Joogo Baby https://baby.joogostyle.com beloved, fearfully and wonderfully made Sun, 02 Dec 2018 13:45:09 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.0 https://baby.joogostyle.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/cropped-Favicon-Joogo-L-32x32.png Joogo Baby https://baby.joogostyle.com 32 32 Challenges of Exclusive Breastfeeding https://baby.joogostyle.com/challenges-of-exclusive-breastfeeding/ https://baby.joogostyle.com/challenges-of-exclusive-breastfeeding/#respond Sun, 02 Dec 2018 11:07:05 +0000 https://baby.joogostyle.com/?p=603 I planned to write about the challenges in breastfeeding while doing a breastfeeding series in April 2018. However, it was a pain to write about the pains of breastfeeding. Moreover, the challenges in breastfeeding varies quite a bit from mother to mother. So I procrastinated and […]

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I planned to write about the challenges in breastfeeding while doing a breastfeeding series in April 2018. However, it was a pain to write about the pains of breastfeeding. Moreover, the challenges in breastfeeding varies quite a bit from mother to mother. So I procrastinated and forgot about it.

17+ months have passed since I started breastfeeding and things got significantly better when she got older. I tried to wean her off and it seemed to be working until our untimely Korea trip, coupled with her viral fever. My toddler regressed to nurse like a newborn.


The Different Paths Mothers Take 


Mothers I know (with full term healthy babies) start with exclusive breastfeeding or nursing. But after a while, a few other scenarios can emerge:

  • Exclusive Breastfeeding (nurse and pump): Latch the baby and later on interchange with bottle feeding of breastmilk.
  • Exclusive Pumping:
    • Because of bad latch, sore nipple, slow flow, etc, mothers give up on latching and do exclusive pumping.
    • Some mothers want to have a routine, and it is easier to set and measure the feeds with bottle feeding. E.g. during sleep training.
    • Mothers want to know with certainty that the baby is full, unlike nursing.
  • Exclusive Nursing (without pumping): Because of baby’s bottle rejection or the chore to wash the pump parts and bottles, mothers simply latch on demand. I belong to this category!
  • Mix feed (breastmilk and formula): Because of low supply, mothers give up on nursing and introduce formula milk along with breastmilk. Yet there are also mothers with good supply who will still give formula from birth because they don’t want the babies to reject formula.
  • Exclusive Formula / Early Introduction of Solids: Some simply choose not to give breastmlk. Or maybe the baby has medical conditions that required measured feedings. And in rare cases where baby rejects breastmilk or milk in general. It happened to a friend of mine!

Common Challenges of Exclusive Breastfeeding 


Before I gave birth, many parents shared a little about how hard breastfeeding is. They simply hinted by saying, “It’s okay if you feel like giving up,” without going into the gory details. Perhaps they didn’t want to dissuade me before I start. Good thing I did a little research to prepare myself and those around me about breastfeeding and its challenges.

Top Breastfeeding Challenges

I decided to re-visit the challenges of breastfeeding because recently I have two friends struggling with latching – one has given up and the other one is on the verge. Both have different circumstances but both led to similar struggles to give up nursing, and probably breastmilk soon. Their reasons resonated with the top three breastfeeding challenges of mothers in this study about exclusive breastfeeding in Ghana:

  1. Belief that breast milk alone was not sufficient in meeting their babies’ nutritional needs
  2. Short maternity leave period
  3. Socio-cultural pressure to introduce water and artificial feeds

Opposition or Cheerleaders?

After hearing so many stories, I think one of the major challenges or encouragement to your breastfeeding journey is the people around you. It’s important to surround yourself with the right people. But in the case of family members and confinement lady, they will still be there in your crucial first month.

Thus, you have to be careful of what you hear. To do so, research, read and be informed about breastfeeding before giving birth. You will then know what advice to take in. Otherwise as first time mothers, you will be overwhelmed by the myriad of advice and just take in whatever from experienced ladies who are not experts in breastfeeding.

Convince or inform your husband, parents, parents-in-law and other family members about your wish to breastfeed and choose a confinement lady who is pro-breastfeeding. However, when the baby cries, they might still dissuade you from breastfeeding and introduce formula early in the game to stop the cries.

Ultimately, it’s about your will and beliefs to stand against all odds. How to bolster your will? Brainwash yourself with the benefits of breastmilk and read testimonies of breastfeeding mummies. More on this in the section at the end, “Why Press on through the Challenges” .


Practical Challenges of Breastfeeding 


If you realised, the top challenges of breastfeeding are not the breastfeeding act itself. It’s more of the external factors. But of course, there are the pains and frustrations of breastfeeding itself.

Sore, Cracked Nipples

Sore nipples is common. Our nipples are not used to being sucked that hard, so they need to be conditioned by the baby’s suckle. It will get better in time. Meanwhile use breastmilk as natural lubricant. In my case, I needed something more to alleviate my pain. Hence, I used Lansinoh HPA Lanolin Nipple Cream*. It’s good to get a tube of nipple cream on standby! It acts as a lubricant to prevent or heal sore or cracked nipples. Avoid petroleum based products on your nipples.

Also don’t use soap and alcohol to clean your nipple, it could dry or damage your skin, nipples or areolae. Just rinse your breasts with clean water during your daily bath or shower. There’s no need to worry about hygiene. The glands around the nipple will secrete natural oil that discourages bacteria growth, so your breastmilk is safe for baby to drink!

After nursing, it’s best to air your nipples, or blow warm air across the breasts for 2-3 mins. It provided a brief respite for my aching nipples! In dry climate, moisture will help more.

* You can set up an account with this Pupsik referral link or referral code: 4748898.

Pinkish Milk

Sometimes, mothers get “bandung”, pinkish milk that is caused by tiny amount of blood in the milk. It usually happens during expressing or pumping. Common causes are sore, cracked nipples, poor breastfeeding latch or “Rusty Pipe Syndrome”. This syndrome occurs in first time mothers as a result of old blood left during pregnancy.

Milk Blister

I had recurrent milk blister due to a supposed bad latch. Milk blister will block the milk ducts, which is not a good thing. With milk blister on sore nipples, I get abrasion pain even from wearing bras, and especially when the baby nursed.

I couldn’t take it anymore and so used alcohol wipes to wipe (sewing) needles and poked those blisters. But it’s actually quite a risk, some mothers got infection as a result. Best to get professional to do it. Otherwise, the best treatment for milk blister is to feed frequently. Ouch!

Plugged or Blocked ducts

Plugged or blocked duct is an area of the breast where milk flow is obstructed, leading to engorgement. This is a common problem too. It could be because the nipple pore is blocked, or the obstruction is further back in the ducts.

How do you know if you have blocked ducts? Feel your breast all around, and if you feel any hardness or pain, there’s a blocked duct. Bottom line, your breasts should feel soft.

How to unblock? 

  • Best treatment for engorgement is to nurse frequently. Then express milk after nursing to drain the breasts.
  • Be familiar with different breastfeeding positions, e.g. cradle and football hold. Point the baby’s chin to the part of the breasts with blocked ducts.
  • Before nursing, massage and hand express. Massage the areola to clear the blockage, then gently massage your breast in circular motions, stroke towards the nipple and hand express. This will clear your blocked ducts with lesser pain and make the milk flow faster. Find youtube videos on how to hand express.
  • Before nursing, place a warm compress over your breast to promote let-down of milk and relieve plugged ducts. A warm shower or bath may also help.
  • Avoid tight-fitting clothing, including underwire bras.

Mastitis and Breast Abscess

Mastitis is an inflammation of the breast that usually comes with fever above 38.5°C (101.3°), chills and flu-like aching. The pain and swelling in mastitis is usually more intense than plugged ducts. It is most common in the first 2 to 3 weeks and may come on abruptly, usually affecting only one breast.

It’s important to see a doctor for mastitis as soon as possible to reduce the risk of getting an breast abscess, a painful build-up of pus in the breast caused by an infection.

Mastitis can be caused by blocked ducts, infection and/or allergy. If it’s an infection, your GP will prescribe antibiotics. If not, your mastitis can improve through plenty of rest and fluids, over-the-counter painkillers such as paracetamol or ibuprofen to reduce pain or fever, and the same methods to clear blocked ducts.

My friend had mastitis and it sounded so bad with pain in the boobs and fever. I was so scared to have that when my vagina area was still in tearing pain from the episiotomy. So I was very diligent in massaging my breasts every time before I nurse and before I shower and sleep for the night.

Low Milk Supply

This is the reason why many mothers give up. They think the baby is not drinking enough.

According to a breastfeeding counsellor in the facebook group, “If baby is satisfied with this current feeding amount, there is no need to change. It is easy to overfeed with the bottle, and bottle feeding increases risk of obesity and diabetes later on in life. Diaper output and weight gain will tell you whether baby is getting enough milk. Not duration of feeds, frequency of feeds or volume per bottle feed.

By stressing yourself out with the supply, it will actually cause the supply to dip, because stress is a major cause of supply dip. More about milk supply in my “Establish and Boost Milk Supply” post.

My friend with low supply said she can’t bear to let the baby cry and suffer from hunger and so supplement with formula. I didn’t know then why that didn’t sit well with me. I thought about it and realised why. By increasing frequency to latch doesn’t mean we are making the baby suffer, the baby is still getting food. It’s just tougher for the mother to keep nursing.

To put my point across, I’m making an extreme statement here: It might be even worse that in order to satisfy short term hunger with a quick formula fix, we give up the long term benefits of breastmilk.

(p.s. I want to add a caveat, I know there are many reasons for formula. I just want mothers not to give up on breastfeeding so easily at the first roadblock or in the first month or so. But ultimately the mother’s mental well-being is still the most important. If you are blaming yourself and feeling depressed, don’t force yourself to breastfeed.)

Low milk supply? A newborn having a hard time latching? Hear from this mother:

“During my first month, I wanted to give up at every feed because it was so hard! But I’m going on 4 months now and it is getting better each day. My first three months were hell, but I endured. Keep going, take one feed at a time. Stay in bed with baby for a few days to cuddle, have lots of skin to skin and latch.

If baby cries, get hubby to walk her, ideally outside of the house. Meanwhile, you take a nap. 30 minutes later, latch again and you will have milk. Babies can drink less but then they will drink more often. The newborns are still so young and thus their jaw muscles aren’t developed enough to suck properly, but it will get better. For me it suddenly got super easy at exactly 3 months. The baby latches on by himself, and feed only 5 minutes. You will get there too, don’t give up.”

Solution: Use of warm and cold compress 

For warm compress, you can soak washcloth in warm water. I did that for a while and then got a gel pad for convenience’s sake. For cool and heat therapy, you can use Lansinoh TheraPearl 3-in-1 Breast Therapy* .

  • Cool therapy helps to relieve pain and swelling due to engorgement.
  • Heat therapy helps to relieve plugged ducts and mastitis.
  • Heat therapy encourages let-down and milk flow.

* You can set up an account with this Pupsik referral link or referral code: 4748898.

Solution: Lactation consultant

If you are at your wits’ ends, and nothing on google or youtube can solve your problem, go to a lactation consultant (“LC”) for advice. Because of my milk blister, I went back to my lactation consultant in NUH. But there are good ones at Mount Alvernia like popular Ms Kang (Phaik Gaik).


Why press on through all challenges?


To have the determination to brave through the challenges, it’s important to know why you want to breastfeed in the first place. If you are not convince that breastmilk is the best for your baby, it’s hard to convince others too.

Breastfeeding Benefits Babies

  • Breast milk changes to provide ideal nutrition for your baby
  • Breast milk is easily digested by your baby: Thus less likely to give constipation or diarrhoea than infant formulas.
  • Breastfeeding provides warmth and security to your baby: Close body contact during breastfeeding helps create a special bond between you and your baby.
  • Breast milk helps boost your baby’s immune system and reduce his risk of infections: Baby inherits your antibodies through breast milk.  Studies show that children who are breastfed may also have reduced risk of obesity and diabetes, as well as lower blood pressure and total cholesterol later in life
  • Breast feeding may protect against allergies: Chances of developing an allergy may be​ reduced due to a delay in exposing the child to allergens until the child is older and the immune system more mature.
  • Breast milk may promote better mental and visual development in your baby
  • Breastfeeding improves jaw movement.

Breastfeeding Benefits Mothers

  • Heals your body: Breastfeeding releases the hormone oxytocin which helps your uterus, which was stretched during pregnancy,​ to contract and return to its pre-pregnancy shape and may reduce uterine bleeding after birth. Also prevents painful breast engorgement.
  • Lowers risk of certain types of illnesses: Breast cancer, ovarian cancer, type II diabetes, cardiovascular disease, hypertension and hyperlipidaemia.​​
  • Helps you lose weight faster
  • Saves time and money

Sources: www.healthxchange.sg/women/post-pregnancy/breastfeeding-health-benefits-babywww.healthxchange.sg/women/post-pregnancy/breastfeeding-health-benefits-mother

Testimonies of Breastfeeding Mothers

There are many testimonies of breastfeeding mothers you can find at these facebook groups: Breastfeeding Mums and SG Breastfeeding Mums. I’ll share two I read here:

Mummy #1: It’s definitely not the same (formula and breastmilk). I breastfeed my five children for various lengths of time and the one who is breastfed the longest definitely has the best immunity. I’m still breastfeeding my #5 who is turning 20 months soon. I regretted not being persistent in breastfeeding my #1 and #2 and thus they grew up drinking formula milk. I can see the great difference in their immune systems. That’s why breastmilk is call the liquid of gold.

Mummy #2: My child is one of those you mentioned, poor immunity even when she was fully breastfed. I asked my pediatrician why and he told me “Without breastmilk, she could be worse.” Now she’s already three and she’s tough. Genetics plays a part, but breastmilk also plays a part for sure.’

You might also want to read this article which was widely shared at one point in time, a good read: www.calmfamily.org/blog/fed-is-best

How long should I press on?

6 months is the standard the Singapore government set, but 1 year is even more ideal from my research. From askdrsears.com,

“While weaning is a personal decision, nutritionists and physicians advise breastfeeding for at least one year because by that time most infants have outgrown most of their food allergies and will thrive on alternative nourishment. We urge mothers to think in terms of years, not months, when contemplating how long to nurse. Breastfeeding is a long-term investment in your child. You want to give your baby the best emotional, physical, and mental start.”

Emotionally Exhausting, But For The Best of Our Children

Before I end, I want to assure you that you are not alone. It’s really hard in the beginning and you will feel like giving up. Very confused and all. I cried many times! Although I am a big supporter of breastfeeding, I know it might not work for some mothers and babies. Looking back on my journey, I thank God for the grace to persevere on to breastfeed, amidst recurring thoughts of wanting to give up.

Do what you feel is right for you and your baby. Consider your emotional well-being too. Happy mother means happy child too. At the end of the day, we just want the best for our children.

p.s. This is part of JoogoStyle’s breastfeeding series

Do you have other questions about breastfeeding? Or do you have encouraging testimonies to share with other mummies? Please leave your comments below. Love to hear from you!

Disclosure: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links. Affiliate link means I’ll get a small commission if you make a purchase. There’s NO extra cost to you. I appreciate your support to maintain this website, so that I can share more of such tips. Thank you!

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Life Beyond Grades https://baby.joogostyle.com/life-beyond-grades/ https://baby.joogostyle.com/life-beyond-grades/#respond Sun, 04 Nov 2018 05:25:10 +0000 https://baby.joogostyle.com/?p=1366 (Reposted: I first posted this on Joogostyle.com in Sept 2018. I thought it would be relevant to post it here for parents. Have fun reading and do share your thoughts with me too!) I was initially nonchalant about this ‘Life Beyond Grades’ campaign (“Campaign”). The […]

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(Reposted: I first posted this on Joogostyle.com in Sept 2018. I thought it would be relevant to post it here for parents. Have fun reading and do share your thoughts with me too!)

I was initially nonchalant about this ‘Life Beyond Grades’ campaign (“Campaign”). The name of the Campaign is self-explanatory but many people did not take it at surface level. With the increasing flak it received, I started to look into it. The whole saga reminded me of when the position of PAP was being threatened. The myopic viewpoint from the top made the ground felt they were not being empathised.

An article shared on the Campaign website is good, and one paragraph ironically echos my sentiments about the Campaign’s one dimensional solution to a multi-faceted problem.

“Research, writing and telling stories about society are often dominated by people who are in positions of relative power. This would include politicians and intellectuals. I think it’s important that people in positions to either make decisions or tell stories, don’t tell their stories or make decisions as if their perspectives are the universal perspectives. The act of making decisions or telling stories should be one that includes the voices and perspectives of people outside that narrow class of people.”

Anyway, with people voicing out their opposing thoughts of the Campaign on Dayre and other platforms, I started to think about it and formed my own opinions. I wanted to voice them out on this blog, but procrastinated to talk about something this controversial. In this case, procrastination is a good thing. Because the more I thought about it, the more I realised the issues are not so straightforward. Even as I finally penned down my thoughts, I believe I will still miss out certain points. Hopefully I did not write from a narrow class perspective.


About the Campaign


In case you don’t know what the Campaign is all about, head over to lifebeyondgrades.sg. They have good articles for you to read and chew on. IMO, the Campaign is a good initiative. At least it sparks conversations about the over-emphasis on grades. It makes the society and parents think and debate over it. As iron sharpens iron, opinions from various standpoints are voiced out and refined.

Even if you haven’t visited the website, it’s likely you have searched the hashtag #lifebeyondgrades on Instagram (“IG”) to find interesting testimonies—mostly of people holding placards of their PSLE grade and writing their success stories in the caption. Or you could be searching the hashtag on Dayre or other platforms to read about opinions of this campaign.

I remembered the first few testimonies that I could find are those above 200, and mostly with good 200 scores (to me, above 230 is good). That was my first impression anyway. As I clicked through, I didn’t find these testimonies especially encouraging. For example, there’s one particular testimony that left a deep impression. She scored above 230 and I can’t remember who she was, and to her it’s along the line of a bad grade. I tried to search on IG again for it and instead found a few others, including the founder who scored 235, calling themselves a ‘failure’ and ‘didn’t do well’ in school. Perhaps this group of people reach out to the students at elite schools, where 230 is regarded as doing bad in school. But to me, “elitism” flashed across my mind.

I scored 221, and couldn’t make it to the express stream of my ideal school, a neighbourhood school mind you. I was asked to go to the normal stream because of that 1 point. So to me, getting above 230 is good, because it’s like SAP school category. Hence, the supposedly bad grades are good to me, and these good 230 grades naturally translates to success they now mentioned in their testimonies. Isn’t life still about grades then? Perhaps for my benchmark, success stories of those who scored below 200 seemingly fits more into this campaign than those above 200.


Success, despite of bad grades


The Campaign is trying to perpetuate that even if you don’t get good grades (whatever your definition) in school, you can still have the typical kind of success that are posted in the IG testimonies.

Regardless of grades, you still have a good shot of being successful in life. Put it in another way, grades don’t necessarily equate to success. Speaking of which, there should be people posting about their high PSLE grades but “fail” in life. 小时了了,大未必佳。

This is important for parents to know because most think that this kind of success, of fame or fortune, only comes through getting good grades in school. And nowadays, the rat race is starting younger and younger, as young as a few months’ old. You should see the myriad of infant classes.

The stress parents put on their children to do well is increasing and thus leading to more cases of depression in young ones. Hence, if changing Singaporeans’ mindset of ‘grades equates to success’ can alleviate this stress, this campaign might be good afterall, other than to spark debate.

On a sidenote, while schools are trying to place less emphasis on grades, students might end up being more stress to be a well-rounder! Now they have to excel in grades AND other skills.

Why Do Parents Want Good Grades?

Let’s go back to the root reason on why parents want good grades for their children. Other than to show off, getting good grades seems to be a tried and tested method to secure a well-paying career in future and thus a comfortable life. It’s more of a risk to have their children get bad grades. How high is the probability of their children becoming an exception and posting such success story despite of school results?

To these parents, they might know that studies is not all there is to life. However without the good grades, you limit the choices of how you can live out your life, unless you are rich. It’s similar to having money. Money is not everything, but without money, you have fewer choices in life. Good grades, like money, seem to give you the freedom to choose.


Life = Success?


This brings me to the next point – does life equates to success? This seems to be the assumption made by the Campaign starters, and also the point of contention for many detractors.

From the testimonies, the definition of life beyond grades means success at work. Isn’t this shifting one “problem” to another—from school to work? So are you deem a failure if you ultimately don’t have a success story at work? If you just work in an average cubicle job? Is there no life beyond success?


What is Success?


If you have to dig deeper, you should find yourself questioning what success is. This success can be different for different people—some is to be in an unexciting but stable job, some could be to help others and some is to live out the typical success stories and earn loads of money.

It’s so ingrained in Singaporeans that success means having a well-paid, cushy job—the lawyer, doctor and accountant. I became an accountant and was unhappy at it. I can be good, but how good can I get it is a job misfit with my personality, interest, strengths and potential God has placed in me. Even if I can be a successful accountant, I’ll be unsuccessful in life. That is if I equate success to happiness.

Come to think of it, the engine of meritocracy is now going on full speed and with the toll on young lives, the government is trying to put a brake on it. But this takes time to undo the entrenched culture. So this Campaign can be a good start to change. I was reminded of how my parents used to force me to get good grades, up till a point where I pushed myself on my own. They even had to tell me to relax. By then, it was too late–grades and career success are important to me. It’s something to prove my worth. It took so many years for God to undo this wrong thinking of self-worth.

If I have to measure my life with the typical standards of Singapore, I am a failure on two counts.

  • Being a writer seems to be a good for nothing, unless of course you are in a proper job like copywriting.
  • Being a SAHM means being useless to society and wasting the degree or education.

For the longest time, I feel judged. Even now at times. Judged by family, friends, society, and myself. However, I’m starting to see the facade of the typical success. Even if you are successful in the eyes of others, rich and famous, but you’re so busy that you can’t enjoy your money, family, and friends, is that considered life beyond grades? You have no life beyond success. The pursuit of money and success will still lead to emptiness. Ask Solomon.

Solomon who has all the wealth, wisdom and whatever worldly things he could ask for, and still utter,

“Meaningless! Meaningless!”
says the Teacher.
“Utterly meaningless!
Everything is meaningless.” Ecclesiastes 1:1

So what is the life beyond grades? I can’t answer this question without God being in the picture. To me, this life is the life God has intended for us to live. For some it might be a life of typical success. But for me, it’s not.

As I flowed with God, I took a risk and step out of my typical success story, and into the unknown path. At one point, I was in deep doubt. It took me a long time to embrace this seemingly downtrodden valley.

Looking back now, I saw how God was developing the potential that nobody saw in me. He strengthened my wings to fly when I had only contended to walk fast. He does the inward work in me while nothing seems to be happening on the outside–like a caterpillar in cocoon. It’s almost always the seen versus the unseen. School taught me IQ, but I neglected my EQ development. School gave me knowledge, but only God can give me godly wisdom. Learning is beyond school.

Through these years, God moulded my character and personality—He expanded the root system in me so that I can grow into a big tree and stand strong.

“So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” 2 Cor 4:18

As a parent, of course I wish baby Evangeline will do well in school. But as a Christian, I ought to trust my child in God. He will know the best path, instead of the standard good grades route. Praying that God will open my eyes and see the potential and skills He has placed in baby Evangeline. And for God to guide me and give me the wisdom to develop them.

““For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
    neither are your ways my ways,”
    declares the Lord.
“As the heavens are higher than the earth,
    so are my ways higher than your ways
    and my thoughts than your thoughts.” Isaiah 55:8-9

I can plan as much as a parent, but God plans better. He has a good future in store for her. My main job as a parent is to point her to Jesus, and allow her to follow the desire and dream God has placed in her.

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11

The endless pursuit of things in life will always lead to emptiness. Only the pursuit of God can fill us. I’m learning the meaning of contentment and to balance it with excellence. To do the best in whatever we do, and be contented in the lot God has given to us. Like in the “Parable of the Talents” (Matthew 25:14-30), whether you have more or less, use whatever God has given you wisely for His kingdom.

“The world and its desires pass away, but whoever does the will of God lives forever.” 1 John 2:17

Life is definitely beyond grades. If you ask me what this life is then, I would say a life of joy and peace that can only be found in Jesus. Peeling off another layer, you’ll see that even this life on earth is transient.

Eternal life is beyond our earthly life. So grab it.

“And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son Jesus” 1 John 5:11

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Parenting Tips for Christian Parents (Including Discipline) https://baby.joogostyle.com/parenting-tips-for-christian-parents/ https://baby.joogostyle.com/parenting-tips-for-christian-parents/#respond Fri, 05 Oct 2018 03:11:11 +0000 https://baby.joogostyle.com/?p=1343 Hubby and I went to our church’s parenting seminar and it was quite insightful. Other than picking up parenting tips for Christian parents, it’s good to know that we are not alone in our confusion and struggles. This thing called parenting is not easy for […]

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Hubby and I went to our church’s parenting seminar and it was quite insightful. Other than picking up parenting tips for Christian parents, it’s good to know that we are not alone in our confusion and struggles. This thing called parenting is not easy for most parents. Case in point, most of the Q&A’s questions are about discipline. Discipline is something I’m asking myself these days too. Where do we draw the line? More on that in the ‘About Discipline’ section.

Originally, I had intended to post a list of parenting resources shared in the seminar. Then on second thoughts, why not share those useful notes I took down too? Pastor was the speaker (“Speaker”) and they had three couples up on the panel, including the pastor and wife.

Parenting Seminar - baby.joogostyle.com


Parenting Resources


  1. Live the Let Go Life – Joseph Prince (Chapter 18: Stress-free Parenting)
  2. Parenting Collection – James C Dobson
  3. Parents Rising – Arlene Pellicane.
  4. Grace based Parenting – Tim Kimmel
  5. The Focus on the Family guide to talking with your kids about sex
  6. Bringing up Girls – Dr James Dobson
  7. Raising Great Kids* – Dr Henry Cloud & Dr John Townsend
  8. Boundaries with Kids* – Dr Henry Cloud & Dr John Townsend
  9. God’s Glorious Plan for Your Family DVD Joseph Prince
  10. Godly Discipline and Correction Brings Promotion DVD Joseph Prince

*Speaker suggested these two books if you have to choose. Personally, I am interested in “Boundaries with Kids”. It takes wisdom to know when to say “No”. I got the Boundaries book for myself before.


Who is God in this?


1) God is the owner.

2) God is a parent. God gives you a child because He knows you can handle it. Just like we give or don’t give our children based on whether we know they can handle it.

3) God teams up with you. Listen to the Holy Spirit. No one size fits all formula. Not let others dominantly take care of your children – e.g. school, grandparents, etc.


Key Parenting Goals for Pre-Schoolers


  • Input God’s word: Speak the Word of God over the children, it will take root in their hearts.

“Train child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.” Proverbs 22:6

“You shall write them (Bible verses) on the doorposts of your house and on your gates, that your days and the days of your children may be multiplied in the land that the Lord swore to your fathers to give them, as long as the heavens are above the earth.” Deuteronomy 11:20‭-‬21

  • Show God’s love: Guiding them is now, when they are young. Because up till a certain point, they will form their own ideas and values.
  • Salvation
  • PTL: Play Touch Laugh (Laughter is a key thing in the house, because this provides security. Child will feel secure.)
  • Build security (through relationships and love), significance (imparting purpose and character), and strength (managing failure and inspiring hope).

Invest in Your Marriage


Build your marriage first. It’s the foundation to being good parents. Children will model the household they see. They observe and feel the atmosphere.

  • Investing in your marriage results in good parenting; reduces their issues (discipline, caring and sharing sibling rivalry, anger/tantrums- come from the parents).
  • Unity as husband and wife, and as parents, is the best gift to your children (not gifts and money).
  • Spending couple time with each other send a message that they (the children) are not the center of your universe.
  • Dad should take leadership. Allow them to make mistakes.

“He must manage his own household well, with all dignity keeping his children submissive,” 1 Timothy 3:4

Let deacons each be the husband of one wife, managing their children and their own households well. 1 Timothy 3:12


Character Building in Children


Children are sponges, observers, and imitators. Help them to

  • model character values (fixed markers instead of moving markers like good grades and careers)
  • develop a prayer life

What Character Qualities to Model?

  • Connectedness (relationships and giving)
  • Responsibility (own up mistake, truthful, the initiative, delay gratification, choose wisely)
  • Reality (handle failures, accepting correction, admission of wrong, apologise)
  • Competence (teach value of work, household chores, pursue a goal to completion (e.g. play an instrument and not quit)
  • Conscience (clarity about right and wrong; honesty)
  • Worship/spirituality

About Discipline


The following points are shared in the video of Dr Charles Stanley, (Touch ministries). The Speaker showed this video during the seminar, although he mentioned that he doesn’t fully subscribe to Dr Stanley’s other teachings.

What breaks a child’s spirit?

  • We do not listen to them.
  • Disciplining without explanation. They would not know what is going on, “Do my parents love me?”
  • Ignoring opinions and requests (have person holding and deep emotions)
  • Making them helpless and hopeless. Don’t belittle or demean them. Don’t compare.
  • Using fearful words: always, never.
  • Misdirected anger (taking out on child your own issues, motives not right).
  • Criticise them even when they do their best.
  • Failure to love them.
  • Failure to provide good things for them to look forward to. Sending a message to the child that he is not worthy, doesn’t feel loved. It doesn’t matter what you give, nothing can substitute your love for that child.

Correct Discipline

  • Check your motives. Why are you disciplining the child?
  • Carefully explain the reason. Help them to understand why they’re being disciplined.
  • Use a loving tone of voice
  • Never discipline in anger. Get over your anger first before disciplining.
  • Keep your promises
  • Share your regret about having to discipline. But yet you have to discipline because you want to make them to be more Christ-like.
  • Never do body to body discipline, for e.g. strike your hand or slap child’s face. (Speaker: If you have to hit, then go for the buttocks).
  • Reassure them of your love.

Basically, remember that when a child throws tantrums, she is reacting to the situation. Teach your child how to deal with it. Everything happens when you are cool. Boundaries teach them independence and tolerant.

Baby Evangeline is starting her terrible terrific two stage early. Or letting me have a foretaste of it–of having a mind of her own, and having a say in more and more things. I know in theory of what I’m not supposed to do, like not scold or discipline in anger, cool down first before disciplining. But put in real life situations, I have weak self control. I’m only human after all.

Am glad to know that a father in the panel shared that he do slip up and have broken good parenting practices at one time or another. Most importantly, the children are still close to him. So, forgive yourself for falling short. These young children tend to forgive and forget easily anyway. Of course, if you keep doing it, they will not forget. So don’t make bad choices a habit.

That’s all parents! I pray God will give you the wisdom and love to bring up godly and loving children. 🙂

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Free Samples for Baby and Mummy in Singapore https://baby.joogostyle.com/free-samples-for-baby/ https://baby.joogostyle.com/free-samples-for-baby/#respond Wed, 05 Sep 2018 03:11:41 +0000 https://baby.joogostyle.com/?p=1235 This comprehensive list of free samples for baby and mummy is as of September 2018. Let me know if there’s any free sample not listed here. I will update the list to share with everyone else. You can leave a comment, facebook message @JoogoStyle or […]

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This comprehensive list of free samples for baby and mummy is as of September 2018. Let me know if there’s any free sample not listed here. I will update the list to share with everyone else. You can leave a comment, facebook message @JoogoStyle or email me at hello[at]joogostyle.com. Sharing is caring! 😉

There’s a bonus section at the end of the article. I will share where to find baby stuff, e.g. Aveeno, that’s cheaper than Singapore’s retail stores. And another valuable tip to save even more!


Free Samples for Baby


General Baby Products

Free Baby Samples body care - baby.joogostyle.com

Goodie Bags

Disposable Diapers

Others

Baby Formula Milk Powder

Don’t bother looking for Stage 1 milk powder formula (newborn to 6 months). There’s no free sample and promotions for Stage 1 milk powder. This is because World Health Organization (WHO) and Health Promotion Board (HPB) recommend that mothers breastfeed exclusively for the first 6 months and thereafter solid foods with breast milk.

For more breastfeeding tips: baby.joogostyle.com/tag/breastfeeding

All the following links are to request for formula milk powder that’s for babies above 6 months old.

Free Baby Samples milk powder - baby.joogostyle.com


Free Samples for Mummy


Before taking care of baby, take care of the pregnant mummy first!

Milk Powder For Pregnant & Breastfeeding mothers

Others

Sanitary Pads

Skin Care

Confinement Food

Even though trial meals for confinement food are not free, I added this section to let mothers know that there are trial meals to try out before ordering.

For those who are planning to order confinement meals for DIY confinement (aka without nanny or mother to cook), it’s good to order a trial meal to see if the taste, oiliness, etc are suited for your taste buds. Personally, I tried out Tian Wei Signature, Natal Essentials and Thomson Medical before ordering.

You can find all the confinement food related posts here: baby.joogostyle.com/tag/confinement-food

Tian Wei Signature - baby.joogostyle.com


Bonus: Saving Tips


As promised, I’m going to share with you where to get cheap baby stuff. Or rather, stuff that’s generally cheaper than Singapore’s retail prices. I’ve been shopping on this popular website even before I became a mother. Hence, I didn’t think of sharing it with my friends because I thought many are already using it…until one day. I was talking to a friend and was shocked by how much more she was paying for the same thing I got on…

iHerb.

A few brands that are more expensive in Singapore than on iHerb are Aveeno, Desitin, Avalon Organics, Earth Mama, ThinkBaby, Babyganics and Weleda. Parents can also consider buying teething biscuits or baby food of brands such as Happy Baby and Gerbers on iHerb.

The product my friend got at a steep price in Singapore is Babyganics foaming hand sanitiser. The 50ml bottle in Singapore is only slightly cheaper than the big refill of 473ml on iHerb. But better late in knowing than never! 🙂

Like what my friend said, iHerb is like a treasure trove waiting to be explored! So happy shopping 🙂
Use this Coupon Code: GSM104 to get 5 – 10% discount.

  • www.iherb.com/?rcode=GSM104
  • New or current iHerb customers will get an instant 5% discount off current order by typing this at iHerb check out page. And I think 10% on iHerb house brands.

Shopback

Shopback - baby.joogostyle.com

Shopback is another gem to get instant savings. Many people read Shopback’s instructions and decided it is a hassle and not use it. But once you start, you will realise Shopback is not difficult at all.

Just click the shopping website links on Shopback and go on your normal shopping in the new popup window or tab. Shopback will automatically calculate your eligible cash rebate. Once you reach the withdrawal limit, you can transfer the money to your bank account at no cost.

Basically, the idea is for you to earn cashback or cash rebate. With so many financial products enhancing on cash rebates nowadays, I think the banks are starting to realise that cash is still king over miles and points.

Shopback has many affiliated websites, including popular websites mothers like to shop at, such as iHerb, Lazada, Qoo10 and Shoppee.

Sign up with my referral link and instantly get S$5 cash in your account.
www.shopback.sg/referred-signup-bonus?raf=6KpA6D

P.S. To date, I have gotten about S$600 cash back. That’s quite a bit of savings. But at the same time, it’s scary to think how much we have spent.

Hope these will help you save a bit more. With a baby, it’s best to spend wisely!

Disclosure: Referral link and code means I’ll get a small commission if you make a purchase. There’s NO extra cost to you. I appreciate your support to maintain this website, so that I can share more of such helpful tips. Thank you!

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Family Photoshoot in Singapore & Letters to Evangeline https://baby.joogostyle.com/family-photoshoot-singapore/ https://baby.joogostyle.com/family-photoshoot-singapore/#respond Thu, 28 Jun 2018 02:00:09 +0000 https://baby.joogostyle.com/?p=1168 We did a family photoshoot in Singapore to commemorate Evangeline turning one! Had wanted to keep the photoshoot photos in private collection, but they were too pretty not to share. 🙂 We also used one of the pretty photos to do up a ‘Thank You’ […]

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We did a family photoshoot in Singapore to commemorate Evangeline turning one! Had wanted to keep the photoshoot photos in private collection, but they were too pretty not to share. 🙂 We also used one of the pretty photos to do up a ‘Thank You’ card for the guests who came for Evangeline’s first birthday party. It was a great idea!

Family Photoshoot in Singapore - baby.joogostyle.com


Family Photoshoot in Singapore


Studio and Pricing

The photos were shot by Shann from Scintilla Studio, who also did our newborn and maternity photoshoots . 🙂 We paid S$150 for an hour session, which took only 45 minutes because of our efficiency and also because we were late for 10-15 minutes. Oops.

She usually charges S$150-200 per hour, with all photos edited and given back. The photos in this post are as they are given to me. No further editing was done. Quote ‘JoogoBaby’, and she might give you a 10% discount!

Family Photoshoot in Singapore - baby.joogostyle.com

Venue

We wanted an outdoor shoot and Shann suggested either Toa Payoh or Bishan park. It’s common to see old photos taken in Toa Payoh Park (“TPY Park”) and so the place gives off that retro feel, compared to the more modern Bishan. Since Evangeline and I were going to wear lace dresses, we might fit into a retro theme. Moreover, Toa Payoh park holds a special meaning for our family…so TPY Park it is!

Interestingly, we found out later that my parents-in-law had their wedding photoshoot at TPY Park! Talk about divine arrangement.

Family Photoshoot in Singapore - baby.joogostyle.com

On the Day

We rushed out the moment Evangeline woke up so that we could finish the photoshoot before her first nap. Afternoon and evening sun might prove too hot for us in this June weather. But as we set off from our place, the sky was overcast and it looked like it was going to rain anytime soon.

Thus, I was worried we had to do this another day. I don’t want to even think about it – of having to prep Evangeline all over again and bring out those barang barang the next time. Even if it did not rain, the dark sky didn’t seem it would give enough natural lighting to the photos. Will the photos turned out okay?

Family Photoshoot in Singapore - baby.joogostyle.com

Results

The photos turned out more than okay, they were great! Like what Evangeline was telling her daddy in the photos above,

“Hey daddy, don’t worry. Look up to God. Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?” (Matthew 6:26-27)

What’s more, the weather was better than expected. There was no rain but only clouds to shade off the morning sun. Otherwise, we will sweat even more in the humidity. We were all perspiring even though there’s no sun. You can see evidence of it on my hubby’s shirt in the photos!

This “手牵手” holding hands shot is our favourite! It’s on both our phones’ wallpaper. Baby, let us journey with you through life okay?

There were both posed and natural shots. For the latter, Shann had us interact with one another while she captured the precious moments at the right time. And of course, one will also get unglam shots in this way. Look at unglam Evangeline below, she’s enjoying our kisses so much to care about her image. 😛

That’s all about the photoshoot! Scroll down for more photos. You can skip the long letters we wrote to Evangeline. Just wanted to post them here for her to read in future! Heh.

Family Photoshoot in Singapore - baby.joogostyle.com


Letters to Evangeline


Mummy’s Letter

This is written for Baby Evangeline when she turned 10 months old:

“Darling Evangeline, two more months and you are going to be one year old! *Gasp* When did you grow from a helpless baby in my arms to a big baby struggling free from my arms to explore the world? A fidgety baby becoming an energetic bunny bouncing everywhere. You surprise me everyday with new moves.

We clapped in delight when you took your first steps. And when you saw how excited we were, you walked a few more steps with a proud look and smile, squealing out in pride.

Or once when we were out for a meal, your dad was busy eating and talking beside you. So whenever you finished your potato stick, you reached out your hand and tapped his arm to ask for more. It’s such a cute scene!

Then there are all the diaper changing and shower time when you will wrestle with me. You kick, you twist, all just to escape and crawl away to play. You refuse to lie down, even when you are sleeping! Yea, for a period of time, you only sleep in a kneeling position

Then you will follow me around the house, just to play or hang out around me. Like when I’m prepping food and cooking in the kitchen, you will come find me and play with the things you can find around you. Occasionally I’ll spot you eating some unknown food dropped on the floor. It’s dangerous, but you can only be “locked” up in the playard for a while before you would cry and shake the walls to be let out

You know how to wave bye bye, clap hands, wave your hand like pageant ladies, smile and laugh at hellos and peekaboos – making aunties and uncles on the street adore you. Best of all, you recently know how to play catching with us! We love your hearty laughs at our funny faces and sounds

When we asked you to kiss us, you would want to lick us. There was once you tried to French kiss me. My lips were near yours and you stretch your tongue into my mouth! 😘

Please continue to eat and grow well. To grow up happy and love God and us, your parents. Hugs and kisses, we will always love you, our 心干宝贝!

Love, your mummy.”

Family Photoshoot in Singapore - baby.joogostyle.com

Mummy’s Second Letter

“Dear Evangeline,

You are one today. You are a miracle that Daddy and I never thought we would have. We are so thankful for you and so proud of you. While you steadily hit so many milestones in a year, we can finally say we survived a year! Looking back, time flies and the year seemed short, but the days are indeed long. There were so many times I feel like giving up, but your smiles helped me to push on, to remind me that it’s all worth it.

Before I had you, I didn’t find babies ‘awww’ cute and I find children noisy. I am scared of carrying babies – fragile newborn or sturdy infant. So I was apprehensive about how I would handle you. Will I play with you? Will I even know how to carry you? I didn’t know how I will feel towards you. Will I love you?

All these worries were unfounded. I was happily surprised to see how big you were when you first pop out of me. My heart melted when you first came into my arms. Then mother instinct guided me to pick you up, to change your diaper, and to bathe you. I can’t stop hugging and kissing you everyday. There’s this love that arose inside of me, a love I’ve never known before. Sometimes when I hugged you or looked at you, I still feel that you’re so surreal. Here I am, holding a small human being in my hands, a being that’s part of me.

You’ve been walking a few independent steps these days and I believe you will soon be running around. I’m grateful that you are healthy and happy. Please continue to be sociable – clapping happily, waving at people, chuckling at them when they play with you, or simply staring at people as they made cooing faces at you. Continue to be joyful and playful around us and your grandparents. I have so much to say, but I have a lifetime to tell you. I love you.

Love,
your mummy”

Family Photoshoot in Singapore - baby.joogostyle.com

Daddy’s Letter

“Hello baby.

You are one today.

A few days ago, Mummy reminded me of the dream I had before you were born, when we were on our way to Taiwan for our babymoon. We were on a plane in that dream as well, and I saw a little girl with a big bright smile running towards me and eventually giving me a big tight hug. At that moment, I knew that I was holding you in my arms, and I remember telling you in the dream…

“You are exactly how I imagined you to be”.

And yes, that’s exactly how I felt and have been feeling and more since the day you were born. Your smiles, your playfulness, and even your cries and tantrums – Daddy love them all and won’t wish it to be any other way.

I am reminded of the story of the caterpillar taking its time to grow and get stronger in the cocoon, before transforming into a beautiful butterfly. Every child should be given the opportunity to grow at his/her own pace, and not be rushed to fulfil the “milestones” adults have set for them.

Daddy pray that you will continue to be that growing caterpillar, staying curious (staring at strangers), growing stronger, and having fun in the process. And one day, I know you will fulfil your destiny to bring colours to this world we call home (for now).

Daddy love you, Evangeline.

Happy birthday. (:”

Family Photoshoot in Singapore - baby.joogostyle.com

Let’s have fun as we journey together as a family on your path to greatness and love!

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Evangeline is One! Celebrating Baby’s First Birthday https://baby.joogostyle.com/evangeline-is-one/ https://baby.joogostyle.com/evangeline-is-one/#respond Thu, 21 Jun 2018 02:00:28 +0000 https://baby.joogostyle.com/?p=1159 saEvangeline turns one today! 🙂 So how did we end up celebrating baby’s first birthday? Well, we had a small lunch party for her last Saturday at Ellenborough Market Cafe. We made it a simple affair and invited only immediate family members and a few […]

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saEvangeline turns one today! 🙂 So how did we end up celebrating baby’s first birthday? Well, we had a small lunch party for her last Saturday at Ellenborough Market Cafe. We made it a simple affair and invited only immediate family members and a few friends. Would loved to have more people, but since Evangeline is easily stimulated, it’s better to tone it down.

True enough she seemed overwhelmed even by this small group – she was less smiley and chirpy. Yet she’s a real trooper that day, and much praises were heaped on her for not being fussy. She willingly let different guests carry her without kicking up a fuss, although most of the time, she had the zen look. She also got a bit cranky and distracted during the photo taking session – but that’s baby for you. In any case, baby parties like this are more for the adults, since the baby is unlikely to remember any of this. Hehs.


Ellenborough Market Cafe


The Space

The restaurant was spacious and not crowded even on a Father’s Day weekend. Btw, all the fathers got a complimentary glass of beer! A round and a long table were arranged next to each other for our family and friends.

Proud we made the choice to have hotel buffet lunch for our guests. Instead of the usual catered buffet, there’s a good variety of food – seafood, sashimi, sushi, chinese noodles, peranakan dishes, and desserts – for the guests to dig in. And best of all, there’s no need to clean up after that. Yays!

Service

Cheers to the helpful restaurant staff. They provided five baby chairs and helped us with a few last minute table arrangements. Then, they kept our cake without cakeage fee, and promptly brought it out during cake cutting time. Upon request, they gladly provided us dessert plates and forks to serve.

They also patiently waited until the last minute to chase us out. We were the last guests and I felt so bad because they later told us that they needed the table for high tea. No wonder all the staff looked busy turning over the whole place – cleaning and prepping.

Food

The online food reviews of Ellenborough were mixed and I was a tad worried. But phew, my worry was unfounded. Most guests generally found the food nice, notably the la mian, sushi, peranakan dessert and durian puree.

Personally, hubby and I feel the buffet price is only worth it with the 50% discount from American Express Dining Privileges. Each adult works out to be about S$31. We even got a complimentary bottle of wine and chocolate cake for the 2 tables booked.


Birthday Cake


We were contemplating whether to get a cutesy cake or use the complimentary cake for the party. In the end, we ordered a pretty birthday cake for Evangeline to take photo with as momento, since there’s no pompous celebration or dessert table for her. I also didn’t want to bother my friend who did the cake for Evangeline’s 100 days celebration. So with a design in mind, I ordered the cake from The Butter Studio which quoted me the lowest for a 10 pax cake.

Pricing

It’s S$138 for a 6 inch, 4-layer tall customized cake, with buttercream frosting in pastel pink-white ombre and fondant cake decorations. For cake flavour, we chose Lady Ispahan (rose, lychee, raspberry). Other charges include S$18 delivery fee and S$8 for the “Happy Birthday” cursive shiny gold topper. Butter Studio made an exception for me to use their first order promo code of S$5 discount on customised order. So the cake ended up costing S$159.

Delivery fee ranges from S$18 to S$23, and they also have customised topper at S$15 and “Happy Birthday” bunting at S$10. They recommend delivery for cakes with fondant, as the fondant may be damaged or may melt during handling or storage at their retail store.

Verdict

The cake design turned out well and close to the picture I showed them, although the rabbit was slightly fatter. Lol. And after a while, I realised fondant cakes generally look nicer in photos than in real life.

The cake flavour, Lady Ispahan, is interesting and unique. It is a bit sweet but light at the same time. Would recommend this flavour because you don’t usually get this in the market.

The delivery came much earlier than expected though. The restaurant could only leave the cake on their kitchen counter because their fridge doesn’t have enough space to store such a tall cake. So we had to quickly cut the cake within 2 hours. Also, you should try to finish the cake as soon as possible because ours turned a bit dry the next day.


Other Niceties


Dress Code

I knew the interior of Ellenborough is splashed in pastel colours. Hence, I reckoned it be nice to take a group photo of coordinated colour that matches the background. So we set a dress code for our guests to come in pink, white, red or pastel colours. Although there were a few anomalies, it was nice to see people in stipulated colours. Like we are part of a group, a pseudo Diner En Blanc. 😛

‘Thank You’ Card

I love my idea of having this handwritten ‘thank you’ card for the guests! At the back of the photo, we wrote a personal note for each family that came. On the front, I edited the photo to include the words “Thank You” and this verse,
“I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.” – Psalm 139:14

The photo we used for the card is one of the many great shots of our family photoshoot. We did the photoshoot to commemorate Evangeline turning one! Had wanted to keep the photoshoot photos in private collection, but they were too pretty not to share. So shall post them in my next post.

The photos were shot by Shann from Scintilla Studio, who also did our newborn and maternity photoshoots . 🙂 Quote ‘JoogoBaby’, and she might give you a 10% discount! We paid S$150 for an hour session, which took only 45 minutes because of our efficiency and also because we were late for 10-15 minutes. Oops. She usually charges S$150-200 for an hour, with all photos edited and given back.


Baby Dedication


The church gave us a date for baby dedication and it falls on the same day as Father’s Day, a day after the Saturday celebration. So it’s two consecutive days of joyful events! 🙂

Pastor prayed blessing and prophesied future over baby Evangeline:

“Lord, we thank You for baby Evangeline. Lord we thank You, she’s a gift from You, she’s Your heritage to this wonderful couple. We declare Your great blessings upon her. Thank You for Your favour to flourish in her life. Lord we thank You that You crown her with Your blessings from the crown of her head to the soles of her feet.

We thank You Lord that she will have a mind of Christ, and her ears will only hear good. She shall be daughter of God who hears Your Word. The one who sees the goodness of God in her life. She will be one who will discern evil and good. Her mouth shall be blessed to be a blessing, and she will speak forth blessings in this family, even to her parents.

I thank You Lord for her heart that’s filled with Your love. Hands that You have made, beautiful hands that will prosper everything that these hands touch. Soles of her feet will always thread on paths of peace. We declare she will greatly blessed, highly favoured, and deeply loved.

(Prayer Cont’d)

We thank You that goodness and mercy shall follow her all the days of her life. Indeed she shall be a champion, a supernatural champion. And as her name suggests, she shall be a carrier of Your good news, her life shall be a testimony of Your glorious gospel of grace.

We call her blessed, healthy and full of life. Thank You for Your divine protection over her. She shall grow up strong and healthy. She shall not only grow up smart, but with such a spirit of wisdom and understanding. We declare great blessings over Evangeline. In Jesus’ mighty name, amen!”

How are you going to celebrate your little one’s first birthday? Share with me in the comment section below!

P.S. This is not a sponsored post. 🙂

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Happy Fish Swim School Review: Baby Swim Lesson https://baby.joogostyle.com/happy-fish-swim-school-review/ https://baby.joogostyle.com/happy-fish-swim-school-review/#respond Fri, 15 Jun 2018 02:30:30 +0000 https://baby.joogostyle.com/?p=785 Baby Evangeline used to scream and shriek whenever we showered her during her first two months. However, as she grew to love bath time, we thought it is a good idea to let her try swimming. Moreover, she’s an active baby and swimming or playing […]

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Baby Evangeline used to scream and shriek whenever we showered her during her first two months. However, as she grew to love bath time, we thought it is a good idea to let her try swimming. Moreover, she’s an active baby and swimming or playing with water might be a good way to expend her energy and sleep well at night.

We heard good reviews about Happy Fish Swim School (“Happy Fish”) from other mummies. So we are happy that Happy Fish gave us a free trial to write about our experience here. They have also kindly offered 5 blessed mummies a free trial too! See how you can get a trial at the end of this post.


About Happy Fish Swim School


General

Happy Fish has developed a highly effective teaching system from years of teaching experience since 2007. They offer swimming lessons for all ages, from 4 months old to adult. They also have special group lessons: female only and prenatal lessons, and also lessons offered to developmentally challenged children.

Group and private lessons are conducted in public swimming complexes or Happy Fish’s indoor pools. Private lessons can also be arranged at your condominium or private pool.

Infant Aquatics: Heated Indoor Pools

Baby swimming lessons (infant aquatics) are held at Happy Fish’s indoor heated swimming pools, located at Jurong East, Bedok, Bukit Timah (Duke’s Road) and Horsecity. We went to their Bukit Timah branch that is located in a terrace shophouse.

It is their smallest branch and pool. Unlike other locations where few classes are conducted concurently, Bukit Timah’s pool only has one lesson at a time. Hence Bukit Timah is a cosy place for people who don’t like crowds. But that also means the class timings are limited too.

Evangeline swam in a condominium’s cold pool when she was 6 months old and without thermal swimwear. Oops. I think that’s fine for occasional fun water play. But if she’s going into the water frequently for a swim, I feel it’s better that the pool is heated and with lower chlorine content. That’s a reason why I thought of signing Evangeline up for swim lessons at Happy Fish and not teach her ourselves at public pools.

The water temperature of the indoor pool is maintained at 30-32 degrees Celsius during lesson time, which is comfortable for small babies. Moreover, the waters are not heavy chlorinated because bacteria is safely eliminated by a non-chemical technology. This technology is used by New York City to purify drinking water, reducing the need for chlorine up to 90%. Lastly, indoor pool is shielded from harmful UV rays and changing weather. So with this heated indoor pool, the baby doesn’t need to drink heavily chlorinated water, suffer from cold shivers, stinging eyes, dry hair and skin, or class disruptions.


About Baby Swimming Lessons


Why should baby go for swim lessons?

According to Happy Fish, there’s a research done by Griffith University (Australia) on 7000 babies. These are the findings for children who swim at very young age:

  • Excellent way to physical, social & emotional development.
  • Helps in growing sense of self-esteem, confidence and independence.
  • Improve heart and lung function.
  • Precious bonding session with parents.
  • Better oral expression, literacy, numeracy & mathematical reasoning compared to normal population

Swimming also allows babies to exercise which helps in development of their motor, coordination, lung capacity and balance.

When to start baby swim lessons?

Happy Fish’s infant aquatic program is designed for babies from 4 months to 2 years old. So you can start as early as 4 months old. But you can google and find that some people think that babies under 1 year old are too young for swim lessons.

Personally, I feel more comfortable for Evangeline to enter the pool after 6 months old and officially start frequent swim lessons around 1 year old. She went for the trial lesson at 9+ months old (7 April 2018). So I would say it depends on your comfort level and whether your baby is ready for the water.

How is Happy Fish’s swim curriculum like?

Classes are conducted consecutively for 12 weeks (~3 months), excluding public holidays. This provides routine for the students and promotes consistent progression from beginners to advanced learners.

  • Beginners: Submerge and float comfortably in the water.
  • Intermediate: Swim short distances independently.
  • Advance: Swim longer distances, swim around and climb out of the pool independently.

In the end, children will learn how to enter water safely, hold their breath when they go underwater, propel themselves to the side of the pool and finally get out of the pool safely.

The downside is that you can only have 2 make up lessons out of 12 lessons. But at least it’s better than nothing since young babies are unpredictable – sick, fussy, etc. Or you could have planned for holidays in between.

What happens during the infant swim class?

Happy Fish keeps the class size small with a maximum of 6 students (infants). This ensures good teacher to student ratio. Note that an adult has to accompany the infant into the water. Both parents can also choose to join their baby in the water. Happy Fish aims to train parents or caregivers to be the best swimming teacher for their babies.

During the lesson, infants will learn the following:

  • Breath Control: Hold breath when verbal and kinesthetic trigger is given.
  • Water Familiarisation: Explore in and around the water safely.
  • Trauma-Free Submersion: Develop confidence in submerging underwater and discover the freedom of buoyancy.
  • Free Floating: Float without assistance to the ledge of pools or between adults.
  • Propulsion: Learn basic hand paddling and leg kicking action to move around in the water.
  • Independency: Swim between adults, grabbing shirts to pull themselves up, turn and swim back to the ledge and get out of the pool, all by themselves.

Are the instructors certified?

Being AUSTSWIM Gold Level Recognised Swim Centre, Happy Fish instructors are certified AUSTSWIM Teacher of Infant & Preschool Aquatics.

Duration and Pricing?

Each lesson is only for 30 minutes. That’s long enough for babies’ short attention span. Moreover, our pediatrician told us that it’s best for young babies to swim in chlorine water for only 20 minutes. So a 30 minutes works out to be good for the indoor pool.

Weekday: S$342.40 per term (incl. GST)
Weekend: S$428.00 per term (incl. GST)
Term: 10 + 2 lessons


Our Experience: Happy Fish Swim Trial


We were the only ones during the swim trial and instructor Jasmin was assigned to us. She had 5 to 6 years of experience teaching children (including infants).

Hubby went into the waters with Evangeline, while I took charge of taking photos of her first swim lesson! 🙂 Hubby wore his own swimming trunks while Happy Fish provided their t-shirt for him to wear over. We saw other fathers in the toddler swimming lesson wearing Happy Fish t-shirt as well.

During the Lesson

At the start of the lesson, Jasmin briefed us on the dos and don’ts. Don’t wipe the face when water trickles down. Don’t rush to bring the baby out of water on first cry. Do relax, smile and praise to encourage them. The little one will reflect our emotions, either calmness or fear.

During the trial, Evangeline was taught propulsion, water familiarisation and breath control. Jasmine guided my hubby on how to carry Evangeline and have her do warm up kicks, front and back strokes.

Then she taught us water conditioning so that Evangeline doesn’t associate fear with water. She did that by giving a signal followed by pouring a scoop of water down from above Evangeline’s head. She encouraged us to continue doing that during bath time. Evangeline surprisingly didn’t scream when the water was poured over her. Credit goes to my hubby who always did a similar move with the shower head during bath time.

Nearing the end of the lesson, Jasmin taught my hubby how to submerge Evangeline underwater. This is a way to test how long the baby can hold their breath. Evangeline could hold her breathe for quite some time and without crying. That made us proud parents! 🙂

We thought that the trial lesson is very fruitful because Jasmin taught Evangeline many moves. Turns out, she had taught her stuff from lessons 1 to 3 because Evangeline didn’t cry in the waters and held her breath relatively well. Thus what’s taught during the trial lesson depends on how ready your baby is with water.

Wash Up at Bukit Timah Branch

The pool is at level one while the wash up area is on level two. So you have to be really careful when walking up the wet steps with a baby in your hand. The other parent who is not going into the water can sit at level two to watch the class ongoing downstairs.

There are four shower cubicles and two large basins for your baby to wash up. Diaper stations and lockers are available too. The area was relatively empty when we were there, but we foresee it might be a squeeze when there’s a full class. For young babies who still cannot stand, I would recommend two adults to be there because there’s nowhere to place your baby while you clean up and change.

Conclusion

We were half thinking whether to sign her up for swim lessons, since we can bring her to swim on our own. But after the trial, we realised that there are certain guided swim moves we wouldn’t have dared to do on our own, for fear of baby drinking too much water or drowning.

These moves are good because they seem to maximise the baby’s potential and movements in the waters and not just aimlessly float around. Come to think of it, the infant swim lessons are more for the parents than babies. Because during the swim lesson, parents learn how to guide babies to move in water instead of babies learning to swim! 🙂
Have you tried Happy Fish infant swim lesson too? What do you think? Leave your thoughts below!

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Cloth Diaper Review + Giveaway: Moo Moo Kow & Baby Dash https://baby.joogostyle.com/cloth-diaper-review/ https://baby.joogostyle.com/cloth-diaper-review/#comments Wed, 30 May 2018 02:07:39 +0000 https://baby.joogostyle.com/?p=1077 If you are thinking whether to use cloth diaper, head to this other post first, ‘About Cloth Diaper in Singapore’. Once you have decided to give cloth diaper a try, you will soon realise that there are many brands out there. So let me start you […]

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If you are thinking whether to use cloth diaper, head to this other post first, ‘About Cloth Diaper in Singapore’. Once you have decided to give cloth diaper a try, you will soon realise that there are many brands out there. So let me start you somewhere with this cloth diaper review! 🙂

Among the many brands, there are the “brand-less” ones. You can get them on online shopping sites like Qoo10, Taobao, etc. I tried these and I would say, you get what you pay for. You could consider them if you only want to try out cloth diapers, or use them a couple of times for baby’s severe diaper rash.

In this post, I’ll be reviewing Moo Moo Kow and Baby Dash. Mothers like myself are usually acquainted with them because they have standalone booths at baby fairs, unlike say, Charlie Banana that’s tucked among other products at Motherworks booth. You can find Baby Dash at Raf Raf Baby’s booth.

Raf Raf Cloth Diaper - baby.joogostyle


Cloth Diapers and Inserts


Before I dive into the reviews, here’s a breakdown of a cloth diaper’s components.

  • Cloth diaper (i.e. diaper cover) has
    • Outer waterproof shell and an inner layer that touches baby’s skin.
    • In between these two layers is a pocket opening where you can slide in an insert.
  • Insert is a piece of rectangular cloth that you slide inside the cloth diaper’s pocket. This is to absorb the urine (moisture) away from your baby’s skin.

Cloth diaper goes hand in hand with inserts. Each of them has different materials and designs to fit different needs. Here’s a quick glance of what’s available in the market:

Cloth Diaper*:

  • Aplix Cloth Diaper (Velcro to secure)
  • Snap Cloth Diaper (Snap Buttons to secure)
  • Bamboo Cloth Diaper (Snap Buttons)
  • Training Pants (Fits 3-5 years old)

*For Moo Moo Kow and Baby Dash, each cloth diaper you buy comes with two inserts.

Inserts:

  • Day Inserts (Microfiber)
  • Night Inserts (Microfiber)
  • Stay Dry Inserts (Only Moo Moo Kow)
  • Bamboo Inserts
  • Charcoal Bamboo Inserts (Only Raf Raf Baby)

Raf Raf Cloth Diaper - baby.joogostyle


Moo Moo Kow


About Moo Moo Kow

Moo Moo Kow (“MMK”) is a Singapore brand created by a group of mummies who wanted to make a difference in the environment and their community. They have been in the cloth diapering business since 2007, and is now both a distributor and manufacturer. MMK products are made in their China plant where a quality control supervisor ensure all products are made with top quality.

Other than cloth diapers, MMK has a wide collection of products: Swim Diaper, Changing Pads, Cloth Wipes, Liner & Wipes, Mattress Pad, Apron, Pail Liner, Reusable Bag. It also has related brands: Baa Baa Sheepz selling bedtime accessories and bamboo pyjamas, while Crok Crok Frog and Doo Doo Mooky sell towels and nursing products respectively.

Disclaimer: Moo Moo Moo Kow sent over their products for me to review. However, I did buy their bamboo diapers (1-for-1 at baby fair), nursing pad and hooded towel before this.

General Review of Cloth Diapers

Based on my own opinion, the cloth diapers’ workmanship is good and are made of good quality materials. For one, the buttons on MMK’s cloth diaper felt sturdy, like it’s firm in the buckle and not easy to drop off. But I must say, there are too many buttons on one diaper. It gets frustrating when you are hurrying to buckle up a screaming or wrestling baby. I suggest they dial down the buttons or colour code it like Uniqlo onesies – alternate colours for alternate buttons.

According to MMK, they use high quality PUL fabric for the waterproof cover. This fabric can withstand hot washes. This is quite important because for the cheap ones I had before, the lining of the waterproof shell peeled like “skin” when I accidentally set the wrong wash cycle temperature.

Cloth diaper review

Bamboo Cloth Diaper (S$35)

Bamboo cloth diaper is my first love. I bought it because the material feels soft and comfortable on first touch. Bamboo is supposedly breathable, good in absorbency, of natural anti-bacterial, odor-resistant, and cool in warm climate and warm in cold temperatures. Hence, it’s more expensive than the “normal” cloth diaper.

The bamboo cloth diaper and insert indeed felt good in absorbency. However, after multiple washes, the softness gradually became rough and the surface feels slightly prickly. Moreover, bamboo stains easily and it’s not easy to remove those stubborn poo stains. Hence, MMK also recommends users to replace bamboo diapers frequently for hygiene purposes.

I concluded that it’s best to buy bamboo cloth diaper during MMK’s 1-for-1 promotion. The original price of S$35 is a good investment if it lasted longer. Because if you average out this higher initial price with a shorter lifespan, it is still more expensive per use than a regular cloth diaper.

Snap and Aplix Cloth Diapers (Regular Diaper) (S$30)

Snap and Aplix cloth diapers uses microfiber for the surface area. The difference between them is having button and velcro system respectively to secure the diapers on the babies. I have highlighted the pros and cons of each system in ‘About Cloth Diaper in Singapore’.

Unlike bamboo, microfiber (as stated on MMK website) is easy to maintain and easy to remove the stains. Moreover, I find that the surface stays relatively dry even when the insert is wet with urine. Original price is S$30, you can get promotional price during baby fairs and occassionally on Pupsik (S$24).

Cloth Diaper Review - baby.joogostyle

General Review of Inserts

MMK has different inserts for different needs: stay-dry, night time, microfibre, heavy wetter, and bamboo stay-dry inserts. If one insert is not enough for heavy wetter or overnight use, slot two inserts into the cloth diaper’s wide pocket.

Having said that, I don’t put two inserts because I don’t use cloth diapers overnight and I change Evangeline quite often. But if your baby does wear overnight, you can use MMK’s night time insert which is made of hemp. It’s supposedly to be anti-bacterial and more durable and absorbent than other fabrics even though it’s thin. It’s like Laurier super slimguard. I need to change my mindset that thick equals good absorbency.

So What Did I Try?

Stay-dry and bamboo insert that came with MMK’s regular and bamboo cloth diapers.

Bamboo Insert

MMK doesn’t sell this bamboo insert separately, but you can still purchase a similar product – stay dry bamboo insert. This is because unlike the stay dry counterpart, it’s difficult to get rid of the stain on bamboo material. Hence, MMK doesn’t encourage baby who has frequent poo to use bamboo material. However, if you still prefer to use the cooling bamboo, you have to replace your bamboo inserts often.

Stay Dry Insert

Moo Moo Kow Insert - baby.joogostyle

Of all the inserts I have used, MMK’s stay-dry insert stood out. The insert has a layer of stay-dry material (suede) on top of the microfiber. I like it that one side of the insert stays dry while you can touch the wetness on the other side to know how much your little one peed. The stay dry surface gives me a peace of mind that my baby’s butt will not be a wet breeding ground for fungi and yeast to grow. We already had two to three of such incidents already.

Another plus point with stay-dry insert is that you can place the insert on top of the cloth diapers instead of slotting into the pocket which a few mothers find it cumbersome. But I still prefer to insert it into the pocket as it is less likely to go out of place.

There is a small stitch that came off for one of my stay-dry inserts after a couple of washes. No worries, because for any defect situation such as this, contact MMK and they will replace it with a new piece.

Review: Other Products

I’ve used MMK’s bamboo nursing pads and bamboo hooded towels when Evangeline was just born. I talked about my use of bamboo nursing pads in my previous post, “The Breastfeeding Experience“.

As for the bamboo hooded towels, it’s soft on newborn skin, absorbent and easy to use for bathing the newborn. Slot the tiny head in and wipe the hair dry. However, the hood becomes a bit small when the baby head grows. Moreover after some time, bamboo mould spots appeared on the towel like most bamboo products. You can wash off the spots with vinegar – google it. 🙂 I would still recommend the towels for the first few months of your newborn.


Baby Dash


Raf Raf 1 - baby.joogostyle

About Baby Dash and Raf Raf Baby

I tried Baby Dash Economy Pocket Cloth Diaper (“Baby Dash”) that is sold at Raf Raf Baby’s website, but is not actually considered a Raf Raf Baby Cloth Diaper.

Raf Raf Baby (“Raf Raf”) was conceived in 2009 by Martin Ho. Raf Raf’s cloth diapers and inserts are designed in Singapore, with its signature material being charcoal bamboo. According to Mr Martin, Raf Raf cloth diapers are made of premium quality and are comparable to Moo Moo Kow. On the other hand, Baby Dash is more for budget conscious mummies, like me! 🙂

Review: Baby Dash Cloth Diapers (“Baby Dash”) (S$19.90)

The surface of Baby Dash cloth diaper that touches the baby skin is made of microseude, which is similar to MMK’s regular snap diaper. The two are comparable, just that the cloth and buttons of Baby Dash felt like a lite version of MMK. Baby Dash’s diaper felt thinner and lighter, and that might explain why it is more affordable than MMK.

Because of Baby Dash’s price point, this makes good entry level cloth diapers for newbies to try out. It’s also good for parents who are on tight budget. Affordable while having quality that is better than the cheap cloth diapers you find on Qoo10 or Taobao.

A few other points to highlight about this cloth diaper. After a couple of washes, I can see fur ball forming on the microsuede. Nothing serious, just noticeable. On the plus side, this diaper has two buttons fewer than MMK’s to button up and this made it easier to wear on a struggling baby.

Raf Raf- babyjoogostyle

About Charcoal Bamboo Cloth Diapers

I didn’t use Charcoal Bamboo Cloth Diaper as it was out of stock at the time of writing. However, based on their website, I think this diaper has the colour coded button system that I suggested for MMK diaper – alternate button colours to make buttoning easier.

According to Martin, they came up with their own system when designing their bamboo diaper. It is a re-washable 2-part diaper system, which is worn differently from the market norm. This might have to do with their pre-fold anti-leak charcoal bamboo inserts.

Because of this, the customer might not know how to best use this cloth diaper without explanation. Hence, the company organises private demo session with new and potential customers who might be interested to know about their charcoal bamboo diapers. Otherwise, mothers can pop by their baby fair booth to find out more. To make things easier for mummies, I suggest instructional video to be put up on their website to explain how to use the cloth diaper system.

Review: Inserts

Pre-fold anti-leak charcoal bamboo inserts seems to be their featured product, so it was a pity it was unavailable at the time of writing. However, I did try the microfiber insert that came along with Baby Dash’s regular cloth diaper.

This insert is on the slim side, as compared to those I’ve used. It remained slim, albeit a bit rough, after multiple washes. This is unlike their previous version which got thick and fluffy after washes. But it could also be because I have used the previous version for a longer time. Raf Raf also removed the company’s label on their insert in the newer version, wonder why. Regardless, this simple insert absorbs relatively well.

In conclusion, if you want quality, go for MMK. If you want value for money, go for Baby Dash.

Do your baby wear these brands? Let me know what you think about them! Or what other brands do you suggest? Leave your thoughts in the comments box below.


Giveaway


Cloth Diaper Giveaway- babyjoogostyle

JoogoBaby is giving away cloth diapers to TWO WINNERS! Each set is worth about S$60.

  • One set of Moo Moo Kow cloth diapers (2 pieces of snap/aplix cloth diaper)
  • One set of Baby Dash Cloth Diapers (Pack of 3)

You can read about the use of cloth diapers at baby.joogostyle.com/cloth-diaper-in-singapore/.

Simply join the giveaway on Facebook or Instagram (@joogostyle) and fill up this form:

All the best! Giveaway deadline to 1 July 2018, Sunday midnight. I will choose the winners on either Facebook or Instagram. Open to residents of Singapore only.

Terms and Conditions:

  1. Joogostyle reserves the right to select the winners at our sole discretion or to amend the deadline at any time without prior notice. No explanation is required. Winner will be notified via Facebook/email.
  2. Winner will need to email his/her personal particulars to Joogostyle upon confirmation announcement on Facebook. If a winner does not respond within three (3) working days, the prize will be invalid and the winner forfeits all rights to any prize.
  3. Joogostyle may at its discretion replace or substitute any of the prizes with another prize of equal or similar value at any time without prior notice being given.
  4. Joogostyle reserves the right for final decision in the case of disputes.

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Stay at Home Mums https://baby.joogostyle.com/stay-at-home-mums/ https://baby.joogostyle.com/stay-at-home-mums/#comments Fri, 18 May 2018 03:27:48 +0000 https://baby.joogostyle.com/?p=983 This ‘Stay at Home Mums’ post is part two of a two part series for Mother’s Day. “So what are you doing now?” “I’m taking care of my baby.” *Stunned silence* “Full time?” “Yup.” *Awkward silence* “Oh, so good. I wish we can afford to […]

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This ‘Stay at Home Mums’ post is part two of a two part series for Mother’s Day.

“So what are you doing now?”
“I’m taking care of my baby.” *Stunned silence*
“Full time?”
“Yup.”
*Awkward silence* “Oh, so good. I wish we can afford to as well,” a fellow mummy said.

The undertone was seemingly laced with judgment. Like I’m good for nothing. Or it’s simply me projecting my inner self-judgement unto them. Anyway, this is a normal occurrence and hence, I would usually add that I’m also blogging/writing on the side. However recently I try to omit this because I want to be proud and not be ashamed of being a stay-at-home-mum (“SAHM”). Also, there’s a misconception about SAHM. One doesn’t need to be rich to be one, most of the time, one just needs to be willing to cut back on spending. Of course, there are exceptions where one really has much financial responsibilities.

Okay, maybe I’m overly sensitive and overreacting. However, I’m sure many stay at home mothers can identify this kind of conversation. However I don’t blame these people with coloured lenses in this task oriented, result focused society. Even our government perpetuates the idea that working is better than stay home.

Stay at Home Mums - baby.joogostyle.com

Government

You can see the slight bias against SAHMs in the differences in subsidies and tax relief. SAHMs have lower infant care or child care subsidies than working mothers. One could argue that SAHM’s work is to take care of their children after all, so why is there a need to go to infant/child care. SAHM needs a breather and break from this 24/7 work too!

An ex-SAHM told me she couldn’t do this anymore at 10+ months and thus hopped back to the workforce. And being on both sides, she said being a working mum is so much easier. Btw, SAHMs are more cash strapped than working mothers. They sacrifice material gains to bring up a generation for the country. So why lower subsidies, if not equal?

Anyway, this difference says a lot about how the government is shaping the culture. It seems only right that mothers return to the workforce and be a productive person, after all manpower is an important resource here. But the downside is, mothers don’t spend as much time with their children. Food for thought ST articles, “More mums at home will make family, nation stronger” and this other article which I quote the following from:

“Surely as a nation, we can do more in terms of taxation to recognise the contributions of the women who chose to give up so much in order to stay at home to nurture our next generation of citizens?”

Whether working or stay at home, a mother is an amazing superwoman!

Feminism

Feminist movement gave women the choice to enter the workforce and not be limited to devoting her life to homemaking. However in developed societies these days, the pendulum has swung to the other side. You should go to work, if not be judged as a homemaker.

If feminism is truly successful, it is to give woman the right to choose without condemnation whether to work or stay home. Of course the stigma is not as great as fathers choosing to stay at home.

Mother's Day - baby.joogostyle.com

Personal Choice

SAHMs are an under appreciated group in Singapore. It’s not easy to take care of the children and home full time. Other than physical exhaustion, there’s the potential loss of self-identity. Then there’s the loss of self income and having to humble oneself to ask money from hubby, even though technically that money should be part of the income or bonus of a SAHM.

Although I’m a SAHM on the surface, I’ll go crazy if I only do household chores, cook and take care of Evangeline. As I quote this book (Grace promises for Moms), “In the midst of being all these things, sometimes it’s easy to lose sight of who you are as an individual, one with unique giftings and dreams that God has put in your heart.”

I think one needs to have a calling to be a homemaker full time. It’s not for everyone. Hence, I’ll still squeeze time out to write on this website and consider myself a mum working from home, even though it’s eating up my time and making life more difficult and stressful. Moreover, I’m not paid. So I’m much thankful for your support through ads. 🙂

I could have Evangeline raised up by her grandparents, helper, or IFC. But I’m a mother who can’t let go. Firstly, there’s the unparalleled return of spending time with her and witnessing the developmental milestones. In addition, I have strong opinions of certain ways of parenting and I wasn’t willing to see them compromised. Perhaps this is a first time mum syndrome. I’m not sure if I’ll do the same subsequently.

Anyhow, there are many times I want to give up and outsource the babysitting. But then, I’ll come across articles to make me stay on this path. Example, how the first three years are critical in building a child’s foundation. One that will shape the child’s character, emotional and cognitive abilities, etc. Of course there will be the other side to say this is all a myth. Nevertheless, I believe parents have great influence on the next generation and even beyond – generational blessings or curses.

Mother's Day - baby.joogostyle.com

Work vs Stay at Home

I will end with an excerpt from this article “Is It Better for Moms to Stay at Home?” from desiringgod.org:

“At work, I finished projects. At home, I could work the whole day, and at the end there was absolutely no evidence I had done anything at all. There was always more laundry to do, another mess in the living room, another meal to fix, another diaper to change. At work, I could tell when I was doing a good job. At home, I struggled to have confidence in my abilities. I was pouring into my kids, but the changes were so incremental I couldn’t tell if anything I was teaching them was taking hold. Was the investment of my time and energy really making a difference?

If I went to a professional event with my husband and someone asked me what I did, I cringed and said, “I’m just a mom.”

Many years later, it embarrasses me to see how much value I placed on man-centered achievement and applause. I was a sincere Christian with a growing relationship with Jesus, I was teaching my children about him with joy, but I had not yet learned to find my value and worth in Him. And I had not yet learned which things have eternal value, and which will soon be forgotten.

If I were to trot out any of the “spectacular” work I did in my business days, it would look hopelessly outdated and irrelevant today. On the other hand, when I look at my sons, God shows me priceless evidence and rewards for the sacrifices and investments I made in their growing up years.”

This mother’s day, celebrate yourself. Love yourself.

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Motherhood is not easy, but worth it https://baby.joogostyle.com/motherhood/ https://baby.joogostyle.com/motherhood/#respond Sun, 13 May 2018 01:45:38 +0000 https://baby.joogostyle.com/?p=931 This is part one of a two part series for Mother’s Day. “Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, The fruit of the womb is a reward.” – Psalms 127:3 Give yourself a pat. Motherhood is tough. It’s life changing with sacrifices. It’s depressing. […]

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This is part one of a two part series for Mother’s Day.

“Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, The fruit of the womb is a reward.” – Psalms 127:3

Give yourself a pat. Motherhood is tough. It’s life changing with sacrifices. It’s depressing.
Congratulate yourself. Motherhood has made you stronger. It’s life transforming with blessings. It’s joyful.

Motherhood brings about a mish-mash of emotions from the ends of a spectrum – of joy and tears, of pride and frustration, of excitement and mundane. Like taking a roller coaster ride, the fear and thrill experienced as one. Some days going up in exhilaration, some days going down in screams.


The Comparison Game


You may or may not want to be a mother. Regardless, you’re now a mother and this has not been easy. Perhaps you beg to differ. You are the exception. The supermom who slid into the role easily while others struggled. And if you are that struggling mother, you envy how other people’s children (the greener pastures) always seemed easier to take care than your baby of high needs, special needs, etc.

Otherwise when you are all alone trying to tackle a screaming child, you wish you have lots of help like some mothers do. At some point, we mothers compare and see how others ace this journey of motherhood while we fight hard to stay afloat. We want to throw in the towel. This is just not for us.

This rang true for me when I saw how babies around me slept through the night as early as two months old. And there I was, still dragging myself out of bed for my seven month’s old multiple night wakings. It was painfully torturous. I. LOVE. SLEEP. It doesn’t matter what time I sleep, late or early, I simply need sufficient sleep. I’m a stickler for 7 hours of sleep, even though sometimes I’m more awake at 6 hours.

Having to wake up a few times in the night was already a dread. Now, imagine having insomnia hit after being woken in the middle of the night. I got super indignant over the insomnia eating away my precious few sleeping hours. This made it harder for me to sleep. Vicious cycle, but bottomline: “Evangeline, why can’t you sleep through the night like so and so, so and so!”

*Red alert* It’s always bad to compare.

Bad idea to compare infants who generally don’t know what they are doing. Babies can vary among light sleepers, night owls, cat nappers, etc. So how can I fault Evangeline*? As the personalities of babies vary, so do struggles and victories of one mother to another. Each has her own battle to fight.

And if I look around more, there are others who are “worse off” than me. Their two year olds are still waking up at night up. These mothers had tough it out much longer than me. At the end of the day, I’m not alone!

*To save hubby’s and my sanity, we sleep trained her at 8 months old. Glad we did!

Mother's Day - baby.joogostyle.com


The Changes in Mothers


This is my first mother’s day. After 11 months of being a mother, I now understand why this jingle, “世上只有妈妈好,” is famous and often hummed. Not that fathers are not good, especially with many hands-on dad these days, my hubby is a prime example. It is just that the physical, mental and emotional upheavals that a woman go through are naturally at a greater degree. For one obvious difference, woman is the one who experiences the childbearing process.

Her children rise up and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her: “Many women have done excellently, but you surpass them all.” – Proverbs 31:28-29

Physical

A mother can make her own life easier by outsourcing different areas, but not the physical changes that happen pre and post childbirth. The breastfeeding struggle. The hurting wound. The uncontrollable hormonal and bodily changes bringing about emotional repercussions. That being said, I think it is the changes that go unseen by most that are long term and detrimental – the mental and the emotional.

Mental

Suddenly having to take care of a vulnerable small human being, the mother is often thrown into a disarray and at loss. The learning curve is steep. Between a demanding baby boss, endless household chores, and for working mums, stressful work, the mother are pushed to do many things in short pockets of time. And thus the importance of planning and multitasking.

These require much mental power as the mind constantly churns up with an exhaustive to do list. Then the physical exertion to execute them. Wash the laundry, bath the baby, plan the meals, stock up household and baby stuff when running low, plan and buy groceries, etc. As a planner and a thinker, my mind easily goes into overdrive. Hence, I’m learning to let go and flow in God’s grace and peace.

She looks well to the ways of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness. – Proverbs 31:27

You know how female bosses are stereotyped as not being easy to work for? Because of their eye for details, they tend to nitpick and increase work load. Male boss tend to accept certain risk and sweep off minute issues. I believe women are wired in this way to take care of household matters, things that require attention to details, such as baby care.

Mother's Day - baby.joogostyle.com

Then there’s the maternal instinct to love, protect and care for the young. This instinct stirs up million worries that can easily overwhelm a mother’s mind and heart. “Is she sleeping and drinking enough? Is the rash on her (fill in the blank) normal? Her fever hit 38.5 degrees, should I go to PD, A&E or just feed paracetamol/ibuprofen? Is she okay from all the crying? Should I enroll her in this childcare or that? Is she…?”

These questions are never-ending. Every stage has new challenges and worries over children. Infant care to teenage angst to adult grapples. Growth spurt to puberty to ageing. Hence I have to trust God to take care of Evangeline. I have to tap on His hesed wisdom in this journey of parenthood. One also needs to have the mental fortitude to receive and filter incoming advice from everywhere, from well meaning friends and family to strangers on the street.

Emotional

The hardest hit for most mothers should be the emotional aspect. Woman are generally more emotional to begin with. The overwhelming responsibilities and changes in life can be suffocating. The creeping fear and worries in the mind will also grip the heart. Hence post natal depression is very real and can hit anyone. And the incessant crying of the baby only fuels the downward spiral of vexation. I’ve to constantly remind myself to look to God, and not at the giants in life.
Sacrifices

As a first time mum with little help, there are many adjustments to my life. Sacrifices have to be made. Thank God my husband is hands on, otherwise I would have thrown in the towel early on. But there will also be times I feel imbalanced. Like when I wake up to nurse every two hours in the night, I look to my snoring husband and wondered, “Why me?”

She rises while it is yet night and provides food for her household and portions for her maidens. – Proverbs 31:15

I have heard worse, of husbands who refused to give up on their old lifestyles, like fishing or going out for drinks with friends. In these cases, the wives have to step up and make more sacrifices in time and effort to take care of the little one.

The two biggest thorns in my flesh are losing freedom and sleep. Sacrifices that I didn’t want to accept initially. Sometimes I don’t think I can do this motherhood anymore. I know I can’t blame crying babies for crying hysterically to make us insane. But I blame God. Why give me a baby that is so hard to take care? I expend much energy everyday to take care of an active baby with night wakings (before sleep training). Tough for the introvert me. The screams piercing my sensitive nerves.

It was only when I embraced this new life that I realised the old has gone. I heard this line from “Letdown(first time mums, go watch) and teared. This counsellor told a first time mother, “If you keep looking back, you’ll only think about what you have lost.” So I looked at cute Evangeline, and focused on what I’ve gained exponentially.

Mother's Day - baby.joogostyle.com
Unsolicited Comments

Then as you feel your way through the dark as a first time mother, other people will accentuate your worries with their callous comments and remarks. From your parenting skills to anything about the baby. Once, I was judged by an elderly couple at a relatively crowded bus stop.

I didn’t pick up crying Evangeline immediately because I didn’t want her to cry as habit. They started to criticise me aloud, to the likes of, “Aiyo, baby crying already still don’t want to carry.” Imagine my irritability piling up. When I finally carried Evangeline after 2-3 minutes of crying, the old lady said, “The mother thinks the baby is stupid, it’s the mother who is stupid.” I was fuming mad. Seeing that they are old, I kept my mouth shut and swallowed my anger. I knew I would spew caustic words if I rebutted. I’ve since learned that mothers need to have a strong heart or closed ears, otherwise we will be miserable.
Mother’s Guilt

Then there is the mother’s guilt when bad days hit. When you had a long and exhausted day and the children were being difficult. You snapped at them and felt guilty afterwards. You felt like the worst mum.

One day at 10+ months, Evangeline was super cranky and kept crying. This became the last straw that broke the camel’s back. I lost it and I snapped. I threw her inside the playyard and went screaming crazy at her. As anger begets anger, she cried and screamed back louder. She violently shook the walls of the playyard to be let out. When I finally cooled down, I apologised, hugged and kissed her. But for the rest of the day, she only smiled a little and largely remained expressionless no matter how I made her laugh. My heart broke. My happy baby was gone. Did I traumatise her? Left an emotional scar in her? I heaved a great sigh of relief when she smiled a little more at me before she slept and resumed being a happy baby the next day. Phew.

I felt guilty. Then I worried I’ll pass on my temper to her. I prayed for God to give me the grace to be a better mother. One who acts and speaks with wisdom, patience, longsuffering, self control and love when bringing Evangeline up! Subsequently I learn to calm myself down first before speaking to her. To scream out my frustration in the pillow before rebuking her in love.

End of the day, I’m not a perfect mother. I have to forgive myself. I’m still learning and trusting that God will bring her up well no matter how I fail. And tomorrow is a brand new day for me to do this motherhood better.

Relational

Then there’s also the relational aspect to consider. With a baby in the mix, it’s easy to have differences in opinions and thus friction with the baby’s grandparents and relatives. Somehow, women are more affected by such conflicts.

Then there is the seldom talked about, but important, relationship brought to test when you have a baby. It is marriage. Parenthood is the refining fire of marriage, bringing out fine impurities to surface. It’s been written in many articles that the first years of parenthood is a hard test for marriages.

Marriage shines light on the selfishness in us, parenthood shines the flood light. Parenthood kind of accentuate the problems in marriage. The imbalance of sacrifices also takes a toll on the marriage. So if you know of friends who are trying to have a child to salvage a marriage, tell them it’s a bad idea.


There is so much more to say about motherhood. But it’s a role you can hear all about, but never truly understand and appreciate till you become a mother yourself.

The woman who gets the bulge and stretch marks from pregnancy. Whose mind goes into overdrive from all the tasks running through the mind. Who is sensitive to the cries, whimpers and needs of the baby. Whose heart is set towards family and domestic affairs.

This mother’s day, celebrate yourself. Give yourself a pat in the back.

p.s. Stay at home mums, I’ve a post dedicated for you!

The post Motherhood is not easy, but worth it appeared first on Joogo Baby.

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