Saturday, September 02, 2017

Flying with Babies

Myla has new luggage from Friso! Let's go!!!

Myla's first time in Scotland
Expose your child to a world of experiences. A new adventure awaits at every destination.
Myla Rae's second time in Phuket
But first... you have to get there. And flights (especially long haul) are always daunting to every new parent (I think, even for the most seasoned ones).

Fortunately, with some planning and preparation all of Myla Rae's flights have gone very smoothly for us, even the ones with delays where we were stuck in the plane for a couple hours before taking off (stress ah!). Here are my tips on flying with a baby/toddler.

1. Start Small, Start Short
Start them while they are still young. In fact, having flown with Myla since she was newborn, I've found that she was much easier to fly with when she was a newborn and infant compared to when she's now a toddler. She slept for 12 hours on a 14hour flight to London! I only woke her to give her milk, and I only changed her diaper once because she was sound asleep and I didn't want to wake her unnecessarily.

But we didn't start with long haul. As new and inexperienced parents, we worked our way up to it haha. Her very first flight was a super short one (less than 45mins?) to Kuala Lumpur. I figured, even if she cried through the whole flight, passengers are less likely to get annoyed because it's such a short flight anyway. (Compared to if she cried on a long haul flight when the cabin is dimmed and people are trying to sleep... OMG imagine the stress on me!). That first KL flight, I made her sleep while waiting at the gates and then we boarded, took off, and landed... got our luggage, left the airport and she was still asleep throughout! That's the magic of having a young baby I guess, they're asleep most of the time.

Second flight a few weeks after was to Phuket. And then I felt ready and confident to take her long haul to the UK the following month. So travel, travel a lot. As you gain experience, you gain confidence in handling your baby on flights.

2. Know their Sleeping Pattern

We did a night flight for our long haul because I knew there was a very good chance that she would sleep through it... because she has been sleeping 12hours straight through the night since she was 7 or 8 weeks old. If it's a short flight like let's say less than 5 hours, I would not choose a night flight because that would mean interrupted sleep for Myla, and that would make her cranky and tired. So do factor in your baby's sleeping pattern when deciding on flight timing.

Long haul on British Airways
Bring items for sleeping comfort that baby is familiar with. I always bring Myla's (unwashed) blanket from her cot when ever we travel. The familiar smell and texture of it helps her sleep more soundly, I feel. Also the baby basinets are always near the toilets and when cabin lights are dimmed, the lights from toilet when the door keeps opening and closing all the time will keep shining on baby's face (!). I use the blanket to make like a shield in front of her face so she has this pocket of cozy-ness while she sleeps, it works!

By the way, planes naturally have white noise which helps babies sleep too.

3. Tips for Take Off
They say to let them suck on a pacifier during take off. It eases the pressure in their ears. It's supposedly what makes babies cry (because the ear gets painful) in planes. However, Myla has never used a pacifier before. So we didn't have that option. That's why for her first few flights, I made her get into a deep sleep in the Tula carrier before we boarded the plane. And then I threaded the infant seatbelt around her waist while she was still in the carrier, still asleep. A bit tricky but doable.
Too much to see, Don't want to sleep!
But then as she got older, it was no longer so easy to get her to sleep before boarding and so I just let her roam and tire herself out while waiting to board the plane. Then I have to keep her entertained (while strapped to me with the infant seat belt) during take off. Which brings us to my next tip on in flight entertainment. By the way, the air pressure during take off and landing has never seem to affect Myla... no sucking etc needed. So maybe air pressure is not such a big deal afterall and the pacifier just calms babies who are used to having it.

4. Bring your own In Flight Entertainment

Can't wait for the next adventure...

After the infant phase, entertaining your older baby/toddler is VERY VERY IMPORTANT. Bring more than you think you will need. Remember they will be confined to your lap when they are under 2 years old. And after 2, you will have to pay for a seat for them... but still, space is quite restricted. Bring toys which will keep them entertained in small spaces. Don't bring stuff where the parts can fly all over unless you want crawl under other people's seats picking things up. Also, be considerate and don't bring noisy loud musical type toys.

What I love bringing are-

Water colouring book. This is a book where coloured images appear when it comes into contact with plain water. The "Pen" it comes with has no ink, just water, which you can re fill. This means no mess, and no accidental colouring of her own face or the tray table with markers.

Jumbo building blocks. Like Lego only much larger, for babies and young toddlers. I only limit it to about 8 larger pieces, and store it in a small bag. She loves building and stacking, this keeps her entertained the longest. And limiting the number of blocks helps keep the mess at bay.

Large picture flash cards. Maybe a stack of 5 cardboard cards. Hers has textures on them, like the Lion's mane is furry. If you have an older toddler who can do jigsaw puzzles, that would work well too.

Busy Book. Or books in general. I try to give her new books, or books which she hasn't seen for a long while, this makes it more appealing for her and keeps her attention longer. If desperate, just grab the in flight magazines.

We haven't introduced the ipad yet, but if your child uses one, then bring headphones too, and that should keep them entertained very long (right?).

Oh and spread these things out so you have enough ammo to last the entire flight. Like try to make each item last at least 30mins before offering a new toy.

5. Pack extra
Pack extra diapers. For short flights, I take 4-5 diapers. Long haul flights I take like 10 - 12 diapers! Even though I end up using much much less than that, it's better to be safe than sorry, like maybe diarrhea or what!? You don't want to be short of diapers while flying.

Pack an extra jumbo pack of wet wipes. These are super handy. Use them to wipe sticky hands, wipe down tray tables, seat armrests, everything also I wet wipe. lol

Pack an extra change of clothes for baby and yourself. They might make a mess while eating, etc.

Pack extra snacks and milk. There's food on the plane, but it's good to have your own on standby. Eating and drinking also keeps Myla busy and happily occupied. It's like a whole activity for her. I take Tupperwares of blue berries, cereal puffs, cubes of cheeses and a yoghurt pouch...  all in my Jujube fuel cell cooler bag with one small ice pack.

For milk, I pre pack her Friso Gold milk formula into individual servings, so I can just mix it up with some water in a cup and she drinks it with a straw. So easy! I don't even bring a flask along anymore, I just ask the stewardess for some warm water, they use bottled water on board the plane, please don't use water from the airplane taps ah!)

So don't worry about taking baby on a trip with you. I bet they'll surprise you by being a natural little jet setter. Bon voyage!

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Spooky Stuff

Just a couple days ago, my friend used the toilet at my mum's place, and when she stepped out, she heard someone whisper her name.

Welcome to the start of the 7th Month! I'm glad I'm not pregnant, because lots of creepy stuff happened to me during the Hungry Ghost month while I was pregnant with Myla, and I'm otherwise quite oblivious to spirits and spooky stuff like that. They say spirits like to disturb pregnant women(You can read about the spooky stuff while I was pregnant, here).

So I was just looking back in my blog to see all the spooky stuff I've encountered, and enjoyed reading the comments from readers who shared their spooky experiences, I was doing this last night, and got spooked and had to stop and just go to bed haha.

Here are some of the posts:
Hotel Superstitions
The Ghost & the White Dress
Come & Share Ghost Stories

Anyone got stories to share? Comment here, so I can read tonight before I go to bed and creep myself out. Hahhaaaa.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Live Sale at 9pm today

Hello my blog readers, have you been missing me?
Sorry I've been bogged down and can't manage to blog as much as I used to. (Trying to revive! Just need more free time to do it)

If you want to see me later tonight, I'm doing a live sale on my Facebook page at 9pm tonight (Wednesday) after baby sleeps.
Mostly New with tags on or worn once only. Dresses $5 each. Tops, skirts, bags and shoes $3 each. 

First come first served. To buy while watching the live broadcast , just comment on the item number and say SOLD.

Example -  #7 SOLD

And I will send out the PM (messages) to the first bidders of each item once live video has ended. 

U can also ask qns etc while the sale is going on live and I will answer them straight away. Like if u need a closer look at any item etc. 

Payment options-
By paylah or bank transfer only.

Shipping Options- 
to singapore address only using prepaid polymailers . 
Flat charges- 
$2 polymailer can fit 1 dress, or 2 if it's not too bulky ones.
$3 polymailer can fit approx 2-3 dresses. Possibly 4 light dresses.

Or pick up directly from 8 Irrawaddy road (anytime), u can walk there from Novena mrt. No other location meet ups.

See u later!

Friday, August 04, 2017

Toddler Smoothies!

Who doesn't love tasty smoothies?! Myla Rae loves them and that's great because smoothies are actually really easy to make, they can be inexpensive, make a great treat for snack time, and can be incredibly nutritious.

Smoothies are also perfect if you need breakfast on-the-go, because they are easy to take along with you in a sippy cup and can be filling to little tummies. When we have any early appointments to get to in the morning, I will make her a Breakfast smoothie the night before, put it in her straw sippy cup and refrigerate it, and then in the morning, just grab, shake and go. She can sip it while she's in the stroller or car seat. That keeps her quiet, occupied and contented as well (so no fidgeting and trying to get out of the stroller lol).

You can use a blender or shaker if you have those. If you don't it's still ok, because you can mash ingredients with a fork and then just use a handheld whisk to incorporate it into the smoothie. I love sneaking in as many healthy things into each drink as I can so it's always bursting with nutrients.

Here are 3 Smoothie recipes which I love (and Myla Rae loves too!). You can adjust the amount of each ingredient to suit your toddler's needs and preferences.

Breakfast Smoothie - For Breakfast on the Go!

A breakfast smoothie is wholesome and filling, making it a great way to start the day.

1 ripe banana
150ml of Friso Gold formula milk
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon of baby cereal (oats)

Just add 5 scoops of Friso Gold formula to 150ml warm water. Stir and add the baby cereal and honey. Mash the banana and whisk it into the rest of the ingredients. Leave it in fridge for at least 30 minutes before serving (or if your toddler prefers it, you can serve it straight away as a warm beverage too)

Vege Smoothie - For when your toddler refuses vegetables!

A vegetable smoothie combines naturally sweet fruits with nutrition-rich vegetables.

1 portion of Spinach (finely chopped or blended)
Half of a ripe avocado
1 cup of plain greek yoghurt or vanilla yoghurt (whichever your toddler prefers)
Some coconut water (optional)

Spinach is rich in vitamins and antioxidants. I buy frozen spinach that is already finely chopped up (if you don't have a blender, you should definitely get this kind of spinach). This is the one I usually buy from the supermarket.

Thaw 2 portions of frozen spinach (each portion is frozen about a meatball size) and add it into the yoghurt. Mash the avocado and blend it (or whisk it in). If you find this smoothie to be too thick (especially if using greek yoghurt), you can add a splash of coconut water. Done!

Milk + Fruit Smoothie - For a vitamin packed treat!

A milk+ fruit smoothie is a refreshing and colourful drink for a hot day.

1/2 a Mango or 1 slice Papaya
Some of your toddler's formula milk, breast milk or whole milk

Simply mash the mango or papaya with a fork. Then slowly add milk. I mix Myla's Friso Gold formula with water, I usually make about 60ml, and the stir bit by bit into the mashed fruit and stop when I get the smoothie consistency I want.

Find out more about nutrition for your toddler from the good nutrition articles at the Friso website. They have information on nutritional needs for different age groups, must knows about dietry fibre for your child, and even food safety.

Friday, July 07, 2017

New Products for Dogs & Cats

Hello all pawrents... in today's post I want to share with you some dog (and cat) food and treats which Lola recently tried and loved.
 As usual, we got our pet stuff from Kohepets online, because it's convenient and they have such a wide range of products. Plus free delivery to my doorstep.

The first new product I want to tell you about is KAKATO. It's for both cats and dogs. Kakato is a popular brand in Hong Kong, and finally its available in Singapore at Kohepets :)

Derived from the New Zealand Maori word for ‘delicious’, Katako is a premium pet food that uses the finest in human grade ingredients with no additives or flavourings added. Just pure delicious meaty goodness.

The flavours I ordered for Lola to try are Salmon In Broth ($2) , Tuna & Seaweed Canned Cat & Dog Food ($2) and Tuna Mousse ($1.40). All made of human grade ingredients, 100% Sea water fish, rich in Omega-3 oils and gluten free.

Super duper yummy looking and smelling, especially the salmon in broth! Mmm

Another new item is the Chunky Centers range of tray food from Wellness CORE. This grain-free range of tray food was just launched by Wellness a few months ago, and it's on promo now at Kohepets - BUY 3 GET 1 FREE - 6oz x 4 trays $15.90 (usual price $5.30 each)

These are tasty and wholesome. Suitable for larger dogs too as these trays are quite large, at 6oz each.

A new thing I've been doing for Lola is adding Meal Mixers to her food. It gives her more variety, you know, make her meal time more exciting and even tastier, plus it adds a good amount of additional nutrients too. I started out with Stella & Chewy's Chicken Meal Mixers Freeze-Dried Dog Food ($14.90). It is made of raw cage-free chicken (95%), fortified with added vitamins & minerals and enhanced with probiotics & antioxidants. I love that raw freeze dried food such as this is very minimally processed. Because the closer foods stay to their natural state, the better they are.

I just add a scoop to her wet food, or kibbles... and she will chow down happily. I'm getting more and more particular about giving her food made of quality ingredients nowadays especially because she's in her senior years. I want her as healthy as she can be.

For treats, Zuke's has a huge range of Enhance Functional Dog Treats. This is a new range of functional treats for things such as shiny coat, mobility, fresh breath and digestion. We just tried Zuke's Enhance Functional Calming Peanut Butter Dog Treats (5oz $14.90). It gives her daily support for a calm disposition with nature-inspired functional ingredients. It's a healthy, tasty, tender, grain free chew treat.

If you spot any new and interesting products at Kohepets online and would like me to try it out and let you know how it goes, do let me know! Lola is always keen to try new things. Do check out their on going promotions (always have!) for some great deals, perfect time to stock up on pet supplies!

Tuesday, July 04, 2017

Getting your pre pregnancy body back

When it comes to pregnancy and the stress and changes to your body, they say the first is the easiest. But I've seen and been around women who don't get their pre pregnancy bodies back even after the first.

I can't comment on what it's like for multiple pregnancies (obviously), but I think that if you don't get your pre pregnancy body and fitness condition back soon after the first child, then it's a slippery slope from then on.

From my experience so far, here's what helped me.

1. Have the best pre pregnancy body u can
Even before you start looking to get pregnant, get in shape. Don't say, oh I'm going to be fat when pregnant anyway so I'll just start after the baby is born, no point getting in shape and then get pregnant.

I see lots of comments whenever fitness mums & celebs show off a great post pregnancy body a few weeks after giving birth. Usually people view that negatively and say- there's no way regular people can do that, she probably has a personal trainer, she probably had surgery. I think in most cases this is not true. It CAN be done, and yes it can be done within weeks of giving birth.

One thing is definitely true though... that if you were out of shape before being pregnant, u have even less chance of getting in shape after giving birth.

In our busy lives, it's hard to find the time to get in shape. Try slipping in 10 minutes a day for a start, or instead of taking the lift, climb the stairs. It's the little things which will eventually add up. If you're planning to get pregnant, start getting in shape now. Once you're pregnant and after you have a baby, you will also be thankful for that extra stamina you built up.

2. Prepare for the stretch
One of my concerns was stretchmarks because I have dry skin, and I also had stretchmarks (on my knees and thighs) from puberty. My mom has pregnancy stretchmarks. A lot of this is genetic.

I used a variety of stretchmark creams in rotation (because I wasn't sure which would work best for my skin. So I hedged my bets by using a different one on each application. Example, Mustella in the morning, Elancyl in afternoon and coconut oil at night). I loved coconut oil (not sticky or smelly at all!). I think it's a good inexpensive way to moisturize your stretching skin.

Don't forget to apply it EVERYWHERE. Not just the belly. I was horrified to see the beginning of a stretchmark on my boob. So I began applying it religiously all over. Hips, thighs, lower back, chest. Not just your belly!!! I'm happy to report that it worked, and worked well. No pregnancy stretchmarks, and even the one stretchmark that was starting on my boob disappeared too.

3. Don't worry about pregnancy weight
There's no need to minimize weight gain. Unless you have a medical reason to, like if you start out overweight or you have gestational diabetes. Other than that, I would say do not worry about the scales. The scales scared me a lot (in retrospect, I should not have worried about it). I was envious of my friends who like put on 8kg (or less!) throughout the whole pregnancy. I gained 12 kg within the first trimester itself.

And I wasn't even eating a lot. Don't talk about eating for two, when I can barely eat for one. But the scales kept jumping up up up. I think your body knows what to do. If you're pregnant and your starting weight is under weight, your body will automatically retain more of the calories(?) and put weight on to prepare for the rest of the pregnancy journey. I was eating healthy, lots of fruit and during times where I struggled to eat (because morning sickness all day), I supplemented with Friso Stage 0 milk which is the first maternal milk with prebiotics and probiotics for mums to get the nutrition they need.

In all, I gained 20Kgs. That's like putting on almost half my original body weight. And I had a 2kg preemie so hardly any of that was her weight, it was all on me. Lol. But I managed to lose all that and more. This is without hitting the gym. Which brings me to my next point...

4. Get back on your feet as soon as possible
I was not able to get any help after the delivery, so I had no choice but to get back on my feet and take care of baby, and handle all the night feeds, and also carry on with the house chores and cooking. That was a period of extreme exhaustion. But you know what? I survived it. And it took the weight right off.

So mummies who are don't doing confinement, don't worry, work at your own pace, prioritize your newborn baby's needs first and the rest of the housework can do later. You can do this.

And if you are doing a month long confinement, even if you have someone helping you to take care of baby and take care of the house chores, do try to get back on your feet and do some simple exercises as soon as you feel you're ready for it.

Oh and they say after a csection, your abs would never be the same again. Because it cuts through the stomach muscles, your abs will never be flat around that area and you will have a small paunch you can't get rid of (this was the main reason I was dreading having to get a csection. lol. Vanity). Not true. So super not true at all. Don't worry about it. Even if you have to have a Csection, you can get back in shape after baby is born.

5. Don't eat (too much) junk
When trying to get rid of post pregnancy weight, it's ok to eat anything and everything. Just in moderation. I eat junk food. Just the other day, the cleaning lady passed me by the poolside and was shocked I was having a Macdonald's. She said - "I thought you're the kind who won't eat junk food."

Indulging in bit of junk food won't make you fat. I have it (macdonald's, popeye, jollibee etc) maybe twice a week. But what will make you fat is if you consume more calories than you can burn.... even if those calories comes from healthy foods. So don't go hungry, just be smart about it.

6. Participate in your child's play

At first I thought that a baby kept me on my feet a lot, but oh man a toddler keeps me on my toes!
Whatever stage your child is at, get in there, get on your knees, run about, and engage in healthy activities with them.

This could be taking them to a bouncy castle, an indoor playground, swimming, go for walks in the park, etc. It's a great way to bond and to help your child experience and develop.

So yeah, it irks me when people tell me I'm "lucky" that I shifted all that weight so "easily" and quickly. While it is attainable, it's not by luck.

I know that when you have a child, it's easy to let your own well being take a back seat. Trust me I know that (my face hasn't been seen with nice make up for the past 1 year plus lol). But when it comes to health and feeling good and confident with your own body... you need to take charge. And I don't want this to come across as a slap in the face when you're sat there, exhausted, and still having tummy flab or that stubborn last 5kgs you haven't shed.... yet.

I know, I understand. Don't worry mummies, you can get your pre pregnancy body back. Do it!

If you're pregnant now (congrats!), find out more about the changes your body will go through in this Pregnancy guide.