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.

 

Parenting Tip Ep 15: Bring home the Michelin restaurant and not have to worry about baby logistics

After the birth of our baby, we hardly go out for meals. In fact, the first 2 months were really a period of confinement. Physically I was recovered and ready for buffet. My confinement helper has a different take on that but anyways…I didn’t go out much and if I did, it was for casual strolls around my apartment.

I missed the pre-baby days. As one friend would candidly put it, “How I wish I can stuff the baby back into my tummy!”

My husband didn’t get it and to add to it, he wasn’t a foodie either. Thus, he is getting along fine munching on the same food day in day out.

As for me, I was going a bit crazy and thoughts of food keep dropping in. Just to set the record straight, I enjoy food but not someone who goes food-hunting. BUT TWO WHOLE MONTHS is just way too much. I feel like a prisoner of baby.

It is a challenge to go anywhere as baby has to be fed once in every 2 hours…3 hours is max interval and we tried not to test that limit too often. We drove but it doesn’t help. Just getting baby in and out and down to the nearest cafe/restaurant to and fro is already an hour plus. Furthermore, many restaurants which we used to frequent are popular and crowded. Long story short, not easy to find an eatery which caters to baby strollers…for better understanding, we were living in Hong Kong then.

The Secret Recipe from my brother…

I love cooking but for a family of two (now three), it was difficult to whip up something elaborate just for a meal. Thus, we often take our meals outside.

Then my brother shows me his secret recipe and cooking skills using a slow cooker and an auto spin halogen cooking pot.

The output is delicious lamb shank that tastes as good (if not better) than what’s sold at the restaurants. I dare say the recent meal we had easily rivals the best out there and probably for half the price…though there is quite a bit of washing up to do. My husband is good at washing, so…it’s not an issue 🙂

First, let me show the final product.

These taste really good! Michelin level I say!

I have to give credit to my brother for showing us how he did it. He prepared it in one afternoon. Actual time is 90 mins for slow cooking and another 30 mins or so for the final touch using the auto spin halogen cooking pot.

I am going to walk you through the steps so that you can also prepare your home-cooked Michelin dishes. Suitable for everyone and especially so for the confined parents.

Step 1: Put the lamb shank (or other meat) into the vacuum zipped bags

For this recipe, we cooked lamb shank but you can experiment with other meats. The first step is to put the meat into the vacuum zipped bag.

I hear you asking. Why don’t you put it into the water?

Two reasons. First, the slow cooker can become really oily if you put it in the same container of water. Second and more importantly, if the lamb shank is slow cooked while it is immersed in water, it will lose part of its flavour to the water. The idea of the vacuum bag is to keep the taste and nutrients intact within the meat. (i.e. it is not lost to the water)

The zipped bags come with an air valve at the corner. The purpose is for you to vacuum out the air from within after putting in the meat. This helps to keep the meat in close contact with the heated water, allowing it to be cooked. Otherwise, it may be really slow…

Vacuum Bags for the Lamb Shank
You need two vacuum bags with a mini vacuum to extract the air from within

Step 2: Slow cook for 90 mins

Depending on meat type, you want to slow cook it for around an hour at least. We did 90 mins for our lamb shank and it turned out…perfectly!

There is nothing you need to do while it is being slow-cooked. Just leave the zipped bag (with lamb shank) inside the pot and the precision (slow) cooker will do the trick.

ANOVA Slow Cooker
The ANOVA precision cooker in action. The red pot is sold separately, you can use any pot

Step 3: Bring on the Auto-spin Halogen Cooking Pot (Optional)

The purpose of the auto-spin halogen cooking pot (what a mouthful of words!) is to give the lamb shank a bit of crispyness to it. It creates the barbecue effect but in a healthy way as heat is evenly spread over the entire chunk of meat (wrapped in aluminimum foil). There is no charring on the meat, so you get your barbecue fix without causing greater burden to your health.

Auto-spin Halogen Cooking Pot
This is a cool appliance, it auto-spins and gives off light. From a certain angle, it looks like a spaceship from Star Wars

I listed this step as optional as you can still enjoy your lamb shank or other meat without it but imagine eating a bag of french fries without chilli or ketchup. Enjoyable but not epic, as they say. With the auto-spin halogen cooking pot, it provides the finishing Michelin touch.

Try it, I guarantee you will love it!

The above recipe works well for most kinds of meat. Lamb shank is our all-time favorite but you can experiment with different meats.

Oh, there’s one more thing. The sauce.

My brother concocted the sauce using a combination of herbs (basil), garlic and olive oil. Mix these ingredients together and cook them in a frying pan for a few minutes. After that, use this sauce to go over the meat before you put it into the vacuum bags. I am jumping around a bit but I forgot to mention that prior to applying this sauce, the meat should be marinated with Mustard. We use the Traditional Dijon Mustard which you can purchase conveniently from any super marts.

This can be bought easily from any department store

 

The Sauce
The secret is actually…in the sauce!!!

I think I covered everything for this simple to execute recipe. If my husband can do it, so can you. LOL

Let me know if you have any questions about the equipment or steps in my recipe. For quick reference, I am listing out the appliances, items mentioned in this article so that you can find them easily.

…I cannot communicate taste with words but the lamb shank really turned out very well. We attacked it with vigour and within minutes, the whole plate was gone. Our baby looks on from her crib…wondering when she can join in.

Happy Cooking, Happy Family Time minus all the headache of baby logistics!

Products mentioned in this article

   

Parenting Tip Ep 10: A Simple Guide to Baby Tooth Care

Our baby loves to grin at people and it’s cute because she has what you call a toothless grin. 

At 5 months old, she is at the beginning stage of teething, so there is no tooth. Though there is no tooth, it is still a good idea to clean her gum daily. You can do it after each meal. If not, at least once a day would be good. Usually, we clean her gum at the end of the day, right after her last feeding.

What’s the way to clean your baby’s gums?

The easiest way is to use a soft cloth. Wet it with water and then wrap it around your finger. With that, gently clean her gums top and bottom, front and back.

The alternative of using a soft cloth is a finger brush.

The Oral Care Rabbit from MAM: Your baby will love this!

This is how one looks like and you can get it from Amazon or your nearest retail. It is convenient to use, easy to wash and relatively inexpensive.

When’s the best time to start cleaning your baby’s gums?

You can start cleaning your baby’s gums even before the first tooth appeared. There is no harm in doing so, and in fact, it is a good way to develop the habit of tooth care from a very young age. At first, your baby may resist it a bit but once you develop a routine, they will get used to it and even look forward to the cleaning each time.

Our baby loves it and we clean her gums after the final feeding for the day. Over time, it has become a routine for her to go to bed after the cleaning. Babies love routine actually!

Myths and Facts

  • Baby’s first teeth are not permanent, thus there is no need to be too concerned with their care. Indeed, a baby’s first set of teeth is not permanent but failing to care for them properly can lead to gum infection which in turn can affect the future teeth.
  • Drinking tap water is good for teeth protection. Yes and No. Depending on where you live, you want to check to ensure the water is safe for drinking, especially by your newborn. Tap water usually contains fluoride which protects the teeth from acid attacks. The alternative to tap water is using fluoride toothpaste which is suitable for your child when they turn 2 years old. When using fluoride toothpaste, caution should be exercised to use only a small amount of toothpaste. This helps to ensure your child does not swallow excess toothpaste.
  • Babies drink milk predominantly and thus there is no need for oral care especially if they have no teeth. The gums are an important part of your baby’s well-being. In addition, starting early with oral care also helps them to build a good habit from young.

Tooth or not, it is a good practice to have your baby’s gums cleaned on a daily basis. Both you and your baby will experience the far-reaching benefits of oral care from starting at a young age.

Product 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

Parenting Tip Ep 7: Anxiety over Baby Poo

The sight of baby poo can be quite exciting the first time. It also brings a sense of relief to us to see our baby pooing normally. 

Well, I guess everything has its honeymoon period.

In the weeks that followed, we had no idea when she will poo. A few times, we were caught by her poo flying across the air while changing her diaper. Once, I even avoided it by moving quickly out of harm’s way. My wife said it felt like a scene from Matrix where everything seems to go slow-mo. That was my only lucky time. Subsequently, baby would surprise me when I have my guards down. It was a lot of family fun 

Sometimes, I think the baby isn’t that innocent because I swear I saw her smiling after she succeeded in getting me dirty…

It comes with the territory, I guess. 🙂

With time, we developed a sense for her pooing timing and here’s a few tips to share. 

Baby usually poos after a meal, if they haven’t already. Halfway through the feed, they may just let it loose. So always get ready and if you are feeding her on the bed, it’s better to get a changing mat on standby.

As they grow older (for us, it’s 3rd month onwards), they will develop a habit of pooing at a certain timing of the day. Some prefer in the morning, others at night. No matter when it is, once it becomes a habit, you can almost expect them to poo around that time. Our baby loves to poo after a nice meal taken after her daily bath. It’s almost guaranteed. In a way, that really helps us to prepare. 

Baby does not poo for days. Oh no, what’s going on!!!

While we have not come across this ourselves, our friends’ baby did not poo for six days and according to them, the 7th day there was an explosion! I cannot imagine that explosion…six days is a lot of poo that’s stored up. 

However, before you start getting paranoid, some babies do poo once after every few days. Ideally, we prefer our baby to poo every day. After all, it is better not to keep anything inside for that long. Excrement helps to cleanse the body. 

In the event you find your baby not moving their bowel smoothly, one tip is to apply some olive oil onto their stomach. Do it by rubbing the oil using your hands and in a downward movement, rub it gently over their stomach. You can also massage their stomach using small circular (clockwise) movement with your fingers. This helps to relieve them of any stomach wind (bloating) and helps in overall bowel movement. The best time to do this is right after their bath.

You don’t have to hunt for special olive oil. We use olive oil that is also usable for cooking. So it’s killing two birds with one stone.

Alternatively, if you prefer to get something specifically made for baby, you can also order the Plant Guru Olive Oil. This is 100% pure olive oil and poses no danger to your baby due to any chemicals, preservatives, coloration etc. 

We hope you enjoy this article and the tips for helping your baby with pooing. Do not worry too much if your baby is not pooing daily. A newborn is able to go up to two weeks without pooing if they are on an exclusive breast milk diet. That’s because all the nutrients are absorbed by the baby. Each baby differs from the other, we believe. We are on an exclusive breastfeeding diet, but so far our baby poos almost every day. The only difference is the quantity. 

Product recommended in this article:

 

Write to us if you have a question or leave us a comment and share your personal experience. We love to hear from you!

 

 

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!