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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 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 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! 

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For Parents Pregnant Uncategorized

Pregnancy week 25 – 28: Baby Bump

It’s the last stage of the second trimester! If you are a pregnant mum in Singapore, and are between 24 to 28 week-long, you will be offered an Oral Glucose Tolerance Test to determine if you have gestational diabetes. Gestational diabetes is a condition where the body is unable to tolerate glucose during pregnancy. If the results show that you have gestational diabetes, you will need to modify your diet according to the dietician’s advice and make changes to your lifestyle. Otherwise, read on to see what you can expect during this pregnancy phase!

Week 25: Cauliflower

At Week 25, your baby is the size of a cauliflower. Most of your baby’s vital organs have been formed and your baby’s skin is becoming less translucent. Your baby is active, vigorous and responds to touch and sound. At this stage, you will be able to feel it when your baby is startled.

You may be experiencing a hardening or tightening of the uterus. This is known as Braxton Hicks contractions, and it usually does not cause any pain. It lasts between 30 seconds to 2 minutes and it serves its purpose as “practice contractions”.

Week 26: Kale

Baby is starting to take breaths of amniotic fluid in preparation for life outside the womb. Your baby has already begun to grow eyelashes and his or her pretty eyes will start to open soon. Isn’t that amazing?

Your baby will be going through a major growth spurt, so you have to ensure that you take in enough nutrients to keep your little one growing healthily. Staying hydrated is key in Singapore’s warm and humid climate too. One of the common issues expectant mothers experience at this stage is swelling in feet, legs and hands, which is normal. However, as severe or sudden swelling is a sign of preeclampsia, inform your gynaecologist if this happens to you.

During pregnancy, dads can talk to your baby too!

 Week 27: Lettuce

 Week 27 of the pregnancy is often defined as the last week of the second trimester! Your baby’s lungs have developed but are still immature. Premature babies at this stage have a great chance of survival with modern clinical healthcare advancements, but not to worry, as most mothers will be able to carry their babies to full term. If your baby takes in amniotic fluid and hiccups, you will be able to feel this too! Some mothers have described this feeling as “bubbly”.

At Week 27, your baby bump could be too big for your normal clothes to accommodate. You can consider choosing maternity clothes that flatters your bump and also doubles up as nursing wear!

Along with comfortable maternity wear, consider switching your shoes to a pair of support shoes to prevent accidental ankle sprains, which can be inconvenient during pregnancy. Leg or feet cramps and swollen ankles are common too, so having comfortable support for your new body weight during pregnancy helps make it a more enjoyable journey for you, mummy.

Baby is the size of an eggplant at around week 28 of your pregnancy – wow!

Week 28: Eggplant

In this week, expect your baby to open his or her eyes for the first time in utero! You won’t be able to see it, but you can ask for a 4D ultrasound scan, if your obstetrician provides one. Now the size of an eggplant, your baby continues piling on the kilos to smooth out wrinkles on his or her body.

You may experience shortness of breath as your baby grows bigger and seems to push your lungs and diaphragm. Be sure to take frequent rests if you experience discomfort or any pain. Staying active throughout the pregnancy by doing simple prenatal exercises can help you cope better with the labour process. Try out these simple exercises that you can attempt even at home!

What was the most uncomfortable pregnancy symptom you’ve experienced? Let us know in the comments!

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Babies Family Fun Toddlers

6 tips for preparing for your newborn’s first photoshoot

Newborn photography aims to capture the innocent image of newborn babies, that’s why most newborn photo shoots are done when the infant is between 5 to 14 days of age. Within the first 14 days, the baby can be easily positioned for various poses, such in a cocoon or with their hands propped underneath their heads.

 

In Singapore, there are many professional photography studios and photographers providing this service. You can either bring your newborn to the studio, or opt for the photographer to come over to your house for the photoshoot session. Before that, here are some tips which may help you when preparing for your baby’s very first photoshoot!

 

  1. Search for interesting concepts

Whether you’re intending to have the photoshoot done by a professional photographer at home or at a studio, if there is a concept or style that you prefer, you can communicate your thoughts to your photographer to see how to achieve that effect.

  1. Prepare photoshoot outfits and props
    Items that are meaningful to you can be used in the photoshoot. For example, a couple who struggled with IVF treatments posed their baby in the middle of all 1,616 needles that were used in the conception journey.

Popular photoshoot items include ultrasound scan photos, pregnancy test sticks, baby’s first outfit and name boards.

 


A professional photography studio will have props and backdrops to create beautiful newborn photographs.

  1. Prioritise safety
    Mimicking an Anne Geddes shot? If you’re doing your photoshoot yourself, its best not to manipulate your baby into fancy contortions seen online. Professional newborn photographers have the know-how on how to pose babies in a safe manner. Some photographers use a box or pillow below the babies for support that is cleverly edited away post-photography.
  2. Hands and feet
    A little hand gripping on tightly onto dad’s or mom’s finger shows how tiny infants are and this pose captures the stark contrast in size, making for a beautiful photo. Closed-up photographs of your newborn’s little toes, feet, pouty lips make beautifully memorable shots too.
  3. Be mindful of baby’s schedule
    Though newborns below two weeks old sleep most of their day away, their stomachs have to feed at an interval of two to three hours. Scheduling your baby’s photoshoot to be right after a feed provides ample time for the photoshoot to proceed with little disruption.

 

Bottle-feeding parents can use this handy checklist to pack their diaper bags, and mums who are breastfeeding may find this list useful.

 

  1. Enjoy!

Ultimately, the purpose of this photoshoot is to document your baby’s first stage of life as a newborn. Don’t fret too much over the small details, and leave it to the professionals if it gets too overwhelming. Relax, smile and capture those beautiful memories!

 


Baby sleeping? No problem! The beauty of newborn photography makes is both memorable and challenging when snapping photos of an infant.

 

Did you have a newborn photo shoot for your little one? What was the most eventful moment? Share it with us in the comments!

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For Parents Pregnant

Pregnancy Week 13 – 16: The Start of Second Trimester

Of the three trimesters, the second trimester is said to be the most comfortable and easiest as most nasty symptoms such as nausea and fatigue begin to ease off.

If that doesn’t happen to you, unfortunately you could be one of the few women whose symptoms continue through the fourth and fifth months, or even until delivery.

Let’s see what lies ahead in the second trimester!

The second trimester is when most pregnancy symptoms from the first trimester disappear and the pregnancy is considered stable.

Week 13: Peach

At around the 13th week of pregnancy, your baby’s intestines and vocal cords are developing. From a space in the umbilical cord, the intestines are now making their way into the abdomen. At this young developing stage, some foetuses can even bring their thumb to their mouths!

In the second trimester, you may experience an increase in sex drive and we encourage you to embrace it – sex is a healthy way for couples to maintain intimacy and bond and it will not harm the foetus which is safe in the womb.

To support your growing placenta and foetus, it is imperative that you tweak your diet to include essential nutrients for pregnant mothers. Including more colours in your meal is one way to absorb a wide variety of nutrients.

Week 14: Lemon

 By around week 14, your baby’s intestines start to produce meconium, the black, sticky substance that will be your baby’s first poo. Baby’s digestive system is beginning to develop as well.

Hair starts to sprout on your baby’s body. His or her body will be covered with lanugo, a coating of hair that provides warmth to your baby. This lanugo will shed over time as your baby accumulates fat that will take over this function. Some babies, especially premature ones, are delivered with lanugo that will disappear soon after birth.

At week 14, the baby bump won’t be too big that it obstructs physical activity. In fact, with the increased energy, you can safely continue whatever exercise that you used to do before pregnancy. You could also start some simple exercises at home to stay fit and active even when you are pregnant. Just be sure not to overexert yourself. Your immune system will be weakened as your body does so to prevent your foetus from being rejected by your body. Be sure to load up on vitamins and maintain proper hygiene.

Keeping yourself active during pregnancy helps to increase blood flow and keeps you active with your baby bump


Week 15: Apple

 A foetus at week 15 looks a lot like an actual baby rather than an embryo. Your baby’s ears are now at the sides and the eyes are gradually moving towards the centre. While you might not be able to feel it yet, your foetus is busy practising for life in the world after birth. Your baby is working on the required skills in the comfy confines of your womb, such as breathing, sucking and swallowing, kicking and moving about.

For yourself, the disappearance of morning sickness and increased appetite could result in heartburn or indigestion, which is what happens when too much food is consumed at one time. If this happens to you, try having smaller, frequent snacks about five to six times a day instead of three large meals. This could alleviate pregnancy heartburn.

Do you find yourself becoming more and more forgetful? Thanks to “pregnancy brain”, the loss of brain cells during pregnancy which makes you forget details. Make use of your smartphone to record important information and alerts.

Week 16: Avocado

By week 16, your gynaecologist should be able to distinguish your baby’s gender, but depending on who your gynaecologist is, you may not be able to know until the 22nd week scan, unless you’ve taken the Harmony test in the first trimester.

At 16 weeks, you could be experiencing backaches, larger breasts, constipation and dry or itchy eyes. There is one positive symptom though – your skin starts glowing, and that’s the “pregnancy glow” that everyone talks about!

The tiny bones in your foetus’s ears have started to form and this is when your foetus can hear your voice from inside the womb. Studies have shown that babies after birth recognise sounds and songs that were sung to them in the womb!

What were some of the pregnancy symptoms you encountered during weeks 13 to 16? Let us know in the comments!

Categories
Babies For Parents Toddlers

Bottle-feeding Guide: How to choose the right teat for baby

Are you wondering how to pick the right milk bottle teat for your baby?

If your baby is drinking breastmilk or formula milk powder from the bottle, teats also known as bottle nipples are one of the bottle feeding essential items parents need to prepare for.

Most parents face a dilemma when it comes to choosing baby milk  bottles and teats. Which type of bottle teat is closest to a natural nipple? More importantly, what type of teat will your baby accept?

You may find that your baby refuses to drink from bottles and you could end up having to run through many brands before settling on one that your baby prefers.

Material and Lifespan of Bottle Teats
In the market, bottle teats are mostly made from latex or silicone. Both materials have their benefits, and you can switch between them.

Latex is a natural material that is softer and more flexible than silicone, which can make it easier for babies to adapt to. It is more resistant to bites. If your baby has a hard time adapting to latex teats, boil it in milk for 3 minutes to get rid of the taste.

Latex is a natural material and it breaks down more quickly compared to silicone, which is a synthetic material. There is a small possibility that your baby may be allergic to latex and thus, unsuitable to use latex teats. When latex teats break down, the teats may feel sticky.

Choosing the right milk bottle teat for your baby: silicon vs. latex

Silicone is a manmade material that is more durable compared to latex. It is clear, firm and tends to be more resistant to temperature, exposure to sunlight and fatty foods. It is heat resistant, meaning that it can undergo many rounds of sterilisation without developing cracks that could breed bacteria.

During wash of milk bottle teats, always ensure that they are thoroughly washed without any breastmilk or formula milk powder residue left behind. Regardless of the material chosen, teats should be replaced every one to two months, or immediately when you notice bite marks, cracks or damage.

Latex teats are said to feel more like a real nipple.

Shapes of Bottle Teats
Bottle teats come in all shapes and sizes. Some are slim, some are bell shaped and some have a flat end on one side. Baby bottle manufacturers are constantly working to produce a bottle teat that most resembles the feel of a natural nipple.

There are teats with an anti-colic feature, where a vent in the teat allows air to escape when the baby suckles from it. Certain bottle teats have a vacuum and require the baby to suckle harder in order for the milk to be released.

Your baby may take a while to accept a bottle teat, so you may have to get different types of teats for your baby to try.

Flow rate of Bottle Teats

As your baby grows, they will be able to consume more milk and thus, a teat with a corresponding flow rate should be used. A flow rate is how fast the milk goes into your baby’s mouth. The flow rate depends on the number and type of holes in the tip.

Although baby bottle manufacturers categorise their teats by age, it should be noted that the flow rate suitable for your baby may not correspond to his or her age. If you notice that your baby is sputtering and choking, switch to a teat with slower flow.

Conversely, if your baby is frustrated and sucking hard, change to a teat with faster flow.

Teats for newborns have a slow flow and have one hole in the teat. The more holes in the teat, the faster the flow rate. Fast flow teats may have as many as four holes, depending on the brand of teats.

Mothers who direct latch and bottle feed at the same time prefer to continue using slow flow teats as it means that the baby has to suckle harder in order to get milk. Nipple confusion is a common concern for mums who breastfeed and bottle-feed their child.

There are vary flow teats in the market where the flow increases depending on how hard your baby suckles.

Each baby has their own preference, and you should be prepared for some trial and error across the different teat brands before your baby finally settles on one.

Which type of teat does your baby prefer? Let us know in the comments!