“Breaking Fast” with new friends

Do you know which mosque in Singapore has a section made out of soya sauce bottles?  Find out why at the end!

Just yesterday I had the great privilege of learning about the history and heritage of this Mosque and then had the opportunity to join my new friends to buka puasa (breaking fast) at sundown.

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Prior to attending the “Ramadan Trail”, a free two-hour guided tour conducted by volunteers from Sultan Mosque on Arab Street, I knew little about Sultan Mosque and Ramadan.  From discussions with my Muslim friends, I had vague ideas about why Muslims fasted during this month but after the tour, I have a whole new level of respect for them.

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So my tour was conducted by a French convert to Islam.  Lovely gentle lady who converted to Islam eight years ago when she married a Singapore Malay.  She shared about ablution or the wudu, the steps that Muslims take to cleanse themselves before they approach Allah in prayer.  Then she shared a bit about the history of the Mosque which was constructed between 1824 and 1828, and then we went into the Mosque to see the prayer hall.

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There was an air of serenity in the prayer hall.  It was so peaceful.  It wasn’t the first mosque I’d been to as I’d been to quite a few when I went to Turkey, including the famous Blue Mosque and Ayasofya in Istanbul, but Sultan Mosque was beautiful in its own way.  I loved how airy and cool the Mosque was and the rich green carpet and tapestry.  I was so impressed by how humble the Mosque’s surroundings were.  I was impressed by how there wasn’t a 50,000 strong amphitheatre with cutting edge sound system and surround sound (I don’t even know what this means!).  They didn’t have wall-to-wall LED screens or the most expensive music equipment.  In the prayer hall there was space for what mattered most.  Prayer.

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At the top of the prayer hall there were numbers which indicated the times Muslims must pray throughout the day, the time of sunrise (when they must start fasting) and the time of sunset when they can buka puasa.

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Very interesting.  We then walked up the steps to the roof where we saw the Mosque’s four minarets.  It was so beautiful, to stand on the Mosque’s roof and listen to the Azan while the sun set over the busy city.

After the Azan, we went back downstairs and listened to a short talk in the Mosque’s auditorium about Ramadan and why Muslims fast.   I think it’s best for me to link it here, just in case I don’t explain it properly.  One of the reasons is that they want to feel compassion for the poor by understanding what they may actually go through everyday.   Good way to keep humble and put life in perspective.

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Unbeknownst to me, after the talk, we were invited to stay to break fast together with our hosts.  It was so surprising and wonderful.  As we were walking down from the roof, I saw huge plates of nasi briyani being carried out for the believers to buka puasa.  It smelt delicious!  I was so excited to find out that I was going to enjoy this briyani!

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We “broke the fast” by eating an un-even number of dates and drinking water and then started on the main dish.  Each plate of briyani is supposed to be for about four to five people.  But as there was more food than people, I ended up sharing a plate with my friend.  I thought at first, it was a great idea since I was so hungry.  Until I found out that it is considered very rude to leave a plate full of food.  We panicked!  What were we supposed to do?  How could two girls finish such a huge plate?  Luckily one of the Muslim ladies came to join us and we managed to finish it.

One beautiful thing I noticed about the layout of mosques in general is how open and inviting the spaces are.  They are open for all – rich, poor, young, old, physically challenged, mentally challenged.  During our dinner, a young mentally challenged man walked in and straight away without hesitation the ladies stood up and cried out, “Come, brother.  Come join us.”  And then the ladies were rushing around getting him food and drink.  Within minutes he was happily eating with a big smile on his face.  I was so moved.  So very very moved.

It was a beautiful end to a truly unforgettable evening.

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Oh yes, and before I forget, the soya sauce bottles were included in the Mosque because during the construction of the Mosque, the people around the area wanted to donate something to the Mosque but as they were very poor they could only donate soya sauce bottles!  Can you see the bottles?  They form the dark section just underneath the golden dome.

 

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How I “Weaned” (Rated: TMI. Proceed with Caution)

I am a huge breastfeeding and breast milk advocate.  But there gets to a point in time when breast is not always best for mother and baby.  I reached that point when Baby E was seven months.  I never could imagine reaching to seven months on full breast milk.  But seriously, donor milk and domperidone kept us going.

When I had plugged ducts, I decided after that I was going to “wean” soon.  So, like most things in life, I turned to Dr Google. I googled and went on forums trying to find out the best way to cut my supply and to survive seriously engorged breasts.

I guess in my case it wasn’t really weaning the baby, but weaning my breasts from lactating.  I don’t really have experience in weaning a baby since my baby was bottle fed since he was a month old (sigh, the dreaded nipple confusion).

Turns out, there’s a lot of literature on how to breastfeed but not a lot on how to stop.  The breast specialist I went to when I had plugged ducts said I should wear tight bras and go cold turkey.  I actually think that is bad advice because it causes more plugged ducts and mastitis.  Wearing tight bras perpetuates the problem and doesn’t make it go away.  The only way to stop producing milk is to do it slowly and not do it suddenly.  Crazy.

So anyway, like most things in my life, weaning was a combination of trial and error.  So this is what I did.

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1) I used cabbage leaves for relief throughout the first two days of major engorgement.  I’m still trying to find out why but they manage the pain and apparently cut down the supply.

2) I stopped using my electric pump.  I manually expressed, just enough to feel relief but not to completely empty the breasts.  I still got quite a lot though.

3) I cut down one express a day.

4) I continued this for about a month until my breasts did not hurt anymore.  Then stopped completely.

I was quite surprised at how fast my supply dropped.  It takes so long to build up a supply but it can drop so quickly.

I would be interested to find out how you weaned your child from breastfeeding or stopped lactating.  Do share with me!

Patience Pancakes

So this morning I made pancakes.  You might be wondering what the big deal is.  Well, it is a big deal because I don’t cook or bake and the last time I made pancakes on my own was when I was still living in Sydney in 2010.

Pancakes, as everyone knows, are one of the simplest things to make.  All you need is flour, baking powder, milk, butter, eggs, salt and sugar.  So I pulled up a recipe online and started following it.  Seemed simple enough until I got to the end and I started freaking out and panicking.  The pancake mix looked NOTHING like what I had envisioned.  It didn’t even look like the mix my grandmother makes which is a lot whiter.  Mine was a yellowish thick paste.

I wanted to literally throw the whole mix into the drain and throw a tantrum on the floor — Obviously it isn’t healthy for a grown-up mother to take cues from her infant son.

Then, my long-suffering husband came to the rescue.  He wisely said, “You don’t even know what it is meant to look like!  Of course you think it’s a failure!”

And then he took out a frying pan and started frying them and they turned out quite delicious.

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After he did that, he said, “I know what your problem is.  You have no patience.  You don’t even want to wait to see whether it works.”

Wise words and something that he has been telling me for a long time.  I give up too easily.  When the baby was having a crying fit last night, I gave up and handed him to my husband.  I have unfinished scrapbooks.  Unfinished projects just lying around the house.  I start things and never finish them because, firstly, I don’t know what completion looks like, and secondly, I do not have the patience to follow them through.

It could be that I am a product of Generation Y — with my demand for instant gratification.  But I am also a product of my own selfishness and self-centredness.  Impatient people like myself are usually impatient because it doesn’t feel good or it doesn’t suit our plans to continue.

Anyway, I have no clue what it is like to raise child.  I’m just grateful that I was able to keep him alive each day (I have a lot of help though — it really does take a village to raise a child).  I was just about to say that I don’t know what the end goal is supposed to look like and then suddenly this Bible verse popped into my mind:

He has shown you, O man, what is good;
And what does the Lord require of you
But to do justly,
To love mercy,
And to walk humbly with your God?

Micah 6:8

So this is the end goal: To act justly, to love mercy and to walk humbly with my God.  Yes, this is success.  It is not about earning a million dollars or becoming a successful businesswoman or raising a successful businessman / professional.  If at the end of my life, I can say that my family and I have acted justly, loved mercy and walked humbly, then perhaps, I would have finally finished life well.

Interesting what a batch of pancakes can teach you.  Patience Pancakes indeed.

Happy Father’s Day!

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To my dear husband

Thank you for loving me and E-Man so much.  Thank you for putting up with both our tantrums and tears.  Thank you for your patience in guiding us to become better people.  Thank you for showing us that the world can be a better place, so long as we decide to make it that way.  Thank you for never ever speaking harshly to us.  Thank you for staying up late with both of us as we work through our individual frustrations.  Thank you for believing that both of us can be the very best that we can be.  Thank you for working so hard that both of us can live comfortably.  Thank you carrying us through the difficult times.  Thank you for showing us that leadership begins with service.

Happy First Father’s Day!

To my fellow Mothers of Boys: We need to take back our boys

Fellow Mothers of Boys.  It is time we stood up for our sons, and with our sons, so that we can create a different tomorrow.

I am tired of hearing people say Be a Man and Big Boys Don’t Cry.  I am sick of it.  When we tell our boys this, they internalise their frustration and their emotions which can, at the very worst, result in abusive, controlling a**holes.  We confuse our boys.  We tell them not to cry, then we call aloof.  We tell them to be good to their mothers, then we call them mama boys.  We tell them to be gentle, then we call them a wuss.  It’s wrong.  It’s insulting.  It’s hurtful.  And it should stop NOW.

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To be honest, when I found out I was having a boy, I felt like all my dreams of princess dresses and dainty tea parties went out the window.  I don’t have brothers and most of my cousins are girls.  So I’ve never grown up with a boy (except for my cousin Matt who is much younger and we just made him do whatever we did).  I don’t know how little boys play.  I’m not a sporty person and the idea of driving around in a car filled with dirty rugby jerseys and socks is not something I ever envisioned as a mother.

Of course, Baby E could grow up to love tea parties and that’s fine too.  He might like to be part of his school’s dance troope or like cooking.  It would be pretty cool if he did — imagine all the dinner parties I could throw with my son as chef!

So here I am with my son.  My extremely energetic son.  With him, it’s NON-STOP.  He needs to move, to stand, to explore, to touch, to taste, to break.  He cannot sit quietly for a second.  He cannot stand being still.  He is charged with testosterone that’s for sure.  After speaking with other mothers and on forums, I realise that yes, boys are ALOT more active and curious than girls.  There are ALWAYS exceptions to the rule, but in general, boys have way more energy to spend.  It’s evolutionary – they were the hunters, girls were the gatherers.  Hunters need to constantly be looking for prey, they need energy to run after animals, to run away from animals to FIND animals.  

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So as a mother of a testosterone-charged boy, I need to ensure that this energy is harnessed positively, not negatively.

I have a lot to be thankful to my feminist predecessors for.  They have been responsible for giving me suffrage, giving me the right to earn a living outside the home and for giving me the confidence that I have to speak my mind.  To them, I am forever grateful.

But now, I feel we need to take back our boys. 

Our men have all this energy and strength and yet we emasculate them.  Mothers of Boys, we have our work cut out for us.  Hear my battle cry!!  We need to teach them that there are times to be gentle and times to be tough.  We need to teach them that it is ok to cry.  We need to teach them that women are both the weaker AND the stronger sex.  We need to teach them when to stand their ground and when to give in.

Men who have unharnessed energy and strength sometimes end up with bad company.  According to Google, there are 14 times more men in prison than women and men are nine times more likely than women to join a gang.  These statistics are startling.  The recent incident of Elliot Rodgers who killed six people last Friday night did so because he was frustrated he was still a virgin at 22.  Then just today, I read that a 24-year-old man attacked members of a J-Pop band with a saw during a concert.  From Columbine to Newtown to Anders Behring Breivik to Elliot Rodgers – all these mass shootings have been carried out by psychotic men.

Big boys don’t cry, big boys don’t whinge, big boys don’t show weakness.  Boys play with guns, not dolls.  Boys play fight, not play house.  All the games that are marketed to boys are about shooting, killing and fighting, and you wonder why our boys are violent.  We made them that way and now, we have the future in our hands.  We can change it.

We can teach them to love music and dance to the rhythm of the strumming guitar.  We can teach them to create works of art that we can hang on our walls.  We can teach them to play in the rain.  We can teach them to explore the world around them.  We can teach them to cook by stirring a pot filled with flowers.  We can teach them how to enter a world of make believe.  We can teach them how to keep a good and tidy house.  We can teach them to read and write poetry.  We can teach them how to help others who are in need.  There is SO MUCH we can teach them!  The options are endless and the potential is limitless.

Imagine a world filled with men who are kind, gentle, grateful and loving, but with the energy and strength of an army.  Imagine the good that can happen.  It starts with me, and it starts with you.  

Mothers of Boys.  It begins with us.  Let’s take back our boys!

Our Quinny Zapp Xtra with Folding Seat

Quinny Zapp Xtra with Folding Seat
Quinny Zapp Xtra with Folding Seat

I thought today I would review my Quinny Zapp Xtra with Folding Seat.  As I had previously shared, I had done zero preparation prior to Baby E’s arrival.  This included buying a pram.  I don’t know what was going on in my pregnant mind, but obviously I didn’t think buying a pram was very important.

So when the baby was born, I realised that a pram was one of the more important items to have, especially when we went out.  For a while we used to carry around a little moses basket which we would then balance on two chairs at restaurants.  It worked well especially when he was a newborn but it wasn’t a sustainable solution.

So after about two weeks of research, we decided to get the Quinny Zapp Xtra with Folding Seat.  Now, I know I placed it on one of my top six must haves for babies zero to six months, but I thought I would share a more in-depth review.

By the way, please note there are different variations of Quinny Zapp Xtras.  Mine is the one with the folding seat.  I specifically looked out for it because I didn’t want to dismantle the seat each time I put it in the boot!

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Baby E in his Quinny Zapp Xtra with Folding Seat

 

PROS

1) It is one of the more “affordable” designer prams out there.  In Singapore it retails from around S$500-700.  It is not a cheap and cheerful pram, but neither is it an expensive $1,000-2,000 pram.  It’s averagely priced but looks sharp and smart.

2) It folds up small and compact.  It can easily be placed in your car boot without taking up too much space.  That means you can place other things in your boot as well.  I will definitely take it travelling with me because it can fit in an airplane overhead locker.

3) It is relatively light, compared to other designer prams.

4) It is reversible.  This feature was one of the main reasons I chose it.  When Baby E was one to six months old, the pram seat was always facing me so that I could see him when we were out.  I would find it very stressful to have a newborn facing away from me since they are so quiet all the time you don’t know what is happening.

5) The buckle is a puzzle buckle which makes it harder for toddlers to get out of.

CONS

1) The diaper bag storage space is SOOOO small.  Seriously, this is one of my pet peeves about this pram.  I have quite a large bag and I have managed to squeeze it in a few times, but that often means that I do not have ready access to the items inside.  Anyway, the bottom of the storage space has recently torn (maybe because I squeezed my bag in) and I can’t put anything inside anymore. SO ANNOYED.

2) The frame itself is VERY light.  Which means you can’t really hang your diaper bag from the handles either.  So basically you end up just slinging your bag around your shoulder and pushing the pram.  Definitely not a hands-free pram.

3) You can’t open or close the pram with a baby on your hip.  It’s not like the Baby Jogger City Mini where it is a one snap close.  I think it’s at least three tedious steps that require both hands.

4) The handles are not adjustable and are made for parents who are less than 6 ft.  The handles are fine for my husband and I (less than 6 ft) but I think that if you are any taller you are going to have problems.

5) The parent-facing setting of the chair is fantastic, I love it.  But the chair doesn’t go upright.  Basically there is only slightly reclined and fully reclined settings available when the chair is facing the parent.  But there is no fully upright setting available.

6) This is an urban stroller through and through.  The wheels are not meant for jogging, trekking or any sort of off-roading.  Works for me because I don’t do any of that sort of physical activity but if you want something a bit more rugged, then you are better off choosing a jogging stroller.

7) The wheels don’t have suspension.  But seriously, do you really need wheels with suspension?

Conclusion

So is it a pram I would recommend to my friends?  Well, I would say, get a Bugaboo Bee or a Stokke Scoot if you want an urban stroller and can afford it because, quite frankly, they are so awesome and sexy.  But if price is a consideration, I think the Quinny Zapp Xtra with Folding Seat gives you pretty good bang for your buck.

FYI: There are also two different kinds of Quinny Zapp Xtras, the American model and the European model.  Don’t ask me why.  Mine is the American model so it has a small slash non-existent foot rest.  The European ones have a small space for the toddler’s feet.

Let me know what your favourite pram is and why!  Also, if you do have the Bugaboo Bee or Stokke Scoot or even the Quinny Zapp Xtra with Folding Seat, I’d be interested to hear your opinion!

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.

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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?

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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.

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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??

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

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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?

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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?

I knew nothing about babies when I became a mother. I still don't. Seems like Baby E isn't the only one taking baby steps!