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By Mummies For Mummies (and Daddies too)

Month

March 2021

Baby-led Weaning: The Pros & Cons

Baby-led Weaning | Health Plus

Introducing solids to your little one can be both exciting and thrilling. It is a fun experience to be exploring new tastes and textures with your baby. But to be frank, it can also be stressful, especially if the process is not going well. Eating solids is a skill that needs to be learned and like everything else, it takes time. While many parents choose to introduce solids the ‘traditional’ way, which is in the form of purees, there is an alternate approach that parents can consider that’s called baby-led weaning.

What is baby-led weaning?

It is an approach that’s popular in the U.K. and gaining traction in the U.S. where 6 months old or older babies jump straight to eating finger foods as soon as solid foods are introduced, skipping purees and mashed up foods. As the name suggests, baby-led weaning encourages your little one to be in charge in feeding themselves right from the start. Hence why this approach only works for a baby who’s at least 6 months old and capable of self-feeding.

Pros of baby-led weaning

  • Gives your baby control over what they eat. This teaches your baby to self-regulate hunger as they will decide themselves to stop when they’re full. With spoon-feeding, parents tend to sneak in a couple more spoonful even if the baby is full which may leads your baby to becoming overweight.
  • Encourages your baby to become familiar with various textures and flavours. Self-feeding teaches them to explore textures on their own which makes them to likely have more varied and healthy food preferences in the long run. Studies have shown that babies who eat a variety of food (including the common allergens: peanut products and fish) may actually be less likely to have food allergies in the future. But always consult with your baby’s doctor the best way to introduce peanuts and fish to your baby.
  • Promotes oral and fine motor skills development. For a baby who might be unsure of the new taste or texture, baby-led weaning may give them full control to manipulate the food in their mouth – to swallow or not. It also encourages the development of manual dexterity and hand-eye coordination skills.

Cons of baby-led weaning

But of course, there is no feeding approach is perfect. Though there are many reasons to consider baby-led weaning, there are also disadvantages, including:

  • Need to pay attention to iron intake. Breastfed babies get enough iron from the breast milk until baby is 4 months old but levels may decrease which is why your doctor will likely to advise to add a liquid iron supplement to the mix until your baby starts to eat iron-rich solids. However, it may be hard for your baby to chew on many iron-rich foods such as beef, thus, giving your baby pureed meat, green veggies, and fortified cereals would help to supply iron.
  • Potential safety concerns resulting to negative eating experience. Giving your baby certain foods before they have developed the needed oral motor skills to eat it could result to gagging, vomiting, and possibly choking. And these reflexes would make your baby feels uncomfortable. Learning to eat solids requires practice (and patience for parents!). Your baby should experience a fun mealtime experience so that they want to keep doing it and exploring new food!

Though baby-led weaning may work and be helpful in most families, it is okay if it doesn’t work in yours. You can try other alternatives or talk to your baby’s doctor about it! The sooner your baby’s mealtime experience is enhanced, the better it is!

Shop mealtime essentials on Babydash today!

How To Wash Your Baby’s Fav Plushies

stuffed animals and washing supplies

Your baby probably has their favourite plushie who is part toy, part best friend, and also part napkin. Even it is a cute sight to see when your baby carries Miss Kitty everywhere, the plushie might be looking super gross. This means they are due for a soak and scrub session so it doesn’t smell like spoiled milk! And washing a plushie is easy. But some plushies are older, hence they are more delicate than others. For these well-loved toys, hand-washing is the right option although machine-washing is fine for most plushies. So here’s what you need to know when handling the delicate.

Machine-washing plushies

Machine-washing is indeed the most practical, also the easiest choice for most parents and most plush toys like teddy bear or bunnies can be machine-washed. However you are at risk of damaging some toys by throwing them in the wash especially the ones that are well-worn. So ensure to check the care label attached for the washing directions when deciding if machine-washing is the way to go. If you opt for machine-washing:

  • Use the delicate cycle and cold water but if your baby has been sick, you might want to sterilize it with hot or warm water (only if the toy can tolerate it, for example it has no glued-in parts).
  • Use a mild detergent if you have it! It’s fine if you don’t have mild detergent as regular detergent is fine too – just follow the instructions on the bottle and don’t use too much detergent as the left-behind soap residue can irritate your baby’s sensitive skin.
  • Place in a mesh laundry bag to protect its parts like eyes and fur. You might want to pad the load with towels too so the toys are protected.

As for drying, some plushies can be dried in the dryer but some may not survive the high heat that could ruin its fur, plastic and glued-in parts. Therefore the best way to dry plushies is to let them air dry. Place them near a fan or dehumidifier to speed up drying time and do ensure the inner stuffing does not retain water! And use a hair dryer on low or medium heat to help revive your baby’s best friend’s fluffiness.

Hand-washing plushies

If you can clean your baby, you can definitely hand-wash your baby’s soft toy! Soft toys are even easier with no shrieking and crying. Hand-washing is the best option for older and well-loved toys or plushies with more delicate fibers. To clean plushies or dolls with hands, you only need three things, which are:

  • A clean area that can hold enough water to fully submerge the toy, like a tub, large bucket or utility sink.
  • A mild detergent.
  • A fresh, dry towel.

Fill up the bucket that you’re using with enough cold or warm water to fully immerse the plushie, then add a teaspoon or tablespoon of the mild detergent per gallon of water. Then proceed to submerge the plushie and perform a CPR on it by using a pumping motion so that it’s saturated with water and detergent. Let the toy soak for at least 15 minutes or up to an hour before rinsing. However, do note that more delicate toys should be soaked for lesser time to prevent damaging their fibers.

When rinsing, you can either hold the plushie under running water or drain the bucket and refill with clean water and repeat the pumping action to get rid of soap residue. It is highly recommended that you do not scrub or wring it out as overhandling may lead to damage. When you are convinced there’s no more soap residue, drain the bucket and gently press down on the plushie several times to flush out as much water as you can, then roll it up in a fresh towel like a burrito, which will pull out more water. Let the toy to air dry and use a hair dryer on the lowest heat setting to fluff up the plushie if needed.

Spot-treating Plushie With Electronic Components

There is no way you could throw a plushie with electronic or musical components in the washing machine, thus, the best way to clean them is through spot-treating. It involves doing a surface-only cleaning of the toy by wiping its exterior using a damp cloth and a gentle detergent like a foaming hand or dish soap.

Feel like giving your baby a new plushie? Browse our range of soft toys here!

Cuddly Soft Toys: The Benefits

Baby Lying on White Cushion Beside Brown Bear Plush Toy

Dear parents, do you still remember your first soft toy? Cause I still do! It was a large pink bunny that I kept in the corner of my bed! It was soft and cuddly, she was my first childhood best friend. Since soft toys have become staple gifts to give to little babies, numerous studies have shown that soft toys indeed have positive impacts on the development of a child. And although in this day and age children have access to all kind of toys of sizes and shapes and some toys are high-tech, still, soft toys are usually most favoured amongst children. Hence what are the benefits soft toys give to children?

Soft toys can provide the perfect mix of developing sensory skills as well as encouraging social and emotional growth. Babies love to touch and feel new textures and with soft toys, babies can feel their bristly whiskers, soft fur, and smooth eyes. At such a young age, infants have already begun to grasp the different colours, sizes, and textures of their surroundings and soft toys are the perfect toy for them to explore those!

Soft toys can too help them develop social skills as they incorporate pretend-play during their playtime. This may include imitating what is familiar to them such as their daily routine of eating, talking, and playing. This acts as a foundation to strengthen their social skills as pretend-play encourages interaction therefore could help bolster their language and communication skills too.

Like any adults, children can too feel distress and anxious. The world can be a scary place or too overwhelming for them, one of the ways to comfort them is by showing them their favourite furry plushie. Giving them their favourite plushie during times of discomfort can give them a sense of reassurance and familiarity. It also could help them to self-soothe. If children are encountered with difficult situations, the warmth of squishy bunny in their embrace can help them to feel better as though they are with a loved one.

Apart from that, soft toys can also help decrease children’s vulnerability when being separated from parents. Experts recommend parents to encourage children to play with their teddy bear at least 10 to 15 minutes, few times per day. Other than improving children’s self-esteem, the touch and feel of these toys help to reduce stress, regulate blood pressure and produce endorphins, the happy hormones!

Soft toys also help children to care for other people and appreciate the presence of relationships. It helps instill empathy and compassion while satisfying their need to nurture other people.

When buying soft toys for children, it is super important to ensure that they are suitable for your child’s age. Remember that youngins especially babies like to explore with their mouths, hence ensure there is no loose threads and no small parts that may present as a choking hazard. Feel free to browse Babydash range of soft toys from Jellycat, Ty Beanie Boos, K’s Kids, and more!

Natural vs. Organic Products: What’s The Difference?

Natural and organic baby products: Wipes, lotions, bath, and more

As parents, we strive to give the best to our children. From the house they live in, the school they go to, the food they eat daily right down to the products they apply on their skin. With such diverse baby products in the market now, you may some time wonder which one is good for your child, what does it mean by organic, and why some products are labelled as natural. Fret no more, let’s dive in the differences of organic and natural products.

A simple meaning of the word organic is “grown or raised without chemicals or pesticides”. And your next question would be, what does that have to do with skincare products that are labelled as organic? It refers to the way the plants used in the ingredients are grown and it is crucial to know that info about the plants that make their way into your baby’s nappy cream or body wash. Hence it is safe to say when a product is organic, it means there are no pesticides and chemical remnants.

But, being “organic”, does not tell you entirely about other ingredients or chemicals that are added to the products. Which means you would not know how much of an organic product is actually organic. And according to the USDA, as long as the product has at least 95% organic ingredients, it can be labelled as an organic product. Therefore there are up to five percent of a product’s ingredients may not be organic although it is labelled as so!

Here are some organic products that you can find on Babydash.

And products that are labelled as natural, on the other hand, imply that they are formulated with chemical-free ingredients. And as long as a product contains some plant-derived ingredients, companies may label them as natural. But that product can also include man-made chemicals. While ingredients that are naturally derived are great, it is also important to note that there are synthetic ingredients that are not harmful and harsh. There are a lot of man-made chemicals are just as safe, if not safer, than some natural ingredients (such as mercury).

Here are some of the natural products you can find on Babydash.

At the end of the day, it all boils down to the ingredients used in a product. Always look out for unsafe ingredients such as paraben, phthalates, formaldehyde, avobenzone to name a few. Manufacturers can get away with including harmful chemicals in their products by categorizing them as “inactive ingredients” or as “fragrance”. Hence, do check their list of ingredients as you do not want these to be in your or your baby’s products!

Formula Feeding: The Dos and Don’ts

A Guide to Baby Feeding Equipment – Kiddies Kingdom Blog

Though it is highly encouraged for mothers to breastfeed their baby, if you have opted for formula or need to supplement with formula, it is super important that you pay extra attention to the safe preparation of your baby’s milk each time because unlike a breastfed baby, a formula-fed baby does not have the immune factors. Hence here are the dos and don’ts to a safe formula feeding.

#1 Do ensure you are giving the right powdered formula for your baby. As powdered formula is not sterile, for babies under two months or those who are born prematurely, should only be given concentrated liquid or ready-to-serve formula. Do consult your pediatrician and stick to the advice!

#2 Do stress on cleanliness. Prior to preparing, wash your hands thoroughly and maintain hygiene of the countertop or table where you will be mixing the formula. Do keep the container of formula clean too! Wash its lid and its outside surface before you open it. Once you open the container, check for foreign particles like piece of glass or insects. Make sure to wash bottles and teats properly. Sterilize and clean them before using.

#3 Do measure and mix thoroughly. Ensure to measure the formula and water ratio carefully before mixing them together. Follow the guidelines on the container or check with your pediatrician to have better understanding on the exact amount of ingredient you need. Also, another crucial practice to note is be wary to not let the water to cool below 70°c to ensure bacteria are killed.

#4 Do store the formula safely. Do place any leftover made-up formula in the back of the fridge where it is the coldest. But do not freeze them! And do discard formula after 24 hours in the fridge. And if you are travelling, ensure to use a cooler bag with ice packs to prevent them from going bad.

#5 Do not warm the bottle in a microwave. It could create hot spots in the milk that could burn your baby’s mouth. The safer way to warm the milk is to run warm or hot water over the bottle. Or you can place the bottle in an electric bottle warmer.

#6 Do not use formula that has been in room temperature for more than two hours. And always discard leftovers if your baby does not finish a bottle.

#7 Do not try to force the entire bottle. If your baby shows signs of being full and wanting to stop, stop the feeding and do not force the entire bottle. This may leads to excess weight gain! Moreover, you should give your baby only the amount that she/he needs.

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