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!

Solids and baby-led weaning

I’m a lazy mum.

There, I’ve said it. I am terribly lazy. I don’t do stuff like hand wash my baby’s clothes separately, for instance. Who has time for that?! And when it comes to feeding the baby solids, I do not ever puree.

Truth be told, I find steaming and blending baby foods a chore. No number of gadgets can convince me that feeding them puree is the way to go. Sure, they have no teeth but have you tried sticking your finger into those gummy mouths? The toothless grins belie strong jaws that can chomp down hard on ANYTHING.

And so I opted for baby-led weaning.


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Let’s talk bottles

SPONSORED POST

Being a breastfeeding mum is downright tiring. There, I’ve said it. Ok, let me clarify. I do love nursing Elliott. Since the early hazy days, breastfeeding is A LOT easier these days. We have both learnt how to do it correctly and efficiently so there’s less sweat, tears and pain. However, being the only milk source means that whenever he is hungry, I will be the one to nurse him. However, sometimes, Mummy needs a break too.

For that, I am very glad that Elliott is pretty good at taking the bottle as well. That boy is not fussy – boob or bottle, he takes them all. Now, as all mothers would know, bottle feeding is a bit different from direct latching (DL). When you DL, you simply lift up your shirt and stick the baby to the food course. Easy peasy.

A lot more effort is required when it comes to bottle feeding. You’d have to first wash the bottle, sterilise it (which will seem to take forever if you have a screaming baby – been there, done that), warm up the milk, then feed the baby.  It’s all well and good if you are at home and can do all that but what if you are travelling or on the move? Or simply do not have the time to go through all that steps?

This is where the Steri-Bottle comes in. In simple terms, the Steri-Bottle is a disposable milk bottle. It was founded in the UK, manufactured in the EU and this single-use bottle comes ready sterilised. Importantly, it is manufactured from BPA-free plastic and – get this – 100% recyclable. To be honest, when I first heard about how I will testing out a one-time use plastic bottle, I was a little hesitant because (1) it’s plastic  – Is it BPA-free?  Safe for baby? and (2) it’s one time use – Such a waste! Can it be recycled? I guess both my questions were answered when I read up more. There is also a whole list of FAQ with answers here.

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What My Kids Eat

This is Coco’s (2 years) typical menu over the week:

Mon: Biscuits (B); Whatever Is Served In School (L); macaroni (D)

Tue: Ditto

Wed: Ditto

Thu: Ditto

Fri: Ditto

Sat: Ditto (except that school lunch is replaced with macaroni)

Sun: Ditto

*no milk this week because she’s on a milk strike

And this is Claire’s (9 months):

Mon: Milk, cereal, milk, cereal, milk, cereal, milk

Tue: Ditto

Wed: Ditto

Thu: Ditto

Fri: Ditto

Sat: Ditto

Sun: Ditto

Sure, we add some fresh fruit, raisins, bread and yoghurt into the mix but that pretty much is what they get by on, day after day.

Because that’s all that they want to eat.

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I guess it’s no surprise then that Coco is a featherweight at 10 kg and measures in at the 10th percentile for growth. The sweet PD attributed her petite stature to the fact that “mummy and grandma aren’t very tall either.” Nice.

The PD reassured us that as long as Coco’s consistently growing, albeit at the 10 percentile, we have nothing to worry about.

As for Claire, it’s amazing how she has blossomed from a scrawny 10th percentile foetus into a chubby 8.5 kg infant who happily shares her older sister’s clothes (which the latter, obviously, is not too pleased about.)

But with only 2 milk teeth just pushing through her lower gums, Claire is content to have milk and a variety of cereal as her staple, and shows no sign of wanting to progress to a wider variety of tastes. In fact, we tried to introduce her to porridge, only to have her spit it out in disgust.

What? What's wrong with eating just cereal? Tell me!

What? What’s wrong with eating just cereal? Not happy ah?

Reading the well-intentioned advice of healthy-eating advocates on parenting websites and newsletters makes me feel bad that my children are not eating balanced meals, much less organic food and healthy snacks. When reading parenting magazines, I guiltily fast-forward through glossy page-spreads of creative, stylishly-arranged concoctions toted as being “quick and fuss-free to prepare” and yet promise to meet my children’s every nutritional need. Cherry tomatoes? Cous-cous? Tuna? Pumpkin? I can’t quite imagine Coco being happy to be offered any of these.

Sometimes I wonder whether their pickiness in food stems from my lack of initiative in exposing them to a wider variety of food and my weak resolve in encouraging them to repeatedly try each new taste until they grow to like it. More often, dinner times – fraught with annoying whining – end with, “Dowan DONE! Don’t wake me up and cry for milk if you’re hungry tonight!”

Or could it be due to my lack of effort in making meals more fun and enjoyable for them? Should I stay up after they have gone to bed to create pretty sandwiches shaped like animals for breakfast? Should I attempt to build a garden scene out of a plate of rice?

And is it okay to let Coco snack on rainbow-hued M&Ms and Haribo gummy bears, Percy Pigs and, God forbid, potato chips? Should I throw out the sugary party packs received from pre-school birthday celebrations in favour of wholemeal fruit bars and organic rice cakes?

Cho Colette and her chocolate ice-cream beard.

Cho Colette and her chocolate ice-cream beard.

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Then, I try to rise above the clouds of self-doubt and think back to my favourite childhood meals.

A single egg – fried sunny-side-up and drizzled with light soya sauce, atop a molehill of white rice.

Plain white rice, drenched in brown gravy cooked from chicken stock.

No vegetables whatsoever. Not. A. Scrap. Of. Green.

Bread and kaya.

Colourful sugar biscuits.

Apples, oranges, apples, oranges, apples, oranges. The occasional mango.

Smarties.

Plain yellow noodles in soup.

Bubblegum.

My meals were far from being wholesome and balanced.

I must have put my own mother through the same mental torture, trying to figure out how to make her picky daughter eat more healthily. She probably gave up on me, not before threatening to let me go hungry through the night.

Yet, I was happy, strong and healthy.

And I’m certain that my daughters are too.

Introducing her to the joy of chwee kueh. Salty, oily and oh-so-yummy.

Introducing her to the joy of chwee kueh. Salty, oily and oh-so-yummy.

Food? Bah!

So. We now have on our hands a toddler who refuses to eat. Sounds familiar? Hop on and join me on this blasted train!

At the grand old age of 22 months, Mr A has decided that food is not worthy of his time. From someone who can be really, really, REALLY greedy, he has now morphed into a PITA who says NO! to anything we offer him.

We tried all sorts of tricks: letting him play with his toy trains while we feed him. Letting him self-feed. Playing music in the background. Offering food from our plates. Letting him play with his food. Telling him he can have his yogurt and fruit after dinner. Mixing his food. Separating his food. Giving him only soup and rice (he’s a Chinese ah pek at heart).

NOTHING WORKED.

For a while, we were pissed. How dare he! After all the effort we made to prepare his food? After all that effort we made to shovel food into his mouth? The audacity!

We cajoled. And coaxed. And spoke sternly. And scolded. And explained.

NOTHING WORKED.

And then one day, something clicked in my brain. Why are we doing this? Why are we turning mealtimes into unpleasant experiences? Why are we forcing him to eat when he is clearly not interested? Why did I start off with baby-led weaning if I am prepared to force-feed my kid?

We were getting it all wrong.
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