Thursday, September 18, 2014

Travel Tips 2: Nursing on the Travel

Four years ago I made the mistake of booking a trip with friends to Phuket just 1.5 months after I gave birth to my baby girl. I was already struggling with learning how to breastfeed, so having to store up milk for my baby for when I was away was really stressful!

It was through sheer determination and hard core pumping that I somehow managed to do it and since then, have not looked back. I have travelled to 6 countries without baby and 5 countries with baby (and counting) while I'm still breastfeeding.

Travelling while nursing is not impossible. It may be a little inconvenient but with practice and a lot of preparation, you can still travel the world like you always do. Being a nursing mum should not stop you from travelling just as travelling should not stop you from being a nursing mum! =)

My Top Tips for Nursing on the Travel

If you're NOT bringing baby along:

1) Email the Hotel

It used to be that every hotel room has a bar fridge that has a freezer compartment that allows you to freeze ice, however, I'm realising that nowadays that is no longer the case.

Bar fridge of our suite at Golden Sands Resort Penang;
The bar fridges in the hotels that we have stayed at this year all do not have freezer compartments.

Breast milk can only be kept for 2 days in a fridge unless you store it in a freezer so do remember to email the hotel that you'll be staying at to ask if the bar fridge has a freezer. If they don't, find out whether they are able to store your breast milk in the hotel's freezer. Golden Sands Resort in Penang provides breast milk storage service at the Front Desk while the room service staff of the hotel we stayed at in Hong Kong came to collect my breast milk every evening (I gave them a call everyday!) to store in their main freezer.

2) Stock Up Early

My store of milk literally takes up all the space in the freezer
Store your milk in transparent containers for easier storage in your fridge

You will need to store up your breastmilk for your baby when you travel and since most of us take a while to build up the stockpile, please start early (if you can).

I recommend pumping an additional 100-150ml of milk a day at least 4 weeks before you are due to travel. I made the mistake of not starting early enough and ended up frantically trying to store up milk for my baby boy just 15 days before our trip to Sydney. Although I was successful in storing the amount that he needed, it was really stressful! =S

If you don't have enough stored up, you may have to consider allowing your baby to drink formula temporarily.

3) Test Your Baby

It so happened that I went back to work a few weeks before our overseas trip and therefore found out that my baby refused to drink expressed breast milk that has been frozen for more than 1 month! (*gasp*) Imagine if I had just gone for my trip without testing if my baby is ok with drinking defrosted milk? =S

However, having said that, there were times that I went anyway and hoped for the best and you know what? My baby survived. So don't be overly anxious. Our babies are stronger than we give them credit =)

4) Bring Your Trusty Pump and Extra Batteries

My Avent Breast Pump

If you have an electrical breast pump like mine from Avent, you will have a battery operated compartment at the base for expressing when there are no electrical points such as on the bus, at McDonald's and even the aquarium (all of which I have done). Don't forget to bring along extra batteries because you don't want to be caught in a situation when you're expressing halfway and the pump runs out of power. Not a good situation to be in =S

5) Bring a Breast Milk Carrier Bag, Ice Packs and/or Ice Box

This is to ensure that your milk is stored at the right temperature while you're travelling.

Pigeon Breast Milk Carrier Bag
Wall of ice packs keep my milk chill for at least 6 hours

If you'll be transporting more than 7 days of milk like I did when we were in Sydney, an ice box may be better at keeping your milk frozen than cooler bags.

The ice box that we used to transport all my milk back home from Sydney

All of my milk arrived safely back in Singapore still nicely frozen after 12 hours =)

6) Check-in Your Luggage

Remember that your milk is liquid so there are regulations on how much of it that you are allowed to carry on board the plane. The custom officers in Sydney only allowed me to pass security check with my packets of breast milk when they saw that I had my girl with me; and even then, they didn't allow me to bring my ice-pack on the plane (I had to discard two of them).

Do double check with the airport staff at the check-in counters so that in the event that you're not able to bring your breast milk on the plane, you'll still be able to check them in.

7) Sterilize Pump Parts with Sterilizing Tablets in an Air-Tight Container

Place pump parts into a container full of water and add 1 sterilizing tablet (mine is from Pigeon) to sterilize the pump parts

A single sterilizing tablet dissolved into water can be used repeatedly within 24 hours so don't throw the water away!

Since the water can be reused and the pump parts have to be soaked in the water for at least 30 minutes, it's likely that you will continue with your itinerary while carrying a container full of water rather than sitting around and waiting. Hence, it's useful to buy an airtight container so as to ensure that the container does not leak.

Bought a more expensive airtight container for my pump parts instead of my leaky IKEA container

It was very inconvenient when my green IKEA container (seen in picture with Sterilizing Tablets above) leaked water all over my stuff in Hong Kong and Sydney! I truly regret not buying my air-tight container earlier.


If you are bringing your baby along, congrats, you'll only need to prepare 2 things (for nursing, you'll need a thousand other things for baby):

1) Nursing Clothes

Breastfeeding in the nursing room in Harrods, London

I buy mine from MaternaloveMothers en Vogue, Annee Matthews, and Dote.

You might wanna DIY your own nursing slip too but I prefer to buy nursing tops with umpire access. Too lazy to DIY.

2) Nursing Cover

With my nursing cover, I can breastfeed my baby anywhere!

Walking and nursing under a cover in Bangkok

With the help of a carrier, you can even walk and breastfeed at the same time (it's takes a lot of practice of course)!

If you require a little privacy, do check if there are nursing rooms in the country that you're visiting as not all countries have an abundance of nursing rooms. I've updated my nursing room page with those that I've come across during my travels for your reference.

If you're bringing baby but don't latch directly then add tips 4, 5 and 7 =P

And there you have it! Keep calm, travel and MILK ON people! =)

This post is part of my series on Travel Tips for the Wanderlust Parent.
Follow me as I share my tips for planning your next family vacation

Head on over to My Travel Page for a whole list of our travel itineraries!

Monday, September 15, 2014

Pigeon Supports Breastfeeding & Motherhood

I would have given up on breastfeeding years ago when I first started breastfeeding my 2 week old baby girl, had it not been for the Pigeon Nipple Shields that I had been using to protect my nipples from cracking and bleeding (ah yes, breastfeeding is not pretty).

Since then, I've really liked using Pigeon products especially Pigeon Disposable Breast Pads, which in my opinion are the most comfortable, stickiest and cheapest (for its quality) breast pads in the market. I always make a beeline for them whenever a major departmental store has a sale and stock up on them!

Pigeon seems to have everything, from my breastfeeding essentials to my must-have tools for weaning to toiletries and wet wipes. They even have a range of skin care and baby make up, which in my mind is for baby pageants (remember Rachel in the TV series Friends? *laughs*) but I'm sure it's for more important things like babies with bad eczema and need something moisturising to cover the redness.

Range of Pigeon products that we use everyday!
Close up on some of my favourites
Pigeon has every kind of wet wipes and in every size that you need!
Range of weaning products that we love

Pigeon can be more expensive than other baby products in the market because according to the hubby, who's a microbiologist and tests food and other products for bacteria for a living, Pigeon goes to great lengths to ensure that their products do not contain harmful ingredients.

Having had the privilege of being provided with Pigeon mother and baby products to aid me in taking care of my baby, Baby Boy and I would like to share the goodness of Pigeon with our readers as well =)

We are giving away 1 hamper of Pigeon Baby Products worth S$58 to THREE lucky winners!

Items in the hamper:
Breast Milk Storage Bags, Liquid Cleanser 450ml, Sakura Baby Toiletries Travel Set,
Chamomile and Rose Baby Wipes 70s (Flip Top), Hand and Mouth Wet Tissues 60s,
Anti-bacterial Wet Tissues 60s, and Spoon and Fork Set with Travel Case

Simply follow these steps to qualify:

(1) Leave a comment on this blog post on your favourite Pigeon product and why
(2) Enter the entry into the Rafflecopter widget below (don't forget to do this as we'll be using the widget to pick the winner!).

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The other entries are optional but you may enter them for more chances of winning! Good luck! =)

Terms and Conditions of this giveaway:
a) This giveaway ends on 30th September 2014 (Tuesday) and is open to readers living in Singapore.
b) Participants must leave a comment with the required answer and enter their entry into Rafflecopter in order to qualify. Other entries entered into Rafflecopter must also be completed (integrity please; if you said you've liked my Facebook page, please make sure that you did. I do check!). Incomplete entries will be disqualified without notice.
c) Limited to one prize per household
d) The winner will be drawn randomly via Rafflecopter and must respond within 3 days after being contacted by me otherwise another winner will be drawn.

Disclosure: Complimentary mother and baby products were received from Pigeon Singapore for the purposes of this review and giveaway. No monetary compensation was received; all opinions are my own.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Travel Tips 1: Bringing Baby Overseas

As you know, I love to travel. The addiction started 10 years ago when I started earning a little bit of money and the air tickets got cheaper. Since then I have been to 13 countries and more than 20 cities (and counting). We won't be happy until we have travelled at least 4 times a year! =D

We have not slowed down even after we had kids; we just learned to work with what we have and pack smarter with kids in mind.

After years of packing our luggage in record time, I thought that I will share some travel tips with other travellers, especially wanderlust parents like ourselves. You don't have to stop your whole life just because you had a baby =)

And what better way to start this series than with my tips on the essentials that you should bring when going overseas with your baby!

SIX Things to Pack When Bringing Baby Overseas:

1) A Good Carrier

Left: Carrying my girl in the Ergobaby along the streets of Hong Kong
Right: Carrying my boy in the Suppori Sling at Windsor Castle

You don't want to slow your steps when you're exploring a new city so it is vital that you bring a good carrier to carry your baby along with you. You may check out some of my carrier reviews for the carriers that I personally use on my trips.

2) An Umbrella Stroller

Our Peg Perego Plinko Mini

Unlike bigger strollers, umbrella strollers are the best for travelling as they are easy to open and close. You would want to bring your stroller so that you can push your child during their nap or when you're too tired to carry them.

You may even let your child sleep in their stroller in the hotel room if there is no cot available (depending on your stroller, this may or may not be safe so please assess the situation and decide what's best for your family).

Baby Boy sleeping in his stroller in Bangkok
(We moved the baby to the bed in the middle of the night though)

Most kids are usually already very used to their stroller so bringing yours would be useful, especially if your child has difficulty sleeping in a foreign environment.

3) Something to Suck On During Take Off & Landing

Baby Girl sucking on her pacifier during her first flight to Shenzhen

I always make sure I have at least two pacifiers in my bag when I fly with my babies as they need to suck on them during take-off and landing to help with ear pressure. So far both kids seem to show no problems with ear pressure but I always get them to suck on it just in case.

You may choose to nurse your baby or feed them with a bottle of milk or water (no water for babies less than 6 months old) instead if you do not want to give your child a pacifier. I usually prefer not to nurse because the shaking during take-off and landing makes it a bit hard to latch.

For older children, make sure that you keep a sweet in your pocket for them to suck on. Changi Airport provides sweets for free at the immigration counters so don't forget to take a few for your kids =)

4) The Usual Sleep Gear

Baby Girl sleeping with her favourite pillow and pacifier in Shenzhen

Kids need to continue their sleeping routine as much as possible even if they are travelling. To make it easier for them to adapt to a foreign place and sleep, we would usually pack a pacifier (if baby), favourite pillow and books, to name a few.

For our trip to London, I even brought my boy's favourite rocker just in case he had trouble sleeping in a foreign country for the first time.

Packing our Fisher Price baby rocker into my luggage
(it fits nicely into my luggage!)

My boy loves sleeping in his rocker so we had no problems with him at all when we were in London. Nowadays we don't even need to bring the rocker on our trips anymore because he's so used to sleeping in hotels *laughs*

5) An Inflatable Bathtub

Blue inflatable bathtub I bought from Qoo10
(We buy so many things on Qoo10 that I'm the VIP member *laughs*)
Bathing Baby Boy in the inflatable bathtub in Bangkok

We used to bathe my girl, when she was a baby, in the tiny wash basin of the hotel bathroom. I always hated that as it was so tiring to have to hold your baby tightly, fearing that they may hit the tap by accident. It was a bit better if there is a bathtub in the bathroom but this is not always the case for most of the hotel rooms we stayed in. For example, the hotel in London did not have a bathtub so the inflatable bathtub came in handy for me to bathe Baby Boy. The pop up "wall" in the middle helped to ensure that he was kept upright the whole time, which was really useful. Even if your hotel room has a bathtub, it's still handy to have one of these.

6) Photocopy or Photo of Your Child's Birth Certificate

Photo of my girl's birth certificate

I was asked by a British Immigration Officer at the immigration counters at London's Heathrow Airport to produce some documentation that the baby that I'm carrying is really my baby. I was surprised but he said that this was the rule in the UK to prevent child abduction. Fathers (or relatives with the same surname) would normally not have this problem as the same surname showed that they were from the same family (not a foolproof method though but better than nothing). However, as I used my maiden surname, he said he could not be sure that my baby was mine. Thankfully he let me through but advised me to take a picture of my kids' birth certificates and bring them with me when I travel in future.

Even though this rule may not apply to other countries, I still think it is always a good practice to take pictures of identification such as passports, driving licenses and birth certificates just in case. You'll never know when you will need them =)

And there you have it!

Now chin up and don't be afraid to bring your baby on your journeys! =)

This post is part of my series on Travel Tips for the Wanderlust Parent.
Follow me as I share my tips for planning your next family vacation

Head on over to My Travel Page for a whole list of our travel itineraries!

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Chef's Noodle in Singapore

We attended a private food tasting event at Chef's Noodle at Harbourfront Centre a few months ago (didn't get a chance to finish this post till now as I was busy in London, Bangkok and Penang! *gasp*).

The hubby and I had tried Chef's Noodles in Seoul before so we were excited to get a chance to taste it again in Singapore. We were sure it would be as good as, if not better than, Seoul because the founder and head chef of Chef's Noodle, Chef Choi, would be there!

The trademark logo/mascot of the restaurant, the man with a mustache and a hat, is none other than Chef Choi himself
(See the resemblance?)

It was the first time that we would get to meet a celebrity chef, who has graced variety shows in Korea.

Showing off his slicing powess
Torching the beef to perfection
Placing the beef onto rice;
"Korean-Japanese style," says the chef.
Left: Eating sushi fed by the chef himself!
Right: Group photo with Chef Choi

It was fun to see a live demonstration from the chef himself =)

Dinner was great! It was just like what we had in Seoul.

Fried stuff as starters
Dry signature noodles
Mixed of everything in a pot of rice
(Sorry I forgot the name of the dish, I don't get paid enough to be a food blogger *laughs*)

Was an enjoyable evening for the hubby and I! =)

DisclosureAn invitation to the event were received from Chef's Noodle for the purposes of this review. No monetary compensation was received; all opinions are my own.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

My Breastfeeding Diary: 8 Months

I know I keep saying this but I really can't believe that it has been 8 months since I pushed this little man out of my youknowwhere! *gasp*

As I mentioned previously, we have been introducing Baby Boy to solid food little by little (here's some tools we used to ease the process) and he has been taking it very well. He's excited to try food that he has not tried before and eagerly smacks his lips when we're eating, thereby prompting me to feed him a little of whatever I'm eating.

The look that says, "Mama I want to try some too please!"

He still drinks breastmilk every 2-3 hours and only substitutes 2 feeds with pumpkin porridge (he eats others of course but this is his favourite) a day. I still get up every 2-3 hours at night to feed him and it'll likely be this way till he's 1 or 2 years old. I think biologically it makes sense as this constant getting up every 2-3 hours to feed and check on the baby reduces the possibility of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. For mums whose babies sleep through the night, I'm sure they'll instinctively wake up to check on their baby every few hours too. That's just part and parcel of motherhood =)

Pumping at work has been harder as my supply dipped recently. I used to be able to pump at least 180ml (sometimes more!) each time but now I can barely pump 150ml. I have to eat fenugreek and drink red date and longan tea in order to get the amount back up to 180ml. It was quite depressing really. I have a few explanations for this, one being that my pump parts could be old and need to be replaced (I have pumped religiously for 8 months). The other could be that my baby has started on solids and didn't need to drink as much breastmilk.

Sigh, the perils of a nursing-working mum =(

Hopefully I can make it to the 18 month goal I set for myself. Pray that you'll have a better journey than me..

Well who am I kidding? Breastfeeding and motherhood ain't ever easy.

Continue to >> My Breastfeeding Diary: 10 Months
<< Back to My Breastfeeding Diary: 6 Months

This post is part of my series on My Breastfeeding Journey with Baby #2.
Follow me as I battle the perils of milk production and boob-related pain all over again.

My Breastfeeding Diary
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