GIVEAWAY! Mummybebe baby products

As most of you know by now, I am quite the crunchy mama. I like my products natural this and natural that. When local distributor mummybebe contacted me to ask if they could send me some of the products that they have, I was more than happy to say yes.

One of the brands that they carry is Farlin. Now, I usually associate the brand with the bigger items such as bath tubs, breast pumps, walkers/rockers etc. I was pleasantly surprised to know that they also carry baby cleaning products that are natural and eco-friendly.

Take, for example, the Farlin 2.0 Baby Bottle Wash. It is a FDA-certified product and is also phosphate-fee, phosphorus-free & fluorescence-free. While my kiddos don’t use milk bottles anymore, we use it everyday to wash their water bottles.

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And to add on to their eco-friendliness, the product also comes in refill packs. The 100ml travel-sized bottle is also great when you are on holiday – I recently found myself washing out all our water bottles using a bar of soap. Ack. Should have gotten me one of these.

Mummybebe was also kind enough to send across the Farlin Bon Bon Bowl. I decided to let my thug baby, I mean Zac, try it.

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Did it pass?

Well, yes. The bowl, which is supposed to be non-slip on any surface, held on pretty bravely until the very end. I would say that it works if you do not have a child who is stubbornly ripping the bowl off from the table. But I do love the versatility of the bowl.

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There is a soft silicon lid, which supposedly allows baby to have his food take-out (but which we didn’t try because Zac eats everything that we eat these days). There is a food divider as well as a feeding bowl. I placed some meat and rice into the dividers and soup into the food bowl for Zac. Worked pretty well! However, the bowl is pretty small so you have to replenish the food for big eaters.

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The bowl also comes with a soft-tip spoon, which is useful for babies learning to grasp cutlery.

In a nutshell, I think this bowl is great for little ones who are weaning for the first time. I can see how this would be useful for both baby-led weaning babies as well as puree-fed ones. Mums with toddlers with healthy appetites (and a desire to move things) like mine may find this a bit too small.

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GIVEAWAY!

I asked mummybebe if they would be so kind as to allow our readers to enjoy their products and they kindly said YES.

So three lucky readers stand to win a $50 e-voucher, to be redeemed for any product at mummybebe. All you need to do is follow the steps below:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Terms and conditions
Giveaways are open to Singapore residents only. Winners will be contacted using the contact particulars provided when entering this draw (email address as requested) and will have 48 hours to respond, failing which a new winner will be drawn.

All incomplete entries will be disqualified. All entries will be verified before the winners are announced. To be fair to our sponsors, please note that all fake Facebook accounts (eg. accounts set up purely to take part in contests with no or very few real friends) will also be ineligible to win. Giveaways are in no way directly linked to Facebook.

Disclaimer: We were given the book for purpose of this review. No monetary compensation was received and all opinions are my own.

For the love of all things fried

As with all most parents, we want the best for our child. This includes all sorts of organic, no-pesticides, BPA-free, no chemicals, no evil plastics, ethnically-grown produce, yada yada yada when it comes to food. I swear I started off strong. I made all sorts of home-style puree when Elliott turned 6 months old and was ready for solids. I sliced, washed 3x (sometimes 10x), diced, chopped, peeled, pureed, all sorts of organic and ETHICALLY-GROWN vegetables I could find at the chi-chi supermarkets. Of course, after all that hard work, my child would, more often than not, take half a spoon, before spitting out the entire lot before giving me a WTF WAS THAT, MOTHER? face.

So yes, you can’t say I didn’t try to win the most-awesome-mother-who-cooks-only-organic-and-healthy-food for her child award.

I tried my best. I truly did.

His experience with food hasn’t been the easiest. He would eat certain food groups at certain stage of his life. At one point, it was all NANAS. Nanas (bananas) were the BEST FOOD EVER. Then he decided he didn’t like it anymore. We then moved on to roast chicken. He loved my Anyhow chicken and would eat them happily. I used to just sit and watch him put away ’em chicken bits because it was such a lovely sight to watch my child eat something nutritious THAT I MADE (using the oven).

Now. These days, he has decided that CARBOHYDRATES ARE THE WAY TO GO. He likes white rice. No, scratch them. HE LOVES WHITE RICE. Steamed white rice to be exact. He is very happy when we feed him bits of steamed white rice. And hell hath no fury if we attempt to smuggle in a teeny tiny bit of protein in the form of minced chicken or pork. His refined taste buds have a knack for detecting the offensive foreign intrusion and before you can say “meat is good for you”, out it comes from his mouth. I have since learnt to hover the bowl at his chin -just in case-. He has also learnt to peruse his food carefully, giving it a once over, before opening his mouth if he deems it acceptable (which basically means WHITE RICE ONLY PLEASE).

Other than carbohydrates, his other approved food item is anything FRIED and made of POTATO. Actually, it’s really just FRIED POTATOES. Think french fries and hash brown. No mashed potatoes please. We just want POTATOES (real or frozen – doesn’t mater) FRIED TO A CRISP.

I feel that I need to clarify at this point that on most days, his awesome grandmamas cook him brown rice porridge simmered with pork ribs and (Japanese) pumpkin with salmon and/or some sort of expensive white fish I don’t know, I don’t buy ’em fish – the awesome grandmamas do. He is also a milk monster. You should see the way we dangle his milk bottle at him while he gets himself into a tizzy. I like to think that he is still getting his nutrients, somehow. As such, I have decided that this fried potato eating phase will be a phase and one day, we will look back at such episodes and laugh because THIS TOO SHALL PASS.

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HOORAY TO HASH BROWN FROM A PACKET!

Review + Giveaway: Yamatoya Sukusuku EN

When Aidan was born, one of the big ticket items that we got was a high chair. Never mind that he was floppy and not sitting up yet, let alone devouring solids. I wanted a particular high chair and I wanted it NAO, to the extent of shipping it in from Amazon.

We loved our handy red high chair, it was perfect for our needs. For the first 18 months or so, anyway.

Once the boy mastered the use of cutlery, we faced a problem. We wanted him to sit at the table with us during mealtimes but the chair did not allow it. And then the toddler twos hit and he went on a high chair strike, pitching a (loud) hissy fit whenever we attempted to strap him in.

In the end, his doting aunts saved the day. They bought him a wooden high chair that allowed him to sit right up at the table with us. He loved being able to climb in and out of the chair by himself, and so the red chair was handed down to Zac.

The littlest turned 15 months recently and we faced the same dilemma – it was time to seat Zac at the dining table with us. We couldn’t get a booster because our dining chairs had sloping seats. That meant we probably had to purchase another high chair.

Luckily, the good people at Baby Beannie came to my rescue. They were launching the new Yamatoya Sukusuku EN high chair in Singapore, they said, would I like to try it?

Well, YES YES YES!

For starters, this chair is so good looking! I mean, duh, that’s the most important criteria, right? We recently changed out some of our furniture and the sleek white all-wooden chair fitted perfectly with our new dining table.

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Looks (and jokes) aside, we love that it’s so functional – it can withstand Zac’s acrobatic stunts. We once found him on the dining table when he was put into Aidan’s current high chair – he had somehow climbed out of it! The Sukusuku EN’s T-guard in front of the seat was secure enough to hold him in. It’s also easy to clean – just a simple wipe-down using a wet cloth. Despite its stability, the chair is also light enough for me to move it around.

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It’s also highly versatile and can grow with the child. For instance, we can remove the front T-guard when Zac is older. The tray is also removable, while the footrest can be adjusted to suit changing heights. The chair can hold up to 60kg in weight which means I can use it until the boys are packed off to the army (assuming they do not, err, inherit their father’s fat large frame). And then after that it becomes mine, hah!

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The Sukusuku EN is also extremely well-made. We put it next to Aidan’s current chair for comparison and the Sukusuku EN definitely nails it. You can see that a lot of thought has been put into designing the smooth curves of the chair. The wood used is sustainable and environmentally-friendly, and the lacquer that they use is non-toxic. Oh, and did I mention that it now comes in eight yummy colours?

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The only hiccup we had with the chair was in installing it. The chair came with a Japanese manual that absolutely confounded me so I left it to the man’s devices. He was just as flabbergasted as I was and took a while to assemble the chair. I reached out to the Baby Beannie reps, who have assured me that the English manual will be included in future sets. Phew.

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We’ve been using the chair for almost two weeks now and I daresay that I don’t have any complaints about it at all. It’s that wonderful and I am really pleased!

To check out the Sukusuku EN in person, Baby Beannie will be exhibiting at the Baby Market fair held at Singapore Expo from October 9 to 11. During the fair, there will be a 10% discount on all Yamatoya products.

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GIVEAWAY
I really liked the Yamatoya Sukusuku EN and I asked the distributors, Baby Beannie, if they could let one of our readers have it too. They very kindly said YES!

So here you go: one lucky reader will get to win a Sukusuku EN in the colour of your choice (worth $288). It comes with a seat cushion (that we did not use because we practise baby-led weaning and it’s MESSY) and delivery within Singapore. Simply follow the steps below!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

This giveaway ends on 3 October, 11:59pm and is open only to Singapore residents. Winners will be contacted using the contact particulars provided when entering this draw and will have 48 hours to respond, failing which a new winner will be drawn. All incomplete entries will be disqualified. All entries will be verified before the winners are announced. To be fair to our sponsors, please note that all fake Facebook accounts (eg. accounts set up purely to take part in contests with no or very few real friends) will also be ineligible to win.

Disclaimer: I was given a set of Yamatoya SukuSuku EN for the purpose of a review. All opinions are mine.

BONUS
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The boys turned the box that the Sukusuku EN came in into a spaceship!

The end of a road

Yes, the title is a tad dramatic but we have finally reached the end of the road. The breastfeeding road, that is.

Ladies and gentlemen, I, on 9 February 2014 (Monday), nursed Elliott for the final time and we were done with nursing. It signified the end of pumping, washing parts, painful engorged boobs, lugging huge bags to and from work, etc.

Ah, it was an emotional yoyo. I was glad to be finally done and I can wear my usual clothes again. On the other, I miss our one-on-one, skin-to-skin moments. Just writing that line made my eyes well up with tears. The start of the breastfeeding journey was a rocky one. I set small goals and took one day and night feed at a time. I was also adamant to hit the minimum 6 month mark and told myself that anything after was a bonus. I did not want breastfeeding to become a chore.

Once the magic 6 month mark was crossed, we started to supplement with formula so that I wasn’t the only food source and I was heading back to work. I will always be thankful that Elliott took to the bottle well and switched easily between boob and bottle, breast milk and formula milk.
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The great express

So I have been back at work for four months. This means that I have been pumping at work for four months now. Everybody say HURRAH.

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I actually heaved a great sigh of relief when we crossed the six-month mark and my little man embarked on solids. It meant that I could relax a little and not feel so stressed about pumping enough milk to feed Zac, now that he has other sources of food to fill that Buddha belly of his.

As most working mums who express at work will tell you, their relationship with the pump is a complex, bittersweet one. I am glad that the pump exists to allow me to feed breast milk to my kid and yet at the same time, I can’t help but feel chained to it. Carving out the time to pump at work two, three times a day is a feat, especially when my schedule is erratic.

But at the same time, there are many things that I am grateful for: a cubicle with relative privacy that allows me to pump in peace, colleagues who are understanding. I am able to install a makeshift curtain, draw it and pump at my desk while working at the same time, which makes me feel less guilty about needing to pump three times a day. I can also sit and let the pump run for as long as I want, while getting stuff done.

I was able to pump milk for Aidan all the way till he was a year old, before transitioning him slowly to fresh milk and I am hoping to do the same for Zac. Fingers crossed!

If you are someone who is planning to express at work, here are some tips that may be helpful to you.
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Night weaning

Elliott sleeps beside me on his own cot. This allows us to reclaim our own bed space without the fear of rolling over him, yet allows me to reach him easily for the night feeds. For the longest time, he will wake in the middle of the night for feeds. On good nights, he’d wake 2-3 times. On bad ones, he can be up every other hour. This translates to me being completely exhausted from the broken sleep the night before. Having to think and speak coherently the following day at work becomes a challenging feat. I also noticed that during these night feeds, or nibbles, as I call them, he wouldn’t really drink. What he really does is to suckle for 2-3  minutes, then roll over and fall back to sleep with a contented sigh. Yes, he actually sighed a couple of times. It got me wondering if he was actually hungry or just nursing out of comfort and habit.

After a couple of particularly bad nights when I woke up with a throbbing headache with brain function at -10%, I told myself that this night nibbling business needs to be cut down. He’s already 10 month old and according to baby literature, he should not be hungry if he is given a full milk feed before bedtime.

The husband and I came up with a plan. Or rather, I came up with the plan and he was to assist in carrying it out.

Elliott goes to bed at about 9pm. Usually. Of course, there are nights when he is jumpy and bouncy till midnight and his parents fall asleep before him but never mind that. So yes, usual bedtime is 8.30-9pm-ish. He is usually nursed to sleep and he remains asleep till close to midnight/1am. The husband will then give him a dream feed via milk bottle of about 30ml. He used to give more (60-90ml) but Elliott would take forever to drink it and usually would fall back asleep before he even reaches the 30ml mark. So yes, so as not to waste milk, we now only give him 30ml.

This is where the night weaning attempt starts.
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