KIDS GUIDE 2022
Fun Days Out Choosing a School Family Staycations
Parents’ Views Foodie Focus
Baby Products Becoming a Mum Enrichment Classes Teen Hangouts Health Tips
F r o m w o r l d - c l a s s education to excellent healthcare and a safety record that keeps everyone sound asleep at night, it’s no wonder Singapore consistently ranks among the best global cities for raising a family. Of course, there’s the odd hurdle here and there! The cost of a car can make your eyes water, the humidity levels will sometimes test your limits (especially while juggling a child and a pram) and unprecedented restrictions in recent times haven’t been easy to navigate. Yet the Lion City is a tough place to fault when it comes to raising cubs. In fact, the biggest problem is often the sheer scale of choice. From schools and dentists to play centres and staycations, we’re spoilt with endless options – and sometimes we need a helping hand to make sense of it all.
That’s why every year we ask a panel of volunteer mums living in Singapore to share their experiences around being a parent here. From finding a doctor or doula to getting support for breastfeeding or satisfying a fussy eater, the EL team and our trusty contributors are with you every step of the way in the pages of this guide – and a dad provides his perspectives too. We even hear from the kids themselves, as they tell us what they love about their kindergarten or school. In addition, if nappies and pacifiers are a thing of the past for you, there’s plenty of info for teenagers! Sailing, rugby and dance are just a handful of the activities we cover, and we’ll also help you keep your parental finger on the pulse with our rundown of top teen hangouts and skate parks around the city. Spot something missing? Let us know! Get in touch on Facebook or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. In the meantime, enjoy the journey – and don’t forget to document it; we’ve got a couple of great family photographers who can help with that on page 168. Goodness knows they grow up way too fast!
4 KIDS’ GUIDE2022
Rebecca Bisset Shamus Sillar Dinesh Ajith Patricea Chow
Kids’ Guide Editors
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6 KIDS’ GUIDE2022
bumps & beyond
A to Z of Baby Trivia
18 22 24 26 29 30 35 36
Expat Parenthood: Pros & Cons Transitioning to Motherhood Tips on Finding the Right Doctor Managing Morning Sickness
Breastfeeding Insights Formula Favourites Sleep: The Holy Grail
41 Preschools, Kindergartens & Learning Centres bright young things 41
Active & Inspired
Dance & Drama Play & Therapy
54 57 62 67 74
Our Panel’s Favourite Finds Sports & Adventure Managing Screen Time
8 KIDS’ GUIDE2022
happy & Healthy
Osteopathy for Babies
Teeth Talk: Tips for Little Ones
Parenting & the Pandemic
84 86 88 91 92 96
Kiddie Spa Days
Super Supplements Ideas for Fussy Eaters
Losing the Baby Weight
in the classroom 103 International Schools &
Specialist Education Services
out & About
Choosing a Neighbourhood Panel Picks: Prams & Car Seats
156 158 160 161 168 170 172 175 179 182 186 187 188
Kids & Public Transport
Add to Cart: Threads & Toys Fab Family Photographers Animal Encounters: Feathered & Furry Friends
Top Teen Hangouts Fun Family Staycations
An Expat Dad on Family Life in Singapore
Fun for Kids: Singapore Word Play
10 KIDS’ GUIDE2022
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12 KIDS’ GUIDE2022
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13 KIDS’ GUIDE2022
GRACIE is a New Zealand- born Singapore-based writer who specialises in fashion, beauty, lifestyle and travel and has written for the likes of Harper’s BAZAAR, Vogue, Buro, Esquire and (of course!) Expat Living. She gave birth to first child Ruby in mid-2021. SUSAN is from Denmark and has been living in Singapore for 17 years now, with husband James from Australia and their two daughters, Maya Rose (12) and Joey (8), pictured here when little. This is their second stint here; before moving back to the little red dot, they lived in London and Sydney.
You’ll notice our eight Panellists popping up at various points throughout this guide, giving suggestions and reflections on a huge range of topics. They’re fellowmums in Singapore who’ve also faced the challenges of parenting, from finding the right pram to dealing with kids in a pandemic!
Malaysian-born LOUISA moved here five years ago with her three boys (two kids and one husband) after fleeing Switzerland’s infernal weather. She’s a journalist who enjoys exploring the world and exploring Singapore with her children.
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Meet the Panel
LA-born JESSICA is a barre fitness enthusiast who was part of the Barre 2 Barre team in Hong Kong before moving here to complete an MBA and help expand Barre 2 Barre into Singapore. She has a son, Harrison, who recently turned two.
SOL , from Barcelona, lived for eight years in London before moving to Singapore in 2013, where she works in life sciences and healthcare as a Partner at EY Parthenon, the strategy consulting practice of Ernst & Young. Her son Arman is 10 and daughter Ava is seven.
SHARON is a Singaporean working mother living with a Kiwi husband – they met through a triathlon club! They have a “hyperactive” little girl, Emily, who is seven years old.
Originally from Montreal, EMILIE moved to Australia in 2008 and met Singaporean husband Luke in 2010. They came here in 2015, and both their children Sienna (4) and Sarah (nine months) were born here (and coincidentally share a birthday, 21 March!). Emilie works for FIT Asia, an academy for fitness professionals.
Sri-Lankan born Aussie ESTHER is married to a Sydney lad and has spent most of her married life in Asia, starting with Shanghai in 2013, then Singapore from 2016. After a short stint back in Australia, she’s now here again, as Asia CFO for advertising agency DDB Worldwide. Esther has two girls, Mila (8) and Amelie (5).
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Bumps & Beyond
Pregnancy, breastfeeding and advice for mums
DONOT6_STUDIO | Shutterstock
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Bumps & Beyond
Yes, babies are cute and cuddly, but as this alphabetical fact file shows, they’re also strange and fascinating little things!
Dates If you’ve gone to the trouble of planning your pregnancy perfectly
Apgar Babies are put to the test pretty much as soon as they arrive on the planet –
so that your baby arrives exactly on the first day of spring, or on Chris Hemsworth’s birthday, best of luck with that! Research shows that as few as 1 in 25 babies are born on their calculated “due date”. Epidural epidural. A Spanish military surgeon named Fidel Pagés was the one who came up with the anaesthetic technique in 1921. While it’s not for everyone, we definitely know a mum or two who would raise a glass in Fidel’s honour. 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! Las t year marked the 100th anniversary of the invention of the
an Apgar test, that is. This test of a newborn’s colour, heart rate, reflexes, muscle tone and respiration, which is undertaken at one and five minutes after birth, was developed by American anaesthesiologist Dr Virginia Apgar, in 1952. Bones (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 baby develops. Colour 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. Number of bones in an adult body: 206 Number of bones in a baby: 300 Babies in thewomb can detect differences between dark and light. When they’re
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Bumps & Beyond
Jaundice Jaunice is among the most common conditions that can
affect a newborn baby. The yellowish tinge to the skin and the whites of the eyes is caused by a chemical called bilirubin, and is thought to occur in a mild state in as many as 60 percent of babies. Only a very small proportion of those require treatment. Kegel muscles of the pelvic floor after birth are known as Kegels – they’re named after Arnold Henry Kegel (1894-1972), an American gynaecologist who developed the treatment. His almost two decades of research on the topic culminated in a 1948 paper called “Nonsurgical Method of Increasing the Tone of Sphincters and their Supporting Structures”. Laughs Number of times an adult laughs each day: 60 Number of times an adult on a deadline laughs each day: 20 Number of times a baby laughs each day: 300 Yep, it’s true. Babyhood really is a hilarious time to be alive. Marks 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. Those squeezing exercises you can do to help strengthen the Some say it’s a third of all babies; others say it’s as many
Gestation Did you know that the length of time a baby is carried in the uterus – or gestation
– is counted from the first day of the last menstrual period? We tend to simplify things and describe a full-termpregnancy as ninemonths; more accurately, it’s between 39 and 41 weeks. That’s for a human, of course; an African elephant is pregnant for almost two years, while a handful of small marsupials have a gestation period of just 12 days! Hair from around the fourth month of gestation, produced by foetal hair follicles. It usually falls off in the month or so before birth, but can still be present when they’re born. It’s replaced by a different, thinner kind of hair called vellus hair. IVF Babies get hairy bodies in the womb. Lanugo is soft downy hair that appears
Englishwoman Louise Joy Brown, aged 43, was the first person born after being
conceived by in vitro fertilisation. The “test-tube baby” arrived on 25 July 1978 at Oldham General Hospital in Lancashire, weighing 2.5kg.
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Bumps & Beyond
Names According to American media company BabyCenter, these are the ten most popular first names of girls and boys born in the US in 2021: Olivia Liam Emma Noah Amelia Oliver Ava Elijah Sophia Lucas Charlotte Levi Isabella Mason Mia Asher Luna James Harper Ethan Ovaries later in life. Early in their development, a female foetus’s ovaries are home to around seven million eggs, reducing to around one million at birth. Presentation term used for a feet-down presentation, and “vertex” for a head-down presentation. Around three or four percent of pregnancies result in a baby being breech. Quadruplets happened to Mrs Vassileyev, a Russian woman in the 18th century who still holds the record for the most number of children born to one person: 69. Along with the quads, she had 16 sets of twins and seven sets of triplets. Jeepers. Restless legs syndrome (RLS) Around a quarter of all pregnant women suffer from symptoms of this annoying condition, which include scratchy or creepy-crawly feelings in the legs or feet. Its official name is Willis-Ekbom Disease. Anyone can get this affliction, by the way, even young infants themselves! Baby girls are born with all the eggs they will ever have – no new egg cells aremade Presentation is the word used for the position of the baby; “breech” is the Imagine having quads. Now imagine having quads … four times . That’s what
Sleep Number of hours in an infant’s first year: 8,760 Number of those hours that an infant spends sleeping: 5,400 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!) Taste Buds around three times as many – and they’re not just on the tongue but on the sides and roof of the mouth too. Despite this, while newborn babies can detect sour, sweet, bitter and savoury tastes from the get-go, it takes them several months to be able to detect salty flavours. Urination While the average adult has about 10,000 taste buds, a baby usually has
3: Approximate number of times a newborn baby urinates every hour. This
drops down to hourly by six months. 7,000: The number of nappies a baby might use between birth and toilet training.
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Bumps & Beyond
YouTube The phenomenon of the gender
reveal party that you see all over YouTube these days can be traced back to around 2008. Among the earliest examples was on a blog called High Gloss and Sauce, whose owner, a then-pregnant Jenna Karvunidis, used a cake to reveal her baby’s gender. She has since expressed regret for her role in the growth of the trend! Zzz… are actually very light sleepers – and for good reason. Breast milk is digested very rapidly, so waking easily and frequently allows babies to get the repeated sustenance they need to survive. Despite those amazing statistics on sleep we mentioned earlier, babies
Vernix Vernix caseosa is the creamy white substance that covers the foetus in utero. We’ve heard
it referred to as “birthing custard”, but frankly that’s not a term we will ever use again in our lives or allow to appear in print. Anyway, vernix is good stuff: it not only makes a baby greasy and easier to deliver, but it’s also thought to play a protective role before the birth and just after. Words The word “infant” comes from the Latin word infans , meaning “speechless” or “unable to speak”. Fair enough, too: most babies are a year old before they can start using simple words, though many can understand basic words (“no” and “bye- bye”, to give two English language examples) by nine months. X-ray If you were to take an x-ray of a newborn baby, there are couple of things you wouldn’t see: kneecaps. Despite all their extra bones (see “B”, above), babies are born with only soft patellas covering their knees; it’s not until around preschool age that these form into hard bony “caps”. (Another squishy spot on babies is the fontanelle, which is the area of the head where the skull hasn’t entirely formed.)
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Bumps & Beyond
What are the best and worst things about being a mother in Singapore?
Being a mother in Singapore is great because there are so many kid-friendly activities to do – from the Zoo and Aquarium, to Gardens by the Bay (for the cool air of the indoor garden walk), the dinosaur-themed walks in Changi Airport, and even Jewel Changi Airport itself! There are so many sights that are so well curated. Another positive is the fact that we get affordable help – it allows mothers to get a break when we need it. My in-laws are here so that also has been an added benefit; and who wouldn’t love to watch their grandchildren grow up? Some even joke that the best thing about being a grandparent is the grandchild, but they have to go through the hard part of having a child themselves. One thing I’m still getting used to, not necessarily as a mother, but just in general, is the heat and humidity in Singapore. This is something I’ll probably never get used to coming from Los Angeles where the weather is dry and nice pretty much all year round. Jessica
Best: Making friends with people of different nationalities – they might be different but we share a common experience! Worst: The lack of support system, and occasional but nightmarish bouts of solo parenting when the husband travels abroad. Louisa The best thing for me has been the opportunity to maximise quality time with the kids, thanks to Singapore’s excellent infrastructure and the fact that we’ve been lucky to get great help here. It means we don’t have to spend precious time commuting or on logistics and household chores. For me, the worst aspect is being so far from the family and home (this was completely different pre-pandemic as multiple annual trips back and family and friends’ visits made it “an adventure”). Otherwise, the biggest concern with raising kids here is the constant need to make sure they realise and appreciate the opportunity and privilege they have, so they grow up with the right values of gratitude, humility, solidarity and compassion. Sol
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Bumps & Beyond
I had my second child Joey in Singapore, and one of the things I really appreciate is the very high standard of care they give you. I gave birth at Thomson Medical Centre and the whole birth procedure for me was very pleasant compared to my experience in London. The service is great and the hospitals are so well prepared; the rooms are like hotels and are very nice, and – depending on what you pay for, of course – you can get your own single room or a suite! I will add, though, that I didn’t feel there was much support when I gave birth eight years ago in terms of breastfeeding issues. I was lucky enough to find Mother & Child at Tanglin Mall. Uma who heads it up is a trained midwife from the UK; she took care of me and guided me through my breastfeeding journey and helped me be more comfortable and confident. The best thing about having your babies in Singapore is that you have help whenever you need it. We had our helper cook healthy food for me while breastfeeding and she also took care of Maya Rose while I attended to then newborn Joey. I didn’t have a doula – that’s another option you can use in Singapore – but I did have friends who opted for that service and help. Susan
BEST: I LOVE THE FACT THAT WE CAN CHOSE THE DOCTOR THAT WILL DELIVER OUR BABY, WHICH IS NOT POSSIBLE IN CANADA. I ALSO LOVE THAT SINGAPORE IS VERY SAFE. WORST: I AM FAR AWAY FROM MY FAMILY. Emilie THE BEST THING IS BEING ABLE TO INTRODUCE MY CHILD TO DIFFERENT CULTURES, LANGUAGES AND FOODS, WHILE ALSO MAKING TRAVEL AN INTEGRAL PART OF HER LIFE. THE WORST THING IS NOT HAVING FAMILY AROUND TOWATCH HER GROWUP. Gracie BEST: There are plenty of support groups for mothers in Singapore, and it’s a safe haven for the kids to play. I used to live in New York and I never felt completely safe on certain streets – you never know who you might bump into. WORST: I can’t think of any at the moment! Sharon
What I appreciate
most about being an expat working mother is getting the secondmaternal figure in the house (Aunty/helper) to
help with the kids and the chores. The worst thing about being an expat
mother is not having your own parents and the network of long-time friends at your fingertips. FaceTime hugs and chats are never the same. Esther
Famous Five Singapore’s first set of quintuplets were born in 1997 – on April Fool’s Day! Dorothy Chin gave birth to three girls, Alicia, Amanda and Annabelle, and two boys, Adriel and Andre.
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Bumps & Beyond
1 REMEMBER THAT YOU MATTER Baby, family, partner, work… It all matters and it all needs your attention. But, while juggling everyone else’s needs, remember to include your own! Work some self-care into your routine – whether that’s taking a long bubble bath, doing yoga or getting your hair done because it makes you feel good. Carving out some time to reset and reconnect with yourself is crucial to your mental health. 2 FORGET “RIGHT” AND “WRONG” The beauty of motherhood is that we all do it differently. Instead of asking what’s “right”, ask yourself, “what’s working?” Reframing your mindset in this way and focusing on the positives can really go a long way in keeping you sane, and curbing any feelings of failure before major mum guilt sets in. 3 STAY FLEXIBLE Returning to work after maternity leave can be heart wrenching. But don’t beat yourself up. Keep expectations humble and drop the guilt! If anything, you’ll be a better employee for it. You might be more exhausted than ever before, but your multitasking abilities are off the charts! New motherhood is challenging, but with a little patience, it’s also a uniquely beautiful time. Talking to a counsellor can be helpful in managing your feelings and looking after your emotional wellness.
Becomi ng a mo t he r i s more than just physical and emotional transformation. It’s a full-on identity overhaul! Sleepless nights and endless nappy changes are a far cry from your old self – and, no matter how excited you are, it can be hard to reconcile your new 24-7 role as “Mum”. Here, TANJA FAESSLER-MORO, coach and counsel lor at Counsellingconnectz, shares three helpful mindsets for transitioning into your brand new identity.
Counsellingconnectz 545 Orchard Road #16-07 Far East Shopping Centre counsellingconnectz.com
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Bumps & Beyond
Doctors & Doulas
Finding Dr Right! You’ re going to have a baby – congratulations! The first thing to do is to embrace the excitement surrounding the big moment. Then you’ll need to start thinking about your preferences for pregnancy care. For some expats in Singapore, maternity costs are covered by corporate health insurance; this means giving birth in private hospitals and seeing obstetricians for prenatal check-ups. Obstetricians usually only work at one hospital, occasionally two (one private, one public), so if your health insurance doesn’t cover all hospitals, then your choice of obstetrician will be limited to those who work with a particular hospital. 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 will 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. To this end, here are some of the things you should consider asking your doctor about to get a fuller picture of how your big day might unfold. • Their general approach towards birth – is it a medical process requiring continuous monitoring, or a natural process requiring intervention only when necessary? • Whether or not they encourage birth plans • Their approach towards induction • Their thoughts on pain relief methods of various kinds, including natural pain relief methods • Their rates of C-section and episiotomies, and the situations in which they would perform them • Whether they encourage skin-to-skin contact with baby straight after birth • The hospitals they attend and their availability around your due date
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Bumps & Beyond
Helping Hand You can find many qualified doulas in Singapore offering fantastic support and guidance for expectant couples. It can be a great option, especially if you’re a first-time parent! 5 facts about doulas • The word doula derives from the Greek word for “female slave”! • Fromaround 50 years ago, it gained a new definition, referring to an independent caregiver who helps make an expectant mum feel safe and comfortable before, during and after childbirth. • The role of doulas differs frommidwives in that they offer non-medical support to mothers. That being said, most doulas will have a lot of 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 quite a fewmultilingual doulas around, should you need one – this can help if there’s a language barrier between mother and doctor.
Did you give birth in Singapore?
I ARRIVED SEVEN MONTHS PREGNANT TO SINGAPORE AND GAVE BIRTH AT MOUNT ELIZABETH. DR ANN TANWAS MY OBSTETRICIAN. Esther
Yes, both my children were born here, at Thomson Medical Centre. Our doctor was Dr Tan Wee Khin. Here’s a fun fact: Dr Tan also delivered my husband, 42 years ago! I didn’t even know that when I chose her as my gynae. I was able to achieve two drug-free births, which I am proud of. Emilie
Yes, I gave birth at Thomson Medical. My doctor was Dr Paul Tseng, who has delivered babies for so many years that he could do it with his eyes closed! He’s very much a pro-natural birth doctor and that was one of the main reasons I chose him. I initially wanted a water birth in Singapore and at that time he was the only doctor who could do it. I never got to do the water birth because the pool wasn’t available when the actual day came! Susan
I gave birth
Yes, at Parkway
at the National University Hospital (NUH) and would highly recommend it to anyone wanting to give birth at a public hospital. Gracie
East Hospital. Sharon
I gave birth at Mount Elizabeth Novena. I consulted with Dr Yeoh Swee Choo, and delivered with Dr Paul Tseng. I recommend both of them; Dr Yeoh is very thorough with her explanations and quite technical, whereas Dr Tseng is very relaxed and pro-natural (something I was adamant about in how I wanted to deliver). I’m also seeing both now in my second pregnancy as I always believe it’s safer to have two opinions. Jessica
Yes, I gave
birth to our daughter Ava
with the care of the amazing Dr Choo Wan Ling at Gleneagles hospital. Sol
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Bumps & Beyond
Did you use a doula? Would you recommend it to others?
I DIDN’T USE A DOULA, BUT I DO HAVE FRIENDS WHO HAVE AND THEY SAY IT WAS ONE OF THE BEST DECISIONS THEY’VE EVER MADE; IN PARTICULAR, IT REALLY HELPED THEM CATCH UP ON THEIR SLEEP AND MUCH- NEEDED REST. Susan
Yes! My doula Chiew
I did meet a doula; her name was Leila Ng, and I really wanted her to be my doula but the schedules didn’t seem to align. In the end, I decided I was able I recommend opting for a doula if you find it comfortable and important; however, I personally don’t believe it’s necessary. It’s all within your mindset. Jessica to go through the pregnancy myself.
Gin was with me for the birth of both my daughters. She is amazing and I have recommended her to other women. She’s worth her weight in gold, honestly! Chiew is one of the main reasons I was able to achieve my goal of a drug-free birth, especially for my eldest. Emilie I would totally recommend it to others. My birth plan was followed to the letter and it was a very positive experience; of course, everything fortunately went well from a health and medical point of view – so, I didn’t require a C-section, for instance. Compared with giving birth to our son in London where I didn’t get an epidural despite asking
WHILE I DIDN’T USE A DOULA, I DID HAVE A LIVE-IN CONFINEMENT NURSE WHEN I HAD MY FIRST DAUGHTER IN SHANGHAI. I ALSO USED A CONFINEMENT/MASSAGE THERAPIST AFTERWARDS TO HELP RELIEVE THE BLOATING AND WATER WEIGHT THAT I WAS STILL CARRYING POSTPARTUM. SHE HAD ALL THE WRAPS AND POTIONS I NEEDED TO DRINK TO START FEELING LIKE MYSELF AGAIN, AND THEY DEFINITELY WORKED! Esther
for it, my Singapore experience was way better! Sol
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Bumps & Beyond
MORE LIKE ALL-DAY SICKNESS – ESPECIALLY WITH MY SECOND DAUGHTER! I FOUND POPSICLES GAVE ME THE BEST RELIEF. Emilie
Luckily, I didn’t have any morning sickness, but I did have a high-risk pregnancy because I was bleeding in my first and second trimester. The doctor recommended no high-intensity workouts, but I continued to attend and teach barre classes. This helped me prepare for giving birth as I would otherwise feel very uncomfortable not working out just a little bit. Jessica
Did you have morning sickness? Any tips on coping with it?
I was quite nauseous
but was never actually sick. Eating constantly was the only thing that helped and I ended up gaining a whopping 30kg! I remember embarrassingly well my doctor telling me to stop eating cake… I did have lots of water retention, too, so I was looking quite swollen most of times. Susan
Because it can strike at any time of the day rather than just the morning, this side effect is increasingly referred to as “nausea and vomiting during pregnancy” (sometimes “NVP”). It affects people to varying degrees: some feel nothing; others have such severe symptoms that it leads to chronic dehydration, weight loss and hospitalisation – a condition called
I had terrible
morning/all-day sickness and tried every trick in the book to help deal with it, but in all honesty, nothing worked. I just had to ride it out. Gracie
Recommended Remedies • Ginger: This great natural remedy can be found crystallised, powdered, and in sweets and biscuits – or try fresh ginger tea. • Mint: Drinkingmint tea or chewingmint gumcan help, and you can actually buy the gumformedicinal purposes inpharmacies in Singapore. • Vitamin B6: This is thought to reduce nausea and vomiting. • Acupressure band: A soft wristband that acts on your pressure points can ease nausea.
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Bumps & Beyond
For some mums, breastfeeding comes easy; for others, it’s a battle! MILK
There’s no end to the number of irritating or painful issues that new mums can face during the breastfeeding phase of a baby’s early life. Here are 10 for starters: • cracked or sore nipples • blocked milk ducts • inverted nipples • mastitis • thrush • a baby who won’t latch on properly • low milk supply • a baby who feeds continually • a baby who falls asleep at the breast • a sleepy baby who doesn’t wake to feed So, is it worth the effort? Many mums would say yes. 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!) Also, there’s a good body of research that suggests that breastfeeding has many benefits for mum and bub alike.
30 KIDS’ GUIDE2022
Bumps & Beyond
Potential benefits for mother: • increased chance of postnatal weight loss • a better bond with the baby • a reduced risk of breast, ovarian and endometrial cancer • it can provide a degree of natural contraception Potential benefits for baby: • an improved immune health and fewer infections • a reduced risk of diabetes • a reduced likelihood of childhood obesity • a reduced risk of SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome) While rates of breastfeeding tend to be low in Singapore – particularly the number of mothers who are still nursing at six months – it’s a more breastfeeding- friendly city than you might 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! Need some support? 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: Mother & Child 6836 0063 | motherandchild.com.sg Breastfeeding Mothers’ Support Group 6337 0508 | breastfeeding.org.sg Parentlink 6536 4626 | parentlink.com.sg
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Bumps & Beyond
If you breastfed your baby, how did you find the experience? of breastfeeding support groups that made my life infinitely easier – and fenugreek really helped whenever my supply was low (from lack of sleep, anxiety as a first-time mum and so on). I was also prone to mastitis and never gave up, but my mental health suffered as a consequence. It’s not for everyone but would I do it again? In a heartbeat. Louisa Facebook has a number
I did breastfeed, but without any expert help – only the lactation nurse at the hospital who gave some tips. I did it for up to a year, to the point that I didn’t get my period back until a year later. That was my biggest issue – not getting my period back. Jessica
I BREASTFED BOTH KIDS (MY SON FOR SIX MONTHS, AND MY DAUGHTER FOR FOUR AND A HALF). I DIDN’T NEED TO SEE A SPECIALIST. Sol
32 KIDS’ GUIDE2022
Bumps & Beyond
I breastfed Emily for 14 months and had issues producing milk at the beginning. Given that my husband’s past job is a professional triathlete, he understood my body mechanics; he massaged my breasts and – voila! – the milk came. It was the most painful experience of my life but all worthwhile when the breast milk flowed… Sharon I breastfed Sienna for almost three years and I’m currently breastfeeding Sarah who is eight months old. It’s been fairly easy, but I definitely valued the help I got from my doula with Sienna. I had fairly sore nipples at the beginning and also got mastitis when she was nine months old. The timing was pretty awful as we were flying to Montreal and I had high fever and a splitting headache on two long flights, while caring for a baby! Emilie I DID BREASTFEED, BUT I WASN’T VERY GOOD AT IT! THE MORE FRUSTRATED I GOT, THE MORE IT DIDN’T WORK. I SOUGHT HELP FROM UMA AT MOTHER & CHILD, AND THAT HELPED A LOT. GETTING MASTITIS THREE TIMES WAS AWFUL AND EXTREMELY PAINFUL BUT I GOT THROUGH IT WITH UMA’S HELP, WHICH I’M VERY GRATEFUL FOR TO THIS DAY. Susan
I’m currently breastfeeding and plan on doing so for as long as I can. But it’s not easy and it requires a lot of practice. In the early weeks, I suffered from incredibly painful cracked nipples. They got so bad that I ended up in tears every time I had to feed my daughter and was ready to give up. I was also dealing with a forceful letdown, which is when your milk comes out too fast and hard, causing baby to choke and gag. I ended up seeking help from a lactation consultant who was able to showme how to latch properly and gave me tips for managing my letdown. Thankfully, my milk has now regulated and my daughter is big enough that the letdown is no longer an issue. Gracie I BREASTFED BOTH MY GIRLS FOR EIGHT MONTHS EVEN THOUGH I WENT BACK TO WORK AFTER THREE MONTHS. MY FIRST TOOK TO IT WITH EASE, BUT MY SECOND FOUND IT HARD TO LATCH. I HAD A NURSE AT MOUTH ELIZABETH HELP ME THROUGH THIS, WHICH I WAS VERY GRATEFUL FOR. I LOVED BREASTFEEDING – AND THE ADDED BONUS WERE THE CALORIES I LOST! Esther
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Bumps & Beyond
Figures & Facts A few bits of trivia you can try out at a baby shower… 7 Capacity of a newborn baby’s stomach inmillilitres, or just over a single teaspoon 75 Approximate percentage of women who produce more milk in the right breast than left 87 Percentage of breast milk that is water; the rest is fat (nearly 4 percent), protein (1 percent) and lactose (7 percent) 40 Approximate percentage of infants around the world who are exclusively breastfed under six months of age 600 Number of calories that breastfeeding can help you burn each day Colour: Breast milk is commonly white with a yellowish tinge. But it can also come in many shades: blue, green, pink, orange and more! It just depends what you’ve eaten or drunk.
Colostrum: The first time a baby latches acts as a trigger for your milk-producing cells to supply your first breast milk, known as colostrum. Colostrum has special proteins that line baby’s intestinal tract to protect it from harmful bacteria. Convenience: If you’ve mastered pumping breast milk, you can freeze milk in a freezer-safe container for up to three of four months. (Just avoid thawing it in the microwave – milk can heat unevenly and be too hot in one area.) Contents: Breast milk contains stem cells that can repair internal organs, bacterial cells to help with baby’s immune system, and white blood cells to fight bad bacteria and viruses. These increase when either mother or baby is unwell.
34 KIDS’ GUIDE2022
Bumps & Beyond
Joey was 4.1kg when she was born and was a very hungry baby, so she was starving all the time. I felt like I was breastfeeding constantly, so I gave her some formula to top her up a little. In England, when I had my first baby, Maya Rose, I gave her Aptamil; but that wasn’t available in Singapore back in 2013, so Joey got NAN – and she loved it! I remember setting up a little NAN formula bar in the nursery so it was easily accessible. Oh my lord, the collection of bottles we used to have! I used so many bottles – Singapore has countless brands that you can choose from, but the winner for Joey was Japanese brand Pigeon. She liked that the bottle has a softer teat compared to other brand bottles. Susan you use, and which bottles worked best? If you supplemented with formula, which did
Similac. Avent. There are so many bottles out in the market. What I learnt from all of this is that sometimes less is best. Just sticking to a conventional bottle is good enough. We don’t need anything fancy –most of it is a marketing gimmick! Sharon
I SUPPLEMENTED WITH SOY MILK BECAUSE I WAS ALLERGIC TO COW’S MILK WHEN I WAS A BABY. SO I DECIDED TO GIVE MY SON ENFAMIL AND ISOMIL – SOY PROTEIN. I USED COMOTOMO BOTTLE AND EVENTUALLY MEDELA. BOTH WORKED REALLY WELL. AS MY SON GREW OLDER I MIXED SOY PROTEIN WITH COW’S MILK TO SLOWLY INTRODUCE HIM. THEN I WOULD SWITCH IT UP BY BUYING COW MILK POWDER AND MIXING WITH SOY OR ALMOND MILK. Jessica
I SWITCHED TO FORMULAWHEN I WAS READY TO STOP BREASTFEEDING. I INTRODUCED A BOTTLE OF MY BREAST MILK BY WEEK SEVEN OR EIGHT TO GET THE BABIES USED TO TAKING A BOTTLE TOO. Sol
I did one feed a week with formula from week six. This was to make sure that they liked the taste and got familiar with a bottle as I was planning on returning to work at three months. I used Bellamy’s Organic Formula and Avent bottles. Esther
35 KIDS’ GUIDE2022
Bumps & Beyond
Let’s Talk About …
Along with the great joys of motherhood come a few fairly trying situations, one of them being sleep deprivation.
10 SLEEPLESS SCENARIOS Babies and toddlers can experience a range of sleep issues – and these end up making parents lose lots of sleep. Here are some common ones: #1 Not falling asleep unless rocked, patted or bounced #2 Not falling asleep unless taken outside and pushed in a pushchair or driven in a car! #3 Not falling asleep for up to an hour or more #4 Waking at the same time every night and not going back to sleep again for an hour or more #5 Waking several times during the night #6 Only sleeping if co-sleeping with a parent #7 Waking at the crack of dawn or earlier #8 Still waking for a night feed when older than nine months #9 Continually getting out of bed #10 Only napping in a pushchair or baby sling, not in the cot
Are you yawning yet? It’s estimated that having a new baby results in around 400 to 750 hours lost sleep for parents in the first year!
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Bumps & Beyond
10 BOOKS Parenting books have been around for ages – the first to hit the “big time” was The Common Sense Book of Baby and Childcare by Dr Benjamin Spock, released in 1946. In the US, it outsold every non-fiction book except the Bible for over 50 years. Since then, new baby books have emerged at a steady rate – many with a focus on sleep. Here’s a list of a few popular ones: #1 Alexis Dubief, Precious Little Sleep #2 Gina Ford, The Contented Little Baby Book #3 Kaz Cooke, Babies & Toddlers #4 Marc Weissbluth, Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child #5 Harvey Karp, The Happiest Baby on the Block #6 Sheyne Rowley, Dream Baby Guide #7 Sarah Ockwell-Smith, The Gentle Sleep Book #8 Richard Ferber, Solve Your Child’s Sleep Problems #9 Robin Barker, Baby Love #10 Tracey Hogg, Secrets of the Baby Whisperer
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 are some great tools and sources of information to help you in your quest for the holy grail of sleep – both for you and baby alike.
First thing in themorning, we’re really tired, and we look at each other and we wonder, ‘Are we ever going to get sleep?’ And yet, it doesn’t matter if you don’t get sleep. It’s an honour to take care of them.” – Angelina Jolie
This title by Dr Sarah Mitchell is among the new batch of sleep- related books to come out in 2021
37 KIDS’ GUIDE2022
Bumps & Beyond
10 APPS & GADGETS Along with monitors and other physical devices, there are countless apps available on the topic of baby care, including ones to help with sleep issues. #1 Cloud Baby Monitor: Live-streaming app so you keep an eye on your sleeping baby without a monitor (needs two devices to work) #2 Sound Sleeper : App that plays white noise to help baby sleep, with the option of tracking your baby’s sleep so you can find out more about their patterns. #3 iBaby Air: Along with detecting harmful VOC elements (carbonmonoxide andmore), this gadget is an audio monitor, a colourful night light, a temperature gauge and more. #4 Baby Night Light: An app that gives off a soft light and peaceful sounds to soothe baby #5 Owlet Smart Sock: Wearable socks with sensors that track heart rate and oxygen levels and send notifications to an app and base station. #6 Baby Sleep Sounds: This app emits a variety of rhythmic “shushing” sounds to help baby fall asleep. #7 SNOO Bassinet: It’s not cheap, but plenty of parents swear by the SNOO, a “smart” bassinet that lulls infants to sleep with a rocking motion that you control by an app. #8 Riff Raff Sleep Toy: A soft toy that promotes falling asleep and resettling through the use of sound, comfort and routine. #9 Sleepy Sounds: This app comes with a night-light function, plus you can record your own sounds. #10 Snuza Hero: This baby monitor is a lightweight device that keeps a constant check on breathing motions while they sleep, and sends an alarm if required.
Our baby in particular is, we think, allergic to sleep. We think that she thinks that she’s protecting us from the sleep monsters. She’s like, ‘Oh, I gotta keep them up or the sleep monsters will get them.’” – Ryan Reynolds
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Bumps & Beyond
I’M STILL GOING THROUGH IT – HA! I CO-SLEPT WITH SIENNA UNTIL SHE WAS FOUR AND I DO CO-SLEEP MOST OF THE TIME WITH MY EIGHT-MONTH-OLD, SARAH. I FIND THAT EATING A HEALTHY PLANT-BASED DIET, RUNNING AND USING A BIO MAT EVERY DAY HELP ME TO STAY ON TOP. Emilie
How did you manage sleep deprivation?
Honestly, I don’t think anything can prepare you for the lack of sleep, but the best piece of advice I can give you is do whatever you need to do to get your little one down! Whether that’s feeding to sleep, rocking or walks in the carrier, there are no bad habits – so long as whatever you’re doing works for you and your family. Also, I highly recommend following The Sleep Teacher (@thesleepteacher) and Lyndsey Hookway (@ lyndsey_hookway) on Instagram if you have any questions regarding your baby’s sleep. They both have a different approach, which I found really useful. I was able to pick and choose what worked best for me and my little girl. Gracie
I CO-SLEEP WITH MY YOUNGEST – IT MAKES NURSING HIM TO
SLEEP A LOT EASIER! Louisa
Not even sure howwe managed… I guess we just rode it out. It was tough! Sol
We took the “divide and conquer” route! A little co- sleeping in the first month, and a helper to assist with daily house chores so that both Scott and I could focus on Emily. Sharon
With my first, the confinement nurse slept in the same room as the baby and woke me up for feeds. After the feed, I would change her nappy, wrap her tight and place her back in the crib. If the baby didn’t settle, the confinement nurse would take over. With my second baby, I spent most of my maternity leave in Sydney and I did struggle without the constant help – and also a gassy baby who woke every 90 minutes. I did try and catch up on this sleep during the day wherever possible; my mum helped a lot with that. Esther My children were awful sleepers – I would say co-sleeping was the only thing that worked for all of us, so I slept with the baby and my then 3.5-year-old. Co-sleeping made it easy to nurse in the night and that saved my sanity a little bit. It’s not for everyone and a lot of people don’t like it, but whatever works for your family is the right thing to do. I read Gina Ford for the second baby, and that method and structure worked for Joey. (It didn’t work with my first daughter – she hated it!) Susan
I luckily seem to have breezed through this! I was so happy to have a child (I’d tried for almost two years) that I was happy to breastfeed every three hours. I co-slept with my son; we’d have the portable bed next to our own bed, and when I did have to wake up to nurse, I made sure to have good posture, so I didn’t have any back pain – this is something I always knew to do, given my barre background. While I was nursing, I would read the news, emails, whatever I could do to make sure I was awake enough to nurse my son. I made sure I didn’t fall asleep as I’ve heard some scary stories about a parent doing that while breastfeeding and the baby being unable to breathe. That was a real fear for me, but after I put my baby down I would always manage to head back to sleep. Jessica
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Bright Young Things
Preschools, kindergartens and learning centres
Artkids International Preschool
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