Money Saving Tips to Welcoming Your Newborn

Welcoming your little bundle can cost you a big hole in the pocket. As every dollar saved counts, here are some tips on the what you can save so you do not blow your budget.

  • Ask for samples – This include items like wet wipes, diapers, shampoo/soap as well as milk formula. Most of these items can be obtained whenever there is an upcoming baby fair. Apart from the fact that samples are free, you really would not know what your baby need until he/she arrives. Take for example, diapers. I got some newborn and small sized ones because I did not know how big my baby was going to be so I did not purchase a whole new pack of diapers until the baby is here. In any case, you will be at the hospital for at least 2 days after birth which means diapers will be provided for by the hospital. There will still be some time to get the right size.

If you do not visit the baby fair, another great place to ask for samples will be at your gynaecologist’s clinic.

  • Make full use of discount codes / vouchers – Most of the discount vouchers given to me were either from surveys I have participated in or after making a purchase. Usually the items that are of a higher value will give you more vouchers. I signed up with Cordlife and had discount vouchers for diapers, baby’s photoshoot and post natal massage services.
  • Newborn Clothings – You will be amazed at the speed the baby grows. Our second child was born very tiny but he outgrew his newborn sized clothings in just 2 weeks. It is always better to buy a size up so it can be worn longer. Hand me downs are great since these clothings won’t be worn for very long. I only put on mittens during my babies’ first 2 months because I wanted them to start feeling the different textures as soon as they stop scratching their own faces.
  • Baby Shoes – Nice to look at but there is really no use for it until they start learning to walk. Until then, they are more comfortable in their socks / booties.
  • Bedding sets – Don’t rush into getting pillows and bolsters. Babies are encouraged to sleep on firm and flat surfaces until they are 1 year of age. This is to reduce the risk of SIDS.
  • Milk Bottles – We tried about 5 different brands of milk bottles for our first born until we found the one that was suitable for him. So before you go buying too many bottles from a particular brand based on your own research, try getting 1 or 2 (if you have to) first. Instead of getting the 150ml sized bottles, consider going for the bottles with more capacity. It works the same as long as you get the nipples with slower flow.
  • Food Processor – Unless there is a specific function about the food processor that you like, I really think that the food processor works the same as a blender. So if you already have a blender at home, there is really no need for a separate food processor for your baby.
  • Stroller – A good stroller does not mean that it has to be expensive. Some strollers that are meant for newborns may look stylish but it is not really practical as your child will outgrow it very quickly. Always look for a stroller that can still be used even when your child is a few years of age and as long as it can function according to your lifestyle and is within your means, it is the perfect stroller for you.
  • Diaper Bag – We got ourselves a diaper bag (at a huge discount) only to find it totally pointless. All we had to do was get a bigger and comfortable bag, compartmentalise it ourselves by using the bag organizer and there we have our own “diaper bag”. It can even be used when you no longer need the “diaper bag”.
  • Baby Floor Seat – I consider this a waste of money because my baby’s thighs were too big for him to use the floor seat. Tried it once and when I lifted him up, up came the floor seat as well. :p
  • Infant bath tub – We welcomed our 2 boys in 2 different hospitals and were given a bath tub to bring home. Due to hygiene purposes, the hospitals do not reuse your baby’s bath tub with another child. You can check with the hospital you are delivering in just to be sure.

The above are some of the items that I can think of at the moment. Just to be clear, I am not saying that you should stay away from all of the above. It really depends on what you need (or what you can afford for some). Most of the time, making a list of whatever you must have and what your budget is actually helps. Also, before making any purchase, you can ask yourself what I always ask myself now – “Do I really need this?”.

Life As A New Mum (again)

Four years after being a mum for the first time we welcomed Ian into our lives as our second baby. The experience with him is totally different from what we experienced with Isaac. One of the things I wondered during my pregnancy was how Ian looked like because he’d turn away every time we did the ultrasound. But I thought to myself, how different can he be from Isaac right? After all, they are both from the same “factory”. Boy, was I wrong. I saw no resemblance in the two of them the moment we met Ian.

Looks aside, Isaac was an easy to manage baby. He is probably the perfect baby anyone would wish for. He was smiley, his cries were soft and best of all, from when he was over a month old, he slept through the night without waking up for milk. When I say through the night, I mean from 8ish pm to almost 7am the next morning.

I always thought how lucky we were that Isaac was so easy to handle and was hoping Ian would be somewhat similar but of cos, all babies are different.

The first month with Ian was extremely challenging. He had a huge appetite and we were feeding him every 2 hours instead of the recommended 3hrs. I find myself with almost no sleep because feeding him and putting him back to sleep took about an hour and a half. This also means it was almost time for him to feed again. With no confinement lady, the hubs and I took turns to watch him through the night. However, even on nights that the hubs took the night shift, I will still have to get up to express the milk so there is enough supply for Ian and also to avoid engorgement. Many nights I find myself questioning when this situation will get better.

When Ian was 18 days old, he got hospitalised for close to a week because he came down with fever. After admission, his blood test revealed that he had bacterial infection in his blood. It was a major heartache for me seeing him with the plug on his little hand and later, lumbar puncture was also done to check if the infection went to his brain. We spent the long nights together being woken up by the nurses to have his temperature taken every hour. Thankfully, he got better and finally discharged from the hospital.

After a month of having the hubs at home, he finally went back to work. The first week of being home with just Isaac and Ian was trying. I tried to juggle between the household chores and the kids’ demands and I kept telling myself that I can do this and I did. I managed to plan the day according to Ian’s sleeping timing. Every time he took a nap, I would attend to Isaac, cook lunch (dinner on some days) and have some house chores done. Some days I’ll take them out too. On days that I am tired from the broken sleep, I will just cook lunch and watch over the kids. After all, the kids’ and my well being is more important than the housework. I did not want to suffer from a burnout myself so I can continue to look after them. The housework can wait.

To be honest, I am surprised myself at the confidence I have to manage them on my own and I am really glad that I have the opportunity to. The nights are long but the years are short. I shall cherish every moment with my babies.

World, meet Ian

At 34 weeks pregnant, I was told that the baby was lying very low. Our gynae recommended bed rest just so we can keep the baby in till at least 37 weeks when it is safe to pop. Being stuck at home, that 3 weeks went by extremely slowly for me. I thought to myself that I had not expect to spend the last few weeks with isaac this way. I wanted to bring him out to have fun so we could have some quality time together before the baby arrives. Luckily for me, isaac is someone who enjoys staying at home. Hence, we played games on our mobile phones, the ps4 and watched shows together. I guess that worked too.

I missed my dad’s 70th birthday celebration on 2nd August, which I had planned and prepared for just to meet my 37th week mark which was the next day, 3rd August. It was a struggle for me because I really wanted to be there.

I am extremely grateful for the support from my family during these few weeks. My mum would buy groceries and bring them to my place just so isaac and I have food to eat. When I missed my dad’s birthday celebration, my family came over to my place just to cut the cake with me. These may sound like the small stuff but being surrounded by loved ones meant alot to me.

We made our way to the hospital on the 3rd of August at 2cm dilated. Arrived at the hospital close to 4pm was prepared for the baby’s arrival the next day. Our gynae who happened to be at the hospital for another delivery jokingly told us that she will fly down even if the baby decides to come out at midnight. Read about our awesome gynae here.

We spent a few hours at the delivery suite only to find out that I was still 2cm dilated at 9pm. I decided I should get some sleep since the baby will likely only arrive in the wee hours the next morning. Less than half an hour later, we were taken by surprise when the medical staff who checked on my said that I was 10cm dilated and she was going to call my gynae. True enough, our gynae flew down for the delivery.

After pushing for an hour, our precious baby arrived. We also fulfilled big brother Isaac’s wish of having a sibling. Took the three of us (isaac included of cos) two days after the baby’s birth to settle on his name.

Meet Ian. Our precious baby number 2.

Sesame Street Run Singapore 2019

Join the gang from Sesame Street on their very first Sesame Street Run Tour as they celebrate 50 years of Sesame Street!

Our little Sesame Street fan at home squealed in excitement when I showed him the entitlements for this run. He immediately pointed at the cap and said “I want this!”.

This cap however, is only available in the Go Big with Big Bird category which costs SGD 126.

That said, the Go Big with Big Bird package also entitles you to the VIP pass with some of the perks the little ones will surely enjoy like being in the fast lane to take photo with Sesame Streets’s Characters, collect medals and the Secret Birthday Gift as well as free instant prints of the photos taken with the Sesame Street Characters.

Join in the fun happening at Our Tampines Hub, 17th November (Sunday) from 7am-12pm!

For more details, check our the official website here.

**All photos are from http://www.sesamestreetrun.com/.

Our Gynaecologist for Baby #2 – Dr Claudine Tan | Thomson Women’s Clinic

So they say every pregnancy is different… so true y’all. I had an easier pregnancy while expecting Mister I with minimal morning sickness and less body aches. I only started to experience body ache 2 days before his arrival. With the current pregnancy, morning sickness lasted longer (about 16 weeks), in fact it felt like all day sickness. My sleeping pattern also changed. I find myself wide awake till 12am and waking up at 3 or 4am for no apparent reason. Apart from the pregnancy symptoms, we also did many things differently for this baby. One of them which I feel is probably the most important part of my pregnancy journey, is picking the right gynaecologist for us. 

What are the factors you consider when selecting your gynaecologist? For me, the following points were put into consideration before actually meeting the gynae :

  • How much information I can obtain regarding the gynae on the Internet or via word of mouth
  • Gender of the gynae (since I wanted a female this time) 
  • Proximity of the clinic from home 
  • Which hospital the gynae delivers at
  • Cost 

Only after getting the information on the points above, I have somewhat shortlisted my preferred gynae. Then comes the following :

  • experience with the gynae during consultation – this is critical as my husband did not really like the attitude of our previous gynae 
  • Waiting time at the clinic
  • experience with the clinic assistants 

After much consideration and experience during my first appointment with my preferred gynae, I was certain I had found the right one for us – Dr Claudine Tan from Thomson Women’s Clinic.

Here is my experience thus far. 

Getting more information about her services and charges was the easiest compared to the other 2 gynaes I had shortlisted. I had read a good number of reviews about her before calling up to enquire about her charges. The clinic assistant who picked up my call was very friendly and informative. She shared the consultation charges, package price after 20 weeks and delivery charges very openly over the phone. Although she had provided me with the charges, it was made known to me that the charges may vary each visit depending if there were other tests involved that day or if we purchased any supplements. 

Experience at Thomson Women’s Clinic (Serangoon) 

Our first appointment was scheduled on a weekday as her weekends are reserved for mamas who are closer to their due dates. I did a pregnancy test, took my weight and pressure before seeing her. In fact, now that I’m already in the third trimester of pregnancy, the longest time (out of all the visits) I spent waiting to see Dr Claudine was only 15 mins at most. This beats my previous experience hands down. Back then, the waiting time at my previous gynae’s clinic was at least 1 to 1.5 hours even though we were given an appointment time.

We had a pleasant first meeting as well as subsequent visits with Dr Claudine. Her chirpy and approachable persona made it easy for us to share past experiences as well as ask any questions we had in mind. She does not hard sell any services, for instance the Oscar test or Whooping cough immunisation (which we decided not to do in the end). What she did was tell us the availability of relevant services and we can go back to consider before giving her our decision during the next appointment. 

We were initially set on delivering our baby at Mount Alvernia where we delivered our first boy because of the inconvenience of parking at Thomson Medical. After speaking with Dr Claudine, we agreed to deliver in Thomson Medical as she assured us that we only need to go to the hospital once, which is on the day of delivery. It is after all the hospital she is most familiar delivering in. To save us from the hassle of going down to the hospital to book the type of room we would like after delivery, she asked for our preferred room type during my last trimester to reserve a room for us. She even prepared the admission letter for us in the event that the baby decides to arrive earlier than expected. It really set our minds at ease knowing she has gotten the nitty gritty details covered for us prior to  the day of delivery. 

Charges for Visits 

The part which many people are most interested in… I would say the average bill size for us per visit is approximately $200 depending if we purchase supplements or if any additional test was conducted. I do have the detailed charges but it would be a long list for me to share them here. 

Overall Thoughts

Without a doubt, we are very happy with our experience with Dr Claudine Tan and her team and will definitely recommend her to those looking for a professional gynaecologist!

KURIOS : Cabinet of Curiosities by Cirque du Soleil – Reviewed Together with My 4 Year Old

Since my first experience with Cirque du Soleil a couple of years back, I have been to every performance they hold in Singapore. The first time I brought my toddler was when he was 2. Now that he is slightly older, he starts to share what he thinks about the performance and I must say, 4 years old is a great age to start bringing your child if he/she likes such performances.

Last week when I told him that we will be going to watch Kurios, he has been asking me every day how many more days to the event. He could not contain his excitement when the day finally came. He napped for 2 hours in the noon so he could stay up for the show without being tired and cranky. In fact, he got up even without me asking him to.

When we arrived, we took some mandatory photos at the entrance and he immediately ran in to check out all the merchandise.

We could not stop laughing when the artists teased the audience while waiting for the show to begin.

11:09 – The Stage before the show started.

We entered the cabinet of curiosities at 11:11 and the little one was impressed by the colourful costumes and make up the performers had on. It took him a while to realise that music and singing was done by a live band. When he did, he was in awe. I asked him if he could sing like the singer, he said “Her voice is so beautiful. If I sing, later they laugh at me you know.” But a couple of times during the show, he mimicked her by clasping his hands together in front of his chest and pretended to mouth her singing.

In order to enjoy the show thoroughly, we barely took photos unless he said “Take a photo of this, I want to show daddy.” since daddy did not join us.

There are 13 acts in total for Kurios and my two favourites were the Acro Net and Upside Down World. Acro Net is when the artists performed acrobatic moves while bouncing to such great heights on a huge net which Isaac said was to catch fish because it looked like a gigantic fishing net. Upside Down World is an upside-down and a right-side up performance featuring two acrobats balancing on a series of chairs.

Upside Down World

Isaac’s favourite act is Rola Bola. In his words “the pilot who flew the plane until the propeller stopped working”. That is a balancing performance on tubes while being suspended in the air. I recall holding my breath through out the aviator’s performance. Did not manage to capture a picture since my eyes were glued to the stage. When I asked Isaac why was he not afraid if the pilot will lose his balance, he said to me “Why are you afraid? He practiced very hard and is very good at this. He is not afraid of heights like my daddy and daddy pig (from peppa pig)”. ROFL. Is he really a 4 year old or a 40 year old?

He also enjoyed the Invisible Circus and had a good laugh when the invisible lion ran away.

I also heard him gasped when he saw the human pyramids as he whispered to me “wah so soft the bones”.

When the show ended, he asked if we can watch again tomorrow.

The Absolutely Amazing Team

I went home with a very happy aviator last night.

While I thought he would have gotten over the excitement after last night, I was so wrong. This morning he asked if we can watch the show with daddy again tonight. When I explained to him that it is expensive to watch it again he said “I have money in the bank remember? I can buy tickets for you, daddy and myself”. Well, I guess the Kurios experience was that fantastic to him that it is worth his every penny.

The show has not even ended and we are already looking forward to the next Cirque du Soleil in 2020!

Our First Mideer Product – Magnetic Traffic

We chanced upon the Magnetic Traffic set at the baby fair which was being sold at The Playroom and Isaac was very excited when we decide to get it for him. With the number of toys that he has, we have stopped purchasing toys for quite some time now but made an exception for this. He has a WHOLE room full of toys, I kid you not. Our friends think our place is an indoor playground.

What we like about this product is that it comes in a hard covered box which includes a pull out compartment and a magnetic board to stick your magnets. It is really convenient for us to bring it out along on play dates.

The pieces of 2.5mm thick magnets come in such vibrant colours and I just love how happy they look! All we have to do is to put the pieces together to match the vehicles that are on the play cards.

To encourage creativity, we let him put random pieces together without following the play cards. He sure had a good time with these magnets. We asked him what he thought of the magnetic set, he gave us an answer without hesitation – “Perfect!”.  I hope his interest in this lasts.

Encouraging Your Child to Eat – Parenting Hack

For those who have little picky eaters at
home, you are not alone. Our little one is quite consistent with his preference of food. Daily meals consist of either porridge or rice accompanied by soup and a steamed dish. Not that we taught him to eat this way, it is just the way he is. Yes, like an old man, I know. How then do we encourage him to try something out of the ordinary (for him at least)?

We let him help out with preparing his own meal.

This may seem like a simple action but the result of it is satisfying. That sense of pride Isaac had in preparing his own meal was really beyond words. It was like how he prepared his own burger when we visited Kidzania. He felt that his burger tasted nicer than the other burgers he had eaten before. This is really just the same logic. That being said, it really depends how ready your child is and how comfortable you are with letting them help. If you are afraid of letting your child near the stove, you can let them help with the washing of rice/noodles.

I picked a simple to cook recipe so there is less mess – Spaghetti with meatballs. I did not let him help with the frying in case the oil splattered onto him. This was how it went after I stir fried the beef balls and onions. 

We prepared the tomato sauce with beef balls

Washed the spaghetti

Put the spaghetti to boil

After which, I cooked the spaghetti in the sauce for a bit so it can soak up the flavour of the sauce.

Someone was so proud of the spaghetti he had helped with and finished the whole portion that was given to him. He even asked that we saved some of his cooking for daddy. 🙂 

When I asked him what shall we have for lunch tomorrow, he answered “Spaghetti and meatballs because I can cook it and it is so yummy in my tummy!”.

Baby Incoming!

In just 2 months or less, we will be welcoming an addition to the family. Isaac is over the moon about it since he has been asking for a sibling more than a year ago. As work is out for me this pregnancy, I have been spending most of my time with Isaac, which is great, because we get more alone time together before the baby arrives. We have also been preparing Isaac with the arrival of the baby by making sure he feels just as important as us with the new responsibilities coming by letting him be involved with the naming as well as pick out the first set of clothings for his sibling. This sweet little boy has also been telling me how he is going to help with the diaper change and singing / playing with his sibling. The 4 year age gap between the siblings is really perfect in my opinion.

Based on our experience with Isaac, who decided to arrive at 36 weeks, I started to prepare for the baby’s arrival earlier this time round. I remember how we had nothing ready, except a crib for Isaac when he was born. He did not even have a name until we saw his face! This time round, I grabbed some really cool pre-order deals for baby’s bath and skincare products at 50% off the usual price from the baby fair happening beginning of July 2019. At this point, I can’t think of anything else that I need to get since we have pretty much everything from Isaac. I have started looking out for milk bottle and diaper reviews now since these are going to be the necessities.

One thing I have yet to sort out is the celebration of the baby’s full month. Searching for a suitable venue is always a pain. From the people I have spoken to, half of the response were – “Wah, must be fair. Should do if Isaac had a celebration.” The other half said “No need la, second child already.” Of cos, these are only opinions. Ultimately, the decision lies with us. Personally, I feel that every birth is worth the celebration regardless of which child he/she is. If time and energy permits, I would do it. The number of people celebrating their child’s 100th day seems to be getting more common, so that might be an option for us. Especially when the chances of me looking less of a zombie is higher at the 100th day. That being said, even if we end up not doing the full month or 100th day celebration, it does not mean that the second child is less important. It really is just because the dynamics of life is different now that we have an elder child to care for and energy levels might just be lower. We will play by ear.

Nonetheless, we are very excited to start a new chapter in life as a family of 4 soon!

Spider-Man, Our Friendly Neighbourhood Superhero is at NEX

We had a great time at NEX today because Isaac managed to get up close and personal with Spider-Man. Of cos, he also had alot of fun at the game zones although there were only 2 stations. I seriously underestimated how much time he would spend at the game zones because he kept repeating the activities. Here’s what we did.

We took jump shots with Spider-Man.

Isaac had a go at the Nerf Blasters… At least 8 times.

Went through the web obstacle course countless times…

We took a ride on the high school bus.

Took so many photos with Spidey who was all over the place(yes, you can see that Isaac is still occupied by the Nerf Blasters).

Most importantly, we got our photos taken for a good cause. From 14 to 16 June 2019, NEX is partnering Make-A-Wish Foundation Singapore to help children who suffer from life-threatening medical conditions. We made a small donation and had our photo taken and added to a 3.6m tall photo montage to form the Spider-Man: Far From Home movie poster. Best part is,NEX will be matching a dollar-to-dollar donation capped at $5,000. All proceeds will go to Make-A-Wish Foundation.

Our photo will be part of this wall. I can’t wait to see the final product of this.

Little did I expect to be going home with a Spider-Man because someone couldn’t resist getting a mask… Check out the kiddo’s face.

All the fun we had was enough for him to concuss in the car on the way home.