It’s Time To Give Your Baby A Boost

By the time babies reach 8 to 9 months, it is probably a good idea to give them a boost! I mean, booster seats. What are booster seats?

Booster seats are add-on seats to normal adult chairs so that your baby can sit on it and enjoy meals together with the family.

Advantages of Booster Seat

There are several advantages for using a booster seat instead of leaving your child in their cot at every meal time.

First, it is a time to bond. The baby is close to the parents and siblings and this helps him/her to feel connected. While there doesn’t seem to be any statistics supporting this, families that dine together turn out to be more closely knitted. The best time to start? As soon as they are able to sit upright on their own which is usually around the 7th month onwards.

Baby can learn how to eat on their own. Actually, this is just partly realistic. Our experience with our own baby and from observing that of others is that it is a wonderful time for babies to play with their food. Expect a full mess thereafter leaving poor mom or dad to clean up. But hey, that’s part of the joy of parenting! Nevertheless, this process of playing with food is part and parcel in learning how to handle food on their own eventually. No Mess No Gain!

Portable and hygienic setup for your baby. By getting your portable booster seat, you can bring it around when you visit a restaurant and your little one can take his/her own seat without concern over using the common baby high chair that cafes and restaurants provide.

Are There Any Cons?

In our opinion, a portable baby booster seat is a good investment.

Some may worry that the baby will outgrow the seat fairly quickly. While this is true, it is safe to assume it is suitable for use up to 2 years old.

It depends on how fast your baby is growing in height and width. Most babies within 2 years of age fit into the booster seat.

HOWEVER, you do have to select the RIGHT booster seat.

We actually visited our nearby department store to test out a few models. On Amazon, they all look great but it was a blessing that we tested them before making our final decision.

As it would turn out, one of the brands we were originally eyeing turned out to be rather fllmsy and a tight squeeze for our baby. Had we ordered directly from Amazon, we would be in for a rude shock and probably have to go through the hassle of returning it for a refund.

So here’s our recommendation after testing it thoroughly. We would recommend to any parents the Chicco Pocket Snack Booster Seat. I provide the link for Amazon and this is the exact same model we got for our baby. You have the option to choose other colours (green, lime, dark grey). We went for the Lime as my wife has a thing for things in lime colour and that was the end of the dilemma…

The Chicco Baby Booster Seat comes in a compact box, which we self collect from a nearby collection point.

Materials & Setup

Setting up the booster seat is fuss-free and won’t take you more than 2 mins. There are no screws to worry about and the main body is made up plastic that feels robust.

At the bottom are the x-wing support which comes with rubber stubs at the 4 corners. The rubber stubs provide excellent friction and grip, which ensure the booster seat does not slip around.

On top of that, there are 2 safety belts that help to fasten the booster seat to the chair, making it really secure.

The overall material is plastic and is great for cleaning because this is one product that your baby will mess up every time.

The tray in front provides a comfortable area for your baby to doodle on and to eat / play with her food. Depending on your baby’s size, the tray’s distance from the back rest can be adjusted to create the right fit.

That’s it for this review.

Hope you enjoy the read and if you have a question, please leave it in the comments below.

A Dad’s Guide To Big Wheeled Strollers

My wife and I spend most of our time in concrete jungles, wheeling our little one around. Today, we want to discuss about baby strollers. It is our belief that getting the right stroller requires a thorough examination of your environment and needs as a family.

As a brief background, we have lived in Singapore, Hong Kong, Sydney and just recently, we relocated to UK.

Thus, we pride ourselves on being qualified parents-on-the-move. Seriously, we hope we don’t have to move that often but that’s for another blog sharing.

Though all of the above are high-buzz cities and weekends are thronged with people, navigating in each of them with our baby takes on a different experience. What works very well in Singapore and Hong Kong may not always be the ideal choice for our baby elsewhere.

Big Versus Compact: Which Is Better?

If you are living in cities such as Singapore or Hong Kong where the streets are super congested, a compact (yet sturdy) stroller is the thing to go for.

Even on weekdays, there is hardly space for our baby stroller to navigate around easily and if you are taking the tube (MTR), getting the stroller onto the train is a herculean task punctuated with many “Excuse me, I’m sorry” and awkward stares from commuters who wonder why you need to take the tube at that particular timing.

Our conclusion for this segment is straightforward. Any time you are in a congested city like Hong Kong (we find Hong Kong’s congestion to be a notch worser than Singapore), a compact stroller is much more convenient.

Nevertheless, we won’t sacrifice safety for convenience. In our opinion, two strollers stand out in this compact category. Read our reviews on BabySing iGo and Babyzen Yoyo+. Both are compact, lightweight yet do not cut any corners on comfort and safety.

We have been using them interchangably for Hong Kong and the Babyzen Yoyo+ is even compact enough to fit into a flight overhead storage though I would prefer (after numerous traveling experience) to check in my stroller.

Flights these days are often overloaded and it’s not surprising to find your carry on luggage squashed against other passengers’ luggage as everyone struggles to lug everything onboard.

In crowded cities, SMALL (Compact) is King!

Any Room Then…For Big Wheeled Stroller?

As the world we live in gets increasingly congested, it seems a natural choice to go for compact strollers.

However, as you walk into any baby stores, it is not surprising to see big wheeled strollers that remind me of bulldozers or heavy duty tractors.

I used to ponder over their necessity because in my mind, a baby even up to 2 years old is not a heavy load to transport around and those humongous wheels seem much like an overkill.

That was my thinking a month ago until I reach UK where the terrain is a good mix of smooth mall flooring and stone pavements. With mall, there is never an issue as all wheels (big or small) go well on it generally. However, it’s the stone pavements that are posing a challenge.

Talk About A Bumpy Ride!
No one likes a BUMPY ride, not even the cat!

This brings the big wheeled stroller into the picture.

With pavement such as these, smaller wheeled strollers bump around a lot more and sometimes even get…trapped

There is no doubt with normal sized wheels, one can still push the stroller around. Apart from the bumpier ride, there is also the occasional ‘trap’ as the smaller wheels get caught in the grooves between the stones or stuck in the rut while trying to surmount the curb.

This may not be an issue if you are moving along slow and easy in the suburb but if you are in the city centre especially trying to cross a stone-paved road, it is a risk I would rather not take.

With a big wheeled stroller, such problems are avoided. Be it 3-wheel or 4-wheel, bigger wheels translate into a smoother ride as the wheels roll over grooves easily and also mount the curbs with little resistance, very much similar to what a Jeep Wrangler does to rough steep terrain.

3 or 4 Wheels?

This depends on your need. Are you the type who would enjoy going for a jog with your little one? If so, the 3-wheel drive is the perfect match.

Personally, I prefer the 3-wheel stroller as it gives a more streamlined effect and easier to manoeuvre when compared to the 4-wheel stroller.

However, this is really dependent on the make of the stroller. I can’t say all 4-wheel stroller are harder to manoeuvre. This would be too much of a sweeping statement to make!

Type Of Wheels To Look For

You can’t customise this but it is good to know what are the different types of wheels out there.

By types, we are referring to the make/material of the wheels. This is important because similar to a car, the wheels determine factors such as comfort, maintenance and also durability.

There are 4 major types of wheels.

The Eva wheel is made of a material that is maintenance free. By maintenance free, we refer to the fact that you don’t have to do anything (such as inflating air) to keep the wheel going. It works best for smooth terrain such as malls and city streets.

Then, we have the Aerotech and Aeromaxx. Both offer the comfort of air-filled tyres (with some form of shock absorption) without the need for maintenance either.

At the pinnacle of comfort, we have the air-filled tyres. These are rubber tyres that are air-filled and they offer the BEST cushioning for any bumpy shocks. The flip side is that they have to be maintained by inflating air and keeping the pressure at the optimal level.

3-wheels stroller with air-filled tyres for the best riding comfort

Conclusion

Here are some questions you may want to ask yourself prior to making this important purchase:

  • What kind of terrain am I going to use the stroller for (most of the time)
  • How is the environment like (in terms of traffic, congestion problems etc.)
  • Are you fitness-oriented and plan to bring your little one together for jogs
  • How much storage space would you need. Different strollers come with different storage capacities
  • Do you plan to take public transport often?
  • What is your budget

We have been talking about wheel size. The size of wheels is directly correlated to the overall size of the stroller. As such, you want to make sure you get a stroller that can fit onto the type of public transport you normally take.

While most trains and subways do not have any issue for a stroller to board it, buses may be more challenging due to the limited parking bay for strollers. Too big a stroller may hamper your manoeuvrability.

Whether it is a big or compact stroller, you need to analyse your needs and get the type that fits your environment and lifestyle.

And yes, this is an important purchase and worth every investment because you really will use it a lot.

 

We’re Not Into Toys But I Want to Introduce Sophie (la Girafe!)

Pin me if you like Sophie la Girafe!

When we have our first baby, I was firmly determined that I would not invest in buying any toys for her.

Not that my heart is made of stone nor that I was trying to stinge. We love her and we just didn’t feel toys contribute that much to a child’s development but just try telling this to Mattel, Hasbro or Bandai. 🙂

Toys are important for a child's development

In any case, in the months that follow, we stuck to our resolution and didn’t invest in any toys. A few close friends noticed our baby’s pouting face and weakened by that, proceeded to gift us with more toys than we can imagine.

The toys are all stacked nicely in one cupboard and occasionally we pick a few pieces for our baby to play with.

The Concept of Toys

And here’s our discovery about toys and probably what it meant to a child’s development.

There is no need to over indulge in toys. Yet toys play an important role for a child’s development especially when they are very young and cannot express with words.

Try putting a toy in your baby’s reach and you notice it’s not just the brightening up of her tiny face as she giggles and grabs it. In the next few minutes, watch and observe as your baby fiddles with the newly discovered object.

Toy or not, it’s not important to the child. What’s interesting to them is the new experience.

At formative years (0-3 years old), they are naturally curious about things and will absorb like a sponge.

I have given our baby different types of toys from soft toys to picture books. We noted her response to them and interestingly, she would play with it using her chubby fingers, turn it around and around. And until she’s fully satisfied she has ‘explored’ it fully, then will she turn her attention to something else.

Our conclusion of the matter is that toys matter to a child’s development NOT because they know it’s a toy. The term holds little relevance to the young one.

To them, it is about experimenting and learning a new thing and such is the beauty of life which we should all cherish – the curiosity to learn.

Toys fulfil this particular need for children well because they are often designed with their safety in mind. You can give your child a cup and she would be happy as well but we fear she breaks the cup and cuts herself. Hence TOYS are born.

And yes, before I forget. The gist of this post is to share about Sophie.

Who’s Sophie?

Well, a picture tells a thousand words. Here is a picture of Sophie.

Size of Sophie la Girafe relative to an A4 sized IKEA Magazine
Sophie is about 60% of an A4 Magazine’s length

I am sure for parents, Sophie la Girafe is not unfamiliar.

You have seen her in the baby section of department stores. Soft and made of rubber safe for baby use, it’s an immediate favorite with parents and babies.

We got this as a gift from our relatives and after watching our baby play with it for a couple of days, we can say this is a very well designed product (toy) and is absolutely safe choice if you want to get it for your child or gift somebody.

What Sophie la Girafe can do:

  • It can squeak! (Make some noise to attract baby’s attention) Over time, your baby will learn how to squeeze it to produce the squeaking sound. Our baby bursts into joyful laughter the first time she successfully did this!
  • Made of safe rubber, it is a great stand-in for teething period (around 8-10 months of age) and can soothe the sore gums
  • Easy to grab and handle by baby, no sharp edges that might hurt your baby’s delicate skin (Our baby steps on Sophie…oops…from time to time as she crawls around the playpen)

As mentioned, we are not into toys for our baby and though we have relented a bit in this category, we are selectively cautious with the choice of toys.

Sophie la Girafe is one of the toys that comes with great functionalities and most importantly, safe for baby use. If you are pondering what to get for your baby, we recommend it.

There are counterfeits online. To be safe, here’s a link to the original product on Amazon. You can get yours’ with FREE Delivery from Amazon, depending on your location.

 

Getting a Baby Crib Bumper

There is a need for baby crib bumper when your baby starts to tumble. Otherwise, they will just bang their heads against the sides or get their legs entangled in between the wooden slits. 

Here’s what I mean. 

My leg is trapped…Help!

It is a good thing we were around when this happens but after a few times, we feel it’s time to invest in an all-around crib bumper.

The crib bumper is placed around the four sides of the crib and protects your baby from hard knocks and impact. In addition, their tiny hands or legs won’t get trapped between the slits. 

When is a good time to get a crib bumper?

It depends on the size of your baby crib. A smaller crib would have a more urgent need for a crib bumper especially if your baby has already learnt to tumble. Our baby started to tumble when she’s 4 months old and these days, she is turning 360 within the crib. Without the crib bymper, she would have collected bruises all over and our biggest concern is her head. 

What type of crib bumper to get?

The most popular choice is the bumper pads. It is a common accessory and you can get it from Amazon or your nearest retail and usually they come in sizes that fit all types of crib. Before purchase, just make sure to check the size against your crib’s dimensions. Generally, you can go for the exact fit or if your crib does not fit standard dimensions, our advice is to go for padding that is longer as you can overlap the excess length, rather than having a gap. 

The other choice is a knotted bumper. It has a fanciful touch to it but if your baby is very active, the lower height of the knotted bumper may not offer much in terms of protection as your baby can quite easily go over it. Still, it is better than no protection…

Conclusion

The baby crib bumper is not an item you need to get at the beginning months. Most babies start to tumble after 3rd month and that’s when you want to pay attention to their safety and get a crib bumper. 

 

Products mentioned in this article

Comparison of Electric Warmer from Tommee Tippee and Philips AVENT

Today we are going to compare electric warmer from two specific brands. We are looking at the Tommee Tippee and Philips AVENT. 

Both are global brands with their own loyal followings. 

Without further ado, let’s dive in.

In terms of operation, both brands offer very user-friendly controls and comparable performance. 

Features

The Philips AVENT comes with more control settings including one for defrosting frozen milk. Breast milk that’s meant for storage beyond 48 hours are kept in the standard freezer compartment to prevent it from turning bad. Over time, it becomes frozen and has to be defrosted for use. Defrosting of frozen milk takes time and while you can use the electric warmer to defrost over 1-2 hours, the better approach is to bring the frozen milk to the front of the refrigerator where it is less cold. This allows it to thaw gently over time and a good duration is to thaw overnight (8 hours) before putting the thawed milk through further defrosting. 

If the milk is thawed rapidly by putting it into hot water, it can create hot spots. Hot spots occur when the outside is hot but the inside remains frozen. This can cause burns to your baby’s mouth. The other reason is that rapid heating can lead to valuable enzymes in the breast milk being destroyed. You don’t want to do that.

The Tommee Tippee does not have such a defrost feature though you can probably achieve the same effect by setting it to the low to medium level temperature (denoted by level 1 and 2). 

The Philips AVENT also provides preset markings to indicate the temperatures for different amounts of milk / food to be heated up. This can be convenient feature, especially for new parents. This is not available on the Tommee Tippee. On the bright side of things, as parents, once you start using these warmers, you will develop an acute sense of the desired temperature as well as duration for warming. It’s just experience at work. 

Size Wise

The Tommee Tippee is a bit more compact yet fits most wide neck bottles in the market. Size is not really a deal breaker unless you are really cramped for space. In terms of weight, both are quite lightweight though I feel the Tommee Tippee is a tad heavier and gives a sense of stability. 

Speed

How fast do they warm up the milk? The specs for both indicate 3 mins and 4 mins for the Philips AVENT and Tommee Tippee respectively for 150 ml (5 oz). If you trust this, the AVENT has an advantage but it is not earth-shattering either. What we gathered from direct user experience and feedback from other parents is that it takes more than 3 or 4 mins to warm up the milk. Factors like how cold the milk was and how warm you want the milk to be come into play. 

Generally speaking, most parents tend to warm the milk slightly more than necessary. We think this is more psychological than anything else. Expressed milk is at most 37 degrees or less. In other words, you do not need to warm up your milk to anything beyond 37 degrees. At this juncture, a challenge comes in. Both brands do not offer any timer feature and there is no automatic shutdown either. In other words, you have to repeatedly check the temperature of the warmed milk to determine if it’s ready for consumption.

You can check the temperature by dripping a few drops of the milk onto the back of your hand. With experience, the human thermometer is faster and more efficient. This can be a bit tedious at the beginning but once again, as you gain more experience, you will be able to figure out quickly how long to heat up. 

Cost

Generally, the Tommee Tippee electric warmer is cheaper compared to the Philips AVENT electric warmer. Philips also has a premium version electric warmer which costs almost twice of Tommee Tippee. Personally, I don’t think it is worth the price because it doesn’t really do anything drastically different or better. For sure, it is able to maintain the desired temperature for 20 minutes before an automatic shutoff triggers. On top of that, it has a warming indicator to show the progress. After testing it out, we think these features are cool but not really crucial. For example, when we are warming up milk, usually it is just meal times and we never leave the milk warming for longer than necessary. Secondly, we (as well as most parents) are super busy and we don’t spend time scrutinizing the progress indicator. 

Again, we are not saying these features are worthless as I remember when we first have our firstborn, we simply had no idea what’s best. It was a lot of trial and error. With these features, it can help in the learning curve before experience takes over. 

Conclusion

In comparing the two brands, it’s really hard to declare an overwhelming winner. The Philips AVENT clearly has more control settings and also comes in several models to cater to different budgets whereas Tommee Tippee only has one single version. It also doesn’t have a defrost or food warming setting. However, user experience informs us that these features are not critical and the Tommee Tippee does a solid job of warming up the milk. Ultimately which model you choose may be determined by your brand preference and budget of course. 

Are you using electric warmer from either of these brands or others? Share with us your “warm” experience.

Products mentioned in this article

The Best Stroller for Globetrotting City Moms and Dads

If you are living from city to city, what’s the best baby stroller? Getting the right stroller will make your expat lifestyle much more enjoyable.

After much testing, the Babyzen Yoyo+ is still the king of the hill in my opinion.

Within its small but robust frame, it can support your baby up to 18 kg (~36 lbs).

How small is it?

Unfolded, the Yoyo+ measures 106 x 44 x 86 cm. When it is folded, it shrinks to 52 x 44 x 18 cm, which is as compact as it can get. In fact, you probably can’t find a smaller stroller with the same functions Yoyo+ offers.

Dimensions of Babyzen Yoyo+
Dimensions of Babyzen Yoyo+
Babyzen Yoyo+ Folded
Dimensions of Babyzen Yoyo+ Folded

It’s probably hard to imagine what 52 x 44 x 18 cm feels like. Here’s a picture that can do the job better…or a better job.

We love this! No more insane waiting just to retrieve my stroller

The Yoyo+ is small enough to fit into your flight cabin, which is really amazing. I do not know of any other stroller that can do this. Most has to be checked in and if you are lucky, you can retrieve it back quickly after alighting from the plane. Once, we waited an hour for our stroller and that experience led us to add another 10 points to Yoyo+ for being cabin-friendly.

Is it strong enough to support?

Despite its relatively small frame, the Yoyo+ is very sturdy and can take up to 18 kg. We haven’t reached that limit yet but from the daily use, it never fails to provide a strong sense of assurance. The wheels suspension is awesome and our baby enjoys and even sleeps through her ride as we roll over uneven terrain at times.

The Smaller The Better?

Yes, if you are globetrotting often with your baby. This stroller is also a very good choice for city moms and dads. We lived in Singapore, Hong Kong and Seoul and potentially the next pitstop is also a city going by the way things are shaping up. As such, you will be glad to know that Yoyo+ navigates best in crowded situations. It allows us to move in and out of subways conveniently without having to push everyone out of the way.

Public Transport Friendly

Public Transport Friendly Stroller
Stroller that is public transport friendly

In 2017, Singapore made a new regulation allowing unfolded stroller to be brought onto buses. There is however a condition for the size. The stroller must not be more than 1.2 m (length) and 0.7 m (width). Some strollers are way too big to make this criteria and thus cannot be brought onto the bus. The Yoyo+ measures 86 (length) by 44 cm (width) which makes it more than qualified to get onboard any bus. Applying this logic to other crowded cities, it suffices to say that your stroller is more welcome if it is not too bulky. 

UPF 50+ Canopy protects your baby

Yoyo+ uses a UPF 50+ canopy which allows only 1/50th of the sun’s UV radiation to pass through. This reduces the potential damage to your baby’s eyes and skin since they are still very delicate. The only thing we wish Yoyo+ had done was to design a more extendable canopy so that it can cover more of the baby.

0+ and 6m+

If you are new to the world of stroller, you need to understand not all strollers can handle newborn. A good way to check is to see if it is suitable for 0+. This denotes newborn baby. And this is not all. You also have to check if additional accessories are required. The Yoyo+ comes in three configurations. The standard configuration is suitable for babies 6m+ and it is only front-facing so your baby sits on it facing the road ahead. This is the standard configuration and has all the features mentioned above.

The 2nd configuration includes an infant cot (for 0+ baby) suitable from birth. For the first 6 months, this will be the go-to setup until baby is older. Once baby is around 6 months old and has stronger neck and back muscles, it’s time to switch to the standard configuration. Removing the infant cot and installing the stroller does take some work but it’s not complicated and you only do it once. Here’s a video showing you the steps.

The final and third configuration includes the stroller, the infant carrier and a car seat for up to 1 year old. The car seat allows you to transfer baby smoothly to your car without having to untie the baby from the carrier. Basically, we just remove the car seat (with baby inside) and fix it into the car using the ISOFIX base that has to be bought separately. The ISOFIX base in my opinion is optional, as we also can secure the car seat firmly using seatbelt. ISOFIX is about convenience.

Do you intend to shop frequently with your baby?

If yes, you will be happy to know it comes with a roomy shopping basket. Usually the small items do not bother us but if you are buying diapers (2 packs at a go), you will be glad to know that the shopping basket accommodates that easily and room to spare.

As a result of our city lifestyle and traveling needs, we move around quite a bit. The Yoyo+ initially did not catch our attention because it looks too small to be safe but after using it ourselves, we find that it holds its own against the bigger strollers and being so robust in a neat package, it is a breeze to navigate in crowded walkways, subway and malls. In crowded cities like Hong Kong where we live, the Yoyo+ displays its nimbleness to the max. Compared to bigger strollers, our Yoyo+ receives friendlier looks from other commuters especially during peak hours…which is like all the time. When folded, it takes up so little space and our car boot always has room for other extra stuff. Loading it up onto a plane is also easy and more than once, we amaze other passengers (also parents) who chat us up regarding our feedback. Needless to say, those discussions were very lively because everyone thinks their stroller is the best. Lol. It is our observation that getting a stroller is more than it seems. We don’t recall spending that much effort on our family car…which costs many times more.

Well, that’s the motivation for this article. We hope it is helpful and if you are a city mom/dad and you are already using the Babyzen Yoyo+ or other stroller, we welcome your comments. How do you like or dislike about the Yoyo+ and what other features would you like to see in YOYO++ (sorry, I coined this new model! ^^)

Product mentioned in this article

 

Using a beansprout pillow can help to calm your baby

Our baby sleeps well at night. However, there are still occasions where she would suddenly wake up, and start crying loudly. This can be separation anxiety and can affect babies beyond three to four months. 

Since the baby crib is just next to our bed, we do tend to her quickly and usually after some soothing, she will calm down and return to sleep. How often does this happen? Not every night and if it does occur, usually not more than once. 

Is your baby experiencing separation anxiety and if so, what steps are you taking to help your baby to sleep better at night?

Help Your Baby Sleep Better

Since it is risky to have the baby sandwiched between the parents on the same bed, you should always let your baby sleep on their own baby crib. The simplest way is to use a blanket and have it wrapped just snuggly around her body without trapping her hands within it. The feeling of having a warm blanket wrapped around the baby makes them feel protected and safe. 

However, if the weather is too warm or the blanket does not work, our suggestion is to consider getting your baby a beansprout pillow.

A beansprout pillow is relatively inexpensive (we got ours’ for less than $20) but more crucially you should always get one that is of the right size and weight for your baby. Too light and it may not have the right effect. Too heavy and your baby may not be able to push it away if it happens to shift and cover her face. Talk about paranoid parents…aren’t we all?

Both the mom and baby can share the beansprout pillow, especially for newborns. Newborns cannot see or hear well at birth and this continues until they are into their third month, beyond which their senses of sight and hearing will allow them to discern objects and people. For the first two months, they rely a lot on sense of smell and touch. By having moms use the beansprout pillow, the scent of the mom can be transferred to the pillow before the baby uses it. The newborn will discern that scent, feel more comforted and sleep better.

How do I scent the pillow so that it smells like me? Scenting the pillow is as easy as sleeping with it held close to your chest for 2-3 days. After that, your smell will be transferred to the pillow. The scent does not remain forever, especially after a wash, it has to be re-scented. It’s sometimes also a good idea to have it scented by other family members such as older siblings, grandparents so that the baby can recognise and bond with them faster.

Care and Maintenance

The beansprout pillow is filled with beansprout husks. To keep it clean, you can wipe it with a damp cloth and have it hanged out in the sun for airing probably once within every two weeks. It comes with a cover which you can wash from time to time to keep it clean for baby use. 

Cheeky Bonbon Beansprout Pillow
We are using the Cheeky Bonbon Beansprout Pillow

An alternative to the beansprout pillow is the bean bag for babies. We saw this at retails such as Mothercare Hong Kong and in fact, a colleague of mine was using it as well. The bean bag specification usually states it can handle up to toddlers but at six months, some babies are already outgrowing the bean bag with their feet hanging out slightly. Thus, we are not so sure this is that good an investment for long term.

The beansprout pillow is a good investment for your baby. It takes up little space, can support baby up to toddler. Best of all, you can bring it on your travels as well and enjoy watching your baby sleep soundly. 

Image Credit: Maternityexchange

Choosing the right diaper size for your baby and reduce leaks and blowouts

Shopping for diapers can be a confusing experience for first-time parents. There are a dozen brands and they are competitively priced. 

It was the case for us and we spent hours researching about them. In the end, we decided to go for Huggies NB or in some countries, it’s labelled JB. NB and JB stand for newborn and just-born respectively and basically refer to diapers suitable for babies up to 10 pounds or around 4.5 kg in weight. 

Our baby was born 3.215 kg and we left the hospital with her weighing at 3.091 kg. Babies lose a bit of weight after birth but they quickly put it back on. The NB diaper fitted her well until the third week. That was when we discovered her poo kept leaking out from the side and soiling her clothes. I remember constantly washing her clothes…

Ah well, at first, we thought it was due to our inexperience and that we were not using the diaper properly. However, after a few days, we had to admit it was due to her outgrowing the diaper. We were surprised but babies do puff up very fast in the initial weeks.

So here’s our most important tip for you. DO NOT stock up on diapers. You may worry about running out of diapers and hence decided to stock up while taking advantage of the bulk purchase discount but imagine a few bags of diapers that cannot be used! Eventually you either have to discard or donate them to others. That would be a waste of money. Our advice is to just get a bag of diapers which usually consist of 40-50 pieces. That will be able to see you through for the first few days.

A newborn may consume diapers much faster because they can’t really control their bowels. On average, expect to use up 10-12 pieces per day for the first two weeks. Then it should taper off and hover around 6-7 pieces per day. The guideline for diaper change is usually just before/after each feeding. Thus, if baby is feeding once every 2-3 hours, you will need to change up to 8-12 times per day. So don’t worry about not being good at diaper change…you will get lots of practice. 

The bright side of things is that this onslaught of diaper change is usually for the first month. From the second month onwards, it will become less frequent especially if your baby is sleeping soundly throughout the night. From then on, you probably need to change only six times per day. Please note that these numbers are from our personal experience and provide a reference but not a definitive guide.

Although we started with Huggies, we switched to Pampers upon upgrading the size to M at 3 weeks old. This came about because while testing out samples from Pampers, we found it provided a more comfortable fit for our baby. It covers her entire bottom well, is tight fitting yet not too restrictive. Our baby adjusted to the switch well, and we have been using Pampers ever since. 

Again, it wasn’t too long before our baby outgrew the M size and we were thankful we didn’t buy bags of it. In fact, we only bought one bag of M size Pampers before upgrading to the L size. Normally, the M size (suitable for 6-11 kg baby) will last for the longest time until the baby hits 7 – 8 months old. However, this was not the case with our baby who started using L size even when she is just about 5 kg. An overkill? Well, it really depends. L seems to be the new M for our baby.

Are we saying the sizing chart on Pampers are inaccurate? 

We think the sizing chart is a rough guide and parents have to monitor the performance and adjust accordingly. As such, it is probably not a good idea to stock up too much on any one particular size. This will give you the flexibility to switch to a bigger size if need to. 

Check out the Pampers Baby Dry Disposable Diapers for Newborn. It’s economical and at 104 pieces, you have enough supply for a good 9 – 10 days before you need to replenish.

Lastly, there is also a growing trend of organic cloth diaper. Made of 100% cotton and washable, it is environment friendly and you can use it over and over again. However, a single piece can set you back by $20-30 and you can’t use it once your baby outgrows the size. This is definitely a heftier investment and if you are keen to explore, here’s a link to organic diaper by Thirstiesbaby (USA).

Conclusion

There are many diaper brands out there on the market. Which one you choose is probably a matter of branding preference encouraged by your friends. The important (more crucial) point to note is not to overbuy any of the sizes, especially for the first few weeks. Babies sprout up rapidly and you won’t want to be left with bags of unused diapers. 

Do you have a question for us? Let us know in the comments, and we can get back to you. If you are a parent, share your experience with us, and do share this article!

When is a good time to start on solid foods and what should your baby eat?

Around the 4-5th month, your baby may be ready for solid food and as new parents, you may be wondering what to get for your baby. In this article, we will break down the steps and show you what to get for your newborn to make this transition a seamless one.

Step 1: How to know baby is ready for solid food?

While it varies from one baby to the other, somewhere between the 4th and 5th month, your baby may be exhibiting an increasing desire to suck his/her fingers. Trying to stop them sometimes only results in your little one becoming even more irritated and crying non-stop. If you are experiencing this, your baby may be in the early stage of teething. You can get a teething toy to help them ease the discomfort. Apart from that, this is also the timing for you to start them slowly on a partial solid food diet. 

The main staple is still milk (breast or formula) but getting the baby to start eating some solid foods daily helps them to transit smoothly to a full solid foods diet later. Your baby is learning how to eat from a spoon (new experience!) and to swallow.

Step 2: Baby is ready for solid foods. What should you get for them?

The first solid foods for your baby will be very fine cereals. So fine that they are just like milk powder. We recommend you start with the HealthyTimes Brown Rice Cereals for baby which are suitable for 4m+ babies. 

Healthy Times Organic Whole Grain Brown Rice Cereal for Baby
HealthyTimes Organic Whole Grain Brown Rice Cereal for Baby

The way to prepare is to mix these cereals using either water or milk. We recommend using warm milk, as it seems from many families’ recount that their babies do not like it much if water is used instead.

Step 3: How much to prepare?

The instructions on the package indicates 1 tablespoon of cereals to be mixed with 4-5 tablespoons of water/milk. For your first feeding, I suggest you do just that and monitor your baby’s reaction to it. Does he/she take it well or otherwise? Do note that using a spoon to feed is a completely new experience for the baby and the texture of the mix is also new, so don’t be discouraged if the baby is splitting out more than taking in. With more practice, they will get it which is very similar to how they adjust to bottle feeding in the first month.

BabynHome - Solid Foods Mix
The mixture of brown rice cereal and milk

Tips:

  • Try to feed solid foods at the second or third meal of the day. This gives your baby a bit more time to digest
  • Encourage your baby as he/she tries this new feeding, this will help the baby to accept it more readily instead of resisting it each time
  • Over time (weeks and months), you can reduce the quantity of water/milk versus the cereals to make the mix more solid
  • When using the spoon to feed, do not insert the spoon too deeply into the baby’s mouth. Their mouth is still small and soft, and if you put it too deeply, it may induce vommiting

Step 4: How do you feed this mix to your baby?

You need to get a bowl and spoon suitable for baby use. We recommend the Tommee Tippee Explora Cool & Mash Weaning Bowl. The whole set consists of the bowl and a spoon, made of baby safe material suitable for baby 4m+ and up.

We like it because it is easy to use and wash, very lightweight and you can also sterilise it. It has a lid that can latch on tightly to prevent the content from falling out. Tommee Tippee has also designed it in such a way that you can ‘click’ the spoon onto the lid and there is a cover over it to prevent it from getting dirty. This feature deserves a 4.5 stars out of 5. We would have given it a full 5/5 rating if they can somehow make the spoon retract completely within the diameter of the lid instead of protruding out. 

Tommee Tippee Explora Cool N Mash Weaning Bowl
The lid provides a storage for the spoon that comes with it
Tommee Tippee Explora Cool N Mash Weaning Bowl
The Weaning Bowl & Spoon

The Tommee Tippee Explora allows you to mix the cereals with milk and you can feed it directly to your baby. We find it very convenient to use and because it is lightweight, bringing it around does not take up much space nor add significant weight to your baby bag

Conclusion

Getting your baby to transit to a solid foods diet can start any time from 4m+. In our collective experiences, some babies may start as soon as they hit fourth month while others do so at the sixth month. You should not be overly concerned but as one parent shared with us. He said it is advisable to start feeding small amounts of solid food as soon as your baby shows signs of teething. Doing so allows the baby to learn how to chew and handle food inside their mouth. This takes practice and practice takes time. “Start small, but start early” he advised.