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Babies Family Fun Toddlers

Guide to Choosing a High Chair for Your Baby

At around 6 months of age, you may safely introduce solid foods to your baby and a high chair (or sometimes referred to as “baby chair”) comes in useful when your baby can sit up on his own to eat. (Read: A New Parents’ Guide to Starting Solids for Children or Guide to starting baby on solids)

High chairs are a common sights in a new family, thanks to the convenience it offers at meal times.

Highchairs are essentially tall chairs that come with child safety restraints and an attached tray for eating.  The main purpose of a high chair is for your baby to engage in feeding activities at a comfortable height. The child restrain can keep your baby safe while the height of the high chair brings your child up to the same level as other family members who are eating at the dining table.

Baby gets to work on his fine motor skills when he picks up food to self-feed and explores different foods. He also gets to socialise with others while eating hence, a high chair is recommended by many parents.

What should I look out for in a high chair?

There are many different high chairs in the market, how do you know which one to buy?

#1: Safety features

As with any products meant for your baby, safety is of paramount importance. A high chair should have the following features for safety purposes:

  1. Enough weight and stability to prevent toppling incidents when your baby becomes more active when they are sitting in it.
  2. No sharp or rough edges or parts that could accidentally hurt your child.
  3. Adjustable safety straps that can not be easily detached by your child.
  4. Lockable wheels, if you prefer high chairs on wheels.
  5. If your high chair comes with a detachable tray, make sure it is only detachable by adults.

#2: Ease of cleaning

The baby chair may be used for every meal your baby has but babies are notoriously known to be messy eaters (Read: How to Start Baby Led Weaning: Tips from a Mum of 2). In our opinion, the ease of maintaining hygiene ranks right after safety and this is why selecting a high chair that is easy to clean is next on our list.

Some high chairs come with washable covers, which you can remove for thorough cleaning.

Choose high chairs that can be wiped down easily and those with as little seams and cervices as possible, so that there are less places where food particles can be lodged in. Some high chairs have detachable eating trays that you can easily detach to clean after each meal, or a tray-within-a-tray feature where the tray on top can be detached and be washed easily.

#3: Comfort and support

Ensure that the parts of your highchair that come into contact with your baby feels comfortable to you. Padded high chairs can provide more cushion for your baby while non-cushioned higher chairs can be cooler to sit in, particularly in our tropical weather.

#4: Storage

In space-limited Singapore, our homes are smaller and so is our storage space. Hence, the storage requirements of your high chair become quite important. Look for high chairs that can be foldable without being too flimsy. If you have toddlers running around your home, you may also want to see if your desired high chair can be locked when folded, to reduce accident risks.

Extra features to look out for when buying a high chair

Look out for height adjustment features – this offers flexibility where parents or the caregiver would like to feed the child by sitting beside him. Additionally, if you prefer for baby to dine at the dining table with the rest of the family, getting a high chair of a height that aligned with the furniture would be helpful.

High chairs with footrests promote good posture for your baby when they are eating. They allow your baby to sit with their hips properly resting on the seat and ensure that their legs are not dangling in the air when they eat, especially useful for young babies who are just starting to sit up.

Is it worth buying an expensive high chair?

High chairs in Singapore cost anything from $30 to $500, more if you purchase additional accessories. So, are expensive high chairs worth the investment, if you can find cheaper alternatives that checks most of your requirements?

Since worth is subjective, the simple answer is to look at the life span of the high chair, from how it sits your child, whether it is adjustable as your child grows, the comfort level as well as its building material, for the purposes of your family’s usage.

We hope this simple guide provides practical tips in your quest for a suitable high chair. Do share with us in comments if there are any additional functions or features that you look out for when purchasing a high chair. We’d be interested to hear!

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Family Fun Toddlers Uncategorized

Enjoy FREE Entry for Kids at these Indoor Playgrounds in Singapore

Are there indoor playgrounds in Singapore that allow our kids to play for free? Yes, there are, and here’s a list you don’t want to miss! Start planning your day out with your kids now!

Playing lets children be creative, develop dexterity and physical cognitive while growing stronger in the process and develop their imagination. Playing also enables children to build social skills and spend their energy store for better rest and growth.

There are many activities that promote play. It can be a visual game of Match and Sort Color, some right brain activities like these but one of the most engaging play activities is physical play.

 

List of indoor playgrounds in Singapore which offers free entry for kids

It can get expensive to bring the whole family out for a fun outing. Thankfully, free entry at these indoor playgrounds in Singapore can help save some dollars!

 

IKEA Småland

IKEA Småland is a play area for jumping, climbing, running and bouncing where your kids will be watched by IKEA staff while you shop. There are also quiet activities like colouring and drawing provided, or, your kids can choose to watch a kid-friendly movie.

 

Indoor Playground:IKEA Småland (Alexandra and Tampines)

Height Requirement:Between 90cm to 120cm

Duration:1 hour

Opening hours:Store opening hours. Last admission one hour before closing.

Good to know: The guardian(s) indicated on the indemnity form must remain in the IKEA store and be contactable as long as your child is in the playroom.

 

 

PIP’s PLAYbox

PIP’s PLAYbox has a children’s art space that includes a loft, an arts and craft area, a reading corner filled with books by Singapore writers and illustrators, as well as an outdoor play area. In conjunction with Esplanade’s festivals and series, they host a range of free activities for kids in this space, from storytelling sessions to self-guided craft activities.

 

Indoor Playground:PIP’s PLAYbox, Level 4, Esplanade

Age:No limitations

Height:No limitations

Opening hours:Opening hours: 11am – 6pm daily

Good to know:Closed for cleaning: 2pm – 3pm daily*

 

 

The Artground

 

The Artground is a charity organization that has a dedicated indoor play space for children. They organise free activities for kids based on seasonal arts themes to stimulate and provide arts-oriented activities for kids.

 

Indoor Playground:The Artground, Goodman Arts Centre

Age:No limitation

Height:No limitation

Opening hours:Wednesday – Thursday: 9.30am – 5pm

Friday – Sunday & selected Public Holidays*: 9.30am – 6pm

Open on Selected Public Holidays

Good to know:  Entry is free, donations are encouraged

 

 

Train Terrace at Causeway Point in Singapore

 

The Train Terrace is a 1,700 sq ft trained-themed indoor playground located at Causeway Point. If you play tag team with your partner, you can take turns to shop and at the same time give your children some serious, free fun.

 

Indoor Playground:Train Terrace, Causeway Point, Level 2

Age: No limitation

Height:Under 120cm

Opening hours:10:30am to 10:30pm

Good to know:More suitable for older children within the height limitation.

 

Jungle Terrace at Causeway Point

 

Located in the same mall as the Train Terrace, the Jungle Terrace is a larger indoor playground at Causeway Point that spans across a space of 2,400 sq ft. It is a safari-themed indoor playground with many animal features for endless creative playtime.

 

Indoor Playground:Jungle Terrace, Causeway Point, Level 2

Age: No limitation

Height:Under 120cm

Opening hours:10:30am to 10:30pm

Good to know:More suitable for younger children within the height limitation.

 

 

Kidz @ Dry Play, located at Northpoint

 

Kidz @ Dry Play Areas is an animal farm themed indoor playground that has features such as a tree house, a chicken coop, a caterpillar and other farm animals.

 

Indoor Playground:Kidz @ Dry Play Areas, Northpoint, Level 4

Age: For kids below 12 years old

Height:Below 110cm

Opening hours:10:30am to 9pm

Good to know:More suitable for younger children within the height limitation.

 

Free play areas at the Singapore Changi Airport

 

Changi Airport has several free play areas as well located both at the public areas of the airport and within the transit areas of Terminals 1 and 3. These play areas provide entertainment for your children with no minimum spend at the airport.

 

Indoor Playground:    Terminal 1, Public Area, Level 3 (next to Viewing Mall)

Terminal 1, Transit Area, Level 2, Departure Transit Hall East (next to Discovery Garden)

Terminal 3, Basement 2 (next to Etoz)

Terminal 3, Transit, Level 2, Departure Transit Hall Central (next to Louis Vuitton Duplex  Store)

Opening hours:24 hours

 

Photo credits: Estella Goh

 

This play area at Jewel Changi Airport is a turfed area with little wooden structures for little ones to explore. It is a rather small area, that welcomes younger children to play for free when families visit Jewel.

 

Indoor Playground: Jewel, Level 2

Age: –

Height: –

Opening hours:24 hours

Good to know:More suitable for younger children although we have seen older children playing as well.

 

Credits: Estella Goh

 

Kid’s Wonderland at Waterway Point is a fully padded indoor playground that adopts the “Alice in Wonderland” theme and has a mad-hatter, bunny, butterfly and a caterpillar features, in addition to a mini slide. Head to the Family Zone at this mall in Punggol for some free play!

Indoor Playground:Wonderland, Waterway Point, Level 2

Age:Under 12 years old

Height:Below 110cm

Opening hours: 10am to 10pm

Good to know:No shoes in the indoor playground, more suitable for toddlers and younger children.

 

Looking to dine for free with your kids? Check out our list of cafes and restaurants in Singapore that allow you to eat for free!

 

If you’re looking to take your kids for some outdoor fun, these outdoor playgrounds in Singaporeoffer a good time with sand and Mother Nature!

 

Isn’t it nice to know that there are free play options for families in Singapore? Do you know of any other indoor playground that are absolutely free? 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 Health & Nutrition Toddlers Uncategorized

Where to Buy Einmilk Formula Milk in Singapore

Whether we are supplementing breastfeeding with formula milk or formula-feeding, as parents, we would try to provide our babies with the most wholesome and nutritious milk, within our means.

Einmilk offers complete nutrition with its range of formula milk for babies and toddlers.

Key ingredients in Einmilk:

  • Taurine(found in breast milk, helps infants’ liver gain or maintain their weight)
  • DHA and AHA(helps promote the growth of cells in the eyes and brain)
  • FOS(facilitates absorption of nutrients in the intestine and digestive system)
  • Nucleotides(increases metabolism and immunity by increasing ‘good’ bacteria and decreasing ‘bad’ bacteria),

Einmilk formula provides better value to parents and the finest in paediatric nutrition to babies and toddlers at the most crucial stage of their development, helping them along as they achieve their developmental milestones.

Einmilk infant formula and formula milk powder for toddlers are scientifically designed and produced with care, to provide complete nutrition for each stage of child development. Most importantly, you can be assured of its quality as it is made in Singapore.

With Einmilk’s formula milk powder produced in Singapore, you can have peace of mind knowing that you are feeding your baby the best.

 

For those residing in Singapore, you can purchase Einmilk infant formula and formula milk powder for toddlers from retailers near you.

Where to buy Einmilk milk powder:

Developed with cutting-edge technology under the strictest quality controls, Einmilk is meticulous during every stage of product development. From where the ingredients are sourced to how the formula milk powder is produced, the highest level of hygiene and food safety are practised in every stage of the production.

This is the predominant reason why Einmilk infant formula and formula milk powder for toddlers are popular, not just in Singapore, but in Malaysia and China too. With the knowledge that Einmilk is produced by SMC Nutrition Pte Ltd, which is certified by the Singapore Food Agency (SFA), and that the company is also FSSC 22000 certified by SGS, we can be rest assured that our babies and toddlers are drinking quality milk powder manufactured under Singapore’s strict food regulations. Made with all families in Singapore and beyond in mind, Einmilk is also HALAL certified by the Islamic Religious Council of Singapore (MUIS).

Overall, there is strong trust in a made-in-Singapore brand of quality formula milk that is not only good for baby or toddler, but easier on our wallets too. Amidst parents’ growing concerns of increasingly expensive formula milk powders, Einmilk is affordably-price so more parents can provide milk to their children.

For those residing in Malaysia or China, you can purchase online through Einmilk’s website(subject to delivery fees).

If you are still wondering whether to purchase Einmilk from their online store, or, from the shops in Singapore listed above, you can request for a sample first.

 

Where’s your favourite place to buy Einmilk formula milk for your kids? Share with 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!

Categories
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!

Categories
Health & Nutrition Toddlers

Essential Nutrients for Toddlers



Eating well and eating right offers your children with the right nutrition to meet their growing needs.

 

“Let food be thy medicine, and medicine be thy food.”

– -Hippocrates

According to the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Health Promotion Board of Singapore (HPB), “For optimal growth, development and health… recommend exclusive breastfeeding (with no other food or drink) for the first 6 months (i.e. 180 days) of a baby’s life. Mothers are encouraged to continue breastfeeding their children until they are 12 months old and thereafter as long as mutually desired, together with the timely introduction of solid food from 6 months of age.”

Breastmilk is the most natural and best milk source for babies, and breastfeeding is encouraged by medical experts. When it is not practiced due to medical conditions or other concerns, formula milk is introduced, and toddlers may continue to consume breastmilk, formula milk or start on fresh milk to complement their diet.

Toddlers require a wholesome diet to support their development, fuelling them with energy and nutrients for healthy growth!

What are some of the essential nutrients toddlers need?

Children from one to three years old enter toddlerhood, and this is also the phase when they undergo development in all areas such as cognitive, emotional, motor skills to name a few. Nutrients from the food they eat provide them with the essential nourishment to promote and support healthy development as their organs mature alongside their physical growth.

Some of the essential nutrients that toddlers need are:

 

Carbohydrates

  • Carbohydrates provide a source of energy to toddlers, and these active bubs need plenty of energy to fuel their daily activities.
  • Food sources: Carbohydrates can be obtained through food such as grains, rice, noodles, bread and cereals.

 Proteins

  • Proteins are necessary to help babies build their bodies and supports their growth. Dietary proteins are digested into amino acids, which help maintain the development of organs, muscles, bones, teeth, hair and skin.
  • Food sources: Offer high protein foods such as vegetables, meats, beans, eggs, dairy products such as cheese and yogurt.

Lipids

  • Besides supplying a major source of energy, lipids help reduce body heat loss and act as padding to protect body organs. Lipids also aid in the absorption of Vitamin A, D, E and K, which are needed to build baby’s immunity, vision and skin health. Essential fatty acids (e.g. ARA and DHA) associated with visual and neural development while further studies are warranted (i.e. sample size, duration, dosage)*.
  • Food sources: Fatty fish such as salmon and cod offer healthy fats such as DHA and Omega-3 along with proteins. Avocadoes are fruit sources that provide good fats to support healthy development, and are known as superfoods as they pack wholesome nutrients

Calcium

  • Needed to build strong bones and teeth, calcium absorption is enhanced with the presence of Vitamin D. Experts suggest that an adequate intake of calcium during childhood may help reduce the risk of osteoporosis during the later years.
  • Food sources: Milk is a common source for calcium for children. Besides dairy options such as cheese and yogurt, other non-dairy food with high calcium includes tofu, soy beans and soy milk, oranges, almonds, beef, broccoli, peas and ikan bilis.

To offer variety to your toddler, try cooking food with different methods, herbs and spices so he obtains a range of nutrients.

 

Choline

  • Required for the normal functioning of cells, choline is linked to memory and learning functions of a child too.
  • Food sources: Animal and plant-based sources such as beef, eggs, salmon and cauliflower.

Iron

  • Iron is necessary for the formation of haemoglobin, which help to carry oxygen around to the organ and muscles through red blood cells. Research advise that iron deficiency leads to poor weight gain, irritability, pale skin and poor appetite. Toddlers with low iron levels or are anaemic, iron-rich food should be added to their diet. For ideal absorption, consume with food rich in Vitamin C.
  • Food sources: Heme sources (meat) such as beef, pork, lamb, liver, veal, chicken; non-heme sources (plants) such as spinach, broccoli, legumes, beans, eggs, lentils, and iron-fortified food such as cereal, whole grain bread and enriched pasta.

Vitamin A

  • Vitamin A is needed to support toddler’s visual development, immune system and promotes healthy skin and hair.
  • Food sources: Eggs, milk, and dark coloured or orange coloured fruit and vegetables like carrots, spinach, kale, pumpkins, sweet potatoes, apricots, papaya and peaches.

Vitamin E

  • A powerful antioxidant, Vitamin E helps to protect the body against germs, and supports healthy development in toddlers.
  • Food sources: Nuts such as peanuts, peanut butter, almonds, sunflower seeds, spinach, wheatgerm, broccoli and kiwi.

 

Vitamin C are iron-rich food are friends – when taken together, Vitamin C helps to improve the absorption of iron by the body.

Vitamin C

  • Besides promoting the absorption of iron and calcium, Vitamin C is needed for wound healing and resist infection, and helps maintain bone and teeth health in toddlers*.
  • Food sources: Citrus fruit such as oranges and lemons, guava, kiwi, strawberries, honeydew

Depending on individual babies, nutritional needs may vary. Experts advise that a healthy balanced diet would suffice in providing the essential nutrients needed for toddlers. While supplements should not substitute a diet, toddlers on special diets or have medical concerns may consider doctor-prescribed supplements.

Consult a nutritionist of health expert when in doubt. After all, eating right is key to raising world-ready citizens for our future too.