Category Archives: Babies

A Year Ago Today

A year ago today, at exactly this time (time check: 11:15 pm), I was lying in my hospital room in Mt Alvernia‘s Our Lady wing recovering from an emergency c-section.  I remember just lying there, physically and emotionally exhausted, hooked up to painkillers delivered by IV drip and unable to move the lower part of my body.  The baby was by himself in the nursery and my husband was just walking around the room really not sure what to do.

I haven’t blogged in a while but I thought to celebrate E-Man’s 1st birthday today, I would share his birth story.  If you know me, I love hearing birth stories — they remind me of how strong women really are!  Really, we created a human being, we are capable of anything.  I would like to preface this entry by saying the choices I made were personal and strictly based on my own preferences.  No two births are the same – just like no two women are the same.  That is what makes this world so beautifully unique.  I would love to hear your birth story, but please do not criticise mine.

So it all started on 14 September 2014 when I went in to my doctor’s office for a check-up.  I was literally 40 weeks and there was no sign of a baby at all.  He recommended an induction before I hit 41 weeks because apparently the possibility of foetal death raises after 41 weeks (albeit marginally).  I then decided (well, I had spent a week thinking about it), that I would induce him on his estimated due date (EDD) which was 16 September since it was also Lee Kuan Yew’s birthday and that it would be kind of cool for E-Man to share the same birthday as Singapore’s first Prime Minister.

My doctor agreed and everything was set for a 16 September delivery.  I went in at 2 am on 16 September where the labour ward nurses inserted a pill up my cervix and I was hooked up to a monitor the whole night.  Surprisingly, I managed to get some shut eye.  Nat on the other hand was too cold to sleep.  Even with a spare blanket and a jacket he was freezing.  I think the temperature is specially set for perpetually hot pregnant women.  At about 6 am I was woken up, placed on a wheelchair (I don’t know why – because I could walk) and wheeled into Labour & Delivery.  There, I was orientated into my own private birthing room and started to get comfortable – I had my fully charged mobile phone, my iPad and my books next to me.  At about 7:30 am, the Nurse Manager did a quick check of my cervix and I was 3 cm dilated (you can start pushing at 10 cm – so at least I was a little dilated!).  FANTASTIC.  Everything was moving as planned.

Oh and by the way, it was only during my last few weeks of pregnancy did I realise how painful cervix checking is.  I am not a biology student so I never realised how far UP your cervix is.  Ok, too much detail, but let’s just say it’s not anywhere easily accessible.  And I do NOT know why this LITTLE detail of the cervix check is omitted in other people’s birth stories.  I shall leave it in mine because it was quite a relevant re-occurance, obviously.

At about 8:30 am (can’t really remember), the Anaesthetist came in to deliver the epidural.  I agreed with my OB that I would have epidural early because literally, the only thing in my birth plan is PAIN FREE.  So she came in, put the epidural in – which didn’t hurt at all – and went on her way.  I was very lucky in that the epidural had no side effects on me.  I was having a merry time watching my Hollywood and Bollywood movies.  Haha.  

At 9:30, the OB came in and broke my water.  I think at about 11:30 or 12 he came back again and checked me and lo and behold I was 5 cm dilated.  He commented that he thought the baby will be out before dinner.  It was fantastic.  The nurses started bringing in all the equipment to deliver the baby.  I felt very successful!  The contractions were coming strong but I felt nothing and used the time to Whatsapp friends and family with hourly updates.  I was so excited.  I remember hearing the screams from other women in other rooms.  Some were terrifying as though they were getting stabbed.  After each scream, I would turn to make sure I had plenty of epidural left.

Lunchtime came and went.  I hadn’t eaten the whole day and was suitably famished.  I couldn’t even drink water, I could just have tiny sips.  But luckily my movies kept me distracted.  After lunchtime, the Nurse Manager checked me again and commented that I had not progressed past 5 cm.  She rang the doctor and he said to just let me progress naturally. I started to get impatient.  I was looking forward to having the baby out before dinner so that I could eat dinner and watch this current affairs show on Channel NewsAsia which was going to feature North Korea (one of my favourite topics) at 8:30 pm.  I remember this very clearly because I really wanted to watch it.

3 pm came and went.  4 pm and then at 5 pm the Nurse Manager said she received a call from the OB asking about my progress.  I was still 5 cm.  So he recommended pitocin.  I knew what it was from watching countless birth videos on YouTube and agreed to using it if it was going to speed up this labour.  I’m such a typical Singaporean – everything must be fast, fast, fast!


I was put on pitocin and still nothing.  At 7 pm I was checked again – this time the nurses shift had changed and I was becoming very very impatient.  I had progressed to 6 cm.  Small whoop!  But then the whoop quickly changed to panic when the nurses noticed that the baby’s heart beat had slowed down at 8 pm.

I told myself, ok, it’s already 8 pm.  I guess I could watch the North Korea documentary at 8:30 pm here and then deliver after.

Really, why I was so fixated on this documentary, I don’t know.

When the baby’s heart beat dropped, the nurses started to panic.  They quickly put an oxygen mask on me and made a call to the OB to come quickly.  At one point I commented, “I don’t need this oxygen mask.  I can breathe fine.”  To which the nurse replied, “It’s not for you, it’s for your baby.”  Oops, and I panicked even more.

The doctor came at 8:45 pm.  Again, I remember this time because I was in the midst of my North Korean documentary and had to decide whether to focus on him or the TV.  HAHAHA.

I started to focus on him when five other nurses came in PLUS a new Anaesthetist.  I really never had a c-section in mind at all and started to panic yet again.  He said that, as we had discussed, the moment there was a valley in the heart beat chart (meaning the baby’s heart beat drops) it’s time for a c-section because our end goal is to get a healthy baby.  I really wasn’t mentally prepared for the c-section. I started to tear up and cry uncontrollably.  Nat tried to comfort me but the nurses told him that he needed to move our bags out of the room to the recovery room and get changed into surgery scrubs.

I remember so many things happening around me.  There was a flurry of activity.  I felt as though I was in the eye of the storm.  The nurses sprung into action, preparing me for surgery.  The Anaesthetist kept reassuring me everything would be fine.  She was amazing.  Seriously.  I was quickly wheeled into the operating theatre.  I remember crying all the way to the operating theatre.

In the operating theatre I cried even harder.  I was just SO freaked out about getting cut up.  Being a person that thrives on achieving milestones and goals, I was disappointed I was unable to achieve my goal of a pain-free natural delivery.  Anyway, the baby had to come out one way or another and he obviously wasn’t coming out naturally.

The operation wasn’t painful but it was quite scary.  The force that the OB had to use was terrifyingly strong.  Nat and I like to describe it as it felt as though the doctor was a mechanic working on a car.  Seriously.  And just before the baby came out, the Anaesthetist and Nurse gave a big mighty push from the back (a push so strong they had to ensure their feet had support). I must say one comforting thing was how calm and relaxed the doctor was throughout the entire procedure – which made me panic a little less.

9:50 pm Baby E-Man came out.  At first he was silent and the whole room seemed to be waiting in anticipation.  And then we heard it.  The strangest sound ever.  Over the course of the day I had heard many babies cry.  They all sounded nice.  Except mine went, “oohh-wehh oohh-wehhh oooh–weehhh!!!” He only did that for a while and once he was bundled into a burrito he was placed on my chest and kept silent, you could see that he was absorbing his new environment.  I felt at that moment I had delivered an old soul.

I stopped crying when they gave me the baby and the lovely Anaesthetist took a picture of us.


Very quickly though Nat and E-Man left the operating theatre for the nursery where he was weighed and measured.  One of the nurses wheeled him in his little trolley with Nat following along.  When they got to the nursery, Nat remembers the nurse counting his fingers and toes for him.  According to him, she went, “1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 – 10 fingers and 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 – 10 toes. Ok?”


Nat went back to the recovery suite to wait for me.  And I just lay there in the operating theatre thinking about how insane the entire day was and how incredibly helpless I was feeling.  Oh, if only I knew at that time that unexpected situations and feelings of incredible helplessness are common themes that would re-occur in the year to come and I expect for the rest of my life as a parent.

Now, if you would ask me, if I had to do it all over again, knowing the things I know now, what would I do?

1) I would probably wait a few days more before getting induced.
2) I would probably wait until I was about 4-5 cm dilated before I get the epidural.  Nah, I’m not a hero.
3) I would probably put more exciting movies in my iPad – I remember getting a bit bored.
4) Nat would probably bring an extra jacket and blanket.

I would not really change much else.  Mt Alvernia is really such a wonderful hospital.  The rooms are new and very luxurious, the staff are unbelievably caring and professional and the location is perfect.

I know it took a long time to get here.  Sorry, when I was typing this entry out I really felt like I was re-living the entire experience.  I would be very interested to hear your birth story.  Again, as I shared, I’m not here to criticise anyone’s birth plan and I also hope that no one will criticise mine.  The end goal is to get a healthy baby out and that’s what I did!
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Top Four Favourite Baby Board Books

As there recently seems to be a renaissance in reading here in Singapore, especially in children’s literature, I thought I would share a few of my favourite board books for babies.

To be honest, I sometimes also read “older” age group books to E-Man because there is a limit to how many times I can say “goodnight room, goodnight moon, goodnight cow jumping over the moon…” without going crazy. I will share these older age group books later on, but for now, in no particular order, here are my top four favourite board books for babies!

Goodnight Moon, The Very Hungry Caterpillar, That's not my penguin and On the Night You were Born
Goodnight Moon, The Very Hungry Caterpillar, That’s not my penguin and On the Night You were Born


On the Night You Were Born by Nancy Tillman 

On the Night You Were Born by Nancy Tillman
On the Night You Were Born by Nancy Tillman

“On the night you were born,
the moon shone with such wonder
that the stars peeked in
to see you
and the night wind whispered,
‘Life will never be the same.’

Because there had never been
anyone like you…
ever in the world.”

Inside of "On the Night You were Born"
Inside of “On the Night You were Born”

On the Night You were Born is a book that is written for parents as much as it is for their children.  In beautiful rhyming verse, Nancy Tillman captures the strong maternal (and paternal) instincts that most parents feel at the birth of their child.  I remember at the birth of E-Man, when he entered into the world, the operating theatre was silent, just waiting to hear his cry.  And for those few moments, the world stood still, as all we could think about was the miracle of new life.  Nancy Tillman perfectly articulates all we want to say to our children; all our unspeakable joy, gratitude and happiness as new parents.

On the Night You were Born is a book that can be read and re-read until our children are adults.  It is sheer poetry.  It can serve as way to recount the story of our children’s birth as well as an affirmation of their value and self-worth, “So whenever you doubt just how special you are / and you wonder who loves you, how much and how far, / listen for geese honking high in the sky / (They’re singing a song to remember you by.).”

Needless to say, I have teared up a couple of times while reading this book out loud.


Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown

Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown
Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown

This book was a gift by an American friend.  It is a Classic American children’s bedtime book that was first published after the War in 1947.  The vintage illustrations are poignant reminders of how simple life used to be.  In the good old days there was knitting to be done and mush to be eaten.  I like Goodnight Moon a lot because the sentences are short and most importantly, they rhyme.  When E-Man is older, I can imagine asking him to point out the “three little bears sitting on chairs”, “the two little kittens” and “a pair of mittens”.  Goodnight Moon is a great book if you are looking for a quick story to read.  There is also something powerful and enchanting about reading a book, knowing that millions of other mothers have read the same lines to their little ones across the world.  As though you are united in your love for your child and for the written (and spoken) word.

“Goodnight stars, Goodnight air, Goodnight noises everywhere.”


The Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle

The Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle
The Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle

To be honest, I wasn’t sure if I should include this book in my list since it is probably on everyone else’s.  Anyway, I put it in because it is obviously one of our go-to books.  E-Man loves turning the pages and reading it on his own.  I remember reading The Hungry Caterpillar at my cousins’ house as a young child.  I personally did not own it, but my cousins did, and I liked reading it.  E-Man loves turning the pages of this book himself (actually he likes turning pages of almost every  book you give him).  The illustrations are timeless and I love how the book teaches children the days in the week, numbers, food and also the life cycle – all in a vividly coloured shortly phrased board book.   Amazing!


That’s Not My Penguin… by Fiona Watt and Rachel Wells

That's not my penguin...
That’s not my penguin…

So if E-Man could vote, he’d probably choose That’s Not My Penguin.  This book is actually a wildcard entry.  It secured a place in the top four simply because E-Man just recently took up significant interest in it.  I bought That’s Not My Penguin when E-Man was only three months because I thought he would like the textures.  He did.  Then I got sick of the book because the book is basically all about textures and images, not so much the story.  So I relegated it to the bottom of the pile.  Then just a week ago, we took it out and behold, E-Man loved it.  He would turn the pages and go straight for the textures.  He has also woken up in the middle of the night and just entertained himself by reading the book by the soft light cast into his room by the street lamps outside.  We could actually hear him talking to himself as he turned the pages and felt the textures on each page.  It must be riveting stuff.  Oh if you can’t see in the picture below, the wings of the penguin are velvety.

That's not my penguin...
That’s not my penguin…

So yes, it’s a worthwhile investment, simply because babies like texture.


So that’s the end of my top four favourite baby board books.  I was just thinking about it – baby books are actually a great baby shower gift if you don’t know what to buy because they last a long time and can be used and re-used and hopefully even passed down through the generations.

Do share with me what your favourite baby board books are in the comments below!

So you think you need a baby walker?

When Baby E was about five months old, my mother bought him a little walker, convinced that he would need it when he turned six months. Oddly enough, the hyperactive baby that he is, didn’t quite like the walker because he couldn’t figure out how to move in it. Even though his feet touched the floor and the wheels were in full working condition, he would just sit there looking annoyed that we put him in this blue coloured contraption.

He preferred to be free. Since learning to crawl at around six and a half months he has become a champion crawler and has recently, at nine months, mastered the art of going up and down steps.

But of course, just crawling has its limitations because one’s head is generally focused on the floor and one’s elevation and view of the world is a lot lower than one would like. So, at about nine months he came up with his own “walker”.

Baby E's own makeshift walker
Baby E’s own makeshift walker

Yes.  He started realising that the space between his IKEA highchair (that incidentally my mother picked up from a garbage pile somewhere – yes we take reduce, reuse and recycle very seriously) was just perfect for him.  So this is how he has been moving around recently.

Baby E walking out to the patio in his makeshift walker
Baby E walking out to the patio in his makeshift walker


The good thing about this, is that he keeps himself entertained and this mode of transport and entertainment can be easily replicated anywhere.  He started pushing chairs at my grandmother’s house last week.

Baby E pushing chairs at great grandma's house
Baby E pushing chairs at great grandma’s house


The bad thing is that if the chair is not stable, it can topple over.  Also, it is very very noisy and can scratch the floor.  Lucky nobody has complained and luckily all our chairs have felt protectors!

No, a rocker is not a good chair to push around
No, a rocker is not a good chair to push around

The funniest part about it is that he is VERY VERY serious when he is pushing the chairs around.  As though he feels it is his duty as a baby to push the chairs around.  He can be laughing and smiling before, but the moment he decides its time to push the chairs around, he puts on this serious look on concentration.  I guess that’s why he hasn’t really fallen yet!

Do tell me how your pre-walker gets around!  I’m interested to know! 

Totally Floored – An Activity for An Active Baby and Mummy!

One of my earliest memories is sitting on my grandmother’s red tiled kitchen floor.  I am not sure what I was doing on the floor, probably chewing a toy or clanging on a stainless steel pot with a wooden spoon.

It has come full circle since I am now on the floor once again with this new activity that I have been playing with Baby E.   He is now 7.5 months but it can be played the moment they start crawling or even during tummy time when they are in their early infant stage.  It is “Follow the Leader”, or our variation of it.  What I do is get down on my hands and knees and crawl in front of him.  When he sees me crawling around like him his face just brightens up.  It’s so beautiful to see!  He then laughs as he tries to follow where I go.  So I crawl in front and then urge him to come follow me.

crawling baby copy

Whilst crawling on the floor, I have actually discovered a whole new world — from his point of view!  I feel like Baby E is not the only adventurer in the household now!


It also encourages him to crawl more and practice his motor skills.  Previously, all he wanted was to be carried because I guess that was where the grown-ups were at.  We talked down to him and I guess from his perception, all the fun was happening up on top and if you know his character he does not want to miss out on the action.


Now that I have been crawling around the floor with him, he is more willing and even excited to crawl!

By the way, don’t you just love his hot pink Charlie Banana cloth diapers?  #Realmenwearpink!!! 😀

Cloth Diapers: Frequently asked questions

I am really so encouraged by how many people read my post on cloth diapering!  😀 Thank you!

Cloth diapering can seem very daunting at first.  Although I had bought six modern cloth diapers prior to Baby E’s arrival, I hadn’t done much research.  So I fumbled through cloth diapering for a few weeks using the traditional flat sheets and mis-using the six modern cloth diapers I bought.  I gave up for three weeks because there were leaks everywhere as I had not been using them correctly.

After I had to make an urgent trip to the supermarket when we ran out of diapers and realised just how much money I was spending on disposables, I decided to throw myself into cloth diapering research.

So in a bid to do my part for the environment and your pockets, here goes:

How on earth do you wash and dry cloth diapers?  How do you get them so clean??
Probably the most asked question regarding cloth diapers.  You really need to do your own research and planning as well because what may work best for me may not work for you.

1) Once the baby has done a poop, I wash the poop off the diaper into the toilet bowl using a toilet spray (those sprays that are next to your toilet bowl).  Your hands won’t be smeared with poop, I promise.   I can’t promise if the odd poop splatter doesn’t touch you, though.  Anyway, every parent will tell you that touching poop comes hand in hand with having a baby!  If the baby has just wet the diaper, you can just throw it straight into the diaper pail without rinsing it.


2) I separate the insert and the diaper cover and place them both in a wet pail half filled with water and some vinegar.  I can’t imagine the smell of the dry pail after two days!  If you choose to use a wet pail, make sure your wet pail is kept FAR FAR away from the baby’s reach and covered.  Otherwise, just use a dry pail.  I think it’s safer, but smellier!


3) After two or three days (depends on how many diapers you have), empty your wet or dry pail into the washing machine and set it on HOT.  We do a first rinse with just hot water.  Then we start the full wash with soap and hot water.  Some people choose to do a full wash first and then a final rinse with water after.  It’s really what you find works best for you.

4) Once the diapers are washed, hang up all the diapers on your clothes line to dry in the sun.  This is also called sun bleaching.  It’s amazing, I never knew that the sun had super powers and was able to actually kill bacteria and germs AND bleach diapers.  All my diapers are sparkling white after they are sun bleached.  Amazing right?


Do cloth diapers get stained with poo and pee?
Nope.  As mentioned above when you wash them properly and sun-bleach them they turn sparkling white.  They also do not stink — it’s almost like magic!

What if baby is a big wetter especially overnight???
You can actually stuff two inserts into the diaper instead of one.  In fact, Charlie Banana recommends that you use two inserts after the baby is four months.

So here’s my dirty little secret (no pun intended), I use disposables at night because I hope that they help him to sleep better, since the nasty chemicals keep his bum dry.  But I know of many people who cloth diaper over night using two inserts.

There are “One Size” diapers and then there are “Sized” diapers.  What’s the difference?
“One Size” diapers or “OS” are diapers you can use from birth till baby is potty trained.  They either have adjustable snaps or adjustable elastic bands (like bra straps) around the legs.

“Sized” diapers are diapers that come in different sizes and you have to buy bigger ones when baby gets bigger.

I see some really cheap diapers online, can I buy those instead?
I know you can get dirt cheap diapers online.  Frankly, just like everything else in life, always question why they are so cheap.  I choose to use cloth diapers from reputable companies such as Charlie Banana and Bumkins just because I know their quality can be trusted.  Always read reviews prior to buying your diapers.

How many diapers should you buy to start off with?
I have about 26 diapers.  This lasts me about 2.5 days without washing, so I wash every two days.  I think a comfortable number is anywhere from 18-20 so that you don’t have to wash daily.  Don’t forget, you have to factor in your water and electricity bills.

Does your electricity and water bill increase dramatically?
It’s hard for me to say because we are already doing an extra load every other day for baby’s regular clothes.  I once washed the diapers once a day for a month.  My bill went up noticeably.  So now that I wash every other day, it has stabilised.  Gone are the days when it was just two of us and our laundry was literally done once a week.


Hope this short little Q&A helps you decide whether you think cloth diaper is really for you.  It’s really up to you to decide and determine what cloth diapering system works for you.


Cloth Diapering: Why I choose to cloth diaper

I remember the first time I heard about modern cloth diapering from Mama Natural, I was so amazed!  Was there really an alternative to the dowdy, hard-to-use flat white sheets that our grandparents used??


Yes!  Modern cloth diapers are funky, cute, waterproof and very easy to use.  Look how many colourful patterns there are!


I strongly recommend you watch Mama Natural’s 6 Reasons Why Cloth Diapers Are Better Than Disposables (+1 Way They Ain’t) because she elaborates clearly on the pros and con of cloth diapering. Then, once you have watched Mama Natural, watch Obbs and Lala Cloth Diapering Vlogs – she explains everything there is to know about cloth diapers.  There’s so much to learn, from the different cloth diapering systems to how to wash them etc…

It’s difficult to be succinct about something you feel passionate about.  So let’s try. I ❤ Cloth Diapers because:

1) It feels good to do something for the environment.  My husband is a huge recycler.  If I threw something into the normal waste paper bin, he would extract it, gross as it may be, and place it into the recycling bin.  He would also rather have an empty plastic shampoo bottle sitting in the bathroom for months on end rather than have me throw it in the normal bin.  I, on the other hand, am a lazy recycler.  I recycle only when it’s convenient.

Cloth diapering gives me my shining opportunity to do something for the earth.  As you all know, dirty diapers are one of the most common items found in landfills.  In fact, according to the oracle of all wisdom,  Google search, disposable diapers make up one third of all landfill waste. That’s disgusting but not surprising.  A typical baby goes through six to eight diapers a day!  And this waste is just sitting there waiting to decompose in the next 500 years.  And I don’t need to remind you how vile dirty diapers smell!

2) I’m lazy and I do not want to go out to buy diapers in the middle of the night.  Everyone thinks that cloth diapers are extra work.  They are far from it.  You only do one extra load every two days and then hang them out to dry.

A lot less energy is spent compared to getting into the car / bus / train walking to the supermarket, walking down the aisle, carrying the big bag of diapers to the check-out counter, carrying the bag of diapers to the car / bus / train and carrying into the house.  All the while, you have a (possibly) crying infant in tow.  And don’t forget the time it takes to leave the house with the infant!  I’m tired just thinking about it.

3) I  saving money. A box of six Charlie Banana diapers  costs about S$150 at Mothercare Singapore.  You can also use your 10% membership discount.  On Singsale,  cloth diapers are frequently on sale and are sold anywhere from S$10-20 depending on the brand.  I bought Bumkins diapers I bought were S$10 each!!!  In total, I have spent about S$500 on diapers – but most of it was paid using vouchers I received when Baby E was born.

This is compared to about S$20 for a bag of 70-80 diapers.   Based on my basic calculations, since a baby probably soils about six to eight diapers a day, you would need three to four bags a month.  That’s about S$60-80 a month!  Then factor in how much you have to spend on milk powder if you are formula feeding or combination feeding.  OMG…  Seriously.

Using cloth diapers will allow you to break even at 10 months!

4) I  the patterns. Have you seen how cute the patterns and colours on cloth diapers are??  So darn adorable!  I LOVE Bumkins diapers for their cutesy prints.  They are also the only diaper manufacturer that has the rights to use Dr Seuss prints on their diapers.  How cool is that?




5) I  how luxurious they feel!  The minky ones are nice and fluffy and the PUL and satin-finish ones just feel so luxurious!  They are also nice and cushy on my baby’s butt.  This is probably silly but I also don’t think it hurts him as much when he falls on his butt!

6) Better for babies with sensitive skin!  Baby E has eczema and sensitive skin and I’m sure if he wore disposable diapers for a prolonged period will develop diaper rash.  Disposable diapers are scratchy and you don’t know what sort of chemicals go inside them.  These chemicals are obviously very strong because they are able to keep the baby’s butt dry for extended periods of time.  I don’t want these chemicals to touch his skin!  I’m already dealing with his eczema and rashes and I’m thankful I don’t have to deal with any additional rashes!

Cloth diapers are fast gaining popularity in Western countries such as America and Australia but they are not so popular in Singapore.  Maybe because people don’t seem to understand them and still associate cloth diapers to those large white flat sheets that are not very practical.

While not many people cloth diaper here in Singapore, or at least not many that I know of, it may be worth noting that Singapore does have its very own cloth diaper brand Moo Moo Kow!

I think I will put together a list of frequently asked questions on Saturday.  Do you cloth diaper??  Why did you choose to cloth diaper?  Do you love cloth diapering as much as I do?

My Water Baby – Swimming with Baby

One of the weekend activities that my whole family looks forward to is bringing Baby E swimming.  It is really a family affair because it takes us at least an hour to get out of the door and then another half an hour to drive to the pool.

We first started him when he was just four months old.  At that age, he wasn’t quite sure what to make of the water.  He kept staring at it and kept his fists clenched — probably due to stress!

babe e swim

Now, at nearly seven months, he seems to have really taken to the pool.  Granted, I have also let him play in his bathtub which helps him get used to the water.  Last Sunday when we went to the pool, he got used to it quite quickly (it had been quite about a month since his last swim) and very quickly started to kick and splash around.  We also dunked his whole head underneath the water a couple of times.

Some people mentioned to me that they put arm floats on their babies.  I personally don’t think it is a good idea because it breeds complacency.  When the baby is in the water, you need to be fully alert.  The baby can drown in a matter of seconds.  That is why constant exposure to water is important because it helps the baby to instinctively keep calm and not panic.

swimming with kungs

I also read that it is important for babies to learn to float on their back – just as a survival skill.  So that was what I was trying to teach Baby E on Sunday!  He really did so well and even started kicking on his back as well!

When we first started swimming, we used to use Charlie Banana cloth swimming diapers in S as they were a very thoughtful baby shower gift, however he has since out-grown them and now we use absolutelybaby diapers.  I’m not quite sure about them because they don’t have the nice padding that the Charlie Bananas have but they seem to do the trick.  He also wears a pair of Osh kosh b’gosh  swimming trunks over them.


I know some people use disposable swimming diapers.  I’m not sure how those work, seems strange and I’m not too sure about all the chemicals that go into the diapers!

We also use MILK BABY suncreen for babies to protect his delicate skin from the harsh sun!  So many things to worry about now with a baby.  Haha.  I put it on his body AND his bald head.

Would love to hear from you.  How old were your kids when they went swimming for the first time?  Did you use cloth or disposable swimming diapers?

Bilateral Fetal Pyelectasis – An abnormal finding during pregnancy

After watching bubzvlog on an abnormal finding during pregnancy (thank goodness all is good now following further tests), memories of my own pregnancy scare came flooding back.  Pregnancy is scary enough with so many unknown variables.  Throw an abnormal or unusual finding into the mix and you get one big bag of stress and confusion.

So when I was 21 weeks pregnant with Baby E, he was diagnosed with bilateral fetal pyelectasis as both his kidneys measured at 7 mm (the normal range is less than 3 mm).  What the heck is that?  It means both his kidneys were swollen and a lot bigger than they should be.

Being the ignoramus that I was / am, I decided to Google it to find out more information.  Basically, having bilateral fetal pyelactasis means:

1) The kidneys are just under-developed compared to the rest of the body and will sort themselves out when the baby is born

2) It is a soft marker for down’s syndrome — but soft markers are only ever relevant when they come together with other soft markers and cannot just standalone and he had no other markers

3) His kidneys will be problematic at birth and cause him urinary tract infection (and symptoms related to UTI) or kidney problems and may require medication

Obviously I worried about it and prayed that Baby E would be ok and really annoyed my friends, and anyone who would ask about the baby, by talking about it at length.  At his 30 week scan, it seemed like one kidney had gone down but the other was just mildly inflamed.  This was a good sign because it meant that his kidneys were developing.  My mother was super calm about it and just said, “Why are you worried? It just means that his kidneys are developing slower than other parts of his body. But they will be fine!”  Yes, I guess she can add antenatal medicine to her mantel of other degrees. (Inside joke, she only has one degree – a degree in Law).

But having an abnormal finding during pregnancy is never easy because nobody can see the baby in your womb – except God.  This is an extract of an entry I wrote in my paper diary when I was 26 weeks pregnant,

One of the things I realize about being pregnant is that you are completely living in faith.  You have to trust the Lord that He is in control and you have to trust the doctors when they give you advice.  It really is a step of faith everyday because you can’t see into your womb, you don’t know what is happening inside.  God only knows – literally!

I have to have faith that E will be all right and likewise he has to have faith and trust that I’ll take care of him when he’s born!  [And we both have to have faith that God will take care of us!]

Just as a quick aside, I think birth is rather like death.  The baby in the womb cannot comprehend what life is like on the outside.  He cannot comprehend what a rose smells like, what fresh buttered popcorn tastes like and what a field full of flowers looks like.  We can describe it to him, but until he is here, he will never understand.  To him, his understanding of the world is just the water and the placenta.  Likewise, the Lord can describe heaven to us in His word, but until the time comes and when we are finally there – only then will we be able to truly grasp hold of what it is like.

When Baby E was born, he was born perfectly healthy and the next day when the hospital did an ultrasound on his kidneys they found they were only slightly swollen and were perfectly fine.  The pediatrician, Dr Terence Tan, said that his kidneys were completely normal (albeit still slightly swollen) and scheduled a six month ultrasound so that we will be able to “close this chapter” once and for all.

On the day Baby E and I were discharged, on the very cover of MIND YOUR BODY (the health supplement of The Straits Times, Singapore’s main broadsheet), was an article of fetal pyelectasis.  Seriously, God has a sense of humour.


So now that Baby E is six months, I will soon be bringing him for his ultrasound.  So far, he hasn’t had any unexplained fever (only once, but I’m not sure because it’s due to UTI) and It seems like a lifetime ago that we had this scare but I know for some expectant mothers the fear and stress is real and profound.  I guess there really is not advice that I can give but to say, I know what you are going through sister. 


How to Increase Your Milk Supply

When I first came home from the hospital with Baby E, my parents, who are avid believers in breastfeeding, said, “There’s no such thing as low milk supply.  Supply always meets demand.”  My very limited research at the time seemed to suggest that as well.

I believed them.  But it came to a point when it really did seem as though my supply was lower than demand and I couldn’t keep up.  As I had shared in my earlier post on exclusive pumping, I cut out the middle of the night feeds – giving him expressed breast milk instead of direct latching.  Which caused two problems that lactation consultants warned would happened: 1) Nipple confusion 2) A drop in milk supply due to lack of stimulation.

But seriously, I just had a major abdominal operation and I had to wake up a few times a night to feed the little bugger?  Yes.  Who said motherhood was easy?

At the first month check-up, Baby E was at 3% on the growth chart.  It was highly embarrassing.  I dubbed him my little refugee.  Then after I started my crazy rigorous regiment he was more than 50% on the growth chart!  Incidentally, the same nurse weighed him and she was so surprised that he went from 95% breastfed to 100% breastfed AND gained so much weight!

I mentioned briefly in my previous post on exclusive pumping how I increased my milk supply.  Seriously, I am not an expert.  But I did a lot of research, spoke to a lot of people and made myself a guinea pig and trust me, my supply increased.  But this is really not for the faint-hearted and you really must believe in the benefits and goodness of breastmilk to want to do this.

I was first able to pump only about 50 ml per breast but after I made it my mission to increase my supply, I was able to do about 100 – 150 per breast.  When I woke up in the morning, I could get up to 250 ml on one side and about 150 ml on the other.   I have since decided to wean slowly and have voluntarily cut my supply dramatically. 

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So here it is… How to Increase Your Milk Supply:

1) Feed on demand all the time, every time.  I failed at this because I was just too exhausted mentally and physically.  But if you can, don’t express or cut out a feed and replace it with formula.  Feed him yourself through the night.  Demand will stimulate supply.

2) Ask your doctor for a prescription of domperidone or buy fenugreek from the pharmacy.  It has proven to work for countless women.

Domperidone is not actually a medication for lactation, it is used for gut problems, but its indirect side effect is that it stimulates lactation.  Ironically, when I went to the GP for food poisoning he prescribed domperidone and I told him that I had way too many packets at home and  I was trying to reduce my supply and so rejected domperidone for its original purpose.

3) Breast massages and hot compresses before feeding / pumping – so important to stimulate milk supply

4) Pump after each feed until the milk stops flowing.  But don’t pump more than 20-30 minutes because it will damage your nipples and breast.

5) If you are exclusively pumping, you MUST MUST MUST pump every two to three hours.  If you are out in the shopping centre, you should still bring your pump with you.  I have found out that so many friends pump all over the place (at shopping centres, hotels, convention centers, offices, toilets, swimming pools etc…)  just like me! 🙂

6) Easy to say,  but nap when your newborn baby naps.  A good rest also stimulates supply.

Lactation Food — Fact or Fiction??:
Honestly, I have heard from so many people that the traditional Chinese confinement food of papaya soup is good for stimulating supply.  I think this is quite unsubstantiated and doesn’t make much sense to me.  I have also heard that oatmeal and leafy greens stimulate supply too.  I think these are just stories that people tell nursing mothers when they want them to eat healthily.   There’s also lactation cookies and tea in the market for nursing mothers… REALLY?  I don’t believe it.

I am curious if anyone really ate all these items and if they really stimulated their supply.  Please do let me know if it did!

0 – 6 Months Baby Products – Must Haves! (Part 2)

So here is Part 2 of my newborn to six months must have baby items!

Cloth Diapers


I’m a huge cloth diaper fan.  I love cloth diapering.  I actually get confused when I use disposable diapers.  I love the extra padding on my little one’s butt, I love the adorable patterns, I love how I’m saving money, I love how I don’t have to run out and buy diapers last minute and I love how I am reducing wastage and garbage.

The only downside is that they are so cute you just want to get all the patterns!  I have about 26 now and I think it’s more than enough to last until he is potty trained.  Then I can use them on the next baby!  Imagine, 26 for two… or three babies!  Although, if I had a girl, I would really want to get some girlie patterns… hehe.

I can’t imagine not using cloth diapers.  I really can’t imagine my life without them.  I currently use three brands: Charlie Bananas, Bumkins and Little Angel’s Nappies.

My favorite brand is Charlie Banana.  They are so well made and I haven’t had any leakages or blow outs.   It is worth noting that I have had blow outs and leaks with disposable diapers.

A full stash of about 26 diapers like mine will probably set you back about S$500 but it’s worth it.   And I actually bought most of it using vouchers I received when Baby E was born.  So I have literally just spent S$200 on diapers. Just calculate how much you will spend on disposable diapers.  I think it’s about S$60 a month?  I am not sure.  So it’s a big upfront cost, but in the long run it’s cheaper.

If you are interested in how to use cloth diapers, suggest you check out ObbsandLala’s Cloth Diapering Vlogs – Seriously, when I bought my first few diapers, I didn’t know what to do with them until I watched her videos!

I will do a separate specific post on cloth diapers and how awesome they are and another one on how I wash my cloth diapers.

Fisher-Price Laugh and Learn Puppy’s Crawl Along Ball


Now, if you are wondering why a lot of my must have items are toys – it’s because Baby E has a short attention span.  Some say it is a boy thing, I am not sure.  It is just him.  He needs to be constantly entertained.  He can’t stay still AT ALL.  I’ve seen so many baby girls that can just sit still, not him.  If you don’t talk to him, he will start to get cranky and demand that you do.   Seriously.  Talk about high maintenance!

So, with that in mind, it is unsurprising that Baby E was gifted this lovely gift.  It is really perfect for tummy time because Baby E loves reaching out to touch it and play with it.   The crawl along ball is heavy and rolls along when pushed.  The good thing about it is that it plays a different sound or song each time Baby E touches the puppy’s head and each time the crawl along ball goes rolling which further stimulates him.  He loves looking into the mirror as well.

I strongly recommend this item for tummy time, especially for babies who really don’t like being placed on their tummies!

Fisher-Price Newborn to Toddler Rocker

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Honestly, I don’t work for Fisher-Price!  It’s just a coincidence that half of my must have items are from Fisher-Price!  Maybe it’s just because they know what babies need!  A friend actually gave me this as a hand-me-down.

We used it when Baby E was about three weeks old.  We padded it with pillows and he sat in there and cried out his colicky / grumpy period as we rocked him slowly.  Then when he got older, he would put him in there and give him a toy to chew or hold.  Now, he has his meals while sitting in there.  It really grows with the child and can be used at any stage of their development.

The vibration feature is nothing special.  It’s weird and is just like a vibrating massage chair.  It sometimes looks as though Baby E doesn’t even notice the difference with the vibration on and with it off.  I read that some babies are able to fall asleep with the vibration.  I am not sure about that.

So that’s it folks!  All my must have baby items!  As I only have six must have baby items, maybe you can share with me some of your favourite items??  There are so many out there and every baby is different.   Will be posting some unnecessary baby items next!