Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Let's go vacationing!

Courtesy of

Our little family will be going to Langkawi by flight on a 3 days and 2 nights trip, together with my in-laws. Aliah is quite used to car travel, but this will be her first time boarding an airplane, so I am somewhat apprehensive. So I’m writing this to serve as a checklist on my own.

Things to put in her diaper bag
  • 3 or 4 spare diapers
  • a waterproof changing surface – it’s included in the bag, anyway
  • at least 2 pairs of clean clothes. Aliah perspires a lot. And she might decide to do a poop job.
  • Wet wipes
  • formula dispenser filled with formula (obviously) enough for 3 or 4 feedings. So if the family decides to go shopping right after we check into the hotel, I won’t have to dig into the bag to fill in the dispenser.
  • at least 2 clean bottles, just in case she wants a feed en route
  • 1 ready to drink formula, just in case she wants a feed immediately
  • 1 full bottle of warm water – she loves water, by the way
  • A thermos flask. I’m not sure whether we’re allowed to bring liquids through the security gates, but if not, I’ll just throw out the water then.
  • A bib
  • Her travel fork & spoon
  • Several plastic bags for diaper changes or soiled clothes. I love this Diaper Duck Travel Buddy sold at, if you don’t mind spending RM30 on disposable plastic bags. It’s so cute! But I’ll just stick to the free plastic bags for now.
  • Some snacks – biscuits, sandwiches or maybe some fruit
  • A toy or two. As she loves to scribble and I prefer not to worry about missing pencils, I bought a small Fisher-Price Doodle Pro that comes with a clip. And maybe I’ll bring her favourite Count and Play book.

Things to put in her own suitcase

Aliah is currently undergoing treatments to cure her newly contracted asthma. So I’m gonna have to bring all her medications, along with some other stuff such as

  • A thermometer
  • Baby paracetemol
  • One of her cold/cough meds, just in case
  • Diaper rash ointment. She rarely gets diaper rash, but it’s better to be prepared.

All the other stuff is regular things such as

  • Enough change of day clothes and night clothes. She still vomits every once in a while especially at night, so it never hurt s to bring extra clothes.
  • Her toiletries, compact size – baby head-to-toe wash, baby powder, toothbrush, her hairbrush and little scrunchie (her hair are so long, they’re getting into her eyes)
  • Socks and Vicks vapor rub, for night use. It eases her night coughing.
  • One or two of her favourite pillows
  • Her blanket, even though she hates it. She usually kicks it off madly when I cover her up.
  • Her formula and extra bottles
  • Bottle brush for bottle washing
  • Antibacterial hand gel
  • More diapers and wet wipes
  • Shoes and her newly bought sunglasses. I just can’t resist, they’re so cute!
  • Her ever useful stroller
  • Don’t forget the camera!

Have I forgotten anything important here? Hope not. Please let me know it I did.
So I think we’re ready for this vacation. Langkawi, here we come!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Pneumonia and Bronchitis in babies

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I’ve had a number of sleepless nights for almost two weeks now. It’s because my daughter has been coughing vigorously in her sleep and vomits out milk that she just drank hours ago. (A few days ago, it was rice with fish and some vegetables and bean sprouts. She must have swallowed them whole.) As I’m a rather light sleeper, I’d usually wake up when she starts to cough that kind of deep, belly cough filled with phlegm and mucus, just in case she vomits. Usually I get up from bed and out of the room to get a spare plastic basin for her to vomit in. Or just in the nick of time, like last night, I stopped in the middle of my prayers and put my hand in front of her mouth to catch her vomit, so minimal amount of vomit spills onto her cot. This has happened several times, in bed, in the car or pretty much anytime I noticed her coughing. Yesterday and this morning, I arrived at the office with my hand smelling of vomit.

When this kind coughing spells hit, I would of course, consequently sleep less smoothly. I noticed that my daughter is quite sensitive to certain kind of foods i.e. cold food like puddings cold drinks, oily food like fried fish crackers, even some types of tropical fruit. Her coughing would start that very night after she consumed such foods. Incidentally, she’s quite prone to catch colds and coughs infection, because she goes to a nursery where there are a lot of kids. (This is one very well-known disadvantage of sending your child to a children day-care centre.) It’s unlikely that a day-care centre with two or three caregivers to monitor very strict cleanliness of ten to fifteen toddlers at the same time. And it’s quite certain, that when one kid gets sick, others would get catch the virus pretty quickly.

The diagnosis

My daughter was diagnosed with pneumonia once, when she was around 10 months old and had to be hospitalized for three days. (The doctor asked to stay for another two days, but we politely declined. We promised to give her medicine and all that.) How the pediatrician diagnosed her was pretty much by the text book; he watched how she breathed and listened to her lungs with a stethoscope for her breathing patterns sounds and any abnormality. He mentioned that she breathed more rapidly to take in more oxygen because of the mucus in her lungs. And because babies do not know how to spit out the phlegm, she simply swallows them back into her lungs, causing an infection. After looking at my daughter’s chest x-rays, he confirmed it pneumonia and asked us to register her into the hospital ward.

The symptoms

It all started with the coughing and high fever, which are the main symptoms of pneumonia. She was certainly coughing hard until she usually vomits, and her temperature went up to 41 degree Celsius. Her breathing was quickened, she refuses to drink her milk, sometimes drinking only once a day and she was very weak, she keeps lying down and slept by herself. (If you knew how very hyperactive she is, then you’ll know that this is VERY rare.)

Difference between pneumonia and bronchitis

Bronchitis is an infection of the bronchial tubes. Pneumonia is an infection of the lungs. Bronchitis is a less severe form of pneumonia, but it will develop into pneumonia if left unchecked. Both illnesses have common symptoms and are caused by either these two reasons; bacteria or virus.

Courtesy of


If it is caused by virus, the main treatment would be lots of rest and consuming plenty of liquids, to fight dehydration from the rapid breathing and fever. You can try a cool mist humidifier in the room to combat the dryness in the air that’s causing her to cough. (FYI, air-conditioning is very drying, not only to the skin, but also to the throat.)

If it is caused by bacteria like what my daughter had, she was given antibiotics and other medications though a needle in her hand, which is more effective than consuming them orally. She was also give some nasal medication to dry up her runny nose and at times, fitted with an oxygen mask to help ease her breathing. And of course, lots of fluid and rest is essential to any sick child.


Some ways of upping her chances to stay healthy are:
  • Keep her vaccinations up to date as this helps to ward off many illnesses that can lead to pneumonia and bronchitis, such as measles. In Malaysia, taking up chicken pox and pneumococcal vaccines is not part of the normal routine vaccination schedules, but my daughter’s pediatrician did recommend it. It’s more expensive, by the way.
  • Practicing good hygiene is important too. Frequent hand-washing prevent the spreading of germs and bacteria. But as you probably know, it’s impossible to keep watch on your child every second of the day. Sharing cups, plates and utensils spreads germs easily too, so that’s why kids at day care centres get sick more easily. My point is, try to be clean as humanely possible, but please not to the extent of contracting obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD).
  • Try to maintain the home smoke-free. Ask any person or guests who smokes to do it outside. Studies have shown that children who live around cigarette smoke get sick more frequently and are more susceptible to pneumonia, upper respiratory infections and asthma. What better reason to quit smoking than to have healthy children?
  • On a personal note, take notice on any factors that could make your child sick, e.g. how eating oily or cold food can start coughing bouts for my daughter. When family members offer such foods, politely decline. This could prove to be difficult too, as my daughter would want to try to eat anything she sees. So if we don’t her to want to eat, better to hide it in the first place.

Although prevention is better, I must say it’s rather impossible to totally keep pneumonia out the door. Babies and young toddlers are highly prone to bronchitis and pneumonia as their immune systems are weak and are still developing. And for me, it’s rather unrealistic to keep tabs on every single food that passes through her little hands. Kids are explorers, after all. So just do your best to protect your child.


Monday, July 13, 2009

Food fights

Courtesy of

I sometimes dread weekends when I have stay home with my daughter, like the last one when my husband worked all weekend so I was stuck at home alone with her. It’s not like I don’t like spending time with her, I do, really. My only free time would be when she takes her naps in the morning, which is when I’ll cook the day’s lunch cum dinner, and the afternoon nap, which is when I’ll take a shower, perform my prayers, and finally, take a breather and take a nap myself, or watch a movie as I fold the laundry.

As my daughter just despises being alone, it’s quite difficult to do some housework with her tailing me around and wailing for something she wants to put in her mouth but I won’t let her i.e. talcum powder, my J.Lo sample body lotion, pens, wet wipes, pieces of biscuits she ate this morning, coins if we weren’t careful. The thing is, she knew we wouldn’t let her put stuff in her mouth. Sometimes I catch her in the act and quickly she hides behind the laundry basket, as if I couldn’t see her. And when I take it away from her, she’ll yell herself hoarse like I just tortured her, the baddest mom on the planet. Oooh… this daughter of mine is quite a handful, I tell you.

And that’s not even the main reason why I dread weekends alone with my precious little one. The number one reason is that I simply don’t know what to feed her! No, let me rephrase that. I don’t know WHAT she likes to eat. Every Saturday morning, I’ll flip through the pages of recipe books and magazines that feature food for toddlers and kids to find something that I think she’ll like, but then she’ll eat about three or four spoonfuls, and then pronouncing loudly with a affirmative headshake, “Nanak” which I think means “No thanks, mom, I think I’ve had enough now.” I think I’ve cooked up a pretty decent meal, which in the beginning, she wants to eat so enthusiastically, I would literally hold my breath to see how much she would eat. Not much, it turned out to be. It’s weird how she really likes some food for one day, and then totally hates it the next day. I mean, if you like chicken, you won’t mind eating it often, don’t you?

Then I start to wonder, is my cooking really THAT bad? My husband and brother find them eatable, so what’s the problem here? Her caregivers at her nursery keeps saying that she eats a lot, drinks a lot of milk, pooping twice, sometimes 3 times a day. Every time I pick her up from her nursery, I could really feel her weight from all that food she ate, her little round tummy protruding her t-shirts comfortably well. Then it hit me; she likes company. She always wants a bite of what we’re eating, be it curry, fish, spicy fried chicken or fruits, and she seems to eat more when we’re eating together. So now I try to feed her whatever we eat, as long as it’s not too spicy and not too oily. But her wacky eating behaviours still drive me crazy sometimes. Especially when she purposely drops her food onto the floor (after I just vacuumed the house) or she puts her tongue out and lets her food drip down her chin.

Then of course, I read up some info about toddler nutrition and fussy eaters from the Master of All Sources of Information, the Internet. To my relief, it seems my daughter’s eating habits are perfectly normal for toddlers around the world. The main thing to do for moms is, to stay calm and relax. Easier said than done. Okay, here’s a summary of main points to remember:

Courtesy of

  • Refusing foods is actually an important sign of growing up, as it is the first ways of how toddlers assert their independence. So even though it may drive you up the wall, it’s a healthy developmental milestone for your child.
  • If your child is old enough, try to involve him in food decisions. Provide him with a healthy range of options of foods. Chances are, he’ll be more likely to eat food that he chose for himself.
  • Whenever possible, try to eat together as a family to encourage your child to eat, which is the case with my daughter. She loves company! This is why, I think, she eats more at her nursery. The more, the merrier.
  • Prepare some finger foods so your child can eat some food by themselves, such as pieces of fruit, vegetables, fish, chicken or potatoes, crackers with cheese or little sausages. Mix them up in a variety of colours to make the meal interesting like, carrots, peas, fish, potatoes and pieces of papaya on a yellow plate. But be ready to brace yourself if your child flips it over to the floor.
  • If they spit out their food or protest, don’t punish or yell, but try to smile and take away their food and wait for the next mealtime. This is a real challenge for me, especially when she purposely throws her food onto the floor. But I’ll try and paste a smile on my face next time.
  • Try, try and try again. Just like my daughter’s whims, children’s likes and dislikes change all the time. She might not like it the first time, but she might like them the 15th time. So don’t lose heart too quickly.
  • Just like us adults, there some things that children just do not want to eat. I don’t eat seafood, bean sprouts and tofu, despite my husband’s saying they are delicious, so who am I to complain? So give in gracefully, and nobody’s left in tears.

If all else fails, just take her plate and chow down the food yourself. At least it doesn’t go to waste.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Get toned with baby (It's possible okay!)

I came across this website during my first pregnancy, but I really didn't apply it too much with my own daughter, sad to say. So I am giving encouragement to you moms out there to work it out! So at least someone's getting the benefits of from my sharing this.

These exercises are really no brainers, but can be quite effective if you really stick at it. You don't even need dumbells, just hold your baby instead. I can personally guarantee toned arms from carrying your own baby for hours! So come on moms, lets work out a storm! (or least a little sweat, that's good enough too for starters.)

1. Baby Dancing

Holding your baby in your arms or in a front carrier, sway back and forth or dance the cha-cha. Keep your feet moving to gently raise your heart rate. Continue for 5 minutes, working up to 10.

Strengthens heart, legs, hips, arms, shoulders, back and abdominals.
Total time: 15 to 20 minutes

Tips: Keep your abs drawn in and your shoulders back and down during each move. Be sure to cradle your baby's head securely, and don't forget to play and talk with her while you exercise.

2. Cradle Plies

Holding your baby in your arms or in a front carrier, sway back and forth or dance the cha-cha. Keep your feet moving to gently raise your heart rate. Continue for 5 minutes, working up to 10.

Strengthens heart, legs, hips, arms, shoulders, back and abdominals.

Total time: 15 to 20 minutes
Tips: Keep your abs drawn in and your shoulders back and down during each move. Be sure to cradle your baby's head securely, and don't forget to play and talk with her while you exercise.

3. Mommy Squats

Holding your baby to your chest, stand a few inches in front of a couch with your feet hip-width apart and toes pointing straight ahead. With abs drawn in, bend your knees and lower into a semi-squat until your butt is just above the seat cushion [shown]. Return to starting position. Repeat 5 times, building up to 10.

Strengthens legs, hips, glutes, arms and core (abdominal and back muscles).

Total time: 15 to 20 minutes
Tips: Keep your abs drawn in and your shoulders back and down during each move. Be sure to cradle your baby's head securely, and don't forget to play and talk with her while you exercise.

4. Baby Bridges

Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat, toes pointing straight ahead. Place your baby belly-down on your thighs and hold onto her hips or ankles. Keeping your abs tight, slowly lift your hips off the floor while squeezing your glutes [shown]. Lower your hips to the floor. Repeat 5 times, working up to 10.

Strengthenships, glutes, lower back and core.

Total time: 15 to 20 minutes

Tips: Keep your abs drawn in and your shoulders back and down during each move. Be sure to cradle your baby's head securely, and don't forget to play and talk with her while you exercise.

5. Kiss the Baby Push-Ups
On your hands and knees, place your baby on her back, underneath your chest. With your wrists under your shoulders and your head in line with your spine, pull your abs in--your body should form a straight line from head to hips [shown]. Bend your elbows to lower your torso and give your baby a kiss. Push back up to starting position. Repeat 5 times, working up to 15.

Strengthens chest, arms, back and abdominals.
Total time: 15 to 20 minutes
Tips: Keep your abs drawn in and your shoulders back and down during each move. Be sure to cradle your baby's head securely, and don't forget to play and talk with her while you exercise.

6a. Baby Elevators
Sit with your knees bent and ankles crossed. Place your baby on your ankles facing you. Maintaining a straight back, gently lift her toward the ceiling, keeping your elbows slightly bent

[A](shown). Slowly lower your baby toward your chest and give her a kiss

[B] (next slide). Push her back up into the air. Repeat 5 times, working up to 15.

Strengthens chest, back, arms and shoulders.
Total time: 15 to 20 minutes

Tips: Keep your abs drawn in and your shoulders back and down during each move. Be sure to cradle your baby's head securely, and don't forget to play and talk with her while you exercise.

6b. Baby Elevators
Sit with your knees bent and ankles crossed. Place your baby on your ankles facing you. Maintaining a straight back, gently lift her toward the ceiling, keeping your elbows slightly bent [A](shown). Slowly lower your baby toward your chest and give her a kiss.
Push her back up into the air. Repeat 5 times, working up to 15.
Strengthens chest, back, arms and shoulders.Total time: 15 to 20 minutes
Tips: Keep your abs drawn in and your shoulders back and down during each move. Be sure to cradle your baby's head securely, and don't forget to play and talk with her while you exercise.

Go visit the website, there's tons of useful info for new and old (or should I say, seasoned, moms.) It's a lot of fun!

Monday, July 6, 2009

How to cope with two

Courtesy of

I’m currently 5 and ½ months pregnant, and somewhat apprehensive about the soon-coming of our second baby. Don’t get me wrong, I am thankful for this gift; God must have known that I could handle this. But I’m not so sure! My last pregnancy was 15 months ago, but it couldn’t have felt more different than the first time around. I am much more tired than before, having to put up with Aliah, who’s pretty much still a baby herself. All the tantrums, the mess, the running here and there, I’m left breathless with an aching back most of the time.

My husband surprisingly asked me the other day “Are all babies really this messy? Or is it just our daughter?” after Aliah successfully got herself smeared in rice, fish and crackers. Not to mention the mess within a meter radius around her high chair. No, make that two meters. I was like come on, how can you expect a baby to be clean and tidy all the time, I mean at any time? To babies, mess equals fun! I tried to comfort my husband by saying that in the midst of all the mess, she’s actually learning something. “I don’t care what she’s learning, I just vacuumed the house!” Okay, time to shut up.

But really, we’re both up in our wits to the max, how in the world are we going to handle another bundle of mess-making, tantrum-yelling, poop-producing joy? I simply cannot imagine. Oh, I can imagine the state of the house then, but I can’t imagine how I’m going to keep myself from going insane when I’m already at the verge of insanity and tears.

Okay, okay, you might think that I’m exaggerating this a little. There are millions of people in the world who have more than one child. But it’s little hard to put yourself in someone else’s shoes when you already feel like you’re at the end of your patience most of the time. I mean, parenting is hard work. Literally. I still go through some not-so-smooth-sleep nights now that Aliah’s 15 months old. So how’s it going to be when the baby arrives, won’t I be able to sleep a wink? (Like I’ve mentioned before, sleep is a luxury to tired and energy-starved moms.) Sometimes I can’t even go to the toilet in peace, with Aliah wailing outside the door. (She usually wails in despair whenever she sees me leaving her.) Again, the nervousness and anxiety pops in. Can I be a good mother to both of them? What if I turn out to favour one of them? I’ve already poured so much love into Aliah, will I be able to love them equally?

Then I accidentally came across this article on coping with two and helping siblings to bond in Babycentre UK. It talks about how to prepare your toddler for the baby, how to treat them as individuals and not to compare them, how to teach the older sister or brother to help care and love the younger sibling and of course, that sibling rivalry will happen, to a certain degree. It even mentioned that some experts say that sibling rivalry is an opportunity for our children to learn the skills they’ll need in their future relationships. Have a read, it might put some worries at ease for second-time parents.

As for me, some skepticism still remains. I’ve learned by experience that parenthood is nothing like what’s mentioned in books. But don’t worry too much, it’ll definitely be the greatest adventure you’ll ever have.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Creating the love of learning

Courtesy of
Hi peeps!

Sorry for the lack of posts lately, I have been unwell for a few days now, with a runny nose, a bout of flu and watery eyes. My creative juices seemed to be blocked by an invisible barrier. So today I thought I’d just share with you what my colleagues and I discussed about while we went out to buy lunch just now.

It all started with this one colleague with a 15-year old son, who said she was busy editing her son’s science project at work. I was surprised and said “Why didn’t you ask him to print it out, so you can check on paper, and then ask him to correct it himself?” She said she’d told him to print out days ago, to no avail. The project was due tomorrow, so there’s no time for her to double check again, so she just edited it herself. I told her to tell her son about how we survived in our days, where parents were too busy or uneducated enough to be able to help us with our homework. I remembered my mom helping me with painting, doing creative projects or sewing my table runner project, stuff like that. But no help in difficult subjects like maths and science. That was pretty much the only parent intervention in my school life. The rest of it, I had to figure out on my own.

My colleague told me that both her husband and herself had berated him countless of times. She also said that his latest report card was a lot of D’s, C’s and maybe a couple of B’s. Another colleague said that her 13-year old sister failed three subjects in school. She was more interested in singing and dancing projects, even getting frustrated when she failed to score a place in singing or dancing competitions. My own nephew scored some C’s and D’s in his SPM last year, not to mention his smoking in the house, his late nights out and sometimes not coming home at all. I read about a 13-year old boy having a baby with his 14-year old girlfriend a few months ago. I also read an article about teenage girls having more sex to get revenge for their parent’s neglect. (This is a little out of topic, but still, very shocking.) I was like, WHAT in the WORLD is happening here?

Gone are the days of the simple life of friends, school, playing at recess and family fun. It looks like the days of sex, drugs and rock and roll are back with a vengeance; destroy mankind. (Sounds like a Decepticon. Haha.) It’s scary. When I was dropping off my daughter at her nursery the other day, I saw of group of boys and girls in school uniforms cutting classes and idling around the shops. I told my husband, I could count with my fingers, the number of times that I’ve cut classes in school. I felt it was such a loss when I couldn’t go to school, when my classmates get to learn but I missed out. My husband said “Honey, that was 15 years ago. Things are different now.”

How did it get to be so different? I guess parents are the first to be blamed. The world today is so tough and expensive, both parents need to go and work outside the house, to earn sometimes just enough to provide for their family, with a little bit left over to spare. The recession has made it even more difficult; people lost their jobs and struggling hard to survive. Our country was not so badly hit with the recession, but my friends in the UK and US were laid off, some hanging on to their jobs for dear life. I read about families with close bonds would be less likely to have rebellious or difficult kids. But who would have time to spend with kids when they come back at 9 or 10 at night, only to put their kids to bed? (I experienced this too, so I know how it feels.)

My mother told me about how kids today are so pressured to excel in school. When I was in school, kindergarten was like play-school. Standard One students were just learning the alphabets and learning to count. Kids nowadays are expected to be able to read when they enter Standard One, they have private tuitions after school, come back at 7 p.m. and have homework to do. In Standard One, at 7 years old. When will they have time to be kids, to be able to play and have fun freely? But at the same time, we wouldn’t want our children to be the least smart in class, would we? So what can we do, as parents? Push them to strive in studies or let them play to their heart’s content without a care in the world? Is it even possible to achieve a balance? It isn’t as easy as you think it would be, you know.

I guess the best way to go about this matter is, to instill the love of learning in our children, which is not easy, considering our own education system here in Malaysia. Schools, learning and studying should be, first and foremost, FUN. When it’s fun, you don’t even have to force them to learn, I bet kids would be running out the door each morning to go to school! Wouldn’t that be marvelous? I think our education system is too rigid and inflexible, too focused on excelling in exams, too pressured to perform the best in class. There are a lot more other skills that are needed to survive in the real world, like communication skills, presentation skills, problem solving skills, time management skills, even teamwork skills.

Courtesy of

I’ve read more and more of these articles, which seem to be springing before my eyes everyday – educate your child as soon as possible, i.e. from the day she was born. It may seem ridiculous to read or show flashcards to babies who don’t seem to be able to understand anything – except maybe milk and sleep – but in that tiny brain of theirs, miraculous wonders are taking place every second, every day. Have you ever heard the phrase “A baby is born a genius”? Well, it’s true. Children under the age of 5 have the effortless ability to learn and absorb knowledge , when the brain growth is most rapid, compared to school age children, teenagers and much less, adults. So what better time to teach your precious ones other than RIGHT NOW?

I didn’t intend to write so much about this, but I guess I get a little too enthusiastic sometimes. I have some ideas brewing n my head about teaching my daughter new things, but I’ll let you know when I actually have done it. Right now, I need to get my stuffy nose unstuffed first. I’m too drained to do anything but sleep right after dinner. Aliah is now dragging the bedtime book off the shelf (the book is almost as big as her) to get me to read to her. Poor thing.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Alphabet flash cards

Courtesy of

Activity for: Child & Parents

Print (or make your own) a set of alphabet flash cards and ideas on how to use them for your childs learning. Make learning fun and your child won't even know that they're learning! Don't you wish all schools are fun like this? Imagine waking up in the morning and you can't wait to go to school. Wouldn't that be great?

Below are a number of ideas of how to use these cards. Remember to adjust each activity according to your child’s age and ability and above all – be positive, patient and give them lots of praise. (Isn't that what parenthood is all about?)

Spell my name

Help you child pick out all the letters in their name and lay them out in order. Go through each letter and make the relevant sounds. Finally, spell the name out loud.

Look at the word

Look at the picture on the front of the card and then write the word on the back of the card. Ask your child to tell you what the picture is. Once they have identified it correctly turn the card over and show them the word. Sound out all the letters in the word.

Pick out the colour

Once your child has coloured in the pictures, ask them to go through and pick out all the pictures that contain a certain colour. Once completed go through the cards and practice identifying the image, letter and sound.

Vowels and Consonants

For the older children, ask them to separate the cards into 2 groups – vowels and consonants. Practice making simple words by picking one vowel and adding some consonants.


Lay out 3 or 4 cards in a row. Go through the cards together with your child and talk about the letter and image. Ask you child to close their eyes and take one away. See if they can pick the one that’s missing, then it’s your turn.

I Spy

Ask your child to pick a card. Review the letter and the sound it makes. Ask them to find something else in their home that starts with the same letter. It’s easier if you go first so they have an example of what to do. It’ll also help keep their attention if you pick something they love like biscuit, bike, book etc…instead of broccoli.

Cut and Paste

Ask your child to pick out a few of the flash cards. Give them a few old magazines you never had time to read anyway. Help them cut out pictures like the ones they see on the cards as well as pictures of other things that begin with the same letter. Try gluing them into a scrapbook and help them write the letter on the page. You can get great, cheap scrapbooks from your local supermarket.

For starters, check out this sites for free printable flash cards, FileGuru and ESL Flashcards. Loads of choices there. Have fun learning!


Monday, June 22, 2009

How to save with a baby in tow

I found this article in TheNestBaby a while back, before I had my first daughter. But I’ve modified it a bit with what little experience I have. Let’s face it, having a baby is expensive and can really break the bank, if you splurge on every single thing. (If you’re filthy rich like the Beckhams, who am I to complain? Do as you please, madam.) But most of us, I believe are average or slightly above average income earners, who would to love to spend wisely and save more for that dream house/car/vacation/whatever. Money doesn’t grow from trees, you know. So just have a look at this list, it may be worth a little of your time.

Buy gear and clothes from department stores.

Department stores are often full of great maternity and baby clothes as well as gear and furniture. I bought two maternity jeans at Jusco for RM130 (one jeans and one slim pants) which look like the expensive ones in Modernmum, if you don’t look too closely. I would have considered buying secondhand stuff, but my sister gave us her wooden baby cot and old carseat, so we already saved a lot there.

Borrow a bassinet (or skip it altogether).

Most bassinets can only be used until baby starts rolling over, so try to find one that you can borrow for those few weeks. We didn’t buy any for this same reason. I kinda regretted buying the baby bouncer too, because my daughter used it only until she was 5-6 months old. But we’re gonna use it for the second baby, so that’s ok, I guess.

Hold off.

If you aren’t sure which products will work best for baby (especially with bottles, pacifiers, even diapers), buy the minimum to start with, then stock up once you know baby’s preferences. We tried buying a cheaper brand of diapers, but my daughter developed rashes. So we stashed them away and might try our luck with the next baby.

Limit the tests.

Not pregnant yet? Buy three (and no more than three) pregnancy tests to keep on hand. If you have a larger supply, you’re likely to wind up with a trash can full of them, because like me, I couldn’t quite believe my eyes when I discovered I was pregnant for the second time (it was totally unexpected!). If I had 10 tests, I would’ve used them all up to my heart’s content.

Go easy on the starter diapers.

Start with only one pack of newborn diapers. Baby may not even fit into them at the start, and he’ll grow fast. I wasted an almost full packet of size S diapers because my daughter outgrew them. So I gave them to a friend who just had her baby, at least someone else benefitted from that mistake.

Breastfeed for as long as possible.

Not only breast milk is best for baby, the cost of formula adds up, really. (My main reason to breastfeed is to save money, but the bonding and cuddling is a great bonus.) Even though I didn’t breastfeed exclusively, breast milk makes up about 90% of my daughter’s diet, so we saved A LOT. So when I weaned her off after her first birthday when discovering I was pregnant again, we really felt the cost of formula. But I’m gonna do it all over again in 5 months time, so I’m going to enjoy this break as much as possible.


You might need to invest in a good, rather expensive breastpump. But it’s totally worth the money, trouble and time when you see your baby healthier than the formula feeding babies, not needing to buy 5 cans of formula a month, not worrying on your baby’s compatibility to the formula, thus saving on medical costs.

Formula feeding? Ask for samples.

Be sure to head home from the hospital with samples (some now only give them upon request), and ask for samples at each visit to the pediatrician. We got lucky when my daughter’s pediatrician gave us a small can of formula instead of packets of samples. So don’t be shy - it never hurts to ask. Also, sign up as members for several types of formulas, they give you free samples as well. We got even luckier when a friend of mine got a job at Nestle, so I bought lots of formula from her using her staff discount. Yeay!

Buy a convertible crib.

A crib that converts into a toddler bed will definitely save you some cash over the years. We got lucky again here. Like I said earlier, my sister gave to me her old wooden baby cot she bought 12 years ago, complete with a mattress, a set of bedding and cot bumper. They are a little aged of course, but are still in good quality. My daughter sleeps in it until now. Later my brother gave me a travel playpen, and we got an attachable crib for a free gift when we bought the breastpump. So we won’t need to buy any cribs, ever. A real money-saver.

Do your homework!

Research is essential to make sure you know which products give you the most bang for your buck. I spent a lot of time on the Net searching for warehouse sales so I could buy at cheaper prices.

Get mom (or aunt, or MIL…) to babysit.

Family can quickly turn into your most valuable childcare resource. I’m sure grandparents would love to spend some time with their grandchildren too, so this is a win-win situation.

Buy in bulk.

You know you’ll need lots of some things (like wipes, shampoo and baby wash). If you have the storage space, stock up to save cash. Stock up on diapers and formula only when your baby’s suitable to them. During the early days, test out a few brands with your baby until you’re sure she’s compatible to it, in order to avoid waste.

Make your own baby food.

When baby starts to eat solids, toss cooked veggies into the blender with a bit of liquid, and save the meals in ice trays -- the money you’ll save makes it worth the extra effort. I cooked a two or three days batch of chicken and fish porridge to take to her nursery. My daughter never really like the boxed up baby food, anyway.

Forget the comforter.

Since baby won’t actually USE it, it isn’t really necessary. In fact, now my daughter would kick off her blanket when I cover her up. She even takes off her socks when she has the chance. And we have an air conditioner in the room. Now I use the comforter as her mattress padding.

Get crafty.

DIY projects take time, but they save cash, and add fun personal touches. Try making a baby mobile , as it’s pretty easy and it won’t be used for a long time. (You should remove it when the baby can stand up on her own, as you don’t want her to put them in the mouth and get choked, or get tangled up in the strings.) I love Make Baby Stuff, Instructables and Ehow.

Forget the fancy toys.

Baby will be content with smaller price tags or no-brands toys (or spoons, pans, and cardboard boxes, for that matter). Most of the time, parents (like us) are the ones more excited about buying toys for their kids. When we celebrated her first birthday, she got lots of toys too, so that saves a lot.

Go without a changing table.

Changing tables are expensive and can be dangerous, especially if you have a non-stop wiggling baby like mine. Instead, top the dresser with a changing pad and add a few wall shelves for storage. I changed her on our bed until now. But I’ve got to be more watchful so she won’t jump off the bed by accident. Better still, put a mattress or padding on the floor.


Eating out, ordering in, and frozen meals can eat up a lot of cash. I try to cook when I’m not too tired, just simple, two-dishes meal. But then I’ll contract my husband to clean up as I’ll be too exhausted, haha.

Search for sales.

Find a product you love? Hold your horses. Shopping around for a better price can help you save enough for future splurges, especially when buying an expensive item that you intend to use for a long time. We spent quite some money for the breastpump, but I intend to use it for all our kids to come. And did I mention that we got a free gift of an attachable crib worth RM600?

Check out online sites.

There are a lot of forums and blogs selling secondhand and gently used baby stuff. Some that I know of are MumCentre Malaysia, Baiboo, SusuIbu and Some even offer stuff for rent such as Ibu who rents out car seats, travel cots and breastpumps. My friend told me of Toys-4-rent and Playlend for toys that are available for rental.

Get convertible gear.

Like with furniture, items such as a car seat or stroller that grow with baby can prove invaluable, even though you might need to spend a considerable amount up front. Of course, good quality, long wearing stuff are rarely cheap. Unless you know where to look.

Don’t buy lots of shoes.

I know baby shoes are adorable, especially girl shoes. Just for fun, check out Heelarious, they sell soft high heeled shoes for babies 0-6 months of age. Well yeah, they are absolutely cute. But I’d rather spend USD35 on formula and diapers than buying shoes that she can’t even wear to walk! Before baby is walking (and some would argue the same for a while after), shoes won’t really be necessary. Socks will do to keep those tootsies warm.

Take care of your own physical and mental health.

Keeping mommy (and daddy) sane and healthy can help you save on medical expenses. But if your company covers your medical bills like mine does, I guess you can allow yourself go crazy once in a while. In a good way, I mean.

Buy generic and less expensive brands.

Does baby’s label really make a difference? She’ll only be in that onesie for a few months, so resist the urge to splurge. All of my daughter’s clothing cost less than RM20, even the party dresses, cause I bought those at a warehouse sale. Most of her daily day-wear cost around RM5-RM10. You’ll get nice, expensive dresses from grandmas and aunts, don’t worry.

Baby proof.

Prepping your home to prevent accidents can help you save on medical costs (not to mention stress!), even though you’ll take some time to open the drawer or door yourself. But hey, better to be safe than sorry, right?

Get a belly band.

This awesome invention (a stretchy band you wear around your waist) will keep you in your pre-pregnancy pants much longer, saving money on maternity clothes. Check out Belly Belt from MamaParadise.

Wait on the maternity clothes until you really need them.

Ignore the urge to buy maternity clothes just because you’re excited about being pregnant. I could wear my roomier clothes up to 7 months before needing to wear maternity tops, so I didn’t buy a lot. Better still, I bought transitional maternity tops that can be used for breastfeeding so I can still wear them after the birth. Check out these sites for nursing tops, MamaParadise, Butik My-Dreams and FabulousMom.

Save baby’s clothes for future siblings.

This is pretty obvious, isn’t it? So even we get a boy this time, he’ll be wearing pink baby suits and flowery caps, I guess. I’m sure he won’t mind. Unless I show him his baby pictures when he’s older.

Try working from home.

I know lots of moms are able to balance part-time work with caring for baby, and I’d love to be able to do this in the next few years. This way you don’t lose money to childcare AND you bring in some extra earnings. For the time being, I’m working on it.

Get good insurance BEFORE you conceive.

Make sure you know your provider’s policies before getting pregnant, and be absolutely sure that you’re covered -- there are laws against considering pregnancy a "pre-existing condition," but the law contains several loopholes that could hinder your prenatal coverage, particularly if you are switching from one individual plan to another or from a group health plan to an individual plan. I don’t know about this, though. We still haven’t bought any insurance plans yet. But we have plans of doing so, in the near future. Still planning on it.

Lose weight before getting pregnant.

Obesity increases medical expenses and increase risks of complications. Even better, keep fit throughout the pregnancy, so you won’t have to go to slimming centres after the birth to slim down. Think of that as a last, hopefully-not-needed, desperate resort.

Consider cloth diapers.

I really admire moms that can commit to cloth diapers, because I just can’t face all that mountain of laundry. Not only you’ll save a lot, but it’s better for the environment too, as disposable diapers take forever to decompose. But, ermm, I’ll stick to disposables for now.

Donate or sell your toys and old gear.

Help other people save or get a toy they would have never had at cheaper prices, by donating or having a garage sale. Or if you have loads of stuff, you can start your rental service and rake in some cash.

Buy washable nursing pads.

Okay, so the disposable ones aren’t so expensive, but you’ll still save a little.

Make a budget and keep track!

If you’re aware of your spending, you’ll be more likely to cut corners. Easier said than done, though. My corners are so closely shaved sometimes, I could fall under the cheapskate category. I think.

Courtesy of

Buy things that last.

This may seem like a no-brainer, but you might be surprised how often you find yourself buying things that are poorly made or disposable. Invest in sturdy stuff that can be handed down from generation to generation (or at least from baby to baby). This is my main principal in buying most baby stuff but I still would not buy the most expensive item in the market. Just a good enough one that can at least last for a few years.

Shop the clearance rack.

This is basically what I do with all my daughter’s clothes. I only buy clothes that are around RM5-RM10. I’d usually buy a few sizes bigger to maximise wear. Some clothes she could only wear properly now because previously we had to fold up her pants so she wouldn’t trip on them. But we saved some RM, that’s the main point.

Get a piggy bank.

I’d prefer another animal, but you get the idea. Toss in your loose change every day, slide in a dollar (or five) now and then, and you just might find yourself with a vacation fund in the near future.

Before you buy it, be sure you NEED IT.

Lots of first-time parents complain about winding up with tons of unused gear and goods. Ask friends and family about their own experience and preference. I got some pretty valuable advice from my mom, mom-in-law and friends. There are plenty of baby checklists available on the Net, but you don’t have to buy all of them, all at once.

Don’t get emotional.

Okay, so this is easier said than done when those pregnancy hormones are running wild, but try not to shop when you’re feeling super sentimental. (This applies to daddies-to-be too.) The excitement can easily lead to over-shopping for baby. Believe me, I’ve been there. We do have some pretty bibs and caps and ribbons that we hardly use. What a pity.

Ask for stuff.

My aunts, cousins and sisters asked me what we might need for the baby, so we don’t end with twos of everything. One that we did have a double is the baby bouncer, which of course, we used only one. We also got another diaper bag exactly like the one we bought, only in different colours. I used one for the nursery, and the other one for weekend outings.

Buy the best diapers you can afford.

The store brand diapers may be less expensive, but you’ll likely save money in the long run by avoiding the cleanups and thrown out clothes that result from cheap diaper mishaps. I used Mamy Poko diapers, which I think are the most expensive in the market, just for night use as they are really absorbent. My daughter can wear it for 12 hours, sometimes more, without leakage and nappy rash.

There you go, tons of ways to save! Do you have any tips and ideas of your own? Come and share them here!

Friday, June 19, 2009

Baby hand prints banner

Courtesy of

I haven't tried this out, but it looks so easy and fun to do! Isn't it adorable?

You can hang this in the baby's room, in the living room or make it a birthday decoration. Or turn it into a personalised invitation or card. The possibilities are endless!

Try it out, won't you?


  • Paper - heavier is better (like cardstock) and will last longer but even computer paper will work
  • Scissors
  • Hole Punch - you can also poke holes with the scissors instead
  • Ribbon or String - length depends on how long you want your finished banner to be
  • Paint - finger paint or other washable paint can be used, but if you are making a banner you'd like to keep for several years, use non-toxic acrylic paint or watercolor paint. When buying acrylic or watercolor paints, look for the AP Certified Non-Toxic seal. Wash baby's hands right away after using the paint and it will come off with a little soap and warm water. However, acrylic paint and professional water color paint (in the tubes, not those cheapie tray of hardened cakes) will permanently mark clothes so be sure to use a smock, bib or have baby paint without a shirt on. Finger paints/washable paints are fine, but over time they will break down and fade so should not be used for keepsake art.

You can either start by stamping baby's hand on sheets of paper (leaving room between to cut out) or you can cut out circles, squares, triangles or hearts in the paper first and then stamp on the shapes. I didn't have time to pre-cut out shapes (my son was ready to go, he loves crafts!) so we just did our hand stamps directly onto big sheets of drawing paper. Once completely dry, we traced an upside down martini glass for the circle shape but you could use glasses, bowls, food containers or large cookie cutters or just freehand shapes like hearts or stars.

Once you have your shapes all ready, use a hole punch to make two holes in your shape, at least an inch apart. Finally, thread your ribbon through the two holes as shown and keep going until your baby hand prints banner garland is complete. Using ribbon (rather than thin string) is ideal because it "holds" the paper circles in place and they don't shift around. You can arrange them overlapping or spread them apart. If you have enough, put two circles back to back so your banner will be double sided and can be hung streamer style across the center of a room. If you don't have enough, you can just hang along a wall.

These are very lightweight and just a bit of tape will hold them up but you could also use tacks and place the tack right through the ribbon for a secure hanging.

Variation Ideas:

For younger babies under the age of one, it may be easier to make a banner out of footprints, as some babies tend to grab at the paint/paper and it may be difficult to get a good clear hand stamp. How many you use depends on how long you want your banner garland to be.

As with all our tutorials, we show the basics as a jumping off point! Some variations of this craft are to use colored paper, cut out the shapes with a pinking shears to have a decorative edge, have older children write and draw on the shapes add "Happy Birthday" letters across the banner in between the handprints, use different shapes other than circles, use foot prints, add glitter or use fabric and do the stamps direct onto fabric with acrylic paint. And so on...have fun getting creative!


Wednesday, June 17, 2009

A good night’s sleep is a mom’s luxury

Aliah at 3 months old. She looked like a boy!

I read a quote somewhere which says “Where there’s a newborn baby, there’s a sleepy mom out there.” Indeed, sleep is no longer a necessity; it’s a luxury, like that special bottle of perfume you buy when you get your annual bonus. Something like that. My daughter did not start sleeping through the night until recently. I was surprised when I woke up in the morning on my own accord and not in the middle of the night because of her cries. Even so, after a week of two of blissful sleep, she starts changing her sleep pattern again, waking up but not wanting milk (when I already prepared a bottle and gave it to her) but she’s just thirsty and wants water. Then she starts babbling and drifts back to sleep on her own.

Oh but that was an easy night. Months before that, there were many nights of torture for both me and my husband. My daughter’s sleep patterns had been a volatile graph right from the start. She has difficulties falling asleep and wakes up too easily. We’ve tried a LOT of ways to get her to sleep e.g. on our bed, in her crib, swaddled in the baby rocker, swaddled in the traditional spring buai, on our laps, on our shoulders, on a full stomach, in a quiet and dark room, in the hall with the tv booming, nurse her to sleep and some others that I can’t remember. She had been sleeping in the spring buai until a few months back recently until I decided to make her fall asleep on her own in her cot (because I was too tired to sit up and swing the buai up and down every time she cries. My arms hurt.)

You know the cry-it-out method to get your baby to sleep? I decided to try it out. After her diaper and night clothing change, her bottle of milk and her reading session, I’ll put her in her cot wide awake with her water bottle. (Sometimes she drinks water from her bottle until she falls asleep.) Then I’ll turn off the lights, give her one last kiss and hug and lie down in my bed beside her cot. Most of the time, she’d still want to continue playing in the dark, throwing her pillows at me, sometimes poking me in the face. I would just ignore her and pretend to sleep (most of the time, I really slept instead of just pretending). I’d hear her babble, walk around her cot, gulping down water and rolling around trying to sleep. It’d take around 30 to 45 minutes, but she did sleep on her own in the end. Voila!

So in case you want to try it out with your baby, here’s the tried and tested way of doing it, from But remember, you know your baby best and the steps are for a guideline only. (I didn't follow every single step either. I just did the best I could.) In the end, you just got to whing it and deal with it.

The Key Steps to Settling Your Baby

  • Newborn - 6 months
  • 6 to 12 months
  • Tips on settling the older toddler

The decision to change your baby’s sleeping habits is not one you will make lightly. Generally parents have reached their threshold of exhaustion when they decide to take on the commitment of change.These techniques are not for everyone, there is some crying involved. Some babies will respond immediately to the techniques while others can take up to 3 weeks. Persistence is the key to success as babies learn from repetition.Try to hold this thought – these settling techniques will be no harder than what you are already going through.

The following things should be considered before starting a settling program.

  1. Ensure your baby is well.
  2. Any concerns you might have should be cleared with your doctor before starting.
  3. If your baby becomes unwell during the weeks that you are attempting to get the program to work, stop and start again when they are well.
  4. Make sure you yourself are well. It won’t do either of you any good to be starting a new routine under stress.
  5. Try to keep a fairly free week so you can devote as much time and effort as possible into making the program work. A busy schedule will make it harder to do the techniques with each sleep and take longer to work.
  6. If you have other caregivers, make sure they follow the new routine. This is to ensure that there are no mixed messages being given.
  7. Make sure the cot is well ventilated with no bumpers or pillows.
  8. Remove all toys from the cot. The cot should be designated for sleeping rather than playing.
  9. Have a dim night light so as baby can see their surroundings when they wake.
  10. Make sure your partner is agreeable about the new routine. Even if they don’t wish to be overly involved in the settling, explain to them what it is that you are attempting to do so they can appreciate the added pressure you are under. They too will be great beneficiaries of a child that sleeps well.
  11. If not your partner, try and have a support person to take over for you if need be.

Newborn - 6 months

SIDS and Kids Australia recommend wrapping a baby and sleeping them on their back. We always recommend that all parents follow SIDS guidelines when your baby is asleep. During the program we use a technique of settling a baby on their side, however you should never leave your baby to sleep in this position. Follow these steps to settle your baby:

Courtesy of

  1. Wrap your baby firmly but not tightly in a lightweight material, cotton or muslin is ideal. This will help him feel secure and take control of his hands, stopping him from catching himself on the face if he flails around. Once baby is sleeping we will then loosen the wrap and roll baby onto their back. Always ensure wrapping is well secured and unable to cover your babies breathing passages. Wrapping is not required after the age of 3 months.
  2. Place him in his cot on his side, facing away from you, and with his feet close to the end of the cot. This is to avoid any eye contact.
  3. Make a note of the time: you’re going to give him 15 minutes to settle. Place one hand on his shoulder and with the other hand pat his bottom. He will probably be crying at this stage but keep patting. When the crying stops then stop the patting. The aim is to get him to fall asleep by himself not pat him off to sleep. If the crying starts again, start patting.
  4. If after 15 minutes he has not settled, pick him up give him a cuddle to settle him down (be careful not to rock him off to sleep) then turning him onto his other side (you will need to go around to the other side of the cot) begin the settling again for a further 15 minutes. You can settle for up to one hour, but after that you should offer a drink.
  5. Once he is sleeping you can then roll him onto his back and loosen and secure the wrap.
  6. Anything under one hour is considered a catnap and you should use the settling techniques to resettle without picking them up first.

6 to 12 months

  1. Lie your baby in his cot on his back with his feet to the end of the cot, cover him and say “it’s time to sleep” and leave the room.
  2. Wait outside for 2 minutes, he will probably be protesting. After 2, minutes go back into the room and lay him on his side facing away from you to avoid eye contact. Place one hand on his shoulder and with the other hand pat his bottom – repeating “it’s time to sleep". When the crying stops then stop the patting. Be careful not to pat baby off to sleep, the aim is to get him to sleep independently. If after 2 minutes he is still crying, leave the room and wait outside for 4 minutes this time.
  3. If baby is still protesting after 4 minutes outside the room, go back in and settle the same way, this time for 4 minutes.
  4. Keep increasing the time outside the room and inside the room by 2 minutes each time (2, 4, 6, 8, 10) until you have reached 10 minutes. It is recommended not to leave a baby longer than ten minutes at any time. If after 1 hour of trying your baby has not settled, pick him up, offer a drink and a reassuring cuddle. During the day if baby has not responded get him up and try again next sleep. During the night you will need to persist with the techniques until he is asleep.

Tips on settling the older toddler

  1. After the bath have some quiet time. Never over stimulate them at bedtime with rough or loud play. Allow them to have a drink, go to the toilet or put on a clean nappy and then choose a story or two.
  2. Set the number of stories to be read before you begin and stick to it, remember you must be in control not your little one.
  3. When trying a new routine, perhaps get them a nice new bedtime friend, if they stay in their bed they can have it, but if they get out of bed then let them know that you will take it away.
  4. Say good night and leave the room. If they get up just keep putting them back and leaving. If it goes on for too long, let them know that next time they get up you will have to shut the door. Keep in mind that what ever you say you are going to do you need to follow through.


Tuesday, June 16, 2009

A new accessory to wear: your baby!

Me wearing my baby in a night street market. She was sleeping despite the noise around.

Yesterday I asked my husband whether we should buy a new twin stroller, as my daughter is still a baby herself when our second child comes in November. He immediately scratched out my suggestion. “Didn’t we get a big stroller for a gift, but we didn’t use it? We can just use that one.” I reminded him flat out that it was too big that once we put it into the back of the car, there was no room for anything else. That was the main reason why I bought…. “The baby carrier! We can just carry her around like we did Aliah until baby gets too heavy. Then Aliah would have outgrown the stroller and we can use it for the baby.” He quickly agreed and the discussion was closed.

I bought the carrier when my daughter was around 6 to 7 months. The big stroller was really too big and bulky to lug around, and she was too small to put into an umbrella stroller, which I think is really meant for older babies. So I surfed around the Net to find some information and the variety of styles and models there are out there. Turns out, there is a LOT of stuff about babywearing. And actually, it’s nothing new. Indonesian women in carry their children in slings of fabric since, I don’t know, the dawn of time, maybe. Aliah’s previous babysitter, who is actually my sister’s maid, carried her in an unsewn batik fabric which she slipped and knotted over her shoulder. Aliah would be cooing from inside the sling and fall asleep contentedly, who is definitely a fussy sleeper. It was amazing! Later I found out that wearing your baby is very beneficial for fussy babies, among many other advantages. Read them on below (from

Why babywearing is good for you:-

  • You can go on doing whatever it is you’re doing (excluding any dangerous activities, of course) e.g. cooking, cleaning, walking at the mall, you get the idea, while providing a stimulating learning environment for your baby, keeping him or her happy and close to you.
  • Breastfeed hands-free in discreet wherever you are. Some babies feed much better while the mother’s moving around and having the food source close at all times. I haven’t mastered this trick though. Remember I said that my daughter bites and clamps? Yeah.
  • You can insert some exercise by walking wearing your baby on your body. All that bouncing is sure to lull her to sleep, and the extra weight burns more calories for you. Perfect!
    When we go out and my daughter gets sleepy and cranky, I strap her on and she takes around 5-10 minutes to settle down and doze off.
  • No need to carry any strollers into the car, bus or up a staircase, which is why I bought my carrier in the first place.

Why babywearing is good for your baby:-

  • Babies cry less. Because they are close to you at all times, they don’t see the need to bawl. Research has shown that babies who are carried cry (on average) 43% less overall and 54% less in the evenings. In cultures where babies are carried almost continuously, babies cry much less than those in non-carrying cultures.
  • Good for baby’s mental development, as they spend more time in a “quiet, alert state” when carried, which is the ideal state for learning. When carried, your baby sees the world from your view point, instead of the ceiling above his crib or people’s knees from a stroller. This extra stimulation benefits the brain development.
  • Good for baby’s emotional development, where babies are quickly able to develop a sense of security and trust when carried. They are more likely to be securely attached to their care-givers and often become independent at an earlier age.
  • Good for baby’s physical development, as babies thrive better when they are in close contact. Your heartbeat, breathing, voice and warmth are familiar surroundings which help newborns adapt faster to life outside the womb.
  • Good for babies for whose mums are depressed. I personally think it’s good for mums to have their babies so close to you at all times. Babies who are not held need more verbal and physical interaction and eye contact, just to be reassured that you’re there. Carrying your baby is a great way to connect with her without the “burden” of having to interact. Of course, she’ll be right under your nose whenever you feel like kissing and snuggling. Very convenient.

Which one and what style?

They are quite a number of slings, carriers, pouches and wraparounds in the market, just to name a few. They come with a range of prices, from dirt cheap to break-your-bank expensive. For the crafty mamas, make one yourself! It isn’t that difficult and there are many resources on the Net, step-by-step how-to’s, even instruction videos on Youtube. Just to start you off on your search, here’s a comparison chart of different types of carriers, its known advantages and disadvantages.

Courtesy of

I bought myself a Kozy Carrier from Peekaroobaby. I like the fact that it’s pretty versatile that you can carry your baby from birth to toddlerhood, on your front, side or back. My favourite position (and my daughter’s too) is the front carry with my daughter facing me. I received a lot of comments while wearing her such as how cute she looks in the carrier, how cute the carrier is, how comfortably content she is, even questions of “Did you make it yourself?” and “where did you buy this?”

One woman who saw me even called her pregnant friend to look at my carrier and said “You should buy this.” Once I was cooking and carried her on my back, and she didn’t make a sound throughout. Only when I’ve finished did I notice that she’s fallen asleep drooling down my back. I would’ve still carried her, if she still wanted to. But since she started walking, she didn’t like to be carried so much like she did before. And she’s gotten much heavier, so I didn’t complain either.

So go on and wear your baby. I guarantee it’ll be your best accessory ever. You won’t need any more necklaces or earrings or bracelets. I think.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

A mom needs all the help she can get.

Courtesy of

Really. Some moms are sometimes too proud to call for help, thinking herself of superwoman. I watched House on AXN last week (or was it last month? Oh, whatever.) where this lady who is in charge of the hospital and who seems to have a romantic connection with House, (I don’t watch House regularly, so I only know House’s name. Who has the time to watch tv when there’s a household to run??) just adopted a baby. She’s a successful doctor, with a number of degrees decorating her office wall, who’s dressed immaculately. But since becoming a surrogate mom, she finds herself a little flustered (okay, a lot.) and feels her life zooming out of control at times. But then again, doesn’t all moms feel the same way at some point of their lives?

So, the health visitor came to her house to ensure that she’s fit enough to be the surrogate mother of this baby. She was clearly panicked, with calls from the hospital and trying to get her house in order, she hid all the dirty dishes in the dishwasher, put some dirty diapers in the diaper bag and hid the unwashed bottles in the sink. Not to mention her clothes strewn around the house and a mess of papers on the table as she tried to work while minding the baby. She was even more flustered when the health visitor has just stepped into her house for ten minutes and said, okay, you passed the test. He told her not to worry about the mess and she is more qualified to be a mother than most women he had seen. And later, a friend of hers dropped by her house and told her, “Get help. Get a housekeeper. Get someone to cover you when you need to leave the office. You’re not a superwoman, you know. You can’t do it all.”

So you see, even the most successful mom needs help sometimes. Don’t worry, you’re not weak, you’re human. Take up all helpful offers you get. If your mom offers to babysit your baby, accept her offer and take a break from the house. Go watch a movie or take a walk. Or even better, pamper yourself with a manicure. It’s nice to be taken care of when you’re so busy tending to other people’s needs. Remember, a happy mom means a happy baby.

Every mom is multitasking at any given moment, but too much of a good thing is sometimes, well, too much. Sometimes I was doing something, then suddenly some totally urgent, unrelated task, like “I need to buy a packet of diapers after work today!” popped into my mind, and I hurriedly made a note somewhere or put a reminder in my phone. Then when I was going to get back to what I was doing, I have totally forgotten what I was doing. Have this ever happened to you? This seems to happen a lot now that I’m pregnant. Do you know that many pregnant women experienced this forgetful syndrome? So it helps if you can focus on one thing at a time, and oh yeah, catch your breath.

Or use these really cool tools for moms I found here. One of my favourite sites, offers free downloads of Tools For the Tired and Time-Starved, which consists of cute, colourful organizers that you can print out, such as Week at a Glance Note, The Balance Sheet (balance between work and home stuff to do, not assets and liabilities) and The Eat Sheet. Read articles from its contributing writers, who are also working moms, about trying to juggle work, family and kids, articles about funny to embarrassing to serious stuff.

Courtesy of

Another cool tool is from It offers online journals, notes, shopping lists, calendars for every member of the family. One tool I really liked is the downloadable screen saver, which looks like multiple frames that display all your photos in your My Pictures folder. Instead of one gigantic photo coming out from the screen, several photos in frames are displayed. Cool huh?

Go and check them out today. And relax, the house is a disaster whether you cleaned it up or not. Let it be for the day, and clean up next week. ;)

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Baby Facilities & Nursing Rooms

Courtesy of

I thought being a nursing mom, I would be confined at home and unable to go out, as it would be difficult in case my daughter needs to nurse or did a poop job. So I did some research on the Net and found out there are lots of options and facilities available out there! I could buy nursing tops, or nursing covers or go to baby friendly places, where there are baby changing facilities and nursing rooms available. As my daughter was a vicious little milksucker who clamps and bites, I’d rather not make a scene and nurse in public wearing a nursing cover.
I found this list of baby changing facilities and nursing rooms available in shopping centres below at but the link doesn’t seem to be working, so I’ll just write them down here. Mind you, I found this list about a year ago, so there might have been any changes in the facilities. Please let me know and I’ll update them accordingly in the list.
The best changing areas I’ve been to were the ones in Isetan KLCC and Parkson Grand, Alamanda, Putrajaya. The one in Isetan was very spacious and clean, with three or four private nursing rooms with doors (Ikano, Ikea, and Jaya Jusco’s nursing rooms use curtains), a big sink for washing, and hot and cold water dispenser complete with drinking cups. The one in Parkson Grand Alamanda wasn’t too bad either, which have two nursing rooms (with curtains).The sink was big enough for our daughter to sit in and for my husband to bath her due to her leaking diaper. They even put a powder container with a puff beside the changing table. Luckily it was stuck permanently, so my daughter couldn’t take it off and cover herself in powder, which is her favourite hobby right now.
So, no fear mommies, you can shop in peace now.
1 Utama Shopping Centre
Old Wing – Foldaway change table located at Lower Ground Floor and 1st Floor of Jaya Jusco
Other services:
Baby strollers are available free of charge at the Information Counter located at Ground Floor, opposite Padini
New Wing - Foldaway changing table located at Ground Floor to 2nd Floor
Other services:
Baby strollers are available free of charge at Ground Floor High Street next to Guess outlet and Prominent next to Burger King
Alamanda Putrajaya
Baby Changing Rooms each equipped with water boiler, baby mattresses, foamed sheets and private nursing rooms

Baby Changing Room in Parkson – 2nd Floor (Children’s department store) equipped with water boiler, warm water, baby mattresses, foamed sheets and private nursing rooms
Other services:
Baby strollers are available at the Customer Service Counter located at the Centre Atrium on the Lower Ground Floor

Bangsar Shopping Centre
Foldaway changing table are available within female washrooms on all levels in both East and West Wings
Bangsar Village I
1st Floor, located by Skywalk, behind Caffe 1920. Equipped with 2 changing stations with mattresses and two private nursing areas
Bangsar Village II
Foldaway changing table located within wheelchair washroom on all levels
Carrefour Subang
Baby care rooms available for feeding and diaper changing
Great Eastern Mall
Located on Ground Floor near Island Shop, equipped with 2 changing stations with mattresses, toilet and 2 private nursing areas
Hartamas Shopping Centre @ Plaza Damas
Nursing Room located on Level 2 equipped with changing station and nursing chair
Ikano Power Centre
Ground Floor – near to Cold Storage
1st Floor – Near to Harvey Norman Furniture
2nd Floor – Near to World of Cartoons
Each baby care room is equipped with 2 changing stations with mattresses and a private nursing area
Foldaway changing tables are available within both male and female washrooms located on the Ground Floor near the entrance
Baby Care Room on 1st Floor near café equipped with 2 changing stations with mattresses and a private nursing area
Other services:
Smaland – a supervised play area available for children aged 3-10 years old
Child friendly café with a children’s corner to play or watch TV. Other facilities include highchairs and microwave ovens for warming food. Cereals and baby food are also sold in the café.
Low Yat Plaza
Foldaway changing tables are available within female washroom located at Ground Floor
Mid Valley Megamall
Baby care rooms located within female washrooms on:
Ground Floor – East Wing
1st Floor – North, South & East Wings
2nd Floor – North, South & East Wings
Nursing Rooms are located at Metrojaya on the 2nd Floor and on Ground Floor and 1st Floor of Jaya Jusco
Other services:
Baby strollers and joggers for toddlers are available at the Information Counter located at Centre Court on the Ground Floor
Subang Parade
Mother’s room located on 1st Floor, next to Tumble Tots. Opening hours: 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily
Equipped with room attendants, microwaves, individual feeding rooms, diaper changing areas & enclosed play area
Sogo Complex
Changing baby mattresses area available with warm water located at 4th Floor next to Anakku counter
Other services:
Baby strollers are available with a deposit of RM200 and a full refund to be made when the stroller is returned to the Customer Service Counter at Ground Floor
Sungei Wang Plaza
Foldaway changing tables are available within female washroom from Concourse to 6th Floor
Other services:
Baby strollers available free of charge at the Information Counter on the Lower Ground Floor
Sunway Pyramid
Currently undergoing refurbishment. Installing baby changing stations in all male and female washrooms
Other services:
Baby strollers available free of charge at the Concierge Counter by the main entrance on the Ground Floor
Suria KLCC
Parents Room located on Concourse Level equipped with changing mattresses, private nursing rooms and small play area for children. Parent and child toilets are also available.
Changing mattresses are available within female washrooms on Concourse Level, Level 1, Level 2, Level 3 and Level 4 of both Ramlee and Ampang Malls
Baby Care Rooms are also available in Isetan, Parkson Grand and Mothercare on Level 2
Other services:
Baby strollers available at Customer Service Desk, Concourse Level
Rental rates: Free for 1st two hours, RM10 for every subsequent hour
The Curve
Baby Care Room on 1st Floor located near Mothercare equipped with 2 changing stations with mattresses and 2 private nursing areas
Other services:
Baby strollers available at Concierge Desk, Ground Floor
The Mines Shopping Fair
Foldaway changing tables are available within female washroom located at 2nd Floor
Berjaya Times Square
Changing mattresses complete with accessories are available within female washroom located at Level 3, Level 5 and Level 7
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