How to help your child develop a healthy vision

A varied diet of colourful fruits and vegetables can support your preschooler’s vision development. Supplementing this with nucleotide-fortified formula milk like Einmilk will ensure that your child gets all the necessary nutrients required for healthy overall development.

A varied diet of colourful fruits and vegetables plays an important part in keeping your child’s eyes and body healthy.

Other than diet, pay attention to eye care and limit the amount of screen time that your preschooler gets, and keeping a safe distance from screens when they are watching videos.

What other activities have you tried to improve your preschooler’s vision? Share with us in the comments!

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Babies Babies For Parents Health & Nutrition

Is it Okay to Feed Solids to Babies Below 6 Months Old?  

At four months old, your baby is starting to become more active and even show some signs of wanting to wean, expressing interest in adult food or being able to sit up with support. However, waiting a little longer might be a good thing before rushing to feed your baby with solids.

 

Currently, it is recommended that babies be fed either breast milk or formula milk exclusively for at least the first six months of life, and solid food is added as a complement to milk up to at least one-year-old. This opinion is supported by many established organisations such as the World Health Organization, UNICEF and the American Academy of Pediatrics.

 

After a baby reaches six months of age, the amount of iron in breast milk or iron-fortified infant formula is insufficient for his daily requirements. As such, solid food can be introduced to complement the main diet of breast milk or formula milk.

Newborns should be fed on an exclusive diet of either breast milk or formula milk.

Reasons Why Solid Food should be Introduced at Six Months Old

1. Baby’s digestive system will be more mature

Babies below six months old have immature digestive systems and do not have the proper gut bacteria to process solid food smoothly. Feeding anything but breastmilk or infant formula milk before six months old permanently alters this gut microbiota, causing potential problems like allergies or diarrhoea.

 

Enzymes to aid in digestion are not produced until three to four months old. Enzymes that break down complicated fats, carbohydrates and starches are not be produced until six to nine months old, resulting in fussiness from the baby when their tummy feels uncomfortable as a result of indigestion.

 

It is also the reason why breastfeeding until six months is recommended, as it allows beneficial antibodies to coat the baby’s digestive tract and provide immunity to diseases.

 

2. Baby is likelier to be physically ready

When babies less than six months old are fed solid food, it can be dangerous as their oral muscles are not fully developed. They still possess the extrusion (tongue-thrust) reflex which helps to protect them from food and choking. This means that they tend to push out food the moment it is placed into their mouths.

 

At six months old, they should be able to sit upright without support, and will likely have lost the extrusion reflex.

 

If you are doing traditional weaning, start with vegetable or fruit puree mixed with some formula milk or breast milk.

3. Lesser risk of obesity, diabetes, respiratory and ear infections
Exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of life has been shown to protect against childhood obesity and diabetes, among other diseases. A baby’s risk of becoming overweight decreases with each passing month that he is exclusively breastfed.

 

4. Deprives them of their primary nutrition source

Feeding solids to very young babies fill up their stomach quickly, leaving lesser space for breastmilk or infant formula which has been fortified with the types of nutrients that young babies require. Feeding solid food at too young an age means they will not be able to take in enough nutrients that are only present in milk, resulting in potential nutritional deficiencies.

 

Formula milk in Singapore meets the nutritional requirements set by local health authorities. Einmilk is a made-in-Singapore brand of formula with a range of milk powder that caters to babies, toddlers and young children so they obtain essential nutrients in their diet.

 

There is no harm in delaying the introduction of solid food until your baby turns six months old to maintain an optimal infant gut flora which supports the immune system. After all, they have the rest of their life to enjoy solid food, so there’s really no need to rush into it.

 

There are exceptions where babies start on solids before six months old, and parents usually do so under the recommendation of their child’s doctor or nutritionist. Should your baby have any medical condition, always seek advice from a medical expert about starting solids before the baby turns six months old.

 

Check this guide to see if your 6-month-old baby is ready for solids!

Categories
Babies Babies For Parents Health & Nutrition

Did You Know that Babies Can Have Free Immunisation in Singapore?

Parents in Singapore are provided with a checklist of vaccinations for their child. At birth, newborns receive their first few shots to protect them.

 

Vaccines are made from the same viruses that cause disease. However, the viruses are in an altered state which encourage the immune system to produce antibodies to the particular disease while not causing the actual illness.

 

With the creation of these antibodies, the body can fight back if they ever come into contact with the disease in future. This, combined with exclusive breastfeeding for at least the first six months, helps to boost your baby’s immune system.

 

Vaccination in Singapore – are they compulsory?

 

In Singapore, parents need to note that the Diphtheria and measles vaccinations are compulsory by law.

 

Immunisation records are tracked by the National Immunisation Registry and are required for submission when children enter childcare, preschool and primary school. The Registry also monitors and ensures that every child gets vaccinated at the appropriate timing. If your child receives vaccinations at the polyclinic, the records will be automatically updated. If taken elsewhere, the records have to be updated by the paediatrician.

If your child is a Singapore Citizen, compulsory vaccinations at polyclinics are free of charge!

The compulsory vaccinations listed in the National Childhood Immunisation Programme are fully subsidised for Singapore Citizens if taken at a polyclinic.

 

Vaccinations – are they completely free, or do we have to pay for some of them?

 

At the polyclinic, if there are any developmental check-ups required on the day of the vaccination, it will also be fully subsidised. Parents usually just pay under a dollar for the paracetamol, which can be fed should a fever develop after the injections.

 

If you choose to vaccinate your child at the paediatrician or General Practitioner (GP), it will not be fully subsidised.

 

Many paediatricians offer a package deal for vaccinations and developmental checkups if your baby is not eligible for the subsidies under the National Childhood Immunisation Programme. The package is usually Medisave-deductible.

 

Among the fully subsidised vaccinations, there is a 5-in-1 injection that combines vaccines against Diptheria, Pertussis, Tetanus (DPT), Polio and Haemophilus Influenza type B (Hib) into 1 injection. The Hepatitis B vaccine is administered as a separate injection and provides lifelong immunity, whereas other vaccines may require a booster shot later in life.

 

There is a 6-in-1 injection that includes Hepatitis B but is not subsidised for citizens. However, this can be considered to spare your baby from an additional jab.

Recommended vaccinations that are

fully-subsidised (for Singapore citizens)

Recommended vaccinations that are

non-subsidised

Tuberculosis* Pneumococcal
Diphtheria, Tetanus, Pertussis,

Haemophilus Influenzae Type b, Poliomyelitis

 

 

Measles, Mumps and Rubella (MMR)
Hepatitis B  

 

Source:https://www.nhgp.com.sg/Our_Services/General_Medical_Services/Child_Health_Services/

 

In the list, only the Pneumococcal vaccine is recommended yet it is non-subsidised. There are a total of three injections and each costs $150 if they are taken at a polyclinic.

 

The pneumoccocal disease is a bacterial infection that often starts with a high fever and can lead to life threatening illnesses such as pneumonia and meningitis. It is the leading cause of infectious disease amongst children worldwide.

 

Although it is non-subsidised, it can be paid through Medisave or via the child’s Child Development Account(CDA), reducing the strain on your wallet. Children who are Singapore citizens receive $3,000 – $4,000 in Medisave grants from the government to defray their healthcare expenses.

Certain vaccinations, such as the MMR (Measles, Mumps and Rubella) vaccine may cause fever in children.

Common side-effects after immunisation

 

Vaccines are generally safe to take, and severe reactions are extremely rare.

 

Some babies may develop a sore armour feel lethargic after the vaccines. It is common for babies to develop a fever about a week after the Measles, Mumps and Rubella (MMR) vaccination.

 

After vaccination, the baby’s diet should remain the same. Some babies may adjust their milk intake, so parents will need to ensure that a balanced diet is offered either through breast milk, formula milk and/or solids. Breastfeeding mums may notice that their babies may wish to nurse more frequently or prefer comfort latching after the injections.

 

Knowing that there is free immunisation for our children is good news for parents. Besides the benefits of protecting them against potentially life-threatening diseases, every cent of saving counts when it comes to raising children.