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Care & Safety

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!

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!

Food Allergies for Babies: What & How

Image result for baby eating

It is indeed a fun and an exciting milestone when starting your baby on solids and introducing new foods to your baby or toddler, however there are some common allergies that you should pay attention to especially if you have a family history of allergies, problems like eczema and asthma, or if a baby had a bad reaction to milk or soy.

The followings are the most common food allergies:

  1. Milk
  2. Eggs
  3. Fish
  4. Soy
  5. Tree nuts (such as walnuts and almonds)
  6. Wheat
  7. Peanuts
  8. Shellfish

Some foods may more likely to cause an allergic reaction than others. And amongst these eight foods, those that commonly affect children under 4 years old are milk, eggs, peanuts, and tree nuts.

Back in the day, doctors recommended to prolong the delays in introducing certain foods to babies who might have an allergy. However, recent research has shown that delaying the introduction of food allergens may increase the risk of developing serious food allergies. But, do talk to your pediatrician prior to introducing solids!

For your baby who might be at risk for food allergies, it is crucial to introduce foods one at a time. It is highly recommend introducing a new food for three days before jumping on to a new food so you can monitor for any delayed allergy reactions to the food. Although you can find single-ingredient jarred foods in the market, but there is no guarantee that the food has not been cross-contaminated in the manufacturing factory. Hence, the safest way to introduce new foods to your baby is to make your own purees so you can have full control over the production and know exactly what is in the food.

As your baby grows older and their diet expands, it is easy to lose track of which foods you have introduced and which foods caused a reaction. Remember to keep a list of foods you have introduced and note down any reactions observed. If you think certain food has caused fussiness, digestive symptoms, or eczema, stop feeding the food for 4-6 weeks before you introduce it again.

Below are the list of foods you should delay until your baby has reached 12 months:

  1. Cow’s milk – feeding your baby cow’s milk can cause nutritional deficiencies. After your baby’s first birthday, you can feed them cow’s milk as part of a healthy, balanced diet.
  2. Honey – as it may contain botulism spores, and your baby’s stomach is not acidic enough to dissolve the spores.
  3. Nuts or peanuts – a choking hazard for babies and toddlers. If there is a family history of severe nut or peanut allergy, do let your pediatrician know about conducting an oral food challenge in the doctor’s office before introducing peanut or nut butter.
  4. Other choking hazards – popcorns, whole grapes, cheese cubes, hotdog pieces, chunks of uncooked vegetables or fruits, or sticky foods such as peanut butter.

The best way to start introducing food safely is to talk to your baby’s pediatrician as they can take into account your baby’s medical history, providing you the most recent feeding guidelines, and give you personalized advice about introducing solids to your baby.

Babywearing 101

What Type of Babywearing Dad are You? | Ergobaby

If you are new parents who are, well, obviously new to this whole idea of babywearing, here is Babywearing 101 for you! Or.. if you are using a new baby carrier.. there are things you need to know and be aware too! Here are some vital Dos and Don’ts of babywearing, but do ensure that you read your carrier’s safety tips as well!

✔ Practice before you start!

Be sure to try out your carrier before you insert your baby in for the first time. Familiarize yourself with the buckles and straps. You can even practice with a teddy bear or a bag of rice just so you know how to handle your baby’s weight later. You know what they say.. practice makes perfect!

✔ Wear your baby high up

To improve your comfort, wear your baby high. The higher up on the body your baby is, the easier it will be! Do aim to place the carrier at belly button level and the closer it is to your body, the better it is for you. But ensure there are room for breathability. You don’t want to suffocate yourself!

✔ Give support to your baby

A newborn baby’s head always needs support. Whenever you are wearing your baby, always make sure you are supporting their head and keep them securely in the carrier especially when you lean down or bend over.

❌ Overdress your baby

Your closeness with your baby and body heat along with the carrier’s fabric will help to keep your baby warm at all times. Think about the clothes that your baby should be wearing when the weather gets warmer. You don’t want to stuff up or swaddle your baby inside excess fabrics! Do remember that the youngins have poor body heat regulation, hence remember to regularly check their abdomen, forehead, and neck.

❌ Let your baby’s legs dangle

Your baby could be at risk of contracting hips dysplasia if their legs dangle. To prevent that from occurring, kindly ensure that your baby is in frog stance where their bottom and hamstrings are supported by the carrier.

Just to let you cool parents know, we are having Babywearing Special on our website. Every day, starting today, you get to enjoy different deal on babywearing gears. This is the best time for you to get the carrier of your dreams! So be sure to check our website every day for the best deal! So, happy babywearing, folks!

5 Signs Your Baby Is Getting Enough Breast Milk

I know how mothers often worry that they are not producing enough breast milk to feed their baby. And since you cannot actually see the milk your body is producing, it is hard to tell exactly how much your baby is drinking. But do know that most women do produce enough breast milk. That is one of the myths I helped you busted in my previous post, see here. But here I will line up the 5 Signs that show Your Baby Is Getting Enough Breast Milk!

#1 Baby is swallowing

When your baby starts to latch onto the breast during a feed, they will start with a few rapid sucks that helps to release the milk. Then it will be followed by deep, slow pulling motion as they swallow. They may also take long pauses while nursing and occasionally fall asleep at your breast!

#2 Baby is calm and content

If your baby looks calm and content after every feed, then everything is going well, mommies! However if a baby appears overly passive after feeds or constantly be crying, then they may not be getting enough milk. Do not limit feeding times! But do note that if your baby has many feedings that last longer than an hour or wants to be nursed very often with less than an hour between feedings, there may be other problems that you need to bring your baby to be examined by your doctor.

#3 Count baby’s wet diapers

Your baby’s diaper output is a good indicator that they are getting enough milk! Most breastfed babies wet six to 10 and soil at least three diapers per day in the first month. The colour of the poop is also important to note too — the first bowel movement is normally black and sticky but they should be green by day three and yellow by day four or five. The consistency of your baby’s poop should also be watery or seedy.

#4 Baby gains weight

It is totally normal for your baby’s weight to fluctuate during the first two weeks as they may lose about 5-7% of their birth weight by the third or fourth day but they should be gaining weight steadily after the first two weeks! If your baby has a weight loss of 10% or more, there could be a problem. So please seek your doctor’s assistance when this happens!

#5 Breast feels softer after feed

When your baby is getting enough milk after a feed, your breast should feel softer as the milk has been expressed! Your nipples should also look more or less the same after every feed — not flattened, pinched or white. You would also feel sleepy and relaxed after every feeding.

Now that you learnt these signs, you can breastfeed in complete serenity now and not feel worried if your baby is not getting enough breast milk! If you need more assistance, be sure to contact your lactation consultant or doctor. Take care, mommies! Happy breastfeeding! You can do this! ❤

5 Breastfeeding Myths

I’m pretty sure all you soon-to-be or (currently) breastfeeding mommies have been bombarded by loads of tips and tricks when it comes to breastfeeding online or even by friends and family! But the question is, are they facts or myths? Well, don’t get confused! Let me straighten up
5 Breastfeeding Myths you have probably heard before!

#1 Breastfeeding mommies should only eat plain food

Breastfeeding mommies should eat like how a normal person would that is a healthy, balanced diet. There is no need to change your food habits when you are on your breastfeeding journey unless you have food allergy, of course. Your baby is exposed to your food preferences since they were in the womb. However if you think your baby reacts a certain way to the food you consumed, it is best to consult your doctor.

#2 Drink milk = produce more milk

Drinking milk has nothing to do your breast milk supply! You are however should always keep yourself hydrated with any form of liquid — fruit juices or even just plain water. It is very important to have a healthy diet as your body will take up the necessary nutrients to add to the breast milk. Hence if you are not eating healthily, your body will further be undernourished as it continues to supply the baby with nutrients.

#3 Breastfeeding always hurt

Breastfeeding rarely hurts. You however, may experience discomfort in the first few days after birth when your baby is learning to breastfeed. Your nipples may become sensitive due to an increased hormone level after delivery and increased contact with your baby during feeding. But with the right support positioning your baby while feeding and ensuring your baby is correctly attached to your breast, sore nipples can be prevented. But if it does occur, you can always get support or consult a skilled professional or use a nipple butter!

#4 You should wash your nipples before a feed

Washing your nipples before breastfeeding your baby is not necessary! When babies are born, they are already familiar with their mommy’s scents and sounds. The nipples produce a substance that the baby smells and has ‘good bacteria’ that could help to promote babies’ immunity for life.

#5 Many mothers do not produce enough breast milk

Most if not all mothers produce enough breast milk for their babies. There are indeed many women who think they don’t or can’t produce enough milk supply to support her baby’s needs. But you should know that breast milk production is determined by the ability of your baby latched on to the breast, the frequency of breastfeeding, how well your baby is removing the milk with each feeding. Also pay attention to the number of wet and poopy diapers which shows that your baby is well-fed 🙂

Now that these myths have been busted, you can now continue to breastfeed peacefully! I know this journey can be hard on some mothers and please know that it is not a ‘one woman job’ and you need all the support that you can get! Please don’t be shy or scared to ask for help. Always reach out to your husband and loved ones if you ever need anything. Always be in a positive and supportive environment and think of happy thoughts only. You can do this and we are all rooting for you, mommies! Happy breastfeeding! ❤

5 Things You Need To Know Before Sending Your Kids To School

As I mentioned in my previous post, our lives had not been the same since the COVID-19 pandemic started and it had affected every walks of life – adults and children alike. The reopening of school is important and hopefully a welcome step for both parents and children to life post-MCO or the new normal. I believe there are tons of questions that are going through your minds that need answers – the risks, school SOPs, and more.

#1 Coronavirus infects kids at much lower rates than adults

Evidence has shown that children are less likely than adults to have symptoms of severe disease when contracted with Coronavirus. As said by Professor Russell Viner, from the UCL Great Ormond Street Institute of Child Health, “Our findings show children and young people appear 56% less likely to contract Covid-19 from infected others”. Not to say that we should not worry about our kids, but amid uncertainties, research like this gives us parents a pinch of clarity and hope!

Going back to school is going to be different (at least for now!) than what you and your kid were used to before. But it is important for schools to reopen as schools do not only provide academics learning to the children, but also social and emotional skills that online learning cannot provide. For some kids, schools act as a safe space too.

#2 School’s role

To stay safe and protect the health of students, teachers, staffs and their families, there are a number of practical measures that schools can take, which includes:

  • Staggering the start and end of the school session
  • Staggering recess time
  • Move classes to temporary spaces or outdoors
  • Fewer students in a classroom
  • Masks for all adults and older students
  • Clean and disinfect high-touch surfaces
  • Wash hands!

Water and hygiene facilities play an important part of schools to reopen safely as everyone has to wash their hands regularly, hence school administrators must always find ways to keep improving the hygiene measures. Although checking everyone’s temperature may seem impossible, schools must be vigilant and always be reminding students, staffs and teachers to stay off school and stay home if they have a fever or any signs of illness.

#3 Parents concerns and questions to school

During this trying and difficult time, it is only natural to have a lot of questions, more so when it is involving our children. Although schools’ standard operating procedures (SOP) is set by the ministry, here are some helpful questions you may want to include to ask:

  • What steps have the school taken to help ensure the safety of students?
  • How can I add value to school safety efforts?
  • How will the school refer to children who may need referrals for specialized support?

#4 Pressure to catch up

Some schools practiced online-learning but I believe some students may not have gained much from it and some may struggle even more, with the lack of Internet access and more. Many schools may have planned to conduct extra classes to catch-up on their learning and help them back up to speed when schools reopen. Hence, give extra support to your child at home and help them with whatever you can to make them feel better!

#5 Child’s emotional support and mental health

Going back to school can overwhelm a child especially after months of staying home! Parents and schools should remember that children deal with the stress of the ongoing crisis differently. Hence it is important to create a conducive, supportive, and nurturing environment by responding to their expressions of feelings and questions positively. Show them support and tell them that it is totally normal to be anxious or to feel frustrated. Never neglect their feelings!

So, parents, I hope these could help you prepare and ease your mind even a bit! The number of cases in our country has subsided day by day, but we should always take the necessary preventive measures to keep fighting against it. On another note, happy going back to school, kids! Stay safe ❤

The #NewNorm – 5 Essential Items!

What the pandemic of COVID-19 has taught us all is that we have to be extra mindful and extra hygienic. Ever since the first phase of Movement Control Order (MCO) was introduced on March 18, 2020, our daily lives had not been the same and since then the term the new normal was widely used. Although the number of cases in our country subsides day by day, we should not take it lightly but to continue following the guidelines provided by our Health Ministry, especially when we have a child in our care. So here I will line up the 5 Essentials Items for The #NewNorm that you should have to take on-the-go with you and your child.

The very #1 item that you must have with you is disposable face masks. At Babydash, we have a 3-ply disposable face masks specially made for children age 4-12 years old from Autumnz. The mask is made from soft and breathable material that is comfortable to wear — so your child would not feel stuffy in it! Get a box or two by clicking here.

Of course water and soap are the best combo for clean hands, but they are not always accessible any time. Hence, the #2 best option is to clean your hands with a hand sanitizer. I know using a lot of anti-bacterial agents can cause dryness to your skin, however the hand sanitizer from Chomel would not as it has Vitamin E to help moisturize your hands! And it is safe to be used by your child too due to its plant-based ingredients. Click here to purchase one on Babydash.

The #3 item that is essential to bring on your day out is an anti-bacterial surface cleaner! Spritz and wipe the germs and bacteria off the surfaces of the baby’s high chair at any restaurants before you place your baby in. This one from Buds is formulated with plant-based ingredients and definitely is safe for your entire family to use. It is handy to take with you due to its compact size. You may purchase one from Babydash by clicking here.

Wipes are great when you want to be quick or in a rush. The #4 essential item is an anti-bacterial wipes. Just like a surface cleaner, wipes work just the same! You can wipe anything off with a single sheet. This pack of wipes from CareMo is alcohol free and has aloe vera and vitamin E to moisturize and soothe the skin. It is very convenient and excellent to use anywhere at any time. Just click here to buy a pack on Babydash.

Lastly, #5 essential item to have is a diaper bag! You need a diaper bag to store all the essentials above, parents! The one from Skip Hop is extremely practical to go about with as it has 10 pockets to store all your baby’s essentials, yours and your worries in it 😆 The bag comes with a cushioned changing pad — a great thing to have at times like this! Check out all the other cool and pretty designs here on Babydash.

There you have it, parents! Remember to always and keep on practicing social distancing, wash or sanitize your hands regularly, and wear face mask when you are out. The #NewNorm is indeed the new cool. Stay safe, everyone! ❤

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