GUIDE 2020


Editor’s Note

I thought by this time my time in life I would be an empty nester… but one of my chicks has returned! And it’s nice. When you’re in the thick of parenthood early on, it’s more difficult to savour the moments, so I’m trying to do that now. I spent most of the time when they were younger thinking “Nowwhat do I do!?” Being a mum or dad is one of the most challenging jobs we’ll ever have to do in our lives – and you can’t do it alone. As an expat parent being away from your home country (or if you have parents who aren’t very “involved”) you end up being more dependent on your peers. And, since they’re still experiencing it all too, it can be a more useful source of information! That’s why every year we ask a panel of volunteer mums and dads living in Singapore to share their experiences. From breastfeeding issues to the best buggies, favourite neighbourhoods, approach to screen time and preferred schools, we’re sure their feedback is going to be relevant and helpful for you. Whether you’re decking out a kid’s bedroom or booking a holiday – or you’re simply over the heat and need an indoor play place to hide in – there’s heaps of information in this guide, as well as online at And, if your sense of humour has disappeared under a pile of tantrums or homework, Shamus has compiled a guide to telling dad jokes on page 212! If you want to contribute to the jokes, have a moan or just need a bit more information about anything to do with pregnancy, having babies or bringing up kids, do get in touch with us. We’re on Facebook or you can email us at

Rebecca Bisset Editor-in-Chief

PS Don’t forget to keep up to date with your family photos! See more on page 154.

Littleones Photography



Rebecca Bisset Shamus Sillar Anthia Chng Amy Greenburg Lindsay Yap Leanda Rathmell Liana Keddie Nur Hanani Kamal Luddin Michael Bernabe Jeanne Wong Anna Tserlingas Siti Shahirah Khirudeen Veena Gill Susan Knudsen-Pickles Karin Galley Danielle Rossetti Jacqui Young Lara Sage Colin Purchase


Group Editor

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Published by Expat Living Publications Pte Ltd 37 Jalan Pemimpin, #07-06 Mapex Building Singapore 577177 Printed by Times Printers Pte Ltd (

Cover: Little Big Shots (

10 KIDS’ GUIDE2020




54 Preschools, Kindergartens & Learning Centres






22 Baby Trivia 24 Expat Parenthood: The pros and cons 27 Insurance Insights 28 Doctors to Doulas:

75 Energy Burners:

109 110

Kids’ Health in Singapore

Top ways to wear kids out!

Children & Weight

79 Awesome Arts 83 Next-level Learning 87 Singapore’s Sporty Spectrum 93 Camps & Clubs 100 Life Lessons in a Book 102 Managing Screen Time

111 113

Little Snorers

Finding the right support

Teeth Talk: Dental tips for kids

32 Morning Sickness: Facts, tips and advice 34 Breastfeeding Insights 40 Sleep: The Holy Grail 46 Meeting Mums: Play and support groups

117 122 126 129 130

Weaning 101

Kids & Cuisines

Tips for Fussy Eaters

Cooking Classes

Losing the Baby Weight





160 International Schools & Specialist Education Services



196 Tots & Transport: How to get around 198 Nice Neighbourhoods: Family-friendly areas 202 Holiday Heroes: GETTING AROUND & AWAY 195 204 Broods Abroad: Rated destinations 208 Tips on Travelling with Kids

138 Mum’s Essentials:

Three must-have things!

142 Skin Saviours 144 Strollers & Car Seats: The Panel’s picks 148 Fashion Favourites 150 Bedroom Buys 151 Toys Galore 154 Precious Memories: Getting great family photos

210 An Expat Dad:

Some words of advice

212 The ultimate guide to Dad Jokes! 214 Important Numbers

Staycays and babymoons

215 Advertiser List 216 Parting Shot:

Holidays for 2020, sorted!



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Whether you’re a new parent or you’re planning t o move he re with your troop, we ’ ve rounded up a trusty panel of seven readers who ’ l l prov i de helpful tips and advice throughout this guide.

Typhaine de Bure has been living in Singapore after moving from New York 11 years ago. She has two daughters, Emeline (7) and Annabelle (5). Her background is in finance, but she’s always had an entrepreneurial streak. She started Lice Lassies, a head-lice removal business, a year ago.

Sarah Alden is anAustralianwife, businesswoman and mother of three children, Darcy (14), Georgia (11) and Sinclair (8). Sarah stopped working earlier this year to focus on family and to spend more time with Darcy who is going to boarding school in Sydney. The family has been in Singapore for four years, having moved here from regional NSW. Sarah is also studying for her MBA, something she has wanted to do for a long time.




Originally from the UK, Gail Zobrist and her family have just started their eighth year in Singapore. Before that, Gail lived in Hong Kong for 13 years and spent a year in the Kingdom o f B a h r a i n . S h e works at Rain Trees International School, and has three children, Josh (15), Aisha (12) and Francesa (8).

Shimaali Fernando-Gomez was born in Sri Lanka but had previously spent 20 years in America before moving here in July 2019. She’s a stay-at- home mum to children Diren (13) and Rekaa (9).

Aussie Caroline Jones moved from Sydney to Singapore with her three-month-oldwhen her husband got a new job here. They’ve been living on the Little Red Dot for over four years now. Her daughter Violet is now almost five and has just started school. Violet’s little brother Sebastian was born in Singapore just over two years ago.

Kuala Lumpur-born Joanna Ti left Malaysia when she was nine years old. She lived in Jakarta for nine years before moving to Dublin. She studied university in the Irish capital and met her husband there too. Following a three-year stint in Chicago, the pair moved here three years ago. Joanna is currently a radiologist at the National Neuroscience Institute, and has three children, twin girls Naomi and Lara (3), and Adam (1).

© Hayley Durack Photography

New Zealander Rebecca Lewis grew up in Singapore from the age of five, then returned to her home country for university. She’s been here this time for nine years with husband Joe and kids Zoe (3) and Max (2). The couple work together at their own PR and content agency, Mutant Communications. They also own and operate Trouble Brewing, a local brewery that creates beers for restaurants, bars, cafés and hotels across the island.




Originally from the UK, Gail Zobrist and her family have just started their eighth year in Singapore. Before that, Gail lived in Hong Kong for 13 years and spent a year in the Kingdom o f B a h r a i n . S h e works at Rain Trees International School, and has three children, Josh (15), Aisha (12) and Francesa (8).

Shimaali Fernando-Gomez was born in Sri Lanka but had previously spent 20 years in America before moving here in July 2019. She’s a stay-at- home mum to children Diren (13) and Rekaa (9).

Aussie Caroline Jones moved from Sydney to Singapore with her three-month-oldwhen her husband got a new job here. They’ve been living on the Little Red Dot for over four years now. Her daughter Violet is now almost five and has just started school. Violet’s little brother Sebastian was born in Singapore just over two years ago.

Kuala Lumpur-born Joanna Ti left Malaysia when she was nine years old. She lived in Jakarta for nine years before moving to Dublin. She studied university in the Irish capital and met her husband there too. Following a three-year stint in Chicago, the pair moved here three years ago. Joanna is currently a radiologist at the National Neuroscience Institute, and has three children, twin girls Naomi and Lara (3), and Adam (1).

© Hayley Durack Photography

New Zealander Rebecca Lewis grew up in Singapore from the age of five, then returned to her home country for university. She’s been here this time for nine years with husband Joe and kids Zoe (3) and Max (2). The couple work together at their own PR and content agency, Mutant Communications. They also own and operate Trouble Brewing, a local brewery that creates beers for restaurants, bars, cafés and hotels across the island.



Littleones Photography


#1 BONY BABES Trivia time! Yes, they’re cute and cuddly, but they’re also odd little things... Here are 10 factoids you mightn’t know about your bundle of joy. (Try them out as a Baby Shower quiz!) Babies: Brilliant, Beautiful, Bizarre! #3 SLEEPY HEADS Number of hours in an infant’s first year: 8,760 Number of those hours that an infant spends sleeping: 5,400 Number of bones in an adult body: 206 Number of bones in a baby: 300

(approximately) That’s right. Newborns are full of bones – almost a hundred more than we carry around inside us. What happens to the extras, we hear you ask? They fuse together as the baby develops. #2 SQUISHY KNEES Despite all those additions, there’s one bony thing that babies don’t have – well, two things: kneecaps. They do have a soft patella, but it’s not until around preschool age that this forms into a hard bony “cap”. (Another squishy spot on babies is the fontanelle, which is the area of the head where the skull hasn’t entirely formed.)

That’s a lot of sleep. For adults to achieve the same ratio, we’d need to knock off from work at 5pm, be in bed and fast asleep by 5.30pm, and not wake up until 8.15am the next day. (Just enough time for a quick coffee and back into the office!) #4 LOSING SNOOZE Despite those amazing statistics on sleep, babies still manage to deprive their parents of something like sevenwhole weeks of sleep over the course of their first year, by being awake preciselywhen no parent needs them to be awake. Sigh. #5 MAKING A MARK Some say it’s a third of all babies; others say it’s as many as 80 percent. Either way, it’s entirely common for a baby to have a birthmark or “stork mark” of some kind when they’re born. Most of these end up disappearing on their own over time. Also, despite what many people believe, they’re generally not related to any kind of trauma to the skin during childbirth. #6 DUE DATES If you’ve gone to the trouble of planning your pregnancy perfectly so that your baby arrives exactly on the first day of spring, or onChris Hemsworth’s birthday, best of luckwith that! Research shows that as few as 1 in 25 babies are born on their calculated “due date”.

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Babies in the womb can detect differences between dark and light. When they’re born (at

which time they are very short-sighted), they can make out shapes where those different shades intersect. The first

colour they recognise, however, is the primary colour red. After a week, they can generally make out yellow, orange and green, too. Blues and purples take longer. #8 LET’S GO AGAIN!

Imagine this: a house filled with 69 children, consisting of 16 sets of twins, seven sets of triplets and four sets of quadruplets. Now imagine them all having the same mum. That’s what happened in Russia in the 18th century, when a Mrs Vassileyev set the record (still current) for the most number of children born to one person. Yikes. #9 LAUGHING LONGER Number of times an adult laughs each day: 60 Number of times a baby laughs each day: 300 Yep, it’s true. Babyhood really is a hilarious time to be alive. #10 HELPING HAND “Fetomaternal microchimerism”: that’s the term given to a process whereby a baby in the womb transfers its own stem cells into its mother’s organs if she happens to have suffered some damage. While research into this is ongoing, it does appear possible that a foetus can help repair mum’s body in some way. Amazing! Number of times an adult on deadline laughs each day: 20

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Life as an expat mum is great because ...

... my children can see different cultures and ways of life. One of the best payoffs about expat life is gaining a larger empathy for others, and expanding our world views. Shimaali

... we can make travel an integral part of our children’s lives. Typhaine

... my children are exposed to so many different cultures here. We make new and amazing friends from all over the world, which means they will grow up with a more global view and a special connection to Singapore. Caroline ... we are all exceptionally lucky. There’s nothing bad about being a foreigner in Singapore. While it can be difficult being away from family, we are so privileged to live the lives we do. Most of us have the luxury of good jobs, good earning potential, help with our children and the opportunity to travel, eat well and launch businesses. Rebecca

... we have friends from all over the world, and my kids are exposed to different cultures, languages and foods. We also get to share our love of travel with them. Personally, another plus point of being an expat mother in Singapore is having a helper; this has been a game-changer for me. Not only has it allowed me to maintain a healthy work-life balance, it has probably also preserved my sanity as an individual! Joanna ... we get to have so many experiences, not just as a family but also as individuals. These include travelling around the region and learning all about the different cultures, celebrations and traditions. I love seeing my children grow up in a multicultural environment; they learn to accept everyone for who they are, and get to try an amazing variety of foods from around the world. Gail

... we can expose our children to this wonderful world of multiculturalism. Sarah

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But it also has its challenges, including ...

... not having our family around. We use Facetime a lot! Typhaine

... having to say goodbye to international friends, which is always sad. It’s also difficult when there are no family members around to see the children grow up or celebrate special moments together. Sometimes we miss certain foods from our home countries, too. Gail

... making close friends in a new country, which can be difficult; and, honestly, sometimes you can feel like you don’t really belong here. Joanna

... you have to work hard to keep the children grounded and focused on family values. Sarah

... not having family close by while your little people are growing up. I feel sad every day that my children don’t get to spendmore time with their grandparents, aunties, uncles and especially cousins. Caroline ... the feeling of being alone. It takes a while to find your village. And, with a husband who is eternally travelling or busy, it feels a lot lonelier as the comfort of family and close friends isn’t as accessible as it once was. While I’m glad to be an expat in this century, with all its conveniences of being able to Facetime and WhatsApp, it’s still not the same as being back home. Shimaali

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Best for Is your little one covered?

As parents, we all want the best for our babies, particularly when it comes to their health. Health insurance is a given, but when exactly do you need to get it? Can you still get it while you’re pregnant or is after your child is born okay? We find out more from the team at online health insurance platform UEX Global . If you’re planning on having a baby: It’s recommended to subscribe to some form of maternity coverage for at least one year before giving birth. Upon subscription, you have to check if your newborn will be covered by the insurance plan to make sure he or she will be covered right from day one.

If your baby is already born: Here’s how you can add your child to your health insurance coverage with UEX: • For those on international plans UEX’s international coverages (AXA or APRIL International) with a maternity plan will cover your newborn from the first day if the mother has been covered with a maternity option for more than one year. All you need to do is to add him or her to the mother’s policy within 28 days after the birth. With this plan, your child’s vaccinations and paediatrician fees will also be fully covered. If your plan has no maternity option, you can still add your baby to your policy after birth. • For those on local plans Under UEX’s local coverage, you are not automatically subscribed to a maternity plan. But you can still cover your newborn by putting him or her under your policy. There will be a 14-day waiting period, and your baby will be covered from Day 15. The option covers some paediatrician fees, but no vaccinations will be reimbursed. If you’re not a UEX member and you need insurance for your baby, find a plan that suits your needs and budget. For more information, visit

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Every woman has different preferences for childbirth, so you should do plenty of research and visit a number of obstetricians if possible. It’s important that you feel comfortable, because you’ll be sharing intimate and personal details with them. There’s a lot to think about, but to make the most of the short nine months of pregnancy and have a positive experience of labour, you need to feel confident that you’re in the right hands. Finding Dr Right Things to consider when choosing an obstetrician. What to ask ... A list of useful questions – from basic to complex – that you may want to get answers to before choosing your obstetrician. #1 Which hospitals do you attend? #2 Are you available around my estimated due date? If you’re unexpectedly not around at the time I give birth, who would be your backup doctor?

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Did you give birth here?

#3 How involved can I be in the decision- making process during pregnancy and labour ? #4 What are your thoughts on pain relief in labour? Do you assume that everyone will rely on some kind of medical pain relief, or do you support and encourage natural pain relief methods ? #5 Will you and the hospital staff respect my birth plan but provide guidance if and when it needs to be changed? #6 Are you open to me having a doula at the birth? #7 What are your thoughts on electronic foetal monitoring during labour, and when do you think it should be used ? #8 What are your rates for induction, caesarean section and episiotomy? In what situations do you consider or recommend these ? #9 What do you think about time limits for labouring ? #10 How often do you use forceps or vacuum extraction to deliver a baby ? #11 Will I be able to have skin-to-skin contact with my baby and start breastfeeding shortly after the birth ? #12 Are you willing to let me have a vaginal birth for my second baby even though I had my first via caesarean ? #13 How do you feel about vaginal breech birth? If you support it, what conditions do you have ? #14 How do you manage the third stage of labour, the birth of the placenta? Do you allow it to happen naturally, or do you intervene and give an injection to expel the placenta ?

I was a little overwhelmed with obstetrics and hospital choices whenwewanted to start trying for our second child. Our first step was to find an obstetrician who was happy to work with my IVF clinic in Sydney as we still had a frozen embryo there that we wanted to use. I came across Dr Lai Fon Min from A Company For Women inCamdenMedical Centre and he was wonderful in helping me in the lead-up to my transfer in Australia, so once I successfully fell pregnant I had no doubt I wanted to continue with him. I gave birth at Mount Elizabeth Orchard. Dr Lai is the most thorough and particular obstetrician I’ve come across, which was reassuring. I’ve since found out many of my friends from Singapore are also his patients, but I had no idea at the time. Caroline Both my daughters were born here and it was a wonderful experience. Dr LC Foong at Gleneagles was my obstetrician. Typhaine Yes – both times at NUH with Prof Chong. I’ve had such great experiences both times and found it to be a really supportive environment. I loved the nurses there – they were superstars. Rebecca I gave birth to our third child here. My obstetrician was the incredibly experienced and competent Dr Dev (Devendra Kanalingam), a Senior Consultant in Singapore General Hospital. I chose this hospital purely for practical reasons; I’m a SingHealth employee and hospitalisation was covered. Joanna

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What is a doula? The word doula derives from the Greek word for “female slave”, but today refers to an independent caregiver who helps make an expectant mum feel safe and comfortable before, during and after childbirth. A doula is different from a midwife in that they offer non- medical support to mothers. That being said, most doulas will have experience and knowledge about labour and delivery. Doulas can help expectant mums follow a birth plan, and assist with advice on pregnancy issues, particularly when it comes to pain management. There are qualified multilingual doulas in Singapore, too, should you need help with a language barrier.

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Hear from a happy mum about her experiences at pre- and post-natal centre Mother and Child. Hand Helping

MaryScot Thom and Avery (9 months) Nationality: New Zealander Time in Singapore: 5 years

In my prenatal classes with Mother and Child, the midwives provided me with non-biased information that helped me explore options like natural birth, C-section, induced labour and epidural. The classes were intimate, which made it easy for me to ask all the burning questions I had. It was also informative for my husband to speak to other first-time parents. After giving birth, it was awhirlwind with all the hormones, late nights and exhaustion from the delivery. During the first four weeks, I was lucky to have my husband on paternal leave while we adjusted to this new life. The day he went back to work – a Monday – I cried uncontrollably. All of a sudden, it was me on my own with this new beautiful human. It was weirdly overwhelming. In all my emotion, I remembered that Mother and Child hosted its baby café (now named “Meet-up-Mondays”) between 2pm to 4pm. Sleep-deprived and teary-eyed, I braved my way to the Tanglin Mall location. The first person I met was Nikki. She greeted me with a huge smile, a coffee and no judgement. I remember feeling instantly at home and at ease. There were other lovely mums there in very similar situations, and

we shared stories and much-needed laughter about what we’d all just gone through. Nikki answered all of our questions and provided us with non-biased support for all of us as new mums. We also gained tools to deal with issues like sleep and lactation problems. It was reassuring to know that, through all the ups and downs, there was a place to turn to.

#03-11 Tanglin Mall, 163 Tanglin Road 6836 0063 |




No one likes morning sickness – or “nausea and vomiting of pregnancy” (NVP) as doctors prefer to call it, because it can strike at any time of the day – but it’s a very common side effect of early pregnancy. Here are some helpful facts, tips and advice on getting through it in one piece.

I throw up an exorcist amount every day. – Amy Schumer

... on the nausea nobody wants!

I’m beginning to have morning sickness. I’m not having a baby, I’m just sick of

How can I have morning sickness when I don’t get up till noon? Rita Rudner

morning. Phyllis Diller

My mother had morning sickness after I was born. Rodney Dangerfield

You’re so lucky you never had morning sickness. It’s horrible. Like a hangover without the good time! Joni Rodgers

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8 Things You Mightn’t Have Known About Morning Sickness #1 Medically, the exact cause of morning sickness isn’t known, and the reason why some women suffer horribly from it and a lucky few escape its curse, no one knows. The growth hormone hCG is a suspected culprit, as is a surge in oestrogen. #2 There’s no one-size-fits-all cure, but certain remedies have better results than others, and finding out what works for you is really a trial-and-error process. #3 Eating little and often is said to help, as nausea is often aggravated by a drop in blood sugar levels; having five or six small meals a day that combine complex carbohydrates, proteins and good fats can be effective. #4 Many have specific trigger foods (often fatty or spicy foods) or smells, which can change throughout the pregnancy. #5 A handful of women are affected by nausea so severely that without proper management it can lead to chronic dehydration, weight loss and hospitalisation – a condition called hyperemesis gravidarum . The Duchess of Cambridge, Kate Middleton, is a high- profile sufferer of the condition. #6 Ginger is considered a great natural remedy, whether it’s in crystallised or powdered form in sweets or tea. Mint tea and mint gum are also used frequently – the latter can be bought in Singapore for medicinal purposes at pharmacies. #7 Vitamin B6 is thought to help reduce nausea and vomiting. #8 Some women find success using an acupressure band (a soft wristband that acts on your pressure points to ease nausea.)

Did you have morning sickness? If so, do you have any tips to avoid?

I experienced morning sickness with my second and third pregnancies and I think a lot of it was down to tiredness. My tips are to exercise regularly and rest whenever you can. Sarah I had pretty good pregnancies so I can’t complain too much. I had the “delightful” type of morning sickness where I felt permanently hungover for 24 hours a day until about I was 16 weeks pregnant, but there was no vomiting so I’m thankful for that. In my first pregnancy, I also had debilitating lower back, sciatica-style pain, even from very early on, so I spent a lot of money on physiotherapy. I recommend finding a great physio, doing lots of stretching and prenatal pilates, wearing flats to work and avoiding too much sitting at a desk if you are working. Caroline I didn’t have morning sickness, but I had acid reflux and never quite figured out how to relieve it. Thankfully, it went away once my kids were born. Typhaine Ohmy gosh, yes. I’ve had it both times, but my second pregnancy was far worse. I was sick every day, and could basically only eat foods like bread, pasta and potatoes without vomiting. I called it my “beige phase” and I wouldn’t even wish it on my worst enemy. I have no tips except to see your doctor and get some anti-nausea meds! It was the only thing that worked. Rebecca I didn’t get morning sickness, but rather, “evening sickness”! Small portions of the foods I like, usually salty and savoury dishes, helped to alleviate the symptoms for me. Joanna

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FACT FILE Is breast milkwhite?Well, it can be. It’s commonly white with a yellowish tinge. But it can also come in all kinds of shades: blue, green, pink, orange and more! It all depends what you’ve eaten or drunk. You can burn up to 600 calories a day by breastfeeding. The volume of breast milk you’re able to produce is not related to your breast size. In short, the more milk your baby drinks, the more your breasts produce, whether they’re small or large. Breast milk contains stem cells that can repair internal organs, bacterial cells to help with baby’s immune system, and white blood cells that can fight bad bacteria and viruses. When you or your baby are sick, the cell count in your milk increases! Around three quarters of all mums produce more milk in their right breast than their left. The first time a baby latches on to feed acts as a trigger for your milk-producing cells to begin supplying your first breast milk, known as colostrum. Colostrum has special proteins that line baby’s intestinal tract to It’s thought that having a wide diet and exposing your baby tomore flavours during breastfeeding can result in them being less picky about food at the weaning stage. Breast milk can be used to replace cow’s milk in recipes when you start your baby on solids. Mum’s Some new mums take to breastfeeding like ducks to water. For others, it can be an absolute trial, leading to cracked or sore nipples, blockedmilk ducts, inverted nipples, mastitis or thrush. For every mother who struggles to get their baby to latch, another has trouble getting them off at the end because they’ve fallen asleep. So, is it worth the trouble? We look at some of the issues around breastfeeding below. protect it from harmful bacteria. Breast milk is 87 percent water.

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Freeze for Ease! If you’ve mastered the knack of pumping breast milk and you have some extra time, you can actually freezemilk for up to three of four months in a regular freezer, so long as it’s in a freezer-safe container. Avoid thawing it in themicrowave, though, since the milk can heat unevenly and be too hot in one area. Mother and Child: A team of lactation consultations and counsellors, midwives, childbirth educators and more, offering a support network for mothers in a relaxed setting. 6836 0063 | Parentlink: Breastfeeding counselling at your home. 6536 4626 | There are plenty of reasons why it’s at least worth persevering with breastfeeding. For one thing, once you and baby get the hang of it, it can make life so much easier. You can feed your baby anywhere, without having to worry about sterilising bottles, trying to find hot water and carrying around enough formula for the day. (It’s also cheaper!) Plus, there’s a good body of research that suggests that breastfeeding has many benefits; these range from reducing the risk of diseases inmum and baby alike, to creating a better bond between the two, increasing mum’s chance of postnatal weight loss, and reducing the likelihood of childhood obesity. While rates of breastfeeding are low in Singapore, it’s still a more breastfeeding-friendly city than you’d expect. Most shopping malls here have at least one nursing room where you can breastfeed, bottle feed and change nappies. Some even have sterilisers, hot water dispensers for making formula and high chairs for feeding solids. These areas can really help when you’re out and about on the go! If you’re having trouble with feeding, most hospitals hold classes every morning for new mums, and many run free breastfeeding clinics for former patients. Alternatively, you can seek help from one of the following organisations: BreastfeedingMothers’ Support Group: Breastfeeding workshops for mums-to-be, new mums and mums returning to work. 6337 0508 |

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Did you breastfeed? If so, did you seek help from an expert? Any particular issues you’d like to share?

Yes, I breastfed my children, and for both times I had a lactation consult with the awesome ladies at Mother and Child after giving birth. There is such a lack of education and information in Singapore about breastfeeding, so I would urge every new or expecting mother to seek out a qualified lactation consultant to understand how you can make your journey easier. My main issue is that women assume breastfeeding comes naturally – and it can, for some. But for many women it’s something that needs to be learned, so it’s important to get the right information from up-to-date sources (i.e., trained lactation consultants). Rebecca I did breastfeed all my children for about a year each. I had mastitis with my first, and had an amazing lactation specialist (Ms Chee) in Hong Kong who helped at all times of the day and night. I will never forget her help and kindness. Gail I mainly pumped as I could not get a good latch. The lactation consultants at SGH were amazing and spent ages helping me while I was recovering from C-section. Due to anatomical reasons, pumpingwas what eventually worked for me. One nurse even spent an hourmassagingmy breasts as I was incredibly engorged on my third day. I cannot recommend them highly enough. Joanna

Yes, I breastfed all three of my children for a period of six to eight months. Breastfeeding can be frustrating and painful at first, yet once my body adapted to my babies’ feeding demands, which usually took about six weeks, I ended up enjoying feeding and found it an intimate experience with all of them. Sarah Yes, I breastfed and was lucky enough to have very few issues. I did suffer mastitis several times with both children, but after the first time I was better at knowing what symptoms to look after so I was always quick to head straight to the doctor. I can’t emphasise this enough. If you feel like you are continually getting blocked ducts, taking Lecithin can really help you manage it day to day, but you really need to see a doctor if it gets worse. My son was also diagnosed with tongue and lip tie at birth. It wasn’t causing us any major issues with latching but as he suffered bad reflux we decided to have it released in the hope it would help. Our surgeon worked with Mother and Child at Tanglin Mall and they helped with pre- and post-procedure management. Caroline

Both my girls were breastfed and we quickly moved to

formula. Typhaine

I don’t know if La Leche League exists in Singapore but it should. Saved my life. Shimaali

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If you supplemented with formula, which did you use, and which bottles worked best?

Zoe was fully on formula by about nine months and she used Bellamy’s, whereas Max used KariCare goat’s milk formula, as he had some initial issues with cow’s milk (but was fine by the age of one). I spent a small fortune on bottles with Zoe as she refused to take them entirely until we put formula in them – she only wanted milk straight from the source! Max was fine with bottle- feeding, and we used the Tommee Tippee bottles. Rebecca

Enfamil. We went through tons of bottles until we found the one that worked best for each child. One of them liked the Medela kind; the other one liked Avent. We went through so many different nipple types too! My advice would be to figure it out by process of elimination. Shimaali Formula Facts Most infant formula is made from cow’s milk, though soy-based varieties are also common, along with those made from broken-down (hydrolysed) proteins. The first rubber nipple for baby bottles was patented by Elijah Pratt in New York in 1845. The protein level in cow’s milk is too high for babies; formula is modified to reduce this, and vitamins, minerals and fats are added so that the final product more closely resembles breast milk.

I used Aptamil formula. I had used this with my twins and they tolerated it very well, so I saw no reason to switch. I’m a big, big fan of MAM bottles. I love how easy they are to clean, and all three of my babies were very happy using them, too. Joanna

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We had to try different brands of formula, but we were loyal to Dr. Brown’s bottles. I remember being in the US Embassy waiting for my eldest daughter’s passport appointment when she was just a few weeks old. I started chatting with a woman who was also waiting and she highly recommended Dr. Brown’s. It was a lifesaver for us and a great reminder of the importance of mothers helping mothers. Typhaine

My daughter would never take a bottle as a baby (I tried so many!), but I managed to get her to take the Como Tomo silicone bottle once I introduced her to cows’ milk at 13 months. I also had a lot of trouble getting my son to take a bottle too, but he finally took the Como Tomo with Nan Ha formula at about nine months. Caroline


... on nursing, nipples and more

As a breastfeeding mother, you are basically just meals on heels. Kathy Lette

Breastfeeding should not be attempted by fathers with hairy chests, since they can make the baby sneeze and give it wind. Mike Harding

If anything else woke up every 45 minutes during the night demanding to see my wife’s breasts,

We all have nipples. I don’t care who I offend; my baby wants to eat. Selma Blair

you’d kill it. Ryan Reynolds

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So, what are some of the positives of pumping? • You can maintain a regular milk supply, including having backup milk in the freezer. • It allows you to relieve engorged breasts. • It’s great for mums who have trouble nursing – through latching problems, for instance, or not having enough supply at feed time. • You don’t have to be the only one to feed your baby (your turn, hubby!) • You can go away or back towork and still have breast milk to give to your baby. • You can even donate extra milk to mothers who aren’t able to breastfeed their own babies. Getting the knack of a breast milk pump can be a godsend – every mum can use a break from breastfeeding, after all. EXPRESS YOURSELF!

When and how to start This will change from person to person – some mothers begin soon after birth, especially those who have trouble nursing; others wait weeks or months until they have the breastfeeding process fully sorted. To start pumping breast milk, you’ll of course need a pump. One great option – and the winner of a recent design award – is the GoMini Electric Breast Pump by Japanese baby and mother care company Pigeon . Here are some of its key features that are likely to appeal to mums wanting to match the switch to pumping: • It’s compact and lightweight, with a sleek and elegant look – ideal for at work or when you’re out and about. • It’s designed to use with one hand, with a textured surface for easy gripping. • You can plug it into an electrical outlet or a power bank. • It offers Stimulation and Expression modes.

The GoMini Double Electric Pump is available in major department stores and baby speciality shops.

For more information, visit

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Along with the great joys of motherhood come a few fairly trying situations, one of them being sleep deprivation. Common questions include: Why won’t my baby sleep at night? Will I ever get a full night’s sleep again? How can my husband sleep through all that crying? For many mums, books can be a great resource and apps a useful tool in the quest for the holy grail of sleep. Sleep Seeking There’s an old saying, “People who say they sleep like a baby usually don’t have one.” Yep, pretty much!

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BOOKS Some parents prefer not to subject their babies and toddlers to sleep training, especially if they think it involves leaving them to “cry it out”. However, sleep training has been shown to improve the lives of many parents and little ones within a very short time. Plus, not all sleep training involves leaving them to wail the night away, which can tug at the heartstrings! There’s a range of books out there too, which outline various sleep- training methods. Here are 10 of the more popular ones, ranging from new to old, and serious to humorous. Gina Ford, The Contented Little Baby Book Kaz Cooke, Babies & Toddlers Marc Weissbluth, Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child Harvey Karp, The Happiest Baby on the Block Sheyne Rowley, Dream Baby Guide Alexis Dubief, Precious Little Sleep

APPS When it comes to apps, there are literally thousands available on the topic of baby care – and the number grows daily – but here’s a small handful that may help as an actual physical aid to your little one nodding off. Baby Sleep Sounds: Emits a rhythmic “shushing” sound to help baby fall asleep. BabyNight Light: Soft light and peaceful sounds to soothe baby. Lullaby for Babies: Simple songs and lullaby “classics” that can be set to play to a timer. Cloud Baby Monitor: Live-streaming app so you keep an eye on your sleeping baby without a monitor (needs two devices to work). Sleepy Sounds: Has a night-light function, plus you can record your own sounds. Did you know? The first parenting book to hit the “big time” was published 73 years ago. The Common Sense Book of Baby and Childcare by Dr Benjamin Spock sold around a million copies on its release in 1946 and for over 50 years outsold every other non-fiction book in the US except for one: the Bible. Among his key ideas were that every baby has its own distinct needs, and that parents should trust their instincts (“you know more than you think you do”).

Sarah Ockwell-Smith, The Gentle Sleep Book Richard Ferber, Solve Your Child’s Sleep Problems Robin Barker, Baby Love

Tracey Hogg, Secrets of the Baby Whisperer

And, if all those fail, there is of course the infamous book by Adam Mansbach and Ricardo Cortes, whose name escapes us for the moment, but we know is available in spoken word format (by Samuel L Jackson) on YouTube.




How have you managed sleep deprivation?

Daytime naps were key for me, though my husband did help a ton with night feeds. Typhaine

In my opinion, the only thing that works for sleep deprivation is sleep training. I know some people think it’s cruel or controversial, but unless you’ve tried it with the help of an actual professional, you can’t really have an informed opinion on the subject. It is life-changing, and despite what some people believe, it’s not about “letting your kid cry” to the point of causing long-term damage! There’s no damage involved! The transition is very short-lived; for both my kids it took only one or two days as they got used to the new way of doing things. Then, guess what? They slept through the night. And they still do – with the exception of developmental leaps, teething, sickness or jetlag. No tears, no drama. Once sleep-trained, always sleep-trained, so even if they do fall out of whackwith it, it’s pretty simple to reinstate. I became a much better, stronger, more compassionate and thoughtful parent after we sleep trained, because I could finally rest. There’s a reason sleep deprivation is a form of torture, so I don’t know why we voluntarily put ourselves through it when there are solutions out there that can help. Rebecca I loved the Baby Wise book ( On Becoming Baby Wise: Giving Your Infant the Gift of Nighttime Sleep ), and sleep training definitely helped. We also had a small fridge in the nursery stocked with breast milk so my husband did the night feeding and I was able to get more sleep. Shimaali My husband is incredibly supportive and we would split the nights into two shifts, so that I would get a few hours of uninterrupted sleep. During that time, he would feed, burp, change, carry and rock the baby. Joanna

Yikes, do any of us really manage? We just somehow get through it. Before I had children, I was a nine-to-ten- hours-of-sleep-a-night person, so the newborn phase really knocked me. But it is amazing how your body just copes and your hormones keep you going, and then one day they do finally start to sleep better! (Yet you can never sleep in again!) But in the thick of the first few months, all I could do was try and nap or just lie down as much as possible in the day to try and make it more manageable at night. Once a baby is old enough, getting them into a routine really makes a difference for both of you. My secondwas a pretty terrible night sleeper, but it drastically improved with amore structured night-time approach fromabout sixmonths, and since he turned 14months he has been absolutely amazing. Caroline Sleep deprivation is brutal. My husband and I decided not to talk about how tired we were after Georgia was born so we could focus on other positive things, such as how much we loved our new baby girl. Sarah

How hormones can help Cuddling and feeding a baby triggers the release of oxytocin, the “love” hormone, which can ease the effects of too little sleep.

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What are some great apps to know about as a mum- to-be, a new mother, or a mum of toddlers, tweens or teens in Singapore? With my first pregnancy, I used the What to Expect app. I didn’t really use any the second time round. Joanna We had the lock-out app Our Pact to lock the screens at certain times when the children were a bit younger. As they have gotten older, at home and school we talked a lot about issues like cyber bullying, screen time and addiction, and the children are understanding it more. We are very strict about phones and electronics, so no screen time is allowed when eating. When we go out for meals, it’s very upsetting to see many families give their child a phone to play with or an iPad to watch while eating. Where have the social interaction and table manners gone? I think when a child has gotten used to the screen, it becomes a battle to remove it. Also, it shouldn’t be used as a bribery tool. We also use Common Sense Media to check what movies and books are appropriate for the children to watch. Kim

MyTransport App is good for newcomers planning their public transport route in the quickest way possible! Also, Lazada and Amazon Prime for all those last-minute purchases, the National Library app for borrowing books, and Fave for local Singapore service deals. Other apps I love as a mum include Podcasts and Spotify to listen to while walking a baby, Sprout for when I was pregnant, and Artkive for when your toddler discovers a love of art but you don’t have the space to store all their creations! Caroline Screentime is a great app that monitors which websites your children have visited. We also use Kasa, which allows us to turn the TV on and off remotely. Sarah

Appy Days? • Value of the global app economy in 2018:

S$2.5 trillion S$8.6 trillion

• Predicted value of the global app economy by 2021:

• Number of app users in 2018:

3.4 billion 6.3 billion

• Predicted number of app users in 2021: • Total time spent using apps in 2018: • Predicted total time spent using apps in 2021:

1.6 trillion hours 3.5 trillion hours^

^ 3.5 trillion hours is equivalent to 400 million years...

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Like-mindedMums If you’re looking for other new mamas who you can share your parenting experiences with, or just a place for baby or toddler to play if they’re not old enough for preschool, here’s a roundup of some of the active play and support groups in Singapore. Blissful Babies A social group of expat and local mums with babies up to 24 months and some mums-to-be. East Coast Mums’ Support Group A Facebook group for new mums on the East Coast to connect with each other and discuss issues around

babies, business, products, services and more. Singapore Active Toddler Playgroup A group for expat and local mums who like to do activities with their kids in the company of others. The Singapore East Coast Baby and Toddler Playgroup For East Coast babies and toddlers, from newborn to three years, and their parents. Toddler-Playgroup St George’s Mums and Tots For newborns to four-year-old toddlers that love indoor and outdoor play, head over to St George’s Church for nonstop fun. Tea & Tots Let your little ones between eight and 18 months enjoy circle time, sensory play, music, storytelling, movement and arts and crafts at this boutique.

Stork’s Nest This Facebook support group offers help with everything from speech therapy and lactation to medical advice for your child. New Mothers Support Group The New Mothers Support Group is a voluntary circle for expectant mothers, new parents or parents new to Singapore with children up to age five. They have been supporting and advising for over 20 years.

Also, see our list of breastfeeding support groups on page 35.

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